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29Nov/1012

Bar #18 – Loockerman Exchange – Post-Mortem (and POWER POLLS)

Our biggest overall strategic misfire of the "How to Fail" 30 Bars in 30 Days book tour has clearly been in having "football Sunday" events in small towns.  True, these events are doing a great job of giving us some much-needed recoup time from the previous six days, but that's an unplanned side effect of these bars being empty, boring, and full of people not really interested in me, my book, and perhaps even American literacy.  Cherry Hill, Ithaca, and now Dover--all three major stinker events.

I'd never been to Dover before and was startled at how beautiful of city it is.  Massive Victorian-ish mansions on quaint tree-lined streets, even the bar was in a really "cute" part of downtown.  Inside told another story.  The bar, the Loockerman Exchange, was nice enough, but at 1:00 PM on a football Sunday it was completely empty.  In what other American town would said town's biggest sports bar be completely empty at NFL kickoff?!  I spent the dead time catching up on some work and enjoying the Loockerman's delicious crab products, before I slowly noticed people finally beginning to mill in.  Black clothed, vested, booted, pentagrammed, pierced, mutton chopped, long haired people to be exact.  Apparently there was also a hardcore music mini-festival scheduled for four o'clock.

Suffice to say, especially after my braggadocio in the previous post, we finally stumbled upon a demographic not particularly interested in "How to Fail":  supremacistic, gun-toting, shrieking, hardcore hatemongerers.  Having said that, since they do greatly favor black clothing with profane sayings on it, we still managed to sell some product!

(Above:  "Robbie" of band Delfederate Army proudly sports some "How to Fail" schwag!)

At least leaving the event earlier than expected allowed me to get my first non-bar meal and good night's sleep in seemingly forever.

POWER POLLS (through week three)

Best Events

1.  Philly Cigar Club special happy hour (Philadelphia)
2.  Amity Hall (Manhattan)
3.  Graney's (Albany)
4.  The Irish Pub (Atlantic City)
5.  Drinker's Tavern (Philadelphia)
6.  Syracuse weekend (Syracuse)
7.  A'dam Good Sports Bar (Atlantic City)
8.  Brazen Fox (White Plains, NY)
9.  Paddy Whacks (Philadelphia)
10. Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn)
11.  Green Rock Tavern (Hoboken, NJ)
12.  P.O.P.E. (Philadelphia)
13.  Benchwarmers (Ithaca, NY)
14.  P.J. Whelihan's (Cherry Hill, NJ)
15.  Old Bay (New Brunswick, NJ)
16.  Loockerman Exchange (Dover, DE)
17.  Kildare's (Manayunk, PA)
18.  Jillian's (Albany)

Top Fails

1.  My assistant locking her keys in the tour car (with countless books inside) right before an event was about to start.

2.  Spending the night at a Motel 6 in Albany.

3.  Booking events in small towns like Manayunk, Cherry Hill, and Dover.

4.  Getting duped into giving a free copy of "How to Fail" to a self-proclaimed "important cultural journalist" who we never actually vetted.  When he didn't showed up for a scheduled one-on-one interview with me and we realized we didn't actually have his contact info (he only had ours), we knew we'd been snookered for a free book.

5.  My manager Craig leaving his credit card and ID at a bar and not realizing it until we were outside of Atlantic City, forcing us to head back to town at 2 in the morning on a night we desperately needed sleep.

6.  My assistant quite possibly hitting a bald eagle with the tour SUV somewhere outside of Albany.

7.  My assistant accidentally spilling a pint of beer all over the book table (UPDATE:  twice!).

8.  My assistant resuming smoking after having quit just a week before the tour kicked off.

9.  My assistant parking in an illegal spot in Brooklyn and getting a sanitation sticker slapped on her vehicle.

10.  Me drinking Miller High Life forties so hardcore at Drinker's that I was so ridiculously hungover all day I was unable to leave my room to find a sports bar to watch my beloved Syracuse Orange clinch a bowl game against dreadful Rutgers for the first time in ages.  Shameful.

