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9:26 AM, Oct 20, 2006 toot this
The Red Balloon
After skipping out of the office last night, I decided to take another route home, as I had the car. Instead of taking the closest exit to my home, at 14th and Broadway, I got off the highway at the Paseo and traversed city streets to get home. The travel time was about the same, but not nearly as frustrating. I think one way I could avoid trouble with traffic when I have the car at the office, is to make sure to have an errand to run, so by the time I get downtown, it's well outside the half-hour from Hell(5pm to 5:30pm), when Broadway is a parking lot.

Anyway, I got home, and was delighted to hear from my friend Alex that he'll be coming down to KC for the big Halloween party next week. I had to cut him off after a little while though, as I only had an hour to eat, get dressed, gas up, pick up Terra and Erp, and get down to 75th and I-35 in Shawnee, where the coalition of willing kickball players convened for a mad bout of karaoke. At first it was just Terra, Erp, Chris, and me staring at each other from across a pair of small, pushed-together circular tables.

We chose the Red Balloon for our merrymaking, because they advertise karaoke every night of the week. We settled into some pitchers of Miller High Life that were ambitiously priced at $7.50 each. Apparently, that was the discounted happy hour price, and after 8, they went for $9 apiece. We accepted our fate and gulped down the Champagne of Beers with gusto. It soon became apparent that the Red Balloon is lame. Not to say that the bar itself was bad, but that the clientele were not of the hip urban sort. Country music songs were mouthed by all the regular patrons, "dressed up" in khakis and nascar jackets. It was so smoky that when I went to the bathroom later, I blew my nose, and could smell smoke in my snot as it came out.

We were just starting to doubt whether we should have come when, just after 8pm, the karaoke began in earnest. Most of the music played was of the country/alt-country/hard rock variety, so we decided as a group, that we would play ball. I went up first among us and sang Sister Golden Hair by America. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, and I know I did. Erp went up and sang Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi. The crowd really got into that. Brad sang Papa Loved Mama by Garth Brooks in a hilarious display of country-style arm-swinging. The crowd was really into that song. We knew after Brad sang what kind of a place we had entered.

Before I sang again, a man and a woman went up and sang Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler, and I just about lost my voice singing along. All the guys at our table were inserting the swear words into the appropriate parts, as well.

Even though the Red Balloon definitely is lame, we all had a sensational time. I look forward to next week's activity.

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