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Guavaween 2003

October 27, 2003

"I've got bitches in the living room gettin' it on
And they ain't leavin' till six in the morning..."
-Snoop Dogg "Gin & Juice"

"I don't want to get into the particulars of this, but umm... let's just say it involves a bottle of Courvoisier, a couple of bus station skanks, and a pay toilet."
-"Ladies Man" Leon Phelps

Going into my third Guavaween, I knew that the bar was pretty high for the 2003 incarnation of the annual Ybor City tradition. The challenge was in place for it to live up to the standards set in 2001 and 2002 (especially Guavaween 2001, which is easily on the short list of the wildest weekends I've experienced in my time here in Tampa, if not my entire lifetime). But I had confidence about our chances going into this year's version of the late October classic. This year's players: me, my bro Matt, John Pouncey (Matt's former roommate from Mississippi State, who's now in pharmacy school at Auburn), James Maynor (who was here for Friday only) and Richard Karg (who arrived on Saturday morning).

Matt Pickney at Club Hedo - 10/24/2003
Matt Pickney made his acquaintance with two girls at Club Hedo on Friday night.

Matt had some delays getting down here on Friday, but that turned out okay by me, as that allowed me to work a full day. That proved important, as I had some critical work to do on a number of fronts. launches live on November 1, 2003, and I'm responsible for making that happen. Plus I had some radio things to do on the affiliation front.

Right away, Matt informed me that wearing my "I'm not a beaver... I'm an otter" shirt for a Guavaween costume would be unacceptable. "No cutting corners!" he demanded. And, really, he was right. Kind of a cop-out to use that shirt as a costume.

From DigiQuest (where I had returned to finish up some work after I picked Matt up at the airport), it was over to the Westshore Mall to snag some dinner and perhaps find a costume for me. That provided us with a good excuse to strike up a conversation with Melissa, this cute girl working at the kiosk, trying to find a costume store. They didn't have any such place at the mall, but we did snag Melissa's number. We didn't end up meeting up with her this weekend, but she's supposed to send her Guavaween "Gangsta Girl" pic by way of Matt at some point.

James made it over here on Friday night, and soon thereafter Pounce arrived from his six hour drive down from Auburn, Alabama. We cracked open the Jägermeister, did some shots, and let the fun begin.

The fellas had a chance to see a sneak preview of the BTLS Morning Domination DVD, and then it was out to the town. James used his connections to gain us free cover all over the place. I finally was able to show Matt the infamous Amphitheatre, complete with its rotating dance floor.

At one point there was a great "When Worlds Collide" moment when Beth at Market on 7th (aka Demi's Market) met Pouncey. Both of them can be smartasses, and they ended up mouthing off at each other as I was trying to catch up real quick with Beth (trying to find out the end of the $60 Story).

The main event on Friday hit at Club Hedo. At that point things got really wild and my memory of what all happened is a bit fuzzy.

At some point, James had to split from the rest of us, as he had a flight to catch the next morning to Seattle. Poor guy, he had booked a trip to the Pacific Northwest ahead of time without even thinking about what weekend it was. But Hedo was bouncing, and there were plenty of lovely ladies (along with a few unsavories) to be found. But good times all around, for sure.

Matt and I decided it was time to split... but Pouncey was having fun dancing with some girls. I tried to get him to leave, but he brushed me off like a pitcher shaking off a sign from his catcher. Matt tried as well, but Pounce was in his element, and not even Matt's best efforts worked. So, knowing that we were equipped with cell phones, Matt and I headed out.

Matt and I made it back here and hung out for a little bit, maybe 25 minutes or so. Then, in one of the most uncanny moments of all time, the door flung open... and there was John Pouncey. The guy had never been to my place before that night, yet he somehow managed to make it back (and quickly at that), including presumably scaling the wall. Pounce forever impressed me with his sense of direction.

Two girls from Hedo we had met earlier in the night ended up over here, after one of them (Tonya) dropped off her "boyfriend" (and what a jabrone he turned out to be by the time the weekend was said and through). By the time 6 AM hit, they finally headed out for the night/morning and the three of us finally got some sleep.

My alarm blared out at 8:30 AM, cruelly waking me from far too little sleep. I set it ahead for an hour. I felt ill.

9:30 AM. I woke up again. Not much better. Meanwhile, I knew that Richard Karg's flight in was at 10:10. This was not a good situation. Jägermeister is much less kind the next morning.

John Pouncey gets creative
John Pouncey wore his Friday night souvenir as a pre-Guavaween costume.

I pushed it ahead to 9:55, giving it one final shot... but there was no beating the nausea. I called up Slick's cell phone and left him a message, telling him to call me. I said for him to get a cab from the airport, and that I'd pick up the cost. A few minutes later he called back, and I gave him the cross streets for the drop off.

Saturday afternoon, after Slick got settled in and Matt and Pounce woke up (and my hangover went away), we tried to have lunch over at the Jax Grill. Unfortunately, due to the Guavaween "daytime festvities", and more importantly the $3 cover charge, we found ourselves unable to hit Jax for lunch without paying to get in. So instead we hit the Camden Ybor Blimpie and snagged some lunch there. We grubbed down, watched some college football at the apartment, and tried to clear the cobwebs. Yet another Guavaween tradition continued.

