Back to BudMan's House

11 Apr 2006

The font face in that picture is Ninjaline, found at and apparently designed by this person. I love downloading fonts, and could probably spend all day doing just that. (Wait a minute, I think I have spent all day doing just that. Good thing I'm at work and not wasting personal time.) Anyway, why the Japanese font? Well, my inbox has been simply flooded with comments lately.For some reason, I've been identified as Japanese, so I've been getting a ton of comment spam that I can't even read. But, my intuitive sense tells me that my Asian friends were responding to a post a few days back -- the one that introduced BudMan. If I'm translating correctly, I think the question they're asking me is: So, what's a typical visit to BudMan's house like?Well, I'm glad to answer that (in English, of course). If you're a Japanese spammer, you may want to Babelfish this post.

While each visit is different, there seems to be a common theme to my visits to BudMan's humble abode: Some unusual activity (often involving guns) + beer = evening that devolves into an interesting nihilistic funk.The last time I visited was a typical non-gun example. I said, "Budman, what are we going to do today?"

The answer was simple:"Today, we're going to play horseshoes." (I forgot to mention horseshoe pits in his list of household amenities!)To a city guy, there's little meaning in that, tough. Horseshoes is just a "game," right? Two pits, four shoes, first one to 21 wins -- and involving "ringers." Well, no. It's not just a game; it's in fact a way of life. And, when it's time to play, it's an entire day-long event.

We were our running errands in the morning.On the way home, I said, "I'll grab us some Budweiser, okay?"

So, he pulls into the beer place, and I run in and come out with a Budweiser 30-pack. When I'm on my own, I sometimes get the cheaper, local stuff.Here inPittsburgh, there's a brand called Iron City that goes down pretty good. But, I have to agree that Budweiser is the "King of Beers" for a reason and I do prefer it myself.I've never seen BudMan drink anything else. Even in his most flat-broke state, he'd rather have a six pack of Bud than a case of the cheap stuff.

Anyway, I return to the truck, and he looks at me funny. "Who's that for?" he asks.

"What do you mean? It's for us."

"Well, shit," he says, slamming the truck in park and jumping out, "that ain't gonna last at all."

I simply shrugged and wondered what he was going to do.A couple of minutes later, he kicks the store's door open with his foot and manages to carry out four more 30-packs. So, now we have 150 beers, plus whatever he already has at home.

"Now!" he says proudly, "let's go play some horseshoes."

I gotta tell you. I never knew anyone could spend an entire day on this game. As a kid, we had a pitch, and my dad got pretty good. He'd been introduced to the sport at his company picnic one year, and it sort of caught on.There was an outrageously gigantic guy at his company -- Gentle Ben, or something like that -- who guzzled beer almost as much as BudMan, and who would throw two horseshoes at once, often getting two ringers with every throw. Dad wasn't quite that fanatical, though.He used to come home after work on summer evenings and hang out at the pitch in the side yard with a couple of Coors Lights.Occasionally, I'd come home and find my friends standing around drinking beer with dad and casually throwing horseshoes.

But, to many of these guys -- the guys who came over to BudMan's for the day -- there was nothing casual about it. We played seriously. Every guy was expected to pull his weight -- well, to the extent that you could do so while drinking all day. Somehow, even though the "sport" requires a bit of coordination, it's still possible to throw shoes rather accurately even while completely lit.

Initially, I thought the tournament would be over once night fell. But, they'd rigged up spotlights in the woods where we were. So, the tournament ended at2:00 in the morning. I couldn't walk very well at that point, and hoped we'd simply return home for the evening.But, we had one errand to run yet. BudMan promised to burn off a large quantity of transmission fluid over at the garbage dump, which had been on fire for a few days by then.

I knew the dump well. It's a massive, awe-inspiring pile of trash.Before I finish what's left of this very brief story, I'll back up a bit and discuss the dump a little more.

The day before, when we'd arrived, I'd brought my brother-in-law some guns. As I may have mentioned, I was an eBay Powerseller for a while and helped people sell their junk online.One lady had a bunch of guns and ammo in her attic. (I'll make a note to write up a separate post about that woman soon.) To make a long story short, I wound up bringing my brother in law all of these things, as he really loves firearms.

He was really looking forward to the guns, by the way.When I arrived, he came right out and said, "Did you bring 'em?"

"Sure," I said, popping the back hatch and fishing them out. Two of them were replicas, one was a decent 12-gauge, and there was also a huge box with all sorts of parts and ammo.

"Nice! Did you fire it yet?"

"BudMan, you can't just fire a 12-gauge in Pittsburgh."

"Well, hell, you can here. Fire off a round."

"Uh ... no shells."

"That's okay, I'll run and get some. Besides, I want to show you a new toy."

He ran off and returned in a minute with an enormous ammo box and a very military-looking rifle. I don't want to get into all of the specifics about what it was or wasn't, lest I'll have emails from gun fanatics telling me I got all of the details wrong.But, as I recall, it was some sort of M-16 like they use in the army -- only not fully automatic (which is a shame, as I think it would have been a lot of fun to fire a real machine gun).

So, we blasted off a few rounds with the 12-gauge, and then he loaded up the M-16. "You want plugs?" he asked.

"What, ear plugs?"


"Nah," I said.I figured, How the hell loud can this thing be, anyway?

Well, I fired the thing off all right. God damn! Talk about instant deafness. It almost hurts just to remember how much my ears hurt. "Mother fuck!" I yelled.

BudMan laughed. "I told you it was loud."

So, I took the earplugs, and we marched off to the dump to blow off a shitload of ammo for that thing. We set up beer cans at various heights in the trash pile.The whole thing was on fire at that time as well, so between the smoke and wreckage, it looked enough like a warzone. Adding to the atmosphere, there were numerous pit bulls running around and a small group of his friends hanging out nearby blowing shit up with toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil. Eventually, I invented a game called "Downtown Baghdad" (or something to that effect) where you have to jump out from behind a building with the M-16 and try to shoot just the Budweiser cans off of various perches within the trash pile. Those cans represented the insurgents. If you shot a Coke can or something, you were shooting the good guys.

By2:30 a.m. the next evening, we'd finished up a solid case each during the horseshoes extravaganza, and were now setting off to burn off the transmission fluid. The fire had been smoldering all day, and the area was filled with quite a bit of lingering smoke.Things were a little blurry to begin with thanks to the Budweiser, and the transmission fluid would flare up with a peculiar reddish orange flame -- not quite as intense as a gasoline fire, but mellower. As Jimi Hendrix would perhaps say, "Not necessarily stoned, but beautiful."

We worked out a routine. Together, we'd lift one end of the 55-gallon drum of tranny fluid and lean it down over a large bucket he'd found, filling it about half way each time. Then, we'd take turns throwing it onto the fire. I'm not sure how environmentally friendly this practice is, but it seemed to make sense at the time. So, there we were, basking in the radiant sanguine glow of a chemical fire at2:30 a.m.Good times, my friends ... good times.I almost hated to turn in for the evening, but I'd started to stagger quite noticeably so, as I usually do, I politely excused myself and headed for the nearest couch.

By morning, my head felt like a Superfund site.Not BudMan, though. He was already awake -- maybe he never even slept.

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