Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Don't Stop Me Know" by Queen

Every now and then, the Supreme Court does the right thing.  Here's to those of you who can now legally get married and share in your spouses benefits, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Wireless Network Names, Part 3

So the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last night.  I'm still not sure how the score went from 2-1 Boston to 3-2 Hawks in the matter of 17 seconds, but it was another hell of a celebration.  While there wasn't a makeshift Cup that I drank beer out of and I didn't get beer sprayed in my eye this year, I learned from my celebratory mistakes in 2010, which ensured that this time, I wasn't still drunk at noon the next day while trying to avoid any and all contact with co-workers.  I only stayed out until 1, rather than 3, and Vampire Monet did not make an appearance (although that had more to do with the fact that Jester wasn't here, and that the humor is generally lost on Harley).  Nonetheless, I woke up this morning feeling like someone had given my stomach the business end of a sock full of quarters.  I guess combining good beer, shitty beer, whiskey, champagne, Irish car bombs, and two types of chicken wings has real life consequences.  Live and learn for next time.

All of this has nothing to do with today's Tuesday Top Ten, which is another list of hilarious and weird wireless network names that I have come across as an iPhone user (see also part one from June 2012 and part two from November 2012).  These are in alphabetical order.

1.  225 west of yo ass
2.  Ass_Lord_of_the_North
4.  BadMuthaFucker
5.  C&C Music Factory
6.  CIA Van #3
7.  dicks
8.  Mark It Zero
9.  nofatties
10.  your mom goes to college

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Chain Reaction"

I recently saw this old dandy of a note posted by someone on Facebook:
1. Put your music library on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write that song title as the answer to the question, no matter how silly it sounds! Most of the time they seem to work, strangely enough.
4. Ok, go!

I did it a few years ago, but these things can lead to hilarious non sequiturs, and I'm all for that, so I decided to do it again. 

It's Hair Band Friday, so I'm doing this with only hair bands songs.  In case you have been absent for the last eight years, every Friday at work, I only listen to hair band music. Each Friday, I post a playlist with the first ten hair bands songs that crossed my iPod, with priority given to songs that I haven't posted yet.  I currently have 907 hair bands songs (nearly doubled since the last time I did this!), so yes, there are still many songs I haven't posted, and the playlists posted are only a smidgen of what I have actually rocked out to during the day.  But the benefit to you is that you get a HBF playlist every week with ten new songs.

The best part about Hair Band Friday is that I do all of this whilst combining the life of an '80s rock star with the doldrums of a corporate work environment.  I may not write about it every week like I used to do (click on the Hair Band Friday tag and go back to the posts from 2005 and 2006 for a disturbing look into my psyche), but that doesn't mean hijinx aren't going down every Friday (or should I say chicks?).  For instance, just this morning, Cyndi was in my office dressed up like Little Bo Peep, if Little Bo Peep only wore a blonde wig, chartreuse crotchless panties, and a butt plug.  Anyway, she was in the corner with Shemp, the sheep I let hang out in here sometimes.  It was pretty dark, so I don't know exactly what was going on, but all I heard was Cyndi say, "I've been a baaaaa-d girl."  Teach her a lesson, Shemp!  Meanwhile, I was mainlining Stoli to bring me down after snorting way to much blow off of Candi's chest, ass, and armpits (I have an armpit narcotics fetish).  After watching me take a few conference calls and do a little online research, she was wetter than a Bon Jovi album cover.  The only thing I could do to was crank some Ratt and make use of that sex swing I just had installed next to my credenza.  So I'm knuckle deep in Candi when Misti walks in (without knocking) and she's all, "Here are those copies you needed, Mr. Your Handrew."  Thing is, I didn't ask for any copies, so I take them with my free hand to figure out what this is all about, and it's just seventy-eight copies of Misti's ass.  She closes the door, and then she and Candi just start going at it like sorority girls on spring break.  While watching them, I banged every one of the copies of Misti's ass before tackling the real thing, smoking a j, and then bringing out the coat hangers.  Candi and Misti were both wearing floor-length leather dusters, and they wanted to take them off because it was getting hot, but they didn't want them to get wrinkled or covered in sheep semen, so they wanted to hang them up.  Completely understandable.  Shemp's control is, well, not great.  Happy Hair Band Friday, mothertruckers!

Anywho, here is my list.  I swear to you I did not cheat.  These were the first 21 songs that came across my iPod today.  17 and 18 are perfect.  9 is pretty spot-on as well, since there is no emotion in mathematics.

1] IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OK?" Girls Got Rhythm



4] HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? Life Sentence

5] WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE? Personal Property




9] WHAT IS 2+2? Without Love












21] WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?? Chain Reaction

Listen to Hair Band Friday - 6/21/13

Hair Band Friday - 6/21/13 by GMYH on Grooveshark

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shit I Hate: Uneven Toilet Paper Plies

Some people are apprehensive about taking a dump at work.  If I worked in a place where a Gargoyle and a Full Monty had been spotted, I might think twice about walking into a stall.  Thankfully, I don't share a work shitter with monsters, so these are not issues I have to deal with.  Between work, kids, the wife, the dog, and TV, sitting down on the pot at work is the only hour during the day I truly have to myself.

The toilet paper at work is not bad.  It is two-ply, which, by definition, is better than one ply, and its surface does not resemble sandpaper, so that's a plus.  However, every once in a while, something goes horribly wrong at the plant where elves put the two plies together, and one ply starts halfway down the first square of the other ply.  The result is bedlam.  Folding becomes a nightmare, as the two plies vie for supremacy, rather than working together.  One ply has four squares and the other has three, or you have to rip one square in half to try to match everything up, but that opens up the possibility of an uneven rip, and who can stand for that?  Basically, it's the worst thing that can happen in a toilet stall, short of that scene from Trainspotting.

And of course it's never going to change.  You might go a couple months where everything lines up, and you're feeling pretty good about your life, then all the sudden you walk into an ass-wiping apocalypse.  Complaining will get you nowhere.  The industrial toilet paper lobby is so far up Congress's ass it's not even funny (pun intended).  So, in the end (no pun intended), you're going to have to deal with that shit (pun intended), and I hate that.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Pies

10.  Shepherd's
9.  Blueberry
8.  Apple
7.  Chicken pot
6.  Pumpkin
5.  French silk
4.  Key lime
3.  Pecan
2.  Lemon meringue
1.  Cherry

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis

I know it's technically not "retro," but I hope to be hearing this many times tonight.  Go Blackhawks!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Things You Should Do to Get Blackhawks Stanley Cup Tickets

On the back of Patrick Kane's hat trick, the Blackhawks clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup finals with a win over the LA Kings Saturday night, setting up the first all-Original Six finals since 1979.  Game 1 is tomorrow night at 7 Central.  I was lucky enough to snag a single standing room only ticket when tickets went on sale, so needless to say, I'm pretty excited to be going to my first Stanley Cup game (or my first professional championship series game of any kind).

If you don't have a ticket, fear not.  You can get two for free.  You see, some d-bag on Craigslist is offering his tickets to Game 1 to the person who impresses him the most.  (Thanks to DBH for the link.)

Here's what the post says:
Hey Hawks fans, I have a pair of tickets for game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday at the UC. Got them from a client at the investment firm where I work. I cant make the game and I can't sell the tickets without getting a potential fine from the SEC. Shitty, I know.
No offense, I make a ton of money anyway. Sorry.
Anybody want these tickets? No cost, just service or item needed. I am single guy living the life. Do you have enough creativity to take these tickets off my hands? Make a video, send me an offer to meet, whatever works. Do not be shy. Let me know ASAP. Best offer gets the tickets. And keep in mind, I go cage diving with sharks, I am not impressed easily.
Email me your offer.

It seems unlikely that this guy actually has tickets, but you have to respect his opportunistic attempt to take advantage of desperate Hawks fans, essentially asking chicks to send him videos of themselves naked or perhaps meet him and engage in sexual intercourse, before he said, "Not impressed enough.  Sorry, chief."
But it got me to thinking:  if this is legit, what should you do get this guy's tickets?  Here are my suggestions:

1.  Just go ahead and make a video showing him your boobs.  We're talking Stanley Cup tickets here.

2.  Make a video:  Two Girls and a Stanley Cup.

3.  Make a video of you cage diving with sharks with laser beams attached to their heads.

4.  Offer him a white buffalo.  When he shows up, say the white buffalo ran away, but then offer him a snow globe.  Everyone likes snow globes.

5.  Offer to meet him, make him show you the tickets, tell him that you can make him come with one touch.  His curiosity will be piqued, and he'll probably let his guard down a little.  That's when you kick him in the balls, take the tickets, and say, "Did I say come?  I meant explode your balls.  Zing!"  Then dance a little bit.  Then run.  The cops are probably on their way.

6.  Offer to meet him, make him show you the tickets, and then paint a life-size oil-on-canvas of him as a centaur banging a unicorn.

7.  Offer to meet him, make him show you the tickets, and then kill him.

8.  Offer to meet him, make him show you the tickets, and then do like fifty somersaults in a row.  Then kill him.

9.  Offer to meet him, make him show you the tickets, and then kill him.  Make a video of it, and send it to him.
10.  Make a video of you reporting him to the SEC.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

A Little NBA Finals Music

Froggy Fresh is a DIY rapper, who was once featured in a Web Redemption on Tosh.0.  He is back with a new song, "Dunked On," just in time for the NBA Finals.  I appreciate the retro Bulls and Knicks jerseys.  Thanks to Weez for sending the link.  As he said, "You should look at Froggy Fresh as how you would have turned out had you stayed in Houston."  So basically, if I had staying in Houston, I would be a YouTube sensation.  Thanks, parents.

