Friday, July 30, 2010

Under Pressure (Of The Peer Variety)

It is well documented that I have trouble saying no to plans. I am pretty easily peer pressured into doing things, and I hate disappointing people, even if it's about the last thing I want to be doing at that moment. It was easier the first couple years I lived in Lawrence, as my friend group was considerably smaller than it was during college in Grand Forks. I had plenty of nights with nothing going on, so I was ready to rock when shenanigans presented themselves to me. But now I'm kinda at a point again where I have a bunch of different friend groups (not trying to toot my own horn here, just bein' real witch'ya) so there's always something going on, and once again I'm constantly on the go. However, as opposed to my college days, I'm older and more of a pussy now, so there are plenty of instances where I'd much rather sit around and watch seven hours' worth of It's Always Sunny episodes rather than belly up to a bar at 2 pm on a Sunday afternoon. So since I struggle to say no verbally, I end up flushing a lot of phone calls.

And because my friends are assholes, me refusing to answer my phone on Sunday leads to them ordering up a bouquet of 'Get Well Soon' balloons and having them delivered to my office, since I must be really sick if I'm unable to return any phone calls from a Sunday Funday. And now everyone in my office has been laughing at the story all day long; I had to tell the backstory to about 12 different employees (with good reason; it is pretty funny. I get jokes.)

And I came across a realization: part of the reason I can't say no to anything is because my friends make it so hard to say no. For most people, refusing plans goes something like this:

"Hey, we're going to grab some beers after golf today- you in?"
"Nahhh, it sounds like fun, but I'm pretty hungover, I'll probably just chill out tonight, take care of some stuff at home, I'll get at you guys tomorrow though."
"Aight man, sounds good. I mean, you did have like 19 beers and smoked three cigars last night- you probably are feeling pretty rough. Have a good night dude."

But for me, it goes more like this:

"Jimmaaaayyyyyyyy! We're at Raffy's. Get over here now. WE. NEED. THIS!!"
"Shit dude, I'm so hung today it's stupid. Plus I have to work at the course tomorrow morning....count me out."
~muffled noises, intelligible screaming in the background~ "What?!?! You pussy!! Just get over here, we need your jukebox skills! ~someone whispers something in the background~ Yeah, yeah, some chick just asked us if Adam Banks was making an appearance tonight. She's not real cute, but like that matters for you. So get over here, you homo!"
"Guys, seriously. I drank enough to kill a small Guatemalan family last night- and the last time I saw you, it was 4 am and you were getting a phone number from that one-legged girl with vomit on her shirt! How are you even out boozing right now?"
"Hey bro, sorry for partying! Just get over here in the next 20 minutes. Puss." ~click~

20 minutes later....

"Yeah. What do you guys want."
"Jimmaaayyyyyyy! Where you at dude? We're starting to get a little worried about you, it's not that long of a drive!"
"Yeah. I told you guys I'm staying in tonight."
~yelling in background about how much of a pussy I am~ "Banks, I don't think you understand. We need you here. So sack up, take the dick out of your ass, and get down to Raffy's. WE. NEED. THIS." ~someone in background: Adam Baaaaaaaanks! ~click~

20 minutes later the phone rings again. This time I flush the call. And then I get like 12 texties in the next seven minutes, all calling me different variations of the word 'vagina' before either a) they give up, or b) I cave and go meet them.

And this is why I end up saying yes to so many things. Partly because I'm easily influenced; and partly because I don't want to deal with the repercussions of saying no.

(Also, I've been driving around all week with a 'Barbershop Honor Society' license plate frame on my back license plate, after my buddies screwed it on since they know that I am currently sans toolbox, and thus can't take it off.)

In conclusion: my friends are dicks. Happy Friday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What In The World Is In That Bag, What You Got In That Bag?

>> Does anybody remember the show Parker Lewis Can't Lose? I've been youtubing episodes on my lunch break the last few days, and it is still awesome. But it's a little bit creepy, since I literally haven't seen an episode since it went off the air in 1993 (c'mon, let's get some re-runs on the air! TBS, I'm looking in your direction) so the deja vu that sets in while I'm watching it is really tripping my balls off.

