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Jilly's, Howl, and Severed

Jeff and I went to Los Corrals last night for some tasty Mexican food. Liana joined us shortly after we sat down, and watched us eat. After dinner we walked over to the Peanut and watched the insufferable Kansas fans obnoxiously cheer their team on in the final minutes of its one-sided victory against Kansas State's team. Biz caught sight of me and came over to make the jovials, and to inform me that 2008's version of Cinco de Mustache will be Cinco de Mullet. That is, he and his wife will host a party on the Saturday closest to May 5th, in which the culmination of a mullet-growing contest will take place. I have not yet decided if I will participate, though I will almost certainly attend.

After a long, convoluted process of paying for the one pitcher we split, we also split up. Jeff wished us well and went home, while Liana and I went to Jilly's for 80s night. We ran into Chris and Jessica when we walked in, and Heather materialized soon after. I kept busy making an ass of myself until Brad and Sarah joined us. They each had a drink and excused themselves after a measure. Soon after, the bar closed and everyone was shooed out into the night. Jessica works at Howl at the Moon, so the remaining group went over there, had cover waived, and enjoyed the happenings until 3am when they closed.

Liana dropped me off at my place soon after, and we made a vague pact to meet at the new Chipotle the next day. I set the loud obnoxious oncall phone next to my bed and went quickly to sleep. I woke up just before 10am to find that at some point in the night, I had torn the phone in two, easy to carry pieces. All I can think of that may have happened is that one of my occasional fits of sleepwalking took me, and my subconscious desire to destroy the oncall phone got its wish. Good times.

10:59 AM, Mar 2, 2008

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The Red Balloon, again

I handed off the destroyed oncall phone yesterday, and spent the rest of the day scrambling to meet the impossible incomplete requests of the mainframe people. I got home and jumped online real quick-like, and leveled my player to 46 before getting dressed and heading down to Shawnee for karaoke.

Shawnee is, as far as I know, one of the last remaining suburbs of Kansas City that still allows smoking in bars. At the Red Balloon, situated in an ugly stripmall near 75th and Switzer, they take full advantage of their right to smoke. My jacket is disgusting today. But even esides the smoke, the place is extremely dirty, bedecked with various out-of-date grime-covered dusty holiday decorations, alongside random objects that have been set in various places, presumably because there's nowhere else to put them.

I will give you an idea of the overall hygiene of the place with the following example. If my shoelace touched the floor, I'd get a new shoelace. It is a beer-lover's nightmare. They only take cash, and they only have the greyest of the grey on tap: Bud, Bud Light, Busch Light, Miller Lite, and Miller High Life, and charge for all of it as if it's Boulevard, which, incidentally, they don't have in any form.

All of that said, I love the Red Balloon. Its unassuming trashiness attracts people from all walks of life, but it's still very much a redneck dive bar. The principal draw is karaoke, which is held every night, starting at 8:30pm. The song selections are almost entirely country music, with a mixing of eclectic selections from the 80s and 90s, and a smattering of top 40 from the last four or five years.

It was sensational. Over the course of an hour or two, our group swelled to fill three front-and-center tables, and I managed to belt out renditions of Jackson Browne's Doctor My Eyes and John Denver's Leaving on a Jet Plane, in addition to spirited duets with Richard of Wham's Careless Whisper and Night Ranger's Sister Christian. Many pictures and videos were taken, but not on any of my equipment, which I left safely at home.

I went to bed at about midnight dreading the oncoming work day, not because I would be particularly hung over(I'm not), but because Thursday night was so much fun, it just doesn't seem fitting to go back to work after something like that.

12:40 PM, Mar 7, 2008

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Monday in the District

I worked maintenance again, this past weekend. We had change to Daylight Savings Time while we were working, so I went to bed no earlier than 5am on Saturday night. As such, I felt horrible when my alarm went off on Monday morning. I had trouble getting to sleep before 3am on Sunday night, and wound up tossing and turning almost until dawn. So, shortly after my alarm went off, I called the boss and informed him that I'd like to use Monday as my comp day for working maintenance, instead of the customary Friday.

I slept for a couple more hours, and when I got up I resolved to keep the computer off until I'd accomplished a good few things that I'd put off for far too long. I spent Monday morning and early afternoon cleaning. I picked up the apartment, took out the garbage, did my laundry, did the dishes, put away various cumbersome things that were taking up lots of space in my room, and spent some time folding and hanging up laundry. Most importantly though(to me), was that I took out all the cardboard boxes and packing material that had shamefully been sitting around the apartment since December, and the huge quantities of cardboard that had been sitting by the front door, from when we moved in almost a year ago. The dumpster was half full when I was done.

Satisfied with the apartment looking like a place to live again, I finally turned on the computer and leveled my character to 47, before Jeff got home. I was quickly apprised of a planned trip to the new ChefBurger in the Power & Light District, and through my meddling intervention, twisted the outing into a visit to the new Gordon Biersch right across the street, in addition. A group of us met at Gordon Biersch, arriving at staggered intervals, until nine of us were sitting around the table. Kate, who I hadn't seen in a long time, came over and said hello, and before long, Jeff, Brad, Chris, Nick, Anna, and I were heading over to ChefBurger for what turned out to be just about the best burger I've ever had.

