The Competition

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27th, 2004 by Erik

la de da da da

Neocon bingo comments.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25th, 2004 by Mike

Click on the link below to leave comments re: neocon bingo. Thanks.

On Children, By Children

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24th, 2004 by Mike

Hey all, Mike here. For those of you who don't know me, a long time ago in college I was a counselor and teacher at a summer computer camp for kids ages 10-16. Most of the kids were normal, some were pretty smart and funny, most were creepy and isolated. I learned a lot firsthand about children, and the impact that computers and the internet are having on them. Someday I may write up my thoughts and observations on that issue, but not here. This is a forum for something else.

One day myself and another counselor found ourselves bored. It was towards the end of camp, and we really didn't feel like teaching and the kids sure didn't feel like learning. So I declared that day to be essay day. I told the kids to write essays about whatever they wanted. The ideas presented here, the writing and the final product, are all entirely a result of their little minds.

Here are their essays. It is a look into the next generation of children. Ginandtacos.com neither supports nor encourages the following opinions. They frighten us in fact. Other than the names being changed, the essays have not been edited in any way, shape or form.

Now gaze upon what children are secretly thinking, and what they write when they face no fear of retribution from parents or authorities. Keep in mind that most (if not all) of these children come from upperclass homes, as the camp is quite expensive. These are the children of the educated, the smart and the wealthy, and look at how they turned out. Enjoy!


Why it is important not to be queer:
By Andrew, Age 13

Being queer is not fun, at least in my postition. I would say that I am about, hmmm, 0% queer. Of course, that is my opinion. I really think that being queer isnt an amazing thing, I mean, god (OR WHOEVER) made us so we could enjoy life… Our certain ways of "enjoying" life are pretty strange, but we are just earthlings. So dont make fun! Ok, listen up, Would you like to go out on a hot summer night with some guy? Like i said before, god (OR WHOEVER) made us so we could enjoy life. Personnaly, I would not enjoy having gay sex on a friday night (or any night, or any second of my life).

We also shouldn't act like little pussy shit. If you are a little meowing fool, you could also refer "pussy shit" to feminine. Listen, being feminine is *NOT* cool. Say your voice is really high, and you talk like a flaming homosexual fag. This means god (OR WHOEVER) made your goal in life to be gay. Fight it and don't be gay! Take lessons talking really low. Ok, Say you fail everything and your voice is still flaming homosexual fag pitched. You are screwed, and i hope you enjoy your gay sex. For you others out there who are "regular" dont be wimpy, act like a man! Take care of yourself and dont let your sex drive slip. If you get a chance, take it!!!! Some people are like "I dont wanna have sex till im 25." Fuck you bitch! Ram that whore! ANYWAY… Dont watch gay tv shows like Who wants to be a millionare, and shit like that… Dont watch gay movies like "Stella Got Her Groove Back". Also, oh my god (OR WHOEVER) dont listen to gay ass homo music like bob marley. I guess there are some exceptions, dont listen to limp bizkit or korn unless you wanna "THINK" your cool…. Stick with the good stuff, dont make your music to gay, but also, dont make it to loud!
Its not hard to prevent yourself from being gay, but you better not be.


Abercrombie + Bitch
by Vaughn, Age 14

In America, a company which pushes goods that are, according to them, well made, inexpensive, and a positive influence on teenagers. This company goes by the name of Abercrombie and Fitch, or as I like to call them, Abercrombie and Bitch. The clothes this company makes are not well made, nor by any stretch inexpensive, and I fail to grasp how teenagers all dressing in the same clothing is good for promoting diversity. In the expression of self, one must be creative, and actually wear clothes that can represent their own person, instead of wearing the same thing everyone else wears, because it "looks good."

In my High School, there are many different types of people, some of which I would like to begin to address. There are: Goths, Jocks, smart people, bandies, prisses, Abercrombists, preppies, Communists, Fascists, Democrats, Republicans, Stoners, and those who use the ideas stated in the Bill of Rights regularly. Sure, there are lots of other groups, and subcategories, but all in all, there is a large amount of diversity. However, I don't see how almost all of the above groups wear the same thing, and still hope to be identified as different types of people. But I digress, for it is a mockery to have the image forced upon today's youth to be that of rich parents, mindless autonomy, and a general feeling of having to "fit in."

I am not saying that other clothing companies are free of flaws, and that we should only stop this one company, but someone is to blame. I believe that that someone should be Abercrombie. After all, if we are simply following in trends of former day, and a company that has been around since "1892," or some stupid slogan like that, then why do we not see Mr. Abercrombie, and Mr. Fitch sitting around the company boardroom, smoking cigars, and checking their stocks from their point-and-click-i'm-glad-those-comwhatever-men-made-this-internet-so-that-fools-like-us-can-have-ease-of-use world!


Jesus's Parents
by Jack Age 15

A long time ago in a place far, far away there lived a humble couple, Mary and Joseph. They were not married and for some reason they had not had sex yet. Maybe it was because Joseph was sterile and had not discovered the ancient cure for erictile disfunctionment or he had genital warts and completly disgusted Mary. Regardless, because Joseph could not attiquitley satisfy Mary, she had to search else where for sexual pleasure. Frequently Mary would sneak out late at night and sell her body on the street to bring the extra money she and her alcholic boyfriend, Joseph, desperatley needed. Mary and Joseph had been together for quite sometime but Joseph was completely unaware of Mary's latenight prostitution. However that changed when one day Joseph noticed a slight buldge in Mary's stomach. Upon questioning her she replied that she had a head ache and retired to bed. Joseph being a trusting boyfriend, believed her whole heartidly and disregarded any obvious signs to the countrary. The next day Joseph again questioned Mary about the slight buldge in her abdominal area. Going against her better judgement Mary sat down with Joseph at the large tree stump serving as their table, akwardly placed in the center of one of the rooms in the house. Both of them sat on the floor, oblivious to the large pile of cow fecies gathering flies no more then 10 feet away. Looking quite nervous Mary turned to Joseph, and using the sweet voice that brought her customers to her late at night, she began to deliver the speech she had prepared last night when she retired early. "Joseph I'm pregnant" she said in a calm even maner.

Joseph was immediatley taken aback and desperatley looked around the shithole of a home he and Mary shared. Spying his goatskin flask of his homebrewed mead he snatched and drank till the intestine lined casket was as dry as it was after it was brutally ripped from the goat it belonged to and spent 31 days drying in the sun. Not quite sure what to do Mary repeated herself. Joseph stared at her with glazed eyes and said, "But how could it happen, we haven't had sex yet.?" Mary just smiled and in a very calm voice she said, "It's God's child. I was out gathering water a few days ago and I was visited by an angel. She told me that I was to have God's child." In response to this Joseph grabbed his other goat skin flask of mead and took a very long swig. He then dropped the flash ran outside and threw up onto the goat tied to a wall outside. The goat reared up and kicked Joseph in the chest casuing him to soar, kicking and flaying, through the air like a little child's straw doll. He hit the dirt ground with an audible thud and lost conciousness. Later that evening, after Mary had dragged Joseph's sweaty hairy body inside the house and he had regained conciousness, Mary began the conversation that had ended so abroubtly earlier. Taking Joseph's hand she pressed it to her abdiman and said softly "Can you feel God's child?" Joseph didn't look convinced and Mary picked up on it. Sighing slightly she looked him straight in the eye and told him a total lie. "I'm still a virgin," she said in a carresing tone. "Look for yourself" she said as she removed her rags of an undergarment and spread her legs for Joseph, feeling comforted by the fact that the only women Joseph had ever seen a women spread her legs was when his mom birthed him, and when she did it. Mary's vagina lips were as loose as some of the hash bars in Austria and Mary knew it. However Joseph did not and after staring completly dumbfounded at Mary's vagina for about a minute, in a vein attempt to hide his ignorance, he said "I guess your right, you still are a virgin. It must be God's child!"


Why I like the game Diablo 2
by Kevin, age 14

My favorite game at this time is Diablo 2. It's a great role-playing game for the pc. The basic objective of the game is to kill diablo, but you have many quests along the way. You can choose from 5 different character classes: barbarian, necromancer, sorceress, amazon, and paladin. I don't really understand why they have girls in the game, because I don't really know any girls that play those kind of computer games. There's no real point in my mind, the way I see it, anybody that uses the girls besides the fact that the girl character might be any good, is pretty pathetic, in that they don't really have a social life and all they can do is stare at an animation created in a computer. Aside to that, that's the usual thing that happens with addicting computer games, people who play them way too much tend not to have a life at all.

I like computer games a lot, but i try to keep it in perspective where i don't play it too much and lose the rest of my life, but that's beside the point, I'm talking about the game here. Once you choose your character, you go right to the rogue incampment, the town in the first act. There you meet all the NPCs (non-playable characters), who you talk to and buy items and things from. Also, you get your quests from these NPCs in the town. They either have a personal experience that involves the evil you need to kill, or just a thing they have heard of.

When you finish the quest, you usually go back to the person that gave it to you, and they give you a reward of some kind, either an item, or a skill, or something that will help your character in some way. Another aspect in the game is after you kill enemies, you gain experience, and after lots of experience, you get a level up. When you reach a level up, you can distribute attribute points to make your strength, dexterity, vitality or energy. Also, you gain a skill point with your character at a level up. All the skills are different for each character class, and it's up to the player which one to invest the skill point into. Another part of the game, is when you kill enemies sometimes, they drop items or weapons. Some of the weapons are magical, some unique, some rare, and some are set items. All of these items increase some things in the weapon like max. damage, durability, magical resistances, or adding elemental damage to the attack, all of which are very useful. The only difference between magical and unique and those different kinds is the amount of stats and how much better the items get. That part of the game is really enjoying to me, in that you get all this cool armor and cool weapons with the stats increased and your guy looks to be really cool, since the game is in 3rd person. There aren't that many flaws in the game, the only ones I can think of, are how the game has a poor save function, sometimes it becomes a click-fest, and battle.net, the online game supporter, gets really laggy. All those flaws are not real bad, so the game is still very fun and playable.


