Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Band of the Moment: Mew

Vegas = Less than 5 Days by the time this is read

Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome the current band of the moment:
Straight from Denmark, I present Mew.
Mew "Special (LIVE)"

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Random Thoughts from an absent weekend

Vegas = 7 Days

I didn't really have a weekend.
There were a bunch of odd experiences that could have occurred in a vacuum for all I know.
It began when I had a half day at work on Friday and ended at some point in the commute to work this morning. The following is a small sample of the thoughts that crept into my mind:

Even if I lose these travelers checks – I won't be able to reclaim them while still in Las Vegas.
Please don't have this represent the amount I will lose, just the amount I'm prepared to lose.
Damn Rammys for tasty subs… I wish I can stay away from this place… Bad memories…
Does the fact that my barber instantly knows this haircut is meant for Las Vegas a good thing or a bad thing?
I have a 40% chance – at absolute best – of bowling tonight with my friend
The "3 at a time" is now giving me the lesser of three options question.
Eh, Breach wasn't that bad… enjoyable.
I have a 30% chance of my friend even calling me back.
For Your Consideration is bad – very bad – I can't even forgive them because of how good Best in Show was…
I'm dead tired – it's midnight on Friday – I've done nothing tonight… can building a poker chip art structure somehow validate my boredom?
11 hours of sleep will easily fuck my sleep pattern for Saturday.
Going outside to read The Emperor's Children is a great way to waste this day, and get something accomplished.
Not even an hour of reading makes me want to sleep, what was the NY Times thinking awarding this book such praise?
Great, a 4 hour nap on the heels of an 11 hour sleep – That all but assures I won't be sleeping tonight.
I have a 10% chance of bowling tonight with the same friend.
It's understandable… I should know better… To clear my schedule for a 40% chance, knowing it was at in my heart at best a quarter of that.
The mind to be more optimistic than the heart, an unsettling proposition.
9:30 pm, I can make my day's goal of hitting page 300.
Especially because it feels like 1 pm – I'm going to waste sometime and play a play chip poker tourney.
I feel more ready for the TI poker room than ever before.
2 am, knowing that I've hit the mark when the book as traction in my psyche… I can read this tonight.
4 am, Can I finish this?
6 am, a good stopping point in the book with only 20 pages left – what a poor structure of this book.. I don't even want to read those last 20 pages.
Nothing on TV – not yet…
Do I bother with those 20 pages at all? Can it wait til Tomorrow
7:30 am, I would really like to have thrown this book across the room after finishing the last page – but it's not my own copy.
A two hour nap before Mass will get me through the day.
2 pm, calling from my parents house – my friend picks up the phone.
Why do I wish he didn't answer – why did he pick up the call from a different ID – I know I'm over thinking this, but still
I'm sorry, you're sorry, we're all sorry… still
3 pm, laundry done, parents visit accomplished, dinner too far away. Stay in boredom watching Braveheart here or at least have my own boredom at the condo.
My mother asks me what the alternative is to not staying for dinner. I have no answer. Not for her, not even to myself… I just want to finish this weekend – have it done.
One last hope – a new Mexican restaurant near the DP Theatre… no takers – but I still go.
I'm the only one in the restaurant – aside from it's staff – my attempt to have something tangible in this weekend backfires… It feels less real than ever…
Walking back, Radiohead may not be the best choice…
iTunes radio station for more upbeat Trance… much better choice
More play chip poker.
1 am, still awake on a Sunday – relish it…
Next weekend will entail a deafening bachelor party at Milwaukee's Summerfest
Next week will entail a blinding bachelor party at Vegas' Strip
This weekend has been a perfect sensory depravation as a preparation
But did it exist?
2 am… present
The week truly begins when you first think of what clothes you decide to wear – clothes you don't want to wear – clothes you have to wear – to work.
I'm going to make it to work a little early, and not tired… The weekend did exist… and was good.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Taking my Father to a Concert

This is a picture of my father:

He is the younger brother of my Uncle Bill, who has written a few books:

(That's just a sampling - you can check out the whole bunch of them on Amazon including my favorite A Doubters Prayer Book that as it says in the dedication, "Dedicated to the Jesuits, who taught me how to doubt."
My Uncle Bill used to be a Jesuit. He is now married to my Aunt Roddy (who used to be a nun). Needless to say, I can write a very interesting blog about those two, and their great life of marring Lesbians in Vermont - but this isn't about them...

This post is about my Uncle Bill's son, my cousin, Neil Cleary - and how he gave a son a Father's Day gift:

Please take a moment (maybe after reading this) to check out his MySpace page:
Neil Cleary MySpace

It was through his page that I saw that he was coming to Chicago - to play at The Vic Theatre.

About 3 years ago Neil came through here to play... He had a set at a bar/club named Schubas. It's a hip place - ask any city cirl with a visible tattoo. Sadly, 3 years ago I was in the Prison of Hope known as my previous job, and I did not accompany my Father to the show. My Dad, a man who wakes up before 5 am, drove into the City alone to watch his nephew perform... He loved it. He loved being the Uncle.

I've felt bad about that night - not going - not having the family pride that my Dad exhibited. Being selfish for myself, wanting to sleep off one horrible day at work in preparation for the next...

Thankfully, I saw this show as a chance at redemption. Also, The Vic Theatre is a substantial venue... It was a great thing for Neil to be performing there and I really wanted to support it. My Dad was also exited and offered to not only go but pay. Even after I told him each ticket would be $28.

