Feb 252011
 

The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every day to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every day to keep it late.

–Charles Caleb Colton

Yes, I looked that up on the internet. Just type in: (the subject you need quotes for) and ‘quotes’. It’s the stuff bad research papers are made of.

The reluctance to sleep the previous night had informed my mindset on this day, and by extension, the second of our GADAMN outings. Winter had become the houseguest who had overstayed their welcome even as you’re sure they had just unpacked. I was just shaking a cold (I thought), and looking forward to leaving the house for once.

The car ride was lively, but the best thing to come out of it was the suggestion of doughnuts for desert, and my committing the party to said doughnuts. It was gunna Raoul.

The first indication of what was to be the meal was when the Buick-Century-Mobile pulled up within reading distance of the neon sign. They changed the goddamn name! But it wasn’t even that simple. It seems they hadn’t changed ALL of the signs, so some read ‘Chicago Pizzeria Uno’ and some read ‘Uno Chicago Grill’ or some such shit. They couldn’t even keep the NAME of the place straight. If you’re going to rebrand yourself, keep it consistent, at least that’s what I learned in my economix 101 class. Don’t know how you do things out in Chicago, Chicago Grill Uno Uno Pizzeria Chicago, but that shit doesn’t fly here.

We were seated and our server for the night, Johnny, came over and introduced himself: “Hi, have a seat. My name is Johnny and I’ll be your server for the night.” Redundant. The second sentence came as he checked our IDs to verify appropriate drinking age. I can’t remember exactly what was said, so I’ll just write something to get you fine folks into the ballpark of how he made me feel. It’s close.

Johnny: (looking at my ID) “Wow, 1984. That’s the year I graduated high school. That’s also the year I met my first wife and got her pregnant and was forced into a long line of menial jobs to support my kid, crushing my dreams in the process.

Italics and the entirety of the italicized sentence added by me, for emphasis. This was, however, not indicative of his demeanor throughout the rest of the night; quite the opposite. I believe we left a pretty decent tip.

Navigating the menu was a hell I do not wish to revisit. We settled on a few appetizers.

The nachos were standard fare; my only criticism being that instead of tortilla chips, Chicago Uno Pizzeria Grill Uno Chicago Chicago substituted their house made tortilla soggs. The texture was like that of a slightly less chewy slice of cartilage.

The wings were wings. Moving on.

The only appetizer we got that was worth getting was the potatoe (yes, spellcheck, I said it) skins, or whatever the hell they decided to call them. It was really just one of their pizza crusts filled with mashed potatoes and topped with classic potato skins toppings. Cheese, bacon bits, etc. Pretty great, actually, just wished I didn’t scarf it down first thing.

Oh, one thing about the wings, or rather, the blue (not bleu) cheese. I’m sure it was dispensed from some 50-gallon drum with a hand soap pump, because it tasted like it did. Not that that stopped me from dipping every type of food ingested that night in it. I may have even once drunk straight from the cup. Then I asked for more. There’s something about that stuff that gets my tongue hard. Rock hard. I may even start substituting it in some places instead of Mayonnaise (that’s a big ‘M’, like ‘God’).

By the time this ridiculous thing known as ‘appetizers’ was finished, I was too. I didn’t want to let on, which I think was a function of pride, which I was soon to swallow. It’s a difficult thing, swallowing pride, but it was easier than swallowing the pizza, which quickly drained my resolve. I let on. One thing though.

The crust was amazing.

I swear the crust was deep fried, and only then could it be filled with its “works”. Then baked, and pan fried in a ¼” of oil, soaking it in like a sponge. Seriously, the pizza comes in a cast iron pan with a grate in the bottom to let it drain off. Disgusting, Decadent, and Delicious. If you’ve ever seen the doughnut production equipment at a Krispy Kreme and eaten one straight off the line, you know what I mean. (At least the Northeast had Krispy Kreme to lord over other Philadelphians. Seemed like for once they had to come to US)

Dinner was over, and we paid our check, tipped the man, and left to get doughnuts and coffee. The doughnut nearly killed me, the coffee saved my life.

I’ll keep this short (TOO LATE!). If you have ever had the inclination to watch a Chuck Norris movie, you know that there’s a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about him. ‘Hellbound’ has none of that. Terrible. In fact, until you can prove otherwise to me, I’m gonna go ahead and say that this is the worst movie Mr. Norris has ever made. Yes, it’s worse than that one, too.

