Thursday, October 09, 2003

Love n' Stuff

That was how our youth group leader at St. Ray's used to sign all her letters. I still don't know what "stuff" is, and I don't think I want to. So I was watching the Bachelor last night, and I want to know what kind of substance those girls are smoking. Bob, aka, Sir Grabass, is creepy. It's a combination of the greasy "Just for Men" curls, the fact that he looks like a seal giving birth during the extreme close ups of him laughing (note: I don't know what a seal giving birth looks like, but I assume), and the fact that he has his hands all over these chicks when they've barely had a minute to speak to him that grosses me out. It's mostly the seal giving birth thing though. I will note, however, that Sir Grabass made the single most astute observation I've ever seen on reality television last night: "Anyone who says they don't like Journey is a damn liar." Damn straight. However, Bob followed that moment of brilliance with a duet of "Open Arms" that sounded like Danny Tanner and Becky singing on the telethon episode of Full House, and I had to start gagging again. In other news. . .

Joliet couple believe someone 'copied' their identity
JOLIET — A West Side couple told police Tuesday they had a problem with People's Gas. (Note from Emily: Would that problem be that "people's gas" smells? Maybe they should avoid Mexican food.)
The male of this couple, who reside on Peyla Lane, told police he received a telephone call from People's Gas Co. and was informed of an outstanding bill for about $3,000.
The bill was in his wife's name, the man told police. The date of service ran from November 2001 through July and was for an address in Chicago at which he claims neither he nor his wife have ever lived.
The man and woman believe someone has "copied" their identity, police said, but are unsure how this may have happened.

I wonder, perhaps, if these people were named John and Jane Smith. In other Herald News, there was a column in the "Your Life" section on Wednesday about a girl who bonded with her sister by going to the John Mayer and Counting Crows concert. Sounds fun to me, although even though John Mayer is hot, I prefer listening to him on CD to viewing him because he looks like a deranged Muppet when he sings. Which Muppet? Check out my friend Patrick's website (look at the 9/17 entry entitled, "What Other Folks Think of the Mayer") for his observations. Also, I used to be a big Counting Crows fan, up to their latest album of which I'm not a fan, and their March 1997 concert at the Aragon was my "first" (not counting New Kids on the Block in fifth grade, during which my dad dropped me off his shoulders) concert. However, the girl who wrote the column stated something to the effect that she didn't enjoy the Counting Crows because they only played their old songs "which no one knew" and it was only good when they played "Big Yellow Taxi." Two words: up and chuck. Get a clue girlfriend. I really hope she realizes "Big Yellow Taxi" is a cover (and in my opinion, a crappy one). It's just pathetic.

Last weekend was pretty fun. Courtney and I saw "School of Rock" on Friday. I would have to say that it tied with "Old School" for best comedy of the year. I love Jack Black, the kids are cute, and the music is awesome. It was such a happy little movie, and it made me want to learn to play an instrument (note: I played the xylophone for 3 weeks in 4th grade, I quit because I didn't want to learn drums, I thought they were too much of a boy's instrument). Rating: 3 1/2 stars. We also caught the last ten minutes of "Under the Tuscan Sun" when we snuck in to meet up with Courtney's parents. It looked just as " Lifetime Television for Women" as I had expected. Saturday I did a little shopping during the day (Fashion sighting: a woman wearing these. Not J. Lo, J. NO!) Saturday night I went to Chicago with Shannon, Joe, and some friends of Shannon. We met up with my old roommate Julie and went to a couple Irish bars, Celtic Crossings and Fado, and ended our evening at the Red Head Piano Bar. It was a lot of fun, I had some really good Irish coffee and along the way we "adopted" some guys from Arkansas who were architecture students in town to look at the buildings of Chicago. Shannon, let me know if I'm forgetting anything.

