February 28 - Improv Martyr

I went to bed at 4am.
I woke up at 7:30am.
No one knows.

I watched a horde of Forensic Files in a morning coma, then awoke Lauren around 11.
We ate bacon and eggs over youtube reruns of Press Your Luck and Joker's Wild.

Rush Limbaugh! The Musical was taped for the Second City archives. They caught a good one.
Lots of recording lately.
My friends Ray and Kate who own Martyrs' saw the show. I hadn't seen them in ages. Years ago they employed me to dress up and act like Spiderman for their son's birthday party. I rented Spiderman The Movie, and skimmed it for Spidermoves. Most moves I could not execute, so I concentrated on Spiderstances. I could execute one.
On a Saturday afternoon I changed into a baggy Spiderman costume at Martyrs' and surprised a group of 6 year olds from the back of the club. At the time I wore overpriced indie rock eyewear, and so Spiderman did, too. Some kids were so surprised they ran away screaming and crying. The ones that weren't afraid challenged a bespectacled Spiderman to a fight. So I leapt from the stage and froze into a fighting stance. As a young boy approached me I attempted a backward somersault, only to lose equilibrium halfway through. I fell sideways in a headstand position like a drunken oak tree.
When the dust settled, the kids all took turns sitting on my lap and telling me what they wanted for their birthdays.
That afternoon I got drunk.
It was nice to catch up with Ray and Kate.
John from The Bitter Tears and Jessica from Second City met me at the mainstage to watch Lauren understudy on said stage. She was a hoot. We were invited to do the improv set afterward but declined, seeing as we hate doing the improv set. They were great and did not need us.

Later free pizza and beer was enjoyed courtesy of Tim Baltz' birthday in the etc theater.
A cab, a yawn, and a blog later I leave February a satisfied and exhausted asshole.
I hope the apex of being boring busy is behind me.

Verdict: Win

February 27 - Nurse Novels Day Two In The Studio

No matter how it goes, I always eventually enjoy a day spent recording music.
Today was no exception.

The Nurse Novels spent their second day at Studio Greg Studios II, a week shy of our first live show.
Today we tackled our more intricate songs onto Digital Performer. Tom's "The Pelts To Prove It" and "Make Me Cry," Thea's "Mirror," and my "Little Boy" and "Inside A Car Wash."
It took us several takes to get each one right.
By 5pm we only had one and half songs done and we were starving from having skipped lunch.
I was beginning to wonder if we had entered the studio prematurely.
Food, dummy.
Eat some.

Pizza and the second installment of Trapped In The Closet energized our spirits and we plowed through the other three and a half songs. Guitar overdubs filled out the sound, while beer and pretzels filled out our bellies. Greg's wife Esther joined us after midnight while Thea and Tom wrapped it up. I slept on the couch and awoke to some nice sounding rough mixes.

I can't wait to pick these songs up again in April. Overdubs, guests and vocals to come.
Our first show is Friday, March 5 at Quencher's.

Verdict: Win

February 26 - A Date! A Date!

It was a good afternoon nap.
It occurred in the back of the van again.
This time at North Avenue Beach.
Every now and then I would hear another car pull next to me.
I poked my head up out of self defense.
A couple of Asian guys.
A guy with a metal detector.
A couple of Velma girls checking their phones.
The end of another long week.

I went home and worked on music, cutting four demos, including a cover of Willips Brighton's "Mouthful Of Sores." I think the Nurse Novels might cover this one soon.
Lauren came home from her wine and cheese shop job and Second City mainstage put-in rehearsal. She's been working non-stop between both locations.
I took a shower for the first time since Tuesday.
Pretty rad.

Lauren and I went out together.
Not to go to work.
Not to go perform a show.
No obligations.

A 12-pack joined us at our favorite neighborhood Ethiopian restaurant.
We ate well, and drank enough to knock us out by 10:30pm.

Fuck yes, please.

Verdict: Win

February 25 - Bitter Tears @ Coach House Sounds

The non=stop pace of driving all day, doing shows, recording, teaching, and repeat is taking its toll on my daytime mood, patience, and general happiness.
Tony Mendoza: Whiner or Loser?

However, I love doing the stuff that keeps me miserable during the weekday.
Case in point: Tonight The Bitter Tears were guests at Coach House Sounds. It's a website inside a coach house that records bands onto 1/4" tape, posts the songs online, and allows the band to do whatever they like with the session. The guys that run it, Matt and Doug, are really low key and cool.
It was decided we would mostly play songs we had never played before. And that we would wear stage clothes and make up. Alan looked sharp in his black cowboy wear with black duct tape and black lips. Mike wore his denim floozy onesie. John also appeared dapper in a Southern bolo sort of a suit and burnt cork face. I debuted a new green number I acquired from the reject rack at Second City.
The Bitter Tears played these ones: "The Things Boys Love," "Drank 'til Dawn," "Movin' Down South," "Apple Suckin' Tree," "Please Let Me Into The Drench," "Fire Messiah," and "Stumper."
Look for it in a couple of weeks, or maybe even on the new LP if it sounds decent.

Verdict: Win

February 24 - I Miss My Girlfriend, The One That I Live With

I miss my girlfriend.
We see each other.
We're tired when we do.
We sleep.
I never exercise.
There is no time.
I hate what's happening to my body.

Today I drove non-stop for 8 hours, covering 6 different suburbs, wolfed down dinner, and did the Rush show.

The show is called Rush.
Ha, the joke's on me.

I miss my girlfriend.
The one that I live with.

Verdict: Loss

February 23 - $500 Gone

My bladder woke me up around 6:30am. Last night I went out with my students after our last Annoyance class. We drank a bunch of beer and discussed abandoned buildings and abandoned civilizations like Centralia, PA, The Salton Sea, Detroit. I went home so I could drink the last beer and purchase Jan and Dean's Carnival Of Sound from rhino.com. I got to bed around 2?

