Wow, that last entry was a long one. I'll buy a beer for anyone that reads the whole thing. Offer only extended to attractive Kansas City women with reliable transportation. If you're not, then the offer is only good for Josh, Jeff, Erp, Geoff, Matt, Ryan, Cole, and several others whose identities I have yet to smear.
Jeff is going to be the death of me. By that I mean that my life will end because of him. By that I mean that he will kill me. By that I mean that he will stab me in my sleep.
Or, he's just a bad influence, and he champions staying out for more beer when I have to get up at 5:45 the next morning. I can't really blame him though- I'm getting up early to go golfing, and the Pale Ale was sensational at the Peanut tonight. It goes really well with hot wings and Johnny Cash.
I had a myspace relapse today. That site needs to go away, so I can lead a productive life.
While it's certainly true that I've been getting plenty of accidental, everyday, "natural" exercise, it's been entirely too long since I did any deliberate, painful exercise. I went golfing for work today, and came home sweaty, so I figured that since the weather is freaking incredible outside(blue skies, light breeze, upper seventies, everything's green), I should just go out for a real run and get sweaty for real. I ran most of the way to Case Park: a minor achievement for my fat ass, and got an appraising look from a pretty girl walking her puppy. Maybe she just liked my EFF shirt.
Anyway, I'ma go shower now.
I was driving to work, aka golf, this morning, and the Hives came on, on my player. After rocking out in my car for the remainder of my commute, I began to wonder what happened to Rock. Just what the heck happened? It came back in force in 2002, with the Hives, the Vines, and to a lesser extent, Jet. Then, with a couple of notable exceptions, it went away again, and hasn't returned since. Franz Ferdinand rocked my world in 2004 and 2005, but only enjoyed a lukewarm radio presence, with people preferring Kanye West ripping off Ray Charles.
Rock, an American art form, appears to be dying- resident only among relatively obscure circles. The only facsimile of rock that gets any press nowadays is sad-bastard, teenager-depressing emo music. I know of no currently popular rock music that gets people excited, and makes them dance. What happened to Rock?
I went to bed at the puritanically early hour of 9:45, last night, and after reading the same sentence twelve times, I gave up and turned off the light. I was startled awake at about 6:15 to the sound of crashing thunder. One bolt was so exceptionally loud, I was kept awake for several minutes by the sound of panicking car alarms(mine not included). I hit the snooze when my alarm went off, rounding my night's sleep off to about ten hours.
I drove into the office, and the rain had stopped entirely, but for the first time since last spring, the rivers were high. It's both encouraging and alarming to drive across an unbending bridge, and see murky brown water flowing in swirling haste to some unknown end, all the nearby trees inundated to their armpits, and the water level threatening to impact the bottom of the bridge in a big "SHKLUMPF," noise, before carrying it away.
Then, there was nobody at the office, so I came back home, and got a start on my weeks-overdue laundry.
We lost in kickball last night, 7-2. This league is very different from the other league we were in, last year. We're throwing around the idea of playing in the other league, for the summer season, just to be able to keep playing. Even though we were very disappointed with the lack of organization in the other league, our desire to keep playing will probably win out.
Jeff and I are going over to the leasing office in a bit to sign the papers and drop off the rent, then we'll head down to Ponak's on Southwest Boulevard for my first ever celebration of Cinco de Mayo. I speak no Spanish, and I'm not crazy about Mexican beer, but by gum, I'm not going to pass up a chance to drink beer all day and wander aimlessly around KC's most noticably hispanic neighborhood.
I slept happily until about 9:30, Friday morning, and made sure not to eat when I awoke. I caught the 47 about two blocks from my front door, and the farebox promptly ate my change card. The driver had me fill out my name and address, so they could send me a new change card, or maybe even a check for six dollars, and balked at me not putting my ZIP code on the piece of paper I was given. To the intense amusement of the rest of the people on the bus, the driver railed me about how no address is complete without a ZIP code. Then, thankfully, my stop came and I got off.
I had to walk a little over a mile to get to Ponak's from the closest stop at 25th and Summit, and Eric beat me there by a good measure, and put his name in. I arrived soon after, and it was packed. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon, and the place was wall-to-wall people. After noting with disgust that the only entrance to the restaurant faces the parking lot, behind the building, and that the front door is not meant to be used, I purchased a beer from the first place in the world to even have served Boulevard beer on tap. Pale Ale was $2.25 a draw! Apparently, it's always that cheap.