>> Some good Icings from the last week or so:

During softball, Jud hit a walk-off (inside-the-park) homer, and as we piled onto the field to celebrate, we presented him with a "Walk-off Ice, bro!" In a shocking display of immaturity (especially coming from someone who hands out Ices like adults hand out candy on Halloween) Jud threw the bottle about 20 yards and it shattered on the ground. So then we made him drink two, and really, he's lucky it wasn't more than that. Remember, kids: it's a gentlemen's game.

That same day at softball, Lane iced our umpire by telling him to check out the printed-on signature in the palm of his glove, when there was an Ice tucked inside. As we yelled "Ohhh shit, Rawlings Ice, bro!" the umpire chuckled, but politely declined, since his boss was watching our diamond at the time. Whoops. Sorry, bro.

Jefferson's had its annual wing-eating contest last week, and Lane (2007 and 2008 champ) was going for his third title. After eating 30 wings in five minutes and successfully reclaiming the throne after missing the contest in 2009, Lane was accepting his applause and posing for pictures when I iced him. However, later that night I got iced two seperate times (my friends love to pick on me; I've probably been iced almost as much as everyone else put together) in what we're calling the "Morgan Freeman Ice." Referencing this video, yes I'm linking to it again, it's hilarious. "Ohhhh no! Morgan Freeman, we iced you twice!"

>> To everyone who I told that the new Robert Randolph & the Family Band CD sucked, please disregard that. It was a snap judgment after only listening to it once. I've since listened to it numerous times, and while it's not the typical rollicking Big Show Bob I know and love, it definitely doesn't "suck." And it brings up an interesting phenomenon with me: every single time I listen to an album for the first time, I either dislike it, or feel indifferent towards it.

Por ejemplo, when I bought the Vampire Weekend CD a couple months ago, I rolled through it once quickly and thought "Meh. It's OK, I guess, but their first album was way better." Now I think it's my favorite album of the last five years. The weird thing is this never applies to individual songs, only entire albums. The first time I heard 'Hey Soul Sister' by Train last summer, it made me fall in love with every single woman I laid eyes on for the next three weeks. Once I heard it while sitting at stop light downtown, and I almost got out of my car to go make out with the hippie sitting on the corner selling hemp bracelets and looking like she hadn't showered since 2002. So needless to say, I can totally enjoy an individual song the first time I hear it....just not entire albums. Does this make sense? Am I just being totally weird here? Does this happen to anyone else?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Diatribe Of A Fat Kid, Or: Fooooooooooood!

Verdict on the Double Down: deeeeeeeeeelicious. Maybe it was because my expectations were slightly lowered by everyone else's disappointment with it, or maybe because INSTEAD OF BREAD IT HAS FUCKING FRIED CHICKEN, but either way, I thought it was magical.

{However, I couldn't exactly call it filling. In addition to the Double Down, I also ate a Snack Bowl (fried chicken, corn, cheese, and mashed potatoes) two Crispy Snackers, and was halfway done with my third Snacker when I suddenly got a mental image of myself and put the Snacker down and cried for about ten minutes. It was very similar to the time freshman year I was pregaming in Kos and Schne's dorm room watching them play Dr. Mario. I had a Schmidt's in one hand, a giant cookie dough log in the other, and I caught a glance of myself in their full-length mirror on the opposite wall. It was life-altering, and I've never eaten an entire cookie dough log since. However, I did continue drinking Schmidt's for another 18 months or so. What do you want from me.

Back to Wednesday: about 15 minutes later I finished off the third Snacker. It just looked too good to be sitting there uneaten. A 12 dollar order at KFC, gone just like that. Lord, I am so fat and lonely.}

My top 5 all-time favorite fast food items:

Honorable mentions: turkey grinder with taco meat from Red Pepper (before all my Grand Forks friends yell at me for not having it in the top 5, I disqualified it since I have to have a couple of cheese tostadas with it, so it doesn't stand up on its own)......Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell (but only after I've had at least 11 beers; when I'm anywhere near sober they're kinda gross).....Bootlegger with cheese at Jimmy John's.....Breakfast burrito at Qdoba.

