Archive for May, 2007

Math is Hard

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Ali was asked to sing at her friend’s wedding and she asked me if I’d play guitar with her. Originally I was supposed to harmonize with her as well, but a quick skills assessment confirmed my suspicions that I suck at harmonizing. So Kelly was brought in to do the harmonies, forming the most powerful Indigo Girls-singing-wedding-trio ever! Except for the Police. I think they’ve done Indigo Girls songs at a wedding.


The thing about weddings in Grant Park is your audience isn’t just the wedding party. All the folks milling about Buckingham Fountain decided to stop and watch as well.

After the ceremony, the groom shook our hands and said we did a great job.

GROOM: I hate the Indigo Girls, but that song was perfect!

The song was called “Power of Two.” It’s a nice enough song, but I do have a problem with it. The titular line is: “Adding up the total of a love that’s true / Multiply life by the power of two.” Now, I’m all for the love/math metaphor. Lord knows I use it myself, but you can’t multiply anything by the power of two. You can raise life to the power of two or multiply life by two, but you can’t multiply life by the power of two.
That line ruined the whole wedding for me.

UPDATE: I’m aware that in my math song, the line “You’re as complex as the square root of negative one” isn’t quite accurate. Complex numbers must have real and imaginary parts, so the square root of negative one is actually just an imaginary number. Hee haw.

I’m The Best… Around.

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Speaking of unexpected victories and 30th birthdays, I was at Joanie’s 30th birthday the other day. Her husband Jon has a ping pong table in the garage and he gets really excited when folks come over to play.

I have an unfortunate ping pong history. More often than I would prefer, I accidentally hit the ball off of my knuckle. Also, I have an uncanny ability to swing at a ball and, defying all laws of physics, propel it backwards. I’m also known for a powerful backhand that lands in play approximately 3% of the time. When it does, though, it has never been successfully returned.

My main complaint with ping pong, however, is that I’ve never beaten my brother Aric. Never. Ever. There are times I’ve gotten close, but I’m pretty sure he was toying with me.

I’ve never beaten him, that is, until this weekend. On the 26th day of May in the year 2007, Evan beat Aric 21-19 in Jon and Joanie’s garage.

Here’s some bootleg video of the match someone captured:

The Thrill of Victory… And Burning Cars

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Speaking of brutal, I just received the schedule for this year’s Team Demolition Derby. Last summer Claire wasn’t sure what to do for her 30th Birthday. I had just learned about Team Demolition Derby and put the idea on the table. Claire’s response: “That’s perfect!”

So one rainy July afternoon, we trekked down to the dirt oval in Joliet to see some hot station wagon on station wagon action. The rules are simple: each team has four cars. The first team that gets one car around the track 5 times wins.


I wouldn’t have known it, but we (apparently) saw one of the greatest team demolition derby matches in the history of this storied track. The heavily favored Orange Crush jumped out to a quick lead, but their opponent, the resilient Junkyard Dogs, staged an amazing comeback. After 20 minutes of twisted metal and muddy wrecks, the Junkyard Dogs only needed to get their car 50 feet to win. Unfortunately it had stalled… and overheated… because it was on fire. The only other functioning car on the track was an Orange Crush Oldsmobile barely visible through the smoke billowing out from its hood.

As the remaining Dog furiously tried to restart his engine, the Oldsmobile slowly accelerated to ramming speed. My friends, when children dream of glory on the dirt oval, this is their dream: The Orange Crush’s attack was mere feet from ending The Junkyard Dogs’ surprising run when the whir and sputter of a dilapidated engine catching hushed the crowd, albeit momentarily. For as that pathetic piece of crap car plodded through the mud towards the finish line, the frenzied audience drowned out the even-more-frenzied P.A. announcer with an unparalleled ovation reserved for the true heroes of team demolition derby.

I hear the halftime show during the finals involves melting a car with a jet engine. So that’s cool too.

By the way, the Junkyard Dogs got killed in the finals. Also, I’m not sure if they were actually called the Junkyard Dogs. But the rest of this story is mostly true, I swear.

The Spot (Sam Show Fundraiser)

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

I’m playing at a fundraiser for The Sam Show which will be premiering at The Annoyance Theater this summer. I don’t know much about the show except that it has a whole bunch of Sam and he’ll be playing a while bunch of mandolin.

Expect Sam to make an appearance on Evan’s upcoming album and Evan to make an appearance in the upcoming Sam Show. That’s how it works here.

The Most Brutal Store in Chicago

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

The craft and flower store on the corner of Montrose and Damen closed and a new store recently re-opened in its place: Metal Haven! I assume it’s the same owners.

Metal Haven has a website, but on it you will find this note:

“…The fact remains that metal is itself far more important than the internet. Metal eats the internet for breakfast. And you know this.”


The store is pretty fantastic. I might have to go to the Alehorn of Power show in a couple weeks. Who’s down?

The Key To Gardening: A Year of Neglect

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Last spring a friend of mine realized he had ordered too many asparagus seeds or roots or pods or whatever asparagus thingers are called.

I took the extras, threw them in a hole and waited all summer for a slender green stinker to pull itself through the dirt. Nothing. Granted, I didn’t water or fertilize or, um, hoe? I did nothing, and I figured my lack of effort earned me an appropriate lack of asparagus.

But this weekend I was in my backyard and looky what I saw:


Take that, earth!


Saturday, May 12th, 2007

I mention in just about every post how great Chicago is. Last night was Looptopia, the “dusk ’till dawn cultural and artistic spectacle.” There were hundreds of things going on and we saw none of them. Each one had a line we didn’t have the patience to endure.

We did manage to get into Walgreen’s, however. Some in our group wanted to buy gloves as the night had grown surprisingly chilly. Unable to find real gloves we got a three-pack of bright green gardening gloves.


A couple hours later we ran into these fine folks:

And that’s why I loved Looptopia. Even though we didn’t actually see anything, the loop was filled with a bunch of goofballs. There was the guy dressed up as a gorilla for no reason and the kids who decided to have an impromptu dance party next to The Bean and those weirdos who made a human pyramid in Daley Plaza… oh, wait… that was us.

I think Looptopia II will work out a lot of the kinks from this first experiment. I expect to be back next year.