Sunday, August 27, 2006

Impromptu camping trip.

It really was slightly planned, but on Thursday night I found myself unrolling my tent in my dining room, only to find out that, sure enough, it reeked of mildew. So, off I went to the Sports Authority, because they had a similar tent for about $35 which would fit the bill for this weekend quite nicely. But this isn't where the story starts. Let's set the way-back machine for Tuesday night, after pub quiz. Jen and Bosco were talking about this weekend's camping trip when Jen made the face she always makes at me when she wants me to do something, and asked me to come along. Then Bosco joined in. Promises of fun and craziness and mass consumption of alcohol were made. I honestly started feeling like they were my kids asking for a lollipop at the grocery store or something.

I agreed to think about it, but did not agree to go along.

It was sometime on Thursday when I thought to myself that saying what the fuck brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity brings freedom. Not only should I go camping, but I must go. The Summer of Dave, after all, is coming to a close, and I'm not going to have many opportunities to just blow off everything for a weekend and do something silly like this. That's when I came across the tent problem. It was a problem that wasn't going to go away, unless I had a time machine and an anti-mildew solution. That's when I got the right phone call. The one telling me about the camping sale at Sports Authority. Jess and I hopped into her car, and away we went.

We stopped by the liquor store first. Camping requires excessive drinking, otherwise you'll never fall asleep on the hard ground. A quick purchase of a 30-pack of LaCrosse Lager and I had that base covered. Now, to get a tent. I had printed out a page with the exact tent I wanted off of their website, but, as sure as the sun rises, they didn't have any in stock. Fortunately for me (fortune does indeed favor the foolish) they had a similar tent on sale. I got that and a new lantern. It started to sink in- I was really going camping. I was excited.

The trip was arranged by members of MeetInChicago, I was invited because, well, even though I'm not a member, I know enough of the people that it was kosher. A ride was arranged for me, and I eagerly awaited the phone call Friday morning that was to indicate it was time to go. Again, I was excited, so I packed early and had everything waiting downstairs. Once we started out, we got to talking about the weather. We knew that there was a strong possibility of storms, but they were supposed to be scattered and wouldn't really affect our camping plans. Once we got about halfway there, we got hit with one of the wildest storms I've ever seen. The highway was suddenly very crowded, as many people pulled over to wait it out. Being a truckload of gritty, nutty men, we pressed forward. After all, there was a visit to FIBs in our future.

We pressed on. The rain stopped. We got to FIBs. The rain started again. We ate. The rain stopped. We got to the campsite, and it was raining. AGAIN. We chose our spots. The rain stopped. We set up our tents. The rain started again. We got the beer on ice, and the rain stopped and started all night long.

We got to drinking around the campfire, which is always one of my favorite things in the world. Many, many drinks were had. Finally, sometime after 2 am, I decided to call it a night. As nature was calling, and as I had set up my tent right by Sugar Creek, I wandered, in the dark, to the edge, so that I might relieve myself. This, friends and neighbors, is when I walked off the edge of the world. You see, the creek was a little low, so there was a ledge where the bank usually was, and then a lot of mud, and then there was the creek. I walked right off what would have been the bank and found myself in pain, and rather stuck.

Once the initial panic was subdued, I had to figure out how to scale the 4 foot ledge, in the dark, in the mud, and without anything to hold on to. It was about this time that I heard my fellow camper and site mate do exactly what I had done. He, however, didn't land on his feet. He landed ass-down in the mud. I finally climbed up and got my new lantern, which I had left on the picnic table near our tents. I found it, found him, and hoisted him up. After all that work, it was seriously time for bed, so off to bed I went.

Saturday it rained off and on, but we still found time for a drunken game of Hello Kitty Kickball amongst many other sports-related activities which were infused with beer. We barbecued, we danced, we drank. Sadly, that is all I can tell you, as I am restricted by the "what happens at the campfire stays at the campfire" code. I will say that a rousing game of I Never was played, and a very racy game of Truth or Dare followed.