Rent a Cops Suck
by Eric age 14

Rent a cops suck. They are always on your back. They want to get you in trouble for no reason what so ever. They are always really fat and slow. the other day i was at a local mall and there were these korean guys and they were like kicking each other while jumping off curbs. My friends and i were at the mall and we were playing with a soccer balll we found in the parking lot. we were kicking it back and fourth and i accidently kicked the ball over towards the korean guys.They looked at me funny and then said somerthing in korean and laughed. I looked at them and one of them asked me if i wanna go. then he sapt on the ground. Then i said no and he sapt and sias c mon lets go then he spat agian. i just walked away npot scared knowing i had the switch blade i had bought in south africa in my pocket i walked over to my friends and we continued playing soccer. The korean guys once agian screamed at us and we just ignpored them. then they came over to us and my friend bram said kick there ass mason and i said ok and then they got in this like matrix position thing and were like hi ya and doing all this shit. then i just walked back and they spat on the floor again. i walked back and started talking to my friends the rent a cops came right up to the curb next to us in there jeep and just sat there reading, the korean guys came and were swearing at us and were still spiting after everything they said. I couldnt help but laugh after everything they said. my friends and i knew they wern't going to attack us due to the rent a cops. we satrted swearing at us and they came right up to us and we could smell there smelly breath. then this guuy with like blonde red hair sopat and then shoved my friend bram. the rent a cops were right there. they didnt do anything. then they spat. then they shoved him agin. bram shoved the guy back. he went at bram saying like karate shit and then he like jumped on him. bram getting the crap beatn out of him. my other friend jerry weant right at the korean guy and together he and bram pinned he guy and tol him they didnt want to fight. I was just sittng there no doing anything still not believing that the rent a cops hadnt seen anything. The other korean guy came at bram and jerry and tried taking him pof of the spitting guy. Then i pulled everyone away and we just sat there swearing at eachother. it was ikind of funny cause they were atking to each other in korean. The guys had beat us up with the piggys right there. we were pissed but we didnt do anyhting. finally our ride had come and it was an old pick up truck it was all rusty and there were only 2 weats in font and ther were five people 3 of us sat up front and 2 of us sat in the back. there was and old bottle of weed killer stuff in the back ian and i took it and unscrewdd the cork then as we drove by the korean guys we threw it at them. they got denched. They tried running after the car but they couldnt catch us. it was great they were running as fast as they could but they couldnt catch us then they gave up and we drove home. we went home and then the next wekk we went back and were kicked out of the mall for juming off of some stairs. That shows that reant a cops are stupid and they are blind and they are fat.


MEXICANS ARE STUPID (WHY?)—
BY: JOHN – AGE 13

There are too many Mexicans in America! The reason for this is that they too much o9f a pussy to stay in their own coutry. I they would just stay in their own fuckin' country, our country would be better. Mexicans are too damn poor, so somehow, our president (the fucking moron, Bill Clinton), feels sorry for the stupid bastards . Why do they get green cards! They should get fuckin' red cards that say, "Stop. Don't go to America!" We should just lie to Mexicans and say that Bill Clinton (fuckin' moron), is a dictator (which wouldn't work). Maybe then they would stop "oooooo"ing and "aaaahhh"ing about our free country.

Let me list about ten reasons that Mexicans shouldn't be in America. First of all, their poor. Second of all, their poor. Third of all, they are a waste of space (mostly). Fourth – their poor. Fifth of all, if they aren't poor, then their at the same level as us. That isn't good cus it's our country and not theirs. We should tell them what to do and what not to do. Sixth of all, if they're all gonna come to our country, then they should learn some damn english! Seventh – they should just give us their country if they want to live with us. If they don't then, they should be considered spys! You know what happens to spys! (HE! HE! HE!). Eigth – Most of them become bums and beg for our money. Ninth – they should have to pay us to live in our country. —————————————————-AAAAAANNNNDDDD!!!!!—————————————————– THE TENTH AND NUMBER OPNE REASON THAT MEXICANS SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO LIVE IN OUR COUNTRY—————

THEY'RE JUST PLAIN FUCKIN', DAMN, SHITTY ASS STUPID!!!

(By the way, out of all of the mexicans that i've met (which is A LOT), about two are kinda cool (in a really poor, messed up kinda way).


Mexicans in america —>
by Andrew, Age 13
//Ginandtacos.com note : This is the same Andrew as the first essay.

The number of mexicans in america is rising everyday. This is a very large problem. Like yesterday when i visited McDonalds, the mexican dipshit cashier fucked up my order. I ordered a cheeseburger with katchup and cheese only. Too bad, he took his lazy ass and just grabbed the first availible cheeseburger. Of course i didn't notice that it wasnt the correct one, so i sat down with my fries, coke and my cheeseburger. I open the cheeseburger and find onions, mustard, pickles, katchup, cheese, and all that other non-tasty shit. I was pretty fucking pissed off, so I went back to the cashier and said.. "Ummmm, I ordered a cheeseburger with katchup only." The dirty mexican said that I didn't order that. I didn't even want the food… So i got really pissed off and made him give me my money back. After he gave me my money back, i spilled my coke on purpose all over that bastard's shit, oops, i mean shirt… This is one of the reasons why mexicans dont belong in america. Also, they have no FUCKING CLUE what the hell they are talking about! I mean, they hardly know english, there accent is gay… It just really sucks the big one. Another reason why mexicans dont belong in america is because they try to jam 7 mexicans in a 2 person truck. We americans refer to that as a "mexiride". My final reason why they shouldn't be in america is because they are amazingly unattractive and smelly. **YOU DO NOT FIND A MEXICAN THAT DOES NOT SMELL LIKE DOG SHIT** OK, MODERN Americans belong in america, EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN mexican belongs in mexico. What i mean by "modern americans" is people who arent stupid or gay. For you that are getting the wrong idea, there are some americans that belong in mexico, but there are no mexicans that belong in america. —>


And there you have it. None of these essays were coaxed, encouraged, or suggested by any staff. The observant reader will notice two racist essays; since one kid did it his friend immediately jumped to copy him. One could use these essays as any number of jumpoff points for discussion, be it the way racism is instilled in youth, to teenage life, and to the thoughts, fears and hopes of a new generation. We will leave that to fancy academics with their booklearning. The staff of ginandtacos.com will be hiding in a closet instead.

On America, Where it's Easier to get a Car than an Education

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24th, 2004 by Ed

[NOTE: THIS ESSAY WAS WRITTEN IN LATE 2000, SO ANY INFO CONCERNING INTEREST RATES IS FROM THEN]

I always deeply suspected that America was an ass-backwards, hellbound place. When I graduated from college, I found out I was right.

When one graduates, one is expected to perform the following sequence of events:

Get job
Buy car
Start paying off debts while simultaneously assuming new ones
I had some trouble getting the ball rolling on this sequence. I got a BS office job pretty quickly, but it took me almost 7 months of resumes and degrading interviews to get a job. Anyway, once I got one, I decided it would be nice to actually be able to get to work in the morning.

I walked into the car dealership. I felt the presence of The Man.

Long story made short, a bizarre alignment of the stars with the Saturnian moon Ganymede made a shiny, new 2000 Nissan Sentra affordable, at least for me. After much haggling with the car salesman (whom I am now convinced are the second-lowest form of life, above only insurance companies) and much resisting of their efforts to sell me "acid rain protection coating" and "extended tire tread warranty", I worked out an acceptable payment plan.

I was delighted to walk out of the dealership with 5.9% interest on my auto loan, the application for which was approved immediately. Furthermore, I got exactly what I wanted and was not tricked, duped, or hoodwinked into buying anything superfluous.

Ed 1, The Man 0.

On the way home, something struck me as odd. Just a few days before, I had unexpectedly received a letter informing me that the interest rate on my (sizeable) student loans had been arbitrarily increased to 8.2%. The more I thought about this, the more perturbed I became.

Auto loan from big, evil, nasty, bloodsucking corporation = 5.9%
Student loan from great, happy, liberal, wonderful government = 8.2%
As if this wasn't bad enough, I began to consider the process involved in securing these loans.

Auto Loan = walk into dealership, say "Gimme a fucking loan", wait 5 minutes for credit check, walk out with car.
Student Loan = Submit initial application in addition to your last 2 income tax returns, your parents' last 2 income tax returns, a summary of the value of your parents home and other property, wait 5 months, receive notice that you'll be loaned about 30% of what you asked for, wait in line at loan servicing center for 3+ hours to get check.
So the evil multinational is willing to loan me whatever amount of money I want in order to buy perishable consumer goods, yet my government gives me about half (if I'm lucky) of what I need to pay tuition (thereby forcing me to make up the rest) in order to get an education, and at a higher interest rate on top of it.

The higher interest rate is indicative of nothing more than the fact that Nissan Motor Acceptance has more faith in me than the United States Government.

America — may it always be easier to shop than learn there.

Drinking in Champaign

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18th, 2004 by Erik

This page is an attempt to document in as complete a way possible the drinking culture in Champaign/Urbana Illinois. Although I can claim that I am going to be impartial and fair, that would of course be a lie. Obviously this page is more than a little bit based on my opinion. If you are annoyed or otherwise offended by something that I have written here, please let me know. Leave a comment, or email gin@ginandtacos.com. If I really think that I have been unfair I will do my best to correct the problem.

Of course, considering that I probably drink more than you, my opinion is no doubt right.

To understand drinking in these towns, you have to have a rudimentary knowledge of how this whole place is laid out. Basically, you have a huge big ten university located where the two towns meet. As you head out toward the eastern (Urbana) apogee, you will find a Solo cup factory. As you head west (Champaign) you run into a Kraft cheese factory. (I hear that they actually make non-dairy creamer- not cheese). The fact that this is pretty much all our town has in the way of industry creates a rather intriguing drinking dynamic. The university is basically set equidistant between the two factories. Naturally next to the university there are many of your typical campus type establishments. You probably know what I am talking about, a vast sea of bars that have a different name outside but is basically the same on the interior. As you head outward from the university in either direction, the bars begin getting seedy in a completely different way. Before too long you will find yourself in someplace more than willing to sell you Hamms in a can, and offering several types of cheap whiskey or gin, but the bartenders look at you angrily if you ask to mix it with anything. My preference is to find somewhere in between. Luckily, there is someplace specifically in between. Both Urbana and Champaign have a downtown area a couple miles from campus that provides a bit of a drinking oasis.

So here it is, no doubt one of the most complete bar inventories of the Champaign/Urbana metro area. I would like to preface this by saying that all of these photos were taken on one night. That night of course being March the 17th 2004 by one Mr. Tim Johnson Let it also be said that all bars pictured were also patronized that evening.


Champaign Bar Categories

|Bars you shouldn't bother with even for irony |Bars that are decent if you are really drunk |Campus bars that don't make you want to shoot yourself |The odd and random |Bars owned by Carlos Nieto |Bars you might find me patronizing |Downtown Champaign bars I don’t really go to |

The Bars

|Barfly |Boltini |The Brass Rail |It's Brothers |The Canopy Club |The Clybourne |C.O. Daniels |Cowboy Monkey |Crane Alley |The Embassy |The Esquire |Guido's |The Highdive |The Icehouse |The Iron Post |Kams |Jupiters |Legends |Mike and Molly’s |Murphy's |Nargile |The Office |The Office Two |The Phoenix |The Shamrock Tavern |The White Horse |


What's New:

6/17 I felt that it was time to seperate the reviews of The Iron Post and The Embassy. They still say basically the same things, but there is some updated information, and a little bit of discussion about how they are in fact different. Not much unfortunately, I still think they are mostly the same bar.

To start off with, I have done some editing based on comments I have gotten, and reviews that I did not think were that accurate to begin with.

I have also added a new bar category to cover some places that didn’t get reviewed in the first run.
|Downtown Champaign bars I don’t really go to |

and also another new review of The Phoenix

Finally, I have not written it into the reviews yet because I don’t really know what is going on, but I hear the musical masturbation known as “Writers in the round” has moved to Cowboy Monkey from the Iron Post. I will be sure to change this when I know specifically what is going on.


Bars you shouldn't bother with even for irony

These bars are generally located very close to the campus, and are frequented primarily by individuals under the age of 21. The total IQ of the bar on any given night with the place packed would unlikely break 1000.

* note, for most of these bars no pictures are present because:
1. I will not get near enough to them to take one
2. I would not want to subject you to the horrible imagery


Kams

Rating: there is no reason to bother rating this bar.

