Archive for January, 2008

He’s Back

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Guess who’s back in the jukebox at the bowling alley.  I guess we weren’t the only ones upset he was gone.

I bowled a strike and a spare during “The Cup Of Life.”  Thanks Ricky.

One Pair of Shoes in The Onion

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

From The Onion A.V. Club
January 24-30, 2008

Divebar + Evan Jacover
Schubas, 8:30pm, $7, 18+

Evanston-born singer-songwriter Evan Jacover has been likened to “a cross between Leonard Cohen and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic,” and while he does sound like the pop-music parodist, his songs skew more toward break ups and traffic jams than food. Thankfully, though, quirky, clever lyrics prevent the music from being sigh-inducingly mopey. He plays this record-release show behind the new One Pair of Shoes. Headliner Divebar–whose vocalist Kelly Stanley sings on Jacover’s new album–plays rock-tinged country.

Opening: Gordon Wright

Lines? Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Lines

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Waiting in line to get into a taping of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me with Eddie and his family, we were all blown away by the line itself. We’ve all been in lines that snake back and forth before, but I’ve never been in a line that snakes back and forth without any sort of ropes or dividers.

Eddie: It’s an NPR crowd.

And an NPR crowd it was. It was so docile I wanted to pet it as everyone quietly zig-zagged around imaginary ropes on their way to the door.

The show was great and I’m proud that it’s recorded here in Chicago. Hopefully they don’t get big egos and move to New York. This American Life, I’m looking at you.

I’ve Become Attached To This Giant Hole

Friday, January 25th, 2008

This is just a gratuitous post with more photos of the big sinkhole on my street.  The repair job seems to be going surprisingly quick. Here’s how it looked when I woke up on Tuesday morning.  El Torito’s foundation was resting on absolutely nothing.  Some foundation.

By Wednesday crews had removed all the debris and dug out the entire hole.  It looks like the brick sewer was damaged as well, since it was cut in half.  At least I think that’s a sewer pipe.   I kind of expect some Goonies to crawl out of it.

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You Gotta Shake Your Booty

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Something seemed a little off in our bowling league this year. I couldn’t put my finger on it. At first I thought it was just the rash of back injuries (we’re getting stupid-old) but I finally figured it out.

The jukebox is an important part of our league — so much so that every year we give out an award to whomever most deserves to lose their jukebox privileges. I think Bri won it last year for his obsession with Meatloaf.

It’s sometimes hard to choose a winner as one person’s Neil Diamond is another’s Travis Tritt. There is one song, however, that is universally loved. It gets played every week by someone or other, often several times. The song? “Cup of Life” by Ricky Martin. There’s something about it. Everyone gets their tushies a-shakin’ and I think a few pins give in to Ricky’s seduction every frame, raising the scores slightly for the song’s duration. New bowlers sometimes look a little confused at the cheers evoked by its opening congas, but it isn’t long before they too fall under Ricky’s spell.

I checked the jukebox on Sunday. The Ricky Martin CD has been replaced with an album of Christmas carols.

Breaking News, Literally

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

About 6 months ago we had a sinkhole in front of our apartment building. It wasn’t really a big deal except that it exposed issues with our water main that ended up costing the building $12,000.

Turns out the water main had bigger problems. This morning there was another sink hole on Montrose avenue. This one is a big deal.

Our basement, like every other in the neighborhood, was flooded. My neighbor who lives in a garden apartment had it worse.

Neighbor: I woke up to a sandal floating by my face.

Jen put it well.

Jen: I felt like I was in that scene from Ghostbusters (skip to 2:36).

You See? Your Stupid Minds! Stupid! Stupid!

Monday, January 21st, 2008

At the last minute I got a ticket to Northwestern’s annual B-Fest. I’ve been going for the last 6 years or so, and you’d be hard pressed to find a larger collection of nerds and geeks short of a Jonathon Coulton concert. (I can speak to this as a nerd and geek who is a huge fan of Jonathon Coulton.)

B-Fest is a 24-hour film festival (6pm Friday – 6pm Saturday) of non-stop awful movies. The only feature film that is shown each and every year is Plan 9 From Outer Space. Folks who have been there before know all the Rocky Horror-style shenanigans, most notably the tossing of paper plates when the pathetic looking pie-tin flying saucers appear on the screen.

In the last couple years people have begun writing and drawing on the plates, sending messages to the great beyond — or at least someone else in the theater. Many of them are obscure film references. Others are more to the point.

Simulbowl 2008

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Bowling Into Spring kicked off this week. It’s the bowling league I’ve been running for the last 9 years. When I started it I knew nothing of how bowling leagues are run and invented my own cockamamie scoring method. I didn’t know that leagues usually bowl three games in a series so we only bowl two. I wasn’t sure how to manage scores so I made a website to do it for me. The league is functional, but, well, a little unique. I think we annoy the crap out of Lincoln Square Lanes, but they put up with us, which is nice — even when we have break dancing contests on the bowling alleys.