New Book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

After a short five months, I finally finished reading The Beatles by Bob Spitz.  It was excellent.  I don't think I'm saying anything controversial when I say that it is the definitive Beatles biography.  Spitz's research was extremely thorough, and there is a lot in this book that was not previously known.  It is well worth the time to read the nearly thousand pages in the book.  The biggest thing that I took away from the book was that John was more volatile and more of an asshole that I had previously believed.  Also, even if Paul now wants to revise history and say that Yoko didn't break up The Beatles, she (or, more appropriately, John's decision to allow her to come into the studio while The Beatles recorded, and offer unsolicited advice) certainly advanced the break-up and raised tensions between the band members.  But my takeaways from the book weren't all downers.  The book is a reminder of just how influential and monumental The Beatles were.  There are so many things in the music industry that are taken for granted that The Beatles pioneered, from music videos to using feedback to certain recording techniques, not to mention the actual music, which, of course, continues to influence musicians today.  I especially like that the book stopped when The Beatles broke up, rather than delve into the post-Beatles bickering and music -- not that the book could have handled any extra pages anyway.  The book is a must read for any Beatles fan, and probably for any rock and roll fan as well.

After 900+ pages, something shorter seemed like a zesty undertaking.  I decided to go with The Great Gatsby.  I figured it was timely, given the recent release (and relative flop) of the Baz Luhrmann-directed film adaptation of the book.  The last time I read The Great Gatsby was at some point in high school, when it was required reading for English class.  I remember very little about it, other than there are places called East Egg and West Egg, and that's because there is about a 25% chance I actually read it.  Back then, I pretty much despised any assigned reading, and, therefore, either skimmed or just didn't read the books that were assigned in class.  And for you kids out there, just know that I still got As and Bs in honors English, so it's possible to get good grades without doing all the work.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Books read in 2013:
The Beatles by Bob Spitz

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Summertime Girls" by Y&T

Y&T was an underrated LA-based hard rock and metal band, scoring several charting albums in the mid '80s and a few charting singles, but never quite making it over the hump into superstardom.  "Summertime Girls" is their highest-charting single, making it up to #55 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985, although it's not really a representation of the harder rocking nature of most of their music.  The video is spectacular, as only a hard rock party video could be before the spread of AIDS.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Midwestern Eavesdropping

That Rialto Square Theatre's full of shit, man. 
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Tuesday Top Ten: Chicago Street Festivals

Even if God doesn't quite know it, summer in Chicago is upon us, which means it's street fest season.  I'm sure street festivals are not unique to Chicago, but the frequency and tenacity of Chicago's street fests has to be one of a kind.  Chicagoans suffer through winter (and, in some years, spring -– looking your way, God) so that we can enjoy the shit out of summer, and the neighborhood street fest is one of the best ways to do that.  It's basically a block party for the whole neighborhood.  Who doesn't like drinking in the middle of a street?

From this past weekend until the last weekend in September, there will be well over 60 street festivals in Chicago's many neighborhoods, from as far north as Edgewater and Andersonville to as far south as Hyde Park.  Some fests revolve around a certain type of food, some revolve around a certain ethnicity, some revolve around art, some revolve around walking through gardens, some have live music, some have requested donations (which usually benefit a neighborhood association or a church), some are free, and all are pretty awesome. 

Here's how it generally works.  Over the course of a weekend, a major thoroughfare is blocked off.  Tents are erected on either side of the street, housing vendors of food and wares.  Trucks with taps in their sides are brought in to quench the inevitable thirst of fest goers.  A stage is set up at one end (or sometimes two ends) of the fest, where local and sometimes national performing acts play live music.  People gather on that street and drink, eat, and listen to music from late morning to 10 or 11 p.m. (when the City's noise ordinance kicks in). 

Jester and I have been enjoying street fests for nearly a decade, and it didn't really slow down when we had kids because pretty much every street fest has something for kids to do, whether it's rides, a moon walk, face painting, drawing, kids music, or just the thrill of running around in a street.

With that, I will give you my top ten favorite Chicago street fests.  I am not going to sit here and tell you that I've been to every street fest out there and obviously I tend to go to street fests in my neighborhood more often than in other neighborhoods, so if your favorite fest isn't on my list, don't hold it against me.  Frankly, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment and let me know which ones you like, since I'm always up for going to a new and exciting street fests.  I'm not counting the big festivals in Grant Park (Blues Fest, Taste of Chicago, Jazz Fest, etc.), music festivals (Lolla, Pitchfork, North Coast), or festivals where you have to pay a steep admission fee (Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party) because I really don't consider those to be true neighborhood street fests.  Also, I'm not counting suburban fests, since that's not what this list is about.