This is quite possibly the worst bar in all of Champaign. I am not kidding about this. Nevermind the fact that it frequently smells of urine and their floor is covered in some kind of filth that resembles tar and could only be the byproduct of never washing it (the only time I went there this mysterious substance got onto a pair of my pants and could not be removed by even the strongest industrial solvents), this bar has the audacity to frequently charge you upwards of 5 dollars to get in. I suppose if you are an 18 year old fratboy trying to find somewhere that the women are so incredibly stupid and intoxicated that you don't even need to bother with your ruffies then this is the place for you. Everyone else, stay away….really. Not only will you not enjoy yourself, but you will more than likely get your ass kicked for being a homosexual.
Back to the top


C.O. Daniels


Rating: 0.5 suburban Dave Mathews Band Fans.

At this point I think it is appropriate to admit to the fact that the three authors of Ginandtacos.com used to about once a year go to this bar assuming it would be amusing for ironic reasons…or maybe just a good time, I can't remember. As a result of this fact I am justified in saying that this bar is not fun for any reason. The second time this occurred Ed was wearing a System of a Down t-shirt and silver vinyl trousers while I was sporting a Black Flag t-shirt and black vinyl pants. Although theoretically this should have added to our plan, it just seemed to fall flat. Generally this bar is a tad bit cleaner than Kam's, but is nearly as bad.
Back to the top


It's Brothers

Rating: 3 suburban Dave Mathews Band fans

This establishment is nearly the archetype of the suburban DMB fan bar. If you can believe it, it is a chain bar. This actually describes the interior quite well. It is a lot like the bar that you would expect to find in an Applebee's except you know….without the Applebee's. There is really not much to say about a place this bland. To its credit, they do have $1.50 drafts of anything on tap on Tuesdays. This does not make up for its horrific character. What is more offensive is the fact that the location used to be home to a bar called Mable's which was, in the heyday of Hum and the Poster Children, arguably the best music venue in town. I hate this bar.
Back to the top


The Clybourne

Rating: Two suburban DMB fans, and one Clay Aiken

This bar essentially has the same crowd as It's Brother's. The interior is really mostly the same neverminding the layout and the fact that this bar is a fair bit older. What makes this bar so offensive is the fact that it advertises itself as: "The class in Champaign." I wish I were joking about this but I am not. In fact when you purchase a pitcher of beer from them along with the plastic cups they give you a plastic pitcher with this slogan printed on it. Am I the only one who thinks there is something wrong with this? On some night, I think monday or wednesday or something it is "Wine Night" at The Clybourne. This is the event where all the fraternities dress in their finest Abercrombie apparel and take their girlfriends to drink 5 dollar magnums of wine or champagne out of somewhat smaller plastic cups. This is really a frightening sight to behold….yet somehow oddly intriguing. I really could not go on long enough about all the things wrong with this bar.
Back to the top


The Canopy Club

Rating: Two suburban DMB fans, and two flocks of exceptionally dirty hippies

I would like to say that this bar is simply a gathering place for exceptionally dirty hippies, which it is. However there are even greater depths to its crappiness. To start with lets examine its horrible hippy characteristics. Anytime a band like MOE or String Cheese Incident comes to town this is invariably the place they play. The establishment has a huge quantity of Phish and Greatful Dead on its jukebox. To make matters even worse it claims to also be a vegetarian restaurant….I am not kidding about this. A bar should never under any circumstances serve exclusively vegetables. The only context in which vegetables are at all appropriate is when they are breaded and deep fried served as a compliment to your chicken wings or cheeseburger. This is more than enough to condemn this establishment….but

It is also the only theater sized bar venue in town. As a result all of the craptastic college radio bands (think lucky boys confusion) end up playing there. This means that the place is alternately filled with hippies or backwards baseball cap wearing fucks with no musical taste. Say what you will about hippies, they are at least persistent about their genre enjoying it despite all evidence that Phish truly sucks. This bar is such a great testament to shit that it is a pass time of local rock bands that don't suck to get shows there then get banned…..I am not joking. This really happens. To be fair, I could go on for pages about how much I hate this place, but I will leave it off with one anecdote that will hopefully bring the point home. Over a year ago patron ginandtacos.com saint Scott Lucas brought his band Local H to Champaign for a concert. Despite having once driven to Minnesota in a blizzard to see this band, I chose to not go to the concert at this when it was about 10 blocks from my house.

*note, if ever driving by the canopy club on a Wednesday night, look and see how many members of Urbana's finest show up to hang out outside after "hip-hop night"
Back to the top


Bars that are decent if you are really drunk

We all know what kind of places these are. You end up at them because some vague friend of yours convinced you to go to their birthday party or your department is having some kind of shady social function. They are almost never the sort of establishment you would personally choose to go to, but being there does not make you want to lobotomize yourself with a straw.


The Office

Rating: One suburban DMB fan, One flock of dirty hippies, and One Charles Bukowski

This bar is a bit of an enigma. In principle, it has a lot of features of a place that would truly suck. They do feature a "Jam band night." Truth be told, in the last several years this bar has been going more and more hippy. About 5 years ago, this was largely a hangout for employees of the Solo cup factory, times have since changed. It is now primarily patronized by long hairs using alternative deodorants, vagrants, and graduate students with little to no taste. However, I can't fully turn my back on this bar. You see, this was the primary location for much of my underage drinking. I did on multiple occasions bribe waitresses to serve me. Friends of mine and I did once rack up a 250 dollar bar tab while only one of us was of legal drinking age. On top of these things, this is also the bar that served me so much booze on St. Patrick's day 2001 that I removed my shirt at the bar, tossed a glass over my shoulder, and was generally offensive to all around me…..after all of this I was not kicked out. This is a mark of quality for a bar. Nevermind the fact that later that evening I apparently just fell down breaking my front tooth, forever having a mark of excessive drinking. So, as you can see, although it would take extraordinary circumstances for me to set foot in there in the evening (they do make a good hamburger) I can't write them off entirely.
Back to the top


Crane Alley

Rating: one Bukowski

I don't really know much about this bar. I have only gone there once on a Thursday night. They have an exceptionally shitty jukebox (unless you are the sort that wants to play Pink Floyd or songs off the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack). I used to go to this bar because Champaign bartending legend Rob Mccolley worked there. However, he has since left town and I have not been back. That said, on the whole I think this place is all right, but nothing special. They serve food, but I can’t tell you if it’s any good. They have pay by the hour pool, which generally I approve of. To put it simply, the place is nice, clean, but nothing special. I would not really suggest going there, because I can’t really think any reason why you would want to.Back to the top


The Iron Post

Rating: One Iron Worker, one Clay Aiken, and ond Bukowski

The Iron Post is a bar. By that I mean that it is not really much else. To the best of my knowledge there is no theme, or really no particular element of style or atmosphere that would cause you to want to go here as opposed to anywhere else. The tables seem similar to that which you would find in a small town diner, and there is only one beer on draft. However, lets skip the fact that this place is tragically dull- there are are some positives.

First and foremost, the beer is relatively cheap. Budweiser is $2.25 while their draft is only $1.75. They also serve a damn fine Bloody Mary. They advertise it as the best in town. I am not sure if I would go that far. Places like the Brass Rail are also obsessive about this beverage and do a fantastic job. The best I have had in town was made by Pat at Mike and Molly's using Wasabi…although, the drink there is somewhat inconsistant. These places have the most bizarre clientele you will find anywhere. Iron Post did host an exceptionally gay "writers in the round" musical shit fest with aging Champaign local musicians. I am not sure whether or not they still do, but dear lord it was bad. The Iron Post is now lending its stage occasionally to local rock bands. You can't complain about that. The only problem is that the place is set up with tables by the stage and seems more suited to an "exceptionally gay musical shitfest" or the Jazz they have often than rock music. I don't really see myself ever frequenting this bar. It is not terrible, it is just a really really long way from my house and doesn't offer a single reason for me to drive across town to go there. Unless there is a show there you want to see, I can't with a good conscience recommend this place to anyone. The only reason I could see to go there is if you live a block away and intend to get too inebriated to drive.
Back to the top


The Embassy

Rating: One Iron Worker, and one Clay Aiken

I should start this with a disclaimer, I have not been to the Embassy in a long time. I do walk past on occasion and look it, it doesn't seem like anything has changed. This place had the most bizarre clientele you would find anywhere. Their staple is the derelict and deadbeat crowd coupled with a decent factory worker contingent. However, often The Embassy is home to theater department gatherings. The Embassy could be the Iron Post's twin. I think that they, generally speaking, share regulars. The only real difference is that the Embassy has been in Urbana for much longer. This leads to a feeling that their generic bar decor is more worn in and makes you feel a bit more comfortable. The truth is that my favorite type of bar is the "just a bar" bar. The problem is that to find a place like this that you like you have to rely on what the regular clientelle is and how well it seems like you fit in. Let it be said, that I never go to these places. Not really because they are the worst bars in Champaign, but because they are a long way from my house and a loser of an ex-landlord of mine that still thinks I owe him money drinks heavily there. I am sure if circumstances were different I would love drinking here. Unfortunately, they are not. So, I suppose it is possible that you will think that this is your favorite place in town, but bare in mind that I probably hate you.
Back to the top


Campus bars that don't make you want to shoot yourself

Campus is a truly despicable place for most social interaction, but sometimes you have no choice but to find yourself there. Usually it occurs because you are on campus and need a drink a 5 in the pm. Or well, god I don't know. I can't think of any other reason you would need to drink there. Let it be said though, if you are forced into it these places are slightly less painful then being burned slowly by the stomach acid of a goat.


Murphy's

Rating: Two suburban DMB fans and a Bukowski

In all fairness, this is probably the most passable campus bar. It still gets two Dave Mathews Band fans, but honestly that can't be helped. It is too close to campus for anything else to happen. The truly sad thing about this bar is that there was a time when it was decent. Someplace that would actually make you want to drink on campus. It was a small dingy hole in the wall sort of establishment that frightened most of the fratboy's away. Seeing as that this was over 4 years ago now, there are probably few people on campus that remember those good old days. Now, it merged with the place next door, has become huge and well lit. It is mostly clean now. I don't know. The place just lost all character and became just another campus type bar. You do have to give them credit for removing "Hurricane" by Bob Dylan, and "Little Green Bag" from their jukebox. My hats off to Murphy's for taking a stand against shitty music selection.

*an endorsed St. Patrick Day bar crawl bar

Back to top


Legends

Rating: An even one DMB fan, one Clay Aiken, and one Bukowski

I have to say that Legends used to hold a place in my heart as one bar I had never had a good time at, but had often found myself at. Then several things happened. First, I went to a happy hour there with some fellow biophysicists and got to hear a drunken professor utter the phrase: "This is where the real science happens." Second, on the 2002 St. Patrick’s day bar crawl Tim Johnson vomited under a table, at which point we stood up, moved one table over and kept drinking. This bar is odd. I am pretty sure it is a franchise that bought the space from an established bar that I guess served a fantastic fish sandwich. To prove that the franchise was hip to campus tradition they decided to also serve a fish sandwich…..all right. I am sure if Chili's bought your favorite diner but dedicated its cheeseburger to the past place everything would be okay right?

