Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Update

Greeeee-tings! Blogger tells me I have one follower. That's great news! Cuz I'm gonna give that one follower, and all the other stalkers of Tepid Epics an update on my life, and what's to come in the future.

Tomorrow I turn 25 years of age. Am I where I'd like to be? Obviously not, but let's roll with it. 6th annual ugly Christmas sweater party is also tomorrow, and this makes me grin with glee. Held in the glorious city of Stoughton, Wisconsin, it seems like a good time to be had by all.

If you've been following this space at all, you've realized that it lacks any real focus. But that's about to change. In addition to the 'Tunes of the Month' feature, I've decided to add 3 other segments per month, if I can keep up:

1) "Beerosseur" - No, this is not a Dinosaur that indulges in beer. It's a beer connoisseur, or, a Beerosseur. I'm a self-proclaimed beer snob, and every month, I'll be writing about a superb new, or old beer that my palate heavily enjoys. And since I've recently become employed by a small Belgian beer restaurant, this column will never be empty. I have cut down on my alcohol consumption (see 10 things to do before i turn 25 blog from February 2008) and I don't really think this column will change that. Hopefully.

2) "She's Got Talent" - A little title I came up with to describe attractive women. The internet is filled with no-name hometown sweethearts. I'll scour it to find the best of the best. Think of it as the hot chick o the month. Could be entertaining.

3) The "F@*&ed Dream of the Month" - I have strange dreams. Really strange dreams lately, as I play CoD: WaW before I go to bed every night. If I can remember one really messed up dream in particular, odds are it will go here. Sex dreams not applicable.

So that's that. Nothing else new to report, besides the heavy blanket of STUPID snow on the ground that's preventing me from....well, going anywhere really. Stay tuned for my thoughts on Rice, a majestic pair of pants that will be retired soon, and some hard-hitting questions.

Here is a picture:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

September / October Tunes

I'm not apologizing for my absence this time. My life is in shambles and I gots no time for this blog. In addition, some monthly changes will be made soon to the blog which will be discussed in a future post. For now, break out your p2p or torrent thingamambobber and DL these tunes from Sept. & Oct.

Sept:
10) Justice - Planisphere (Part 1)
9) Love and Rockets - No New Tale to Tell
8) City Sleeps - Not an Angel
7) Joshua Radin - Closer
6) Gnarls Barkley - Just Do It
5) Plies - Watch Dis
4) The Cool Kids - Nigga Please
3) EPMD - Run It (Duke Dumont Remix)
2) Adam Tensta - Dope Boy (Neon Blak GT Mix)
1) Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal (Telemitry Remix)

October:
12) Carolina Liar - I'm not over
11) Gangstarr - Battle
10) Friendly Fires - Lovesick
9) Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire
8) Kings of Leon - Molly Chambers
7) Kaiser Chiefs - Never Miss a Beat (Run Hide Survive Remix)
6) Lauren Flax ft. Sia - You've Changed
5) Kanye West - Love Lockdown (LMFAO Remix)
4) Karate - There are Ghosts
3) Kings of Leon - Closer
2) Murs - Can it be (half a million dollars and 18 months later)
1) Murs - A part of me

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Seperated at Birth?

These gentlemen have to be related.

Actor Bradley Whitford from Billy Madison and ESPN reporter/annoyance Jeremy Schaap:





































Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, followed by funnyman Will Ferrell:




























































Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Amish Country Ohio Adventure (Part 2)

Saturday morning I was awoken at 9:30am again to start the day. The agenda (my Aunt literally prepared a day-by-day itinerary for us to follow, if we wanted to) for the day was to attend an Amish Horse auction for awhile, then go to a few country furniture stores and some more antique malls.

We all stopped at the Mount Hope horse auction. The amount of horses & buggies parked outside was astronomical. They seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. Inside the barn, we could not believe our eyes. Hundres of Amish men, gazed only on the 20 foot horse-run in front of them. It was a massive sea of straw hats. The auctioneer, who couldnt have been more than 30, was spitting out random horse facts like a gatling gun spits bullets. It obviously smelled of horse shit in there, so I laughed heartily when my grandma (mom's side) took a step in the barn & said, "Oooh, it STINKS in here." Wow, ya think? We stuck around for about 5 minutes, watching Amish teens race their horses around, in hopes that a straw-hat clad man in the bleachers would throw up his hand, signifying a bid. The frustrating part of the Amish is that they strongly discourage pics taken of them. A part of me wants to be an asshole & snap pics like a tourist, giving the excuse "well, I'll never see them again". The other part of me knows better, and since I've come to respect their way of life, I've respected their wishes not to be photographed. (Note - of course, on the last day of my trip, my Aunt informed me that they 'allow'pics of them to be taken, they just won't 'pose' for any. Wish I would have known that at this time, as the view of a hundred straw hat men hunched over in bleachers was quite a spectacle. But, the few non Amish people (us) that were there already stood out like a sore thumb, so the flash would have made things MIGHTY awkward. Anyways..)

The next stop was the Ashery Country store. They specialized in handmade jams, jellies, cooking ingredients, organic foods & more. I bought some organic spinach spaghetti, corn salsa, black raspberry seedless jelly, and bacon horseradish veggie dip mix. Next stop, my mom & dad and the gang went to Lehman's Furniture & Amish museum. There was a small flea market outside the 3 building complex, which my parents always go for. I bought 2 beer mirror/signs, a flour advertising tin, and 5 old car/ santa claus advertisements. Before I bought those, I went into the overpriced Lehman's store and bought something. I'll give you one guess. Yup - bought a an Amish straw hat and wore it proudly around the grounds. One of the vendors, after buying the flour tin said, "Where'd you get that hat?" He was a middle-aged, tanned man with a black t-shirt that was about 6 sizes too small. "In the general store," I replied. "How much they want for it?" "12 bucks". "The Amish will be talkin to ya in no time with that hat on." For some reason, I wasn't sure what to say back. I kinda froze actually. So I say back, "Oh, we don't want that, do we. I better watch out!" I had no idea why I said that. With a heavy cackle, he continued, "They'll be askin you to marry their daughters, they will!"

I took the hat off.

This was the 2nd reference to Amish desperation! Earlier yesterday I remember hearing my aunt say something to the likes of "expanding the gene pool". Reluctantly, I told my parents about Mark's Amish $5k offer, and they of course didn't believe it. It's 5pm now, and we're on our way to the family style Amish Dinner. I'm expecting good things.

We pulled up to a small white Amish farmhouse about quarter to 7. 17 of us in tow now, seated in a small room on benches. There was a few skylights that brought a small amount of light into the room. Tiny decorative china plates that had the 50 states on them were hung from the rafters. The floor was composed of black & white tiles. 2 Amish women arrived with some fresh baked bread and homemade sweet & sour coleslaw. Butter, strawberry and black raspberry jam, and Amish peanut butter were laid out for bread toppings. This Amish peanut butter was insane. It's already sweet as it is, but then they add marshmallow fluff in it. I felt like having a heart attack everytime I looked at it, let alone when I ate it. They then offered sweet spearmint tea, with mint grown fresh from their garden. I didn't have any. Next came buttery whipped mashed potatoes, followed by chicken stuffing. The highlight of the meal, oddly enough, was the corn. I had 3 helpings. It was ridonculous. Kernels cut straight from the cob earlier in the morning. Drenched in butter, simmering in a porcelain serving bowl. Calling me to serve him up on my plate. Oh god, the corn, how i miss thee. Then came the mac & cheese. Then gravy. Then more bread. It was a miracle I didn't have to be rolled out of that room like Violet Beauregard a la Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. But oh no, this stomach overhaul wasn't done yet. Then came the baked chicken and the roast beef. Then came the 2 huge bowls of date pudding, which sounds gross, but was very good, of course. My intestines were on the brink of explosion. At that very moment, the Amish officially started to mock me. Out of the kitchen, came the 2 Amish ladies in aprons, wheeling 2 gigantic carts out with about 50 slices of pie on them.

I wanted to punch myself in the face. Pie selections included (from memory) elderberry, peanut butter creme, brown cherry, and custard. I opted for peanut butter creme. Which was an awfully good selection. I took 3 bites & it was as if I'd popped 40 sugar cubes into my mouth. It was a delicious high-calorie mess topped with whipped cream. So, after those 3 bites, I threw in the towel. I defined the word 'overeating'. I defy you, though, to find a better home-cooked meal anywhere else in the midwest. If you think you have a winner, let me know. The herd parted ways, and I spent the rest of the night digesting food and sitting next to a fire that My Aunt's husband's daughter and her boyfriend and I made, while somehow drinking some MGD on tap downstairs (He had a quarter barrel in a mini fridge!) The rain ended up snuffing our fire out a little after midnight. It also meant the next day that our vacation was over.

Sun. Aug 10, 2008
I woke up to the sound of glass shattering. Which is true, but I've always wanted to write that, and mean it. PJ was bringing the coffee maker & coffee potup the stairs when the pot slid off & broke into a million angry shards of glass. This event is actually somewhat important, as it marked the 3rd day in a row, on a vacation, that I didn't sleep past 10am. Yeah , I'm impressed too. I took a shower and packed. After gathering all my stuff, I marched it all the way up her ridiculously steep driveway. My aunt had planned a Lebanese / Syrian feast for lunch. I had never had any Lebanese food, so I was looking forward to it. Available were hummus, grape leaves with rice, taboulleh, pita bread, bahklavva, and a bunch of other things that I can't pronounce. It did not disappoint.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Amish Country Ohio Adventure (Part 1)

The following is the word-for-word account of my trip to Ohio.

Thurs. Aug 7th, 2008
So my Aunt Jill has a lake house cabin in a gated Amish community in rural Ohio. That's really all the information I needed to know to go on this trip. My mom's side of the family is pretty mysterious - I haven't met hardly any of her extended family, and apparently, in the weeks leading up to this mini vacation, word got around that this little soiree was turning into a family reunion of sorts.