5. The Double Down. Seems like a good spot for now. This might be a little too high, since I've been daydreaming of nothing else for the last 42 hours, but we'll see. Seriously, that sauce they put in there? So good. I'm calling it the Lebowski Rug Sauce, since it really ties the sandwich together.

4. Footlong roast beef (with lettuce, onions, pickles, salt & pepper, and one line of mayo, on white bread) from Subway. In truth, I've only eaten this sandwich like two or three times in the last three or four years. Somewhere along the line, I became a Jimmy John's guy over Subway, plus Lawrence has a ton of local sub shops that are better. But I couldn't have this list without it on here; that would be insulting to my childhood. I've eaten (and this is a conservative estimate) like 9,000 of these sandwiches in my life (OK, maybe it's not a conservative estimate, but fo' reals, I've eaten a lot of them.) My proudest moment was when I ate two footlongs in one sitting. I finished the first one, realized I was still really hungry, and went up and ordered another. I was embarrassed, so I ordered it to go and pretended like it was for someone else, then sat down and just got after it while Bergman, Schne, and Laura watched in amazement/disgust.

3. Six pack and a pound from Taco John's. Story time: something like five years ago, we had a Taco John's challenge, wherein we bought a shitload of tacos and tried to see how many we could eat in one hour. Every once else dropped out by like 9, 10, 12 tacos, but I kept going, and ended up eating 17. I ate about 11 for fun, numbers 12-13 were overkill, and 14-17 were absolute nightmares. So disgusting I can't put it into words. I spent the rest of the day mad at myself, thinking I just ruined Taco John's for me and my stomach for the rest of my life, since the thought of tacos grossed me out so much. Then, two days later, I ate a six pack and a pound for lunch. The point: I fucking love Taco John's.

2. Chili cheese wrap from Sonic. I talk about these enough; it's not necessary to go into more detail now. However, I will say that Sonic and I are feuding right now. It's not easy for me to talk about, but the last three times I've eaten there it's been decidedly mediocre. Maybe we're at the point in the relationship where I just found out Sonic doesn't like to give beejers, and she just ran into her ex at a bar and flirted with him for like 45 minutes while I was standing there, and we just need to take a little break.

1. Steak fajita burrito from Chipotle. I know I give Sonic most of the pub on the blog, but Chipotle burritos get me turned on like nothing else. I mean that in the most sexual way possible; I literally have an erection right now just thinking about them. It is less a meal than it is a religious experience. One of the most life-changing questions that has ever been asked to me was back in February 2004, when Schne and I road-tripped down to Lawrence for the first time, and his older brother asked us "Hey, have you guys ever eaten at a Chipotle before?" I went to my first KU game at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time in my life that trip, and it was probably only the second greatest moment- the greatest moment coming immediately after my first bite of a Chipotle burrito. I wish I was exaggerating.

Annnnnnd now I'm starving. Odds of me going out to eat for lunch today: high.


Happy Friday and all that junk. I'll be "taking my talents" to Topeka this weekend for the Sunflower State Games. Last year, in between softball games, we boozed hard in the parking lot and listened to Jock Jams at high volumes. I was drinking vodka beers pretty aggressively, and was throwing up by the early afternoon. Just a nice little Sunday. This year, we're under a heat advisory warning (I didn't know those even existed- but I won't complain, it's better than a North Dakota winter) so that, combined with the amount of booze that our team consumes, and the over/under for team members being taken to the hospital is solidly set at 2.5. I'm not a betting man, but my money is on Lane going down first.

Seriously, I am STARVING right now.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mo' Money Mo' Problems

I don't care if that dollar bill is photoshopped (and given the nature of the internet these days, I'm sure it is.) Real or not, that is just funny. Keep livin' the dream, Puffy.