That said, it is still a pretty dodgy place. Their Budweiser is the most expensive in town, and they tend to expose you to music by bands like Third Eye Blind. The place gets really packed at night and you are stuck smelling body odor all night. Before I leave this I have one final comment. When mike was 19, he showed up at the door with his ID, gave it to the man who proceeded to claim it was fake. Mike was only allowed in when a group of individuals, including one of the other door men began laughing at the absurdity of Mike finding someone else's ID that looked like him and didn't even fucking say he was old enough to drink.

*an endorsed St. Patrick Day bar crawl bar
Back to top


The White Horse

Rating: One Clay Aiken and one Bukowski

Well, the White Horse is about as far from campus as you can get and still be considered a campus bar. Never the less, it is. I used to go to this bar a fair amount several years ago for reasons I would prefer not discuss in a public forum. Otherwise, the only context that I have known people to go to the White Horse for is karaoke and 5 dollar pitchers of rum and coke. I went to that a few times, but to be quite honest I can't stand rum and coke, even if it is only 5 dollars. Of course I am fairly certain that they used something like Mongolian rum and royal crown cola…. This bar also occasionally convinced us to go with promises of things like "all you can eat buffalo chicken tacos." They were bad, all you can eat is only appealing if you actually want to eat something. So the moral is, this bar is not terrible, however I would not recommend you go there after 11 pm….it is small gets packed and has only 1 one toilet bathroom.

*an endorsed St. Patrick Day bar crawl bar
Back to top


The odd and random

These are not really actually odd bars in and off themselves, but they are more the random far out places that are frequented by absolutely no one you ever want to talk to. If you do happen to be one of these people perhaps you would find these places to be perfect. However, from my brief time at each of these places I am fairly certain none of the individuals at any of these places have computers or use the internet.

*I don't think that I will ever have pictures of these bars, I would probably be beaten if I walked near.


The Shamrock Tavern

Rating: Two iron workers and a garth brooks album

I don't have a very good memory of this bar. mike and I walked to it once when I was getting my car worked on down the street. I don't know what we expected to find, but whatever it was did not prepare us for what was actually there. Despite the invocation of a shamrock in the name, the only thing remotely Irish about this bar was that clientele was clearly drunk and surly. Now to set the scene, mike and I were clearly college students, almost a stereotype thereof. I was wearing a large black scarf at the time. Now on the other side, the parking lot was entirely full of pickup trucks (not that there is anything wrong with that) but the patrons of this place clearly thought we were gay. That is aside from the one man who was fairly certain Mike was hitting on his white trash nascar watching wife/girlfriend/cousin…who knows. The moral is that we escaped with our lives, but not necessarily our dignity.
Back to top


The Ice House

Rating: I am not sure, maybe one iron worker?

I say that I am not sure what to rate this bar because I have only been there once for about 5 minutes. Let me justify that for a second. In the spring of 2001 (I think) mike and I purloined a scooter from Mr. Andrew Steve Schneider. I think Mike told him he was going to take it to get ice cream or some shit like that. Anyway the two of us decided that we were going to ride it across town on some kind of perverse bar crawl. We decided to only go to bars where they would be offended by two men showing up riding a scooter. Enter the Ice House. We walked in there and they informed us that they were closing at 11, which was in about 5 minutes. Normally a bar closing at 11 would make me promptly think of all the patrons as little tiny bitches. However, the bar crowd there stared at us like they left the factory at 5 and had been drinking ever since. I think that there were about 5 people in there. There might have been 6 earlier and one had to “go meet the missus”
Back to top


The Office Two

Rating: I have no fucking idea, hell lets say a package of non-dairy creamer.

I rate this bar one creamer because it is one of the closest bars to the Kraft factory, and I am pretty sure that is what they make there. Who knows. It has been years since I have been there, and even then I was not there for very long. As its name implies, it is the “sequel” of the bar The Office. Much like any true sequel, this bar is dirtier and more shameless. It also, I believe shares a parking lot with a Big Lots and a Off Track Betting facility (bar review pending). I don’t know what else to say about this place, although I assume the OTB would be more fun.
Back to top


The Phoenix

Rating: I give this bar two Bukowskis and a Harley Davidson.

From a distance, The Phoenix looks like it would be a biker bar. In fact, when you get inside and are greeted by large American flags decorating the walls, you feel as though your first impression might have been correct. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have a soft spot for dive bars, but I thought this place was all right. The unfortunate thing was that it looked as though it might have been taking itself a little bit more seriously that other dive bars in town. To start with the positives, they have cans of Budweiser, I think this is fantastic. They have these huge hexagon tables that can fit a rather large group, and keep them close enough to talk to one another. Yes, this is all good. It would be quite possible to have an alright time here if you were able to ignore all the exceptionally patriotic artwork- as of right now, no, I don’t think they are kidding.
* an endorsed St. Patrick's Day bar crawl bar

Back to top


Bars that are owned by Carlos Nieto

These bars are all owned by one man, Champaign bar mogul Carlos, in fairness they are owned by Carlos, his brother Marco, and a woman named Tiffany. However, everyone in town just kind of gives Carlos the credit. He currently owns four, maybe five bars, and in the next year is planning on opening two more. They are all kind of variations on a theme, yet oddly enough are intended to have their own individual flair. The man is really a bar opening machine.

I don’t really have a problem with Carlos making a lot of money. I just wish that he would spread out a little bit. I wish that to get to anywhere downtown you did not have to walk past several places he owned. On top of that, what I really think that downtown Champaign is desperately crying for is a decent music venue for local bands to play. He has had the opportunity to give this town just that twice now and has failed both times- seemingly because it is not the most profitable thing to do. What this town needs is someone as interested in seeing it grow for personal satisfaction as for what it will put into their pockets. With every new bar Carlos opens downtown, it will become exponentially harder for someone who is honestly interested in seeing the area grow culturally to open someplace that will serve that purpose.


Jupiter’s

Rating: One suburban DMB fan,and one iron worker

This was the first bar that Carlos opened and as a result actually has some of its own character. All empirical evidence would point to this being an all right place, and really it is. They have a fairly good jukebox that, more importantly, you can actually play songs on every night. They have several pool tables that are pay by the hour, this is good. They also make fantastic pizza, served until bar time, this is very good. They serve PBR on tap for a dollar fifty and, despite the fact that 99% of that dollar and a half is going right into Carlos’s pocket, its still a good deal. It is also interesting to note that Jupiters was one of the first of a new generation of places to open up in the kind of failing downtown Champaign and can, at least to some degree, be credited with helping rejuvenate the area which is now a very nice place to be.

Unfortunately this bar seems to have a rather odd vibe about it, it is hard to put your finger on, but I will try. Here are some possibilities for why I am always kind of uncomfortable when I am there.

  • The tables are too large to actually have a conversation with someone across from you. It looks like the turned the tables the wrong way or something.

  • The bartenders all seem like aging fratboys that never got a real job. When asked about this by a bartender from Jupiters, I had to clarify. When I say this I am really referring to 3 or 4 people specifically. Whether or not they still work there, you know who you are. Apparently, your coworkers know who you are as well.
  • They seem to look down on you for wanting PBR even though they sell it
  • Often it seems like they give pool tables to their friends before you.

I don’t really know what to say, if you like this place you aren’t a complete cretin, but I personally think there is something a bit off about it.

*an endorsed St. Patrick’s day bar crawl bar
Back to top


The Highdive

Rating: One Bukowski and a Clay Aiken

I am sorry Highdive, but yes you do get a Clay Aiken. Let me explain this to you. The Highdive used to be my favorite place in town to hang out. I am not joking about this. From the spring of 2000 until fairly recently, I went there every Tuesday for their dollar pints of PBR. For periods of my life it was actually scheduled into my week. They would have no band, no DJ, just dollar beer and the Jukebox. Now since this time, they turned it into a dance music night, and even more disturbingly a goth night currently (they don’t even have a jukebox anymore). To the best of my knowledge, they still serve dollar beers, you just have to be a goth to be able to stomach drinking it. However, this is not the worst of it. The Highdive was (and empirically speaking still is) probably one of the best mid-sized music venues in the Midwest. This is not just my personal opinion, a number of bands touring the area would write on their websites that the Highdive is one of the best places to play. Now you would think that if you did one thing so incredibly well. You would continue doing it correct? Well, the Highdive in the last year or so went primarily to Dance club format. I am sure all these people walked in there and thought to themselves: “Wow, what is this raised area in the front of the room, it sure makes a great platform for me to showcase my hot dance moves to the whole bar….but wait, I don’t understand, why are the speakers IN FRONT of it.” Fuck that!

In fairness, all along they had dancing on most weekend nights, it paid the bills, I can respect that. But to largely get rid of live music altogether and never show local music, this is hard to excuse.

Now it is time for me to give the Highdive some credit again. It is a great place (notice it got no games of monopoly it is really the only place like it in town). Recently they have been having some live shows there again. Still with some dubious qualities (opening local band choices that I would prefer not get into) . Despite the fact that at the moment this only happens on Wednesdays, I am happy to see that the effort is being made. There is honestly no place in town with better sound and atmosphere. It is a perfect combination of great music venue on one half, with another half where you can sit in booths or at the bar and escape from the noise if you need to. As a general rule, the staff at the Highdive seem like they are having fun, which is kind of unique for Carlos's bars. I think he did something right with this place.

*an endorsed St. Patrick’s day bar crawl bar
Back to top


Cowboy Monkey

Rating: Two games of monopoly, and a Clay Aiken

I am not sure where to begin with this place. This was the first of the modern rash of Carlos openings. The Highdive and Jupiters were both established for a while before this place came into being. Well, to start with, the name is stupid, in fact, so stupid that I can’t remember the last time I actually remember it being called by its real name. Of course this is just trivial. I guess I will ask if you remember the old Blind Pig? That is where this place is now. It went through a few other incarnations before becoming Cowboy Monkey. This said, it is a smaller music venue. When this place first opened, I believe it was the primary reason there were no more shows at the Highdive. Carlos of course would not have wanted to split business between his two bars. The problem is, Cowboy Monkey sucks as a venue. It is fairly small, and they overspent on the sound system. I don’t typically complain about loud music, but regularly when I see a show there I leave and think my ears must be bleeding. This alone is not really a bad thing. I think Champaign probably needed a venue of this size to feature more local music. However, they did it all wrong. First of all, the place is exceptionally clean with pretentious artwork on the walls. Who wants to see rock music surrounded by that? Second, they have similar tables to Jupiters turned seemingly the wrong way around, minimizing the standing area to actually watch a show, and making it next to impossible to say anything to anyone you are sitting with. Third, they serve appetizers…..appetizers that look like someone went through a cookbook and created a pretense versus ease of preparation quotient to choose what they would serve. I am not joking about this, as far as I can tell that is the only logical theme to the food served there.

I am thrilled to be able to amend this review. The Cowboy Monkey has started having regular FREE! local live shows on thursday nights. I really hope that this works out for them. Despite the Cowboy Monkey's shortcomings as a venue, it is still without any question the best small stage for local bands to play on. It has always been my opinion that this town has a fantastic music scene with little to no support. I hope that this newest venture gives some exposure to some of the fantastic music that is out there in this town.
Back to top


Guido’s

Rating: Three games of Monopoly….

