Thursday, May 31, 2007

I will never do karaoke in the Phillippines because...

of this article.

In other news, I'm way too busy to blog lately. I think y'all expected as such. Apologies.

More later.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Five to One, Baby, One to Five

As a special treat to the 2 people who still read my blog, here's a five part story to amuse and delight all:

Windy City Riding
Chicago is called the Windy City not because of the wind off the lake- but because of the politics of the late 19th century, and well, honestly, the wind off the lake is pretty fuckin' strong. I had planned with a few of the bike team members to go riding on Saturday afternoon, which seemed like a great idea. I haven't been training enough, and I need to get back on the horse. So, off I went to meet them by the Buckingham Fountain, and I felt great. I was just flying down the bike path, and met up with my friends just north of the fountain. They suggested riding north first, because of the wind. I suggested riding south to avoid the growing number of people crowing the north side of lakefront.

So, south we went, and we flew. I checked my computer at the end of my ride, and I had topped out at 27 miles an hour- not bad for a guy who is far too out of shape. Riding back north wasn't as much fun. The wind was fierce, but we made it through teamwork- drafting off of each other the whole way. At one rest point, I was talking with a friend about my plans for the evening. I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to go see playoff hockey or a certain Canadian band who writes songs about hockey. His suggestion: "We'll, I'm single tonight, too, so I'd say let's go to the hockey game."

I told him I'd think about it, and as we continued north, I told him I'd check for tickets when I got home, and I went home to check for tickets. Sadly, Ticketmaster wasn't helping me much, so I walked away from the computer to see if I could get a better pair of seats. By the time I got back, they had taken that night's game off of the Internet. If we wanted to go, we would have to buy tickets at the door.

I get tired and hungry.
I sat there, wasting time, avoiding everything, wishing I hadn't ridden so much. I waffled. I didn't want to go out at all, much less to my two fun ideas. I started fucking around on the computer, and listening to music. In reality, I was trying to come up with a good enough excuse to tell my friend to not go with either plan.

Then, as though inspiration could only do, Hit Somebody by Warren Zevon came up in the shuffle. A light shone through a window, and highlighted my silhouette. I was seeing the light. We had to go to the game.

I quickly made arrangements for a car, and called him. We made the informed and proper decision to go. He hopped on a train to my house, and I hopped in the shower to finally wash up.

The Fire
As we headed west from my apartment, we were listening to a certain band whose concert I was blatantly NOT attending despite advice to the contrary and we saw smoke. Not just a little bit, either, but a huge plume trailing off to the southwest. Traffic was backed up for ages, and we had dawdled enough time away to make getting to the game on time challenging at best.

I mustered all my Chicago navigational abilities and took off on a side road. My determination to be at the game definitely came through. We had finally driven north of the fire and got on the expressway. Traffic wasn't too bad, so we flew towards the arena. As I exited and headed north on Mannheim Road, we were quickly approaching the arena when I spotted it, just off the street. The one symbol that everything was going to be ok. Not just ok, but good. Not just good, but excellent. Not just excellent, but what would turn into one the greatest nights of my life.

The Weinermobile.

It wasn't my first live, in-person Weinermobile sightings, but something about it just told me everything was going to be ok.

The Tickets
We ran from the car to the ticket window. Ran. The website said the game was at 7, our watches said it was 6:55. We didn't have time to spare at all. As we finally got the window, I asked for two tickets. "Ok, I've got anywhere from twelve dollars up to fift-" the helpful ticket window guy said before I interrupted.

"You have on ice seats?" I sputtered, excited as hell at the prospect of being that close.

"Yep, but you have to pay cash because I've already pulled them." I worked as a Ticketmaster jockey at Tower for years. I knew the pains you got during onsales when you pulled a set of tickets that were suddenly returned for whatever reason. I knew what that guy would go through if he didn't sell them.

"Wanna do it?" I said to my friend who hadn't sat on the glass for a Wolves game. Me, I've been there. But I hadn't been where we were going to sit. "Where are they?" I said to the helpful ticket window guy.

"Section 107, seats 5 and 6." He said. That made the seats on the ice, between the corner and the opposing team's goal.

"We'll take them," we said in unison.

The Seats.
We hurried into the arena, still under the impression that we were late. We were in an especially big hurry because we knew how good the seats were, and that the Wolves' entrance show would be not only right by us, but the flames shooting from the wolf paws should be exceptionally fun.

We were grossly incorrect.