We were famished, so we didn't wait for Jeff, to order. That's a good thing too, because Jeff wasn't to appear until almost 4 PM. I got some delicious mess of Mexican food, and was unable to finish it. Eric and I walked over to the brewery, and enjoyed a sample just as the "Construction Happy Hour" was starting. Every Friday, Boulevard apparently hosts a free happy hour in their tasting room for all the workers that are working on the brewery expansion. I thought it was a very classy gesture, on their part.
Eric called it quits as we sat in the tasting room, and I had to finish his beer for him. We walked back toward Ponak's where he had parked, and I got a call from Jeff, who had finally managed to get out of the office. I said good-bye to Eric, and agreed to meet up with Jeff at Jesse's, across the street from Ponak's. I went in and found a seat at the bar, and was immediately accosted by an unfairly attractive Corona girl, who artfully roped me into buying a bottle of Mexico's worst beer.
Jeff arrived soon after, and we set to business. He ordered lunch, and we watched Jeopardy with no sound. We walked from there to the heart of the Southwest Boulevard Mexican area, where I flipped a driver off for not stopping for my crosswalk. We grabbed a pair of seats at the bar at Taqueria Mexico, and watched the news on Univision, and noted that Spanish language Walmart ads are way classier than English language ones.
We went next to El Pueblita, where after finishing our first round, Bimal joined us. We were ordering a second round when the waitress told us that besides what she had already promised to bring me, no more beer would be served. Not very excited about the idea of my friends sitting and watching me drink a beer, we left. We walked about fifty feet, and came to some place right at the corner of Southwest and Summit, the name of which I never saw or heard. Patently non-Mexican music was thumping inside, but they had draught beer, of which we all availed ourselves.
We went from there to La Bodega, where I was delighted to find that Bully Porter was available on tap. Cole joined us at La Bodega, where we drank some more beer, and ate some tapas, before moving on to Opal's. From Opal's, we got the crazy idea to go to Skies. From Skies, I texted back and forth with Becca, who was at the Opera with some friends. Nevertheless, they walked in the door at Skies as we were leaving. Becca announced that she and her friends Lauren and Danielle were going to Grinders. We didn't want to deal with the crowds at Grinders, so we hopped in a cab and went to 12 Baltimore, maybe a quarter of a mile from home.
Some really excellent band was playing mambo music like the dickens, and everyone got into it. I texted Becca about it, and she came there, post haste. Great beer, great scenery, great music, and dancing topped off an excellent Cinco de Mayo, the first I have ever celebrated.
Here follows my progress for the day(and night):
It was a long day, but it was excellent. Pictures here.
I awoke Saturday morning surprisingly refreshed. It was brisk- in the 50s -outside, and I had slept with the window open. Something about the cool air was invigorating, and the fact that the nineteen drinks I had consumed the previous night had no hangover effects on me at all, made the morning especially nice. I checked an old email from Heidi, to check what time her graduation ceremony would be, and saw that I needed to be down at Theis Park by one o'clock. I skipped breakfast, and started disrobing for a shower, when the phone rang. Cole was going to the same graduation, for Andi, who was also walking that day. So, we agreed to meet at the bus stop at 12:25, and go down to the Plaza area together.
I hung up, completed preparing for the shower, and the water was running when the phone rang again. I don't like missing phone calls, so I went back into my room and answered it, steam building up in the bathroom all the while. I had to regretfully turn down an invitation to go and get a cup of coffee with a friend, and leapt into the shower for a lively scrubbing and half-shave.
I started walking toward the bus stop, and saw that there was some sort of urban living party going on over at Barney Allis Plaza. I dumbly accepted all leaflets and brochures that were handed to me, and was the subject of confused scrutiny as I walked right past everything. I guess they didn't expect anyone that actually lives downtown to walk by, on other business. The "next bus arriving" signs were broken again, and the bus was a good ten minutes late. This guaranteed Cole and me a chance to get there with time to leaf through the "Downtown Map" brochure I had been given, noting the bars we had never heard of, and resolving to someday visit them.