My knowledge of the Amish is quite slim. I know little of the culture, or why they do the things they do. When I served at Randy's in college, I remember one late Thursday night when a group of 6 Amish people walked in. And when I mean 'walked in' - I literally mean 'walked in' - they arrived by . . . foot. A few beers were ordered and the women ordered a few alcoholic fruity drinks. One - a tequila sunrise; an odd choice for a bonnetted woman, you must say. The meal was served, and thus far, Amish people were just normal people who didnt drive cars and wore fucked up clothes from the civil war era. So imagine my surprise when I came to present the check, the mother was letting her INFANT drink from the straw of her tequila sunrise. I almost lost my shit right in front of them, but managed to hold my laughter in long enough to not be rude. Didn't matter anyways, as I got about a 10% tip on a $50 bill. So one thing I know about the Amish is that they're cheap.

A few weeks ago, I was at abar with 'Mark' - former co-owner & brewmaster of Randy's. I told him about this trip. His eyes lit up upon hearing this. He starts to tell this elaborate schpiel about how Amish families are inbred. Whether or not this is true, I have no clue. He continues to tell me how desperate these Amish families are to break the inbreeding chain that they will offer up to $5k for a studly young man to "plow their daughters", as Mark put it. I laughed. At this point I'm not believing him, so he continues to say that the 'act' is more of a ceremony. The girl wears this multi-layered, frilly dress witha very small slit in the crotchal region. The father IS in attendance, in the room, most likely wielding a large wooden mallet, ready to bonk you if it looks like you're actually enjoying yourself (I made that part up). That really concludes Mark's crazy "Amish people are inbred" story. Now, I won't be participating in the sexual conquest of a young Amish lass, but I will be looking for A) slightly odd looking people that resemble that really ugly thing from The Goonies, and B) a young gentleman, witha fat wallet and a look of pure regret on his face.

As I write this, it's 7:21am, and we're somewhere in Porter Co., Indiana. Both mother and father are desperately trying to figure out the Garmin navigation system. It's hilarious. I'm tired as hell, as I worked at the bar till midnight, had a pizza, packed, and finally arrived home at 3am. My dad had the assonine idea to leave at 5am to beat the Chicago traffic this morning. But, of course it was busy & sucked anyways. Finally, my mom just informed me that we'll be having dinner at an actual Amish home. "Like a restaurant in an Amish home?" I say. "No, like an actual families house," she replied. She was serious. I'm scared, yet excited at the same time. You KNOW something ridiculous will happen at that. It's like I'll be participating on an episode of Fear Factor: Amish Edition. Let's play...
9:53am
Mom made a mix cd for the trip. I thought Rihanna's "Please Don't Stop the Music" was an awkward choice, but she definitely surpassed it with "Hollaback Girl" immediately following. I have no words. Dad - "This might be one of the worst songs I've ever heard." Hahah AWESOME! Dad made it to 9:56 - love it.

1:07pm
So Ohio looks exactly like Wisconsin, just a tad more hilly. The scenery is a mirror image. Rolling hills...oak, maple, pine, and willow trees scatter the landscape. Numerous times we discussed the resemblance to mid-northern WI. Gray, drab tiny 1 bedroom houses on the side of the road no less than 20 feet away, battered by what I can only imagine as a less menacing winter. Silly-named towns, villages, and obscure little shops (like Jake's Handcrafted Oak!) are also prevolent. It's summer, obviously, and all is a vibrant shade of green. It may be boring at times, but I still have love for the midwest. Gas was as low as $3.57, a sure bargain.

1:21pm
Stuck behind our first horse & buggy. Sure enough - a sweet shaggy white beard adorned the driver's ancient face. I hope I see more of this.

1:45pm
Just got out of the Millersburg Walmart. Suspenders, beards...solid colored dresses & bonnets. Shit is awesome. Bought 2 disposable cameras - don't have the heart to my mom I lost the digital camera in Minneapolis that she bought me for Xmas 2 years ago.


Fri. Aug 8th, 2008
Last night was pretty unventful, but interesting. A few of my mom's relatives stopped by. (Names withheld) ate some pizza. Amazingly entertaining though, was watching the hummingbirds divebomb each other like Japanese Kamikaze pilots. It was insane. Literally 4-5 feet away from us, these nutjob birds would chase each other around like prepubescent grade-schoolers near the swingsets at recess. These swingsets though, were sugar water feeders. No matter was the conversation was, we'd stop to marvel at these miles-per-minute birds. I can't really write how cool it was.

Today at 10am, a caravan consisting of 3 cars - all of which contained more of my mom's distant family - drove to the Herschberger Antique Mall. Along the way we were given a lesson in Amish culture by our gracious host Aunt Jill. A highlight was the 1-room schoolhouse on the edge of a farm field. The only bathroom - an outhouse - had 2 sides - one for boys, one for girls. She also lent me 2 Amish books to read so I wouldn't be so naive with the Amish subject. I'll tell you what I now know.

Her lakehouse, on Lake Buckhorn, is nestled in Holmes county Ohio. Holmes County is home to the World's largest Amish communities. I asked her what the ratio of Amish to English Americans is, and she (and I believe that there are more Amish. There are two types of Amish: The menanites, and the Amish. The Menanitesare more, well, liberal - and can have electricity and drive cars and have credit cards. Whereas the Amish use zero technology and specifically use the horse & buggy to get around. THe main question I've always asked myself was if they can have the technology, why not use it? The main reason they don't is because they have the mentality that their ancestors were fine without technology and electricity, so they should be ok too. I respect them highly, I really do. On the way to the antique mall, we encountered numerous horse-drawn buggies. The women all wear dull colored, calf length dresses. They don't / can't cut their hair, so they put it neatly in a bonnet. The men have a vast variety of options: white, brown, gray, or black. All wear suspenders, which kick ass, and have a full, perhaps rogaine-induced beard & mutton chops combo. Basically even if I wanted to be Amish, I'd be ostricized due to my lack of ability to grow facial hair. These are the thickest, longest beards I've ever seen. ZZTop would be jealous. Amish families live off the land and the farm animals that inhabit it. ALthough, I should say, most young Amish have jobs that you and I would have- general stores, diners...etc. Factoid for you: The Amish are so family oriented, and such great craftsmen, that they can build a barn in an entire day. Yes, during daylight hours. 20 of them, an entire family, can erect a BARN. Saw pictures and a timeline of it in a book - not in real life. But my aunt did say that she witnessed one.





The antique mall we went to was a great one. It had been a long time since I had been in one. Naturally I looked for old advertising relics. The place had 3 huge white barns filled with mirrors, furniture, anything - you name it, they had it. Struck gold when I finally eyed up an antique display case with vintage glass soda bottles.



On the way back we stopped at a family diner in the town of Berlin. It was decent. There was, I shit you not, a menu item called "Fried Mush". What kind of human being would you have to be to bypass, say, a turkey club, baked chicken, or fried perch, and get the "Fried Mush"? Mmm. Sounds good, I'll have that...


On the way back to the lakehouse, we saw the highlight of Friday. On the side of the road, near an Amish home driveway, was a kid...pulling another kid. Picture if you will: A small blonde boy, with a blue harness strapped to his shoulders & hips, pulling, actually running another Amish child sitting in a small cart. Eager fingers at the reigns. Swear to god it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. Kicking up dust in his little Amish boots, telling his brother to "run faster!", straw hats barely grasping the boys' scalp. Amazing.

After jumping in the lake back at the house, we talked & drank for a few hours on the pontoon boat and then headed to a restaurant called the Farmstead Buffet - all 14 of us. It was ok. I capped off the night by finishing up my Great Dane Belgian Pale Ale (Holmes County is a dry county - minus the wal mart) and Capital Brewery WI Amber by a small bonfire overlooking the lake. My Aunt, her husband, and I sat on our backs and watched shooting stars all night. It was beautiful.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ridiculous Excerpts from Amish Publications

As I always do, I'll start out this post by apologizing for the lack of posts lately. It's been a crazy couple of months over on my end. In between moving to another city and quitting both of my mediocre jobs, I haven't had a lot of time for blogging. But, as I patiently wait to get scooped up by, well, anyone - I have a small amount of free time to get back in the swing of things.



In early August, my family headed out to my Aunts lakehouse located smack-dab in the middle of Amish country Ohio. In three words: It Was Awesome (my next post will be taken directly from what I wrote about the trip). This post will be dedicated to the INSANE words of some of the Amish newspapers and publications strewn around various little townships in Holmes county. In no way have the following been altered - these excerpts are the real deal. Thousands and thousands of these publications are distributed weekly/monthly, and they are (for the most part) hilarious:



These are not the tomatoes and peppers that you buy at your local roadside market. They are shipped in from Mexico and California. You will never see the people who raise them. ou can't ask the farmers questions about their food safety. Instead they are raised on huge mega-farms by migrant workers and are shipped by trucks burning Osama Bin Laden's petroleum to your local supermarkets and taco bell stores.

-The Vendor, July 30, 2008



So it's an article on Food Safety that warps into a Bin Laden gas thing? Wtf?

" 'Cherokee' Mike Edmonson remembers what he was doing when he heard the news that three members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd had been killed in a 1977 plane crash. "I had just come out of the high school gym from wrestling practice at Maple Heights," Edmonson remembers. "I got in my Camaro, turned the radio on and heard the news. I couldn't believe that plane went down. Right then, I thought, "Skynyrd's done".
-Holmes County Fair Preview, August 7, 2008


Good god the visual stereotype can't get any better...


" Dear Farmer John: Can someone tell me how to pickle tongue? I am 86 years young and like the old fashioned things. I would also like to get some cracklins like we used to make on butchering day. Thank you and your readers so much. VC, Louisville, KY"
-Holmes County Shopper News, August 7, 2008


Ain't nothin better than pickled tongue!


