At some point Friday, a car carrying three people who live in southwestern Ohio arrived in Chicago. Those three people were and are: Jamie "Don't Call Me Jaime" Belanger; John "Don't Call Me Ashcroft" Ashcraft, show here ejecting several gallons of Tang and ground beef all over my steps during a September 2005 attempt to drink 30 beers in 8 hours; and Terrence "Don't Call Me By My Last Name Because You Don't Know It." In addition, a man known only as "Blonder" had arrived earlier. The four of them, along with Tron, invaded Shedd Aquarium. I toiled away at work while they swam with dolphins, sang with belugas, flew with penguins, and played catch with komodo dragons.
After I got done with work, they met me at my house, and we headed to Chi-Town Tap for some $1 bottles and $2 burgers. Also joining us throughout the course of the night were Jester, Ari, Mag Dog (who informed me that she was visitor # 50,000, although I have yet to see proof), Christoff, and Gregerson.
For the first couple hours we were there, we were just about the only people in the bar, which is an indication that DePaul is out for the summer, since the bar is a haven for underagers. It does offer $1 bottles on a Friday, after all.
Anyway, I say we were "just about" the only people in the bar because there was some dude in there who didn't know where the bathrooms were. We politely directed him to them, thinking nothing of it. Apparently, he thought more of it than we did. Enter Hank. Hank was so gracious that he brought a bucket of beer over to our table and made himself at home. He claimed to be 29, although he looked closer to 37. He is from Cleveland, although he came off as more Brooklyn than Cleveland. He recently "moved to the area," which I assumed meant that he had just moved to Chicago, but he meant only that he had recently moved to Lincoln Park. He claims to live at an address that is right across the street from Christoff. Among Hank's attributes were that he breaks the filters off cigarettes to smoke them and he is a big Browns fans. Several of us jokingly suggested that, now that the Browns signed Jamal Lewis, he can't run for 500 yards a season against them. His reaction suggested that he may murder us if we again dare disparage the great name of the Cleveland Browns. He might have been carrying brass knuckles. Within a half hour of him sitting at our table and intimidating us into not being assholes to him, he asked me, "we're friends, right?" How could I say "no"? Guys, he would have cut me ear to ear had I done so. Anyway, we played some drinking games with Hank, and as the bar filled up, he found other people to creep the fuck out, returning now and then to hang out with his "buddies."
Apparently the attractive girls at DePaul go home for the summer and the bat shit nuts girls stick around and troll bars for a dick to sit on -- any dick. One such girl was Perky! Perky!'s build resembled that of a shithouse made of bricks -- although her tank top indicated that she did not care -- and her accent was possibly Kenoshan or Racinian, with an outside chance of being Beloitian. She was a caricature of a woman I'd never like to meet again. Imagine your mom, but 35 years younger, 35 pounds heavier, and 35 times more excited about anything and everything in the entire world. Remember when Christina Applegate hosted SNL and there was that fake shampoo infomercial, Focus on Beauty, where Christina Applegate portrayed Cher and Chris Farley played a woman who kept saying, "I'm so excited!" That was actually Perky!, and not cosmetics guru Lori Davis. As expected, Perky! took an immediate liking to John. After knowing him for less than three minutes, she proclaimed, quite boisterously, "Oh my God, you're handsome, you're smart, you're successful. You should be on The Bachelor!!" As if that wasn't enough, she explained why she was out that night (and presumably every night): "Because I'm" (she pauses to raise her hands straight up in the air -- a beer in one and her dignity in the other) "Single and . . . ready to mingle!!"
At one point, she felt the need to come over to the other table, where Jamie, Christoff, Gregerson, and I were sitting. Jamie quipped that he invented the Segway. Perky! was unaware of the Segway's existence, since I'm guessing she bunny hops everywhere, or maybe uses a pogo stick. After I told her I lived in Phoenix, she asked me, "Oh my God, do you know who you look like?" I, of course, responded "Yes," since I assumed she was going to say Tom Cruise, Ace Frehley, Jesus, or Tiny "Zeus" Lister. Instead, you can imagine my mixed emotions when she said, "Rex Grossman!" I do? She tried to explain why that was a compliment, between my sobbing and boxing my own ears, I couldn't tell if she had any valid arguments. As she walked away, Christoff said, "Well that's funny because you look like Brian Urlacher."
