Part of the draw of Johnakkah for me is getting to have something to do everyday with my friends. As I’ve droned on and on about before, I have a really great, tight group of friends that I know will basically try anything once as long as it’s not deadly. Getting to hang out with a different (or even the same) mix of people for 7 days in a row is a real treat for me as there are often long stretches of my weeks that don’t really have that.
That being said, it’s gotta say something that I ran out of blogging steam for Johnakkah 2011 after three days. Honestly, it’s taken me almost a full week to recover from the “back 9″ section of this year’s Johnakkah course and instead of blogging about each one individually and pretending that I stuck to my schedule, here’s a great big summary of all the fun we had for the last few days of Johnakkah 2011.
Day Four: The Golf Tournament
Somehow I got it into my head that it would be fun to have a golf tournament and ask folks to donate some money to the Red Cross. Where did that idea come from? Who knows. But at the end of the day (and $150 raised for the Red Cross later) I have to admit that it was a fantastic idea. It was the Wednesday of Johnakkah Week and yet still I managed to get great turnout at the Golfland Arcade in San Jose. How do I know I had big turnout? There were two different ladies in our group named Meghan (or Megan). That’s a sign of solid turnout. To make things more interesting, I created yet another ridiculous Johnakkah-fueled tradition: the Johnakkah Cup. About a month ago, I watched both seasons of FX’s “The League” in a single weekend and one of the main drivers of that show is the guys constantly competing to win their league trophy that’s passed from one to the next as different people win. It was in those 20 hours of television that I knew I needed to create something similar for our little group of idiots to constantly bet over. In the past, bets have ranged from $5 to $20 and as much fun as it is to win cash, it’s way more fun to have something to actually hold over all the losers’ heads. Thus, the Johnakkah Cup was born. Forged in the fires of Mount Doom, the Johnakkah Cup is made from the sword of the Highlander, the melted down pieces of the Terminator from Terminator 2 and the world’s most deadly substance — red dye #5. It’s inscription states the true nature of the Cup: “He who holdeth this cup, ruleth the world”. It was a hard fought match (not really) and after a great struggle (not really) it was Charles who came out on top of the first annual tournament. Taking a play from the Duke’s playbook, the winners also received some additional prizes as well (each one representing something that I loved including the first season of “Archer” on DVD and “Now that’s what I call music 38″).
Sadly, the tournament also meant I had to part with another Xtina (which is a story for a whole other time) as she went to live with the last place finisher for the night, Meghan. Parting, as they say, is such sweet sorrow. The other random advantage to mini-golf on a Wednesday night was that we were there for “All You Can Play” Arcade night, so after our tiny pizza party and award ceremony some of the gang got to enjoy some arcade fun. I’d call the event a huge success as I think everybody had a good time and we raised a bit of cash for the Red Cross.
Day Five: The Midnight Screening of “Thor”
For some reason for Johnakkah 2010, I thought it would be a great idea to go see the midnight showing of “Iron Man 2″. Somehow Johnakkah week has gotten synced up to the Marvel movie release schedule (Seeing the first “Iron Man” was a birthday treat from my then girlfriend when it arrived in theaters as well and next year’s Johnakkah Week includes the release of “The Avengers”), so it seemed perfectly reasonable to go see a midnight screening of “Thor” for Day Five of the Johnakkah celebration. Here’s the thing: nobody thought this was a good idea. From the moment I put out the schedule for Johnakkah 2011, I’d been making it abundantly clear to everyone that I didn’t expect anyone else to join me in this theatrical indulgence. Number one, we’re all really too old to actually enjoy a midnight movie. When you’re 16, it’s a treat to stay up and see something at midnight. When you’re 22, it’s a treat to go out drinking and then stay up and see something at midnight. When you’re turning 31, you’ve got no good reason to be awake that late and honestly it’s a little bit sad that you want to go see the very first showing of “Thor” no matter how much your friends support you. For Johnakkah 2010, I had barely made it to the midnight screening of “Iron Man 2″ (thanks to Nicole for forcing me to eat bread I made it only to start my 30th year by eating a movie theater hot dog) and after that experience I had categorically declared that midnight movies were no longer something that I should do. It took me less than 365 days to completely forget that notion and decide to see the 12:01am screening of “Thor”. Right off the bat, my friend Jenny and her boyfriend decided that this was the Johnakkah event that they could support. So I planned all week to meet them for dinner at the Brit around 9 and then head over to the theater around 10:45pm to get seats. When the morning of Day 5 rolled around, Charles had made it abundantly clear that he was also going to join us for the movie (he posted a picture of the ticket to Facebook when he bought it).
