March 26 - 200 Miles Then Art

I drove 200 miles at work today. From 8am - 4:30pm I was okay in the fight, but between 4:30 and 7pm I started to lose it. One can tell if I'm losing it because I will aggressively take the Lord's name exclusively in vain. Here are some words that can happen after the 8th consecutive hour of clogged, frustrated, inconsiderate, antagonizing Chicago driving:

Godfuck
Jesus shit
Jesus fucking balls
God fucking cock
Jesus balls and cock
Lord fucking Almighty
Christ shits
God fucking cocksuck
Lord almighty balls
Christfuck
God's fucking vagina
Jesus fucking shit and Christ
Christ all fucking cock
Godcunt*

* This word is on the list but I rarely use it. It's a bit crass, don't you think?

Home by 7pm. On a bus by 7:15.
Lauren and I met for our big date, an evening at the Theatuh.
At Links Hall we attended a residency artists' showcase, featuring our friend Midge. 
With live harpsichord accompaniment by her father in law, she cavorted and convulsed at times like a broken blender.  She was also quite graceful and playful.   Sometimes she was a ghost, sometimes a woman.  And her voice fit wonderfully into the baroque tunes, reminding me a bit of The Fiery Furnaces collaboration with their grandmother.
The second piece was conceived by a woman named Vivian and a sullen gang of Fame dropouts. It began when Vivian plodded excruciatingly on her tippy-toes, donning a wayward headgear of long yellow wires. She took on the image of a tortured Willy Water Bug.

When Vivian disappeared, the ensemble, dressed loosely in white with pharaoh-esque head dressing, inched like worms toward the front of the stage.  Meanwhile a Logan Square-looking guy on the side fiddled with a sound mixer, creating mostly sharp drones with the occasional metallic attack.   It took close to five minutes for the ensemble to crawl across the stage with the noise.  My patience was wearing thin.
Then Vivian came back, initiating a brief dance that injected a bit of humor into the piece.  References to Greco-Roman and Sumo wrestling followed, and a fun bit that looked like purposely clumsy human Tetris.  Then Vivian disappeared again, and for the next ten minutes the ensemble fuck you'ed the audience.  One of the guys walked jaggedly and played with his penis.  Two men stood downstage and stared judgingly at the audience.  Finally, the overweight member of the group sat with his back to us and yelled repeatedly, like a horrid car alarm.  I couldn't wait for it to be over.

I understand that I had seen art, and not entertainment.  And it's not about whether I like it or not.  And that being challenged is good for you, blah blah blah.  But that inching bit and that yelling bit were not for me.  I get it, you're crawling across the fucking stage for five entire minutes!  I get it, you're yelling and yelling for way too long!   I get it, the music is supposed to be unmusical and ugly! I get it!
Actually I don't get it.
All I know is that I had seen art.
But I was at a loss for what it all meant.

Afterward there were refreshments and a Q&A with the performers.  People discussed the pieces' meanings, their inspirations, and if they were moved.  It was a wonderful reminder for me that I dropped out of college after one semester.  I had missed out on years of opening my mind, being exposed to art, interpretation, discussion.   Intellectualizing.
Then an audience member singled out the fat member of the ensemble.
"Wow! You were incredible! You moved so well!"
He didn't say, "because you're so fat," because he just did.
Then I didn't feel so bad about dropping out of college.
And I got to go out with Lauren and do something different.
And I got to go out with Lauren.

Verdict: Win

March 25 - Fantastic Voyage To Red Lobster

At 5pm I delivered an envelope to Empire Carpets ("eighthundred588-2300 Empiiiire"). They're located on a frontage road along the 294 in the west suburbs.
In the lobby, a glass case contained a stuffed doll of the Empire Carpet guy.

I had the most relaxing rush hour drive. From the industrial corridors of Northlake to downtown Franklin Park. Through the Seymour Simon Forest Preserve following the Old Indian Treaty Boundary. Past Superdawg and into the Clayton F. Smith Woods. The traffic flowed smoothly all the way to Red Lobster in Lincolnwood, where I met Lauren and friends for dinner.