It also reminds me of when I was 14 years old, bussing tables at Perkins, and one of my fellow busboys, one of the biggest wannabe gangstas in Grand Forks history, used to say things on payday like "Yo, like my man Puff Daddy would say- Mo' money mo' problems." Some of his other gems included "My daddy always taught me, stay low and keep firing" and "Elijah Muhammad once said (pause for effect): WE have a duty, as buspeople, to stick together. That's the only way we gonna come up." He also used to pantomime shooting a gun at our boss (who also happened to be his aunt) when she would turn her back to us, and everytime a cop car drove by with its lights on, he would either flop under a table or sprint to the kitchen, because, as he would put it, "Oh shit, they be comin' for me yo, they be comin' for me!" Also, every time a group of hot girls came in to eat, he would go into his 'pimp walk' where he would take one normal step, then drop his shoulder and literally drag his back foot behind him.....which I guess was supposed to make him look cool while he was simultaneously pushing a fucking buscart in front of him.

On the other hand, he did introduce me to the Wu-Tang Clan, and taught me cool slang like H.N.I.C. (Head Nigga in Charge) it's probably a wash.

Some days I miss being 14 years old more than others.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Double Down

You wonderful, glorious, ridiculous excuse for a sandwich. I have been putting you off for far too long. For reasons that are far too irrelevant. But no more, good sir. We are going to meet, very soon. And I am going to eat you. And you are going to be delicious. You have been on my mind for months, and soon you are going to be in my belly.

My mom always taught me that it's important to have goals. This week, I have only one.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bros Icing Bros

The douche-tastic craze that has been sweeping the nation the last couple of months has finally made its way to my group of friends. And we've been douching it up appropriately.

Here are the basic rules, for the people who haven't heard of this yet (normally I'd make a "have you been living in a cave?" joke here, but a surprising number of people at softball the other night had no idea what this game was all about, so maybe it's not as big as I thought): if a bro presents another bro with a Smirnoff Ice, no matter where he is, he must immediately drop to one knee and chug the bottle. The only way to avoid drinking the Smirnoff is if the icee "blocks" it by having a Smirnoff on him, in which case the original icer must then drink two. And yes, this results in grown men walking around with Smirnoffs in their pocket, just in case one of their buddies tries to ice them. I never said this game wasn't ridiculous.

There are variations to the game that make it more interesting. While you can simply walk up to a bro and hand him a Smirnoff, the fun comes with the creativity. Hiding it in their shower, or a kitchen cabinet, or their car, only to have them randomly stumble across it during their everyday activities, that's where it stops being polite and starts being real. And apparently this game really is all over the place. I've read articles about bosses on Wall Street icing their employees, then giggling and taking pictures as their employee chugs the bottle (apparently the employee handbook's policy on drinking during work hours goes out the window when bros are icing bros.)

My only wish was that this game existed back in the Culligan Manor days. Things would've gotten out of control....well, as out of control as a bunch of dudes drinking Smirnoff can get. With the rules we had in that apartment for doing laps for every four text messages we sent/received, and the safety/stroller game, and the Katoosh game.....hell, we even had a Culligan Manor Charter that laid out every other stupid rule we had- needless to say, we would have been alllll over 'Bros icing Bros.' The shenanigans would've been endless. After a while, we probably would've just got together every morning before class, said 'fuck it', and each chugged a six-pack of Smirnoff, just to save us the trouble.

