Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Right Now. . .I Am Updating My Website

Ok, busy week and lots of stories.  I'll start with last night's events while they're still fresh in my mind.  Last night I went to the Van Halen Concert at United Center with Courtney and Rob.  Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed inside, so I could not physically capture the magic, but I'll do my best to describe it. 

I met Courtney up in Naperville, got Jamba Juice (the new lime flavors are quite tasty), and we took the train from there.  In the station, we encountered our first "freak of the night," a teenager (I think) who was pretty distressed that the ticket window was not open, and, despite our reassurance that you could buy tickets on the train, kept peeking through windows and knocking on doors in pursuit of a nonexistent station employee.  Taking the train from Naperville is quite a different experience from the "scenic" route you travel going from Joliet to Chicago on the Rock Island; we spent much of the ride marveling at all the good restaurants they had in Hinsdale, Downers Grove, Western Springs etc. that are not present in Joliet.  Can we at least get a Chipotle? Honestly.

Once we got to the station, we walked outside waiting for Rob to pick us up to head to the concert.  While waiting, a straggler walked by, hailing Courtney as "Shorty" and informing her that she was "fine as f**k."  When Courtney didn't respond to this lovely sentiment, he responded with, "Shorty, why you gotta be so mean?"  Thankfully Rob arrived soon and we drove around looking for the United Center.  It took us a little while to get there, which was a blessing in disguise as we ended up missing the crappy opening bands and arriving just in time for "Van Hagar" to begin.

There was an interesting crowd at this concert, though perhaps not as Whiskey Tango as I would have originally thought.  I think it's easier to find Whiskey Tango at outdoor venues.  Here's my anthropological study on the audience demographics at Van Halen.

  1. Obnoxiously Obsessed Fans.  There's nothing wrong with being a big Van Halen fan, but some people just take it to the extreme.  These fans are usually found breaking PCU's "Don't Be That Guy" rule by wearing Van Halen shirts to a Van Halen concert, holding their cell phones up to capture the music (and singing along with the music INTO the cell phone, I'm sure the person on the other end is really pleased), and incessantly, constantly putting their hands in the air in the Van Halen "V" hand signal.  These people sat to the right of us during the concert.
  2. Woman with Bitchface, probably dragged to the concert.  This "fan" type is self-explanatory.  Woman with Bitchface has no real desire to be at this concert.  She would rather have attended last night's Annie Lennox/Sting fest.  Her arms are usually folded, her expression is sour, and she is usually sitting down, even when the songs that everyone knows are being performed.  A prime example of this type sat one row back and to our right.
  3. The Woo-Man.  You may recall that I mentioned the art of "pitching woo" in my first Herald News column.  Well, this is a different type of woo being pitched altogether.  The Woo-Man is a variation of the obsessed fan.  He exhibits the majority of the characteristics of Type 1, but with one variation: he expresses all his joy by yelling "Wooooo!!!" This occurs about every 30 seconds, for every song, every solo, and every sentence out of Samy's mouth.  The Woo-Man sat directly behind us at the concert.
  4. The Casual Fan.  Courtney and I are examples of this type.  We love Van Halen, but we didn't know every song they played (Rob knew the majority of the songs, as he is a big fan, but not the obnoxiously obsessed type).  However, if it was a song we knew, we got very excited and into the music.  The Casual Fan may occasionally sit down during an obscure song or an excessively length Alex or Eddie Van Halen solo, and there are sometimes trips to get water or peruse the prohibitively expensive t-shirt stand. 

The concert was overall great, they played my favorite songs, "Dreams," "Why Can't This Be Love," and "Right Now."  "Right Now" was especially awesome because they played the old video with new additions, like "right now a 13 year old is illegally downloading this song." I only wish I'd had a Crystal Pepsi to fully get into the spirit.

After the concert, Courtney and I took the train back to Joliet.  We were hoping for a quiet, low key train ride as we wanted to sleep.  This was not in the cards.  We ended up in a car with visiting Southern Tourists, a woman who wanted to make friends with us when she found out we had been to the concert, and the world's most dysfunctional family. The dysfunctional family consisted of children using the train car as their personal Discovery Zone, a mother yelling such threats as "I'm not going to take you to White Castle now!" (a blessing in disguise?), and various yelled out non-sequiturs such as, "I told you, I don't need to take Viagra!" Perhaps they had more than one kind of dysfunction in the works.  The train was also incredibly cold, and despite the conductor's insistence that the car next to ours was warmer, it was cold in both cars.  The conductor also thought we were in high school, which was hilarious.  Quite an entertaining night.

Ok, now I have to go back in time to last Thursday, which was another Heroes night. It ended up being pretty much a Girls' Night, which might explain why we got on such topics as Jem from Jem and the Holograms' real name (apparently Jerrica) and our Barbie collections.  We did a lot of dancing, saw a hula hoop contest, and encountered some amusing characters. These included a guy who referred to Kelly's sister Courtney as Pebbles, and while we were dancing to Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty," a guy who informed me that I did a dance move "just like in the video." This was scary.