And now, by far the best section of any paper I've ever read. In the Sugar Creek, Ohio's Budget, there's a front page section titled 'Letters from Home'. Yes, the following are on the FRONT PAGE:


"Clare, Michigan. July 29th...We have a local bakery that is kind of handy to have close by. Donuts and fry pies were ordered for Sat. breakfast and the fry pies for dessert in the p.m. Now for the most I'd recommend these to anyone. We learned you'd best check the fry pies as they may contain foreighn objects. The first one was filled with a paper towel (was discovered when broken in half for a small child). The second was like Billy goat gruff's pie, nothing in it, and the last was filled with a hard boiled egg. I bet they didn't think of this end of the joke. Mrs. Herman Stutzman"


" Bloomington, Wisconsin. July 28...Some fellow came to the door of Ruth Miller (Ezra) recently and asked for night crawlers. But she badly misunderstood and thought he asked for neck collars. Don't know if her southern accent (hearing) had kicked in or what happened. She originally comes from KY. She sent him over to the harness shop for those "neck collars". We all had a good laugh. Mrs. Lonnie Yoder."


" Thompsontown Pennsylvania. July 28...There was another load gone fishin in the deep sea at N.J. on Fri. and had lots of fish to bring home. Joseph Peachey and a neighbor were recently out fishing on the Juniata River in his motorboat (trolling) when they caught a small bass and were reeling it in when they got a sharp jerk and had to fight to get their catch in, a 27" walleye which had swallowed the bass and got hooked on the lure besides. Katie E. Yoder"


So watch out for those prankster bakeries, southern-speakin Amish, and fish-eatin fish. Good laughs all around. I saved all the brochures, newspapers, and publications for future lolz-fests. Stay tuned for the (very long) Amish Country Ohio Adventure blog...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TRADE RICKIE WEEKS


Can we trade this fuckin guy already? Anyone want a lackluster second baseman that doesn't live up to his potential? No?

The Crew just acquired veteran Ray Durham - who's currently batting .290.
Hmm, let's take a gander at Mr. Weeks' average the past 4 years: 2005(.239),
2006(.279), 2007(.235), 2008(.224)

I'm so sick of hearing about him. "This will be his year!" "It's gonna be his breakout season!" I'm sorry, but his numbers have never been stellar - especially for someone who was the #2 pick of the 2003 draft.

And the double play ball that never was last night. Oh. My. Gosh. Sure, Derek Lee may have been called safe if Prince catches the ball, but it was NOWHERE NEAR HIS GLOVE. Superb throw, Rickie. But yes, go ahead and blame the errant throw on a hard slide by Reed Johnson. That play, in my opinion, changed the face of the game last night.

He's gotta go. But - who wants him?

Not I...Not I

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Snakes on a Jake

I wandered over to Drunkn Butterfly today to scope out their going out of business sale. Drunkn Butterfly is a small clothing boutique nestled on Johnson St here in Madison. They specialize in Nike, Adidas, Reebok and other reissued shoes that own the nu-old-skool look. Along with a limited supply of apparel, DB also holds small art events for local and national artists alike. The owners are moving to New York, and therefore, everything must go - and at 50% off, I needed to pay a visit. I picked up these beauties:

















Nike Air Stab Premium 'Python Pack'. Faux (i think?) snakeskin print modeled after the World's most powerful snake - the Python. I bought into the gimmick - but whatever - they're f'in hot. And for $50, this purchase was a no brainer. Also bought 2 t-shirts, but the focus is on the kicks, yo.

Word.





Monday, July 21, 2008

I Can Read!

Oddly enough, I've been reading lately. Not just on the internet, either. Like actual books. And not just books with pictures. But CHAPTER books. I know, it all seems too strange. But it's the truth. And the one book I read inspired me to read another. And yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble and bought another one.

Ummm...

Let's dive right in to one of the most amazing books I've ever read. I was home in Waterford a few weeks ago and noticed my mom had picked up Eric Clapton: The Autobiography. I've always been a Clapton fan, and that's pretty much where it ended. After reading about his take on his own life though, I can say I'm almost a die-hard fan. For the last week now, I've listened to as much Cream, Yardbirds, Derek & the Dominoes and John Mayall than my ears can fully withstand. I've breathed the blues for the past 7 days as if it were my first true musical love.

Obviously, Clapton pens his life in chronological order. From the very beginning, Eric Clapton led a troubled life, which was just a sign of things to come for him. Before he was even 10, he was told that his mother & father were actually his grandmother & grandfather who raised him. His mother was never a real vital part of his life, and for this, he blames a bevvy of emotional problems on. Fast forward to his teen & early twenties years, where he was labeled as GOD to some. Quite the status to live up to, you know? The best part of the book though, is that Clapton puts everything (most, I suppose) on the table. He is so descriptive and poignant throughout the piece that you feel as if you're a family member receiving highly priveledged material. I realize that's the point of autobiographies, but I was literally glued to the pages for 3 straight days, letting Clapton tell his life story. I'm sure plenty of things may have been left out, but that didn't matter to me. The drug use, the women, the music, the money, the heartbreak - it is ALL in there. In one passage, Clapton describes his drug use that went something along the lines of, "there was a time I spent 1000pounds on heroin a week". I'm not sure what that exchange rate is nowadays, but someone told me that it's about $8000 a week. Don't quote me on that, I could be completely wrong. What I do know is that whatever the final tally is - ITS A LOT OF MONEY. After he got clean for heroin, his drug of choice became alcohol. At some points of his life, he was drinking TWO BOTTLES OF RUM and/or VODKA A DAY. Imagine. Although much of his pain was self-inflicted, I strangely found myself feeling sorry for him at some points. At other times though, I wanted to yell through the book and tell E.C. was a stupid, selfish prick he was.
I almost teared up reading about the death of his 2 year old son Connor, who fell out of Clapton's New York apartment window. After the funeral, Clapton vowed to stay sober in honor of his son, and has not had one drink to this very day. If you weren't aware, "Tears in Heaven" is about Connor, and in part, Clapton's father. An interesting fact about the song is that Clapton never wanted it to be released, as obviously, it's a very personal song. But he played it for a few close friends and members of his band, who loved it, and eventually released it. It's by far his top-selling single ever.

My main point is that even if you're not a big reader, you must read this book. Pick it up. You will love it. He's one of the most important musical figures in the world, so do yourself a favor and prepare to get schooled by 'Slowhand'.


A few days later, I read another book. The name of it was "SLAM"; I had picked it up a few months earlier because it was $5. It's by Nick Hornby - the guy who wrote High Fidelity and About a Boy. The main premise of the story revolves around a skateboarding kid, who happens to talk to a Tony Hawk poster, knocks up some hot teen girl. The rest of the story involves the 2 sets of families arguing, fighting, bickering...you get the idea. If it seems like I'm writing a half-assed review - I am. For some reason, I didn't really like the book. Yet, I read all 300 & some odd pages in one day (I was in a car for 5 hours of this one day though, so that's how it was able to happen). I think I would have enjoyed it more had I read it 6 or 7 years ago.



Once a month, I usually go to B&N to browse the Arts & Communication periodicals. I'm a fan of Communication Arts & Luerzer's Archive, if you wanted to know. On a recommendation from an old teacher of mine at the portfolio school, this is the book I grabbed yesterday:


It's weird to say this, but I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Jake Messes with Minneapolis; Loses...

Saturday, July 28th, 2008.
It's 10am. 4 men begin their journey to Minneapolis, MN for a one Mark Lange. You see, Mark Lange is mentally handicapped because he thinks it's a good idea to get married. Anyways Jon, Schmill and I pile into Dustin's Saturn Ion for the 5 hour trip to the 'sauce. I have approximately 1 cubic inch of room in this car, and am immediately uncomfortable. What's on tap: a bunch of dudes going to the Metrodome to watch the Brewcrew take on the Twins, followed, most likely, by drinks. Mark's brother Eric, and his friend Dick (not Eric's appendage) are following us up there as well. Dustin went ahead and booked 2 rooms at the Holiday Inn downtown, conveniently located about 4 or 5 blocks from the stadium. We're not on the road for more than 5 minutes, and we see a hilarious country bumpkin white Ford F-150. This thing had to be lifted about 4 extra feet. In bold font above the back bumper read something along the lines of: "I lift my truck to keep the fat chicks away". It was hilarious. Why you'd want to drive around in public embarassment is beyond me. I gave my digicam to Jon and he snapped a very good picture of it. Now you'd think I'd post said pic here, but unfortunately I can't. More on that later.
3:00 comes and we're in the hotel. Deciding not to mess around at all, us boys go straight to the overpriced Holiday Inn bar and order a round of drinks. We're sadly notified that there are no Miller Products available. This will be a common occurence. I got a "Shock Top" orange beer. It was...orangy. Jon, sad that no Miller was available, checked the drink menu after calmly ordering a Coors Lite. Sure enough, at the bottom of that menu, read "Miller Lite" and "Miller High Life". Fecking MN bartenders already trying to sabotage our trip. Whatever. After the sudsy goodness, we brought our bags up to the room - room 921 to be exact. We discuss pissing out of the window later at night (from The Cincinnati Affair, Summer 06), but sadly cannot due to the window not having any mechnism to open it. To my surprise, Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery is directly below us. I had done my research beforehand, and I really, really wanted to go to this place. It did not dissapoint. The bartender was pissed that he had to pour 2 samplers (a total of 16 four-oz. tasters) for me and Jon. He was grumpy. The beer was magnificent. The "Pursuit of Happiness" Blueberry Ale was especially good. The IPA, not so much. Ask Schmill for his bitter beer face next time you see him. We spend an hour or two there, and decide to head to the 'ballpark'.