I want to take this time to issue an open challenge at Connect Four to all comers. I introduced Slick (who was in his Elvis garb by this point) to the 1998 Harlaxton classic game of Drinking Connect Four. The distinction? It's just like the regular game, only you have to take a drink every time you drop a chip. And the loser has to take four drinks. It sounds simple enough, but when the games get fast-paced those bottles empty quick. Slick only wanted one round on that, but then we settled in to the conventional version of the game. He beat me, we played to a draw... and then I beat him 10 straight times. Who rules? This guy (pointing at myself).

The Human Keg & Elvis Presley
Lou Pickney (left, as The Human Keg) and Richard Karg (right, as Elvis Presley) posed for a Guavaween night photo.

As for the costumes, I decided on going as the Human Keg. As it turned out, it played out great. It consisted of a keg hat that I bought during Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany in 1998, a pair of silver sunglasses that James gave me awhile back (for some reason they just worked for me better than him), and an Eerie Pub Crawl shirt that I picked up in Edinburgh, Scotland. With some blue beads to match the blue in the keg hat, the costume worked a-okay.

You'll be able to see all of the pics from Guavaween 2003 on my Pictures Page when they're ready (which they're not as of this writing). Be patient, when they're online I'll let you know. Trust me, it'll be worth the wait, especially for the costumes. Matt reprised his 2001 role as the Ultimate Warrior, choosing a superior color scheme (albiet hinting at perhaps being a secret lWo member with the green, white and red); Slick dressed up as Elvis Presley (getting into the character all the way, complete with fake chops); Pouncey perhaps was most impressive of all, with a vampire outfit that seemed like it had a touch of former WWE wrestler Jeff Hardy to it. You'll see what I mean with the pics are up. He went the extra mile, complete with creepy pale blue contact lenses, fake vampire teeth, black nail polish and even makeup. Not the all white, Brandon Lee as The Crow type look, but just enough shadowing around his eyes to add an extra layer of creepiness to it. He did a damn good job with it. Actually, all three of them went the extra mile with their costumes. Whereas, as usual, things just fell into place for me.

Things took a turn for the worse when we finally left and arrived at the gate. Despite my every effort to make sure we left prepared, Pounce had left behind his 98 Rock Guest Pass and ticket to get inside. Complicating that fact was that Richard had already gone through the gate, trapping him inside. I decided to head back with Pouncey to get his credentials (thanks to Mike Oliviero and Big Dick at 98 Rock for the hookup on those), and I told Matt and Richard to wait right there for us by the gate. I was very clear about how important this was, knowing how easy it could be to get separated inside the confines of the event.

It took less than ten minutes to get back to the apartment (a perk of my location) and return to the gate. We went inside... but Matt and Slick were nowhere to be found. We wouldn't see them again for nearly two more hours.

Attempts to contact them by cell phone proved quite difficult, between the noise, geographic unfamiliarity of the other three with the area, and the alcohol flowing through our veins. But, I figured that surely a text message would be clear. I told them to meet us in the main courtyard area, right across from the Star 95.7 stage (RIP Star 95.7, which today was put to sleep and replaced by the all new 95.7 The Beat... but more on that in another column) and near the Marble Slab Ice Cream shop. I was very specific about our location.

Pouncey and I waited... and waited. We bought a beer, then bought another. This annoyed me, knowing that we had VIP status and probably carte blanche to drink what we wanted for free if we could get over to the 98 Rock area.

A roar from the upstairs area at Barley Hoppers caught my attention. I looked up and saw people jumping up and down cheering... and a big celebration on the TVs by the Florida Marlins. Oh no!! It hit me... the Marlins had beaten the Yankees. I went from annoyed to downright pissed.

Meanwhile, my communication attempts with Matt and Rich were unsuccessful. I began to feel as if I was on some sort of hidden camera show, like the Jamie Kennedy Experiment. Here's a sample conversation to give you a glimpse at why I was so frustrated (pardon me for telling it in the third person):

Lou: "Richard!?!"
Richard: "Lou?"
Lou: "Where are you?"
Richard: "Centro Ybor."
Lou: "Centro Ybor is huge -- where at in Centro Ybor?"
Richard: [slight pause] "We're at Centro Ybor."
Lou: "No, where at Centro Ybor are you at specifically?"
Richard: "We're at Centro Ybor."
Lou: (beginning to lose my cool) "No, goddammit, where are you at in Centro Ybor? Where are you near?"
Richard: **indecipherable mumble**
Lou: "WHAT?!?!"
Richard: "Lou, we're at Centro Ybor."
Lou: (turning into Drunk Angry Lou) "Dammit Rich! You've told me that 10 f***ing times! I need to know a store, a bar, a restaurant, do not say Centro Ybor, DO NOT SAY F***ING CENTRO YBOR OR I'M HANGING UP!"
Richard: "We're at Centro Ybor..."
Lou: (hanging up in an uncontrollable rage, cursing like Q*Bert and raging like a lunatic)

Imagine that course of events repeated about, oh, six or seven times. Meanwhile I kept rattling off the line to Pounce (who luckily was there to calm me down) which Mr. Blonde used in Reservoir Dogs about how if the people at the jewelry store wouldn't have done what he told them not to do, no one would've gotten hurt. Not that I was intending to hurt anyone, but I was livid that because my orders were ignored, everything was messed up.