11.  The dean of Newhouse attempting to purchase "How to Fail" via SUpercard, the Syracuse University intra-school debit card, typically used for late-night muchies runs to the dining hall Burger King or Sbarro's.

12.  Me eating bar food for 18 consecutive dinners (plus stadium food, plus two late night stops to NJ Turnpike Roy Rogers, and one late night run to Taco Bell) even though I promised myself I would eat healthily on this tour.

29Nov/100

Bar #16-17 – Atlantic City weekend – Post-Mortem

I was confiding to a married-with-kids friend the other day.  Telling him that, oddly enough, this book tour has made me understand what he has been going through as a new father.  Up early to tend to the baby, ragged all day at work worrying about the baby, back home, up all night, and on weekends baby baby baby.  Baby all the time.  No time for friends, news, entertainment, culture, sports.  No idea what's going on in the world--"So what's the deal with North Korea?  Is Michael Vick really back in the NFL?  Have you heard about this zombie TV show?"--except for his baby.

Well, this book (and book tour) is my baby and I'm spending 24/7 with it.  I too unable to follow anything else occurring in the world.  At least "How to Fail" doesn't take shits.

But, even with my complete immersion in my book tour, there's still one thing I've refused to ignore:  my beloved Syracuse basketball.  Which is why I may or may not have told my publisher it would be "savvy" to have signing events in Atlantic City over the post-Thanksgiving weekend, the very same weekend the Syracuse basketball team was also in town participating in the Legends Classic basketball tournament at Boardwalk Hall.

After a much needed, but still unrestful Thanksgiving "off" day--our sole off day on tour--my manager and I met up early Friday morning with my friend King Otto (a dedication page "thank you") for a lift to the shore (that's why he gets dedication page thank yous).

Friday's "How to Fail" event was at the legendary THE Irish Pub, a former 1900s "Boardwalk Empire"-esque speakeasy now open 24 hours a day (they don't even have locks on the doors!)!  Besides the obvious Syracuse connections, my thought in having signings in AC were that it would give me some perfect "How to Fail" clientele:  vice-riddled "failures" that were drunk, loose, and willing to spend moolah (hey, $15 for a book is a drop in the bucket in a town where you can lose your shirt in an hour).  We'd even planned to accept chips for books, though this proved ultimately unnecessary.

You see, the Irish Pub is somewhat removed from the boardwalk, and totally unaffiliated with any casinos.  It's a place that's meant for locals even if the "locals" are turning over completely every few days.  Nevertheless, we had an amazing time, kicking things off with brisk sales before my people had even set up and continuing late into the night.  And, we even did befriend some true AC locals, all great people, most notably:  Marc Berman, host of "AC Plugged In" whose show I appeared on Saturday afternoon and who I will continue to call-in to for the foreseeable future; Fran Masino, the local DJ; and Irish Pub owner Cathy, an absolute angel of a woman who kept us loaded up with drinks and delicious tavern food all day and night.  We also provided probably a dozen books to a dozen soldiers having one last lost weekend before shipping out to Iraq.  What a great spot!

Saturday was an event more in line with what I had imagined a "How to Fail" Atlantic City event to be.  We were stationed at A'dam Good Sports Bar in the Tropicana's "Quarter" area where we encountered a more upscale, younger, night-life, gambling clientele, all who loved the book amidst taking Patron shots and grinding up on each other.  Lately, we've been finding it remarkably easy to transistion between varying groups of people on a day-to-day if not hour-to-hour basis, "How to Fail" crossing over into countless demographics, truly a ubiquitous work (humbly says the author!).

Oh yeah, and the great Syracuse Orange won yet another holiday tournament.

FAIL OF THE WEEKEND:

My manager Craig leaving his credit card and ID at A'dam and not realizing it until we were out of town.  Even though we were dead tired and it was 2 AM--and we had to be back awake in just six more hours to head to Sunday's event, we turned back around to go retrieve his stuff.  A costly mistake time-wise when we needed to very much use our time wisely.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEKEND:

Convincing a professional blackjack player to let us "sponsor" him in the Tropicana's Saturday night $100,000 winner-take-all tournament.  He opted to wear a "What kinds of bars have the sluttiest women at them?" t-shirt to a big game full of gents in slacks and blazers (and toupees), and also managed to eke out an 8th place finish.