Last night Courtney, Nancy and I started our Halloween costume search. We stopped first at Josie O'Kain's, which is next to Karen's Grooming. Outside Karen's Grooming, a marquee read "Free Oatmeal and Teeth." Was this for senior citizens? I thought it was a pet grooming place. On the door of Josie O'Kain's was a sign warning patrons that the only people allowed to sell items inside Josie O's are the store's employees. I wasn't aware that there was any sort of bootleg trafficking (wigs or otherwise), but this was good to know in case I ever had the inclination to stop over there and try to peddle my fake mullet hat at a reduced rate. We were able to find a few items at Josie O'Kain's, but the highlight was their book of the makeup they've done for various people's costumes over the years. Included was a picture of area DJ Eddie C, or Z (?) in some sort of feline or wolf makeup. Nance bid us adieu and we stopped over at the Halloween store next to Samy's, aka the most ghetto temporary seasonal shop ever. I felt as though gypsies were going to steal away in the night with the contents of this store at any moment. Highlights included some sort of proctology patient costume that featured simulated diarrhea, and a man talking to a friend on his cell phone about an upcoming gathering he was having. The man, who looked like Hooters might have been his preferred dining establishment, kept encouraging his phone friend to "bring a side dish!" We were unsure if he was referring to cheesy potatoes or a mistress. Maybe the mistress could bring the cheesy potatoes, I don't know. Now I want cheesy potatoes. By the way, my new favorite fast food restaurant in Joliet (it's not new, but it's my new favorite) is Chicken-N-Spice on Chicago Street. The chicken chunks are awesome, and I like the potato wedges, though why they're called JoJos is a mystery. . .

That's all the news for now, I should be going out tonight so I'll have a Thursday story again, it's been a while since I've had a good one. We out.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Corn Maze: Labyrinth of Hell

So I've never been very good with directions. For the majority of my young life (and this is my Jessica Simpson moment of the day), I thought that north was in front of you, south was in back of you, and if you changed positions, the directions would change with you. However, when Shannon told me she was doing a story for the Enterprise on the corn maze at Keller's Farmstand, entitled, "The 2003 Maze of Mythos," and invited me to join her, I agreed. Even though I get lost easily (note: I only discovered Friday night that there are two separate ladies rooms at Movies 8, I always thought there was just one long one behind the snack bar), I was very excited. I enjoy corn (on the cob and popped), I like "autumn activities" (mostly because I get to wear my new fall coat, yay), and I assumed that there would be some food involved (I was hoping for hot cider and grilled hot dogs). However, I wasn't aware that the Corn Maze was actually the Labyrinth of Hell.

It all started out innocently enough, we walked up to the ticket booth, paid our six bucks, and picked up our maps. The woman at the counter claimed that the maze would take about an hour and a half. We immediately made our first mistake, deciding to ignore the maps and wander aimlessly, checking off the 10 checkpoints in the maze as we came across them rather than using a strategy. I was mistaken on the "good food" count, they had pop and Rosati's pizza (I've never had Rosati's, if I have I don't recall it, but I just wasn't in a pizza mood). I was also mistaken in believing that the corn maze was haunted, I was hoping that creatures would pop out at you, haunted house style, throughout the maze, but basically it was just corn, checkpoints, and, accompanying the checkpoints, "News You Can Use" regarding the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, as the corn maze was arranged in the shape of their "epic battle" this year. Personally I would have preferred to have gone through 2001's Abraham Lincoln maze ("Oh no, I'm lost in the mole!"), but I didn't have a Way Back Machine with me. The corn maze had several rules. I will list them now, and refer to them throughout my tale.

1. There is no corn maze.
2. No Smoking or open flame
3. No Alcohol
4. Stay on trail path, do not cross the maze tape.
5. No picking or throwing corn.
6. Always be on guard. Never let her out of your sight. Never fall in love.
7. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
8. No Pets Please
9. Do not tell anyone about Corn Maze. No, seriously. If you break the rules, you will be asked to leave.

I commented to Shannon that the Corn Maze would probably enjoyable with a slight beer buzz. However, I'm glad that we were sober, because otherwise, I would have never gotten out alive. Another rule should have been, "Shannon and Emily must be accompanied by an adult."

