I hurt myself this weekend.
At 4:45 on Friday -- 15 minutes before I was to meet Jessie, Ari, and Kara to go to Gregerson's going away party for his now former job -- I get a call from a partner, who starts out the conversation with, "Before I say anything else, I just want to say that I would always dread it when partners would call me at 4:45 on a Friday afternoon . . ." Given the fact that I had been proverbially shit on twice in the previous seven days, I was expecting the worst. Luckily he just had a quick question, which leads me to wonder why he couldn't have just said "Hey, I have a quick question" instead of giving me heart palpitations.
So I made it out just before 5, and we headed over to Mother Hubbard's, where Gregerson's now former company was throwing him a going away party to make up for the fact that his position was eliminated as the result of a merger. A couple hundred dollars worth of free drinks for him and his friends would certainly do the trick.
Once the well ran dry, we all hopped in some cabs and headed up to Lincoln Park with intentions of going to Chi-Town Tap for $1 bottles. Unfortunately several hundred other people had the same idea, so there was a line to get it. Since we don't wait in lines, we headed a couple doors down to The Rose, which is a sweet dive bar. While there, we met a 72-year-old man named Don, who looked closer to 172 and claimed to be "the fastest man in the world." After I beat him in a footrace, he explained what he meant. Essentially, his shtick is that you hold a quarter in your palm and he takes it off before you can close your hand. It's a simple trick, but it's still fun to see a 72-year-old man believe that he's amazing a bunch of upper-twentysomethings who are otherwise scared that he might die.
I then struck up a conversation with Don and his equally antediluvian paramour Barbara. Unsurprisingly they live in the senior apartments that dominate the west side of Sheffield between Diversey and Wrightwood. After I told them I was an attorney (a word of advice -- never tell anyone you're an attorney, ever), they gave me some sob story and showed me some paperwork about state medical benefits that I didn't understand. I then wrote down an ambiguous phone number for them to call, and we all had a good laugh (our reasons for laughter being quite different).
After The Rose, it was to The Vu, to which we arrived before they started charging cover for the night (I don't know if that's good or bad). Soon after we got there, I needed to go to the ATM, so I went to the 7-11 next door. On the way out, I had the pleasure of seeing a group of three underagers get denied at the door. One of them was wearing a t-shirt that some people at IU made a few years ago after IU was named #1 party school. It said "Dry Campus" on the front and "My Ass" on the back with "America's Number One Party School" below that. When I confronted this youngster about his "IU shirt," he told me that it was a DePaul shirt, and I had to hold myself back, choosing to go ahead to the ATM as planned rather than force this kid into a coma with a devastating Camel Clutch.
After 8 hours of drinking, Jester and I decided to call it a night, headed to Los Tres Panchos for a burrito and steak nachos, respectively, and then headed home.
I awoke at 9:30 Saturday morning, showered, cried, ate breakfast, and around 10:30 headed up to the Cubby Bear, where I met the likes of Goni (little), Wood, Wells, Gsell, Shemmer (big), Reising (little), Tron, his friend Shane, and Gemkow (middle). All of us were going to the Cubs/Reds game, which started at 12:05, although Tron, Shane, Gemkow and I were sitting separately from the others.
The game itself was mediocre. It was cold. The Cubs won 7-0. As an Astros fan, it's too early in the season for me to know which team I should be rooting against. As a Sox fan, I don't care one way or the other, but would always rather see the Cubs lose. Bears wide receiver Bernard Berrian sang the Seventh Inning Stretch and may or may not have done a good job. The highlight for me was sneaking into the pictures the drunk couple in front of us kept taking of themselves. Peering over their shoulder, we saw them review their pictures, and it's very GMYH heavy.