With Hank and Perky! runnin' 'round Chi-Town Tap, we decided that perhaps a change of venue was in order. Thus, we headed to Rocks before we (a) got shanked by Hank (damn, I just realized "Shank" would be a great nickname for Hank) or (b) got murdered with excitement!
After Rocks, we got some pizzas from Papa Romeo's, and watched Bob Barker's last show of The Price is Right. Since when is a grill, a Mediterranean cruise, and a Cadillac convertible worth over $91,000?
Saturday morning I woke up with a sweet hangover and a little card from the mailman indicating that a piece of certified mail was waiting for me at the Post Office. So Jester and I headed over there. Having no idea why I would be getting certified mail, I was kind of excited. Sweet mother of God, let this be a lesson to all of you who get unexpected certified mail. In the envelope was a nice montage of pictures of me. Driving 71 in a 45 mph construction zone on the Dan Ryan. Minimum fine? $375. And I have to take a day off work to go to court. In Bridgeview (which, for you non-Chicagoans, is way the hell south of where I live). So heed my advice: DO NOT SPEED IN CONSTRUCTION ZONES IN ILLINOIS because they have photo enforcement cameras all over the state.
At least Kelvin Sampson and the Hoosiers got a commitment from Devin Ebanks, the #11 recruit for the incoming senior class, Saturday morning. That made the morning a little more tolerable.
Around noon, Tron, Terrence, John, Jamie, Blonder, and I headed to Wrigley to watch the Padres game. And quite a game it was. First off, Kyle "Kice Millay" Miller and his wife Laura and brother Jeff were randomly in town from Indy for the game, so Jamie and I chatted with them for a half inning.
Second, there was a sweet bench-clearing brawl after Derrek Lee took a swing at Padres pitcher Chris Young.
Third, Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano (who for some reason took off his belt during the brawl) had a no-hitter going through 7 1/3 innings. Of course he gave up a solo homerun in the 9th for the complete game loss.
But the highlight of the game was the bet that Jamie couldn't finish a half bag of cotton candy in one at bat. I'll be damned if that Canadian-American can't shove sugar fluff down his throat. As you can see, chicks dig a guy who can do so.
After the game, we met up with Morgan, Tracey, Ari, Jester, Mag Dog, and some of her friends at Dark Horse for a couple beers, some food, and for some reason, some Jager Bombs at 4pm. Beware, pints of Fat Tire at Dark Horse are $9.
Saturday evening, we went to Piece for some pizza, beer, and live band karaoke. Gregerson, Ms. Chenandler Bong, and I sang "Talk Dirty to Me" by Poison. The crowd was invigorated, so much that someone felt the need to order a round of Jameson shots after we were all good and drunk. I'm not sure if it was a good idea, but I know I didn't puke. But that also might be because I'm not sure if I took a shot or not. Also at Piece were fellow LT Class of '96ers Pat "Don't Call Me Bundy" Budny, Tom "Don't Call Me Dave" Ivaska, and Kate "Don't Call Me Katie" Jeter. They seem to be doing well. Another highlight of the night was some femme fatale singing "Hot for Teacher" by Van Halen. She was awesome. On the way out, I gave her a "nice job," at which time I realized that her (possibly lesbian girl)friend had the coolest purse of all-time: made from the Def Leppard High 'n' Dry LP. Very nice.
After Piece, Ashcraft, Jamie, Ari, and I played some Wii while Jessie slept.
Sunday morning came too quickly. We all went to Wishbone for breakfast. Another lesson learned: drinking a milkshake before breakfast severely inhibits your ability to eat an omelet.
After the gang headed back to Porkopolis, Jester and I took our bikes out for a nice ride up and down the lakefront bike path. Then we hit up Gregerson's rooftop for some cornhole and some beers.
I went to bed around 9:30, which means I got a good 9 hours of sleep. It didn't catch me up.
Has anyone introduced Pacman Jones and Lindsey Lohan to each other yet?
I skipped trivia because I had stuff to do. While the team was busy getting sixth place in my absence, Jester and I were at Jewel (the Chicagoland grocery store, not the Alaskan singer-songwriter), where Jester encountered a shopper walking around smoking a cigar, as if he were in some sort of posh smoking club, rather than a giant store filled with food.
Work. Softball. Sleep.
I received The White Stripes' new album, Icky Thump, which I ordered a couple days ago. I had it shipped to my office. Do you know how hard it was for me not to listen to it? Damn me and my silly alphabetical journey through my extensive and eclectic compact disc collection. God, I don't envy me right now. Or ever, for that matter