We began ambling through the corn maze, coming across some dead ends, but also making some correct turns. We came across the first open area, in which a kind maze worker showed us the path to the nearest checkpoint. We punched off the checkpoint on our map, still under the sad, sad illusion that this would be easy. Thanking the "amazing" employee, we moved on, assuming there would be more of her kind throughout the maze. Little did we know that she would be the only one. . .

When we began the maze we were in the "Theseus" area. We were able to punch off checkpoints in his knee and chest before happening upon the entrance to the Minotaur. Let's just say that we bid adieu to Theseus too soon, little did we know how much we'd miss him.

Still enjoying ourselves, we punched off several checkpoints in the minotaur: his knee, temple, fist, and thumb. I'd occasionally comment on things we'd see on the ground, a Poland Spring bottle, an M&M, thinking that it might be a good idea to use them to remember where we'd been.

After a while, we realized we were seeing the same checkpoints, over and over and over. We also kept running into people who were looking for checkpoint 3. For some reason, checkpoint 3 was the ONLY checkpoint we could find, and everyone else seemed to be having difficulties. Checkpoint 3 became the bane of our existence. We decided it would be a good idea to head back to Theseus, but we had become snack food for the Minotaur, and could not emerge from his environs.

It was at this point that we stopped playing the Maze, and the Maze began playing us. We were hungry, very hungry, and that M&M on the ground stopped looking dusty and started looking tasty. We kept passing people looking for Checkpoint 3, and while we could tell them that we had seen it several times, we had no idea where it was. I fervently wished that Malachi, or perhaps one of the other "Children of the Corn," would emerge from the stalks and put us out of our pain. If this had been a haunted maze, the various boogeymen could at least help us find our way out, though they'd probably be laughing in the process. At this point we could feel no shame, all we wanted to see was Route 30 again. I asked Shannon if it would help if I had brought a compass, and she said that she wouldn't know what to do with it. Since I hadn't paid much attention during Compass Day in 6th grade Social Studies, neither would I.

At some point Shannon and I recalled rule 7: "If you break the rules, you will be asked to leave." We didn't care if we left by choice or by force, there was no shame in our game. As we did not have a lighter, cigarettes, Zima, or a hamster, rules 2, 3, and 8 were out of the question. We decided that destruction was the best idea, and went for rule 5, and I halfheartedly pulled off an ear of corn and dropped it to the ground. Apparently security isn't too tight at the farm, so no corn police came to take us away. Our journey continued. . .

Up to this point we had mostly encountered families in the corn maze, save for a group of junior high school (or maybe high school girls) who we teamed up with briefly early in the maze only to lose track of them later on. However, we suddenly came across some bespectacled teenage males who seemed to know what they were doing. They looked like the kind of guys who might study labyrinths in their spare time, at least when they weren't hanging out at Babbage's. We asked one of them if he knew where he was going, and he said, "Yes," and continued moving. The middle finger was raised at his retreating back. Another guy was more charitable, and began showing us the way back. However, he could only go so far, and when I asked him what to do next, he said, "Read the map." That just wasn't an option for our tired, ignorant souls. When you're almost at the point of breakdown, a topical map in the shape of a mythological battle ain't gonna do crap to help.

Finally we came across some kindred spirits, a boisterous group of teens. We asked where they were going, they said that they just wanted to get out of there. We agreed and joined forces. However, their exit route was a little more direct than our aimless wandering; they broke Rule Number 4: "Stay on trail path, do not cross the maze tape." After a minute of hesitation, we followed them. These kids had to be pretty covert about their operations, as they were from some kind of youth group and had to avoid the wrath of their pastor. We ducked under the tape and entered another segment of the maze, and about ten minutes later, stomachs growling and spirits damaged, but not broken, we exited the maze. Note: this was about 2 and a half hours after we entered.

As we walked out to the car, we saw a couple teenage girls exiting the maze. One of the employees commented that they'd gotten out pretty fast. Apparently, they were in there for less than an hour and had made it all to the checkpoints (we got 7 out of 10). We tried not to think about this too much and headed to the promised land: Quizno's.

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