Jan 172011
 

As I mentally prepare for this week’s regrouping of the Gadamn crowd (I will admit, I look forward to this one), I cannot avoid the shame for not covering our last venture. In other words, I have to see Maahk this week and well, he’s like Gadamn dad. To be fair, December was kind of a weird month for me packed with finals and holiday obligations, only to wake up New Year’s Day with one of the worst flus I have the power of remembering. I’ve struggled to finish any day this new year feeling normal. Last thing I want to do is dig up the repressive memories of the restaurant God forgot, Pizzeria Uno.

But here we are.

It was my last day of the semester and I had finished all of my finals and critiques swimmingly. I was on the verge of a burnout, but all I had left that fateful Friday was to finish my research paper on Marina Abramovic which I finally sent to my teacher, in all its proud glory, at 5:00pm. It felt awesome, the paper rocked and I was flipping starving. Maahk picked me up in his sexy Buick, and yes, I may have mentioned doughnuts. They were all I wanted while I slaved away, MLA style. To be specific, I was dreaming of the Kreme Delight, a personal DD favorite.

We zipped to Franklin Mills and all I can remember was not talking. I was so hungry. We were seated immediately and I relinquished all control over ordering. I couldn’t even read anymore, let alone make decisions about what kind of food I wanted in my mouth. The appetizer round arrived in what felt like 5 hours, but probably was only 10 minutes. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Wings, boneless wings and then some more boneless wings, potato skin pizza and nachos. Heaven. Granted, I will side with Maahk over the nachos’, how do you say, abundance. It was unnecessary as chips are meant to be crispy, not floppy. But it was all forgiven. I was so gluttonously satisfied.

Then the deep dish pizza came.

Maahk astonished by disgusting pizza.

Sigh.

It was gross.

It was so gross that it made me sad.

I sat quietly as Curdo moaned, groaned and panted. As much as I wanted to make fun of his appocalyptic drama, part of me couldn’t help but worry. Was he really that bad off? It was entirely possible, based solely on my personal physical experience. It hurt in that “whoops, I just accidentally ate a pin cushion…on purpose” kind of way. I wanted to cry for us both. I wanted to cry for Maahk and his terrible suggestion. I wanted to cry for Dreams, his cold and his overzealous bleu cheese intake. I wanted to cry for everything bad that happened in the world.

And then we got doughnuts.

And I wanted them. Bad. I had already practiced such horrific terrors on my body, but damn, that Kreme Delight was all I dreamt about all day. So Maahk ordered one for me, along with a Boston Creme for himself. We took our doughnuts and coffee and headed home.

That’s when Maahk ate my doughnut since the two look exactly the same. And once again, I just wanted to cry, though I would have never admitted it then. I painfully ingested the Boston Creme with a reluctant smile on my.

…And then I ate a pink doughnut. Because it was pink. And had rainbow jimmies on it… Story of my life.

It was movie time. What better way to commemorate a hellish experience than Chuck Norris’ Hellbound? Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. Now, being a film student, I have a critical eye that must be locked away on Gadamn nights, or I will go to bed crying for all of humanity, food and cinema alike. But Hellbound‘s failure to create  a plot that actually works with the fairly simple 3-act structure still kind of astounds me. It’s like Chuck Norris was brainstorming with his brother and said, do you know who I really want to fight? Satan. And then didn’t.

He didn’t really fight anyone. Monks, demons, naked lady chicks. I wanted to watch all of these things get kicked in the face. But no, not today. I must admit, immediately after the movie finished, I struggled to remember anything that happened. Which brings me back to movie making/story telling basics. Chuck Norris as a Chicago cop has no business partaking in the great battle of good and evil, let alone in Israel. It would take a truly skilled creative mind to simplify any connection between Illinois and Jerusalem, but low and behold, they didn’t even try. One minute there’s a demon in the windy city, next minute Norris and his partner are snooping around the holy land, pissing off the Israeli police. Because, you know, when the Israeli police tell you to stay the fuck out of their business and go home, you stay and poke around. You know, take matters into your own hands. What can Israel do anyway? Psht.

Actual closing credits freeze frame.

The thing is folks, when something happens in a movie, like, oh I don’t know, a character with absolutely no sense or knowledge of theology, anthropology, archaeology or art history flies to Israel to investigate the history of some evil magic wand because he wants to close a cold case back home of the murder of some random scholarly dude that nobody gave a shit about, and everyone in the entire God damn movie is in some kind of danger of Satan, his demons and the paranormal EXCEPT for our main character, well, it doesn’t work. It’s the point in the script where there is no turning back, and everything to lose. Chuck Norris had nothing to lose. Demon dude barely paid any attention to him. I’d even swear that he avoided avoided Norris because, well, why bother? There’s bigger fish to fry. Oh, and he barely kicked ANYONE. Just a crotch or two. Who gives? Not demon dude and certainly not Satan.