This bar makes me unhappy. You might notice in the picture the words “02 east main” written. This was the bar that Guido’s used to be. The previous bar was some vaguely pretentious/ hip-hop bar. Now, I am not saying I liked that place. For a couple of reasons I hated it possibly more than Guido’s (mostly personal, they tended to charge me at least a dollar more cover than anyone else I went with. I have no idea why). Carlos kind of came in and bought this place out of the blue closed it and completely redid the whole interior.

Inside, it looks like a larger version of Cowboy Monkey, with some minor alterations. First one has to understand the Carlos theme. It consists mostly of dark paint and hardwood along with art on the walls. His bars seem to exhibit some minor, idiosyncratic departure which distinguishes the individual “concept.” Guido’s, is meant to be a sports bar. Okay, so the differences. There are dart boards, a pool table and some flat panel televisions playing the sports. They serve food. Your basic bar type fare (hamburgers ect.) except pretensized. You might wonder how you could make a hamburger that posh, go there and you will find out. To Guido’s credit, the hamburger was pretty damned good. The fries were disgusting and kind of made me sick….oh well win some and lose some.

*an endorsed St. Patrick’s day bar crawl bar
Back to top

As an endnote: Carlos, Marco, and Tiffany are constantly opening new bars, as I said there are at least two more definitely in the works, and rumors are constantly floating around about various projects he might or might not be about to undertake. I am sure this category will soon be expanding.


Bars that you might find me patronizing

As the name of this category implies, these are primarily places that I like. Although no establishment is flawless, some of these bars come as close as anyplace in Champaign. Of course this is only my opinion, and regardless of the fact that I am fairly serious about my bar attendance, you might have a different opinion from me. If that is the case, leave this site now, and please email your IP address to tacos@ginandtacos.com so that we can ban you from this site.


The Brass Rail

Rating: Two Bukowskis and an iron worker

The Brass Rail is what you can refer to as a drinking man’s bar. The fanciest beer served there is Leinies on draft. Speaking of their draft beer, they also have High Life, Pabst, Bud Lite (maybe) and that’s about it. It is kind of dubious that they serve your beer in a 10oz glass and charge a dollar twenty-five for it, however the atmosphere more than makes up for this indiscretion. (that and seemingly none of their patrons seem to have any problem getting wasted despite the small beer size) Other than that you are stepping to the can, Shlitz and Hamms are popular choices. I would strongly recommend supplementing your beer intake with shots of whiskey. It will help you fit in with the locals, the Wild Turkey and Tullemore Dew are both good choices. If you don’t feel in the mood for beer, or if it is early in the day and you are hung over, I would strongly suggest trying one of their Bloody Marys. They are honestly some of the finest in town.

On the surface, it would seem like this bar is just another shady hole in the wall where you might get your ass kicked, to the best of my knowledge this is not true, not much anyway (sometimes the natives are restless, watch out for a man named Mark Peaslee). I don’t know why but its dirty exterior (and interior) do not at all do justice for how friendly and accommodating the staff there is. Perhaps it is its location downtown, or the people that go there, but this is not your average shady bar. First of all, it has been there for ages. My grandfather remembers the place from when he went to school here in the 40’s. (also a man that knows a thing or two about bars). Second, they host live music there, this is probably the single most friendly location for a local band to play in. Third, I am fairly certain that if you are so drunk that you have been asked to leave everywhere else in town the Brass Rail will probably still serve you. Finally, it is the last refuge for the serious drinker on a weekend night. If everywhere else is packed on a Saturday, you can probably rest assured that this establishment will be quiet, and have a seat for you at the bar.

The Brass Rail gets credit for being a even if you are drinking alone, you are not really drinking alone bar.

*an endorsed St. Patrick’s day bar crawl bar
Back to top


The Esquire

Rating: Two Bukowskis and an one Winston Churchill

The Esquire is a noble, and damn fine place. Although, they are not typically the place where I will end the evening, they are always there for me when I need some cheap food late at night coupled with an Old Style or two. While there you will be drinking with a cadre of old gentlemen who have clearly been drinking heavily for the entirety of their lives.

As for the bar food, it is possibly some of the best in town. The burgers are good, the chicken sandwich is fantastic and the Esquire seems to be one of the few places in town that has figured out the proper way to serve vegetables in a bar. Breaded, deep fried until devoid of nutritional content, and served with large amounts of ranch dressing. The fried Broccoli is amazing. As an added bonus they provide you with free peanuts and the ability to dispose of the shells by tossing them on the ground.

One large downside to the Esquire is the fact that it does frequently get quite busy. It is hard to eat your sandwich when you are standing. There is also a very good chance that you will be propositioned by an aging alcoholic woman or man. Otherwise though, this is a top notch establishment

*an endorsed St. Patrick’s day bar crawl bar
Back to top


Mike and Molly’s

Rating: Two Bukowskis two Winston Churchills and an unprecedented Sir Robert Burnett

Mike and Molly’s is the bar I go to when I want to go where everybody knows my name. I love this place. This is evident to anyone who knows me based entirely on my frequency of attendance. This is a bar where you can order a pint of Old Style (only 1 dollar two nights of the week) and hold your head up high. According to Mike and Ed, their Tom Collins is quite good. They offer one of the finest selections of Irish Whiskey anywhere. (if you don’t drink it now you must start if you go to this bar, it complements your Old Style perfectly). If you are there often enough, the bartenders will know your name, and they will get your drink without you even having to ask.

To break it down for you

  • Their beer is cheap, and they have pretty much any drink you could want. (sorry, no cream or milk)
  • The staff is the perfect combination of friendly and surly, if you are a drinker you know what I mean.
  • They let you bring food from the Esquire in.
  • The owner, Mike Murphy, is in drinking with you most every night of the week.
  • The place is full of “professionals.” Because of this you never see the kind of drunken debacle that you hate seeing at weaker bars, and only the kind of debacle you want to see.
  • Their rail gin is Hannah and Hogg (see ginandtacos.com official gin review) *Mike Murphy informs me that this is not actually true. I suppose he is in a position to know. I simply know that every time I have order a rail gin drink there is has been made with H&H. It is the finest of the cheap gins.

    I think I will stop here for now, I think you get the point

  • *most certainly an endorsed St. Patrick’s day bar crawl bar
    Back to top


    Downtown Champaign bars that I don’t really go to

    Although it seems to be constantly expanding, downtown Champaign can empirically be considered to be bound by University Ave. (to some degree a couple blocks further) on the South, Main St. aka REO Speedwagon Way (to some degree Washington St.) on the North depending on where you are, Randolph St on the west, and the train tracks on the east. This is a somewhat fluid definition, and I am sure other people will contradict this. My basis for defining downtown in this way is simply due to the fact that this is where the downtown businesses are mostly concentrated.

    So more to the point, I have already reviewed a fair number of downtown Champaign bars. In fact, the entirety of the “Bars owned by Carlos Nieto” and “Bars you might find me patronizing” sections are located in downtown. However, there are a few others that I have not yet mentioned. This section is basically meant to clean up for what those other two catagories missed.


    Boltini

    Rating: One Clay Aiken and one Dragon Shirt

    Its been a while since I have been to Boltini. In fact, I have not been there since the “Great Staff Firing of 2003.” I guess the bar needed a new attitude or something, I don’t remember what exactly the sign said. However, since I have already named Carlos earlier, it is only fair that I continue in that tradition. One of the owners of Boltini, Cody, is arguably the most hated man in town due to this. In fairness, I don’t really know what happened. If you talk to some people he is Scrooge, or the Spawn of Satan or something else tantamount to being the largest bastard to have ever graced this town. However, I have also heard some pretty bad things about the employees. I think it is probably safe to say that this is one of those bad situations that only got worse. Basically, I am sure Cody was probably not up for Boss of the Year- honestly, he fired his whole staff one sunday morning by phone. I am sure the staff at times acted inappropriately. And yes, I am sure they do hate him. I am sure that no amount of not being jackassesque by any of the involved parties would have brought about a happy ending. Being as that I have heard a number of very different angles to this, I thing it is safe to say that no one except for those involved really know what happened. Oh well. That said, lets talk about what the bar is actually like.

    It was always my impression that when this bar opened it was supposed to be sort of Goth/Punk or something. Their staff had a rather alternative look about them. The décor involved things like decapitated dolls and the like. However, it seemed to me like this style became very trendy soon after the bar opened. It went, in about two months from being a fairly cool place to a place where young urban professionals and desperate men hung out. It was sitting at Boltini that brought about the “Dragon Shirt Hypothesis.” Essentially this is the theory where a marginally attractive man has a long-term girlfriend. Getting laid regularly has given him unhealthily inflated confidence. He decides he should be dating supermodels, and in a whirlwind of stupidity leaves his girlfriend and starts trying to get something new. This story ends with the man looking pathetic, dateless, sitting in Boltini, and wearing a shirt with a dragon on it. I don’t know why, or where they find them, but they all seem to get a dragon shirt at some point in time.

    So, as of right now, the decapitated dolls have largely been replaced by sticks in frames? The booze is expensive, the tables are kind of cramped. To be best of my knowledge they still need to replace the couches. That said. If I ever want to go somewhere that no one is going to know me, and that I can actually have a conversation with someone, this place fits the bill. The booths provide a lot of privacy, and it is rarely to loud to talk. Although they are not the cheapest in town, they have a decent selection.


    Barfly

    Rating: Maybe a Clay Aiken? Maybe a Bukowski? I am really not sure what to do with this place.

    I have been to this bar a few times now. I have had a different impression of it every time I have been there. This is the source of my confusion. The first time I walked in it was fairly crowded. I couldn’t help thinking that it looked kind of like a bad Boltini knockoff with an exceptionally claustrophobic atmosphere. It has that long narrow bar feeling that makes it kind of feel like the walls are closing in on you. While you can lessen this effect by having your bar well lit, they instead chose to be a lounge. However, last St. Patrick’s day I went in there completely wasted and had an alright time. Part of this might have been due to my amusement associated with their serving a cheaper version of Jim Beam. I had no idea that there was anything cheaper than Jim Beam, but yes, sure enough, there is Beam Eight Star. This has to be literally the cheapest and worst whiskey in existence- this of course did not stop me from drinking it. Other times I have sat in tables that have made me feel like I am in some kind of bad hipster lounge production of Alice in Wonderland right after becoming 10 feet tall.

    If you add to the strange atmosphere the fact that they do odd things like serve pit barbeque on Saturdays (I think) you just end up feeling confused. I know some people really like this place, but I am always kind of suspicious that it is because they get a discount, or that they serve them prior to their 21st birthday. I don’t know. To me, this seems like a bar for worthless bastards who want to feel pretentious but have not yet read Also Spracht Zarathustra.


    Nargile

    Rating: One John Hughes Movie, one Old Turkish Man, and one Bukowski.