I woke up at the ass-crack of dawn this morning, moderately hung over, and confused as to how I managed to strip completely naked without help. I knew my fellow campers were going to stay asleep for some time, as most of them were still partying strong when I decided to sneak off to my tent and go to bed. I wandered around, read a little, and took a nap, as it was far, far too early. Once I got my head back together, I realized that I should try to find evidence of my Friday Night Fall and photodocument it for you:
Anyways, it is high time that I took a shower, as I haven't in days, and I am still covered in a lot of mud still from Friday night. All my clothes are muddy as hell and need to be washed, and I have to dry out my tarp before it suffers the same fate as my previous tent.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Midsummer Night's Dress Story

(Continued from this post)

After the baseball game, which I'm certain the White Sox commentators announced as "7-3 bad guys," Maria and I walked back to her apartment from the Skydome, and quickly ran into something that made me very happy. We found a guy playing bagpipes, who was more than happy to have his picture taken with myself and Shoshanna, especially after I flipped a Toonie into his case. We kept walking, well, honestly, it was more of a controlled stumble, we made it all they way there, despite the attempts of someone to sell us a sombrero:
Once inside, we both checked our e-mail. Maria wanted to change
for the evening's festivities, so she scampered off to her bedroom while I searched feverishly for news about the job I had applied for. I heard her call from her bedroom 'I'm naaaaked!'

I like to think I'm pretty quick on my feet, even after 4 or 5 Skydome Blues. I laughed, and asked "are you knitting?" A few minutes later, my bwife emerged, but was having a bit of trouble with the zipper on her dress, so she enlisted my help.

After a few minutes struggling with the argumentative zipper, it was finally closed. She looked quite pretty, but something seemed off:
We realized that we had, in our drunkenness, actually rotated the dress about 90 degrees the wrong way, and had to move it around. This began round two of zipper struggles, some partial nudity, and finally, the decision was made that the zipper was stronger than both of us and our will to get the damn dress together properly. Maria begrudgingly changed into a different dress, and we were finally on our way. Mind you, we did not give up without a serious fight, I'm talking about 20 minutes of trying to get a broken zipper to zip, which is just plain dumb, in retrospect. Drunken determination, however, was the prevailing wind at the time.

Damn prevailing wind.

I should state, for the official record, that even though there was nudity, the only lewd behavior was actually on the part of squishy cows:
There's still more from the weekend I spent in Toronto, still more to come, that is, but it'll have to wait, as I'm taking up a last minute invite to go camping this weekend.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sorry for the interruption in service...

I've been pretty busy lately. Friday, I spent the day ridding my system of Claritin- per directions from my favorite pharmacist, so I stayed in and sneezed a lot. Saturday I went out and got Alavert, again per directions from my favorite pharmacist, and since then, my sleep has returned to normal, and I've lost all of the bad symptoms I previously had. As she put it "you're basically a speed fiend right now. I'd switch to Alavert."


Today was my big interview, and it was just that, A BIG INTERVIEW. So, I'm done talking about myself, done wearing pants for a while, well, unless I get the job, which I hope I do- it looks like an amazing place to work.

So, enough for now. I just wanted to make sure y'all knew I hadn't fallen off the face of the planet. Or gotten lost in the corn.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How blogging is changing my life today.

I know what some of you are thinking right now, so let me say no right away.

This is about allergies and Claritin.

I was sitting yesterday, feeling my heart race and trying to fall asleep when something occurred to me: I've been blogging for 3 years, and I'll bet I've written something about funky dreams every late July/early August, which is when I start taking, survey says?


So, I did a little research about myself through my blog. Last year, this entry was about strange dreams, and it was then supported by this later entry and this earlier entry. Same symptoms. Go to 2004, and there's a few posts about strange dreams and shooting awake at odd hours. Again, right around the time I start taking my allergy meds. 2003? Yeah, more of the same thing.

So, the not very hard to make decision is to stop taking Claritin as soon as possible. I'm just a little pissed off that I bought two boxes of the shit two days ago, and I can't find the receipt to return the unused portions. I'm going to get in touch with my friend the pharmacist and see what she thinks of Ceerock's advice, and get me some new meds!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Send warm thoughts.

On Tuesday I have an interview. If you have any to spare, please send some warm feelings towards the Chicagoland area.


No wonder!

I've been trying to figure out why I've been literally forcing myself to get what I consider to be a decent night's sleep, the 6 hours I so dearly enjoy. Lately, I've been waking up at odd hours, having some seriously funky dreams and having problems getting to sleep. For instance, last night, I was at pub quiz, had a few Summits, got home feeling still completely sober, poured myself a drink, watched a movie, and still wasn't tired. I went to bed anyways, as it was 2:45 in the morning.

This morning, I woke up at 7, and forced myself to fall back asleep. It worked for a while, but I was basically waking up every 20 minutes or so until I finally gave it up about 15 minutes ago.