Gametime was actually about 7:20, so we had not only time to get a couple Polish and Blues, but time enough to lament that neither of us had a camera with us- something I almost always try to have with me at a game. A quick survey of the concession stands revealed that they didn't sell any, either. Our options were limited when my friend said "I have a camera phone."

We took our seats. We tested the camera. It worked, but we had no idea how good the shots would be. Here's one from the 3rd period:

Here's a faceoff from the second period:

And here's the goalie:

What you can't see is on the back of his helmet, there's a cross painted. A good Christian goalie, he was. T being T the recovering Catholic, and me being the unapologetic atheist, well, we had to come up with a Jesus-the-goalie joke. Wanna hear it?

"Why isn't Jesus a very good goalie?"

"Sure, no five-hole, but it's hard to stop a puck with your hands nailed to the posts."

Oh, and the sweetest part of the story? Not only did we score a goal 6 seconds into the second period, we clinched the series with a 5-1 victory.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

How I Met Your Mother

I've had a busy weekend. Yesterday, I had a bike ride in the morning, followed by a charity bowl-a-thon with the Assassin's work (which featured the classic quote "you must be Dave- you're wearing the Homer shirt."). I'd like to say I fought the good fight, but I did not bowl very well. I blamed being sober and the sun being up. These are two things I don't usually associate with a fun activity like bowling.

After bowling I dropped the Assassin off at her cousin's house and drove her car to my house so I could get some things done. Besides, I had just spend the afternoon meeting all her co-workers. I wasn't really in the mood to meet the extended family. At least, not right then. A couple hours later I got a call. "I'm on my way to your house, and we need to go to the grocery store."

I was aware of that part of the plan, and more than ready for it. "No problem."

"Oh, and I need you to drive. There was vodka at my cousin's house."

"No problem."

"And then we're going to go to my house so I can make mango pico de gallo and you're going to meet my mother."

I'm not usually short for words, but I was stopped dead in my tracks. We've been intentionally avoiding the meeting of the parents, partially because we're both, as I call it, emotionally insulated. It took quite a while before we realized that we're both very serious about each other, an now that we're here, we're finally forced to address a couple issues. One of which, is me meeting her parents.

Now, back in the day, this used to happen fairly often, as I dated more seriously more often. Then for a while, there was a long-term relationship where one of the parents weren't supposed to know the nature of our relationship. Then there was a time where it seemed the people I was dating either had deceased parents or parents who lived in other states, and once, in another country. So, it is safe to say that yes, it has been a while since I've really had to go for parental approval.

"No problem."

"It'll just be a for a bit- besides I need you to distract her from the fact that I'm drunk."

I've noticed that when it comes to the Assassin's timetables, it is best to multiply whatever number she gives you by pi. That usually gives you a slightly better idea as to what time you're dealing with. So when she explained to me that it would only be for "about 10 or 15 minutes" I was ready for a good 50 minutes minimum of parental cross-examining. That's what I was ready for, not what I got.

A solid hour later, I had spent most of the time there just being myself, chatting with her mom, watching Emeril, being sent to the convenience store in her lobby, taking out trash, and just trying to be a helpful, nice guy. The Assassin even left us alone for a bit, and she asked me about where I was from. Not exactly the easiest question to answer, but I somehow impressed her with the number of cities and states, even provinces I have lived in in my life.

The assassin and I left for our party, and when we got there, I went outside with one of her friends to smoke. Well, I went out to talk while her friend smoked. We talked about meeting her mom, mostly, and then about our own problems with our parents which are in various levels of estrangement. I think that helped a lot. Or maybe it was the margarita I had. Maybe both.

I was invited to have lunch with mom today. Lunch included the Assassin's little sister and her boyfriend, both in their very early 20's. It was fun. It was Pakistani food. It was yummy.

Afterwards, I got the official review- "I like him, but he seems a little quiet."

Wait until she gets to know me.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Duck Thoughts by Jack Handey

As I was riding the train to work today, I (as I do every day) took a moment and looked at the Chicago River. Today, I saw a duck swimming along, looking somewhat like a jogger. I wondered to myself "at what point does a duck just say 'aw, fuck it. I'm swimming to work today'?"

I mean, the Chicago River isn't known for having a lovely scent to it, so I can't really tell why anyone, even a duck, would want to spend extra time in it. Not to mention the fact that ducks can fly, and that's got to be a much more fun way to get around than swimming. More efficient, too.