The bus was very crowded, which was very encouraging. I see more people riding all the time, even during off-peak hours. It's a complete reversal in ridership from when I first moved to town five years ago. Cole and I noticed a rather pathetic protest of people supporting the legalization of marijuana. I support it too, but these people, numbering no more than thirty or forty, were morons. Tie-dyed shirts, long hair, hemp clothes, and an altogether unwashed look did nothing but illicit stereotypical comments from passersby. As the bus stopped at the light at JC Nichols, one of them held up a crudely-made sign that read, in big scrawled green letters, "Can't we all just get a bong?"
"Despicable hippies," Cole dryly breathed.
It also kind of bothered me that they chose Mill Creek Park as their protest site, right next to a popular spot for driving. Some day, someone might hold a protest downtown, instead of in a car-centric shopping center for suburbanites. I sighed, and pulled the stop cord.
We made our way toward the park, through an area that is patently hostile to pedestrians, and arrived amid a mess of traffic and honking horns, to see the opening procession of the capped and gowned honorees. The majority of the seats were occupied by family, friends, and well-wishers of the graduates, so Cole and I circled the masses for a few minutes. After a little while, I spoke up.
"This is boring, and I'm hungry. Let's go to Winstead's."
"That's an excellent idea," Cole said.
We enjoyed some of the best burgers available in KC, and sat at our leisure for perhaps forty five minutes, before heading back to the park. When we got back, people were starting the endless march across the stage. This was UMKC's College of Arts and Sciences' graduation, and was hence the largest ceremony of the year, with a graduating crowd of, I'd guess, about 1200 people. It really is amazing how an event which is the culmination of the work and achievement for these people can be reduced to a mindless tedium. But they pulled it off.
We found Andi's brother Zach, and walked closer to the stage with him to find Ryan, Andi's husband, waiting expectantly for his wife to make her walk. Amazingly, even though Cole and I skipped away for hamburgers, I still managed to see both Heidi and Andi accept their diplomas. Actually, they weren't even diplomas. They were vouchers for diplomas. It had been decided much earlier that the Andi crowd would head to Charlie Hooper's in Brookside to celebrate, and they invited Cole and me. We accepted.
After the cap-throwing and recession, Cole started to make our way back to the bus stop, and decided along the way to walk the sixteen blocks to Brookside instead. Nevertheless, when we saw the stop at 51st, we made a beeline for it. We waited for a couple minutes before deciding to keep walking, and catch the bus if it comes by. About a block south, we turned around and saw teh bus at the stop where we had just been standing. I raised my arm in signal as it approached, and it roared right past us, with the driver not so much as shaking his head at us.
Disappointed, we kept walking, and were trying to find a break in traffic through which to cross the street, when Andi's father pulled up and offered us a ride. We gratefully hopped in the car, and were among the crowd at Hooper's in minutes. We played some foosball, said hello, and watched some trick bowling thing on TV. I managed to get one beer down, before I decided I was too tired to be out anymore. It was about 3:45 PM.
I took another very crowded bus back downtown, and went home. As I write this, I haven't been out of the apartment, or indeed even my room, since I got back. I anticipate a pleasant relaxing Sunday.
Last night, I completed phase one in never having to leave the house again. I bought a kegerator. You're invited over when it's ready to go. I have to clean it, and arrange some furniture first. When Jeff moves in, we can move what is currently the entertainment center into the kitchen for the shelving of brewing supplies. It's all coming together nicely. Here are some pics that are also links!
Remember when I said that the farebox on the 47 ate my change card? Well, the ATA made good, in the mail yesterday.
I was drearily expecting a check for six dollars and fifty cents, so imagine my elation when this change card popped out of the envelope when I turned it over. They're good folks at the ATA. Don't let anyone tell you any different.
Luckily for me, I haven't really had to break any more twenties for bus rides, lately, seeing as I've been spending all my traveling time shuttling back and forth between home and work. But this will come in handy, I'm sure, this weekend. Weekends are when I do all my crazy busriding, now that my schedule requires that I present myself clean, showered, and shaven, at the office every morning, 35 miles away.
I was thinking to myself that it'd probably be impossible, because of some unknown technological hurdle, for the ATA to just print out a change card, on demand, but it seems that my thoughts, as usual, were incorrect.
As for tonight, I might go out, if I can find both a compelling reason to do so, and someone with whom to go. I don't have a lot of faith in either scenario, and that's fine. I feel like sitting around and letting my lunch digest. I suppose my opinion might change when my lunch has completed digestion, though. The weather is basically perfect, right now, and without a leaden Quizno's salad on the stomach, prospects would probably be higher.