    This bar is like a teenager in a 1980’s John Hughes movie. Everyone watches this awkward beast of an establishment really hoping that it finds itself. Deep down, most of us know that even if Nargile buys a Camero and gets the girl that it will still be that confused child at heart. Let me explain. They are essentially trying to be three bars at once. All three are intrinsically conflicting with each other. In the basement they do a DJ and dancing thing. In the back there is a stage with live rock music and most bizarre, the front is… Hookah themed? Yes, you read that right. The front is a Hookah bar. If you are asking yourself, “What kind of idiot would think that was a good idea?” The answer is quite simple- the same people who actually believe that The Clybourne is a classy place. Really what this environment does is make everyone feel like they are just about to get their ass kicked by someone else in the bar.

    When you combine this odd schizophrenic atmosphere with the fact that the prices at this place are generally so expensive that your money pulls the amazing bar disappearing trick at record speed (trust me, you will be sober, and have no idea where 40 dollars went), this place seems to fall a bit short.

    I used to have some complaint about the service at this place as well. However, I am happy to say that the last time I went there everything has gotten much smoother. It would seem that they hired an inexperienced staff to begin with, but they have, for the most part settled into their jobs.

    That said, I really, really hope this place comes of age. Why? Simply because it hosts live local music and is not owned by Carlos. This town really needs that. I honestly believe that they are trying. I think things are getting better there. I just hope that they are making enough money to stay in business long enough for it to turn into a decent venue. I think the first step would be to stop trying to do so many things simultaneously. I don’t care if they have DJs in the whole place sometimes to pay the bills. I never held it against the Highdive when that was their plan.

    the true meaning of christmas

    Posted in Uncategorized on January 16th, 2004 by Mike

    hi. you shouldn't see this. I just need the comments.

    How To Be A Good Bar Patron

    Posted in Uncategorized on January 14th, 2004 by Erik

    Have some self respect.

    First off, I need to take a moment and state that YOU personally are as responsible for the quality of your drinking experience as the bar itself. Bartenders do not live to serve you, and oftentimes they don’t even particularly enjoy it. Generally speaking they are intelligent individuals who have taken the job because it is good money. However, all things equal, they would prefer to be patronizing the bar than working at it.

    To make my point a bit more clear, when you go out you are in a room full of intoxicated people begging a few individuals to give them more of the liquid that has made them so drunk in the first place. Imagine what that looks like from the other side of the bar. The speed at which you get a drink, and the quality with which it is poured or mixed will be greatly influenced by the bartender’s impression of you. Trust me, you will be snubbed at the bar if you are an asshole. The quality of the service you receive will be relative to your behavior there.

    So, here are a few pointers on how to be a reputable bar patron:

    • Honestly, and I can’t stress this enough, tip the bartenders. There are a wide variety of excuses that I have heard, ranging from “I’m broke” to “I’m British,” to explain away why people are cheap bastards and don’t leave tips. You might have several mistaken impressions about this custom.

      First, you might think that you are “rewarding good service” with your tip. This is actually a rather logical mistake. You are not “rewarding” service, you are paying for a service. (This service includes coming in hours before the place opens to get everything ready, staying hours after the place closes cleaning up, washing all the glasses, carrying in and out all the kegs and trash, and generally making it the kind of place with an atmosphere that you will enjoy, not the vile mess you leave it as when it closes.) Truth be told, you will not always get good service the first time you walk up to a specific bar. The bartenders don’t know you and they already have a group of people that they want to serve quickly. Your goal is to become one of these people, or suffer as one of the rude and thirsty.

      A good way to do this is to leave a good tip after your first drink. If you think you are waiting until you get remarkably good service, you will never get good service. If you don’t want to pay for service, it would be more appropriate to stay home and serve yourself beers from your fridge. Much like yourself, these people don’t work for free.

      Second, people think they are tipping if they leave the twenty-five to fifty cents they got in change from their beer. Attention: your bartender is not a vagrant on the street who needs change for the bus. Tips must be green in color if you want them to have the desired effect. At the very least, you should leave a dollar. This applies even if you are buying the Old Style on special for a dollar. Oh, and if you order some huge quantity of drinks, one dollar or even two probably does not cut it. Tipping at a bar is different from a restaurant – it is not 15% of the total order, but rather a dollar for every 1-2 drinks.

      Third, you might think that your bartender does not notice whether or not you left a tip. What are you a moron? Do you really think they don’t check? Do you think they are blind? This is money we are talking about here, of course they are looking, even if a lot of times it looks like they just walked on to the next customer. Trust me, they make a note of it.

    • The next point should seem quite obvious to you. Don’t be rude. Don’t think that the staff owes you anything. Don’t ask them to “make it strong” instead of just ordering the double. Don’t ask them for pens, paper, or any other items from Office Depot. Most importantly, don’t think they won’t choose to serve someone standing 5 feet behind you if you haven’t treated them well. It happens, I have seen it happen, I have talked to bartenders who say they do it. I have heard bartenders discussing rude patrons days after they were in the bar. Unless you have some odd masochistic desire to be referred to as “that fucking rude asshole,” then act as politely as you’d like to be treated at your own place of employment. A well placed please and thank you couldn’t hurt. But, being gruff and surly could.
    • Don’t become too much of a drunken idiot. As much as you don’t want to wake up the next morning afraid of what you might have done the night before, most of the people at the bar don’t want to watch it. Try your hardest to maintain, at least when dealing with strangers, some composure. Do not, and I repeat, do not EVER, vomit on the floor/bar/table. And let’s be fair, 99.9% of the time when you are going to get drunk and puke you know you are going to puke ahead of time – you just don’t want to. Give up, go to the bathroom, go to some alley, go anywhere acceptable. Trust me, it might be embarrassing to show weakness while you and your friends are having some kind of bizarre schnapps drinking contest, but it is far worse to throw up in front of them.

      Similarly, if you ever feel the need to get in a fight with someone, please don’t. I am not just saying that because chances are good that the person you are thinking of fighting is me, but because you will get kicked out, sometimes permanently barred from entering the establishment. There are really very few occasions I can think of where it is worth it.

    So, to sum up, by tipping your bartenders, being polite, and maintaining some shred of dignity while drunk, you stand a much better chance of having a good time.

    Monthly Contest

    Posted in Uncategorized on January 11th, 2004 by Mike

    Welcome back ginandtacos.com viewers. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a monthly contest so for the first month we are going to hold one that is near and dear to our hearts: who is the greatest action star ever?

    We here at ginandtacos.com will always believe that the superhero to cranky, middle-class civil servants everywhere, Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) of the Die Hard series is the best we’ve seen. But lately, we have heard more and more that the gothy computer nerd Neo (Keanu Reeves) from the Matrix series would come out on top.

    (Note: save your emails. We are talking about the McClane and Neo from their first respective movies. We are also arguing about American action heroes, even though I still believe that McClane could take out Jet Li or Gordon Liu we’ll save that for a different day).

    Both Neo and McClane have starred in excellent action movies that were immediately turned into crass and shameless sequels. But more importantly, each represents the trials and tribulations faced by their respective classes in their own times. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a better look.

    Neo is the proto-typical late 90s dot-com web-surfer. He meets women in online chat-rooms (that somehow look like Carrie-Anne Moss), feels all detached and out-of-touch with his computer job, and worries endlessly about his life. That is, until he learns that that everyone who is not like him or his goth attired friends do not actually exist. Sorry rest of the world. It’s true that The Matrix is as self-obsessed as the aspiring dot-com barons it profiles – but the other thing about it is how clever it is. There are all kinds of nifty allusions, to Blade Runner’s grunge chic, to martial art flicks, to the Baudrillard books scattered around Neo’s apartment.

    John McClane does not care about simulacra or other nifty allusions – all he wanted to do was sneak away from the crappy office party his wife dragged him to in order to take a nice long dump with his shoes off. Unfortunately, terrorists come between him and his small dream. The villains that plague Die Hard are all taken from the buffet of mid 80s middle-class white male anxieties. Remember when, before their 12-year-and-counting major depression, when the Japanese were going to economically bury us all? Die Hard does – McClane is stuck in the Takagi Building. The villains are straight out of that mold of villainous Eastern Europeans that we believed existed before the Iron Curtain fell and Bulgaria became a leading player in the Coalition of the Willing.

    And that’s the major villains – we aren’t even counting the estranged wife, who, after taking her maiden name, fills her life with career ambitions for a major company (a situation that is the bane to male civil servants everywhere); the investigative reporter, cynically out for a quick story and played by the same guy who was the villainous E.P.A. goon in Ghostbusters; and that obnoxious yuppie that is always calling everyone babe and doing coke (how 80s!). You also have to include bosses among the bad guys: everyone on the police force, from McClane to his sidekick (Reginald Veljohnson) to the Police Chief is usually getting yelled at by their pushy boss, complaining about how much of a dick their boss is, or getting condescended to from the FBI (ask a cop someday how he or she feels about the FBI – go ahead, I dare ya!).

    Sure Neo has to fight off kung-fu fighting computer programs and giant spider robots, but has he ever had to deal with a pushy boss? A pushy wife? While fighting terrorists? No. That’s why he should win, outright, but we put the contest to you, our loyal viewers:

    April 2004 Monthly Contest

    Best Action Hero:

    Neo

    vs.

    Det. John McClane



    Neo Det. John McClane Who wins?
    Catchphrase: Whoa. Yippee-ki-yay, Motherfucker! McClane, by a lot.
    Black mentor figure: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), who knows a little too much about the Matrix and the effects of club drugs Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson), who knows a little too much about Twinkies. McClane, twinkies rule!
    At the lobby of the skyscraper our hero: Shoots his way through dozens of police officers in slow-motion, Columbine-inspiring manner. Is embarrassed to admit his wife is using her maiden name. Neo.
    Drops a giant bomb down an elevator shaft to: Set off fire sprinklers. Blow up terrorists on the first three floors that were firing on fellow cops. McClane.
    Climatic hand-to-hand combat scene ends with: Agent Smith getting run over by a subway train. the blonde Swedish guy getting hung with a chain. Neo, for practicing the ancient art of Splatfu.
    Is betrayed by that weasel: Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), who wants to eat a good steak. Harry Ellis (Hart Bochner), who mentions 60 Minutes and says "babe" a lot. Neo. Cypher causes a lot of damage, while Ellis was just annoying.
    In order to escape a crashing, exploding helicopter our hero: Jumps out, rolls, then saves Trinity with an attached rope. Constructs a rope out of a fire hose, jumps off side of building and shoots his way in through a window. McClane, for the sheer implausiblity of it all.
    Presumed after-movie activities include: Fighting the Matrix, banging Carrie-Anne Moss. Eating twinkies with ReginaldVelJohnson. It's almost too close to call, but in the end it goes to Neo.

    So that's 4-4, it's up to you, the viewer, to cast the deciding vote. Click on our comments button and cast your vote along with any further arguments you'd like to bring to the table – we'll tally them up at the end of the month. Now go!

    Competetive Mustache Growth

    Posted in Uncategorized on January 8th, 2004 by Erik


    It is now the beginning of april, and the competetive mustache growth season is about to be in full swing. Although it has been many years since I have competed in an actual sporting event, I am this year going to be a veteran mustache competition competetor.


    See The Competition Here!

    This preformance last year got me to the semi-finals winning me a can of chicken (yes there is canned chicken) and a disposable razor. Hopefully I can outdo myself and present a figure of unequaled dirtiness. (Any suggestions are welcome)

    For ginandtacos viewer enjoyment, I am going to present a diary of me seeking the goal of mustache man 2004.