Finally we got through to them, and things got worse. They'd met up with the two girls from the night before... only we were now supposed to meet them over by my apartment complex. That is, outside the confines of the Ybor City Guavaween gate. They had that place completely gated in, with every entrace watched carefully.

Pounce and I tried to use our VIP/Guest credentials to see if we could sweet-talk the guard into remembering us to let us back in five minutes later, but no dice on that. "No re-entry without a ticket!" we were rudely told. I later compared it to West Berlin/East Berlin. Only without the barbed wire or machine guns, I guess. If it had come to it, we could've bum-rushed the fence to get back in, but at that point we had bigger fish to fry.

Back up at the apartment, Pounce and I were livid. The beer supply was about empty -- we'd rationed pretty well, with the thought being that we could drink at will down at Guavaween. Matt and Rich were nowhere to be found, not answering their cell phones, etc. It was 12:15 AM.

By around 12:30, guess who showed up... Matt, Rich, and the two girls. Because I had the one and only key card, they had to hop the fence to get inside. But instead of one person going over and then opening the gate, they ALL decided to go over, like it was one of those team building exercises at a nature camp. Their collective dexterity was rather lacking at that point, if you catch my drift. It made for some great comedy as Pouncey and I watched from the balcony, undetected.

Tonya hunts for clothes
Tonya lost some of her clothes during her wall climb -- but luckily she tracked them down the next morning.

Pounce and I were waiting for them at the apartment. We were livid, but the dynamic changed from hostile to crazy right away. Women have a way of helping to diffuse situations like that sometimes. Tonya in particular was, shall we say, not in a sober state of mind... As of this writing, I still haven't gotten a straight answer on what happened with Matt and Rich leaving the gate area. I get the impression that perhaps Rich was trying to work some alone time with Tonya, which if that was the case makes me angry, considering that I got him into the event for free and all (and lost my free spot as a result of doubling back to the apartment). But as mad as I was about what happened earlier, the events that followed were so off the wall to make me forget about being mad and wonder "is this really happening?!?!" As for what transpired from there, I think I liked Kim Martin's suggestion the best: "There may be no tactful way to ever put that in writing!!!" So, on this one, I will use tact.

Or maybe not. My friend Dave Bohman told me that this one particular story from the evening sounded like something straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. But it really happened. At some point, after I had passed out, I'm told that Tonya woke up, flipped back into crazy mode and decided to try to take a piss IN MY REFRIGERATOR. No, I'm not joking. And it's not like the bathroom was occupied, either. Thank god her friend was jostled by it, stopped her mid-stream, and cleaned it up. And thank god the fridge was almost empty at that point, too. I didn't find out until the next morning, and by that point there was little else to do but make light of it (and spray it down with Lysol like a madman). I mean, what else can you do? No crying over spilled piss, eh?

Slick slid out before 6 AM, having to catch a taxi to get back to the airport. Unfortunately, and I didn't find this out until later in the day, the taxi that was supposed to pick him up ended up no-showing. So he walked to a gas station, which I presume was the infamous "World's Shadiest Amaco" down by I-4. He said some guy there gave him a ride over to the airport for $25. It turned out okay, but knowing the shadiness of that place it terrifies me to know that things ended up that way. But at least he managed to get to the airport and catch his flight.

The adventures continued the next morning... Trying to get Tonya's car out of the Ybor City Brewing Company lot where they'd parked it the night before was a trick. I was damn near ready to crowbar the fence down when I finally got some woman from inside to come out. She told me that the other fence wasn't locked. Sure enough, I was able to wheel the thing right open, and voila, open sesame. For awhile there I was having Grand Theft Auto-type visions of how to get that car over the black iron rod fence.

Eventually the girls slid back to New Port Richey; Pouncey headed back to Auburn that night, and from there Matt and I saw the movie Kill Bill: Volume One (more on that another time). Then he earned bragging rights over me in NCAA Football 2004, beating me in a thrilling 21-16 win as USC at home over Virginia Tech (he sprung the big plays when he needed, and my last minute drive with V-Tech fell short on an interception as I moved the ball within his 40 with less than one minute to go).

Overall... wow, what a weekend. Definitely among the all-time wildest I've experienced, not just in Tampa, but ever. No one got arrested, no one puked (which might've been the biggest shocker of all), and the only thing that got broken was my toilet paper holder. And, in my book, with the kind of crazy weekend this one was, I'd say that's a win. Plus, as luck would have it, I landed a few phone numbers for future use.

Yes, the Guavaween tradition lives on. And the bar is certainly raised for next year...

Guavaween 2003 Pictures

October 2003 Commentary Page

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