We ate so much fish. Jessica and John (pictured) ordered full dinners served on furniture-sized plates. Cody got looks from other families as he entertained us with his ship stories. Rebecca acted as the lookout while Lauren and I smuggled three cheddar biscuits in a tupperware for later. Much later.

Verdict: Win

March 24 - Hiss Piss

I got some rest finally.
Spring break in the suburbs means the big boys in the buildings are on break, too.
So I napped in the back of the van in an Office Max parking lot.
I'll take it.

In one week, Lauren will leave for a six week gig with The Second City in Arizona.
Three days before her return, I will leave for a three week tour of Europe with The Bitter Tears.
So in the next two months, we will see each other for about eight days.
Boo. Hiss.

The time leading up to these long goodbyes is usually a bit stressful.
A big dumb clock seems to dangle over your time together, like a frowning, fly-paper mistletoe.
After making about $50 at work, I picked up Lauren from Second City.
We ate grilled cheese and tomato/tortilla soup.
Then I immediately had to drum for Rush.
Shit. Piss.

This is the fourth consecutive night when I've come home and Lauren is out on the couch.
It feels like we've hardly seen each other this whole year.
Boo. Piss.
Shit. Hiss.

Verdict: Loss

March 23 - My Asshole Is Tired

Haven't caught up on rest.

Today I got crabby with my dispatcher.
"Where are you standying by?"
Lake Shore Drive.
"Lake Shore Jive?" he joked.
"Laaaake Shoooore Driiiiive," I assholed.
He told me not to talk to him like that.

This afternoon I missed a put-in rehearsal for Rush.
I was supposed to be at the rehearsal.
I was not. It seems I had forgotten all about it.

This evening on the bike ride to Second City, the cab next to me slowly merged toward the parked cars, threatening to crush me. I pounded on his windows to let him know a human was there.
He told me not to touch his car.
I told him not to crush me and I wouldn't touch his car.
We were racing now.
A woman ahead opened her door. I yelled the word "fuck" and narrowly squeezed between the speeding cab and the stupid fucking woman. Angrily, I knocked the cab's passenger mirror out of place.
The cab driver said "Hey!"
I said, "What?"
I've been having this exchange with oblivious drivers for over ten years now. I wish I would have outgrown it by now. But I haven't. I just keep banging on cars when they gets too close, and they yell at me for touching their cars.
The cab driver asked me if I was alright.
This was new.
I didn't know how to answer so I didn't.
Then he gave me some fortune cookie advice about how life is more important than this.
I returned his mirror to its original place.

A group of about twenty Young Republicans came to see Rush Limbaugh! The Musical. The all white, mostly male gathering sat stone-faced with their arms crossed against their ample bellies. The contempt they had for our show began to bum me out a bit. It seemed they were choosing to not enjoy the show.
But then again, if I went to one of those Blue Collar tours or Larry the Cable Guy shows, I think I too would be choosing to think it sucks, and be in a bad mood about it.

Isn't that what I do all day anyway?

Verdict: Loss

March 22 - Blogging Does Not Equal Living

Tonight I wasted a rare evening with Lauren so I could catch up on all my important fucking blogs.

Verdict: Loss

March 21 - Looking Hot Springs, Feeling Cairo

I slept between the intense warmth of a wood burning stove and a goitered dog that I mistook for a pillow. The Bitter Tears awoke in Hot Springs, Arkansas in the funhome of Zac and Cheryl from Itinerant Locals. Over coffee we chatted briefly with a Vermont band that snuck in around dawn for a catnap. They had just come from Austin’s SXSW. With only a few details mentioned about this year’s festival, it was decided that SXSW need not ever be played again by anyone in the room.

We bid adieu to Zac and Sheryl in the soft falling snow of the Ozarks, and I took the first leg of the long drive through the perpetual rain of the Show Me State. At a rest stop we were shown other bands fleeing Austin, college girls in short shorts (it was 35 degrees), and a van full of shackled gutterpunk juvies filing out of a restaurant ironically named Country Pride.