    Jump to a day:
    |April 10 |April 11 |April 13 |April 16 |April 22 |April 25 |April 26 |

    But first:

    A bit of history

    Throughout history, the growth of hair on the upper lip of a man has signified his entrance into the prestigious ranks of the dignified elite. However, in modern times the mustache has fallen from grace. Although it would seem perfectly natural for a man over the age of 40 to have a fine growth of lip hair, for those of us younger there is really no excuse. In our generation the mustache is only prominently displayed by homosexuals, nascar/ WWF fans, child molesters, and non-american computer science and physics students. Much like the ever-curious mullet, the mustache seems to transcend traditional cultural barriers to exist in many forms for many people. It is nearly impossible to define as a single entity in any context other than the disgust it invokes.

    To wear it with pride places you into a unique category of person who either seems to care little about what those around you think, or are truly clueless about the image you are portraying. Often I am inclined to think it is the later. I am reminded of one particular, absurd, waxed mustache I saw at a Man or Astroman concert. This creepy fellow was so insanely proud of his preposterous growth that he seemed completely unaware of the fact that he was serving as a large joke for my friends and me. In fact, he took the comment, "That has to be fake….right," as a compliment to his growth ability and continued to sit with us for several hours despite several table moves. In retrospect we should have probably been more blunt with the clueless individual.

    –"Excuse me sir, your facial hair makes you look like an Irish boxer circa 1890 who engages in perverse sexual practices, possibly with kittens or sheep."–

    That said, and considering the fact that I am several days into growing one myself, I think it is only apt to point out that there have been many fine examples of this facial hair demonstrated throughout history.
    Tom Selleck for example. Mr. Selleck's portrayal of Magnum PI was integral in making this television show one of the greatest crime dramas of all time. Tom Selleck's mustache was integral to this role. Sure he had the Ferrari, the Hawaiian shirts, the chest hair, the frequent Vietnam War flashbacks, but it was really the prominently displayed mustache that made the character.
    When McKinley was assassinated; Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president of the United States in 1901. Although leaving behind him one of the most shameless legacies of American Imperialism, damn he sported that mustache well. It basically jumps off his face. It tells the casual observer that yes, he has in fact hunted large game in Africa, and yes, he does have the head of exotic animals he has killed mounted on his walls.
    Hero of pseudo-intellectual prostitutes worldwide Friedrich Nietzsche sported one of the most powerful and awe inspiring mustaches the philosophical world ever encountered. It is conceivable that it was this prolific upper-lip growth that caused generations of fucking tools that quote philosophy in coffee shops in an attempt to get laid to overlook Nietzsche's "advice your mom would give you before your first day of kindergarten" philosophy and closet fascism. This was truly one of the mustaches finest hours.

    So now, you might wonder why, with my obvious high regard for mustaches, that I am growing one once again. The answer is quite simple, honor….and possibly a case of beer. In other words, I am once again crossing into the underground, fast-paced world of competetive mustache growth. Here are the rules of the game. On the 5th of April I had to show up at the bar with a clean shaven upper lip. On the twenty-sixth of April I will need to once again show my face at the bar, hopefully with a powerful mustache. (One can only hope) My goal is to present you, my three avid readers, with up to date information on how the contest is progressing.


    Very early am, April 10th

    Well, the contest started on monday evening, and it is now very late on friday or very early saturday depending on how you look at it. I could present some elaborate story as to why I didn't start this diary until 5 days into the contest, but really the truth is that I had no digital camera until today. I suppose I could have documented my upper lip hair in text, but there really seems to be no point. Further, this is really the first point after I was clean shaven where I have exceeded normal bounds of shaving etiquette. I am beginning to look more than a little bit swarthy, and am feeling a bit uncomfortable about it. Typically I like to fancy myself to be fairly clean. I guess I will have to get over that….

    Presented for your approval are two mustache comeptition competetors I found this evening while drinking.

    Mike Rieger.

    This year Mike is a new comer to the competition, but already you will notice that his mustache seems to be progressing quite nicely. He has the distinct advantage of having dark mustache hair. This he ascribed to his "Latin lineage" The rest of us pale northern Europeans are going to have to play catch up. Our naturally blond upper lips create a much less profound impact. This is not to say that northern Europeans don't grow mustaches, but rather that it takes them many long painful years to obtain a full one.

    Mark Newton

    Mark shows some signs of the blond stache, however he does not suffer from it nearly to the degree that I do. It is also important to not that Mark is also going for the ever popular, "beard then mustache" approach. This can be due to a variety of factors, however typically can be traced directly back to either having a job/ girlfriend. For whatever reason neither of these look too kindly on the mustache variety of facial hair. Mark is a past competitor, I know from experience that he can grow some thick facial hair and will be one to watch this year.

    Now I am feeling pretty dirty about this facial hair at the moment. I decided that the only possible recourse that I have is to drink Old Style and express my hatred for various local bands. Suprisingly it made me feel quite a bit better about myself.

    As one can probably tell from this photo, I was succeeding marvelously at the tasks I set before myself. Well, the drinking of Old Style was going fairly well at least.

    This of course says nothing to the growth of my mustache. For this, I present this evidence.

    I know it doesn't look like much now, however it really is reassuring to me that when digitally zoomed in my mustache actually seems to be present. For the moment I am happy about this.

    I will write more about this when I have some more pictures and more to write. Currently I have two weeks and two days to get this mustache to grow in.


    Around eight in the pm, Sunday April 11th.

    This weekend was a bit insignificant as far as mustache growth was concerned. Due to my impending birthday and Easter I was at my parents house. Due to the fact that they were taking me to a fairly expensive dinner and I well….looked like a trucker who had been on the road for 5 days without enough amphetamines. Good times, anyway, I decided before going that I should clean up the neck and such making it look like I was actually trying to grow a proper beard.

    Here is my post beard trimming

    Much to my suprise for nearly 24 hours of being at my parents house they did not comment on my beard. This probably indicates that…. "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all"…

    The other intriguing implication is that I apparently did a good enough job shaping my beard growth that they beleived that I was honestly growing one…I guess that is good.

    As a side note, I am getting a bit frustrated by the ever increasing itch present on my face. This whole facial hair thing is not that much fun. So I crafted a calendar on the chalkboard in my apartment. It made me feel a bit better about myself.


    2:35 in the am after drinking on April 13th.

    My beard is really beginning to get on my nerves. It is itching horribly and I am beginning to look like an unemployed derelict. However, I can't really complain too much. I suppose that I knew this was going to happen. To my credit another man told me that I looked stunning this evening….I suppose I should be thrilled

    I am not going show any pictures of myself this evening. I don't think there have been any serious mustache developements as far as I am concerned. I trimmed up the neck on the beard again, but these things are not really important.


    However, I did catch up with this competitor this evening.

    Barney is an exceptionally dedicated mustache competition competitor. It is possible that the competition was partially his idea. To evidence his commitment, I am fairly certain he is the only person to ever invite his mother to come and watch him compete. Unfortunately, last year he was disqualified for illegally applying mascara to his mustache hair in an attempt to thicken it.

    As a side note, it would seem that someone decided to make profane hand gestures in front of my camera as I was taking the photo. This obscured half of Barney's mustache, hopefully you will be able to look at the visable half and get the picture.


    hungover on April 16th.
    Halfway There!

    Last night was my 25th birthday. For reasons beyond my comprehension, every one of my birthdays seem to turn into some kind of drunken debacle you would expect from someone turning 21. Oh well, I guess this should just be chalked up to the life that I lead.

    The obvious implications of my celebrating my birthday are

    • I am have a raging beast of a hangover today

    • Many good photos were taken last night

    Lets start with some updates on some individuals I have displayed here before.

    Mike Rieger.

    Mike's mustache seems to be progressing nicely. Its fullness is nearly outweighed by its darkness. I feel that if he has the right stuff on stage he is going to be a serious contender this year, quite possibly a finalist or even Mr. Mustache 2004. Mike seems to be sporting a bit of a thin goatee thing on his face. The subject came up last night as to whether or not you can out-grow the goatee. I think the conversation was pointless since it is obvious that Mike's latin heritage gives him a whole different set of rules for acceptable facial hair growth.

    Mark Newton

    Mark is showing a very powerful beard at this stage in the game. The close up image of him is zoomed out a bit so that you can take in the full "grizzled" nature of his face. On the whole it looks like he will have substantial upper lip growth when the beard is removed. I am interested to see if he is going to adopt a similar mustache persona this year to last year (marlboro man) when in a true stroke of injustice he was eliminated in the first round.

    Moose/ Barney

    To begin with, that was me that is cropped out of the picture. I did not want my beard takings ones concentration away from Barney's stache.

    It is at this point that I give Barney his propers for being one of the few competitors that has the nerve to remove all facial hair aside from the mustache. That said, I am getting a bit worried. It is low resolution, but the closeup of Barney's upper lip would indicate very little, or very light colored growth. Hopefully things turn around for him before the competition.

    As for me, I had what is commonly referred to as "too good of a time" last night. I basically knew that it was all over when Tim Johnson handed me a glass of clear liquid that I promptly consumed. He looked a bit shocked and informed me it was the three wise men…I basically knew that it was going to go horribly wrong very very quickly from that point. Everything started out inocently enough.

    I began my birthday at home. I tried to put on some nice cloths and cleaned myself up. This made me feel a bit better about the shady hair on my face. Unfortunately It has begun to itch horribly. This discomfort is a constant reminder to me that I am not a reputable clean shaven individual. (see attached figure)



    I can only assume that all this itching is the result of truely prolific facial hair growth. However, it is not in my nature as a scientist to assume. On close examination it is clear that my mustache is coming in quite well. I am getting a bit nervous that it is coming in too light and not be as impressive as it could be. For this I am just going to have to wait and see.


    As a final note, by the end of the evening I seemed quite proud of myself.

    Very, very quickly after this picture was taking it began to sink in what I had done to myself. I was then a bit more frightened than proud.


    April 22nd, nearly April 23rd

    So, it is now April twenty-second. It has been since the day after my birthday that I last showed any progression in my beard growth. It has been a tough 6 days for beard growth. To put it simply, I have been tired and busy for the last several days. I could lie and say that it has been something more interesting that has kept me from updating, but it really isn't.


    As can easily be read from the board behind me, there are only 4 more days until the competition. This means a couple things. First of all, I really need to get serious about getting a costume together. I don't want to put this off until the last minute and end up not being the best mustachioed man I can be. Second, I have precious little time for this to grow in any more.

    The intense itching that I reported on the 16th has somewhat subsided. However, don't be fooled it certain still itches. In fact it was so horrible that I feel like I have removed a layer of skin underneath my beard scratching it. I have been getting so excited about shaving it off that last night a purchased a wide variety of balms and oils to make the experience as pleasant as possible. While purchasing these products probably dooms me to unflinching metrosexualdom, I am sure it will be worth it.

    Lets get down to specifics. This is how the beard is looking today

    It is getting fairly full. I am beginning to fear that people are now thinking me as that guy with the beard. As in: "Could you tell that guy with the beard to come over here." or, "who is Erik?" "Oh, he's the guy over there with the beard." I have also been told that it has red patches…I don't know about this I have not seen it myself but people seem to be sure about this. You know, this is all fantastic, but most of this will be shaved off on the 26th. The mustache is what is truly important.