(Also a success that I didn't get a crowbar to the knees for taking a camera phone pic at a casino, something majorly verboten.)

DRINK OF THE WEEKEND:

Nothing.  When will casinos ever get shit besides macro lagers and overpromoted, overly watered down turpentine?  As overpriced as stuff is, I'd think they'd relish having some high-end craft beer and small batch liquors they could charge an arm and a leg for.  Instead I'm stuck drinking buckets of Keystone Light?!  Lame.

Some more photos here.

26Nov/100

Bar #15 – Brazen Fox – Post-Mortem

White Plains, NY

I knew out of thirty attempts it was bound to happen, but of course, I didn't expect it to go down the way it did.  I was set to have a "How to Fail" signing at the Thirsty Turtle in White Plains on Thanksgiving eve, but, just two days before the event, some shrill bitch at the Turtle named "Megan" called up my publicist, shrieking into the phone, to tell her that they would no longer be able to accommodate us unless we immediately guaranteed fifty heads at $10 a cover charge.  No thanks.  I wasn't going to treat any Failheads like that.

I hadn't wanted to do a signing at the Turtle any how.  Their beer list is shit and the bar's clientele can barely read from what I've been told.  But it's the top spot in town so I begrudgingly agreed when the tour was initially set up.  Still, I didn't want to lose an event on one of the drunkest and free-spending nights of the year.  Luckily, so many other White Plains' bars accepted us with open arms and vied for an AG appearance that we ended up replacing one crappy appearance with two amazing back to back events at Ron Blacks and the Brazen Fox.

We had wanted to have my signing in Westchester County on Thanksgiving eve because the kind of people that would be out would be right in "How to Fail"'s sweet spot:  college educated (college kids home for the short break), rich with their parents' money, free-spenders looking to get loaded.  My manager thought this would easily be our biggest night of the tour.  Unfortunately, the abominable air hovering above my head and entering my lungs at the Motel 6 I'd stayed at the previous night had rendered me sick as a dog.  I wanted nothing more than to be at home in front of the TV with some hot tea and an early turn in, but my manager fired me up and inspired me to man up.  And, just like Napoleon always led his own troops into battle, not wanting to order anything of his underlings that he wouldn't do himself, I too knew I had to tough it out til last call, sickness be damned.  It's what made Napoleon one of the greatest generals in history, and it's what would hopefully make me...an even more sickly writer with a few more book sales than expected?

Our first bar event at Ron Blacks was an unannounced "secret" event and, though it was only from 4-7 and amidst a more sophisticated and calm happy hour crowd who hadn't expected to see me and, most likely, knew nothing of me, it went quite well and we impressed enough to be essentially invited back any time we wish.

At 7 we quickly jetted next door to the Brazen Fox where a jam-packed crowd was all but guaranteed.  Early on, before the lights dimmed and the drunken dance party begun, we made friends with everyone we met and sold tons of books.  Most notably to a foursome of West Point students on a rare nightly leave.  Also members of the school hockey team, this group must be the hardest working and most determined group of individuals I've met on the tour so far.  Yet, they fucking loved "How to Fail," totally getting the concept and meaning of the book, loved our profane t-shirts, and spent most of the night milling around the signing table.  A great bunch of guys I hope to see again.

Around 10:00 PM, the aforementioned lights dimmed and the aforementioned dance party begun (rich, drunken white people dancing will always be a universal failure of society, so I choose not to even consider that for my daily honors).  It was somewhat hard to pitch books under the darkness, noise, abject drunkenness, and booty shaking sluts stalking the bar, but we still made tons of friends.  Younger crowds always like me and even admire me for some reason.

We sold a ton of books and our most t-shirts ever (a much easier concept to grasp under such extreme party conditions), and I felt good about having manned up and stuck out such a great event.

