Here is a not-so-brief recap of the past few days:
TG came to town to visit for the weekend. As you may or may not know, he shares a birthday with former Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, which happened to be Saturday. As you may or many not know, he has yet to come to grips with the fact that this was not his 26th, 27th, 28th, or 29th birthday.
A few peeps came over to watch the IU/Gonzaga game. It was nice to see the Hoosiers take down Gonzaga this year (we lost to them in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament). It was also nice not to see Adam Morrison. Even with his absence this year, Gonzaga still has plenty of players from last year's team, which I think we can all agree was the ugliest team in college basketball.
After a hellishly busy day (and week) at work, I hit up Rocks to get some dinner and watch some basketball. Joining me were TG, Kyla, Alex, Jester, and Ari, as well as several hundred others. While there, I had the pleasure of watching Illinois blow a 13-point lead to become the only Big Ten team to lose their first round NCAA tournament game. Are we elite yet? For some reason there were a bunch of Kansas fans there as well. They seem to be fairly annoying and relatively unwelcoming of strangers asking them if they will be using what appear to be unused chairs.
After a delightful dinner, TG, Jester, and I went over to Chi-Town Tap for $1 bottles, which is always a good thing, even if the average age in Chi-Town Tap is 19. We met up with Christoff, Gregerson, Jodie, and some of Jodie's friends that Gregerson may or may not have been pederasting.
In case you weren't one of the people in Chicago Friday or Saturday night, you may not know that Saturday was Tony's birthday. Certainly if you were at Chi-Town Tap on Friday night, you have no doubt, although you may have been led to believe that Saturday was his 26th birthday.
Saturday was one of those days in the widow maker category. I effectively shortened my lifespan by anywhere from one day to four years on Saturday. It all started innocently, as Christoff, Jodie, and I headed to Lucky Dog to put our dogs in hock for the day so that we could imbibe gallons of alcohol to celebrate St. Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes. A trip to McDonald's proved to be genius, as a sausage McMuffin with egg and a Shamrock Shake provided exactly the kind of base I needed for the day.
Christoff had grown a horrible looking handlebar mustache. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of it.
At around 11:30, Christoff, Jodie, Jessie, and I went to Schoolyard Tavern. When we got there, it was fairly empty. By 1, it was packed. Luckily Jodie scavenged a table in a pretty good spot.
Here's one: there was a sign advertising a St. Patrick's Day special of $6 for a pint of Smithwick's (that's pronounced "smit-ick's," and it's a poor man's Newcastle). Christoff asked the waitress (whose skin was an odd orange hue), "If it's $6 today, what does it usually cost?" The answer was a fantastic "$4.75." That's right, they jacked up the price for St. Patrick's Day.
Here's the part where I go off on Four Corners Tavern Group (who own Schoolyard and several other bars, including the new IU bar, Kirkwood). Fuck Four Corners Tavern Group for pulling that shit. That's bush league. I know they recently opened an IU bar and all, but give me a break. Sure, it's just business, but from the little I have learned about them, they don't seem like the kind of bars that care about anything more than making money. Anyone can make a plastic bar and put an IU flag outside of it and call it an IU bar. Where are the AMFs? Where's the Sink we were promised? Why are there only like three things on the walls that have anything to do with IU? Why is there a DJ instead of a jukebox? Needless to say, I'm not all that impressed with Kirkwood. Now I'm not that impressed with Four Corners Tavern Group as a whole. Maybe my attitude will temper as the weather gets nicer and I have the opportunity to enjoy Kirkwood's vast bier garten. Fucking Nazis. Nothing changes.
But I digress. Jessie left about 5 minutes after we got to Schoolyard to go to a nearby house party. She showed up about an hour later with Mark, an Aussie from Seattle that she knows through a friend, who happened to be in town for work. From what I've gathered, his company is in the business of getting hammered all day while watching the NCAA tournament. I'm hoping they have some openings because I feel that I'm more than qualified.