In the afternoon we stopped in Cairo, Illinois, one of my favorite places in the world. I discovered Cairo when I was 17 while on a road trip with friends. We needed somewhere to ignite fireworks, and I was taken by its broken, deserted apocalypse. I revisited Cairo at age 28 with a girlfriend, and she cried. When The Bitter Tears played a song called “Cairo, Illinois” and they became my favorite band. In 2008 I made Cairo the location of a story about a guy who works at Taco Bell and lives in a van. Here’s a draft of the first chapter. At the time I was feeling a bit like Cairo.

Ace of Cups is a new coffee shop, book store, co-op on the main drag. The coffee is free trade, the walls are garish, the organ on display works. But time seems to stand still there. The girl behind the counter had been there for three weeks, but she would be moving on soon. I told her I like coming to Cairo to see its progress. "And its decay," she added. I bought two records (a Harmonicats LP and a jazz age comp) for $3.

We enjoyed the fried corn nuggets at Shemwell’s, and drove on for another 6 hours, playing road games, getting lewd, laughing at personals and Elbo Room bands in The Reader, and discussing old TV.

By the time I got home it was 1am, and Lauren was a sleepy pretzel on the couch. We went to bed. I didn’t even have a beer.

Verdict: Win

March 20 - Ozark Ghost BBQ


Today we ate BBQ in a modern ghost town and played a loud, big set for a loud, loud crowd in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Read all about it in The Mush Behind Your Tongue And Cheek.

Verdict: Win

March 19 - Loaded For St. Louis


Today I got stupid drunk in St. Louis. The photo above is of John, who was completely sober. Read all about it in The Mush Behind Your Tongue And Cheek.

Verdict: Win

March 18 - Mink Score In Urbana

The Bitter Tears are on a brief tour of the Midwest. Tonight we played at an old post office in Urbana, Illinois. I acquired a nice new mink coat from the give-one-take-one costume shoppe.

Verdict: Win

March 17 - Minimal Douchebaggery

I found a parking space around Second City at 4pm. It was a gamble. I was on the clock until 5, but had a 6:45 put-in rehearsal for Dan, the Rush drum understudy. If they gave me work, I’d lose the spot and probably be late to the rehearsal.

To make it a true gamble I entered Corcoran’s, an “Irish” bar on St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know when exactly St. Patrick’s Day turned into an uglier, shittier version of Mardi Gras. It has always been a stupid American tradition of bullshit Lucky Charms imagery and drinking until you’re an asshole. But somewhere along the way it truly became the douchebag’s holiday of choice, with white, green-beaded, Jamiroqui-lidded, white shitheads littering the streets with bodily fluids and high volume, white worthlessness. Maybe it was around the time the Cubs put lights in Wrigley Field.

The gamble paid off. Upon entering, my friend Mick called my name and offered me a seat in the crowded, mildly obnoxious environment. We had been trying to coordinate a drink for a couple of weeks but had been either too busy or sick. He told me about getting stung by a jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war in Puerto Rico. Then Brad Morris from The Second City mainstage joined us and we shared talent agent horror stories. Speaking of horror stories, I ordered a nine dollar cardboard ashtray of Irish sausages and chips.

Lauren got out of her Second City rehearsal and joined us at 6. Between 4:45 and 6:40 I enjoyed the mandatory taste of Guinness.

Then it was off to the put-in and another appreciative crowd for Rush.

Verdict: Win

March 16 - Lab Pals & A Waukegan Memory

A delivery took me to somewhere in Northbrook called Underwriters Laboratories. In the lobby, the UL logo reminded me that John from The Bitter Tears works here as a lab technician. I texted him from the UL museum, a brief hall of antique toasters, Nintendo controllers, and cellphone guts, and we met.

With guest goggles pressed to my impressed face, John gave me a tour of the actual lab. At UL, John tests electrical products to make sure they’re up to code before hitting the market. If they make the grade, the UL logo appears on the product. When I arrived he had just extinguished a fire caused by a faulty coffee maker. Apparently the green wire was not the ground wire, and it caused a petite explosion and a cute fire. John tried to explain it to me like Mr. Wizard, and I mostly nodded.

What struck me as telling was the vast amount of vintage industrial equipment that was used to test the modern equipment. A big metal machine with knobs and a retro-futuristic font. A tachometer strobe that flickered and clicked. A faded chrome Buck Rogers blow dryer. All of them older than me. They’ll probably be around after I’m gone, too. Especially if I’m making coffee in one of those cheap, Grucci family coffee makers.