The more I think about it (or try to, at least) the angrier I get. Hellbound, I hate you. Your over use of “Dies Irae” and blatantly obvious knocking of Star Wars…

Actual opening credits prolugue crawl.

…has reserved you a special place in my own personal movie hell. I hope you burn there forever.

As for Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grille what-cha-ma-call-it, you too can go to hell. Never will I ever step foot in your overly priced, overly caloried, and disgustingly “sheik”ly decorated establishment of pure gluttony and torture ever again. Especially if the Israel police tell me to. What? I had to take something away from that monstrosity.

Dec 302010
 

Okay. This is the last I’ll say on the subject of the Gadamn Uno crap-travaganza. The Pizza Skins were amazing, see? They were among the top five most delicious things I’ve tasted in the month of December, and I make no apologies for ordering them. Think about it: cheese, mashed taters, bacon bits, crust. The nachos were overloaded with…stuff, compromising the structural integrity of the individual chips. So they came out all soggy. The wings and the buffalo bits were both amazing because, well, like New Orleans and Gumbo, buffalo wings are just what Northeast Philly does. Buffalo wings are practically the dietary staple of that corner of the world. End of story.

Now, I will allow that the horror that was the Numero Uno deep dish pizza worked its black magic on me a little later than everyone else. While I tucked in heartily to my “slice,” the others quickly dimmed out and became sad, maybe even a little soggy. I didn’t feel its full effect until I stood erect and felt my insides conform to this new beast that now took up residence within. It was not a good feeling, friends. Not even the perverse, sadistic pleasure of transporting the remains of the Numero Uno to my unsuspecting roommate, Milton S. Pony, was enough to comfort me in this hour of culinary despair.

And so I was confronted with a conundrum. How best to relieve our sorrow? The answer, naturally, was doughnuts. See, after I picked up Niquisha in the Gadamn-mobile earlier that evening, she started a conversation involving doughnuts. It was quickly resolved – without protest – that we would get doughnuts for our dessert. I take no responsibility for the seeds planted in my brain by others, like pizza seeds, or Chinese food seeds, or doughnut seeds, or La Lupe seeds. These seeds bear fruit quickly thanks to the photosynthesis provided by my appetite.

Pizza, you say? Pizza? Okay, fine. Pizza. What are you doing tonight? Have you seen such-and-such movie? Are you hungry? Would you like to go and have a drink? Pizza.

Pizza.  

Also: My apologies to Niquisha for stealing your doughnut. It was delicious.

Dec 192010
 

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t looking forward to this one. Pizzeria Uno was selected to be our next adventure out into the universe of terrible food and sold to the group by Maahk during our “dinner” last month at Ruby Buffet. Mark had said, outloud to us all, that “I don’t think that every place we go should be considered God Awful. I think that we should, maybe, go to a place that we know will be a good place to eat at so that we have something to look forward to.

So he suggested Pizzeria Uno, or – excuse me – UNO Chicago Grill. The same Chicago grill that has an appetizer called “Steak-on-a-Stick.” At the time I had easily agreed to the proposition and truthfully, brother, after having “eaten” at The Ruby Buffet I was willing to go eat at Grover’s Outdoor Dirt Emporium, right off Rt. 66 in Rambo, Pennsylvania.

Dreams had confided in me, before Maahk arrived to pick us up, that he hadn’t “eaten anything you could truthfully refer to as a meal for two days.” That’s the way to do it. Starve yourself. Make yourself want it, then cram yourself full of thick mounds of melted cheese and sauces on everything. I had to take out money at the local 7-11®© and decided to buy him a bag of Doritos™ Brand flavor-blasters… at 8:47PM. That’s his silhouette over there. He’s eating one right now!

I don’t blame him. I was hungry too. In fact, we all were. Maahk had had only an Thompsons® English Muffin©™ and Niquisha and I hadn’t eaten a thing all day. We were all pretty excited to be going to eat, especially pizza. I mean, common. It’s pizza, the greatest invention in human history.

If you loved Pizzeria UNO, you’re gonna really love our bold, fresh new branded logo and name; UNO Chicago Grill. Now, when i think of Chicago, i think of my visit during the Chamomile / Skeletonbreath tour. I think of how we played in a weird rock bar in the back of a Mexican restaurant with the Sass Dragons and some dirty hippies and i was sick as a dog after having eating a Burger King®® Quadstacker™° mere minutes before we played. We watched those hippies hug a fucking tree later that night. Bats flew out of the tree…

So now you know, i have negative connotations toward the word “Chicago” going into this. If you didn’t realize, the Quadstacker is, as described so appropriately by Milton, “bun-meat-cheese-meat-cheese-meat-cheese-meat-cheese-BACON!!!-bun.” I mean, seriously, fuck that sandwich.

