I love nice weather.
"These are the days, it never rains but it pours"
During the day on Friday, I emailed several people to see if they wanted to meet up at Chi-Town Tap ("CTT") at 7 for some $1 bottles and $2 burgers. It seemed like a fairly rational and reasonable way to start the weekend. Unfortunately, I suck at most things in life, including judging the amount of time it takes to finish an assignment that I thought I would have done by 5 on Friday. So everyone was waiting -- as Tradd said, "with bated breath" -- at the CTT while I was toiling away at work until 8:15. Awesome. I love billing 12 hours on a Friday, especially when it's pretty much all my own fault. After I got done, I just went straight to the CTT, where Jessie, Ari, Tana, Kyla, Alex, Tradd, Tron, Tron's friend Joe, and several of Joe's ladyfriends had already been enjoying the shit out of buckets of $1 bottles without me (as you might imagine). Upon my arrival, the group became decidedly uneasy, probably due to my uncontrollable panting and hysterical sobbing.
After a while, being surrounded by 19-year-olds became old for some people, so we all left. However, we left in shifts, so as not to upset the children with a single jarring exit. Everyone else went to their respective homes, while Tradd and I headed up to Will's Northwoods Inn to make fun of cheeseheads with Jeremy "The Floppy Burrito" DeMuth and his posse. Also joining us there were by brother Reed (as opposed to my other brother?) and David "House of" Payne. The conversation ranged from Kaiser Chiefs to Kings of Leon, with little in between.
"Sat on a fence, but it don't work"
Saturday the weather was glorious (it probably was glorious Friday too, but I wouldn't know). While Jester went to the Cubs game with some co-workers, I headed to Gregerson's pad, where the rooftop deck became a cornhole (or "bags," if you're wrong) battleground. There's nothing quite as enjoyable as day drinking on a 73-degree day without a cloud in the sky, while getting the shit kicked out of you in cornhole.
Afterward, I met Jester back at the homestead where we consumed a meal of food, then headed to Bucktown to some bar called Pint, where they have the balls to charge even more for the same pint of Newcastle I already pay too much for in Lincoln Park. Already there (anxiously awaiting our arrival, no doubt) were Christoff & Tradd, Dan & Noreen, Lutzow & Katie, and Kurt & Colleen. Timmy, the littlest Weeser*, also showed up. I put $5 in the jukebox, and as I was finishing up my song selections, one of the managers comes up to me and tells me that they are about to override the jukebox. In exchange for the $5 I just wasted, he gave me a "free" pint of Newcastle, which actually ended up being a better deal than if I had just paid for it from the bar. Disenchanted with the experience at Pint, several of us led the train a couple blocks to Piece for some live band karaoke. This turned out to be a grave error.
"This is ourselves, under pressure"
The karaoke list was revised, probably so that I would never again be able to butcher "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." I would not be deterred, however. For a while I toyed with singing "Dead Flowers," one of my favorite Rolling Stones songs, and a song that I know almost entirely by heart. Instead, Kurt and I decided that we would perform Queen and David Bowie's seminal collaboration, "Under Pressure." I was to be Freddy Mercury (minus the AIDS) and he was to be David Bowie (minus the androgyny). Kurt and I were confident that we were going to blow the crowd out of the water. Along with the new karaoke list is some sort of draconian rule that they don't give out lyric sheets before you get up on stage. It didn't matter, we thought, as we mercilessly mocked a group of three guys who didn't know the words to song I can't remember, in a world I can't forget. "If you're going to sing karaoke, know the fucking words," I said to Kurt, as he agreed with laughter. Karma's a filthy bitch.
"Watching some good friends screaming, 'Let me out!'"