Let's clear the air on the Metrodome. Simply put - this place sucks. It looks as if Miller Park had an abortion. "It looks like a giant caterpillar" said Jon. I concurred. It's a caterpillar that will not morph into a beautiful butterfly, oh no. It'll stay an ugly, boring, snot-resembling contraption its entire life. Not surprisingly, Brewers fans were everywhere. It was almost an even ratio of Twins to Brewers fans, which was nice. One thing that none of us understood was the amount of fucking Cubs fans there. It's like a cancer. I'm willing to bet you could go to any MLB game anywhere in the country and you'd still have some assholes there wearing their retarded-ass Blue & Red Cubs gear. Cubs fans are like Herpes - you may not always see them, but they're always there. We decide to bypass a long line at the bar across the street, and instead buy MILLER LITE (Finally!) at a vendor outside the stadium. We people watched for a bit and find ZERO hot girls. None. You think WI is fat? Take a trip to MN. You'll be happy you live here.

Inside the stadium now, and it's just a mess. Signs here, signs there. No Miller products here, no Miller products there. But - there's a Papa Johns. Upgrade! We head to our general-seating type seats in the upper deck. The arrangement sort of resembles a first-come first-served deal. I don't know what it's called, but I immediately don't like it. No beer service was ever brought to the upper section(s). I miss Miller Park. I miss the Iceman. We're sitting directly below some rowdy ass Brewers fans, which were absolutely hilarious. For approximately 9 straight innings, the 20 or so people we had were just straight up chanting as loud as we could. JA-SON KEN-DALL..........JA-SON KEN-DALL (chanted/sung to when your grandparent's grandfather clock rang on the hour, every hour. I'm tellin ya, this chant will sweep the brewer faithful in no time. Glorious.) I had a few Budweisers, as did everyone else. I felt like I was cheating with every sip. At any rate, I think I was drunk by the end of the game, because at this point my night gets very, very cloudy. The Brewers win 5-1, and we start our walk back to the hotel.

After a quick change of clothes & a little freshening up (wtf am I talking about?) we hop in the Holiday Inn shortbus and arrive at Rick's Cabaret. The bouncer, who is a very intimidating large bald man, tries to swindle us into getting the VIP treatment & whatnot, but we're not having any of it. We get seated in the back of the club, as it's already mildly crowded in there. I approach the bar, and order a Miller Lite (#2 of the day...) "$7.75", said the lady with the hilarious fake tits behind the bar. Not cool. I decided to order 2 shots of Patron as well, and they came in a ROCKS glass, and definitely enough for 2.5/3 shots worth each. $30. This was going to be an expensive night. After we realized how much drinks were here, we came to the group decision that VIP treatment might not be so bad. Closer to the entertainment, and 2 bottles of Kettle One. $316. You read right. I also took a picture of that receipt (cuz apparently I'm retarded). It ended up being about $40 a person, but in the end, probably a good decision. No more than 5 minutes later, a few ladies came over & started schmoozin. I bought Schmill his 1st lapdance a few minutes prior as he had never been to a strip club before. It was just "OK", because "her legs were hairy". Right. Cuz I'm sure a stripper isn't going to shave her legs before she goes to work. Damn you Schmill.

Keep in mind that I'm way in over my head now. I'm a big Ketel One fan. It's my vodka of choice when I go out. But now I'm playing bartender. It's my time to shine. And by shine I mean fail. Our 2 mixers were cranberry juice and Sprite. I immediately make a Ketel One & Sprite, going half & half on the mixology. Bad idea. From my recollection, I did this 2 or 3 times. Fast forward an hour or so (I'm guessing), and I'm sitting RIGHT next to the stage - our VIP couches behind me. I'm most likely swaying and drooling like a lumbering idiot. I've thrown a $20 bill on the stage, as Mark's friend comes up to me and explains that it's not going to do anything. "You're not gonna get anything out of this, you know" said Mark's friend Zach. "It's fine." I say. "...it's fine". Swiiiiing & a miss. At this point, I've also been told by large, intimidating bouncer that if I don't clean up my drunk act fast, that I'll either be told to leave or get kicked out. Splendid. This is where my night officially ends from memory.

I wake up to bright sunlight cutting into my eyes the next morning. My body feels like the apocolypse. I smell of straight vodka, and my neck and arms are sore as hell. I'm still wearing the clothes that I wore the night before, and my mouth tastes like french-fried excrement. The bed I'm sleeping in is so uncomfortable that my entire right side of my body is in agony. I then realize...




...I'm not sleeping in a bed.




"...what the fuck", I say as I struggle to turn myself upright. I'm in the middle of the hallway of the hotel. I actually laugh to myself out loud, as to why on Earth I spent the night on the hallway floor. I stand up to the chorus of my joints violently snapping and cracking. Wiping my eyes somewhat clean, I try to get my bearings and figure out where exactly I am, and why exactly, I'm not in my room. In front of me, was room 916. Now I'm just pissed, because I think I'm only 5 rooms away from a comfortable bed. Wrong. I'm at the end of the hallway already, and room 916 is the last room on this side of it.

"What the FUCK" I mumble again. Dragging 101% ass, I shuffle around the 9th floor, frantically trying to find room 921. I must have circled that floor 3 times before I realized there was not, in fact, a room 921. Walking back over to 916, I notice a window, which was allowing the sunlight to kill my face 5 minutes prior. I walk over to it and look out onto the Minneapolis skyline. It was then that I knew something was wrong.

The Metrodome was not where it was supposed to be. Instead of the short 5 blocks to the west that I saw it the first time from our room yesterday, the Metrodome was now what seemed 10 or 12 blocks away to my east. I was NOT in the Holiday Inn. I couldn't even SEE the Holiday Inn from this vantage point. I am immediately pissed. I feel my back pocket and locate my wallet. Check. My new cell phone is also in my front pocket. Check. Alas, my left front pocket is empty. This is the pocket that housed my digital camera. I look around my 9th floor hallway/bedroom and cannot locate my Sony Cybershot digital camera. It's at this point that I feel a stinging pain in my right arm. I check over myself, to see that I have various cuts and bruises on my elbow, forearm, and shoulders. This can only mean that I fell numerous times last night. There's also some slight red marks near my left temple, that I discover later.
Locating the elevator, I break out my phone and see that it's still only 6am. My new phone has tornado-alarm volume level speakers on it, so i'm flabbergasted to see that I slept through 6 phone calls from 12:30am-3:30am. This makes me somewhat happy, as I Know that my friends were drunk, yet still coherent enough to care about my well-being. This also makes me somewhat sad, as I think about what a complete fucking goon I was for just 'walking out' of the club after I'd had too many. In a strange city. At an odd hour. I'm what you would call...not bright.

I step out of the elevator, and still have no idea what building I'm in. The city is pretty quiet, as it's 6am and no one in their right mind should be up at this hour. I leave the lobby and look back at what the place is called. "Rivergate Apartments" it read. Hmm. Well that's definitely not the Holiday Inn, is it. To my defense, it IS a tall building that looked like the Holiday Inn. I'm still a moron. After snapping a few pics with my cameraphone (to remember this debocle - I'm realizing while I'm walking that I'm definitely still drunk. Like, not just saying "Oh man I'm still drunk!" the next morning after a wild night out, but legitimately probably still over the legal limit to drive still in every state drunk.) I gaze out to the Metrodome, and know where I have to get to. I'll post the camera phone pics after I finish setting up my account. I find S. Washington Ave. and slowly walk my way over to the hotel.

What was probably only 20 minutes seemed like an hour. The morning was cool, thank god, because if it had been warm, I would have just given up and thrown myself into the Mississippi to put me out of my misery. But the slight breeze was just what I needed to lift my battered spirits in the 60 degree weather. I looked like a zombie. I finally get to the Holiday Inn and take the elevator to the 9th floor. Room 921. I mustered up what little strength I had left and began slowly . . . knocking . . . on . . . the . . . door. It was pathetic looking, and sounding, I'm sure. The last person I thought would be the one to answer the door did; Dustin. Hours prior I had complained that sleeping a hotel room with Matt, Dustin and Jon would be the worst thing possible, as the thought of SNORING for all hours of the night would be quite unfun. How desperate I wanted those snoring sounds at that point in time. Tired shouts of what I will describe as 'joy' from my 3 friends filled the room. They were astonished that I was not dead. And after retelling this story right now, I'm astonished I'm not either. This shouldn't happen to grown ass men. But it did. And I'm here. Lesson learned.

If you mess with Minneapolis, your trip will be Minnehopelessness. A map of my travels is below...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh, Hi Summerfest! 2

(Note: To actually SEE the bands playing at 8:00 or 10:00pm, it's wise to get to that stage about 2 to 3 hours in advance of the show to actually get 'seats'. As I'm sure many of you know, the free stages fill up quickly, and some spots are better than others to actually see the music).

onward with my picks of who to see:

Tues, July 1st

3:00pm / Zippo Rock Stage - Muzzy Luctin
Another local Madison favorite, these guys will rock ya face off. Back in the Whitewater days when MTV thought it would be a good idea to 'invade' a small school of 10,000 bored college students with Hoobastank, Muzzy Luctin opened up for the 'stank on short notice when Everclear cancelled. They were good. Not sure if they have any new stuff out, but go check up on them anyways.

8:00pm / Zippo Rock Stage - Red
These guys have great melody. They do. Crushing guitars paired with piano & violin (probably not included in their live shows). Really liking this band as of late. Curious to see how their live show might be. Hopefully looking to actually go to this Tues night. Followed by an old fav of mine...

10:00pm / Harley Roadhouse Stage - O.A.R.
O.A.R. has been playing 'Crazy Game of Poker' for what seems like a decade now. And I'm fine with it. I've seen them 4 times, and they bring something different to every live show they do. Label them all you want, but this isn't just a stoner frat-college band anymore. These guys have to be in their 30's and still are making great records. I'm not sure how often this happens, but they are headlining Wednesday night as well.


Wed, July 2nd

2:30pm / Zippo Rock Stage - Marashino
Local Milwaukee favorites start your afternoon out right with some hard rock sounds, and if you're normal - grab a beer or ten and hang out in the sun. A local band that actually might go somewhere if they could get a break.

7:00pm / Miller Lite Oasis - Mt. Olive
Always heard good things about this band...but I've never actually seen them. Summerfest just may be the place to break my Olive Cherry. Lol that sounds ridiculous. Miller Lite Oasis stage area has also been renovated I think, so it would be nice to check that out too.

