Happy Veterans Day, you war-fighting bastards.
So, I haven't done a weekend recap in a while, but this weekend was full of enough ups and downs to merit discussion on the World Wide Web.
On Friday, I left work a little early to get a haircut. Jester was acting all weird and said she needed to go help Tracey take her car to the shop, or some shit like that. I wasn't really listening.
So there I am, minding my own business doing squat thrusts to take out my frustration over the backlash from my "favorite season" poll, and Jester opens our back door and says, "Honey, I have a surprise for you." Knowing her family's pension for dognapping, I legitimately said, "it better not be another dog." Twas no dog, indeed. But rather, a daaawwwwwgggggg. That's right, the surprise was none other than former Room 217 roommate Kevin "Y to the Izay, Yeh to the Dizay" Yeh, who had flown up from North Carolina (aka, North Cakalaki, as people down there call it) to see the final performance of "No Offense, Assh*le." A pleasant surprise, indeed, and I didn't have to strangle a dog. Again.
As expected, we immediately cracked open some beers and played some Madden on the Wii. You'll be happy to know that the '85 Bears defeated the '01 Rams (inaptly named "The Greatest Show on Turf") 85-44.
A little after 6, the D-town crew arrived: Holt, Katie "I, For Some Reason, Find a Way Not To Have Fun When I Come to Chicago" Miltner, and Dan "Piss and" Binegar. We soon all headed to Second City for the show.
I don't like to boast about the Second City student show that I wrote approximately 1/6 of, but I was overjoyed (and surprised) that No Offense, Assh*le sold out all five weeks, which makes it at least tied for the most successful Donny's Skybox show of all-time (and with the 7:30 time slot, no less). This last show sold out by Wednesday morning. WTF?
Thanks to everyone who came out to the show over the five weeks it ran, even the people who came to the second show and for some reason didn't laugh. Hopefully everyone thought the show was funny. This last show was videotaped, so hopefully we'll be able to put it up on YouTube within the next couple weeks.
In addition to Yeh, the D-town crew (and Binegar's friend Brian), and Jester, also in attendance at the last show were Christoff, Gregerson, Chenandler Bong, the Lutzows, the Brothers Weeser* (minus Greg, of course), Noreen, Andy "ATPW" White, his wife Andrea, and an army of people they brought (including, but not limited to, at least one Horan). Thanks for coming, and hopefully for laughing.
After the show -- which went pretty well -- we all headed across the street to Corcoran's for some drinks and eats (as has been the normal procedure over the past 5 weeks), and we left relatively early (midnight or so), since we were getting up for the IU/Northwestern game Saturday morning.
Upon our return home, Yeh and I had a rematch on the Wii. He was the AFC Hall of Fame team, and I was the NFC Hall of Fame team. It was a back-and-forth battle. I went up 24-17 late in the 4th, and he marched down the field and scored with less than 30 seconds left to make it 24-23. Rather than risk a Herb Adderley kickoff return for a touchdown or an inevitable overtime loss, he went for 2. It turns out that Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, and Ray Nitschke cannot stop Earl Campbell from 3 yards out. The final score read 25-24, AFC. I kicked Yeh out of my house, and then went to bed.
Saturday morning came, and with it the possibility of unrealized dreams: a seventh victory for IU, thus securing a bowl bid. A large group of us was going up to Evanston for the game, and we were to meet at my house at 8:45. The Gemkeezis, "Crazy Legs" Hirst, and my dad all showed up, as expected, and we headed north on the L to the game.
The game itself was a fucking catastrophe. Up 14-3 with about 5 minutes left in the first half and driving, Kellen Lewis got the wind knocked out of him and had to sit out a play. Rather than call a time out to get Lewis back in on a crucial 3rd and 6 from about midfield, IU put in backup QB Ben Chappell, a freshman. Rather than not call a play that would lead to an interception return for a touchdown, IU called a play in which Chappell locked his eyes on James Hardy and threw a ball in Hardy's general direction in the flat, right into the arms of a Northwestern defender, who scampered into the endzone. Chappell was in for one play and he did the only thing he absolutely could not do.