I digress. We were here and there was no turning back now.

We sat down. Our waiter, the afore-depicted “Johnny” gave us his name on a napkin as if to tell us to be sure to call for him, by name, in the event that one of us required medical attention due to our unbridled hedonism during our stay in his care. We ordered large sized beers from this man, and he had brought them to us. A toast to Johnny.

Ah, the beers. What paramount. The best decision of the evening.

We rifled through the stack of menus presented to us to find we each had a specials menu, a desert menu, and a food menu plus the tiny menu that stands up on the table. We all stared at the menus in starved bewilderment for a few moments, until we eliminated all menus but the most normal menu we could find; the regular food menu. Glorious regular food goodness.

The plan was for each of us to get an appetizer and for us all to share one Deep Dish pizza, and yes, we laughed about how hungry we’d still be after eating all of the food. I remember someone at the table say something like, “Oh, haha! Can you believe it? We’re going to feel so good after tonight’s dinner! Man, we should get doughnuts after we eat! Hahaha, tra-la-laa!” How we laughed and laughed and laughed.

Do you see that? That’s what is what people mistake for potato skins! It’s a fucking pizza! It’s a fucking pizza filled with mashed potatos and melted cheese, sprinkled with bacon and encapsulated in greasy toast. All topped off with a “fuck you” sized dollop of sour cream. It was exactly what i would imagine people think sex is like. You heard me.

We also ordered nachos and two forms of chicken intake. Here’s the list.

That, my friends, is a grand total of 4640 callories and that was before this bitch…

This, my friends is “Numero Uno,” Uno’s deep dish pizza with “the works.” Weighing in at a whopping 3840 calories by itself. It rests atop a grate which is made to separate the crust drippings from the rest of the meal, and yes, the crust drippings were plentiful. We each had one slice a piece and saved two for Milton, for later. You’re welcome and I’m sorry, Milton.

After the meal, i needed to get outside – and FAST. While i was recuperating from the horrors i just made my body withstand a younger boy came outside of the grill while on his cell phone. “No, Angie is at the Arby’s. No no, I don’t want to stay here eating this garbage pizza!” the boy proclaimed and i wholeheartedly agreed. We got our check and managed to make it to the parking lot and even into the car itself.

But did we go home? No. We didn’t.

We actually went to Dunkin™ Donuts™. We actually bought six doughnuts from the drive-thru. James and I got coffee too, which helped my body forgive me for what i had done. The coffee also gave me the temporary ability to think once more, and we started tossing bad actors names around in the car to try to come up with the perfect movie to complement what had just happened.

Chuck Norris won.

Chuck Norris’ 1994 directed-by-his-brother-Arron feature-length motion picture “Hellbound” won.

Shatter (Chuck Norris) and Jackson (Calvin Levels) are two Chicago police officers. They are investigating the brutal murder of a rabbi and are summoned to Israel for questioning. Shatter and Jackson travel to Israel and continue their investigation. They realized that are trying to catch a supernatural being, Satan’s emissary, Prosatanos, who tried to keep control of the world in the time of crusades, but he was stopped by King Richard for centuries. King Richard had broken the scepter of Prosatanos (the source of his power) into nine pieces. They were sent to the nine holy places in the world and kept there until to the end of the 20th century. In the second half of the 20th century Prosatanos came back. He collected all nine pieces and restored the sceptre. Detectives Shatter and Jackson must fight with him.

Dude’s name is “Shatter.”

Turns out the movie ISN’T good. Blew my mind too. They had the typical formula for an interracial dynamic-duo cop action movies, but with weak attempts at humor and virtually zero action. There was a fight scene where Chuck Norris kicks a guy in the dick four different ways. That was pretty good. And the bad-guy Prosatanos, who from henceforth be referred to as Prostateanus, was creepy enough…

I kept forgetting there was a plot to the movie. I literally though it was just related scenes jumbled together with Chuck Norris being a ginger badass, and that it was made into a totally legitimate film somehow.

Thats pretty much the long and short of it, but before i go, i’d like to share a quote with you that really stuck with me through the duration of the movie, and it is: “Why don’t you cut my nuts off with a dull ass butter knife? I deserve some respek!”

Thank you.

Edit: I just realized that Hellbound takes place in Chicago. How’s that for coincidence!