I watched some videos of bros icing bros on the interwebs, hoping to find some funny stuff, but they were mostly awful, and really reminded me how at its core, this is a really douchey game, played by mostly douchey guys. Douche douche douche. To be honest, 95% of the videos just made my soul hurt. But I did find this one, which is hilarious for two reasons: 1) I love a good movie reference, and 2) for me, getting iced is all about going over the top and yelling and making bad 'iced' puns with your bros after you ice them. This video really emphasizes that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the liquor store to pick up a six-pack of Smirnoff. I'm gonna take a vacation day tomorrow and try and ice my mailman. That bro will never see it coming, bro!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Reasons Why It's Awesome LeBron Signed With Miami

- I officially became an NBA bandwagon-jumper a few months ago. It had slowly been happening over the last couple years, and when I purchased a pair of Oklahoma City Thunder shorts this spring, the transformation was complete (I have a strict rule of not wearing other teams' apparel besides your own, unless it's TCU at the College World Series as a joke- although now that I think about it, I have some Kansas City Royals shirts that I've received free at games that sometimes get worn as undershirts or basketball shirts- so maybe it's not that strict of a rule.) So anyway, now I just cheer for random teams that I enjoy watching (New Orleans in '08, OKC the last two years, among others) and cheer for drama, exciting matchups, and the Lakers to lose. And there will be plenty of drama coming out of South Beach now. Go ahead and pencil in a Miami-Lakers game on Christmas Day right now.

- Mario Chalmers now has the easiest point guard job in arguably the history of the NBA. His responsibilities now include 1) dribble the ball across half-court; 2) hand it off to either LeBron or D-Wade; and 3) go stand in the corner and wait for a possible kick-out that probably isn't coming. I know this isn't a real stat, but I bet this year he sets a record for least amount of time handling the ball for a starting point guard. Probably like 6-8% or so.

- Also Chalmers-related: the golf course I work at hosts his annual fundraiser golf tournament every year. Just the thought that there is even the slightest chance that LeBron or Bosh or D-Wade would make the journey to Lawrence to play in this tourney makes me squeal like a 12-year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert. (Completely unrelated tangent: back when Good Ol' Roy still coached at KU, he used to have his tournament at our course as well, since he is BFF with the guy who runs the country club side of our 36 holes. Michael Jordan used to play in the tournament (Roy was an assistant at Carolina when MJ played there) and so, rather than pay the entry fee to get in the tournament every year, he just bought a membership. And even though he hasn't been here since like 2002, MJ is still a paying member of our golf course. Fuck it would be awesome to throw that kind of money around. What a baller. End unrelated tangent.)

- Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's comments. Como se dice 'classy guy'?

- Along those lines: Cleveland is going to riot when LeBron comes to town this year. Make no mistake: they are going to FUCKING. RIOT. Like Los Angeles after the Rodney King trial riots. Within 10 minutes of the announcement last night, there were people in the streets lighting LeBron jerseys on fire. I cannot imagine the scene when Miami comes and plays there in a few months. It's gonna be like the book of Revelations. Especially with the owner of the Cavs throwing entire cans of gasoline on the fire. This is my excited face.

- Similar to how I started liking Tiger more after he became an international villain, I love LeBron even more after this spectacle, now that he's a bad guy on the level of Scarface or Razor Ramon. It just makes me laugh how angry columnists and fans got over this whole situation. It makes no sense to complain how much coverage ESPN paid toward LeBron's free agency. News flash, people who fill up my home page with Facebook status updates with nonsensical rants against ESPN: TV stations are going to spend time on what people care about. It's the same thing as Favre's will he/won't he retire every summer. If people just stopped caring, then ESPN would stop covering it. But when 100 million people go online and google search 'LeBron free agency' every day, guess what? That's what they're going to talk about. And yeah, having an hour long special to announce your decision is prima donna-esque, borderline egomaniacal. But you know what isn't? Raising 2.5 million dollars for the Boys & Girls Club by donating the proceeds from said special. Besides, it's not like people didn't want to watch that decision being made live. I know I was on the edge of my seat. Maybe I've just calmed down in the last few years once my teams started winning championships and Phil started winning majors.....but damn, listening to people idiotically rant against athletes and sports for majorly flawed reasons is hilarious to me now.

I'm gonna stop there, since I just bitched about how fans rant online about sports by....ranting online about sports fans. Like Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, I turned into the very thing I set out to destroy.

Happy Friday and go Heat! South Beach, what up!