Hungover, I checked my morning emails. My bank informed me that $500 had been withdrawn from my account at an ATM yesterday in Des Plaines, Illinois at 5:47pm. Also, my friends Sad On Vacation are having a showcase for Comedy Central- Wait. What?
Des Plaines, Illinois?
Home of the McDonald's Museum?
I was home yesterday at 5:47pm eating leftover pasta with Lauren. Nowhere near the McDonald's Museum. Or the Burger King Castle Of Burgeria. Or the Wendy's Hall Of Homophobia.
The call to my bank was like talking to a washing machine. I sat and soaked in stress until I could talk to a human. The human eventually spoke. She wore a headset that might have been purchased from the Radio Shack outlet store.
I told her that $500 had been withdrawn from my account, and that I wasn't the one who did this. She repeated the information back to me with no concern, and transferred me to the claims department. HOWEVER, before transferring me, she recited a repetitive 60-second commercial for overdraft protection and asked me if I would like to add this service.
After ten minutes of overmodulated air conditioned lite jazz, a man from the claims department took my call. He seemed slightly more understanding. Either that or his headset was the next Radio Shack upgrade. He told I would get my money back in 1-2 business days, but would have to issue me a new ATM card, which would take 5-10 business days.
I called work to say I would be late and waited for the bank to open so I could get a temporary bank card.
At the bank, they were much nicer. An aspiring actress from Utah helped me with my situation. I asked her how this could have happened.
"They probably used a skimming device."
Apparently, modern thieves attach a thing to the card swipe of an ATM that pulls its information. Then they affix a camera over the keypad to catch your PIN. They do it on a Friday and wait until Monday, review the information and then hit the town.
I was impressed, with a healthy dash of icky.
Cool. So from now on I'm going to be one of those people that hovers over their PIN number because they can no longer trust the entire planet. I'm turning into my mom.

Work was work. I ran on sailboat fuel out to Elmhurst, and stopped at a gas station. My temporary debit card wouldn't work at the pumps, so I went in to use the ATM. I covered my PIN with my entire body, then waited in line to prepay with cash. The woman in front of me was spending her entire afternoon selecting scratch-off lottery tickets.
Mine, too.
The moment she finished, a man walked in and laid his money in front of the cashier, cutting in front of me. I spoke up, and another cashier popped out of nowhere.
"I can help you. Are you paying for gas?"
"We don't prepay for gas here."
I gestured incredulously. Then she added, "I think you knew that."
What the fuck is going on?
"So let me get this straight. I come in here, use the ATM, go back outside, pump the gas, then come back in here to pay?"
They said that was their policy.
"What is wrong with you?!" I yelled and stormed out.
Shortly thereafter I stormed back in to pay for the gas.

I needed a nap probably. So I took one in the back of the van. For two hours.
The chill of winter woke me up at 4:18pm. Groggy, I warmed up the car for the ride home.
Then I got a call for a pick up in Tinley Park going to Western Springs, a 75 mile round trip in rush hour traffic.
It would pay well I was told. A double time. That's $33.
So I did it.
I ate Arby's while driving and arrived at Second City within minutes of my call time for Rush.
Later, I would learn that I only got paid $13 for three hours of driving in stop and start traffic because my dispatcher had made a mistake.

Verdict: Loss

February 22 - Shedding Wood

Here begins the process of woodshedding:
Listen to the rough mix instrumentals.
Sing lyrics.
Change lyrics.
Think of overdubs.
8 songs with The Bitter Tears.
6 songs with The Nurse Novels.
I like woodshedding.

Verdict: Win

February 21 - Unlittle Women

Today’s alarm came from a woman outside screaming on her cellphone. Her life was falling apart before our very ears. She was loud. The word “fuck” ripped through her throat. My fingers scissored open the blinds. She was across the street with her back to us. She stood in front of her bike. And she stood completely still while she continued to scream for ten minutes. I didn’t think it was her until a particularly blood-curtling “fuck” shook her head. It was sad and scary.

The Sunday matinee for Rush sold out. It was our best show yet. The cast found a vein of gold in energy and rhythm. The band wasn’t too shabby either.

Unfortunately, in my direct line of vision for the whole show sat an unhappy obese woman brewing with hate in the front row. She looked like Leslie and the LYs, but without irony or fun, and more hate. I thought witnessing conservatives reacting to a Rush Limbaugh satire would make me giggle, but it only bummed me out. She was such a sad person.

Hey. Shit happens. I wouldn’t let it ruin my day.

The Nurse Novels practiced the six songs for our next studio session on Saturday. These are the songs we don’t know as well. So there were some bumps. But like a school bus, sometimes the bumps are fun.

Verdict: Win

February 20 - The Nurse Novels: Trapped In The Studio

Greg Norman of Electrical Audio legend is my friend. I've known him now for eight years. He recorded Let's Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop and Los Shut Up. And we travelled Europe together with The Bitter Tears. His studio, Studio Greg Studios II, is located on the south side of Chicago.

Today he recorded The Nurse Novels, my new band with Thea, Tom and Nicole. We set up and recorded basic tracks for six songs onto 2" tape: "War," "Sea Day," "Catalyst," "Work Horse," "Monsters 'n' Moldies," and "NIMBY." It's going to be a fun record.

For dinner we ate pizza and watched 25 minutes of R Kelly's Trapped In The Closet. I always knew this existed, and knew about its legacy, but I had never seen any of them.
It is genius to say the very least. The genius of a 38 year old man creating an adolescent, green screen song-movie about gun-waving hypocrites and stereotyped bystanders trying to solve infidelity as a group.
He's the thug Brian Wilson.

We have a session next Saturday with Greg.
I can't wait to see what happens next with R Kelly.

Oh yeah.
And The Nurse Novels.

Verdict: Win

February 19 - Russian Recording & Taco Bell Epiphany

Three out of four cats at Russian Recording kept me up all night.
I was on a hide-a-bed in the social room.
They were up and about playing with loud cereal packaging, and plucking the loud springs of the hide-a-bed. It felt like every 20 minutes a bag of potato chips was wrestling a bear trap, and Fat Albert was trying to end "A Day In The Life."
But the acoustics were great!

Alan didn't fare much better in the control room.
One out of four cats kept attacking his crotch.
Mike didn't get any sleep either. Insomnia (not the band) attacked him in the live room, where there were no cats.

Groggily, Alan and I got breakfast at Runcible Spoon, a cozy house converted into a coffee roasting breakfast nook. More of a macronook, really. The food was delicious! I enjoyed corned beef hash, tender and fresh beef buried beneath a potato mashed in heaven. Or atleast purgatory. Alan's local sausage was delightfully pattied and quickly consumed. We brought back a breakfast sandwich and an omelette for Mike and Mr. Bridavsky.

Refreshed, we recorded "Moline" and "Rough 'n' Ready," both featuring Mike's Grestch baritone guitar. With drums finished, Alan and Mike added guitar overdubs and I hung around, enjoying the process and procrastinating the drive back to Chicago.