10:00pm / Harley Roadhouse Stage - Crystal Method (Dj Set)
While my buddy Tom (from Jake gets his Sobriety Tested) will be jammin out to Coheed & Cambria playing on the Miller Lite Oasis stage during this time, I'll hopefully be wasted and dancing with glowsticks and club kids to a dj set from the Crystal Method. 90's pioneers in mainstream techno music, TCM should be a crowd pleaser for the electronica fans in WI (they're out there, right?) I question the stage they were put on (nothing goes together like Harley Motorcycles & Dance Music), but by the time 10pm rolls around, I'm guessing all the 'adults' will clear out when they hear Dieselboy take the stage at 8pm...


Thurs, July 3rd
Another disappointing night for me, music-wise. Only 3 bands I would really consider going to see. Had I been attending every day of Summerfest until this point, this would be my day off.
Alas...

6:00pm / Briggs & Stratton Stage - Slumpbuster Ft. KB
LOL. Another hilarious name. Slumpbuster & Roshambo should get together & jam for awhile. Anyways, I'm wondering if this "KB" is KB from 96.5 WKLH, a hilarious morning radio personality for a classic rock station. Would be great to see him rock for awhile. I haven't done my research, but I'm guessing it's him.

8:00pm / US Cellular Stage - Ludo
Just discovered this band the other day. Harmless pop music from this group. I think they have a single on the radio. It's catchy, but a tad too teenybopperish. If I was surrounded by teenagers as the show started, I'd move on to get a spot at one of the other stages for a 10:00 show. But not after getting some phone numbers first. I mean...what?

10:00pm / Miller Lite Oasis - Thievery Corporation
This was a toss up for me. I'm going with the lesser known band, and hopefully the stage with less people. Kansas is also playing at this time, so if I were actually there, I'd have to toss a coin to figure out who to go see. I'm intrigued by Thievery Corporations live show. A downtempo/jazz outfit from overseas, I'm guessing they actually play instruments for their live shows. Either way, it would be a relaxing way to end the night after getting some Cheese Curds from...well, anywhere.


Fri, July 4th
I'll be at a wedding. On Independence Day. July 4th. But if I wasn't there, I'd be watching fireworks light up the sky during the midnight hour (I think?). For the 4th of July, there's not too many bands I'd like to see on this night. Except for one, MAJOR BEHEMOTH of a band. That band is...

7:30pm / Marcus Amphitheater - Stone Temple Pilots (opener: Black Francis - Frank Black of the Pixies)
AOHHAHHDFDJkasd what a shooow. I would see this in a heartbeat. Will Scott Weiland be fucked up enough to not pronounce a single lyric correctly? I wish I could find out. I'm sure plenty of other Milwaukeeans will see this, and I'll hear about it later.

Other bands playing the headlining hour: The Roots, Goldfinger, Less than Jake, Phil Lesh & Friends, Slightly Stoopid, and Five Finger Deathpunch.

Sat, July 5th
I can tell you what I will be doing today. I have tickets for

8:00pm - Marcus Amphitheater - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
A tradition with some high school friends started long ago. Every summer, we get obliterated and sit in the grass seats for Tom Petty. It's just what we do. Tom Petty is so old that he & Keith Richards smoke cockroaches together. He looks like a skeleton's skeleton. If that makes any sense. But no matter how toasted we all get, we all still know the lyrics to basically every song he plays. It's always just a great time. Can't wait to go again this year. Stevie Winwood opens, too! Time for some Higher Love, baby!




Sun, July 6th

10:00pm / Miller Lite Oasis - 311
Even though The Bravery is playing on the US Cellular Stage at this time, I've been a huge fan of 311 for some time now, and have STILL not seen them. Last year when I went, it rained for 4 straight hours prior to the show, and there was not an open crevice in the crowd AT ALL. We tried to snake around places to see the stage, to no avail. It's another thing I'd like to do before I turn 25. The fact that I still haven't seen 311 makes me feel like theres a void in my soul somewhere. I think I may actually go to this (if my body can even function this soon after Petty) and stake out a spot around the 5:00 hour. One of my favorite bands of all time. It had to be said.

And that's it. The end of Summerfest. The world's largest music festival. Again, any information you need can be found at http://www.summerfest.com/ .


Monday, June 23, 2008

Oh, Hi Summerfest!


Smell that? Saz's Italian Sampler...cold, crisp Miller Beer...Lake Michigan (ew). Summerfest is here, baby!

If you don't know what Summerfest is (I don't think I have too many out of WI readers), let me tell you a bit about the world's largest music festival.
Um...it's the world's largest music festival. Nestled on scenic Lake Michigan, Summerfest boasts the largest musical lineup in the world. So thats a big F YOU to England, and all your cool festivals, ya blokes. For a mere 15$ a day, you can watch the best bands around play their stinkin hearts out for ya. If you want to compete with thousands of people every day, and have the monetary means to do it - I suggest doing so. I could go on about how amazing Summerfest is for awhile - or I could just send you to their website, and have you fall out of your chair upon seeing the monstrosity of upcoming performances: http://www.summerfest.com/

A day by day wrap up of who I would go see if given the chance:

Thurs, June 26th
2:30pm / Harley Roadhouse Stage - Roshambo
Are you serious? Their name is ROSHAMBO.
I don't need to know anything about this group. The name alone has me intrigued.

6:00pm / Zippo Rock Stage - Nonpoint
Six pm? You kidding me? Get here early to get a peak at nonpoint. Why they aren't the headliner on this stage at 10pm is beyond me (it's Drowning Pool if you're interested) Elias is a beast on the vocals and their drummer looks like he'd snap you in half like a dull pencil. Great live show, don't miss it.

10:00pm / Briggs & Stratton Stage - Gnarls Barkley
I'm not sure you realize the impact that Cee-Lo has had on music today. Do your research - the guy is important. Paired with Danger Mouse, I have to believe their live show would be top notch. If GB isn't your thing, maybe They Might be Giants or Three Dog Night will tickle your fancy.


Fri, June 27th
12:30pm / US Cellular Connections Stage - Mighty Short Bus
Well there's a pleasant surprise! Madison's own MSB makin the trek over. A good cover band that has the necessary tools to give you a rockin good time.

6:30pm / Zippo Rock Stage - Silvergun
I don't know where or why, but I've heard this band before, and I remember liking them. Some band called Anew Revolution (clever, not!) is playing after them. Followed by...

10:00PM / Zippo Rock Stage - Sevendust
Lajon. Need I say more? Rumor has it that their old drummer Clint will be playing with them at this show. Makes me jealous that I will not be going, due to my presence being needed at my place of employment.

Sat, June 28th
For the first Saturday of Summerfest, I'm actually quite disappointed. The lineups actually suck . . . a lot. I'm not sure who they're trying to aim their shows at, but honestly I'm kind of curious at the selections. Who I'd go see anyways:

12:30pm / US Cellular Stage - The Sharp & Harkins Band
HOLY CRAP! S&H get a gig at Summerfest. My boys are gonna reggae rock the shit outta you! Guaranteed to be a good time and a great show. Stoughton/Whitewater/Madison people need to be in attendance for this moment. I unfortunately cannot due to prior obligations.

10:00pm / US Cellular Stage - Shinedown
Yeah, thats a hefty space in between for 'bands to see'. Also playing around noon is Fat J and the Pinners, Waterford townie favorites. Also good around that time frame is Katie Todd band. She can wail. At any rate, yes Shinedown is the only other band I'd want to go see today. That's 8 hours of drinking and eating high caloric food in between shows. Be careful. Shinedown's new single 'devour' is ownin my soul at the moment.

Sun, June 29th
8:30pm / Miller Lite Oasis - Truth in Fiction
High school buddy Dan Beres' band is still trucking. Fresh off a new release in Japan, Truth in Fictions crowd-friendly pop punk will start your night off well. Plus, they're opening up for...








10:00pm / Miller Lite Oasis - Jack's Mannequin
Always been more of a fan of Jack's Mannequin than Something Corporate. I'm guessing it's the piano. Yes, I like the ivory...

If seats weren't available, I'd wander off to see the Scarring Party playing at 8:00pm on the US Cellular Stage. An old Whitewater friend of mine named Isa plays in that band, and although I haven't seen her in awhile, I'd go support the band. Apparently they're doing well in the Milwaukee area. Well enough to open up for the Polyphonic Spree, playing on that stage around 10:00pm.

Mon, June 30th
Also kind of a weak night. 10pm headliners include Matisyahu, Paramore, and from the 'they're still alive??' vault Gin Blossoms and Candlebox. I'll pass on those and head to see:

10:00pm / Potawanami Bingo Stage - Indigenous
Blues-rock at it's absolute finest. One of my fav songs of all time is 'Things We Do'. I'm sure they'll play it. Not to be missed.

Part 2 coming tomorrow...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Best. Music Video. Ever.

The art of the music video + Internet Viral Videos = Shit will blow your mind.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My love for Panera is borderline ridiculous

crav·ing: [krey-ving]
noun
great or eager desire; yearning.

My eager desire for Panera Bread is borderline ridiculous. You know that show called 'Intervention' ? Neither do I, but I've seen it when I scroll through the guide on tv. Either way, I might need one. I may need a Panera Intervention.

Some time ago, I deemed Tuesday's 'Panera Day'. So every 2nd day of the workweek around 1:30pm, I get in my car and drive 2.2 miles to my food intake Mecca. If for some reason I can't make it there that day - I'm instantly crabby. It's like my world is caving in on me like a cave would cave in on me. I walk through those glorious double-glass doors and it's as if the voice of the establishment calls out to me..."Jake...," Panera says, "Welcome to a place that aims to keep you content and satisfied". I swear to god she says it to me. She has a soft, soothing voice. But when I step foot into that place, an ear-to-ear smile comes over me. Directly in front of me is the bakery station. Complete with bagels, sourdough bread, stone-milled rye, double chocolate cookies...I could go on forever. But I have to bypass that splendid section, as I only have 45 minutes to achieve what I can only describe as 'gullet-orgasm'.