The weather’s been lovely. I had to deliver a court document to a judge in Waukegan, up by Wisconsin. I like Waukegan. It’s home to Ray Bradbury as well as Jack Benny. Last Memorial Day, Lauren and I took the train up there to see Bradbury’s childhood home, and the ravine made famous in Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Afterward we stopped into a townie bar in the center of town. The atmosphere was pleasant, with patrons at every stool enjoying the holiday buffet of hot dogs, burgers, and potato chips. We ate on paper plates and watched Maury while eavesdropping on the townie chatter. The bartender, a once attractive frying pan of a woman, kept us company. She was invested in Maury and offered her opinions about the man on television who had been caught cheating. She was in her second marriage. When the jukebox came on she sang along strong. She had a good karaoke voice that bullied the melody. She liked to dance. We were all having a good time. Lauren and I ordered a third round of Old Style when some of the patrons razzed her about something. She told them to cool it. One of them, a regular in his 40’s, didn’t. He kept teasing. That’s when she turned a 180 and started screaming at him. She stabbed her sentences repeatedly with "fuck"s and "fucken"s. I seem to remember the music had stopped, but that can’t be. She kicked him out. He tried to play it off like c’mon. She grew stronger and louder. This repeated until he reluctantly got off the barstool and bid adieu to the other patrons. It was quiet for a while after. The weird mildew of a town's domestic problems lingered in the holiday air. Lauren and I checked the train schedule.

I still like Waukegan.

Tonight’s crowd for Rush Limbaugh! The Musical was the best one we’ve ever had. They laughed, they gasped, they cheered, and clapped along with the songs. I rode my bike home without any street drama.

Verdict: Win

March 15 - Woozy, Thank You For The Fortune You Brought My Way

What a spacey one.
I think the weekend of steady beer, meager sleep, an unnecessarily intense, beer-fueled bike ride, and an hour lost to daylight savings ultimately dehydrated me.

The alarm went off at 6am so I could groggily take the mommyvan to the mechanic for its 92K breast exam. In the waiting room I wrote a pitch to The Annoyance for a 20 minute show about a Beatles tribute band called Beatlemagica.
$180 later the van was ready for another day of work.

A delivery to Burr Ridge got me turned around, and I found myself on Archer Avenue on an endless sprawl of forest preserved highway. Suddenly there were hills and trees and a bronze statue of a bare chested laborer next to some railroad tracks. I didn't know where I was, and I loved it.

Then I got lost on the way to Naperville, but found cheap gas near a quarry in Bolingbrook. I waited for a pump behind a car with the personalized license plate: HAGAR 55. It took me close to five minutes to find a muffin at the gas station. A cashier with a Crash Test Dummies haircut in a ponytail was very hospitable. Had I not gotten lost I would have paid 10 cents or more per gallon on fuel.
Witchy Kreskin moment: When I found a parking space at the end of the day, The Loop was playing "I Can't Drive 55."

Lauren had her first whole day off, perhaps this year. She hand made ricotta filled gnocchi and sauce. It was completely delicious, the most pillowy gnocchi I've ever had. I wolfed it down graciously before heading out immediately to teach an improv class.

I felt woozy in class. Close to fainting, I think. I've never fainted (on my to-do list).
But somehow I felt on top of my game, and gave thoughtful notes. At least it felt that way.

I came home with a tune in my head and wrote it out.
A sea shanty in F. No lyrics, but it wants to be a sung from the perspective of a ship's crew bemoaning a lengthy list of problems on their sinking ship, but ultimately celebrating, barrels of mead-style, as they inevitably perish in the sea.

For being so out of it, it seemed a rather prolific day of goofy fortune.

Verdict: Win

March 14 - Precious & The Mainstage Improv Set

After the Rush show today I saw Precious. I found it a beautiful movie, perhaps one of the most beautiful movies I have seen. The strength, hope and humor of Precious are to be envied. Her life not so much. The movie puts things like this silly blog into perspective. But just like Precious, I will keep writing. Because after I’m gone, people will need to know about my sleeping habits in the van, my notes on the Beatles mono masters and my opinion of Beatlemania! The Movie.