As we stood in line with the other sweaty nerds, I was honestly pretty pleased that I’d convinced three people to do that with me. That surprise turned to shock when, just as the line was ready to move, another player joined our merry band of midnight revelers. That player was none other than Matt. It’s at this point in the story that I must pause to explain something about Matt. Matt is the closest thing I’ve ever known to an actual superhero. He’s got strange powers that (when questioned) seem to manifest themselves in different ways. He’s simultaneously the luckiest person I know when it comes to games and the most skilled. He’s always 3 moves ahead of you (except when he’s not), he’s incredibly competitive and at the same time always fun to play a game with. I’ve seen him pull off amazing feats (SJ to SF in less than 40 mins) and some not so amazing feats (breaking the tail light out of a rental car we had for a week). You all probably know someone just like him. He’s just “that guy” so seeing him slip through the line to join us for midnight “Thor” was both shocking and completely normal. He’s Matt. You never know when he’ll turn up but you better never count him out. So yeah, the five of us then went into the theater, got great seats and spent the next hour listening to the douche patrol from the Apple Genius bar who were sitting behind us have some of the most insidiously stupid conversations that I’ve ever heard anyone have. Once 12:01 rolled around, I was ready for the movie (which I really enjoyed!) and Jenny was ready for a nap (which she really enjoyed until she got startled and woke herself up by almost falling and flailing her arms and legs about as if they were independent from her body). I woke up the next day after only a few hours of sleep, did a 7am call for work and then headed straight into….
Days 6 – 8: Tahoe baby!
As per usual, Johnakkah Week 1 wraps up with a trip to somewhere. Two years ago, 6 of us went to the Russian River and stayed in a house with a great hot tub, weird spiders and a cat that came to the back door in the wee hours of the morning. Last year, 8 of us went to San Luis Obispo and ate the sandwich, wore the armor and talked in funny accents. This year, 12 of us (plus 2 kids under the age of 2) went to a house in South Lake Tahoe for the weekend. While part of me wants to blog on and on about all the fun we had, the moments we shared and just how special it was to me that I was able to rally up that many people for a dumb birthday trip, there are (shockingly) some things that I like to keep for me alone. I will say that Tahoe was a demonstration of just how great my group of friends are. Some I’ve met through work, some I’ve met through kickball, still others I’ve met through game nights, BBQs and neighborhood parades. At the end of the day, I’ve got a group of friends that’s always there for me, willing to try dumb new ideas with me and just as crazy as I am sometimes. Our trip to Tahoe can best be summed up with the following bullet points:
- Group texting is a terrible and yet awesome idea.
- There is no greater meal on the planet than Brook Steak.
- Port tastes better when you drink it out of a decapitated chocolate bunny.
- There are reasons that Four Loko was banned by the FDA.
- Tabletop shuffleboard is one of the most compelling games on the planet.
- If you want to entertain a toddler, sit him on a pool table and teach him the term “roll”.
- You should not attempt to play whiffle ball at that altitude.
- Wayne Brady was not a member of the Brady Bunch.
- You can eat ice cream of a rental house carpet.
- ‘Pony’ by Genuine is a fantastic song.
- Thai Chi and Che Guevara are two very different things.
- If you’re at a craps table with a guy named “Fast Eddie” you’re out of your league.
- Plexiglass isn’t insulation.
- Everyone likes saying Lil’ Smokies.
- Pine cones hurt.
- You can force a theme song to stick if you’re diligent enough.
- Egg crotch is not an appropriate game and is frowned upon.
- Bowl crotch is not an appropriate game and is frowned upon.
- Plastic bats leave welts.
- “Let’s have a pushup competition” is code for “It’s bedtime”
- Seriously, group texting is probably a bad/awesome idea.
It was a great trip with great friends and I honestly can’t wait until next year. For the record, I finished the last of the menorah about 1am on Sunday morning so that was the end of Johnakkah 2011. The cup ended up in the hands of Steve (who said it’s going to be wagered on our next game of ‘Settlers’ meaning that the cup is already fulfilling its role as ‘the standard bet’) Definitely the biggest and best Johnakkah celebration so far. Can I top it next year? Probably. Do I already have ideas about what to do for next year? I most certainly do. With it be epic? Yes, yes it will.
A huge thanks to everyone that participated in this year’s Johnakkah celebration. Without all of you, none of it would have been worth it at all. As much as I like talking about how self centered and narcissistic I am, Johnakkah’s really all about getting together with you guys and goofing off for a week. Thanks again for indulging me and I hope to see all of you (and more) next year.