After the game, Tron, Shane, Gemkow, and I walked a few blocks to the Dark Horse Pub, where we enjoyed Newcastle drafts that were cheaper than Miller Lite cans at Cubby Bear. While at the Dark Horse, the USOC announced that Chicago will get the USOC's Olympic bid for the 2016 summer games, which obviously brought the house down. Did you really think Richard Daley would allow another city to win the USOC bid? As you might expect, the first song played after the bid was announced was "Darlington County" by Bruce Springsteen. Apparently the good folks at the Dark Horse associate Chicago's Olympic bid with a song about a county in South Carolina by a man from New Jersey. I kindly asked the bartender to play "Sweet Home Chicago," and my request was honored.
At some point, I decided to honor my promise to Jessie that I would be home by 4, arriving home at 3:59 on the dot. Once I got home, I took a shower and choked some of Tattaglia's men to death. I have risen to the rank of Enforcer in the Corleone family, and I just met Michael. Seems like a good egg.
At 6:30, Jessie and I met Kyla, Alex, Tracey, and Ari at Cesar's (the one on Clark) for some killer margaritas and Mexican food. It was about this time that Kyla gave me what seemed like a never-ending string of Midwestern Eavesdroppings (stay tuned for Thursday). Several margaritas and a giant burrito later, we headed up to the Holiday Club up in Uptown. Having never been there before, it's a pretty cool place. Very retro. The jukebox is good. The video bowling is interesting. And they have a photo booth. This was all awesome until some asshole decided to play some awful 15-minute song by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Why is that even an option on any jukebox?
Disoriented and confused, we headed up to Lincoln Square to Carola's Hansa Clipper to see one of Gemkeezi's many brothers, Pat, who was playing an acoustic set there. While there, the line between drunkenness and reality began to blur, although I do remember the guy playing before Pat imploring the audience to "try to name an AC/DC song where the title and the chorus aren't the same." I couldn't think of one, so I just had some Warsteiner Dunkel instead.
Since the Gemkows travel in packs, there were various Gemkow cousins there as well, including one who bore (and probably still bears) a strong resemblance to a young Matt Damon, which might explain why the Gemkows there were named Marky, Ricky, Danny, Terry, Mikey, Davey, Timmy, Tommy, Joey, Robby, Johnny, and Brian. Again, that's Marky, Ricky, Danny, Terry, Mikey, Davey, Timmy, Tommy, Joey, Robby, Johnny, and Brian. Oh, and Will.
Anywho, the show was a good time. It was a nice intimate venue, and the Dunkel never -- and I mean never -- hurts. I am unable to confirm whether Jessie and I took a cab home or flew back. Either one seems plausible.
Sunday Jester and I took Harley -- who I am slowly attempting to rename Butters -- to Lincoln Park (the actual park, not the neighborhood where asshole like me live) to chase some squirrels and generally work herself into a tizzy. At one point, she chased a squirrel up a tree with a fairly horizontal trunk (tree pictured to the left), and then tried to commit suicide after she didn't catch it, jumping from about 8 feet up to the ground. No physical injuries ensued, luckily.
We also saw a woman (I think) who I will dub the Pigeon Queen. She was surrounded by dozens of pigeons, probably because she's the type of whackjob who carries around a bag of bird seed feeding pigeons. She also had several that were perched on her shoulders and head. Yes, she actually allowed these rats with wings to stand on her head. But then again, that's why she's the Pigeon Queen and not a functioning member of human society.
By the time we got back from the Park, I only had a couple hours to write my sketch before my Second City class. The assignment was to write a sketch based on a historical figure, but it couldn't be a media parody (thus, my idea of a Charles Manson as a Dating Game contestant will have to wait). So mine was about a guy whose girlfriend breaks up with him, and then he prays to God to send him a guardian angel to help him with his relationship problems. BAM! Enter Jeffrey Dahmer. (And yes, Dahmer's ascent to heaven is duly explained.) The advice Dahmer gives is fairly unorthodox, but it comes from the heart. Unfortunately I didn't have time to edit the sketch, so it was a little rough in certain places. Apparently others don't find references to "making love to the corpse of a 19-year-old Marquette student" in the context of dating advice as funny as I do. I believe the phrase "you're going to hell" was uttered at least once by my classmates. After class, the class headed to Burton Place for a couple drinks. Because I don't learn from my mistakes, I accompanied them. Interestingly, we kept talking about Dahmer and the sketch and other possible sketches involving Dahmer. Given that discussion, it's quite possible that I will write and entire stage show called "That's So Dahmer," involving everyone's favorite cannibalistic serial killer getting himself into hilarious situations. Oh, that's sooo Dahmer. I hope you realize that I'm not in any way joking about this.
