The day or two before the weekend was ominously good. Wednesday night, IU beat #2 Wisconsin, which was obviously a nice win for the Hoosiers. Thursday night I bought a $10 "Merry Millionaires" scratch-off lottery ticket, which ended up being worth $100. It was at that exact moment that my karma ran dry.
In spite of predictions made by Pennsylvanian woodland creatures, the temperatures dropped, such that I don't think double digits were reached at any point this weekend. Further toying with me, God (or whichever god is in charge of this kind of shit -- probably that drunk asshole Dionysus) propounded the following Yahoo horoscope:
"If your ego has been feeling a bit battered lately, get ready for that to change today. But don't look to outside forces -- this change will come entirely from inside of you. Suddenly, you'll accurately see how you compare with other people -- and you'll realize that you possess remarkable abilities that other people do not. Take an objective look at how you're progressing on your latest project. You're way ahead of the competition, so keep going!"Given that Friday evening I would be trying out for VH1's World Series of Pop Culture, I thought this was a good sign. But I also thought Boston was the greatest band of all-time at one point in my life, so I may have a tendency to misjudge the importance of certain things.
I met up with my teammates, Beth and Jaleh, at the W on Lake Shore, which is where the tryouts were being conducted. Our team name was Sink the Biz, which we assumed guaranteed victory. The way WSOPC tryouts work is that every hour about 20 teams are ushered into a big room. Everyone must individually take a pop culture quiz, consisting of 50 fill-in-the-blank questions, in 15 minutes. After the quiz, they tally up the scores, come back into the room and announce the 3 or 4 teams with the highest total scores (i.e., when the scores of all 3 teammates are added together), who then get to be interviewed by the people from VH1. They don't announce any scores or anything other than which teams advanced. These tryouts took place every hour all day Friday and Saturday. Saturday night, VH1 chose 8 teams from the winners of prelims to come back on Sunday for a tournament played in the WSOPC format. The winner of this regional tournament automatically advances to the WSOPC. There are five regional tournaments, so the remaining 11 teams are chosen by the show's producers (from the pool of the regional tournament losers).
The quiz itself was not nearly as difficult as I imagined it would be. Unfortunately, VH1 binds everyone who tries out with a confidentiality agreement, or else I would reveal some of the questions. I thought they had a nice mix of questions from the '80s, '90s, and '00s. There were definitely some weed-out questions, some of which I knew and some of which I didn't. Overall, Beth, Jaleh, and I felt pretty good (at least like we got 40+ out of 50). We were devastated when Sink the Biz was not called. Our theory is that we were tied for 4th with several other teams, one point behind the three teams that advanced. Obviously our theory cannot be proven, nor did it provide us with any solace.
Friday night we all went to Alive One to drown our sorrows. When we got there, it was pretty empty. At first we sat at a table with a Steely Dan record shellacked into it. It turns out that Jaleh shares my intense hatred of Steely Dan, so we moved to a table featuring miniatures photos of The Doors. Much better.
While at Alive One, we encountered a six-foot-six Scandinavian vampire named Vlad, who had an unbelievably large jaw and perhaps the worst smile in the history of the world. [GMYH Note: While his name was not Olaf and he did not know the words to "Berserker," Vlad did have a pretty sweet on-command "metal face." I did not confirm, but have a strong suspicion, that when he asks a woman to have sex with him, he says, "Would you like some making fuck?"] He was flanked by his undead, non-Aryan, smug boy toy, Szandor, who apparently mistook the below-zero temperatures for rain, as evidenced by his slicker. Surprisingly their images showed up when photographed, but maybe it's just that they don't cast reflections in mirrors. Regardless, we all got a good scare. This would be the most pleasant of all my dealings with Scandinavians this weekend.
There was also some dude wearing one of those ridiculous looking winter hats with a bill. Whoever invented those needs to be castrated (or oophorectomied). Nothing quite says, "I am a giant douche" than a guy who refuses to take off his billed winter hat (which is for some reason tilted slightly to the right) when he is inside a bar. That guy must get so much ass, mostly from chicks who wear furry boots with their jeans tucked into them and sunglasses that are far too large for their heads. "Look at my fuckin' hat, bitch. I'm so damn cool I gotta wear a hat to contain as much heat as possible. I'm sure as shit not letting any heat escape from my head or letting any water run down the right side of my face. You're hot. I like your boots. You know my dick is huge, right? Let's cut out the pleasantries, finish our Grey Goose and tonics, go back to my place, and get fucking naked. I wanna see your pussy. We'll listen to Coldplay. I'll probably make you come like 800 fucking times, but I probably won't come because it's unlikely that your mouth, vagina, or anus is large enough to accommodate my enormous member. Maybe I can use one of your boots." How he was allowed north of Beaumont's remains a mystery. Interestingly, my anger and intolerance could have been displaced by joy and acceptance had he only been wearing a captain's hat.