Lauren understudied on the mainstage at Second City tonight. My friend Mitchell Fain accompanied me to see her in Taming Of The Flu. Mitchell is working on a cabaret with the bold and buxom Meghan Murphy. We all met while working on the cruise ship a couple of years ago. I can’t wait to see their collaboration.

Lauren killed, adding her own charms to Shelly Gossman’s comedy. I’ve always enjoyed Shelly’s alderman monologue and the “I’ll tell you why I’m lucky/I’m lucky I’m so happy” song. Lauren slayed with it.

Afterward I got an invitation to do the improv set with the cast. I have turned down this invitation twice already this year. So this time I did it.

It went well. They told me I did a decent job. I hadn’t improvised in over a year. My heart beat like a shaken deer. I was rusty and a bit lost at times. I was in my head and not in the scene.

At Second City failure is not an option on stage. It has to be funny. That’s why tourists and parents come to see it. Because it’s guaranteed laughter. It’s not arty. It’s not weird. It’s straight funny. And it has to be funny now! It is one of the few successful businesses in the world of improvisation.

Unfortunately for me, immediate $traight comedy has never been my bag. I tried it on the cruise ship, and learned that it did not make me happy. It raised my blood pressure, accelerated my heartbeat, and caused me to second guess myself. I revisited that feeling tonight.

I got a few laughs and didn’t make any huge blunders. But afterward I felt awful, and agonized over my missteps. In what is supposed to be a loose, fuck around improv set. Stupid.

Five years ago, these boring feelings of personal failure would have festered with me for weeks. Now they haunt me for a couple of hours, or until it’s someone’s birthday on the etc. stage and there’s free pizza and beer. Happy birthday, Brendan Jennings!

It’s good to know who you are. Even if you might be technically proficient at something, to know you can put it away if you don’t enjoy it is better.

Verdict: Win

March 13 - Beatles K-hole

On my one day off I chose to get up at 4am.
I listened to the White Album in mono.
In the midday I blogged 1,700 words about The Beatles.
Then in the afternoon I attempted to watch The Beatles Anthology.
I only have a VHS cassette of its original broadcast on ABC in 1995.
But I seem to have misplaced it.
So I dug up an old VHS dub of Beatlemania: The Movie.
Beatlemania was a Broadway show in the 70's.
Four men that maybe look a little like The Beatles dress up as the Fab Four and play their music.
It was America's way of forcing the Beatles reunion that it is was so desperate for.
The Broadway show did well, so they made a movie of it in 1981.
I first saw this at age 13, the very beginning of my Beatles curiosity.
I loved it.
Somehow I acquired a second VCR for a moment and dubbed the rented Blockbuster tape.
This violated FBI laws and Interpol and all sorts of copyrights.
But I really needed to study the pretend Beatles over and over again.
I watched it for the first time in probably ten years today.

I had forgotten how kooky and "arty" it is.
* Throughout the movie, headlines scroll across the screen:
Dustin Hoffman Scores In The Graduate
Women Demand Equal Pay For Equal Work
Dylan Wrecks Motorcycle
* Between songs they splice in footage from Nixon, MLK, LBJ, and Nichols and May.
* During "If I Fell" they use incongruous civil rights race riots footage.
* In "A Day In The Life" and "Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds" actors with early 80's haircuts portray late 60's burnouts passing around a joint.
* Also "Lucy In The Sky" features psychedelic negative film, quick zooms into a woman's back bleeding copiously, and John Lennon pointing a gun at the camera and shooting the viewer to end the song.
* Lots of the performances look (and sound) like future karaoke videos. In particular, "Strawberry Fields" with its multi-color, slo-mo, upside down trampoline artists flipping about in Hare Krishna jumpers. And "We Can Work It Out," which showcases a contemporary dance piece at a train station.
* Pro-wrestlers labeled MOM, DAD, GRANDPA, SON, etc fight it out during "Get Back."
* "Fool On The Hill" is used to manipulate us with archival footage of pollution.
* "Hey Jude" uses lots of provocative footage of bombs being dropped on towns, cops beating up hippies, famine, and a slowly burning US flag. Good thing "Ringo" put towels over his tom toms for this one.
* "Let It Be" contains an exhaustingly long zoom of an analog pixel to reveal a huge Woodstock-esque crowd. As if to say: We are The Baby Boomers! We are The Greatest Generation Ever! Our ideals are pure! It's a new decade of quick, easy greed! Let's usher in a never-ending, pat-ourselves-on-the-back nostalgia about being The Greatest Generation Ever! Play "Whiter Shade Of Pale!"