For a complete guide to the City's festivals, Metromix has a really good rundown here.  Metromix also has a guide to suburban festivals

Here are my top ten Chicago street fests.  In parentheses, I am including the cross streets of the fest, the neighborhood, the date, and the suggested donation for admission, if any.

10.  Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival (Sheffield and Belmont, Lakeview, May 25-26, $5)
While I consider Maifest (see #1 below) the first big street fest of the year, technically, the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival is earlier.  It's a good excuse to get out over Memorial Day weekend (not that you need an excuse), featuring cover bands and the occasional tribute band.

9.  Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival (Racine and Webster, Lincoln Park, June 29-30, $5)
This is a relatively new festival (only in its fifth year), and we stumbled upon it last year.  It's a little bit smaller and more low key than other street fests.  As the name implies, it involves art and music.  This year's headliners are former Barenaked Lady Steven Page and Howie Day, but don't miss Super Happy Fun Club, who are playing at 5:45 that Sunday night.

8.  Guinness Oyster Fest (Damon and Roscoe, Roscoe Village, September 7, $7)
Where else can you drink Guinness and eat oysters in the middle of the street?  The musical lineup hasn't been released yet for this year's fest, but they usually have some pretty decent bands.

7.  Old Town Art Fair (Lincoln and Wisconsin, Lincoln Park/Old Town, June 8-9, $7)
Not to be confused with the Wells Street Art Festival, which happens the same weekend a couple blocks away, the Old Town Art Fair lets you walk through the tree-lined residential streets of southern Lincoln Park (technically not Old Town) while looking at local and regional artists' work in various media.  It's a little hoity toity, but I think it probably has the most scenic backdrop, as it's not actually on a major street, but rather in front of rows of million-dollar houses, most of which are over a hundred years old.

6.  German-American Fest (Lincoln and Leland, Lincoln Square, September 6-8, free)
This provides a great bookend to street fest season with Maifest (see #1 below), and it's always the weekend after Labor Day.  Like Maifest, it involves big tents, German music, German beer, and sausage.

5.  Taste of Randolph Street (Randolph and Peoria, West Loop, June 14-16, $10)
In addition to having pretty good food from a variety of West Loop restaurants, Taste of Randolph Street generally has really good music.  I saw The Hold Steady there a couple years ago.  This year's lineup includes Divine Fits, The Joy Formidable, and JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound.

4.  Taste of Lincoln Avenue (Lincoln and Fullerton, Lincoln Park, July 27-28, $10)
I have fond memories (or lack thereof) of this street fest from when I move back to Chicago.  This is always a pretty big party, with four stages of music along a quarter-mile stretch of Lincoln that is lined with bars and restaurants.  This year, Loverboy is headlining!

3.  Sheffield Garden Walk (Sheffield and Webster, Lincoln Park, July 20-21, $7 before 3 p.m. and $10 after 3 p.m.)
While there is apparently a garden walk associated with this street fest, I have never been on or known anyone who has been on said walk.  Why look at someone's flowers when you can listen to great music in the parking lot of St. Vincent DePaul?  There is usually a past-its-prime '80s or '90s band that headlines and some pretty good up-and-comers that play throughout the day.  I saw Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears there a few years ago in the middle of the day.  This year's Sunday night headliner is Poi Dog Pondering, and the Saturday night headliner will be announced June 17.  Also, for those of you with kids, there is a whole block (Kenmore, between Webster and Belden) devoted to kids stuff.

2.  Ribfest Chicago (Lincoln, Damen, and Irving Park, North Center, June 7-9, $5)
While it doesn't have the size, scope, or magnitude of rock bands of Naperville's Ribfest, Ribfest Chicago has become one of my favorite street fests over the last couple years.  As the name implies, it is all about BBQ, with over 20 vendors from Chicago and beyond smoking up various meats.  And they usually get some pretty good bands, too.  Last year, they had J. Roddy Walston & The Business and The Features, and The Features are returning this year as well.

1.  Maifest (Lincoln and Leland, Lincoln Square, May 30-June 2, free)
This is the first big street fest every year.  And to be clear, I'm talking about the one in Lincoln Square, not the imposter that happens in Lakeview a week or so earlier.  The real Maifest is always the weekend after Memorial Day, and it is always a blast.  You can listen to oopma bands while drinking a liter of Hofbräu Original, munching on a brat or thüringer, and looking at old Germans in lederhosen and dirndls.  I'm not ashamed to say that I went Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this year.  I took the kids Saturday, and they had a great time.  Lollipop managed to conquer both giant pretzels and landjäger.  Not bad for a rookie.