FAIL OF THE DAY:

My assistant and driver heading home for Thanksgiving a little early, forcing my manager and I to oversee the entire event ourselves, which lead to us standing on a full-of-drunks White Plains street corner at 4:30 AM, trying to figure out how to move several hundred pounds of books, merchandise, and assorted other event materials to that night's sleeping locale a mile away sans automobile.

SUCCESS OF THE DAY:

Spinning one canceled booking into two great events in a matter of 48 hours.

DRINK OF THE DAY:

Mulled wine (pictured above).  I'd never heard of this seasonally spiced, hot beverage, but it's apparently an Irish standard and it sounded like the perfect drink to help my sickness.  It was.  Delicious, boozy, and warming, though I probably could have done without the candy cane garnish that made me look highly eccentric as I sat in the corner scribbling my name into fans' books.

24Nov/101

Bar #14 – Jillian’s – Post-Mortem

Albany, NY

Despite the ebullience from the previous night's event, Tuesday started out quite poorly.  Short on time, research, and daily traveling stipend late Monday post-event, we had no choice but to check into a dingy Motel 6.  Sleeping in the room was like sleeping in a smoky billiards parlor.  The bed's comforter (pictured above) resembled the kind of art one might see there.  And, when I pulled back the made bed's cover to turn in for the night, two loose Newports fell to the floor.  All this despite the fact that I chose a non-smoking room, as clearly denoted here on the room's...ashtray?

Suffice to say, I awoke with a minor case of emphysema.  Needing to leave the room post-haste in order to clear my lungs and head, and hopefully burn off some tour beer weight, I decided to go for a little jog, something I've been amazingly vigilant in doing most mornings.  Suffice to say #2, our Motel 6 wasn't exactly located near bucolic jogging terrain.  As I ran on the sidewalk alongside a major thoroughfare through the slums, passing warehouses, plants, factories, and other fleabag inns and roach motels, I found myself ingesting even more carcinogens than I had from my night's sleep at the "6."

Sniffling, sneezing, and snorting throughout the day, I hoped that at least my spirits would be buoyed and our second Albany event at Jillian's would deliver as much as the first.  We arrived to an absolutely massive bar/dance club/arcade/billiards parlor (ironic!) to find them all empty.  Which they all pretty much remained for the next three hours.  Luckily, the "How to Fail" team had been such a hit at Graney's that several Monday attendees decided to return for another night of action, but other than that, and a few stray sales to friends of those people, Jillian's was an abject dud.  Worst event on tour so far.

Not satisfied with calling the evening a total loss, we decided to simply return to our beloved hot spot, Graney's, and just get loaded.  Back there, we were treated like kings and, though we didn't even bring any books inside to sell, people were so excited to see us again, or had heard so much about our barnstorming the previous night, that we were begged to run back to the car to grab some books to sell.

I ended up selling more books at this unofficial event at Graney's in under an hour than I did at the official one at Jillian's.

FAIL OF THE DAY:

Spending the night at a Motel 6.

SUCCESS OF THE DAY:

Returning to Graney's.

DRINK OF THE DAY:

The Vermont maple coffee at Daily Grind, a local coffee chain that blew my mind.  We also visited Mahar's, a top notch English pub style beer bar with six cask lines where I enjoyed a few terrific things from Syracuse's Middle Ages.

23Nov/103

Bar #13 – Graney’s – Post-Mortem

Albany, NY

It's getting scary how easy the events have become.  Drinking for eight hours straight while schmoozing with stranger after stranger after stranger in a town I barely know?  No sweat.  In fact, I'm getting more and more excited for each event, bursting with energy the second I wake up, not a hangover in sight any more.  Monday night's event at Graney's Bar & Grill was a masterpiece.

I was a little confused when we arrived as it seemed to be nothing more than a well-appointed and somewhat smallish one-room sports bar in the suburbs.  But, when Nakia, who runs the whole place, informed me that people were quite excited for my appearance and the bar had already received countless calls that very afternoon wondering about my imminent arrival, I knew it would be an interesting night.