    The fear I have right now is that this mustache is going to stay too light and too thin to be effective. It really is quite thin, the flash from the camera I think is making it seem a bit fuller.

    I can only hope I can pull it off.


    Sunday Afternoon, April 25th

    It is a quiet, overcast afternoon in Champaign, IL. Mustache competition competitors all around the city are sat about comtemplating the events of tomorrow afternoon. It is now a little more than 24 hours until many a mustache takes the stage and aside from gathering costume elements together, there is not much left to do. It is safe to say that we have as much mustache as we are going to grow. We can only hope that the application of waxes and appropriate shaving will carry us through the day.

    That said, lets see how the mustaches are taking shape at this late hour.

    Mark and me 42 hours before the competition


    Mark and I were out at a Menthol show last night, letting pictures be taken of both of us. Trust me, I really was not as drunk as I seem in these photos. I am honestly not sure why I look so wasted in all of them. Oh well, I guess I was just not having a photogenic night.

    I think that it has gotten to the point where closeups of the mustache are somewhat irrelevant. They are clearly there, and clearly visible. Let me point out that Mark has shaved a somewhat unique design into his face. This design is not all together different than his competition mustache last year. It will be interesting to see what form it takes tomorrow.

    I however have not touched my beard since I last updated. After ordering the balms and oils I have decided to not let a razor touch my face until I have them. Consequently, FedEx tracking of the package claims it left the ramp in Indianapolis, IN at 6:28 AM on the 24th. This probably means that since about 8:00 am Saturday the package has been about two miles from my house. However, those bastards at FedEx require extra money to bring a package to your house on the weekend. Oh well, I will have it by monday.

    Let me point out one more thing. I got a hair cut yesterday. I actually tried to call and shift my appointment to next week sometime. Basically my fear was that if I went in to get my hair cut with a beard, I would get a bearded man's haircut. (no, I have no idea if this is logical or not, but that is what I was thinking) The moral, if there is any moral, is that the woman that cuts my hair refused to let me move the appointment. When I told her the reason she informed me that if she didn't get to see my beard that she couldn't be held responsible for what happened to my hair. (I am not sure if that was the exact phrasing, but the sentiment was there)




    Mike and Molly's mustache competition supporters Amy Couch and Valerie Deisinger (left to right) indicate their approval of the competition by pointing out their mustaches and more importantly by not breaking up with Mark and me (respectively) for spending the last three weeks growing mustaches.


    This is truely disconcerting. This is a photograph of Mike Murphy, they owner of Mike and Molly's. The man's mustache is truely impressive. Lucky for all of us competing, I hear tale that the fact that he owns the joint precludes him from winning.

    Well…..thats all for now, and probably the last update until after the competition. Wish me luck.


    April 27th, The day after the competition

    I have decided to give the actual night of the competition its own page.


    Look Here If You Dare!

    For all your mustache related needs, visit
    the website

    Little Bitch Gallery

    Posted in Uncategorized on January 8th, 2004 by Mike

    Your Boss

    Littlebitchness: 10
    Sightings: Offices
    Quotes: "Yeah, I'm going to need you to come in on Saturday."
    Notes: The only little bitch you need fear, since he does hold power over you. Best bet is to dodge him at every turn (long lunches, early dismissals, frequent bathroom breaks). Remember, in most cases, he too has a boss, so go over his head and get his ass in trouble any chance you get.

    Male Models

    Littlebitchness: 9
    Sightings: Parties, Gap Commericals, Magazine Ads
    Quotes: "Hmmm, which picture do you think I better in?" "Hey you want to come over and check out my new haircut?"
    Notes: There are a couple things you have to understand about the male model. First he is almost categorically exceptionally stupid. Second he has deluded himself into thinking that everyone worships him. This is a dangerous combination. Essentially it means that there is little to no chance you are going to get him to stop being a little bitch. In fact, it often means that even but the most biting insults will be construed as compliments and worship by this little bitch.

    Since this little bitch will under no circumstances think that the person talking to him does not think he is god's gift to earth, your best bet is to start off by telling him "things you have heard people saying about him." For example, "I heard some people talking about how outdated your frosted tips look" or "did you know some people have said that you were fat in high school."

    Now you have endeared yourself to the little bitch, it is time to move in for the kill. Since you will never be able to convince him that you don't like him, just try to annoy him. Your bet bet is to make disparaging comments about his taste in cloths. Start with, "I hope you didn't pay more than 15 dollars for that shirt." (it was no doubt several hundred and straight out of the maxim fashion section) Reply with: "Oh jesus (contrived shock) well, I don't know I guess some people go in for that type of thing." (he will no doubt be confused and attempting to reconcile this with his world view. Now deliver the final blow by impling that you know something he doesn't about cloths that simultaneously insults him again. Try: "You know if you like that shirt, I think they have a lot just like it at Sears."

    Guys who Are Sad in Front of Women
    Littlebitchness: 8
    Sightings: Anywhere there are girls present, especially girls by themselves.
    Quotes: "She says that I should try to see other people" "It's not that she doesn't like me, it's that she's going through a rough time right now and doesn't want to see anybody." "Girls always want to date pricks, why can't they like nice guys."

    Notes: I know in your heart, your first instinct is to take pity on these pathetic creatures. We have all been down on our luck with women before. However, this is most certainly not the proper recourse. In fairness their pathetic nature is probably designed not only to get pity sex from women but to get you to be friends with him. Do not fall into this trap! If you do, you will be at his apartment listening to Dashboard Confessionals albums before you know it.

    There are two ways to defeat this little bitch. The first is to confront him head on. Explain to him that women want nothing to do with him because he is an amazingly little tiny bitch. This will not cause him to not be a little bitch, but it will result in him moving on to someone who will listen to him whine endlessly about that girl in his math class that looked at him once. The second and far more subtle defense is to pawn him off on the nearest "little bitch who defines his life by the books he claims to have read." These little bitches are always looking for worshipers, and the "sad around women" little bitch serves this purpose perfectly.

    Guys trying to hit on women too hard
    Littlebitchness: 9
    Sightings: Bars, Frat Row
    Quotes: "Hey, hey, introduce me to her." "You want a cigarette?" "Yeah so my name's blah blah blah, and blah blah blah blah blah…."
    Notes: Watching these guys for an evening can be a very depressing event. To see a man continously be turned down by every woman he hits on, each more dowdy than the last, can make a person sick to their stomach. However, do not fear, you look nothing like this man when you hit on women. If you are a girl reading this page, your best bet is to completely ignore these guys. Don't ask them for cigarettes, don't give them any attention in any way.

    One of the easiest ways to spot this man is if he is wearing a dragon shirt. Erik Martin tells the legend of the men who wears dragon shirts – these are normal-to-slightly-below-normal guys who got girlfriends somehow. Suddenly, he somehow gets himself a girlfriend. After a few months of regular sex and going out, he feels confident about himself. Too confident unfortunately, and decides that he can do better than his current girlfriend. So he dumps her and heads out to the clubs. There he realizes that his confidence was overstated and women ignore him as before.

    Desperate to impress women he runs out and buys a dumb shirt, usually with a dragon on it. Be warned.

    Guy Who Will Only Drink Girl Drinks

    Littlebitchness: 7
    Sightings: Small parties, gatherings
    Quotes: "It's too bad that the waitress couldn't get us that pitcher of Amaretto Sour" – Actual quote overheard from employees at G-Mart Comic Shop, Champaign, Il.

    Comic Book Guy
    Littlebitchness: 6
    Sightings: Comic book stores, toy stores, Conventions
    Quotes: "Rogue is extremely more attractive than Witchblade, especially during the Jim Lee run on X-Men." "This is not a library, you may not just read the comics."
    Notes: While they seem harmless, few men in their 20s/30s are more hate-filled and bitter towards humanity than the Comic Book Guy. Memorizing huge amounts of trivia inbetween masturbating to BattleChaser comics, they will never miss an opportunity to try to make you feel dumb for not knowing as much about military history, comic-book crossovers, Japanese swords, and whatever else they've read. Easiest solution: Ask them the last time they went on a date. Works every time……

    That Guy who defines his life by the books he claims to have read
    Littlebitchness: 9
    Sightings: coffeehouses, classrooms, friendster-profiles.
    Quotes: "It's extremely maudlin of you to say all that." "I am a philosophy/literature major." "I should know, because my brother is named after Stephen Dedalus." "You know, Nietzsche and Marx had a lot of the same ideas."
    Notes: I sometimes wonder what would happen if Friedrich Nietzsche was to rise from the grave this very instance. What do you think he would be more upset by: His sister re-editing his journals and throwing fascist statements everywhere? The Nazis hijacking his message in an attempt for world domination and ethic genocide? Or the number of sad, sophomore-level philosophy majors mis-quoting him in an attempt to get laid by girls in coffeehouses?

    Considering the little-bitchness of the third example (also considering the man was a closeted fascist if there every was one) ginandtacos.com guess is the last. Hence this category. The problem is usually a problem of perception. We have nothing against philosophy majors per se (one of the ginandtacos.com editors was a philosophy major until the bitter end), and druken philosophical debate is fine and good. The problem occurs when these people don't realize that nobody is interested in what they are talking about. You get the sense that these people think that they are doing you a favor by lecturing to you about something random and then acting surprised when you don't know (or care) about it.

    Guy who tries and dances wilds at the indie rock show.
    Littlebitchness: 8
    Sightings: Concerts
    Quotes: "Whoo-hooo!"
    Notes: Listen. You don't have any rhythm. That's ok. Being white and into indie-rock places you into the remedial level of being able to dance. And the fact that you can't dance worth crap means you'll like the stylings indie-rock (the obvious "which came first" debate will be saved for another day). The problem is when you try and "bust a move" during the show you are attending. You should be smarter than this. The venue is too small, and smoke filled. You think by rushing into people and jumping high enough you'll get people to join in. The only "joining in" that will happen is the ass-kicking you'll recieve outside the venue. Just stop.

    Guys trying to hit on women too hard
    Littlebitchness: 9
    Sightings: Bars, Frat Row
    Quotes: "Hey, hey, introduce me to her." "You want a cigarette?" "That's funny you mention that because I was just in India – hold on let me draw you a map on this napkin"
    Notes: Watching these guys for an evening can be a very depressing event. To see a man continously be turned down by every woman he hits on, each more dowdy than the last, can make a person sick to their stomach. However, do not fear, you look nothing like this man when you hit on women. If you are a girl reading this page, your best bet is to completely ignore these guys. Don't ask them for cigarettes, don't give them any attention in any way.

    One of the easiest ways to spot this man is noticing if he is wearing a dragon shirt. Erik Martin tells the legend of the men who wears dragon shirts – these are normal-to-slightly-below-normal guys who got girlfriends somehow. Suddenly, he somehow gets himself a girlfriend. After a few months of regular sex and going out, he feels confident about himself. Too confident unfortunately, and decides that he can do better than his current girlfriend. So he dumps her and heads out to the clubs. There he realizes that his confidence was overstated and women ignore him as before.

    Desperate to impress women he runs out and buys a dumb shirt intended to impress the women, They usually have a dragon on it.