By 7pm I was on the road, driving till I spotted a Taco Bell. My hunger was loud enough to chase a mailman, but I only $3. Taco Bell would be the best value. Shortly after 8pm I consumed a chicken soft taco, a bean burrito, and the new cheesy beef burrito for $2.99.
Hmm. I just realized. Who cares?
Too late now. I just blogged about it, and there's no turning back.

But wait.
Who cares about any of this crap?
What service I am providing the world by doing this blog?
Why not just put up pictures of me looking at myself in a mirror?

A couple of people.
None whatsoever.
Because that would unsafe to do while driving. Unlike blogging.

Well, I guess I'll keep it up then.

Verdict: Win

February 18 - Russian Recording

Corn and porn decorated the drive to Bloomington, Indiana. Today I met The Bitter Tears for a recording session at Russian Recording. It is owned and operated by the wonderful Mike Bridavsky.

The Bitter Tears have been my favorite Chicago band since 2004, when I first heard “Murdered At The Bar.” We soon became fast friends. At their shows I stood front and center, yelling and dancing. This is back when I danced. Alan, Mike and Greg recorded horns, accordion, bass clarinet, and theremin for my band, Let’s Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop, and we played many shows together.

In 2008 their drummer Foster Lee relocated to Baltimore to manage The Charm City Rollers, a roller derby team. Last February they invited me to play drums. I was thrilled, and remain thrilled to this day.

In 2009 we did two US tours in the East and Midwest, and a five week trek through Europe. I blogged all about it.

Today was my debut with The Bitter Tears in the studio.

It went really well. Russian has a huge sound. The drums sound like bombs. My new vintage cymbal sounds tough, man. Mr. Bridavsky is a great engineer.

Alan, Mike and I laid down basic tracks for six songs: “Fire Messiah,” “Boxcar,” “Sunday,” “Sailor,” “Black Skin,” and “Death-Filled World.”

We started around three in the afternoon and finished by nine. Afterward we enjoyed quality pub grub at a microbrewery, and talked about girls while watching Olympic figure skating. Back at the studio we listened to records and imbibed some more.

We’re making good time.

Verdict: Win

February 17 - Drivin' 'n' Drivin' 'n' Drummin' 'n' Unwindin'

I ate a bowl of Raisin Bran.
I made a ham sandwich.
I chopped carrots and celery.
I drove to 311 S Wacker.
I drove to 111 E Wacker.
I drove to the MCA.
I drove to Diversey and Clark.
I drove to Wrightwood and Clark.
I drove to Lincoln and Southport.
I drove to Wellington and Ashland.
I drove to Paulina and Hubbard.
I drove to 180 N Lasalle.
I drove to Narragansett and Grand while eating lunch.
I ate a complimentary donut from the receptionist at Cloverhill Bakery.
I drove 37 miles to Aurora, Illinois.
I purchased gasoline and coffee.
I drove back to 311 S Wacker.
I drove to 95th and Eggleston.
I drove 44 miles to Carol Stream, Illinois.
I drove back home.
I ate reheated Cuban chicken friscasee.
I learned half the chords to "Mouthful Of Sores" by Willips Brighton.
I took the bus to Second City.
I played drums for Rush Limbaugh! The Musical.
I took the bus home.
I dipped chips in pico de gallo and ate them.
I watched American Idol with Lauren.
I drank one beer.
I fell asleep watching Oprah Winfrey interview Jim Jones Jr.

Verdict: Win

February 16 - Who's Baby Is This?

I used to ride a bike to make deliveries. I did it for eight years.
Now I drive a van.

Today I felt growing pains in my hips.
My widening hips.

Who's Baby Is This?
What's your angle?
I'll buy that.

Verdict: Loss

February 15 - Knights Of The Asphalt

In the delivery world, President's Day is a working day off.
I did two runs and I went record shopping.
I found an LP entitled How To CB.
It came with a pamphlet containing the FCC rules and regulations, a guide with the Official Ten Code, Slang Names For Major US Cities, and a Slanguage Dictionary.

10-11 means you're talking too fast
10-70 means fire
10-90 means I have TVI
I hope there's a salve for that.

Here are some slang names for major US cities:

Anchorage, Alaska - The Iceberg
Buffalo, New York - The Buffer
Chattanooga, Tennessee - Choo-Choo Town
Cleveland, Ohio - Dirty City
Corpus Christi - Taco Town
Erie, Pennsylvania - Dedd City
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Chair City
Green Bay, Wisconsin - Title Town
Hartford, Connecticut - Stag City
Kalamazoo, Michigan - Guitar City
Kansas City, Missouri - Beef City
New York, New York - Chapter 13
Rochester, Minnesota - Doctor Town
Salt Lake City, Utah - Big Salty
San Diego, California - Swabby Town
South Bend, Indiana - Irish City
Toledo, Ohio - Scale Town

And now some selections from The Slanguage Dictionary, organized by theme:

Vehicles & Drivers
Alice In Wonderland - Indecisive driver
Art Cart - Brightly painted car or van
Blood Box - Ambulance
Bones Box - Hearse
Brain Train - Busfull of school children
Bubble Gummers - Teenagers
Christmas Tree - Well lit truck
Cowboy Cadillac - El Camino/Ford Ranchero
Harvey Wallbanger - Careless driver
Knights Of The Asphalt - Trucker, travelling salesman
Mobile Forest - Truck carrying logs or lumber
Roger Ramjet - Reckless driver
Roller Skate - Imported car
Pregnant Roller Skate - Volkswagen
Thermos Bottle - Truck carrying liquid
Yo Yo - A vehicle with inconsistent speed

Advertising - Police car using lights & siren
Bear Cave - Police station
County Mounty - Local police
Hat Rack - Policeman on foot at intersection
Invitation - Traffic ticket
Kojak - Police
Peter Rabbit - Police
Salt & Pepper - Police
Sloppy Joes - State police
Taxi - Clearly marked police vehicle
What Evers - State police

Beaver - Female
Eager Beaver - Anxious female
Dress For Sale - Hooker/Prostitute
Filly - Female
First Sergeant - Wife/Girlfriend
Fox Jaws - Female C.B.er with sexy voice
Hippie Chippie - Hitchhiker/Female
Little Beaver - Daughter
Pavement Princess - A prostitute that hangs around truck stops
Quasar - Female
Queen - Prostitute
San Quentin Jail Bait - Minor hitchhiker (female)
Seat Cover - Pretty woman
Smokey Beaver - Female police officer
Super Skirt - Woman
Tuitie Frutie - Prostitute
Warden - Wife