The night certainly begun interestingly, and unique to this tour so far, with a game of pub quiz hosted by the inimitable "Baker."  Team How to Fail was rolling early and pissing off confused locals, but a basic math gaffe by yours truly cost us the game which we lost by a meager point to Team Pornstache.  Nevertheless, we'd made our mark and Graney's drinkers begun approaching our table for books and my autograph.

At one point, we had perhaps our biggest feeding frenzy on the tour so far.  A whole booth of people were busy buying a book each, I was signing books for two others, several women tried on various HTF t-shirts, while countless others milled around in curiosity.  When, just then, the front door swung open and a self-proclaimed cougar (in a matching pink sweatsuit, natch) burst in, calling out:  "Where's Goldfarb?!"

Said cougar then, not only bought a book and a t-shirt, but pulled out some perversity called "Tickle My Pickle"--a "penis-pleasing" manual she'd purchased at a sex toys party the previous evening--and had me sign that for her too, the first non-"How to Fail" book I've autographed on tour so far.

An epic night at an epic bar.

FAIL OF THE DAY:

My assistant was hurtling down the highway toward Albany when out of nowhere some flying creature--a falcon, a hawk, a bald fucking eagle??!?!--flew out of the nearby woods and splatted all over the side of the car.  Did she just make an endangered species even more endangered?  Hard to say, but it was a harrowing experience for all.  Except me, cause my head was down dicking around on my iPhone.  I missed the whole thing.

SUCCESS OF THE DAY:

The buffalo chicken garlic bread pizza at Graney's.  Holy God.  Best bar food we've had on tour so far and I'm not sure anything else has even been close.

DRINK OF THE DAY:

Samual Adam's Winter Lager.  I've always liked this seasonal brew, but it was really hitting the spot last night.  And since we were pounding pitcher after pitcher,  a lotta spots were hit.

23Nov/100

Bar #12 – Benchwarmers – Post-Mortem (and POWER POLLS)

Ithaca, NY

Sunday was another recoup/NFL event and the "How to Fail"ers decided to spend it in Ithaca, a town I'd never been before.  We selected Benchwarmers, supposedly the only sports bar with the DirecTV season package in this highly educated, "I don't OWN a television" hippie/hipster town.  The former site of a McDonald's, Benchwarmers still bears the tell tale signs:  gross brown tile flooring still greasy from ancient french fries, unnecessary columns where I'm assuming the soda fountains and ketchup pumps once resided, and those woefully uncomfortable two-person tables that can never find level ground.

Just like last Sunday, not a lot of people were at the bar--our strategy of smaller town Sunday visits hasn't been a great one--but the few there really loved us.  And we loved right back at 'em!  My manager Craig and I are quickly finding that with sustained one-on-one (or two-on-two) time with just about any one, we can convert them into a buyer.  And, indeed, at Benchwarmers, we won over the whole staff, selling books to a bartender, a hostess, and a female line cook name "Spike" (a certain inductee to the 30 Bars in 30 Days Hall of Fame when all is said and done (pictured above)).  We also sold to just about every football watcher we met, no small task in a town where everyone is seemingly still in grad school, underemployed, and "sorry man, I'm broke."

I would probably never go back to Ithaca for an event, but I'll definitely go back for a visit as the people I met were terrific, the town is swell, and I had an awesome time.

POWER POLLS (through week two)

Best Events

1.  Philly Cigar Club special happy hour (Philadelphia)
2.  Amity Hall (Manhattan)
3.  Drinker's Tavern (Philadelphia)
4.  Syracuse weekend (Syracuse)
5.  Paddy Whacks (Philadelphia)
6.  Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn)
7.  Green Rock Tavern (Hoboken, NJ)
8.  P.O.P.E. (Philadelphia)
9.  Benchwarmers (Ithaca, NY)
10.  P.J. Whelihan's (Cherry Hill, NJ)
11.  Old Bay (New Brunswick, NJ)
12.  Kildare's (Manayunk, PA)

Top Fails

1.  My assistant locking her keys in the car (with countless books inside) right before an event was about to start.

2.  Booking events in New Brunswick and Manayunk.

3.  Getting duped into giving a free copy of "How to Fail" to a self-proclaimed "important cultural journalist" who we never actually vetted.  When he didn't showed up for a scheduled one-on-one interview with me and we realized we didn't actually have his contact info (he only had ours), we knew we'd been snookered for a free book.  Money out of my pocket.  Hope he enjoys the read.