That's when I got smart, and googled side effects for Claritin, and that led me to this page, listing all the nasty side effects people have had. I was relieved to read this entry:
When taken as needed (a day or two here or there), no side effects. When I took it as suggested (daily, 10mg tab), after about a week I started to experience side effects: Awoke in the middle of the night after some bad dreams, dizzy, disoriented, strange feeling in my head, and mild nauseu. Had to get up and sit on the john, turn all the lights on, and walk around for an hour to 'sober' myself up. I was genuinely afraid to go back to bed (in the dark). I figured it was some virus I was coming down with. Shortly thereafter I began to have stomach pains off and on, after eating (figured it was stress?). Then edginess and generally disinterested in any thing. I was nervous, slightly depressed, and distant from everyone in the house. I also suffered from chills (leading me to think I still had some virus. My girlfriend and house mate sent me an e-mail, asking if I wanted to move out, and why was I so negative and joyless(?) It was a wakeup call. It was as if everything was normal...

I say that I'm relieved, mostly because I now know that this is probably what is happening to me. So, if anyone else out there has any allergy med advice, preferably an alternative, I'm all ears right now.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Crazy little thing called life.

Being unemployed has some advantages. I really enjoy the spare time that I haven't been using to do anything practical. Or even routine. Like blogging. This morning and this afternoon, I had two phone interviews for the same company. I'm so sick of talking about myself it isn't even remotely funny. But I'll try to muddle through the long-overdue recant of my wonderful weekend in sunny Toronto. You already know about that Thursday and the hell I went through trying to get there.

So, let's start with Friday. On Friday, I woke up early, as I usually do. I eased into my day. Wendy and I took a walk through High Park and stopped by the zoo, where I snapped a couple nice pictures of the animals. Nothing, friends, looks funnier than a goat in a box. We walked and talked our way through the park, which is a very nice place, actually. It made me a little homesick, though, for trees and farms and the like.

Friday night, we were slated to see Spamalot with my bwife, so we met up with Maria at a bar where she was playing trivia, and kicking ass. I soon found out that she regularly kicks ass at it, too, but occasionally needed help on some American questions. It was fortunate for her that two Americans showed up at that time, too. After a couple drinks and rounds of trivia, Joey showed up and it was time for us to go over for the show. The show itself is hilarious. I got the feeling that the people sitting behind me were season ticket holders or something, because they knew nothing about the movie, and less about Python. I spent a lot of time trying to ignore them and enjoy the play.

After the play, we went for a late dinner. A very late dinner at a very fancy place. It used to be a mansion or something, and has since been converted into a restaurant. It was very nice, and the food was delicious, but eating a steak at 11:30 at night is not something I would recommend to anyone. I wound up staying up late, just to give myself a chance to digest. It was during that time that I discovered something rather peculiar about Canadian cable TV- after about 1am or so, almost every other channel is showing soft-core porn. I was watching a show on Discovery Channel when it went to commercial, so I flipped up a channel to find a couple playing with the woman's nipples.

I was surprised to see that. That's not to say that I didn't watch, of course, but I decided I should move on, so I flipped back down a channel, back to Discovery. They were still on commercial break, so I flipped down another channel. This one was an educational program about how to find erogenous zones on your partner, including full-fledged nudity. Again surprised, by this, I learned a couple new tricks and switched back to the Discovery channel before too long.

Saturday was a full day, involving a trip to the mall and a jewelry store. I haven't spent much time in jewelry stores, so it was fascinating to me. I found watches that cost more than my last car, which scared me, especially since I have a track record of losing and breaking watches. That night we met up with a bunch of folks at a bar called the Green Room. It was a nice place, good beer, but no air conditioning. It wasn't unbearably hot, but I'm not a fan of heat, so I was a little uncomfortable. We decided at some point that we should find a place to do some karaoke, so off we went, in separate cabs, so Joey could pick up his accordion at the office. Little did I know that that side trip would result in Shoshanna's appearance in my life.

We arrived at the Gladstone a few minutes later and got slips filled out and got our spot in the queue to sing. Literally minutes after we put in our songs, a woman sang the song Wendy put in. Ten minutes or so later, I heard the KJ introduce someone to sing my signature song, and he butchered it. I kept my slip in, however. I was going to show this guy how to do Poison properly. Joey joined me on accordion and we brought the fucking house down. That's about when I met Hank. Hank works at the Gladstone, and he's just one hell of a guy, who does Hank Williams like a pro. I miss Hank. I owe Hank an e-mail, actually. I should really get on that.