As for the Beatlemaniacs:
* Tom Teeley (George) best resembles Tom Selleck, who was not in The Beatles.
* Mitch Weissman (Paul)'s "Long And Winding Road" beard doesn't match the rest of the haircut.
* Ralph Castelli (Ringo)'s shout of "I got blisters on my fingers" is authentic, because Ringo was born in Queens and still talks in that thick New York accent.
* David Leon (John). Poor David Leon. Having to portray Lennon right after his murder. You would think they could've gotten a better wig.

I think these guys are still doing this stuff on cruise ships and summer festivals.
Good for them.
I spent the entire day on the couch.

It sounds like this day should be a loss.
But at no time today did I get mad.
I think it's because I didn't leave the apartment, and avoided the douchebaggery of St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.

Verdict: Win

March 12 - lower case service ALL CAPS PIZZA

Lauren got back safely from her one night gig with Second City in DC.
While she arrived in Chicago via limousine, I schlepped random nonsense out to Schaumburg, Elmhurst, Pilsen, Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, Arlington Heights, Logan Square, and of course The Loop.
I fell asleep in a client's parking lot around 1pm.
My own drool woke me up.

The weather's getting nice.

Friday!

For dinner Lauren used the remainder of her DC per diem to order a pizza from great lake, an organTic spot that associates capitalization with capitalism.
We stepped into the tiny establishment around 5:45 and placed our order.
The staff did not greet us, and the man kneading the dough seemed annoyed that we wanted to purchase one of their pizzas.
And you know what? That's okay.
The world doesn't need any more falsely friendly Trader Joe's cult behavior.
Though a simple "hello" would have been a little human.
The pizza would be ready at 7:15.
With some time to kill we downed Belgian beers nearby.

It was wonderful to catch up with my own girlfriend.
This year has been a whirlwind of activity for both of us.
And it's only going to get more busy and more distant until June.
So I cherish these nights we have to enjoy each other's real life actual company.

The pizza delivered.
It was simple. Each bite seemed to showcase a different ingredient.
Some bites it was the cheese. Others the sauce. And for many it was the fresh basil.
Everything was fresh.
The real star of the pie was its crust. Crispy and partially burnt but fluffy and soft on the inside like a warm, fresh bagette.
Nice goin', great lake. You deserve your detached service and lower case pretentiousness.

Recently Alan Richman of GQ named great lake the best pizzeria in the world.
Now that seems like a stupid thing to declare.
It could inspire all kinds of ALL CAPS RETALIATION on the good ole interbarf.

But it was some of the best I've had.
And I've eaten pizza in its birthplace...
(WHO CARES ASSHOLE!?)
...Napoli...
(GOOD FOR YOU JAGOFF!)
...In Italy.
(FUCK YOU IN THE FACE!)

Verdict: Win

March 11 - 6th Grade Habits

Lauren got up at 5am to catch a flight.
She has a one night stand in DC with The Second City tonight.

Tonight I discovered some clips on youtube from The David Letterman Show, Letterman's ill-fated morning program from 1980.
He was my childhood hero.
I taped the comedy segments from his show every night from 6th grade until senior year.
I dressed up like him for Halloween in 1986.
I constructed a version of the Late Night with David Letterman set in our basement.
I tied a curtain rod to the ceiling to simulate the Late Night Thrill-Cam.
I would do Letterman shows when my friend Matt got permission from his dad to use their video camera.
I sprayed painted "Late Night Rules" under the stairs leading to the basement.
I made a confetti cannon and brought it to school.
I threw watermelons off of my garage roof.
I wedged a toothpick between my teeth for a whole day in an attempt to acquire Letterman's gap.
I was not kissing girls.