We had a kickball doubleheader last night, which started with a game against the undefeated purple team. The purple team has a coach who doesn't play. She just stands there with a clipboard, calling off names, and advising players on strategy. Before each game her team plays, she goes around the field with her own tape measure, and measures all the bases and pitcher's mound, and if necessary, makes adjustments. One might say that the rod up her butt must have a rod up its butt. The whole business just seems against the spirit and the fun of the game, and too ridiculous for what is supposed to be recreational kickball.
Anyway, we tied them. They didn't score, and neither did we, but here are the absolutely salient points: they didn't win, and we didn't lose. Both of those points were trend breakers, last night. The next team we played allowed us to get on base a lot, but the only score we ever racked up was in a suicide attempt by Erik, who just kept running the bases, prompting wild throws and general mayhem, and that turned into a home run. It was very exciting. I almost spilled my beer.
Even though that was our only run, we won the game. We played two teams, and scored one run between them, and managed not to lose. That's a successful evening in my book. After the games are over, success or defeat is customarily celebrated at the division bar, which unfortunately, is the Brooksider. The Brooksider is a nasty, fratty meat market, with loud top-40 music, guys in striped shirts, and post-college sorostitutes getting, "the wastedest ever." In short, I hate the Brooksider. I despise it.
Luckily, everyone on our team is cool, and the bargoing crowd was up for Grinders, for awesome philly cheesesteaks, tater tots, live zydeco, and fantastic beer. Erp and Greg got it in their heads to try a smidgeon of the "absolutely insane" sauce, which came in about a half an ounce portion, in a little sauce cup. No amount of warning about how hot something is can stop someone who likes spicy food from trying it, regardless of how unforgivably, comically, inexcusably hot it is. Erp took a plastic fork, and doused the business end in sauce, and sucked it all up. In seconds, he was reeling. Greg took a similar hit, and Erik dipped a tater tot in it. Within about a minute, they were all visibly in gastronomic agony, wracked with belching hiccups.
I had tried the sauce once before, but when I did, we were given a full sauce-cup of it, into which I dipped a chicken wing, touching the bottom of the cup with the wing as I did so. Almost immediately, aside from the explosion of pain throughout my entire head, neck and chest, I began hiccuping uncontrollably, so much that breathing was difficult. I took my glass of beer, drained it, and retired to the bathroom, where I downed about five or six pint-glasses of semi-potable water before I finally got rid of my hiccups.
Do not get the absolutely insane sauce at Grinders.
I remarked to Erp, Greg, and Erik, "you guys are my favorite idiots." But I was curious about the effect of just a little tiny bit of the sauce, so I took a green pepper from my sandwich, of which I still had half remaining, and took a teeny little dab of the sauce. Maggie took a similar portion, and soon we were hiccuping too. Luckily, though, I still had half my philly, and all my tots to asborb the spice, so my agony was short lived, and not nearly as terrible as it was the first time, and I was able to quell the hiccups with two or three swallows of tap water.
Katie, Julie, and Jeff sagely refused offers to try it, after seeing the cartoon-like responses from those who had. "I've already touched the stove," Jeff said. "I know not to do it again." Jeff was with me the first time I tried it, and wasn't looking to get stabbed by satan again.
After the effects of it slowly subsided, we began exchanging ideas of things we would prefer to endure than consume that sauce. Among them were getting punched in the face, roundhouse kicked in the face by Chuck Norris, and getting one's heart broken.
This morning, I touched my eye with my right index finger, and my eye burned for about a half an hour.
Do NOT get the absolutely insane sauce at Grinders.
Over and over, I am completely amazed at how unbelievably awesome Stevie Wonder is. I just discovered yet another jaw-dropping song by the living legend, and as such, I am unable to keep still, or go to bed at a reasonable hour.
Unfortunately, video games have laid claim of my free time, lately. It started when I purchased SiN Episodes. For some inexplicable reason, the ads fro it caught my eye. I discovered that the ads definitely aren't a big departure from the content. The first scene is a cinematic, where you are restrained on a hospital bed, and some chick is waving her about-to-pop-out boobs at you. Video games are getting a little too realistic, these days.