Rest & Recreation
Beanry - Coffee Shop
Brown Bottle - Beer
Candy Store - A truck shop with action
Corn Cellar - State or local liquor store
Eat 'Em Up - Restaurant
Funny Book - Pornography
Gin Mill - Lounge/Bar
Green Stamps - Money
Japanese Joy - Foreign made C.B.
Kool Aid - Beer
Little Bit - Sex
Mud - Coffee
Nap Trap - Rest area: hotel or motel truckers use
Pillhead - One that uses pills to stay awake
Press The Sheets - Get some sleep
Quick Picker Upper - Cold beverage (usually beer)
Rain Locker - Shower Room
Rum Room - Bar or cocktail lounge
Short Short - Comfort stop
Stop To Get Groceries - Stop for food
Straights - Cigarettes
Suds - Beer
Thirty Weight - Coffee or tea

Comic Book - Log kept by truckers
Cottonpicker - Used in place of profanity to describle a person
Dandruff - Light snow
Duck Plucker - Used as an obscene term
Going Like A Raped Ape - Driving very fast
Hair Cut Place - Low bridge
Hamburger Helper - Power amplifier used to boost power (this is illegal)
Licorice Stick - Oil/Black top/Tar road
Motion Lotion - Gas
Mouth Piece - Lawyer
Pumpkin - Flat Tire
Rags - Bald Tires
Sailboat Fuel - Fuel tank almost empty
Slappers - Windshield wipers
Smokin' With The Devil - Speeding with poor road conditions
Three Legged Beaver - Homosexual
Wilco - I will comply

Verdict: Win

February 14 - Amor Cooking, Aless Zooking

We made bacons and eggs and toasts while I played Lauren a Valentine's Day mix interspersed with Love Poems For The Very Married by Lois Wyse.

Then she had to leave for a coffee date and I killed a half hour with music before heading out for the Rush matinee.

On the bus I noticed a very familiar face. It was Lauren, my girlfriend.
She had missed a couple of busses.
We planned dinner for the evening: her Cuban aunt's Cuban chicken fricasee recipe.

Then Joe, a Second City stage manager called Lauren. He was wondering where I was. I checked my cellphone, which I usually hate and leave behind at band practice. I had left the ringer off all weekend. It was 1:40pm.

With groovy embarrassment, I realized that Rush starts at 2pm.
I had it in my head that it started at the unusual time of 2:30pm.
So I gave Lauren a peck, hustled to the theater, arrived fifteen minutes before showtime, cut through the line flowing out the door, set up my drums, and changed into my show clothes by 1:55pm.
Like a professional.
A professional moron.

The show sold out. They loved it. It's a great show. I recommend it.

I got home while Lauren was teaching at Second City and did the prep for dinner.
Lauren is the chef.
I am her sous.
She has made some excellent dishes in the apartment. Mussels with chorizo, coq au vin, braised ox-tail.
I make decent eggs.
But when she arrived home all I heard after the door closed was moaning and lots of little muffled activity. A trail of coats, clothes and shoes led to a crumpled girl under a blanket on the sofa. She was overcome with nausea, but told me to carry on with dinner.
Chef's orders.

While the chicken fricasee'ed in onions, peppers, garlic, and bitter orange, I decided to fry the plantains I had bought on a whim. It was a fun process. Mashing oil-soaked things with a wooden spoon is quite satisfying. And then dipping them in garlic and oil before refrying them is another form of hoopla.
Maybe I'm becoming boring and old, but I was having a blast.
Meanwhile poor Lauren was suffering on the couch.

At dinner Lauren ate what she could.
Not only did she keep it down, but she said it was delicious!
Over cookies, we exchanged cards and she got me a nifty yellow ostrich T-shirt from the T-shirt Deli.

A lovely relaxing night, nausea excluded, before another action packed week begins.

Verdict: Win

February 13 - And That's A Pretty Nice Haircut

Here's an unfinished piece I wrote after my first visit to Joe's Barber Shop in Logan Square last fall:

I started going grey in my late 20’s. It was my hair’s way of telling me to grow up. I chose to ignore these requests, and have worn a messy, uncombed sort of mop top for close to a decade. But when the greys started coming in in ALL CAPS, my childish Beatle doo began resembling a gloomy haystack. It was time to get an adult haircut.

Based on a suggestion from a recording studio message board, I rode my bike down to Joe’s Barber Shop in Logan Square. The screen door opened to reveal a cramped, cluttered room. I took a seat in the one available chair between a guy wearing identical shoes to mine and a growing Mexican boy. Five feet in front of us two men worked the two barbershop chairs. The older man was the owner, and his awards decorated the wood-paneled walls shared with ‘85 Bears and ‘84 Cubs team photos. The younger guy sported muscle car muscles, rockabilly tattoos and a grizzlying beard. They worked on a guy my age and a younger Mexican boy respectively.

I worked on writing until the rockabilly barber gave me the nod. I took off my free Miller Lite snowcap to unveil my matted nest hairstyle and took a seat.

“So what do you want to do?” he asked.

It had been four months since my last cut. It was obvious to both of us that the shagginess in the back and on the sides needed to go. That much I knew.

But I’ve always had unnecessary difficulty when communicating with hairstylists. When I was a kid my parents would give me money every couple of months to walk to Fantastic Sam’s. There I would receive some type of haircut. Then I would take the haircut home and mess up to where I thought it looked good enough for me.

This continued until one day in 1995. I had seen a picture of Beck in Rolling Stone, and I really liked the way his hair looked long. At the time I had been growing mine out, but it wasn’t really working. So I carefully ripped the little 1”x1” picture from the music magazine and brought it to SuperCuts. The girl behind the scissors didn’t really know what to do with the tiny, crinkled clipping and my big mushroom of sad hair. Especially after I told her I wanted it short in the back but wanted to keep the length I had. What I ended up with was two haircuts. A normal looking one in the back, with a long one on the sides. It looked like I had hair curtains that were obstructing the view of a normal haircut. Eventually I went home and cut the curtains off and restored it to my mussed-up liking.

Another 14 years went by.

“So what do you want to do with this?” the barber asked, referring to the top of my haircut.

To make a long story less long, I had the same communication problems with hair, and the barber and I were both getting flustered. So I decided to speak in a language I knew: music.
I used the term "rock 'n' roll haircut."