The second half was not much better. Northwestern went up 24-14, then IU came back to make it 28-24 with 5:34 left, then Northwestern marched down the field and scored with 44 seconds left to make it 31-28. IU was driving and was at the Northwestern 34 (i.e., probably within field goal range), when Kellen Lewis got sacked and tried to throw the ball away. Even though his arm was coming forward, they called it a fumble, and IU lost on what was about the eighth huge bad call by the refs. It was more annoying than when you go to the bathroom at work and one ply of the industrial 2-ply toilet paper is staggered half a square off from the other ply, so nothing ever lines up when you tear off the toilet paper, leaving you to either rip one of the plies in the middle of the square or try to deal with a dangling extra half-square of one of the plies, neither of which is a satisfactory option. Seriously, 2-ply toilet paper assembly line worker, it's your only fucking job to make sure both plies line up. For most people, the only thing they have to look forward to during their entire work day is the solitude that comes with the one to five times they take a dump. Don't take that away from us.
But I digress. Essentially, everything that could have gone wrong for IU's bowl hopes did go wrong on Saturday. If IU had won, it would have been IU's 7th victory, assuring itself of a bowl berth. However, Northwestern's win gave it 6 victories, thus making it bowl eligible. Michigan State won at Purdue, giving MSU 6 victories, making it bowl eligible. Illinois's victory over Ohio State means that the Big Ten will not be getting 2 BCS bids (which would have freed up another bowl spot for Big Ten teams). Now there are 10 bowl-eligible teams in the Big Ten for 7 bowl tie-in slots. Sweet. Leave it to IU to become bowl eligible for the first time in 13 years and still not make a bowl. (There will be more about this in a later post.)
After the game, Holt went out boozing with his law school peeps, Binegar went to Wicker Park to mug some hipsters, Katie (who didn't even go to the game) went to dinner with some gregarious middle-aged Greek men and then later went to a board game party with twentysomthing non-Greeks of both genders, and the rest of us went to Tradd's special ladyfriend Kara's house for Turkey Day -- a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving style feast, which has since been renamed Fakesgiving. (Nice work, Cowie -- AbbreviNation appreciates your efficiency.)
As you can imagine, Fakesgiving is awesome: a 29-pound turkey, seemingly unlimited mashed potatoes, gallons of gravy, various other side dishes and casseroles, and several different pumpkin-based desserts. We gorged ourselves as only Americans truly know how to do.
After Fakesgiving, Yeh, Jester, and I headed back home, where Holt met us. The three gents headed out to Wrightwood Tap to meet Gregerson (also fresh from Fakesgiving) and his buddy Nick. It was slammed, so we only stayed for one beer, and Yeh, Holt, and I headed to Rocks, which was even more slammed, so we headed to Paddy Long's, where we watched some rugby and drank some Tetley's. I felt so damn British, or at least like an ex-pat.
Neither Yeh nor I were satisfied with leaving our Madden series at a 1-1 tie, so we all left Paddy Long's after a couple beers and headed back to my house, where Holt fell asleep on one couch while trying to watch the Hawai'i/Fresno State game on the second TV as Yeh and I battled it out on the main TV. Thus, Holt didn't get to see Colt Brennan get annihilated by Fresno State linebacker Marcus Riley. This time Yeh and I switched up teams, and I was the AFC Hall of Famers, while he was the NFC. This was a much more high-scoring affair than the first AFC/NFC match-up, and I came out on top. I don't remember the final score, but I do know that I scored more than 60. When I triumphantly crawled (read: jumped) into bed, Jessie was so proud of my win that she screamed at the top of her lungs.
Sunday morning, I drove Yeh to Midway, then returned and went back to bed for a while. Around noon, the D-town crew, Jester, and I went to S&G for some breakfast and subpar service, after which they headed back to Dayton, and Jester and I headed over to the Lutzows for some chili and Bears game watching. Rex "The Sex Cannon" Grossman appears to have regained his starting position, at least for a quarter or two.
All in all, aside from the IU debacle, it was a hell of a weekend. And I promise I'll get to the long-overdue final installments of It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Wurst of Times this week.