I always see the same people working when I stop in. They never recognize me. Or maybe they do, it's just that they're afraid to talk to someone with such a stupid shit-eating grin on their face. I'm guessing it's the latter reason. But oh no, that sure doesn't mess with my Panera Time. The sounds, the smells, the tastes, and oh, the sights - it's an sensical information overload. Is this making any sense to you? I even like the colors. Seaweed green, a light tannish brown, everything just mixes together so perfectly.

I used to take my lunch at Panera. It was like a little mini-heaven on Earth. Unfortunately one fateful day, my cell phone fell out of my pocket and got lodged between my booth seat and a large, well, 'divider'. After many attempts to retrieve my cellular device from the depths with my short stubby arms, I contacted management. For some reason, I believe a large pair of pliers was summoned, and after a minute or two, the gentleman manager presented me with my phone. Slightly embarassed, I thanked them and went on my way. Since then, I haven't gotten the courage back to choose the 'dine in' option. Perhaps some day I will sit somewhere else, as that would solve the problem of me losing my phone. I think I need help.

Can this place get any better? I mean, look at the fricking LOGO. Even that is near perfection. If you were wondering, yes, that's the woman whose voice I hear when I enter the gates of this beautiful foodcropolis. It's like the building is the woman, and she's holding me. She keeps me warm, and looks out for me during my lunch hour. She's holding me close, and I'm a loaf of bread, just sucking at the Panera teat. Yeah - that's me! She's rocking me gently to Panera bliss. And I'm wishing, waiting, wondering...how a food chain can be so great and cater to my tastebuds' every need.


Naturally upon exit of the establishment I get a punch in the face of real worldism. Car horns, insects buzzing, people being people - you know - dumb real-life shit. Technically, my Panera experience isn't over yet though. Whether I choose to eat at back at the office or not - I still have one piece of Panera power still at my fingertips. The receipt. On every receipt is the option to complete a short 5 minute survey describing your 'Panera experience'. Every month, the gods that be pick a lucky survey taker to win $2,000. Whether they actually do or not, I have no idea. But what I do know is that 9 times out of 10 - I complete that online survey. And not only do I complete the survey, but the give this beautiful stomach-saving business high marks. I figure, after completing about 40 of these, they'd finally break down and give me some cash. I haven't received a dime. Maybe they'll pick me after I spend $2,000 there, which is totally within reach, being as I usually spend between $6 & $8 every visit.

In closing, upon investigating my favorite sandwich, The Frontega Chicken Sandwich, I sadly have discovered that it contains 800 calories and 2150 mg of sodium - aka 90% of my daily value. Hmmm. But no - OH NO - I will not let them put a damper on the gloriousness of Panera.
My body may suffer, but my heart and my mind will live on forever...

So to end this post on a high note, I have made a haiku about my favorite menu item at Panera. You're the best, Panera.

Frontega Chicken

Sandwich, how I long for thee

My mouth shouts for you

Monday, May 19, 2008

John Kruk is Hungry

Ladies and Gentlemen, John Kruk is hungry.

I'm watching baseball tonight last night, and witnessed this hilarious clip. It's Steve Phillips' birthday, and Boomer & the gang are nice enough to give him a cake for the event. As the dessert gets passed down, you can sense Kruk salivating like Pavlov's dog to rip into the sugary mess. Note at the 40 second mark, Mr. Kruk just loses his mind, along with his patience, and demands a piece. The tone of his voice almost made me cry I was laughing so hard. If there's anything to be learned from this, it's that if you have small children - please, please don't let them come within 15 feet of John Kruk, as he's likely to devour them.

(A massive thank-you goes to the boys over at 'Awful Announcing', who dug up the clip at my request. They even gave me a little credit in their post here: http://awfulannouncing.blogspot.com/2008/05/john-kruk-really-wants-that-cake.html)

edit - apparently I can't embed a video from Red Lasso. I'm gonna need some help with this. In the meantime, go to the above link..thanks

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Laziness has kicked in

Hello, fellow internet-ites. I've been super lazy lately. I've been back from vacation for a solid month and a half now, and have no motivation to post the other shenanigans from my awesome trip to FL. If you must know the other happenings, post a comment or email me and i'll give you an anecdote or two. Look for a few new posts in the upcoming weeks. For now, I hope 3 months' worth of tunes will suffice. Theres some gems in there.

Miggidy March!
23) Elliot Smith - Miss Misery
22) David Essex - Rock On21) Nonpoint - What a Day
20) Maceo Parker - Shake Everything You Got
19) David Guetta vs The Egg - Love Don't Let Me Go (Walking Away)
18) Tift Merritt - Broken
17) Cold - When Angels Fly Away
16) Finger Eleven - Change the World
15) STP - Wicked Garden
14) Tantric - Down & Out
13) Bon Iver - Skinny Love
12) Theory of a Deadman - No Surprise
11) Glenn Morrison - No Sudden Moves
10) Glenn Morrison - Contact
9) Evans Blue - Dark that Follows
8) Parlour Steps - Hot Romance
7) Theory of a Deadman - Say I'm Sorry
6) Slightly Stoopid - Leaving on a Jet Plane
5) Zox - Goodnight
4) Hoobastank - If Only
3) Crossfade - Cold
2) Deadmau5 - Arguru
1) Atmosphere - Shoulda Known

April Musical Showers
18) Lazee - Rock Away
17) Vein ft. Pitbull - Get Up, Stand Up
16) Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love (sorry, had to...)
15) Dropping Daylight - Brace Yourself
14) Sharp & Harkins Band - Freedom (myspace)
13) Truth in Fiction - Brown Sweater (myspace)
12) Mae - Someone elses arms
11) Junkie XL - Booming back at you
10) MGMT - Time to Pretend
9) Tokio Hotel - Ready Set Go (sorry again...)
8) Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Rascal King
7) Sponge - Plowed
6) Reel Big Fish - She has a girlfriend now
5) Saul Williams - List of Demands
4) Headway - The Start
3) Atmosphere - Always coming back home to you
2) Evans Blue - Pin up
1) Lyrics Born - Hott 2 Def

Hey, It's May!
18) Jay Z - I Know
17) Snoop Dogg & Everlast - My Medicine
16) Wolf Parade - Modern World
15) ZZ Top - You got me Under Pressure
14) Faithless - Music Matters
13) Mae - Home
12) Miguel Migs - Make Things Happen
11) Chris Brown - Kiss Kiss (Alan Astor Mix)
10) Yazoo - Situation
9) DJ Lobsterdust - UNK, Avril Lavigne, Tony Basil - Walkin' Out Yo Girlfriend (Mashup)
8) Story of the Year - Apathy is a Deathwish
7) Adam Tensta - My Cool
6) Atmosphere - Can't Break
5) Atmosphere - The Waitress
4) 10 Years - 11:00am(Daydreamer)
3) Atmosphere - Your Glasshouse
2) Story of the Year - The Black Swan
1) Story of the Year - Tell Me (P.A.C.)

(8-1 are MUST dl's, fyi)

Till next time...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

AFF2: The Douchebag Haikus

ZOMG! I found the Douchebag Haikus!!! The 2 morons in row 23 will be no longer be safe from the wrath of my pen. Tucked behind a blank page after 'The Cincinnati Affair' (from July 2006 fame. Actually on the page right after the tally count of KRAAAAZY KAPLANS Billboards), they beckoned me to discover them again! I was happy to say the least. Apparently I overstated how many there actually were - I only made 8. Whatevs. I hope you like reading them as much as I liked creating them on the flight. For an even better effect - read them softly and delicately in the true '5-7-5' haiku way. Enjoy.



The Douchebag Haiku's
3-26-08, 10:00pm


Florida D-bags
On a god-forsaken flight
Please stop your swearing


Sexual Conquests
Appropriate for plane talk?
I don't believe so


Behind me - morons
I now know why girls hate men
They're human garbage. . .


Greetings, douchebag one
You're outlandish and stupid
Fucking kill yourself


Douchebag number two
I hope your wife passes you
A dose of herpes


Towards douchebag one
Burp in my ear once again
My pen meets your eyes


Again with myspace
Ever get off computer?
I'm guessing you don't


Ebay business plan
Sir - you are bound for failure
And large douchebagness
.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

AFF2: The Astrology Lady Story

Zodiac Signs. Astrology. Horoscopes. I've never bought into it. You could read ANY horoscope and somehow it could, or would make sense just for you. It never really mattered, or made sense to me. Until this day.
It's Friday, March 28th and Deerfield Beaches' finest have gathered on the waterfront dock bar for 2 for 1 happy hour. The Cove Restaurant & Marina is nestled on the intercoastal waterway, and yachts and large fishing boats scurried around to find space to dock. Derek and I were firmly planted near this outside bar, but were eating dinner inside the open-aired establishment. Derek, being the gracious host he is, let me face this ouside dock bar for a prime people-watching post. The ladies would stream in behind me and he would let me know what color the hot one(s) of the bunch was/were wearing. In return, I would give him a play by play of the goings on behind him. I realize this may or may not sound creepy to you, but if 2 people can't watch the same crowd, commentating the shenanigans behind the others blind spot is necessary. Overall, the scene consisted of an eclectic mix of old sea captains, young brazilian foxes, and metrosexual men who work out too much - just to name a few of the players.