"Well, what's rock 'n' roll mean to you?"
"Gene Vincent."
He knew the reference.
"'Cuz rock 'n' roll means a lot of things to a lot of people."
"Sun Records," I continued.
"So you want a big boy haircut then?"
My barber's name was Pete, and he spins rockabilly under a psuedonym in the evenings.
I had read about him online before going in.
"Oh, so you're The Coffinburglar?"
"Coffinbanger," he corrected.
He gave me a fucking cool haircut, one that would get me compliments for weeks.

So four months later, I went back to Joe's.
This time I had Joe as my barber.
He cut my hair short and normal.
An action movie about a missing scepter in Vatican City ran on an all-day loop.
He ate chips because he hadn't eaten lunch yet.
I told him he could eat a sandwich while cutting my hair, and rest it on my head between bites.
He laughed but didn't think I would like that.
"The customer is always right."
"Well..." I countered.
"No, no. Trust me. I know."
He said he could write a book with all the stories he had. That sounded like a cool book to read while waiting for a haircut. He told a couple stories. They were short and had to do with customers being impossible.
"I had to pee. When I came back the customer was gone. He couldn't wait for me to pee!"

It was a good experience, though I had lost my rock and roll haircut. But it was short and looked better than it had long. Sadly, after putting it under a skicap for a prolonged period I started to resemble the hood ornament on an old unsuccessful sedan.

Lauren had an afternoon show on the mainstage of Second City. It was a "best of" show patched together by various Second City performers, known as a "patchco" in the "biz." It was a really great show, Lauren and the rest of the cast killed. Thanks to Joe, who's taking my Annoyance class, I got the best seat in the sold out house.

From there we went to Mixteco Grill to celebrate St. Valentime's Day. The chef is a Rick Bayless ex-pat, and we enjoyed his refreshing ceviche, followed by Lauren's pork chop in a tangy mole, and my roasted lamb in an earthy dark mole. My mashed potatoes were delicious, but Lauren's sweet mashed potatoes were the best I had ever tasted. With a bottle of red wine split evenly in our satisfied bellies, we looked and felt great.

St. Valentime himself would indeed have been happy.
If it weren't for his horrible hacking smoker's cough.

Verdict: Win

February 12 - Nostalgic Wax, Classical Ass

With fifteen minutes to kill between deliveries I went to Dave's Records. Unfortunately I arrived at 10:58am, two minutes before they opened.

A pawn shop just north of Dave's Records piqued my curiosity. Just the other night after the Rush show, the band had a drink at Corcoran's. We sipped our beers with Scott, an improv guy I've known for ten years. The subject of pawn shops came up, and the band admitted to never having frequented one.
"I'm surprised," Scott observed, "with you guys being musicians and all."
We all nodded as Scott continued.
"There's a lot of broken dreams in there."
Thank you, Scott.
I guess our dreams are still intact for the moment.

The pawn shop's buzzing door revealed a fluorescently lit prize wonderland. It was reminiscent of the old Wheel Of Fortune, when winning contestants had to spend their winnings immediately on a revolving carousel of crap. What the pawn shop lacked in ceramic dalmatians and wall barometers, they more than made up for in knock-off Stratocasters and the jewelry of victims. With an about-face I was buzzed back to the icy sun of Lincoln Park.

It was five after eleven when I returned to Dave's Records. Unfortunately they were still not open.
The talk at Corcoran's that night had turned nostalgic about the record stores that used to dot Lincoln Park like currency exchanges: Dr. Wax, Wax Trax, 2nd Hand Tunes, which had a vinyl shop separate from the CD and cassette shop. There was also a place just south of The Wiener Circle that sold budget LPs and a large selection of bootleg concert videos on VHS.
Now there's just Dave's Records, and they don't open on time.

The McDonald's on Clark and Wrightwood piqued my bladder's curiosity. I hadn't been in that McDonald's since the early 90's, and I hadn't urinated since I had coffee with breakfast this morning.

It was a sunny autumn day in 1991 when Greg, Dan, Rob and I pulled into that same McDonald's parking lot. We were 16 and 17 and clearly from the suburbs. Greg had hockey hair, Dan was going through a Manchester faze, Rob wore a leather jacket with shorts, and I donned my brand new Samhain Initium shirt, depicting Danzig and his pals covered in blood. It would be a fun day of spending our disposable teenage income on records.
At McDonald's we ordered soft drinks, then headed on foot toward the records shops. A guy in the parking lot yelled something at us and we chose to ignore him. After all, how important could it be? We were going record shopping.
That day I purchased my first Misfits album, Legacy of Brutality, buried in a shady row of the vinyl 2nd Hand Tunes. It would add a gasoline-soaked bail of cotton to the fire of my blossoming Danzig worship. Later at Dr. Wax, I found the Who bootleg Who The Fuck? for an unbelievable $5. It remains my favorite Who bootleg of all time.
I couldn't wait to get home and listen.
When we returned to McDonald's, of course Greg's car was gone. Someone inside McDonald's gave us an address for E&T Towing, located just west of Ashland near Clybourn. Pointed in the general direction, we followed a xeroxed map as the sun began to set.
We felt like idiots.
Because we were.
I imagine we walked west on Wrightwood for a mile and a half, and talked about the different types of idiots we were. E&T was located behind a Wendy's. The Wendy's still stands today. E&T does not. It was a dirty towing yard on a polluted river inhabited by greasy know-it-alls with rap sheets and the upper hand.
The teachers of life's lessons didn't resemble the teachers in our high school.
It was going to cost $70.
We didn't have it.
This was before ATMs and cellphones.
So Greg used the pay phone at Wendy's to call his Dad, who begrudgingly agreed to wire money to a currency exchange in Wicker Park. Dan and Rob stayed at Wendy's while Greg and I made the trek to get the money.

Greg and I walked another mile south Ashland. It was an ugly stretch of road, under the viaduct of the Kennedy, and past a bunch of crappy nothing. I remember seeing a neglected concrete playground rotting behind a rusty, molested fence. It gave me a false sense of comfort
as we blindly headed toward 1938 W North Avenue. By now the neighborhood had changed greatly from Lincoln Park, and I suddenly felt completely vulnerable in my tough guy murder and blood T-shirt that had been washed exactly once. By my mom.
Squinting against the sun, an approaching shadow stopped us. A blue collar voice show compassion.
"Hey you guys, be careful. They're crazy down there."
He pointed further west.
"You don't look like you're from around here."
And then with more emphasis.
"They're crazy down there!"