I also have discovered Final Fanrtasy: Dawn of Souls. That's kept me pretty busy for the last couple of days. In other news, I need to assemble my thoughts for my annual "self appraisal," the document where I justify why I deserve a big raise, and with which my boss will justify not giving me one. It's an annual process.
I have kickball tonight, so that'll be fun. Then I get paid. That'll be helpful for the ongoing struggle of paying for bills, beer, and debt.
Erik generously picked me up at around 5:30 last night, and we went to Ponak's to warm up before umpiring a kickball game. The Boulevard draws at $2.25 apiece. That's kind of why we went. As the bartender was pouring our second beers, Erik asked about the "Cuervo Gold" handle on the taps. The bartender explained that it was a margarita tap. "We mix it ourselves, but it's just easier to have a nice tap for it." As I was finishing my first beer, looking at my second one sitting tauntingly in front of me, the bartender stealthily poured each of us a small margarita, and set it down in front of us.
It was very strong, and was portentous of what was to come, I'm afraid. With only ten minutes to spare, we high-tailed it over to the Liberty Memorial, for kickball. We called a game fairly and dizzily, before it was our turn to play. We played the last-place Maroon Team, and tied them 3-3, with some last-minute comeback magic. After the game, we ran down to Brookside, to the Brooksider, to have a couple drinks and hang out with the other teams. The Yellow Team is awesome.
I talked to a woman on the Purple Team about their coach. She agreed that their coach takes the game far too seriously. Then she had to go somewhere for something, and I didn't see her again. After two drinks and plentiful pictures, the group more or less dispersed. A small group of us(Erp, Terra, Liz, Holly, Jeannie, Erik, and myself) we walked over to Hooper's for better beer, and some food. By about 11:15, I'd had about enough, and was instructed to come downtown and meet up with Matt at another of my "favorite" bars: the Quaff.
Matt, Kristin, and Shai had just played kickball over at Mulkey Square Park, for the other kickball league, and were relaxing at the KCSSC bar. They were about to give up waiting for us when Erp and I walked in and joined them. I was required to pick up a round to facilitate this. We chatted for a while, and all went home. It was a fun night. Selected pictures are clickable below.
I hopped the Royals Express bus at 6:15, over by the steam drills and orange construction fencing at Barney Allis Plaza. The bus was immediately packed. I have taken it several times before, but I had never seen it this crowded. It turns out that when the Cardinals come to town, the game draws a huge number of fans. Especially Cardinals fans. Many devotees actually travel to KC to see the game. I like this very much. SO, as I was saying, the bus was crowded. People were standing, and making snide comments about how much KC sucks, and how the bus was taking "forever," to get to the K. That's what happens when you build a ballpark in the middle of nowhere.
Anyway, I met Jeff there, and we were able to take our seats with beers in hand after the scoreless first inning was over, and just as the Cardinals went down, in a one-two-three fashion in the top of the second. Right away, the Royals racked up five runs, including a 420-foot two-run shot by Reggie Sanders. It was very exciting. Then, a couple innings later, Albert Pujols hit his 20th home run of the year, a solo shot to put the score at 5-1. For no good reason, the Royals brought in a relief pitcher in only the fifth inning, and the Cards took over from there, scoring eight more runs to win the game.
In the eighth inning, a spirited young man in a section near ours stripped to his boxers, and sprinted out into left field. A ballboy, of all people, chased him down, tackled him, and grappled on the ground with him for perhaps twenty seconds before a cadre of stadium security people and KCMO Police converged on the spot. The crowd cheered as the offender crawled among the pileup and grasping arms, on all fours and waved up at the stands. The most amazing part of the hilarious display was that the ballboy, the hourly-paid stadium lackey, was the one that brought it to a head.
We walked backwards out the gate, toward the bus, watching the postgame fireworks, but this proved much more difficult than I had expected, as I was more intoxicated than I realized, and walking backwards and looking up at a dizzying fireworks display while intoxicated is not easy. Police should use this exercise as part of field sobriety tests. Maybe they do. "Pretend you're watching fireworks, and walk backwards." "Oof!" "You're under arrest, rummy!"
On the bus back, Jeff and I talked to the visibly drunk Lindsay and her friends about suburbs and how they suck. Then she proceeded to say that she was from Lees Summit, but that didn't count for some reason, owing its nonsuburban status to not being in Kansas. She was easy on the eyes, though, so we humored her.