{Update: right after I posted this, I read Simmons' Twitter and he compared last night to this youtube clip, which is absolutely effing PERFECT. You can't make a better comparison than that. It's everything I now love about LeBron, Bosh, and Wade. Miami should start introducing their starting lineup with the nWo music blaring, as those three play air guitar, stroke their imaginary title belts (no homo), and trash talk into a microphone, as the crowd boos and throws shit at them. And by the way, Mario Chalmers would definitely be the Vincent of nWo in this scenario.}

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Saturday Blackout Checklist

- Make the game-time decision at noon that, instead of hanging with the girls by the pool and just chilling on beers and grilling burgers all afternoon, drinking at a nice relaxed pace, you're gonna have an all-dudes afternoon bar-crawl downtown? Check.

- Skip dinner? Check. (This is telltale sign #1 for me that I'm gonna black out at some point. Whenever I'm too impatient to go sit in a restaurant, or if I say anything along the lines of "I'll go with you guys, but I'm not gonna order, I'm just gonna focus on drinking"......heads up.)

- Dance to the Footloose theme song with a Mom at Sandbar? Check.

- Spend around 35% of all conversation after 10 pm talking in a robot voice, and making robot noises while walking around the bar? Check.

- Grab your friend's boob for an unknown reason, even though her boyfriend (who you are friends with, but haven't exactly tested the boundaries of your friendship to this extent before) is only a few feet away.....and measures in at about 6'4'', 260 lbs? Check. (Also, this one has yet to be fully explained to me; the girls said they're saving the story for a special occasion. F word.)

- Spill a schooner of beer all over yourself (then attempt to clean it up while making, you guessed it, robot noises)? Check.

- After everyone asks if you need a wake-up call the next morning, since you work at the golf course at 10 am, tell them "I'm a grown-ass man, I don't need a fucking wake-up call!!!" Check. (Telltale sign #2. I'm usually a smart-ass, but when I lose that joking tone of voice, and am just straight-up being an asshole....the lights are most likely off at this point.)

- Only make it to work on time because Janelle ignored your rude comments and texted you anyway at 9:47 am, after you had apparently shut your alarm off that morning? Check and mate.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Exit The Warrior, Today's Tom Sawyeee

I'm usually good for about one concert a year, depending on how often Robert Randolph & the Family Band are in the area, and my concert for 2010 so far was Rush last night.

The concerts I attend usually fall into one of three categories:

Current bands that I would actually enjoy seeing live: basically consists of Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Vampire Weekend, and the Avett Brothers. However, EVERY single time the Avett Bros. come within a five-hour radius, I have some random event going out-of-town-wedding; 2nd-round games of March Madness; an erotic evening of eating cookie dough logs and watching DVR'd episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place. Vampire Weekend apparently hates Midwesterners; so they're out. Soooo basically I see Robert Randolph like once a year. Booyeah.

70's and 80's arena rock bands that I enjoy, but half the fun at this point is the getting bombed portion of the evening, not necessarily the music: I've seen Styx a bunch of times (if you were in my car with me from August 2000-June 2002, there was a 42% chance we were listening to Styx. If we were road-tripping to Fargo, that number skyrocketed to 93%. Their greatest hits CD lasted exactly from Grand Forks to Paul's parents' place in Fargo, almost down to the second. But I digress.) I saw Journey once and it mostly made me sad; it was shortly after Steve Perry left the band, and seeing Journey without Steve Perry is like going to Sonic and ordering a chili cheese wrap and NOT ordering a mayo cheeseburger with no tomatoes to go with it...along with a second chili cheese wrap. I saw REO Speedwagon once, and it was so terrible that honest to God, the greatest moment of the concert was when the warmup houseband, probably called Mikey J & the Fargodomers or something like that, played 'Green Onions' and the whole joint was bouncing in their seats and nodding along. (However, Paul pretty much made out with Jake's mom that night, leading to thousands of jokes and Jake calling Paul 'Dad' for the next four it was basically a wash.)

Snoop Dogg: gets his own category, because I have never, and probably will never, experience a show like that again.