Gregerson also showed up, and there may have been others. We started playing quarters, which is always a good thing, especially when you play with rules. My favorite rule from the day was that you have to stand when you speak. The game then devolves into what looks like that game at Chucky Cheese with the little gophers that pop up and you try to whack. At one point, we had all of the following rules in effect: (1) stand when you speak, (2) no pointing, (3) no first names, (4) no pronouns, (5) no last names, (6) you have to drink with your nondominant hand, and (7) you can't say "drink" or any variation thereof. It must have been an odd thing to be looking in on.
At some point during our stay at Schoolyard, the Ohio State/Xavier game. Some girl -- we'll call her Odena -- asked Jessie if Greg Oden had fouled out. At that time, he had not yet done so, prompting Jessie to respond, "No, but I wish he was fouled out." Odena was about as good looking as Leonard Maltin, but not nearly as amiable nor as knowledgeable obout film. She did not take kindly to Jessie's insinuation that anyone would want THE Greg Oden -- Odena's namesake, by the way -- to foul out. It turns out Odena is an OSU fan, and therefore is unable to go more than five minutes without (1) acting obnoxious, (2) showing everyone the giant chip on her shoulder, or (3) starting a fight with someone who is not an Ohio State fan. Ergo, in the spirit of the day, Jessie and Odena start acting all Irish, talking shit to each other, nearly coming to fisticuffs. Luckily Mark was there to smooth things over.
Meanwhile, Oden conveniently didn't get called for an intentional foul, despite the fact that his arms were fully extended as he chucked Justin Cage (I think) to the ground. Nonetheless, the NCAA would rather have Greg Oden in the Sweet 16 than Justin Cage, so an intentional foul was not called, Cage missed the 2nd free throw, and OSU came down and tied it up at the buzzer, eventually winning in overtime, prompting Odena to come back over to Jessie and say "Nice game" in an angry tone. This prompted Jodie to say something along the lines of "Walk away. No one's fucking talking to you."
Thankfully, Odena's friend was level-headed and the second near-fight was avoided. Soon after, we left Schoolyard because it was far too packed and Jessie's a big fire code nut. It took us 10 minutes just to get out of there.
After that, we headed to Lawry's, the dive bar a block from our house. It was NOT very crowded, which was more than welcome. At some point, the following people showed up (although not all at once): Ari, Tana, Tracey, TG, the Brothers Weeser* (minus Greg of course), Noreen, Uter Von Widenhofer, McClure, Katie, Sean, Bridget, Slange, Patty, Michelle, Goni, and Noble. It was a regular par-tay. Greg, Mark, and I realized that we hadn't eaten since breakfast, and since it was somewhere between 3 and 6, we figured it was time for some pizza. So, we walked down Diversey to Papa Romeo's and inhaled a pizza in about 5 minutes with little regard for the roofs of our mouths.
Upon our return to Lawry's we drank more. This picture may or may not have been taken:
Here's Mark and Tana.
At some point between 11am and 5pm, we found out that the IU/UCLA game was not going to be on the local CBS feed, so a bunch of us headed back to my house to watch the IU game. For some reason, we ordered more pizza.
If you saw the game, you will likely agree with me when I say that the first half might have been the hardest-to-watch half of basketball since they stopped having a jump ball after every made basket. The score at halftime was 20-13, UCLA. In the second half, the Hoosiers decided to put themselves in a 16-point hole before making a blinding comeback to tie the game at 49 with less than 2 minutes left. At that point, they decided that they had done enough and thus gave UCLA the final 5 points of the game. What's most maddening is that IU -- a team that shots somewhere around 70% from the free throw line -- shot 10-21 from the line.
Distraught from the game, most people decided to call it a day. Not Jessie, TG, Mark, Tracey, Uter, Ari, and I. Having not consumed quite enough alcohol throughout the course of the day, we decided to go to Chi-Town Tap for a few more drinks. While we were there, several things of note happened. First, most of us had at least one Red Bull & vodka, which allowed me to catch my fifth wind, and had adverse effects (discussed later).
Second, there was a very large bag of douche playing pool behind us. Only through crafty side maneuvers were we able to catch this wiley sack of crap on camera.
Seriously, nothing like a neon green sweater vest to honor St. Patrick. At least the white baseball cap with a flat bill, tilted to the side made him respectable.