Sunday was the big day, it was Sass' party, and my first baseball game outside of the US ever. I met up with Maria for brunch (remind me to find a way to get peameal bacon shipped to me. I love the stuff) and we walked over to the park for some Blue Jays-White Sox action. I was surprised by how friendly people were to a guy in a White Sox jersey, and surprised by how empty the stadium was. I should also mention that I was surprised by how expensive and strong the beer was. All told, both Maria and I left the stadium far drunker than we thought.

Anyways, I need a break in the action, and Maria and I are still discussing who is going to tell the dress story, but next up, I'll recap the big party.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Last Day.

Today is that last day for fundraising for my MS Ride. As you all know, I work very hard on this ride, and on my pub quiz, the primary source of my fundraising dollars.

However, if you happen to have the time, and a little cash, please make a donation today to my fundraising, or to the fundraising of one of my many team members. We appreciate any and all gifts we receive, and it goes to a very, very good cause.

Thanks to those of you who have already, and will donate. I appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You know you've really made it in the world when...

you become mentioned in a Jeopardy! question.

It just happened to one LEEROY JENKINS!


Meet you all the way...

I would like to introduce Shoshanna the Cow to everyone. Everyone, this is Shoshanna:
Expect to see a lot more of her on her blog, and, eventually, on flickr!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Waiting is the hardest part...

I will get to posting all about this weekend and starting up a blog for Shoshanna the Wonderous Tucows Squishy Cow and getting her a flickr account and all that jazz sometime tomorrow, as I have an interview today and an entire pub quiz to write. First order of business is to prep for said interview (although I'm sure I'll do fine), second order of business is to write, of course.

So, with that full a plate, I'll have to skip the update with pictures that you so deeply deserve (for the record, I took 273 pictures of the weekend, lots of which were with Shoshanna in various places and with various people. You'll see them, and others, tomorrow.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Notes to myself

Because last night was quite the night to be out and about in Toronto, I'm writing myself little notes which you can see, to remind me what to talk about, once I get pictures from last night up on a website:

Meeting Hank.
Meeting Shoshanna.
The Green Room.
Upstaging the other guy with Accordion Guy.
Pushing Shoshanna to her limits and beyond.

Teasers, I know, but there's so much to tell, and I don't want to be late.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Let's play a guessing game.

Can you guess who has an interview on Tuesday?

If you guessed Logan's Dave, you'd be right.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I blame it all on American...


My flight, slated to take off at 11:17 this morning, was delayed. It was delayed because the flight crew was coming in on another plane, which was somehow delayed. We finally boarded around 11:25, and got halfway to taking off when my captain was speaking, telling me about some hydraulic pump not working in some engine somewhere on the craft. He told me we were going to have to check it out.

I felt kinda like I was at my doctor's office and he wanted to check out some malfunctioning part of my knees.

We taxied back to the gate, and parked, and we were allowed the use of our cellphones and any other electronic equipment we cared to use, so I turned on my phone. It was just after noon.

This was just part of the bump in my road.

After sitting there for about 30 minutes or so, my captain was speaking again. This time, he told me that they were going to have to replace said hydraulic pump. Estimated time for repairs was between one and two hours. After a few more minutes, we were told that no other planes were available, so we weren't going to leave anytime soon. We were given the option of being able to leave the craft, but we were required to take any and all luggage with us, in case the repairs were done early, and we took off without you.

He made that point very clear- that you would be left there if you weren't on the plane.

My first thought was that I was hungry. The two McDonald's hash browns I had for breakfast definitely weren't going to last, and I never did get a chance to visit the duty free shop, because I was running late. I was running late, incidentally, because the CTA Blue line had a train stalled one stop before the airport. I learned of this, as usual, after I was already on the Blue line and stopped between stations, far from any cab that might stop for me.

I digress.

I didn't get off the plane. I sat and read my book and called Wendy to let her know that I was delayed. I didn't know when I would get in, but I would leave my cell on in case she got the message. Then, I went back to reading.

I got bored, so I did the crossword in the crappy magazine. Well, most of it. I got bored.

I went back to reading. The older couple a few rows ahead managed to book another flight, and I considered following them. I thought better about it. I figure I can probably still get something out of American for the whole fiasco. Then I realized that 93 down was fiasco, so I went back to the crossword for a few minutes.

It didn't take.