Every year begins with the traditional Simulbowl. This year’s was accidentally videotaped.

Open The Door, Man!

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Anyone who rides the “L” regularly has run up to the train right as the doors closed only to see it slither away down the tracks.

I noticed something interesting yesterday, however. As I was getting off the train a man calmly approached the closed doors. He didn’t run, yell, or pound on the window. He just smiled, looked down the train at the operator who was leaning out the window, and nodded. Magically, the doors opened..

Later that evening I reached the doors just as they closed and decided to try the look and nod trick myself. Ding-dong! Open doors.

Eye contact: live the dream.

The lady who missed the train because she was rooting through the trash at the Belmont station took a different approach. She threw her hands in the air and yelled, “I was getting something out of the garbage!” The doors opened for her too, so maybe my theory needs some work.

(Standing in front of those closed doors always reminds me of Eddie Murphy in Trading Places. And, wouldn’t you know, the clip’s on YouTube. Fast forward to 3:50.)

One Pair of Shoes on iTunes

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

One Pair of Shoes is now available on iTunes, so download away. If you don’t like DRM, it’s also available for download as MP3s from a dorky website called DigStation. Both sites offer individual tracks for 99¢ or the whole album for $9.99.

No one has reviewed it on iTunes yet. Anyone want to be the first to write a snooty review?

This Is Tap Water

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

We ran out of water at work so now we just have a closet of empty water jugs. A closet full of empty water jugs and a mysterious pair of pants that have been hanging there for a decade. I hate that closet with its sliding doors and creepy pants.

With no other choice, I filled my glass with lame tap water. But, lo, it was not lame at all! It was hott. Good hott — not actually hot. Well, it was a little warm. Or at least not cold. None of these are sentences. It was tasty water.

Being the resourceful young chap I am, I decided to just fill one of the jugs with tap water, making use of advanced jug-based water-cooling technology to… um… this story is dumb.

All I really wanted to do is say that Innis is an awesome artist. You see, I felt the need to label the tap water jug as such. I borrowed a marker from Innis and as I was writing my dumb sign, he said, “should I draw a tap dancer on it?” Ten seconds later this aqueous Fred Astaire appeared.

I work with some talented people.

It’s Okay, I Wasn’t That Good

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Rachel broke out the high school yearbooks at her birthday party where we found this picture of the band featuring a lot of flannel and almost 40% of my head.

There were several band and orchestra folks at the party and none of us have picked up our instruments for years. Still, Laura (flute), Claire (cello) and I (clarinet) vowed to massacre some chamber music in 2008. It’s gonna be brutal.

CD Release at Schubas

Friday, January 4th, 2008

If you’ve been putting off seeing me play, this is the show to come to. If, for some reason, you’re waiting for one big gangbusters night of music, this is it. Not only is it the big CD release show for One Pair of Shoes, but I get to be the meat in a tasty music sandwich with two of my favorite bands. They’re the bread. You’re the lettuce.

8:30PM: Music Room Open – Fun, Games, and Prizes
9PM: Gordon Wright
10PM: Evan Jacover
11PM: Divebar

It’s a great chance to get the CD, hear some great music, meet some fun people and have a general good time.

Doughnut Pancakes

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Look at these freakin’ things! Do you know what these are? They’re freakin’ Doughnut Pancakes! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

There was a bit of a brew-ha-ha over what we should do for our Jellyvision holiday party. I was pushing hard for indoor go-karts, and when “dinner at a fancy restaurant” won the final vote, I told everyone we were turning into an old fogey company. I might have stormed out of the room.

The “fancy restaurant” turned out to be a place called Moto. Now, I’m not really a fancy food guy, but Moto was the most amazing food experience I’ve ever had — includingWok’s Up.”

There are other writers who can better explain how imaginative, fun, and slightly freaky Moto is. What blew me away was the service. I kind of keep kosher and I figured I wouldn’t be able to eat half of the items on the fixed menu. After all, fancy chefs love tentacles almost as much as they enjoy wrapping things in bacon. But before the meal started, our server asked if anyone had any dietary restrictions. A couple of folks in our group had miscellaneous allergies and I told him about my not-so-strict kosherness.

When the first dish came out (a bowl of tentacles) I was brought something different (and amazing — daikon, I think — a word I had previously heard only on Iron Chef.) When Moto’s version of pork and beans was presented, my pork was replaced with Mahi Mahi. Each time the server would quietly explain to me what was different about my dish. At the end of our 5 hour meal, I thanked the server for being so accommodating. “It’s something we’re very proud of,” he told me, and then explained how they once did a 20 course menu for a strict vegan. “That was a challenging night in the kitchen.”

A couple days later, we received an e-mail from Moto thanking us for having our party there. Included in the e-mail was a recipe for “doughnut pancakes.” Basically you blend doughnuts, eggs and some other stuff together and then fry them like pancakes. My friend Claire, a nutritionist, called them, “A dietician’s worst nightmare.” Maybe, but they were damn yummy.