In a flurry of text messages, we had established over the evening, that we were going to meet up with Heidi and some of her friends at the Peanut in South Plaza. This was very agreeable to Jeff and me, as it's almost directly between our apartments. Our glee was short-lived, however, as the rest of Heidi's texts arrived. Our reactions went on a rollercoaster ride, with each new text. First, she said they were going to the Peanut at 50th and Main, then the Peanut at 75th and Metcalf in Overland Park, then Tanner's in Waldo, and finally, Lucky's Brewgrille on Johnson Drive in Mission.
I finally texted back something in the vein of "to hell with you, we're going to Waldo. Join us if you wish to return to civilization." Lindsay and her friends went to Kennedy's, just up the street from 75th St Brewery, where we were meeting Josh, and encouraged us to join them. We sat down with Josh, and told him the situation, and he said, "well what are we doing here?" Interest tapered off from there though, as alcohol tends to blur the memory. Also, it was way too much fun to watch Jeff get annoyed and abstain from our repeated glass-clinking toasts, "to Jesus!"
After a beer or two, Josh announced that he needed to pick up Callie at the theater on the Plaza, and take her home. From there, the sky was the limit. Jeff announced that the sky held no sway over him, and went home. I informed him that he needed to extract the sand from his vagina.
Josh and I rode his rental minivan up to the Plaza, where Callie was waiting, and dropped her off at home. We encouraged her to come out with us, but she wasn't feeling well. As we rolled down Main, in a downtownward direction, we decided that all roads lead to Grinders. We walked in, and had a couple beers, including some maibock they just got on tap. It was very tasty. They chased us out at about 1:45, forty five minutes after closing, and we went to Anthony's, down on Grand.
We talked and drank 1664 beer from chalices as we watched the sterotypical Italian scene around us. There were large middle-aged men sitting in quiet booths with 23-year old braless beauties, and at the bar, there were well-dressed obese men talking animatedly with Joe, the bartender. At about 3:30, we were chased out, a half hour after closing.
That was that, for the evening, and Josh dropped me off. I slept through a nasty hangover, until about 1pm, today.
As devotees already know, I recently purchased a kegerator, which is still airing out the stink from its previous owners. The baking soda is permeating the main chamber as I type this, and will continue to do so as long as I own this rig. But that's not important.
The tap on the side of the unit has nothing under it. What I'm trying to figure out is what one of those sink-like contraptions is called, in the context of beer or soda. I would like to hook up a drain to it, or have it dump into a receptacle inside the fridge that can be emptied easily, and at my leisure.
Does anyone know what it's called?
I walked over to 10th and Broadway, where I met up with Kelly. We ran from there down to 17th and Baltimore- actually, we ran from there to 12th and Wyandotte and walked to 17th and Baltimore -and then ran from 17th and Baltimore up the hill to Broadway. That part was hell. We rounded off the walk, by continuing on to Summit and walking that back into downtown. It's excellent to have a running partner. It was excellent with Joel back in Midtown, and it's excellent with Kelly now. She's in much better shape than I'm in, but she's patient, and happy to just keep up the chatter and walk on.
Jeff and I met for a beer or two at Grinders last night, and decided, on a whim, to go down to 75 St. Brewery for their 75-cent draws. Every Wednesday after ten, all draws, including mug club draws, are only 75 cents. The place was crawling with beautiful women. This proves my theory: Beautiful women are cheapskates.
I woke up to my alarm with a pounding headache, and got a call from Geoff, saying that for some reason, he had forgotten that half of his computers at work would be needed for an exercise he is working now. So, I had to high-tail it to Leavenworth, reinstall linux on ten machines, backup a bunch of data, pack everything up, and ship it to Arkansas. To allow this to happen, I skipped lunch.
Geoff promised me dinner or something, so I think I might break my low-beef diet and have a big KC strip for my troubles. I just got home from dropping off the very heavy pelican cases at the airport Fedex, and now I'm supposed to go out. I will hold off until kickball at 6:30. I would like to just sit for a while.
On Friday evening, I met up with Jeff, Chris, Cole, Josh, and Callie down at Charlie Hooper's for a drink. After all the musicians were assembled, we stepped out into the evening sunshine and went down to 75th St Brewery for a quick one. Both Jeff and Chris joined the Mug Club, as is evidenced below, with their Cardinal and Hamm's mugs. While at 75th, I got calls from Liz and Terra about a party over in the west Plaza area. We paid our tab, piled into Chris' car, and ran over to the Peanut at 50th and Main before going to the party.