Chicago in 1991 was a different town. Wicker Park was in the embryonic stages of gentrifuckation. Only gutter punks with nothing to lose were moving in at the time. The intersection of North, Damen, and Milwaukee was a loud confluence of hollered salutations, violent threats, and the sick, competing with the rickety roar of the L. On Damen sat a sedan, charred black to a crisp.

The currency exchange featured bullet proof glass and an angry man screaming at one of the tellers. I was hoping it was due to the thickness of the bullet proof glass. Otherwise I might have ended up the fourth bloody body on my shirt. We got the cash and high-tailed it back to the tow yard, looking back only to check for would-be thieves.
Back in the burbs that night, Greg and I rented Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer. It's a fun, light movie that takes a look at Henry Lee Lucas, a real life man who claimed to have murdered over 300 people. There's this wonderful scene where Henry and his friend Ottis rape and murder a family of three, seen from the perspective of a home video camera lying on the floor. Suffice it to say, the movie has been known to scar.
At one point in the film, Henry is questioned by the Chicago Police. He gives his address as being in the 1800 block of west North Avenue.
"Hey! We walked past Henry Lee Lucas's house today!"
A creepy end to a weird day.

My reminiscing ended in correlation with my urinating at the McDonald's.
I returned for the third time to Dave's Records. It was ten after. Unfortunately it still had not opened and I had to get back to work.
I guess it's not the 90's anymore.

Work was non-stop.
I found fifteen minutes to lie down in the back of the van in the four o'clock hour.
Then it was off to Batavia to make a delivery during rush hour. Starving in Batavia, I spent my record money at a Burger King 46 miles from Chicago.
Maybe it still is the 90's.

By the time I got back to the city it was close to 8pm. Lauren was performing an improv show with Second City at Gilda's Club in River North, so I hung around there until she was done.
She was in good spirits.
Unfortunately I was exhibiting bullshit personality flaws.
I suppose being behind the wheel in constant traffic for twelve consecutive hours (minus a fifteen minute nap) can do a number on one's mood. For me, it creates a combination of swallowed rage, seething selfishness, and silent pouting.

We went to The Bottom Lounge, where the Chicago Reader was hosting an evening of Valentine's Day horror stories. Lauren had submitted a bad date tale from her Los Angeles days, in which a man revealed his penis to her in his unfurnished apartment. The man enticingly referred to his member as "globular."
Unfortunately Lauren was not on a date with this man tonight.
Instead, she was dating a psychotic loner brooding with murderous contempt at hipster hyenas in a claustrophobic bar.

The readings were like the slam poetry versions of storytelling. Lots of hand motions and EMPHASIS and mugging. It felt like the stories were being shoved down our throats, making laughter more of a gag reflex. The banner behind the storytellers could have said EXTREME Valentine's Day Massacre Brought To You By MOUNTAIN DEW!!!
But hey.
It was me that was the only one not being bullied into having fun.

After a couple of beers I started to loosen up.
But it was too late.
Being an asshole sure makes me tired.

Verdict: Loss

February 11 - Dead Man's Nerve

Despite my constant exhaustion and tiresome grumpiness caused by rad overextension, the world continues to exist and be fun for others.

My friends Mick and Jen are creating a vacation in Puerto Rico right now. This evening Jen texted me. She was sitting next to Carli Munoz, the jazz pianist.
Carli Munoz was The Beach Boys touring pianist in the 70's.
But he also played with my goofy heroes Jan and Dean.
When I got the text from Jen, I was subjecting Lauren to a Jan and Dean bootleg called Carnival Of Sound.

I text-asked Jen to ask jazz pianist Carli Munoz what is what like to work with Jan and Dean.

"He said he liked playing with them, then talked about dead mans curve and how sad that was."

Wow, tragedy, but how cool is it to text someone talking to someone who played with Jan and Dean!

Verdict: Win

February 10 - My Pal Music

Music has been a good comrade in recent days.

Sunday, Nurse Novels practice was tight and tough. Also, we booked our first show. Friday, March 5, The Nurse Novels will make its live debut at Quenchers, opening for local cave-rock band The Columbines.

Monday I found a really fucking weird Jan and Dean bootleg.
Recorded in 1967 and 1968 after Jan Berry's car accident left him paralyzed, these scarred surf goofs continued their penchant for writing about driving and sugary treats and combined it with psychedelia.
"Fan Tan" is a bizarre song about rainbows or perfume, I think. The string section takes a most bizarre left turn about every 20 seconds. The coda features an added measure over the chant "fan tan, fan tan, fan tan..." It has nothing to do with the obscure Chinese gambling game of the same name.
"I Know My Mind" is a mellow ballad with Lovin' Spoonful harmonies and a sitar solo most likely performed on a Lazyboy recliner. It sounds like LSD had mellowed the straight A football star into a beach drop out who interprets "I Can See For Miles" too literally.
"Mulholland" is my favorite: non-stop Hal Blaine drum fills, a sitar plucked madly like a banjo, erratic key changes in both directions, an oboe solo, song-poem style backing vocals, and a wingy co-ed comedy dialogue on the fade out.
"I feel wasted all day loooong, Mulholland!"
There's also a song whose chorus is "Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate!" and a maudlin tearjerker about a soldier getting shot in Vietnam. The grim details are punctuated with a TV theme glockenspiel.
It's the perfect tragic surf music to go with our miserable, national blizzard.

Tuesday I began a discovery of Neil Young. Finally.
On The Beach and Tonight's The Night have enjoyed repeated spins.
Looking to digest more of it.

Today, Timeless Wavelengths (the Rush Limbaugh! The Musical band) had the tightest performance of the run. It's nice when the drums feel soft under your wrists.

Music has given this cranky, heavy-lidded zombie the energy that thermos coffee cannot.

Verdict: Win

February 9 - Drag Van Wrinkle

I found 20 minutes to lay down in the back of the van.
I found 20 mintues to lay down on a cot at Second City.
I found a new patch of grey hair in the front of my haircut.

Verdict: Loss

February 8 - The Mondays v. Tony Mendoza

Well, Monday came quickly.

At work I made deliveries to or for Head and Neck Surgery, Fletchers Camera, Teamsters City, University of Chicago (twice), The Art Institute, and several prominent buildings in the Loop.

Lauren joined me in the afternoon for a couple of runs down to the South Shore neighborhood, just in time for me to hit my wall and become crabby and make lots of navigational errors. There's a reason why I am alone on the job. No one could stand being captive around that sad frustration.