Yesterday, obviously the big news was the tragic massacre at Virginia Tech. I don't have much to say about the event itself, aside from the fact that my heart goes out to the families of the victims, as well as the students, faculty, and administration at the school.
What I will comment on are some of President Bush's comments following the shooting. This was actually the first reaction I read from Bush early yesterday afternoon after the shootings: "The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said. I'm glad to hear that one of the first things our President thinks to say upon learning of the worst mass shooting in US history is that he believes the guy who just murdered 32 people with a gun (or guns) had the right to own that gun (or guns). As far as I could tell, the Second Amendment debate really wasn't an issue yesterday. I'm sure it will be in the near future (i.e., today), but yesterday the last thing on my mind was "Hmm, you know, I don't defend what the shooter did, but I sure as hell defend his right to do it." I was more thinking -- and maybe I'm an aberration -- "Wow, I can't even imagine how horrifying it must have been for students to be chained in a building while a gunman ran rampant. My heart goes out to the university and families." You stay classy, George Bush. Then again, words have never been your strong point.
But that does beg the question: How many times does this type of thing have to happen before Congress steps up and bans assault weapons or handguns? Once more? Five more times? Is there anyone left who actually thinks unlimited access to assault weapons or handguns is a good thing? Is there any good reason why I should be able to walk into a gun store or a gun show and buy a Glock on the spot? And I know one of the suggested "solutions" is to crack down more on people who commit crimes with guns, but I fail to see how that could possibly help in a situation like this or Columbine or the Amish school shooting or any of the fucking dozens of occasions when a mass murderer commits (and plans to commit) suicide. Furthermore, making punishment more harsh when a crime is committed with a gun doesn't stop crazy, nor would it deter murder (it's hard to add anything more to life in prison or the death penalty), nor would it deter the 11-year-old from stealing guns from home and taking them to school (like Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1998). In the never-more-relevant words of Cypress Hill, "Here is something you can't understand, how I could just kill a man."
Last night, several older (at least older than me) Pi Kapps ("Crazy Legs" Hirst, Sanders, Schmidt) and I went out to dinner after work to a place called Bruna's in the Lower West Side, in old Little Italy, which I think is now Pilsen. Anyway, the restaurant was really good. It's been a while since I've had really good Italian food. I ordered gnocchi, which is always a risk because my grandma made the best gnocchi in the history of civilization, and no gnocchi I've had has ever been as good as hers. Last night was no exception, although this stuff was pretty good, and certainly better than most other attempts.
On the L this morning some jackass was blaring country music from his i-Pod. It couldn't have been healthy. People, if your headphones are turned up so loud that you can't hear anything else, including others asking you to turn it down, then your headphones are turned up too high.
While reading various coverage of the Virginia Tech thing, I came across an interesting blog post from a guy who was in a playwriting class with the shooter last year. There are links to a couple of Seung Cho's one-act plays he did for class. He wasn't very funny. In fact, I'd say that his plays were the antithesis of funny. "Richard McBeef" was disturbing, with the sophistication of an angry junior high student. Even worse, his play entitled "Mr. Brownstone" had nothing to do with getting up around seven and getting out of bed around nine, and very little about kicking a mean old motherfucker on down the line. Frankly, it sucked.
First Three Albums of the Day - Monday
-Thin Lizzy - Johnny The Fox
-Kings of Leon - Because Of The Times-The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
First Three Albums of the Day - Tuesday
-Cypress Hill - Cypress Hill-The White Stripes - De Stijl-Kiss - Dressed to Kill