Third, Tracey took the trip to Chi-Town Tap as an opportunity to figure out a use for those necklaces with Jamison discs.
Maybe the body of Christ?
Nope, the only worthwhile use is over-the-shirt nipple covers.
Once Tracey figured out a use for the Jamison discs, two collegiate-aged females were so excited that they went up the nearest guy with a plaid blazer they could find and just started making out in front of him.
Tony was so happy that he started dancing.
The dancing bug wasn't easily squashed, and Tony decided that he needed to stay out even later. Next stop: The Vu. Everyone else had long since gone home. But dammit, it was TG's birthday and he wanted to drink some more. Much of my time at the Vu was spent standing speechless in a haze watching drunk assholes try to grind on unwilling females. Dance clubs might be the best people-watching venues on the face of the earth.
My clock read 4:15 when my head hit the pillow.
I was awakened by the gentle screaming of the alarm clock at 8am. Thanks to the Red Bull, my heart was attempting to escape. As I lay in bed for the next 3 and a half hours cursing myself and asking why I drank for over 16 hours in honor of an Irishmen, Jessie was out at Toys R Us with Christoff and Jodie buying a Wii. See you motherfuckers in three years.
All I could think about the whole day was Wii and my inability to play it at work. My upper back was sore (and still is) from homerun derby, tennis, bowling, boxing, and golf. Monday night I reached "Pro" status in bowling, thanks in large part to a 246 I rolled. I know -- pretty fuckin' awesome. In addition, you can hook the Wii up to the internet and download games from Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16 for anywhere between $5 and $10, depending on the game. The selection isn't huge, but I did download Excitebike, Ice Hockey, and Tecmo Bowl. I'm hoping the following games will become available: RBI Baseball, Castlevania, Pro Wrestling, Baseball Stars, RC Pro-Am, Kung Fu, Wizards & Warriors, Karate Kid, T&C Surf Design, Paper Boy (do the ditty), and California Games.
Aside from getting hornswaggled in trivia, Tuesday was uneventful, aside from one particular incident. Tuesday afternoon I was in the bathroom at work and experienced a new breed of fecal phantom. Some rotten bastard walked into a stall, sat down, farted once, wiped, and exited the stall. This type of thing doesn't happen by accident. No, this shit (pun and irony intended) was premeditated. At least he washed his hands afterward. I am so confused by people's bathroom antics.
In unrelated news, check out this link that compares this year's Sweet 16 teams to the 16 songs on Poison's greatest hits album. If only IU had won, I'm pretty sure they could have taken over "Fallen Angel."
Ever catch a whiff of something that immediately reminds you of something from your distant past? That happened to me today at work, around lunchtime. I was sitting in my office, minding my own business, when a smell wafted in that was so palpably familiar that within a second I was back in the cafeteria of Brill Elementary School in Spring, Texas (where I went to kindergarten and first grade). I have no idea exactly what the smell is, except that it is undoubtedly a mass-produced cafeteria-esque entrée, likely involving the combination of potatoes, gravy, and some sort of meat (possibly Salisbury steak). While familiar, it was not necessarily desirable, although it did take me back to a much simpler time, when all I had to worry about was soccer, Earl Campbell, Dukes of Hazzard, and the Astros. And AIDS.
On a brighter note, The Hold Steady released its second video off the Boys and Girls in America album, "Stuck Between Stations." It's a pretty good video, aside from the fact that the drummer is wearing a Rush t-shirt. I hate Rush almost as much as I hate Steely Dan. The video also gives a nice look at lead singer Craig Finn's spasmodic stage movements. "She was a really good kisser, but she wasn't all that strict of a Christian." I think that describes every girl I've ever dated. Make sure you watch the whole video. Better yet, I'm almost certain that the statue in The Hold Steady's MySpace picture is that of Phil Lynott, the late lead singer of Thin Lizzy. Well done, gents.
I just found out some horrifying news. Calvert DeForest, better known as Larry "Bud" Melman on Letterman, died today. That dude was hilarious. And with that, this 500th post is dedicated to you, Calvert. Good night sweet prince.