A face only a mother could love

 

Lucky I've got a great personality, right?

Lucky I’ve got a great personality, right?

For as long as I’ve been of legal age to drink (that’s over a decade…holy hell), I think my parents’ greatest fear is that, at some point on a big night out, I’m going to end up on the wrong end of a punch.

Truthfully, it probably should have happened at some point. People say I’m pretty quick with a comeback, and I’m a wise-ass at the best of times, even though I’ll wear an “I’m obviously kidding” grin while I’m joking around. I even wrote, very early in this blog, that I had a niggling concern in the back of my mind that one of these days someone’s going to take umbrage to my Australian schtick and let me know what’s what.

But despite being 6’2″ and 210lb with a shaved head and an unshaven face – or perhaps because of that? – I’ve thankfully never found myself in that position.

However, this makes the story of how exactly I woke up Saturday morning with a black eye and a split cheek even more embarrassing. But it’s a story that includes elements that basically perfectly encapsulate the small-town Maine experience.

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New column: In which I ask central Maine to hang out

I think I’ve figured out why lately I’ve felt like columns have been few and far between.

It’s not because the weeks are somehow further apart, or some weird calendar trickery, so you can rule that out.

It’s because I haven’t sat down to write one for what feels like months. This one, my last one and my next one were all written about six weeks ago, in a frantic “oh shit, I’m going to be away that weekend” panic.

As it turns out, I was only away for the Fourth of July weekend, since plans I had to go away this weekend were thwarted. Still took Friday off though!

Anyway, here’s my latest offering. In it, I wax lyrical about all the “firsts” I’ve experienced since I immigrated here, and some that I’m still yet to accomplish.

The latter category basically sees me sending out an open invitation to the papers’ readership, asking them to throw a football with me, or take me ice fishing (in a couple of months, though. The river is still rushing at this point.)

Behold…

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Making up for lost time

Thanks for inviting me to your birthday, Shipyard.

Thanks for inviting me to your birthday, Shipyard.

I asked the seething masses a couple of weeks ago what, collectively, you’d like to read more of on the blog.

The overwhelming majority of my 25 faithful voters chose more stories about my adventures around Maine and the U.S. GOOD CHOICE, GANG!

Now, that came shortly after I kicked a revolting hangover earned during a three-day bender in Los Angeles, and I didn’t actually get around to chronicling that one, but you’ll get a perfectly good explanation after the jump.

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Is it September yet? #sureamhungry

 

Best view in the house.

Best view in the house.

(Editor’s note: I promise this will actually be about the Rhode Island Seafood Festival, the east coast’s best event of the year, but lemme get some typical historical preamble in there first.)

When I first visited the U.S., in the summer of 2008, it was the final realization of something I’d always wanted to do. I’ve been reading the book I wrote about that trip a lot recently, and it kinda boggled my mind when I got to one page in particular.

The trip that fueled my ongoing obsession with this country was entirely built around August 19, the day the Chicago Cubs played host to the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

A random internet user on a random writing messageboard had advised me there was nothing more “summer” in the United States than watching the Cubbies from the bleachers at Wrigley.

Short of any other ideas about how or where to start planning, I brought up the MLB season schedule, picked a mid-August date, and built my entire seven-week boozing-and-sightseeing odyssey around that game. I think it turned out okay?

Much like that trip, my decision to really focus on immigrating here (instead of, y’know, just spending six weeks drinking here every year) can be traced back to a similarly unexpected, throwaway moment, in September 2012.

Instead of a baseball game, though, it was a promise I made to a guy who’s been like a brother to me.

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This is a democracy (I guess?): Your opinions needed!

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Free beer in exchange for your opinions! (Note: no free beer)

So after finally shaking the enormous hangover I sustained last weekend in California, not to mention the thumping headache sustained from about nine combined hours of sleep all weekend and a red-eye flight back to Maine, I’m ready to write again.

I’m intending to put together some form of trip report or something from the holiday weekend, but since it was a three-day bender that might take me until the end of the week to relive all those beers, mimosas and excessive brunches.

In the meantime, I’ve been kinda wondering. What are your personal favorite types of posts here at CrawfinUSA.com? There’s a poll after the jump… (more…)

Does this wedding get good reception?

It feels like YEARS since my last column got published. I guess that’s the upside of five-Sunday months though, right?

Anyway, I’m in Los Angeles this holiday weekend and, at this very minute, I’m probably three sheets to the wind. But to prove that I do still have, like, a job and everything, here’s my latest offering for CentralMaine.com.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll probably recognize the middle portion from a post I wrote here a little while back.

But I’ve given it some current context, by topping and tailing it with some anecdotes about my dad’s wedding.

And after the jump there are even a couple of hilarious photos of me as a cardboard cutout.

So without further ado…

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What could have been

Give up on New Orleans for Maine. Ticket to Maine comes in New Orleans envelope. Hmmm.

Give up on New Orleans for Maine. Ticket to Maine comes in New Orleans envelope. Hmmm.

In 24 hours from the time this posts, I’ll at cruising altitude on my way to California, to spend the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Los Angeles with my buddies Johal and Nate.

It’ll be my first time on an airplane since early December, when I moved to Augusta in the midst of all the balmy, tropical weather we had throughout winter.

The fact that it’s been seven months since my last flight is in strong contrast to my jetsetting lifestyle in 2013, during which time I took roughly 32 flights, including three 14-hour jaunts across the Pacific Ocean.

But for all 32 of those where I actually boarded the plane – heading to Rockhampton, Sydney, Launceston, Townsville, Denver, New York, San Francisco and Austin, to name a few – there was one flight I never got on.

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The to-do list

Making a list, checking it twice. It's full of eating and drinking. DUH.

Making a list, checking it twice. It’s full of eating and drinking. DUH.

I’ve written before that I’m a creature of habit in a really big way. REALLY big.

I watch the same TV series over and again, and can quote my favorite movies line for line because I never branch out to newer flicks. Four days a week I wake up, have breakfast, go to the gym and then head to work, but not before stopping at the grocery store to grab the same sandwich from the deli.

The women who work behind the counter there don’t even need to ask me what I want anymore. “Roast beef and provolone, mayo and spicy brown mustard, tomatoes, onions and peppers? Cut in half?” “Yup.”

I’ve been here for coming up on seven months, but there are still a great number of places I’m yet to visit, eat or drink at, or even just wander around in.

That’s why I’m making a list.

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Still shining, after all this time

The first beer on American soil. Just like in the commercials!

The first beer on American soil. Just like in the commercials: served in a cheap motel room!

Despite what I wrote in the paper a couple weeks ago about my writing having taken off (volume-wise, anyway) since I moved to Maine, sometimes I get a gnawing feeling in my stomach when I’m sitting around after dinner, half-watching One Tree Hill something totally manly on Netflix.

That feeling of mild dread generally means “you need to write something for the blog,” and often also “you shouldn’t have eaten all those provolone slices before dinner.”

This post in general isn’t about being worried about the well of material drying up – my sister told me via Twitter to relax when I posted this a few months ago – but this is semi-important foreshadowing. Plus I like to make self-deprecating cheese jokes.

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