I took a brief nap before teaching improv in a grumpy fashion. We used non sequiturs as a tool, one of my favorite exercises. The class struggled to enjoy it. I think they eventually had fun, and I think they might have learned something.
But I can't tell.
A sign of an brilliant teacher.

Fuck this day.

Verdict: Loss

February 7 - Who's The Cymbal Intellectual?

Lauren and I watched the Super Bowl in the lovely three-flat of our friends Tim and Rebecca.
In 2008, we all lived on the same cruise ship, the "beautiful" Norwegian Jade. In February of 2009, this same foursome watched as Lauren's "Stillers" defeated Arizona in classic Pittsburgh nail-biting fashion. Many chips were also bit that night.

This year's game started off annoyingly, with the Boring Colts outscoring the New Orleans 'Aints in the first half. Add some hateful commercials and it looked like it would be one of those Super Bowls I would lose interest in watching soon.

Luckily, during the half time football chit chat the TV men do, another vintage 60's Zildjian cymbal was up for auction on eBay. Tim and Rebecca made it okay for me to be the laptop douchebag in their home. This time, I signed into my account before bidding, like a genius, and placed my bid. I watched the last two minutes count down in bold red numbering, until I had won it for the bargain price of $70.
"FUCK YES!" I did not scream, but thought politely.
Then like the silliest magic, my teenage heroes The Who took the half time stage somewhere in dopey Florida.
When I first heard The Who (the band that inspired me to play the drums) had booked the Super Bowl "gig," I wasn't all that excited. For me, The Who that I loved had died with Keith Moon. Maybe even a little before then. I'm looking at you, "Guitar and Pen."
But for some reason I really liked The Who's performance. Even though they didn't play "I'm A Boy" or "Picture of Lily" or The Who Sell Out in its entirety.
They played edited versions of their big FM hits that we've all heard too many times already. Townshend did his windmills when he was scheduled to do them (y'know, during "Teenage Wasteland"). The keyboard guy named "Rabbit" sat lifelessly behind his synthesizer, like he's done since 1979. I don't think Daltrey even twirled the microphone around.
But I enjoyed it.
Maybe it was comforting like a blanket.
A blanket of hamburgers.
Mod target hamburgers.

Then the trailing 'Aints started the second half with a goofy onside kick. From there it was all fun and games with friends and chips, and dreams of traveling vintage cymbals, the same kind used by Keith Moon.

Verdict: Win

February 6 - Cymbal Imbecile

A 1960's Zildjian Avedis 17" or 18" crash cymbal.
That is what I discovered is my crash cymbal sound.
I have a 22" 60's Zildjian that I use as a ride, but it's too brash as a crash.
In a few weeks my two bands (one with Paul Reiser, the other with Greg Evigan) are recording.
I've never had a quality crash cymbal.
For months I've been borrowing one of John Leonard's old Sabians.
So that was my goal for today: find a 1960's Zildjian Avedis 17" or 18" crash cymbal.

I visited Andy's Music on Belmont, where I had purchased the 60's ride a few years ago.
No luck.
Just some sticks and a bundle of birch dowels that Pro Mark decided to call "Hot Rods."
It seems music companies hire assholes to name their products.
They also have these things resembling fly swatters called "SMAX"'s.
And refer to a drum stool as a "throne."
When did drumming become pro wrestling?
Just let me play my 27-piece Mountain Dew Extreme drum kit in peace.

So I called The Drum Pad in Palatine to see if they had any vintage Zildjians.
They were closed.

I checked craigslist, but the guy was selling the whole '64 blue pearl Rogers kit, not just the cymbals.

Then to eBay, where I found a 1960's 18" Zildjian Avedis crash cymbal, whose auction would end at 8:30pm.
Grocery shopping would have to wait while I stared at the cymbal's sexy jpegs and contemplated. The bidding held steady at $90, a good deal. I trolled around on the internet some more and found some others going for $200-$300.
"That fucking bullshit is out of my budget."
It was 7:45 pm.
I realized I had only eaten breakfast.
And should've gone grocery shopping.
But now it was too late.

There's not much to do before an eBay auction.
You don't get dressed up.
Or take a shower.
Or shave.
I just sat on the couch getting more hungry and anxious.

With two minutes left on the 60's Zildjian Avedis 18" crash cymbal, I placed my bid.
It occurred to me when I saw the next screen that I hadn't purchased anything on eBay in years.
Because I had forgotten all of my stupid passwords.
And had to re-register.
Which took much longer than two minutes.
And just like that the cymbal was gone.

I replaced the promise of joy I had been anticipating with unforgiving, self-hatred.
I decided to relive what I should have done before the auction, over and over again at the supermarket.
And called myself all sorts of names over dinner.
And came up with some drum product names:

HITTIN' MITTENS - the drum glove of choice
WACK-A-CA - it's a mallet and a maraca!
PUNCHO!! - a tiny boxing glove for your bass drum beater so that it sounds like a cartoon punching sound effect, and not a bass drum!
KOOL KOMBZ - these brushes keep your 'do as boss as your jazz

Verdict: Loss

February 5 - Best of Luck

I had a little time between runs so I visited Lauren at work.
She's trying out this wine and cheese shop.
In her cute, chef coat she gave me a fancy sampling of Spanish Manchego, French Pierre-Robert, Wisconsin Pata Cabra, and Dutch Gouda. A swig of Riesling cleansed my palate and morning.

Feeling pretty decent, I delivered a box of programs to the theater department of a north side high school.
A female cop let me into the school.
I beeped through a metal detector.
A tiny future female cop pointed me in the direction of the office.
She spoke faster than a cheetah.
And with disdain!
The school was a zoo of kinetic energy and apparently learning.
I learned that a cheetah can become a bossy hall monitor with a Napoleon complex.

I had some time between runs so I went to Raffe's Record Riot.
It felt like the record stores of my youth.
Walls of LPs crammed into a narrow, musty, moldy carpeted storefront.
I found some choice records including Jan & Dean Oddities, The Lively Ones Go South, and a hot rod compilation called Shut Down featuring "romping, road searing" cuts from the likes of The Eligibles, The Piltdown Men, and Robert Mitchum (!)
They also had a pop instrumental record, Music For Cards, Conversation, and Cuddling and a Lee Hazelwood and Ann Margaret duet album, but they were too overpriced for my budget.