4.  [redacted]

5.  My assistant accidentally spilling a pint of beer all over the book table.

6.  My assistant resuming smoking after having quit just a week before the tour kicked off.

7.  My assistant parking in an illegal spot in Brooklyn and getting a sanitation sticker slapped on her vehicle.

8.  Me drinking Miller High Life forties so hardcore at Drinker's that I was so ridiculously hungover all day I was unable to leave my room to find a sports bar to watch my beloved Syracuse Orange clinch a bowl game against dreadful Rutgers for the first time in ages.  Shameful.

9.  The dean of Newhouse attempting to purchase "How to Fail" via SUpercard, the Syracuse University intra-school debit card, typically used for late-night muchies runs to the dining hall Burger King or Sbarro's.

10.  Me eating bar food for 12 consecutive dinners (plus stadium food, plus two late night stops to NJ Turnpike Roy Rogers, and one late night run to Taco Bell) even though I promised myself I would eat healthily on this tour.

22Nov/100

Bar #11 – Chuck’s and the Syracuse weekend – Post-Mortem

For an egomaniac like me, getting invited back to your alma mater to speak to students is like...a dream.

Actually, for an egomaniac, it's more like...expected.

"It's about damn time they let me start inflicting my views on today's youth."

I was invited to give a reading, followed by a Q & A alongside my manager Craig T. Wood, followed by a signing, all at the ritzy new Newhouse 3 building (not yet built when I attended Syracuse).  But, I must not be a full-blown egomaniac because I braced myself for a potential flop at each step.

Luckily, a large crowd arrived, including numerous professors from my past.  Unluckily, I hadn't exactly prepared for my first career reading.  Personally, I kinda think author readings are lame--books are to be read by YOU, not ME to you (unless you're a child, illiterate, or retarded; 2 out of 3 demographics that would actually probably dig my book)--and that's why I'd intentionally placed myself on this 30 Bars in 30 Days tour where I'd bypass the typical lame bookstore stop.  But, when your school asks you to present a little storytime to the enrolled kiddos, you do it.

Without much thought, and little time to consider it due to perhaps being too busy touring or too hungover over the previous few weeks, I selected Footchapter 3, "How to Fail to Write Commercial Material," figuring it to be nice and brief, yet packed with comedy, and even somewhat inspirational as a discussion starting-off point.

I hadn't figured, or rather recalled, how much profanity was packed into Footchapter 3 until I was standing behind the lectern already performing for dozens and dozens of eager minds.  I'm not 100% sure that I'm the first person to say "cunt" and "twat-licker" in front of a packed classroom full of students, professors, and even the late arriving dean (!), but I'm certain I'm the first person to ever be applauded for it.

I sold a cuntload of books, and Craig and I were essentially given a standing offer to return to Syracuse and Newhouse to speak whenever we see fit.  We'll certainly see fit quite a bit more.  A massive success.

FAIL OF THE DAY:

The aforementioned dean attempting to purchase my book via SUpercard, the Syracuse University intra-school debit card, typically used for late-night muchies runs to the dining hall Burger King or Sbarro's.

SUCCESS OF THE DAY:

A higher up at Newhouse's Career Center purchasing a book for said Career Center, having me autograph it to them, and then noting that she is going to encourage all would-be seniors to read it before entering the "real world."  Genius!

DRINK(S) OF THE WEEKEND:

*After the speech, we moved onto a book signing at Chuck's Cafe, a classically divey and overstuffed college bar where the beer may be abject swill, but at least it's only $3.50 a pitcher.  A PITCHER. Those $3.50 pitchers made our books and t-shirts seem quite costly in comparison, but eventually, even low ABV swill gets one drunk if you buy enough of it, and we moved a lotta paper.