I'm not quite sure what happened there now, and I know that we only split a single pitcher of Pale Ale, but we all had a great time at the Peanut, and I think it should be a required stop on more Friday evenings. Like a bunch of clowns, we all piled once again into various semi-open corners of Chris' Civic, with unidentifiable hands and feet poking in unlikely directions, and I somehow manipulated my phone into dialing Liz's number.
The party to which we were headed was a going away party for Liz's friend Steve, who would, in a few days, be packing up his guitar and moving back to the Chicago area. His KC-based band, called Flux was playing classic rock covers in what had once been the living room, while the greatest concentrations of partygoers congregated outside, drinking grey beer from a keg, having conversations, forgetting them, and having them again.
Chris and Jeff left after perhaps two hours, but Cole and I chose to hang around, and watch the keg blow about ninety seconds after missing our chance to get home for free. So, we made the best of it, and chatted with Liz, Terra, Kelly, Holly, Steve, Amanda, and anyone else that was up for repeating conversations.
Cole and I took our leave about an hour later, at about one o'clock. The plan was to go over to Tomfooleries, have a beer or two, and get a cab home. I wasn't remotely intoxicated, as the drinking been been inconveniently interrupted over the past five hours with wanton conversation, so I was keen to get a drink from a pint glass at one of the only Plaza bars I can stand. We walked in, and I made a beeline for the bathroom, where I did the unthinkable. I did a number two at a bar. While doing so, I listened, staying as quiet as I could, to the unhushed comments of disgust dispensed by the ten or so urinal visitors to the restroom.
I washed my hands, and dried them under a jet engine, watching skin on my hands ripple in folds under the force of the roaring, industrial hand dryer, and was struck with a thought. I voiced it when I got back to the table where Cole was sitting.
"Has the waitress been by yet?"
"Yeah, I told her I was still thinking, and that you were taking a dump."
"Thanks. Um, do you want to go home?"
"Yes. Let's go."
We stepped outside, expecting to see a line of cabs waiting for us, as there had been when we walked in, but there was none. I suggested that we walk over to O'Dowd's, where there are always cabs at the curb. Cole agreed, but about eight steps into our journey, a City Cab pulled up. I despise City Cab, because I have this idea that I thoughy may have just been circumstantial, that they try to go as slow as possible, and take roundabout routes, to try to run up the fare. If that thought is circumstantial, then it's been every circumstance I have ever experienced with this lamentable cab company.
An Atlas Cab driver once told me that the drivers for City Cab are one of two things: crooks, or immigrants working their first stateside job, and often, operating their first motorized vehicle. The obvious way to downtown from the west side of the Plaza is to go straight up Southwest Trafficway, hope on the highway for a split-second, and be there. It takes roughly ten minutes, even in traffic. The bars weren't closing for another hour and a half, so there was no traffic. Nevertheless, our driver, who had less than a kindergartner's grasp of English, proceeds to turn the properly-aligned cab around, making to head toward Broadway, a city street with lots of long stoplights and heavy, trend-agnostic traffic that guarantees at least a twenty-minute trip for thirty five blocks.
I quickly corrected him, and made it clear right away, that he was going to take us the fast way. "Okay," he said, in a tone that could also have been used for, "it's your funeral." Sure enough, he hit the brakes for every light, hoping it would turn red, and allow him to run up the fare. There was a police sobriety checkpoint between 39th and 33rd, that had a dedicated lane for delivery vehicles, police cars, and taxicabs. He stopped the car, seemingly oblivious to the clear path before him, even with police waving him through, and shouting, "Go!"
Anyway, we eventually got home, and Eeyore had managed to run us a $15 fare for what Atlas would have done for $8. Frustrated, we got some burritos, and called it a night.
The next day, I met Matt, Kristin, Jeff, Ryan, and Jennifer down in the River Market for homemade guacamole, tasty beer, and witty comebacks. We went from there to Arrowhead Stadium for my first ever professional soccer game. It was a lot of fun, but I'd say it was because of the people I was with. The Wizards(KC's team) lost to the DC United, 3-1, largely because of some terrible officiating. The beer was actually kind of hard to find. There are no walking vendors at Wizards games, and very few people had beer. Most of the crowd was children, and the whole affair seemed to be more catered to them. This is sad to say, but it made Royals games seem crowded.