Geoff and Katie were walking by and saw us through the floor-to-ceiling windows, so they came in and joined us for dinner. Chris accidentally ate meat for the first time in four years after remarking at how much his veggie burger tested like beef. He excused himself to go home and let nature take its course. Brad and Jeff called it a night and walked off in different directions, and Nick and Anna headed over to Lucky Strike to see how that would be. I promised to join them, but stayed at ChefBurger to keep Geoff and Katie company while they ate.

After the food was gone we sat and talked for a while, before strolling across the "Kansas City Live!" block on the way to Lucky Strike to meet up with Nick and Anna. Geoff and Katie had a look around, and Nick and Anna were, despite the attractive decor and cool atmosphere, were ready to go somewhere with better beer. Geoff and Katie said good-night, and I went downstairs with Nick and Anna to have a beer at Raglan Road.

I was home by midnight, and asleep minutes later. It was a really excellent night at the Power & Light District.

10:30 AM, Mar 11, 2008

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Twin City and Gilhouly's

The frequency with which I have updated this website has matched by desire to do so, lately. I am sick. It appears that I have caught whatever my roommate had. He claimed it was the Flu, but I really don't think that's what this is. I've never had the Flu, but I've always heard that it's an especially miserable ailment. I have a pretty bad cough, and a stuffed-up nose makes intermittent appearances. For the most part I'm still able to breathe through my nose, which is lucky for me even when I'm healthy, this time of year. But the two worst things that ever afflict me when I'm sick have thus far not troubled me. I have no headache, and my stomach feels fine.

I even went out last night, and got all smoky. In the past couple weeks I have come to equate smelling like smoke to saving money, as the new bars downtown are all smoke-free, and charge for drinks as if they have an expensive ventilation system to pay for regardless. I met Erp at the Twin City Tavern, where we ate, and watched out hopes get dashed as Nebraska almost beat Kansas, but couldn't pull it out in the end. There are few things I enjoy more in Kansas City than rooting against the out-of-state yet still wildly popular University of Kansas in all they do.

Chris and Tim joined us in our merrymaking, and in our disappointment in Nebraska. Soon after, we decided to head over to Gilhouly's on 39th to meet up with Nick, Angie, Lorne, and Josh. Tim went home, Erp collected Amber, and Amber summoned Liana. Angie and Lorne went home soon after, followed by Chris, and then Josh. Anna arrived as some were leaving. As is the usual occurrence, the group in the end wound up being just being Erp, Amber, and me. We talked around the table until we were chased out, and called it a night.

It was a nice night out in Midtown.

2:12 PM, Mar 15, 2008

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Kansas City for St. Patrick's Day

I love every event of St. Patrick's Day in this city. I love miserably getting up earlier than I do for work and meeting Geoff for breakfast at Bulldog. I love walking from there to Main and Pershing and seeing all the excited people working to get their floats ready for the parade. I love meeting up with the Sweeney-O'Rourke Clan and helping them get their float set up, I love walking in the parade, seeing the hundreds of thousands of people that crowd together alongside Grand to watch, and like little children enthusiastically return our wishes that they have a happy St. Patrick's Day. I love the indecision of what to do after the parade is over- the world is our oyster -and invariably settling on waiting in giddy lines at various bars in Westport. I love the day bleeding into the night, and enjoying hopping around the bars and restaurants of Kansas City.

I love Kansas City, and I love St. Patrick's Day. That's why I'm immeasurably upset that I'm too sick to enjoy it this year. The cold that I've been denying I have for days, in a desperate effort to be taken seriously, mutated into a stomach bug last night. After much deep breathing that proved to be quite futile, I lost my lunch in two discrete and progressively horrible trips to the bathroom. After I got cleaned up as best as I could I apologized to Jeff for the terrible racket, and tried to go to bed.

Sleep came in fitful, 45-minute segments between 11pm and 8am, during the intervals of which I would spit out any foul-tasting liquid in my mouth, and take the ultimate risk: I would take a gulp or two of the best-tasting water I have ever had, and walk around my room with my arms above my head in an attempt to burp, instead of letting the water coagulate into another trip to the bathroom. By about 2am, I got too cocky and drank too much for one sitting, and promptly lost most of the delicious water I'd been drinking.

Being as dehydrated as I was from having now gotten sick three times, I was weak and dizzy- so much so that falling asleep wasn't easy, and when sleep finally would come, my dreams were always the same: some odd chain of consciousness in which I had to reassemble my perceptions based on the tactile result of initiating them. It was a careful, tedious, restless dream- the kind that for me always goes with trying to pass ill time by sleeping.

So yeah, I feel pretty miserable, and doubly so for missing St. Patrick's Day, for which I have allocated two vacation days.