*Saturday, my "How to Fail" team spent all day tailgating in Syracuse's windy arctic weather for that evening's massive Cuse/UConn football tilt.  We rubbed elbows with Sean Keeley and the Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician crew and I was honored to share a delicious bottle of Dogfish Head Bitches Brew with my heretofore Twitter-only buddy Hoya Suxa.  The beer was a rich and creamy African honey stout (?!) and gone oh too soon.

22Nov/100

Bar #10 – Philly Cigar Club (Mahogany on Walnut) – Post-Mortem

"Do we have to dress up?" Craig wondered.

"They'll be people as well dressed as three piece suits, all the way down to some business casual types.  I'll clearly be the worst dressed."

I always was.  In fact, "How to Fail" even tackles questions of what is a proper way to present oneself.  Why do you have to wear a suit to this?  Khakis to that?  A collar here?  A tie there?  I threw on a--rare for me--collared shirt, jeans, and my beat up Doc Martens.

I'd been invited to a special event hosted by the Philly Cigar Club, an event that would surely be the most upscale on tour.  Held at the swanky Mahogany on Walnut, the event featured zero women, arguably zero "failures," and one solitary man in blue jeans.  Me.  I met a high-powered lobbyist for the tobacco industry, a celebrity charities handler, and countless movers and shakers of all ilks.  It was decidely not the kind of crowd I had written "How to Fail" for, but I'm quickly learning that the book is crossing over into most all demographics and crowds.  PCC members snapped up the book and eagerly asked for my autograph (probably for speculatory purposes, but nevertheless).

We broke our single event selling record, and I smoked so many complimentary cigars that the only way to settle my tobacco-addled stomach afterward was with a midnight run through the Taco Bell drivethru somewhere in the outskirts of town.  Something I'm guessing no other PCC attendee did that evening.  Two Gorditos and class all the way.

FAIL OF THE DAY:

Getting duped into giving the book for free to a self-proclaimed "important cultural journalist" the night before who we never actually vetted.  When he didn't showed up for a scheduled one-on-one interview with me the afternoon before our PCC event, and we realized we didn't actually have his contact info (he only had ours), we knew we'd been snookered for a free book.  Money out of my pocket.  Hope he enjoys the read.

SUCCESS OF THE DAY:

Agreeing to an event with Philly Cigar Club!

DRINK SMOKE OF THE NIGHT:

The Alec Bradley Family Blend.  Beautiful, tasty burn.

18Nov/100

Bar #9 – Paddy Whacks Pub – Post-Mortem

Upon arrival at Paddy Whacks, a place I thought I had never been to before, I immediately realized that, not only had I been to Paddy Whacks previously, but I'd been 86ed from the joint way back in my salad days.  That immediately foretold a great night I thought and, luckily, there was no picture of me at the front door ("Do Not Let This Jew In") and I was ushered in full red carpet treatment style.

One of the major problems we've been finding in selling books at bars is that many human beings simply don't know how to "use" a book.  They come up to our table, "What's this?"  Flip to a random page, turn the book around, not quite sure what to look at.

Personally, I thought I had created one of the most easily understandable book concepts ever--"The world's first self-hurt guide, the opposite of a self-help guide"--but even that high concept line isn't enough for many of the low-IQ drunks we deal with on a daily basis.  "So...is it a comedy?" some sharp tools ask, as if there would ever been a completely dry and serious book written with chapters such as "How to Masturbate at Work" and "How to Acquire the STD That's Right for You."

So, in a mini-chapter that could have been in my book, but isn't, here's "How to Examine an Unfamiliar Book":

1.  Look at front cover, read words on cover.  If you can't read words on cover, ask a friend or your mother.

2.  Look at back cover, read synopsis.  Ogle author's photo.  Notice glowing blurbs, get intrigued.

3.  Flip to Table of Contents, examine the contents in said table.

4.  Flip to page one and read a little.

5.  Hand over $15 or...leave me the fuck alone and return to the Golden Tee machine.

One final note, the first nine dinners of my tour currently goes:  pizza, hummus platter, nachos, tacos, nachos, wings, wings, pizza, and pizza, not to mention two middle of the night stops at Jersey Turnpike reststop Roy Rogerses.  Ugh.