That said, I'm not opposed to returning for another Wizards game. All the best players in MLS are in Germany at the moment, playing for their respective countries in the World Cup, so normally, there's a lot more talent on the field. We retired from there to Harry's Country Club, where I again used the restroom in an unsavory manner, and listened to someone come in and vomit into the sink. I went home soon after that.
The next day, Tony and Randy came over to help Nathan pack up his stuff and move to his new apartment. Randy and I talked for perhaps an hour, while Nathan was getting a load ready for transport. It was nice to talk with one of the old kcgeek folks again. After the move was basically over, Jeff and I met up with Eric and his mother at Fiorella's for some barbecue. After an interesting insight into what makes Eric Eric, we said good evening, and started heading toward Grinders. By this time, however, my nose was running basically nonstop. I had been waking up in the middle of the night just to blow my terribly running nose.
I have a theory about God. God has a sense of humor. God thought it would be a real gas to let me live the first 25 years of my life without any allergies, and then, with no warning, lay them on me. I'm probably on God's Funniest Home Videos. I have gone through four rolls of toilet paper, this weekend, from blowing my nose. I have probably displaced several pounds of water weight, through blowing my nose. As I write this, I have actually had to get out a new roll.
Anyway, after Fiorella's, Jeff and I walked over to Grinders, and ran into Matt and Kristin on the way. We discussed pleasantries and such for a while, and they wound up riding over to the patriotic symphony thing at Union Station, despite Matt's intense wincing. Jeff and I pressed on to Grinders, and ran into another Matt friend, and his girlfriend, Betty. I love that name. I wish more people had it. We took a couple of pictures, and made it to the bar.
Some trio of an organist, a sax player, and a guitarist were playing some really excellent boogaloo, and their music permeated the entire place, including the back patio which, by this time, was a very pleasant place to be. We sat outside and had a lovely time until the fireworks over at the Liberty Memorial started up. It was about this time that my left eye started to get itchy. It went from being itchy to feeling like there was something stuck underneath one of the lids, and I mercilessly fingered after it, whatever it was. I never found anything, and I just kept rubbing my eye, and reaching under the lids with my finger, sometimes getting joint-deep, searching for whatever it was that was irritating me.
During the more furious moments of my searching, Jeff was off to get Becca, who was joining us, and walk her over. I tried to stay quiet, and I was facing away from everyone else on the patio, but I'm pretty sure that some people heard me wincing frantically, trying to cure whatever had, seemingly all of a sudden attacked, my eye. It was torture. It seemed like an eternity before Jeff and Becca got to the table, and I was driven to the brink of madness, violently sticking my finger under my eyelids.
They did arrive, though, and the first thing they told me was to stop touching my eye, because it was horribly swollen by that time. See the picture below for a blurry, up-close view of how my eye looked after about ten minutes of leaving it alone. We hung out for a while, and then they had to catch their bus south: Becca to South Plaza, and Jeff to Waldo. I walked home with one eye, feeling wretched, and exercising all of my will to keep from touching my swollen eye.
I slept fitfully that night, waking up about once an hour to blow my nose, and pull open my left eye, which had taken to wrapping sinews of mucus around my eyelashes. It was like pulling gum off a theatre floor. It was disgusting and painful, but I somehow knew that I had to keep my eye clear of the stuff, so I picked it clean and washed it, each time.
The next day, Jeff moved in. In about four trips, he was able to get everything in, including his cat, which, presumably, is around here somewhere. My eye got progressively better all day, and I went to bed, assisted by Nyquil(the nasal congestion hasn't slowed down in the least). When I woke up, the mucus buildup, thank God, hadn't happened at all. I called in to work, saying I wanted to have the eye looked at. After making that call, however, I lay back down and slept for perhaps another hour. When I got up, I felt surprisingly good, besides the nasal congestion.
As of this writing(about 2:45pm, Tuesday), my eye looks and feels almost healthy, though I have made sure not to touch it. I think the problem was that I possibly did get something in it, and had the resulting problems because of how much I picked at it. Don't pick at it.
Feel free to look at the pictures I took in the last three days of the holiday weekend.