So last night's Rush show in Kansas City obviously falls into category #2. Scattered thoughts:

- It's amazing what the movie I Love You, Man has done for Rush. I don't want to sound snooty- I'm probably only in the 65th-70th percentile of Rush fans, there were plenty of songs last night that I was unfamiliar with- but there were hordes upon hordes of college kids who clearly only recognized like three songs, held up signs saying 'Slappa deh bess mon' and then stood around for the rest of the show. Again, I'm not trying to judge; it's the same thing that Big Daddy did for Styx, and Saving Silverman did for Neil Diamond, and Anchorman did for 'Afternoon Delight', and the 'More Cowbell' sketch did for 'Don't Fear the Reaper.' I just thought it was interesting. If I'm Foreigner or Boston right now, I'm getting Judd Apatow on the phone and begging him to have one of his characters in his next movie have a quirky obsession with my band. (Also, after the last song, and we were filing out of the outdoor arena, they played a 5-minute sketch featuring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel's characters from I Love You, Man backstage with Rush, and it was hysterical. As funny as anything in the actual movie. So there's that.)

- I frequently love to brag about my gambling prowess (just an FYI, I got $100 on LeBron going to Chicago, back when the odds were +125....last time I looked, Vegas had them at -400. I feel good about it) so it's only fair that I mention my huge embarrassing failures. We all threw $20 in the pot, and whoever's song got played first took it all. I picked 'Working Man', feeling so confident about it that I added a side bet of $5 with everyone that it would be the opener......three and a half hours later, during their third encore and final song of the night, they finally played 'Working Man.' Whoops.

- If I'm in the 65th-70th percentile of Rush fans, the guy who was sitting to my left is in the 100th. He was absolutely rocking out to every song, singing lead, singing backup, air guitar, drums, smoking copious amounts of drugs, etc. etc. Just a thrill to watch. And then the opening notes of 'Closer to the Heart' came on. And this guy had a breakdown. We're talking head in his hands, buddy consoling and hugging him, BAWLING his eyes out for the entire song. As soon as it was done, so was he. Back to rocking out again. Amazing transformation. I guess I'm telling this story because I've always joked about how certain songs can make me cry no matter where I am (the opening to 'Baba O'Riley', Vanessa Carlton's '1000 Miles', the theme song to Debbie Does Dallas) but I never meant it literally. This guy lost his shit, big time.

- Geddy Lee is without a doubt the nerdiest lead singer in rock history. Whereas someone like Robert Plant could've been an IRS auditor and he still would've had girls throwing their panties at him, Geddy talks and acts like an 8th grade social studies teacher, one of the pushovers who lets the popular girls manipulate him into canceling the pop quiz because they had a tough volleyball game the night before. His exact quote leading into intermission last night, in a grandfather-talking-to-his-six-year-old-grandson tone of voice: "OK guys, hope you're having fun! We're going to take a tiny break....well, scratch that, maybe slightly longer than tiny, because, you know, we're ancient....but we'll be back soon, so keep on having a good time!" It's a good thing he's awesome at music. Friggin' Canadians.

- Say what you will about the song 'Tom Sawyer' (Lane I'm looking in your direction) but goddamn, don't try and tell me it's not amazing live. Absolutely surreal. Possibly the greatest song I've heard live. I mean, there was the time I heard 'Gin & Juice' while smoking two joints at once and rapping every word along with some random MC Jazzy Fubu Jersey in Fargo, North Dakota.....or the time I heard 'Whole Lotta Rosie' at AC/DC and saw more boobies on the jumbotron then I had in my entire life up to that point.....but shit, 'Tom Sawyer' was ridiculously cool live.

- Five best songs from last night:

1. Tom Sawyer
2. YYZ
3. Spirit of the Radio
4. Limelight
5. Closer to the Heart


Everybody have a good 4th. As Steg used to say in high school (usually just before we drank a bunch of beers and convinced his little brother to jump a Dyno off of a 75-degree ramp into Maple Lake):

"Let's keep it real while keepin' it safe."