FAIL OF THE DAY:

My Philly friends eating a New York slice of pizza without the classic fold technique.  Unwieldy!

SUCCESS OF THE DAY:

Conquering a bar I was once 86ed from!

DRINK OF THE NIGHT:

Though the How to Fail Cocktail again made a much needed appearance, I really enjoyed the local Yards Pale Ale which I tippled all evening.

17Nov/100

Bar #8 – Green Rock Tavern – Post-Mortem

I was stoked to return to my old stomping grounds of Hoboken, NJ, and even more psyched to return to my old drinking grounds of Green Rock Tavern.  It actually first opened in 2002 when I lived in town and has been serving up $1 mugs of beer ever since.  I've always had a soft spot for the hometown of Frank Sinatra, baseball, and drunks, and I even made the main character of "How to Fail," Stu Fish, a former Hoboken resident himself.

And, in the chapter "How to Locate and Find Yourself Paying Rent to a Slumlord," Stu discusses the said slumlords who rented him his first post-collegiate place in Hoboken:

There was Boris and Ena, a Ukrainian couple that dressed in black and looked like they stayed up all night fucking using weird implements, devices, and machines.  Which is feasible considering they were both inveterate drug addicts.  Mostly coke to keep their senses honed for screwing people over and squabbling about petty building repairs, but on weekends they'd experiment with mushrooms and LSD and obscure hallucinogens even my drug addict then-roommate Calvin had never heard of.  The two talked like stereotypical Soviet bad guys from 80s movies.  “Eez furst of munt.  Rrrrent iz dew!” topped off with the occasional Draculian cackle “Ah ah ah!”  When they weren't badgering us about minuscule improprieties, Boris worked a lucrative day job on Wall Street while Ena handled the day-to-day operations of the fifteen units they owned.  I have no idea how they possessed so much property as they were both just off the boat and clearly illegal.  Very smart and savvy, it wouldn't surprise me if they had blackmailed easily-corruptible Hoboken city officials or were simply appointees of some Kiev-based cosa nostra.  We were daft twenty-three-year-olds just out of college, living in our first real world place.  We didn't know any better.  We thought this was how all landlords treated you and, quite frankly, the Ukrainians amused us.  We liked mimicking their accents, creating elaborate scenarios about their late night pillow talk:  “Borrris, eez now time forjyu to leek my pooosy.”  Though, maybe it was actually Boris and Ena that were the dopes as they told us we weren't getting back our $4,000 security deposit the day before we moved out.  We spent our last night in the apartment swilling cheap Ruskie vodka, hurling the shattering bottles into the fireplace, and relieving ourselves in the center of the living room carpet.

Furthermore, the question I have been getting asked most often while on tour is, "So...where'd you come up with the idea?"  And, the simple answer is actually:  Hoboken.

More specifically, I was walking down the street in Hoboken one day in 2004 when I thought, "Hmmm...has there ever been the reverse of a self-help guide?  A self HURT guide???"  I held that idea in the back of my head for years, praying that no other writer would come up with the idea, certain some other writer would come up with such an easy high-concept.  Yet it never happened and I was able to be the man to bring the first self-hurt guide to the world.  All because of Hoboken where, now in 2010, it was pouring rain outside which was causing tons of people to pour into the bar and have themselves poured countless cheap mugs of beer.  I meet some cool Brits, some dudes that actually bet on women's college basketball games (fail!), an upstate fellow Matt, and a nice Stevens Institute coed Myriam.  A fun day.

FAIL OF THE DAY:

Stopping at a NJ Turnpike reststop Roy Rogers for the second night in a row.  Ouch.

SUCCESS OF THE DAY:

An awesome story about me appearing in the NY PRESS.

DRINK OF THE NIGHT:

A neverending supply of $1 mugs of macro swill.  After nine days on tour drinking highly alcoholic shit, I actually needed some beer water.