Colleen, Kurt's wife, was clearly tired and was begging Kurt to go home. Like Jo-Jo the Idiot Circus Boy, I told Kurt that he couldn't leave yet because we hadn't sung our song. I pleaded with Colleen to just give love one more chance. She did. She was in for a treat, I told her. It was going to be mind blowing, I told her. Kurt and I were soon to be golden gods, I told her. What neither of us knew at the time was that I was lying about everything. In fact, I would say that my lying was so abhorrent as to constitute gross negligence. She may be entitled to punitive damages. Something has to be done to punish us for what I'm about to tell you.
Kurt and I stormed the stage like two cocksure English soldiers in a Fourteenth Century Scottish village, ready to rape and murder the audience -- with song. The bass line kicked in, and I was fully erect. I think we got "Pressure, pushing down on me" out, and then after that it was an exhibition in aural hemorrhaging. It turns out that I don't know "Under Pressure" as well as I thought, and my ability to distinguish while on stage between the Freddy Mercury parts and the David Bowie parts is on par with my ability to write a short weekend recap. Adding to that, I think the lyrics sheet they gave us was wrong, or I possibly had a stroke on stage. We sang a total of maybe 3 or 4 lines of the song. It was so bad that the guys in the band started singing the lead to get us on course. It didn't help. Were it not for the music playing, I'm sure the silence in the bar would have been deafening. "Who are these fucking assholes?" is probably what I would have remarked had I been watching, or maybe "Why would you do that?" while trying to hold back tears of intense sorrow and shame.
When the song ended, both Kurt and I were apologizing profusely to the crowd, who for some reason had not booed us off the stage. To call it a catastrophe would be a disservice to the word "catastrophe." I apologize to anyone who was at Piece, to anyone who might have been walking by Piece while we were on stage, to Jessie for having to be married to me, to Kurt for believing in his ability to sing the Bowie parts, to Colleen for making her and Kurt stay so that we could sing, and most importantly, to Queen and David Bowie for butchering their song worse than Robert Van Winkle ever could have. It truly is the terror of knowing what this world is about. Of course now I can recite the lyrics.
"Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking"
I didn't sleep well Saturday night. The night terrors were back. I had dreams about people with handlebar mustaches and different colored eyes stabbing me in the throat, explaining that it was "for [my] own good."
Sunday morning I woke up vowing to change my image from karaoke assassin to zoo patron. Luckily it was 80+ degrees, sunny, and not humid, so Jester and I took a walk to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is just one of the many wonderful cost-free options available to anyone and everyone in Chicago. From beaches to museums to parks to world-renowned architecture at every turn, it's no wonder that Chicago is a finalist for the 2016 Summer Olympics bid. Even if we don't get the bid, us Chicagoans will get along alright because of our easygoing, fun-loving Midwestern attitude.
The zoo was cool. I saw a huge ass camel.
On the way back, Jester and I stopped at a 7-11 to get Slurpees. It was apparently a very influential decision. In a one-block span, we convinced at least eight people to get Slurpees without even saying a word. My newfound status as zoo patron undoubtedly helped. I think I even heard one hot girl say to her equally hot friend, "Ooh, we should get Slurpees." Then her friend asked (quite fairly), "But isn't that the guy who assassinated 'Under Pressure' last night at Piece?" Then the first girl said, "That was so yesterday. Today he went to the zoo." Then they started making out.
Def Leppard, Styx, and Foreigner
Def Leppard is coming to town again this summer, bringing with them Styx and Foreigner. Last summer I saw Def Leppard and Journey. I wore a sleeveless Def Leppard Union Jack t-shirt. I had a great time. Two summers ago I saw Def Leppard and Bryan Adams. I wore a sleeveless Def Leppard Union Jack t-shirt. I had a great time. This year's show is Saturday June 30 at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park. I will wear a sleeveless Def Leppard Union Jack t-shirt. I will have a great time. Lawn seats are $13.50. Can't beat that with a . . . Styx. Ah-thank you.
First Three Albums of the Day
-Led Zeppelin - III
-Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob
-Mötley Crüe - Too Fast For Love