Through the magic of MySpace I contacted Neil, and he was able to put two tickets aside for us - this whole thing amazed my Father. Me finding out about the show, contacting Neil, and getting free tickets... It really doesn't take much to impress my Dad - the sheer quickness I was able to get the tickets out of the box office by pointing to our yet uncrossed names off the list wowed him.

The show was great. Yes, I may be biased, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. There's one particular song of his I really dig (you can find it on my profile currently), and I started singing along to it. I hope people around me heard/noticed me. Not only because they should know that its a song worth knowing, but that I was there to see this guy - not the guy closing for him.

Although I would like to believe that this is why people were looking at me, I know it is not. Flashback a few days earlier - when my Dad asked me for advice on what to wear. I won't bother typing what I said to him, only what he decided upon. He wore freshly polished brown leather loafers, navy blue dress pants with an ironed crease sharp enough to cut meat and a high quality polo shirt that was a gift from MySister. He was dressed to go to Church, not a concert. There were two aspects of my Father that set him apart:
1) He looked like he walked out of a Dockers Ad.
2) He had on the largest smile in the whole concert hall.

Back to what this post is somewhat about:

It didn't take me long to realize why my Dad was smiling. Soon, it became the same reason I was smiling. It wasn't just because we enjoyed the music (which we did), it was because what we witnessed. And it was amazingly beautiful.
We saw a man doing what he loved.
A man who wants to play music for a living.
All by himself on a stage and without fear or shyness, but of utter comfort and peace.
My Father and I were looking at a dream came true, Neil's dream.

I apologize to all my hardass readers. This is one of the more sappy posts in this blog's history. Fuck off, I mean it. Standing next to my Father watching my cousin was a special moment to me.

This is being posted on Father's Day on purpose. The round trip on the CTA conjured up some of my more classic childhood memories with my Father. Going downtown to shadow him for a day as he made sales calls or watching the Air & Water Show didn't seem as distant anymore.

And another great moment was when I left my Dad alone after Neil's set as I went down to talk to the Security Guards (I wanted to get the message backstage that Neil's family was present). I returned to where I told my Dad to stay put only to find him engaged in a conversation with two young women. These two young girls (really, they couldn't have been more than 22) were smiling politely at my Dad, nodding to the boastful Uncle. Not too long ago I would've become instantly outraged and embarrassed. Not anymore. I just stood next to him, laughing at his jokes, and wondering how I could ever be that good at anything.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Will Explain More Later

The past three days at work have been a rollercoaster.

I can't say anything now... All you need to know currently is that I've been listening to a lot of "You're The Best" by Joe Esposito (the Karate Kid Montage Song) and "Kick Start My Heart" by Mötley Crüe.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Whatcha Gonna Pick?

Tonight I ate the first Hot Pocket of my life.

Tonight I ate the last Hot Pocket of my life.

It was the same Hot Pocket.

How the hell is this damn food item still around? It's beyond gawdawful. Does that catchy jingle fool kids into eating this crap? Do parents realize how bad they taste?
I'm confused. Worse of all, I'm still hungry.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

GOAL: 20 days to END IT

I'm not against "dropping" a book.
I've done it a couple times last year.
But for some reason, I just can't drop this one:

I'm on page 98 of 431 at the time of this posting.
It needs to be FINISHED before I depart for Las Vegas in 3 weeks.

The book is not very entertaining. It's not very deep or with cause and merit. It's a bunch of ancillary characters with no apparent cohesion or motive.

Yeah, it's going to feel like high school again - reading for the sake of reading, reading because of a "have to" and not a "will to." Regardless, I want to finish it. I want to beat this book down so it can stop haunting me. I don't like having it over there - on my end table - with my bookmark embarrassingly so close to the front cover.

(I'm pausing right now - i'm in a staredown with this godamn literal fiction)
Your days are numbered. You will be finished with the zeal of a Mortal Kombat player.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Notes on the MTV Movie Awards

-It's refreshing to have a good start to one of these things. One without the cheesy montage featuring the host in many scenes of the "big" movies.

-Sarah Silverman makes a race joke: instant cut to Sam Jackson in the crowd. This is so typical, but BIG PROPS to Sarah Silverman for instantly calling out the director... (even if that was planned, it was good)

-Paris Hilton, why would you subject yourself to an event hosted by Sarah Silverman days before your incarceration?

-Although Silverman's jokes on Paris were very funny, it does not compare to how I laughed at the unanimous cheering and applause at the mention of Paris going to jail (then showing Hilton's reaction).

-Jack Nicolson realizes how B.S. this whole deal is... And he somehow makes it worse by thanking first, "the fighting troops and allies." Then he pauses to almost realize how insulting he just was, to thank first and foremost the soldiers for an award he wouldn't use to wipe his ass.

-"Wester's defines 'fight' as..." (Finally, proof that the award show banter writers have run out of ideas)

-"Brought to you by Vitamin Water, it works for 50 Cent."

-I take back what I said about the cheesy montage.

-GO AWAY Robin Williams, GO AWAY

-MTV now doing "scripted drama?" Uh, paging Laguna Beach producers?

Finally, this show had a "pre-game" that was basically a half hour commercial for Transformers. And in the show they give out the "Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet" to Transformers. There are so many things wrong with this award - just call it, "Movie that paid us the most money." I will be very surprised if MTV doesn't have a meaty product placement scene in the film.

(And after that award, I stopped watching the show - I had already seen Amy Winehouse's performance and lost the will I needed to continue watching)