Saturday started out nicely enough, with a trip to Stanley's for their renowned breakfast buffet. After that, Beth left, and the rest of us went to Christoff's to watch IU lose to Iowa in Iowa City. It might have been one of the most infuriating games to watch, mainly because every time down the court there was a foul called. Seriously, there were 56 fouls called in the game. That's one every 42.86 seconds. There were only two players who saw court time that did not commit a foul. One of them played for four minutes, and one of them for one. Despite the fact that IU had only 2 more fouls than Iowa, Iowa went to the free throw line 14 more times. Is it me, or has Adam Haluska been at Iowa since the Clinton administration? Didn't he come in with Acie Earl? Needless to say, I'm sick of seeing his boney, sallow face. And after Saturday, I'm also sick of seeing his fiancé's fake tanned, botox-injected face. Good Lord, ESPN, we get it: Adam Haluska is marrying up. One shot of his fiancé would have sufficed, rather than 318. She isn't Mateen Cleeves's mom, for Christ's sake.
After the game, we went to Ikea because Jessie wanted to get a platform bed, and I wanted to get some more spacious DVD shelving. We picked out a nice dark brown bed and loaded it into The Blaab, who was happy to see that we were supporting a Swedish economy still recovering from its economic crisis in the '90s. Some deep dish pizza from Uno's calmed everyone's appetites, and we headed back to the city. It was a low-key night, which involved watching Beer Fest while I assembled my new DVD shelves. Of the Broken Lizard films, I would say that Beer Fest is the worst. It lacks the hilarity of Super Troopers and the Brittany Daniel of Club Dread.
Sunday started out decently enough. I woke up, had some cold pizza, and watched some VH1 Classic. Jaleh took off in the morning, and at some point in the early afternoon, Jessie and I decided to put our platform bed together. You can imagine our surprise when we opened the three boxes to find that our bed was not the dark brown we picked out, but rather the complete opposite: white. Thanks Ikea. Good work on putting the right colored stickers with the corresponding beds. Fucking Swedes. What should I expect from a country with a sizeable population of people who practice Germanic neopaganism? Explaining to a livid and manic Jessie that I was not about to go back to Schaumburg, I assembled the white bed, whereupon I ran into another problem: there was no middle support beam. It turns out that you have to buy that separately. I sure would have loved to have been told that the first time I was at Ikea. Again, the Swedes falter. What should I expect from a country whose foreign policy is one of deliberate neutrality? I wonder if Laplanders run into these kinds of problems with any sort of regularity. Desiring to sleep in a bed Sunday night, Jessie and I decided at 2:14 (approximately 2 hours and 16 minutes before we were to be at Christoff's house for the Super Bowl) that we had to go back to Schaumburg after all. The Blaab ensured that our trek was smooth and fairly fast, as we cursed the Swedes the whole way there and back for their lack of directional ability. What should I expect from a country that has a unicameral legislature? What is this, Nebraska? On the way back, we picked up Ari, who was also going to Christoff's. We arrived back at our place a little before 4, and tossed the middle beam on the ground for assembly after the Bears game.
The Super Bowl was one of the least watchable Super Bowls since last year's barnburner. The smorgasbord of cream-cheese- and sour-cream-based dips did little to comfort me while the Bears stopped playing football after the first quarter. If the game wasn't bad enough, I thought the commercials were generally sub par this year. The Letterman/Oprah commercial was good, as was the Bud Light ad with the foreigners. What the fuck was with the suicidal GMC robot? Is that supposed to be a metaphor for all of the recently laid-off GM workers? If so, that's hilarious.
After the game, I was excited to put the finishing touches on the new bed and get to sleep. Obviously I wouldn't be mentioning it if it went that easily. After installing the middle beam and the spider-leg-like metal rungs protruding from the beam to the side ledges, I assumed that insertion of the mattress would mark the end of this Swede-hate-filled experiment. Of course not. When I put the mattress down, it bent around the middle beam, creating the kind of convex shape that makes sleep both uncomfortable and unpredictable. It seems that there are some separately sold slats that prevent this, which, of course, Ikea does not make clear. Thank you again King Gustav for spawning a country of bastards who bathe themselves in purposeful ambiguity. Then again, what should I expect from a people whose unpredictable musical taste ranges from Ace of Base to black metal?
Thus, last night, I slept on a bare, sloped mattress, with an unattached fitted sheet, a disheveled bed spread, and blood boiling with the rage of a thousand Irishmen to keep me warm, while Jessie slept in the twin bed in the second bedroom. I awoke this morning still angry and confused. Did anyone else have that dream where different teams of fighter planes were involved in a race from California to the Upper Peninsula and then you had to shower in a closet full of clothes? No? Just me? It probably relates to me having to go back to Ikea to get those fucking slats.
This morning the temperature on way to work was -11, without the windchill. Tomorrow is a high of 14. In the completely irrelevant words of Elmore James, I'm gonna get up in the morning, I believe I'll dust my broom. I guess they could be relevant if I switched out "dust" for "poke out" and "my broom" for "the eyes of every single blond SOB whistling 'Mamma Mia.'"