Beautiful women were coming out of the woodwork everywhere. For a midwesterner, the sight of constricting dresses, huge fake boobs, and overly bronzed skin is not seen often. As plentiful as the women were, there was another group that was even more apparent: Bostonian men. Or guys that thought they were from Boston. Even more insane than the amount of east coast dbags, was the amount of hot girl there who were eating them up. It was pathetic, to be honest. One of these gentleman in particular made both of us laugh so hard that our lungs nearly collapsed. I deemed him 'Chinstrap'. Picture, if you will: A tanned individual with short, curly, John-Gotti-esque 'My New Haircut' spiked hair. A skin-tight orange t shirt and jeans. He was accesorized with inch-thick bright WHITE glasses - that had a single lens that wrapped around both eyes. Ahh...ok. The best part of the ensemble though, was the facial hair. A barely visible chinstrap adorned his douchebagness. But this wasn't your avearage chinstrap, oh no. He finely trimmed it from left mid jaw to right mid jaw. NOT ear to ear. It just kinda...stopped at the ends of his jawline. It made no sense, but it was HILARIOUS! Unfortunately, he is not pictured. What is pictured, however, is one of the ugliest (aka best) mullets ever caught on film. And it's on a WOMAN, folks - believe it!


The Cove took over The Milwaukee Zoo as my top spot for people watching after that day. As the onslaught of beautiful lady tigers continued waltzing in, our conversation turned to money. And, how most likely, all these beauties were gold-digging whores, and would never be interested in talking to 2 average looking midwestern boys who don't make $50k together annually. We toasted to 'not having money' and drank away. At that moment, both of our lives would be changed forever.

We were seated next to this elderly couple. They were finishing up their meal at this point and sipping on some cocktails. Overhearing our toast, the woman leaned in and whispered, "Money doesn't buy you happiness". Which, depending on who you ask, is correct. She was your typical older Floridian lady. Wrinkled leathery skin from years in the South Florida sun. Her vibrant yellow and orange floral dress waved in the breeze, and thick-framed spectacles sat atop her nose. What I remember most, was the massive amount of gold jewerly she wore - it was as if she just returned from a Mr. T yard sale. Derek and I continued to discuss what profession we were involved in, and somewhere in the conversation, she asked us our birthdays. I told her, and she went on for 5 minutes about how my 'money line' was 'in the right state/axis/rotation' ? or something. I'm pretty sure I replied with, "Are you sure?", and Derek and I had a good chuckle. She continued to spit out words I had never heard before. Outer space vocabulary, or something. I understood a little. And by a little, I mean zero. Upon her request, I held out my palm, and she pointed to a 'line' that I've ALWAYS had and said something like, 'see how your money line is so close to your bla bla bla something something'. I just nodded and smiled, thinking that this broad was straight from the nut house, even though she was very nice. Thank god she wasn't scary, or I'm guessing I would have bolted mid conversation. Either way, she said I had good fortune, and how now would be a great time to buy that lottery ticket. (*side note - as I write this, It's dawning on me that during this conversation, and the moments that followed, I was taking care of 3 things on my 'things to do before I turn 25' list all at once...play the lottery, talk to strangers, and travel on a budget) I found it funny that during this odd convo, her husband never uttered a word. He just finished up what was left of his meal and gazed out towards the water. I could only guess that he was probably thinking, "Well, here she goes again..." Astrology lady then turned her attention to Derek, whose money line was NOT good, apparently. Derek replied with the, "Yeah, I already know that though." and I laughed. She informed him that his money line was currently in a state of weakness (or something), but would begin to come on strong later - April 10th was the date. "OK then. April 10th - I'll be here. 5:30pm. - waiting for you." Astrology lady smiled and softly said, "I'll leave my husband at home". I laughed so fucking hard I almost fell out of my chair. "I've been doing this a long time. For about 50 years." she added.

With that said, the couple got up and slowly escorted themselves out. Derek and I toasted again to . . . I dunno, an awkward conversation, and drank. But the experience was not over.

Looking in Derek's direction, astrology lady asked, "Do you own a car?"
"Yes"
"Did you drive it here?"
"Yes"
"Ok. You're going to want to check one of the tires...on...the left side of your vehicle. Ok? Just check the tires. One needs a little air."
"Uhh...Ok?"

Then astrology lady left. We both looked at each other with a puzzled, squinty eyed look.

"You know we're gonna have to check the tires before we go home now, right?" I said. Derek agreed. The rest of the evening at the Cove continued to be entertaining. Blondes in hotpants (why aren't they called hotshorts?) kept on schmoozing with middle aged men who wipe their ass with Ben Franklins', Bostonian dudes kept traveling in packs attacking unsuspecting ladies, and rum runners and mojitos flowed like rum runners and mojitos flow. We wanted to stay longer, but we had to pick up Schmill from the airport around 7ish that night. (A little LOLage here - Derek sent him a text around 6 that said something to the likes of 'Jake and I are drunk. We can't pick you up. Hail a cab to get to my house when you touch down. Sorry man." How funny would it have been if he actually read that & took a taxi to his apartment? I mean, you never know with the Schmill)
So we get to the mazda 3 and head off to the airport - forgetting the check the tire. 3 minutes go by, and we're still in the residential area of downtown Deerfield Beach when I yell, "Oh shit - we gotta check that tire!", in a joking manner. Derek pulls over to the side of the road willingly, and we both got out gawked at the left side of the car.

"No. . . fucking . . . way!" - Derek and I, in unison.

I started jumping around throwing punches at the air and screaming into the atmosphere as Derek put his hands on his head in utter shock and started laughing.



The left, front tire had visibly less air than the left back tire.


Actually, the left front tire had visibly less air than EVERY other tire on the car. It wasn't just a little bit lower. It was NOTICEABLY lower. Had it been my car, I would not have driven on it without putting more air into it. Now, please be aware that the old astrology lady was sitting next to us in the restaurant BEFORE we got there - and no - she didn't see us pull up (we parked a ways away), so she could not have walked her 90 year old ass out there and let some air out of it. Needless to say, I was slightly freaked out. Derek, although, exhibited his cool & collected self and popped his trunk to reveal an emergency road kit. Complete with radio, flashlight, tire pressure monitor, and, among many others - a small tire inflation nozzle. Which was really quite neat - except it had no juice left in it. Somewhat frustrated now, Derek goes to me, "The first gas station we see - we're stopping. I'm putting air in this tire and you're buying a lottery ticket." And it was done. We drove a bit and stopped at the first Mobil station. As Derek inflated his tire, I went inside and bought one $1 Florida Lotto ticket. Thoughts of what exactly I would buy with my winning ticket entered my head. (And that's where they would stay. Days later, I checked the ticket numbers in the newspaper - ZERO. None, zip, nada were correct.) After picking up Schmill from the airport, we went out in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. But that's another story. This tale is about an elderly Floridian woman with a strange, uncanny act to guess something right. And although I still don't believe in the zodiac calendar or psychic abilities, I do have to admit that it was a slightly freaky; yet superb way to begin a great vacation week.

Follow up: As I'm now just getting around to writing about my vacation three weeks ago, I called Derek during lunch today to see if he actually did go back to the Cove. He did not, and I was saddened. BUT - on that Monday, April 10th, he did go to Dania Beach to watch Jai Alai (which will be discussed in a future AFF2 post). Jai Alai is a game where crazy Spaniards meet in a huge enclosed court and throw a cue ball 150miles an hour with a straw basket attached to their right hand. It's an incredible spectacle. You can bet on which Jai Alai teams or players will win per match - we won $0 during the 8 or 9 matches we watched. But Derek, on this fateful Monday, won $30 crisp American dollars. Looks as if Derek's money line might be on the upswing after all. Till next time, Astrology lady...till next time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

AFF2: The Airport Chronicles

TO FLORIDA:

(The following was written while I was waiting for my flight at the Milwaukee and Minneapolis airports, respectively)

Wed, March 26th, 3:20pm @ MKE

They say one of the best spots to meet single people is at an airport. Who's 'they' though? I dunno, I read it somewhere. This post has nothing to do with meeting a girl, I just wanted to throw that little ditty out there. Either way, I just paid $10 for a gin & tonic. I've never drank at the airport bar before. I probably won't again. The bartender gave me a double beefeater and tonic, and to be honest - I didn't really want a double. Halfway through my drink, a girl my age, chatting away on her cell, ordered a drink next to me. "Hold on", she said, looking in my direction. "Can you drink before you fly?" I started laughing. I reply, "Uh, that's what I'm doing" and held my hand to my drink like I was Vanna White turning an imaginary letter. She chuckled, and went back to talking away. I hope I didn't come off as an asshole - but I thought the previous question was common knowledge? I was early for my flight, so after the 1 drink I settled down in the waiting area. Some 45 minutes later, the previous girl is now standing nearby me again. She looks like she's freaking out inside. "I've never flown before" she tells me. "But I got some beer in me, so it's smooth sailing now!" I guess? Nothin like some sweet old sudsy dudsy sloshin around during turbulence. She was nice, but kinda wierd.

Wed, March 26th, 6:15pm @ Minnehopelessness

6 billion people on Earth, right? It truly is a small world. This is a true story...
...sitting next to me in the bar @ Minneapplesauce/St. Paul International airport is a sweet 50 year old lady. We start to chat it up - and the similarities start to become eerie. She spent 8 years living in La Crosse, WI - aka my favorite college town, and where my parents originally met. We talking about our travels and where we've lived, and she tells me she currently lives in Colorado Springs, to which I reply, "Nice. I've never been west of Kansas." She chimes in, "Oh, I lived in Hays, Kansas". Get outta here lady! To those of you who don't know (and I pray you don't), Hays, KS is in the middle of fucking nowhere. Nothing is within 100 miles of this place. It's a city in the middle of a dry, brown, desert full of oil rigs. No one should want to wind up there. Seriously. Oddly enough, my aunt/uncle/cousins currently live there, and my grandma (from Attempting Floridian Fame Vol I) lived there for 1/2 a decade. Also, the city name is basically my last name. Wow. I continue drinking my $10 (ouch again) 20 oz Leine's Red and the gentlemen directly to my right leans over and goes, "So you live in Madison, eh? I own the Argus building". WTF, this is nuts. I work at the Great Dane downtown - and you can clearly see the Argus bar & building from that location. It get's creepier - his moustached friend next to him, adorned in flannel attire also has something to say. "You said you were from Racine, right?" I nod yes. "I grew up there".