Friday night I met Julie in Chicago to go to the Old St. Pat's Largest Block Party.  I ran into a bunch of people from Joliet, and the people watching at this thing was incredible.  This was a big outdoor concert, and it was hilarious how overdressed people got.  My favorite was a man in some sort of linen suit combo whose pants billowed like MC Hammer's in the breeze.  The headlining band that night was Guster, who both Julie and I were pretty ambivalent about, and we watched for a while before heading off to Millenium Park to meet up with more people.  This was the grand opening of Millenium Park, and it was pretty awesome, they had DJ's spinning outside and a bunch of other activities going on.  When we got there, we saw some people with cups and asked them where the concessions were.  One woman asked if we wanted wine, and when we said ok, pulled out a cooler and poured us some glasses.  It was not good wine, but it was the thought that counted.  We made friends with fellow parkgoers, watched the aftermath of a drunk guy falling in some bushes, then headed to a cute bar on Printers Row called Tantrum before calling it a night.

Saturday was my birthday, the big veinticinco.  Every year my birthdays just get better.   Julie and I met my sister for lunch at my favorite restaurant, the Flat Top Grill . Stir-fry fabulousness.  After that we did some shopping before Jen and I headed back to Joliet for the birthday festivities.  We had a birthday cake from Coldstone Creamery (note: the cake itself was not that good, but I loved the ice cream part), before my friends came over to head out for a night of fun.  My friend Mike's birthday is the day after mine, so this year we had a joint celebration.  We started the evening out at Gameworks in Schaumburg.  As you can imagine, I played a lot of DDR, and watched some scary DDR players who were incorporating the handlebars into their routine.  As I watched in amazement/amusement, one of them came over and told me that I needed to see the people in the tournaments in Chicago, as apparently they do somersaults over the bars and stuff.  No, I don't need to see that.  Later on I was playing and a fellow Gameworks patron stopped to watch and decided to try to impress me with his moves. I don't think he'd played before and he seemed to be assuming that the game was easy, but this was not the case and he got served.  Wendy and I had a good time playing a shooting zombies game, Joe from Gnome Attic (as opposed to my other friend Joe A.) put his drumming skills to use on a drumming simulator game, and before we left I rode the mechanical bull.  This was a lot of fun and not as difficult as I expected, though I was scared and told the operator to not go wild.  Eventually I combination fell off/jumped off as I would rather be in control of my descent than fall on my head or something.  If Bedrocks/The Cave ever has another bull ride night, I'll have to check it out again.  Also present at Gameworks were the Smirnoff Girls, passing out free stuff.  Mike and Brian got me a cool Smirnoff t-shirt, but I noticed they also had lip balm.  When I asked for one, the Mistress of Snottiness said, "Dude, you already have a t-shirt!" Way to promote customer relations, Smirnoff!

After Gameworks we went over to The Alumni Club. I'd never been to this place before, only the one in Lincoln Park, and I have to say that despite the distance, it's my new favorite bar.  I would refer to it as "Big Samy's," as it has an outdoor beer garden similar to Samy's, only a LOT bigger, and the dance floor is also kind of similar to Samy's, only a LOT bigger. I think you get the point.  One difference from Samy's: while Samy's often has a bathroom attendant on weekends, the only thing in attendance in the Alumni Club bathroom was the overpowering scent of weed.  Lovely.   The music was good, there were a lot of cute guys, and I actually couldn't find too much to mock, though that may have been due to my drunken birthday girl state.  It was a great night. 

In other news, I need to catch up on I Love the 90's, but I was really amused by the Hootie and the Blowfish segment I saw, mostly because I had always thought the line in "Only Wanna Be With You" that goes, "I'm such a baby cause the dolphins make me cry" referred to dolphins as in Flipper rather than Dolphins as in Miami.  Amusing note: that song was the theme for my junior year of high school Turnabout Dance, where my date and I were styling in matching Blackhawks jerseys.  . . A clever neighbor of mine came up with a good word for Nascar fans:  "Nascarnies."  And in the Herald News, I got nothing.  The police blotter hasn't been exciting in a while, I guess people are committing less creative crimes.  I feel something funny coming on soon though.  I don't know if it'll top the mystery poo story, but it could come close.  I think that's all I have now.  Below I have pictures from the birthday festivities, you can click on them to get bigger versions.  Adios!

The birthday girl rides the bull Posted by Hello

Wendy shoots some zombies Posted by Hello

Rob on DDR Posted by Hello

Angie and I (and someone's finger on the lens, ahem) Posted by Hello

The birthday girl and boy, and a goateed onlooker Posted by Hello

Brian and I Posted by Hello

Nancy and I (note: there are many pictures consisting of "Insert friend's name here and I") Posted by Hello

Melanie and I celebrate Brown Top Night, as Joe looks on (sans Brown Top) Posted by Hello

Joe and I Posted by Hello

Rob, Mike, Aaron and Brian Posted by Hello

Shannon and I, cocktailing as usual Posted by Hello

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