The Lively Ones are not the obscure surf group that had a minor hit with "Surf Rider."
These Lively Ones are an even more obscure vocal group from Youngstown, Ohio who specialize in covers like "Route 66" and "Mack the Knife." According to the liner notes they possess "superb musicianship" and "zany personalities." They were so zany that on the jacket two of The Lively Ones both wished "best of luck" to a Valerie.
The clerk, a normal northwest side neighborhood type of guy, said I was probably getting a deal on the record because it was autographed. I guess I have the "best of luck."

I walked out of the store and into new snow, coming down windy and fast.
At 4:45 pm I had to go back downtown to pick up a bullshit box going to some Ferris Bueller vice president windbag in Winnetka. So much for that luck.

But when I got home around 7, I was greeted with a cured Spanish jamon bocadillo, an array of fine cheeses, and a bottle of wine courtesy of the lovely Lauren.
We ate well and watched some programs on the television until we passed out.
The long, wonderful week came to an end, tangled together under a blanket on the couch around 9pm.

Verdict: Win

February 4 - A Black Bush's Night

A groggy day at work occurred.
I seem to remember making a delivery to Facets because I used the restroom there.
And looked at videos.
There's a Gonerfest promo DVD I'd like to see...

The Bitter Tears have some recording dates lined up this month in Indiana.
Tonight we practiced without vocals, fine tuning the arrangements.
I tried two things I had never experienced:
MGD that wasn't a twist off
It's going to be a fun record I think.

Verdict: Win

February 3 - Opening Night

Rush Limbaugh! The Musical opened tonight.
The actors and actresses created fun and songs.
People laughtered about it.
When it finished, the same people stood up because they enjoyed it more than the usual amount.
Then pizza happened and beer.
After that the merriment travelled across the street.
I got so merry I began saying nice things.
I told the bartender with a tearful, heartfelt sincerity that he was "very good at what (he) does."

Verdict: Win

February 2 - Paint Rollers, Pin-Ups & Previews, But No Polling

I went to Clark and Barlow to pick up some paint rollers for the Museum of Contemporary Art. The back office the wall was decorated with power tool pin-up girls from 1990-2003.
Where have they all gone?

One of our clients features a frumpy receptionist who stopped caring long ago. She has the physical qualities of Jughead's mom, and the aural qualities of Agnes DiPesto.
On her desk was a plastic mug filled with a yellowy beverage.
"You havin' margaritas?" I asked.
"Can I?" she responded.
Her delivery was straight out of Peanuts.
I cracked up on the way out.

The Museum of Contemporary Art needed more paint rollers.
So I was sent to Sherwin Williams, whose logo is a paint can the size of Jupiter being poured over the entire planet.
Seems a bit disturbing.
Wouldn't everyone die a horrible death?
The guys there weren't as relaxed as the Clark and Barlow guys, and treated me in a curt, suspicious manner.
I guess there are no paint-related pin-up girl posters.

Rush Limbaugh! The Musical previewed for the first time in the evening.
It's gotten a lot tighter and Mark, who plays Rush, has really dug into the role.
It went over quite well.

This day should be a win.
I laughed at work during the day.
I was part of a successful show at night.

But today was a voting day.
And I did not vote.
My life lately has been so jammed with self-absorbed activities, that I would not have even known who to vote for, let alone where my polling place is.
If I don't vote I have no right to complain.
And complaining is my main source of material.

Verdict: Loss

February 1 - Pancaked Mind

I waited at an electric supply store. The man with the sincerely feathered haircut had gone to check on the order I was picking up for a Mag Mile client. Time was ticking. He came back empty handed, theoretically shrugging.
I called my boss, who called the client, who called the electric supply store. I pretended to browse the astounding array of light fixtures. It was busy for 10:30am.
A nice, cricket-looking lady came from the back. They had found the order. My boss called to tell me that the electric supply store had just "fucken" found the "fucken" order.

At the register it was discovered that the client still owed $10.85. I called my boss, who called the client, who called the man in front of me with the sincerely feathered haircut. He transferred the call to the cricket-looking lady. My boss called to "fucken" tell me the "fucken" client had paid the "fucken" $10.85 over the "fucken" phone that morning. Meanwhile, the cricket-looking lady discovered this same news on the computer. The man with the sincerely feathered hair sighed and handed me a box of light bulbs.


It was 10:45am.
I had to be in Old Town at Second City by noon.
I was on the northwest side.
I had to deliver a binder of Toys 'R' Us statistics to a barefoot woman in Ravenswood, give the box of light bulbs to a biker at the Playboy building, pick up a miserable daily mail run in Lincoln Park, and deliver it around Paulina and Wrightwood.

My bike was in the van. After I dropped off the mail I found a place to park on Wrightwood and rode to rehearsal. Somehow I made it there by 11:51. Enough time to wash down my sandwich and carrots with yesterday's cold thermos coffee.

Rehearsal went well. We are fine tuning and cutting. It requires use of the brain.
Right now my brain is a pancake slathered in five different syrups.
I feel an information coma coming on.

At 4pm, while receiving more information on my email machine, the director informed me that the band could leave early.
"Oh. Cool. Cuz I hafta teach tonight anyway. So..."
That is what leaked out of my head instead of "thank you."

I rode my bike to my van, and went home to prepare for my class at 6:30pm.

I think I am a decent improv teacher. I think my students learn and have fun at the same time.
However, I am a sloppy teacher. I stumble over words a lot, which includes stammering. I openly admit my errors while teaching, saying things like, "Oh, I should have done this or that..." And in the six years I have been doing this, I am still very uncomfortable being an authority on the subject.

Nonetheless, today's class was fun. We played with styles and periods, working with references you don't know, and bad suggestions. The class had a great energy and shook me out of my boring state of exhaustion.

Verdict: Win

January 31 - Dumb Appetizers vs. Show Business

The first preview of the Rush Limbaugh musical occurred this afternoon.
It went well.
I could be nit-picky and boring and say "oh I missed a drum fill" or "I anticipated that ending too early" and "everyone noticed my four errors and felt it ruined the show."
But that would be dumb and self-absorbed.
Like this blog a little.

Afterward we hung out across the street with Mick and Jen from the Annoyance.
I drank too much beer and ate 1 jalepeno zapper, 1 chicken stinger, 5 shrimp blangers, and 372 extreme chicken nachos.
A long, cold bike ride and come-down grocery shopping made me useless for the rest of the evening, much to Lauren's delight.
I went to bed clutching my stomach.

It sounds like it should be a loss, but showbiz triumphs trump mild diet errors.
Verdict: Win