Am I on candid fucking camera?

This is happening in the Minneapolis airport. Honestly, what the hell is going on here.

As if it couldn't get any wierder, it turns out this guy lived ONE BLOCK away from my childhood residence. He described the boulevard I lived on perfectly. So, let's recap. The dude-who-owns the Argus' friend grew up right behind me 30 years ago. Got it. Dude-who-owns the Argus continues - "I own the chamber building above Pizza Extreme (E. Wash for you Madisonians) too. Did you say you moved from Racine to Waterford?" I say yes, and wonder why, and how long, these 2 were eavesdropping on my other convo. The next part completes the creepiness circle. He tells me of a renter of his who used to smoke pot with him on a daily basis. After a night of no doubt black-out-drunkeness, this renter of his climbed on the roof of his apartment and FELL THROUGH the skylight of the afforementioned building. I laugh my ass off and he says, "He's been a teacher at Waterford High School for 15 years now. His name is Mike".

It wasn't Harmeling, and I couldn't think of another last name for the life of me. At any rate, this shit is amazing. Lastly, guy tells me also owns the Madison Metropolitan. If you haven't been keeping up on current events the Metropolitan is in foreclosure. There were numerous stories about it in the WI State Journal. This guy owes millions. OWES MILLIONS. He blamed it on the bank and then on the Willy St. Co-op for not helping him out or something. He told me he was flying to Ft. Lauderdale for a tradeshow on wood flooring. Hmmm. Guy- (never actually got either of the 2 men's names) instead of a flooring conference - perhaps you should go to a 'real estate for dumbasses' or 'managing your finances correctly' seminar. Wow. It really is a small world. I got on my plane really, really creeped out.

http://www.channel3000.com/news/15218241/detail.html < News Story on Metropolitan's foreclosure

==================================================================

Aboard the Minneapolis flight, 2 douchebags in their mid twenties were behind me talking about grotesque things, and other musings that should not be talked about at a high volume, which they currently are doing. I knew it was going to be a long flight immediately after they sat down:
Dbag1- "I get the window seat eh"
Dbag2-"Ugh...the middle"
Dbag1- "Haha - you're gonna have to sit next to the FAT lady! hahah!"
[10 second pause]
Gentleman1- "I'm not fat. And I'm no lady."

5 minutes later he asked the stuartist if he could move, and she promptly reseated him. I should have asked as well. The next 4 hours were filled with ramblings on women, ebay, video games, std's, marriage, the army, and more. As I sat by myself, I actually considered turning around and asking them, "Have either of you ever been called a douchebag before?" Had they said yes, I would have said nothing, and turned around. Had they said no, I would have simply stated "You're both douchebags" and turned around. I would never be able to actually do that, but it felt somewhat liberating to think about it. The worst part of this story is, for a good hour, I wrote what I called 'The Douchebag Haikus'. It was a good 12-15 part barrage of Haikus on what these 2 morons were talking about. They were really good - they even made me crack up at myself. Unfortunately, whatever I wrote them on - I no longer have. It makes me really sad, cuz I know you would have liked them. Damn me for losing that piece of paper. I might never forgive myself.

What I still DO have, is a few noteable quotes from the duo that I scribbled whilst waiting to fly. Keep in mind they are spewing this trash at an unreasonable volume. Keep in mind this flight has children behind them, and plenty of other strangers strewn next to them on this evening flight.

Dbag1- "I had a massive hard-on, and she got on top of me, and I was like 'this is a bad idea in the pooooo-ooool' ".

Dbag1- "I'm giving birth to a beautiful herpe-infested baby boy". About a call from a hook up on the Vans Warped Tour in a dream he had.

Dbag2- "What'd you say to her?"
Dbag1- "Well, I was hard on her. I called her a bitch and a cunt".
Dbag2- "Hmm. I talk to my wife like that every night."
Dbag1- "But after that fight, we've been better than ever".
Dbag2- "You get a make-up blowjob?"
Dbag1- "Maybe I got a make-up hug, if that..."

Dbag1- "You ever get head from a chick....and like.....just wanna pull her head off and do it yourself"?

Not gonna lie, that one made me laugh a bit. But the smile went away fast, cuz I remembered how douchebaggy they had been thus far. All of the above was said BEFORE WE EVEN TOOK OFF. 2 hours into the flight, Dbag1 talks about how Wisconsin girls have outdrank him. Doesn't surprise me. My guess is a 3 year old in a sandbox could outdrink that homo. 3 hours in, I overhear that he's from Stevens Point. Great. Until this point I was hoping he was from Florida, or down south, or somewhere else - ANYWHERE but Wisco. Wrong. For the record, Dbag1 was by far the douchier of the douchebags. Anyways, the topic switched to Ebay for a good 30 minutes. I forget what was said, but the business tactics of Dbag2 were stunningly shitty. Again, I'm quite upset at myself for losing that haiku document. It would have been some award winning poetry right there.



TO WISCONSIN:

Nothing too exciting to report here. My flight left Ft. Lauderdale a bit after 4pm on April 2nd. I was so incredibly hungover from 6 days of drinking that my body basically shut down that day. I had a massive heat rash on my chest and arms from dehydration & the sun. The previous night consisted of patron & pitchers, so my mouth - even after numerous brushings - tasted like a garbage disposal. Out of my element completely, I actually pooped at the airport. Defecated in an airport bathroom. Yucks. Nauceous for about 2 hours pre-flight, I struggled not to yak at every moment. I'm telling you - it was a miracle I didn't throw up between the hours of 10am & 6pm that day. A miracle.
The flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Memphis was fine, minus my ability to even think a complete thought. Some large spanish family had a kid up front who kept screaming. It was a happy scream though, so it was ok for awhile. And when I say 'awhile', I mean 'never.' Eventually the stuartist bitched at the family for not even paying attention to the little guy or even bothering to shut him up. It was really wierd. If I had a kid who was being loud on a plane, I would probably tell it to stop. "Don't yell" - I would say.
2 hour layover in Memphis. What a shitty airport that was. For how busy it was, they had about 20 chairs to wait in. I found this unacceptable. Did you know that Memphis is the #1 cargo carrying airport in the world? Number 2 was Paris, France. Apparently the time zones and the fact that Memphis is centrally located (kinda?) is what makes it such a popular destination. You could look it up, but I think 11 million packages go through that airport every day. Or is that too much? I don't really recall - I was still not functioning very well so the fact that I could actually read words at all was comforting enough. Another large family was hustling and bustling a few yards away. The father had a WI tee on. There were 5 very small children crying, eating, yelling, and doing other kid things. He walked by me numerous times muttering 'fuck' under his breath. I didn't really feel bad for him though, as it's his fault for goin to town without a hat on, ya know? The youngest child couldn't have been more than a year old. She could talk, but barely. A lot of that incoherent stuff that kids 'say' at that age.
Fast forward to the plane. We're waiting to lift off, and we're a few planes in line. It really wasn't all that funny - but it made me laugh my ass off: No more than 5 minutes in, the previously mentioned young child started screaming. Crying screaming. Through the garbled yelling, I could make out only one phrase. "IIII WAANT MY DA-DDYYYY" This was repeated about 100 times, no joke. I'm laughing in my seat, and the guy next to me thinks I'm nuts. The only real reason I was laughing so hard was the fact that a) The mother was the only one with her and b) IT WAS IN FIRST CLASS!!! All the hoity toity bastards & bastardesses (just made that one up now, folks) were scowling at the helpless mother. They paid all that extra money to get bigger seats, amazing service, free drinks - only to have this dumb kid SCREAM at the top of her lungs in search for her daaaaadddyyyy for 15 minutes. 15 solid minutes of uncontrollable crying. I laughed really hard.
My flight touched down in (cold) Milwaukee around 9:30.

My flights to Milwaukee were heaven compared to what Schmill went through. The atrocities that he experienced on his return trip were enough to push any human to their limit. Delays. Cancellations. Emus. Just kidding. But he was so frustrated during and after the ordeal, that I told him he should write about it. So he did. The following is directly from the Schmill himself, sent to me:

While returning from a recent trip to Florida I had the opportunity to witness very interesting traits among fellow Americans. I also got to experience corporate greed at its finest. My US Airways flight back to Milwaukee from Charlotte was severely delayed and we had finally gotten on to the tarmac to take off. We began the acceleration off the runway but never left the ground. The frustration among all passengers immediately rose. Once back at the terminal we learned the door sensors alerted it wasn’t shut. An hour later, we learned the flight was cancelled. This is where it became interesting. People began scrambling to butt in line to talk with the ticketing agent, Stephanie. She was frantically trying to get alternate flight arrangements from her head office yet the questions/concerns/complaints kept on coming to her. Some passengers made their calls to get alternate flights. One amazing person actually found an alternate flight to Milwaukee and gave the reservation up to a mother travelling with her newborn child; one of the nicest things I’ve seen in awhile. Poor Stephanie was running out of same day flights and reported that arrangements were being made to send us home the next day. People were not happy and some even banded together to get back to Milwaukee. A group of 5 strangers took an alternate flight to St. Louis and bided to drive the 6 hours to Milwaukee. I on the other hand decided to take the next day flight. After a shitty nights’ sleep, I was off to Philadelphia to catch a connecting flight on Midwest back home (I was looking forward to the cookie). However, after a 3 hour layover and then checking in at the Midwest ticket counter, they said US Airways had reserved my flight but hadn’t sent over my ticket. Not happy. I trek over to another terminal to find a US Airways agent. They first off had no idea what I was talking about and then once they found my information, instead of sending the ticket over and sending me on my initial flight, they booked me on a delayed US Airways flight 6 hours later. Pissed off, I took my 10 dollars of meal vouchers “for the inconvenience” and wasted my Saturday at the Philadelphia airport. Needless to say, it was a shitty way to end a vacation; I finally made it back to Milwaukee and shall choose US Airways as a last resort from now on.

Airports and airplanes are crazy. The end.