Finally, they let everyone back on the plane. Finally, we were heading for take off. Finally, I was on my way to lands north to see some of my favorite, or should I say favourite people in the world. When I finally got here, I had two things on my mind: food and bathroom. Fortunately, I found both, and Wendy, rather quickly. I handed her my book, "can you watch this for a moment?" She agreed with a quizzical look, "remember the Brooklyn Bridge."

While it was actually the Manhattan Bridge, not the Brooklyn Bridge that I was trying to refer to, Wendy knows well enough that that's code for 'I really need to pee.' There's a story there, of course, that's been visited before. We're not going back there now.

Anyways, after all those delays and traffic and everything, I finally got my hamburger served with peanut butter, and let me tell you, my friends, it was fantastic.

So the summer of Dave is on tour again, this time in lovely Toronto. When I find time to blog, I will. Promise. Oh, and I got a pimple today, which I am also blaming on American Airlines.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Don't do me like that.

I have just returned, via mountain bike, from my friend Ditka's house (Ditka being a nickname he'll heartily appreciate), where I installed his air conditioner.

There's a backstory, of course: Ditka and I have been acquaintances for some time, usually winding up in the same bar or bars to watch football on Sundays throughout the season. A mutual friend introduced us, and within a few months, it was like we were old pals. Old pals, of course, who root for rival football teams.

Ditka got married a few months back, and I've met his lovely bride and she is very nice, and very much the woman I would have picked for him, if I had the daunting task of matchmaking my friends. Thankfully, I do not have that task.

So, last night, he comes walking into my pub quiz and grabs a seat. I got to talking to him, as we hadn't seen each other for a while. I asked him what brought him out to this particular pub quiz. "The wife's at the Cubs' game, and it must be about 110 in my house right now, not to mention I wanted a beer and haven't seen you in ages, so here I am."

"You don't have air in your house?"

"We've got an air conditioner, but we haven't hooked it up yet."

"Why the fuck not?"

"We got frustrated and gave up."

"That's when you're supposed to call me, buddy." He smiled. I gently reminded him that I once not only worked in construction, but I also once installed 10 units in 10 condos on one sweltering July day. If there is one task that I can firmly and without doubt say I can accomplish with relative ease, that is it. Well, that and installing automatic ice makers in refrigerators. I'm pretty damn good at that, too, and it requires a lot less sweat.

He called me tonight to call in that promised favor. After a little bit of logistics and a few adjustments, hey presto, functioning AC in his bedroom, and he had a devilish grin on his face. I knew why. I know what happens when it gets hot and you're trying to share a bed with someone. Even a King size bed might as well be a twin at that point.

He offered me a beer, and I accepted ice water. He offered to write me a check for $150, and I told him to buy me a beer or two or three sometime. He offered money again, and I told him to buy me a beer or two or three sometime. We chatted a little more, and I heard the thunderstorm getting worse, so I shook his hand and left.

I, friends and neighbors, don't like to take money from my friends for silly chores like that. Ever.

Attack of the FedEx/Kinko's Cat

My bedroom seems to be under constant attacks by my cat, also known as Laundry Cat. Yesterday, I was getting ready to head to Pub Quiz when I realized I needed more answersheets, and when I went to retrieve said answersheets, well, look what I found:

This, I swear, will be the last "look what my cute cat did today" post for a while. I think I just need to get out of the house more, and not having a job and dealing with this heat wave makes me not want to do that at all. Hell, my central air will turn on, stay on for 2 hours, shut off for 20 minutes, then start right back up again. It kinda scares me, honestly. Not as much as this picture, which I took for a friend of mine who keeps offering me $200 a day to grow my hair out for a week. I made it to four days before it got to be too itchy for me to take anymore. Wouldn't you know it, I feel 3 days short of $1400. Alas.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just a quick note...

I haven't been this busy since before the MS ride, but a lot of loose ends need to be tied up. At least I've got my packing list finalized. Those ducks are in a row.

The thing that has by boxers all in a bunch today is a little e-mail I got from American Airlines. Seems they have a sense of humor- they sent me an e-mail this morning- just under 57 hours before my flight to Toronto takes off- with the following information:
Now, I could have saved about $75 bucks (that's $85 CD in Canadian beer I could have drank!), had I just waited until the last minute. Of course, I probably would have flown on a red eye at least once or twice, but I'm sure the flight would have me returning sometime on Monday, which is a Provincial Holiday of some sort up in Ontario. I don't ask, I'm just happy to have an extra night cavorting with my Canadian friends before I return.

I'll get you, too American Airlines!