8:25 AM, Mar 17, 2008

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Slow Recovery

After a careful day of sipping 7-Up, the stomach-settling powers of which I liken to how I assume hard drugs must work, I balled my hand in a fist, and made two slices of toast. I nibbled them both down and decided that that would have to be enough for one day. The next day my nausea was almost completely gone, and I slept more or less, through the night.

I took down a bit more toast, and by the end of the day, I actually cooked up some chicken fried rice and ate some of that. I came back into the office yesterday, coughing hysterically, inspiring the confidence of my peers. After work I went to a meeting at the library where I met and witnessed an excellent Q&A with Airick Leonard West, an extremely articulate intelligent man that's running for one of our open school board positions. I enjoyed his words, and am quite confident that I'll be voting for him next month.

After the meeting we went down to Harry's for happy hour, where I had my first beer since getting sick. It was an unfortunately old Boulevard Irish Ale. I couldn't finish it. I got home and slept like a baby.

4:30 PM, Mar 20, 2008

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Smoking Ban

On April 8th, a tiny portion of the people in Kansas City, the people that vote, are going to overwhelmingly approve a citywide ban on smoking in restaurants, bars, and wherever else is specified in the ballot literature. This ban, once enacted, would make Kansas City one of the last major cities in the United States to ban smoking. I'm dead against it, as I see it as a grievous abuse of freedom, but I've accepted that it hasn't a snowball's chance in Hell of failing. The ballot language follows:

Shall the City of Kansas City prohibit smoking in enclosed places of employment, enclosed public places and on public sidewalks abutting acute care hospitals, while allowing it in casino gaming areas until all casinos located in the Missouri counties of Jackson, Platte and Clay, and the Kansas counties of Johnson and Wyandotte are obligated by ordinance, statute or law to prohibit smoking within the casino areas where gambling games are allowed, as set forth in Ordinance No. 080073, for the purpose of promoting public health by decreasing citizen's exposure to secondhand smoke and creating smoke free environments for workers and citizens through regulation in the work place and all public places?

YES NO

It doesn't say anything about a timetable, so on its passage I'd guess one of two things will happen. I also am fairly certain of which of these two things will happen.

  1. The law will go into effect immediately and Kansas City will go smoke-free right away.
  2. The law, due to its intentionally vague language and lack of explicit timeframes, will be cut to pieces and forgotten within months.

I think the latter possibility, given Kansas City's track record for enforcing laws that might make any potential taxpayer angry, is more likely. But, the possibility of the city actually going smoke-free is a real one, meaning that in the area only a handful of towns would still allow it. On the Kansas side, only Shawnee and KCK would still allow it, and on the Missouri side only Raytown, Liberty, Grandview, Belton, Parkville, and a smattering of two-block towns cradled between larger ones would still allow smoking in whatever few bars they have, before the states of Kansas and Missouri bring up the national rear in enacting statewide bans.

Anyway, I just think the whole thing is interesting.

2:38 PM, Mar 25, 2008

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Stuff from the Internet

Instead of working really hard on a large backlog of queued tickets and requests, I've just spent the last hour looking at paintings on Brandon Bird's webpage. I particularly enjoyed Nobody Wants to Play Sega with Harrison Ford and Killing Machine as I perused his works. I might purchase a print of one.

I then remembered the copious laughs I derived from reading PC Gamer's 1998 review of eXtreme Paintbrawl, which it appears the magazine has maintained for posterity. And why shouldn't they, considering it holds the lowest score of any game ever reviewed by the magazine. I reminds me of my favorite bad review out of the ones that I've written, from my once-great Draught of the Week section.

The kickball season has been postponed a week because Matt's girlfriend made it rain. I've proposed a conciliatory trip to ChefBurger for the team, but I fear that everyone is going to come up with ideas for things to do instead. Time will tell.

3:30 PM, Mar 27, 2008

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366 Days

On this day in 2007, March 31st, Jeff and I moved into the new place. I have officially been a homeowner for a full year now. I should probably clean the bath tub.

I had a fun but typical Kansas City weekend. I met up with about twenty people I know on Friday night, over the course of about six hours. Nick and Josh turned thirty on that day, and combined the celebration of their shared birthday with Angela and Anna, who shortly before and after turned thirty and twenty-six, respectively. Everyone convened at Grinders and scoffed at Spring taking its sweet-ass time in arriving.

I was late and slow in beginning my Saturday, due to carelessness on Friday night. I joined up with remnants of the same group to drink more beer and grill various meats in Roanoke Park before heading home to do a quick change, and head to the P&L to meet Callie, who was in town from San Francisco to visit some friends and family. It was my first big Saturday night since the P&L more or less opened. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was blown away. Thousands of people were there, and it wasn't even that nice out. It was amazing to see such a thing in a place that only a couple years ago was a derelict area of poorly paved surface lots and crumbling ready-to-condemn buildings.

Now, I'm in the office for quarter end monitoring, working the graveyard shift until 5am. I have plenty of time this week to get some programming done, and enjoy the peace of not having to deal with requesters' phone calls.

Stay fresh!

10:03 PM, Mar 31, 2008

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