When old classmates from grade school somehow find me on Facetown, they ask if I'm still really into Letterman.
No, not really.
I still think he's great and all that, but I suppose I outgrew it around the time he moved to CBS.
Actually he outgrew me, because the material that resonates the most with me is still the old stuff.

I fell asleep on the couch watching David Letterman from the 80's.
Just like I did every other night between 6th grade and senior year.
And I didn't kiss a girl.

Verdict: Win

March 10 - The Mono Beatles

I spend about 50 hours a week in the van.
When not listening to CDs, I listen to WBEZ, the NPR affiliate out here.
This week it is pledge drive week. Every 16 minutes regular programming is interrupted to shake you down for money. Last year I pledged $25 and was entered into a drawing for the complete remastered Beatles box set in stereo.
I won it.
For a pittance.
This week I acquired the mono masters for the remastered Beatles albums. So instead of listening to the pledge drive and pledging, I've been studying the differences between the stereo and mono versions of The Beatles' entire catalog.
What an ungrateful asshole!

Discrepancies Between Mono and Stereo Beatles Recordings That I Could Discern

Overall
The mono mixes were the mixing sessions that The Beatles took part in, as mono was their preferred choice of listening. The stereo mixes were left for George Martin and his engineers to do while The Beatles walked around the world being Beatles.
For the most part, they seem to have more bottom end, and seem louder. They are more enjoyable to listen to as music, especially on headphones.
The stereo versions often have the vocals and instruments separated on left and right channels, which is fun for studying. You can hear little quirks, like Ringo groaning during the first break in "Revolution," or John laughing a "C'mon" at Paul's lyric flub in "Please Please Me." But listening to that separated stereo stuff on headphones can throw your equilibrium off.

Please Please Me
"Please Please Me" - This sounds like a different take than the one used on the stereo version. You don't hear Paul's mistake or John laughing. Also there's no distracting drum echo on the tag of the song that appears on the stereo version. This is the version to listen to if you just want to hear the song straight.

With The Beatles
"Don't Bother Me" - longer fade-out. Also, the percussion overdub is at the top of the mix on the way out.
"You Really Got A Hold On Me" - There seems to be an edit that starts at the first verse (:14) and ends before the first chorus (:27). The treble drops during this.
"Money" - That strange guitar in the intro is thankfully missing.

A Hard Day's Night
"If I Fell" - John's vocal is single-tracked at the top, unlike the oddly double-tracked vocal on the stereo version.
"Tell Me Why" - this version has less echo. A more enjoyable listen.

Beatles For Sale
I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

Past Masters Volume 1
"She Loves You" - The edits after the second chorus are more prominent (at 1:15 and 1:23).
"I Call Your Name" - It sounds better. The guitar is different at the top and the cowbell is there the whole time, too, unlike the stereo version where they must have used a different take until after John's first vocal.

Help!
"You Like Me Too Much" - It sounds like the Leslie cabinet was vibrating Ringo's snares at the very top.
"Tell Me What You See" - The electric piano seems higher in the mix.

Rubber Soul
"Norwegian Wood" - There's an audible cough at :38. I believe this was inspired by the audible cough on The Beach Boys' "Wendy" at 1:19.
"Think For Yourself" - Guitars are higher in the mix. Either that or the drums are mixed lower.

At this point you may think: Who gives a fucking shit?
You're right. You really are.

I hate to say it but I guess I'm a Beatle nerd. Or a Beatle geek. Or a Beatle loser.
However, I am not one of those people that collects Beatle dolls and Beatle lunchboxes, nor do I eat Beatle ice cream or use Beatle hairspray.
I don't go to see Beatle tribute bands with names like The Doctors Robert, We Are The Walri or Numba Noin.
I will not arrive at the Beatle convention in a psychedelic Rolls Royce wearing a Maharishi snuggie, eating vintage Linda McCartney vegetarian microwaveable dinners while speaking only in Ringoisms.
I do not think I personally know The Beatles and then speak on their behalf.
"John would have sued Oasis."
"Paul would have loved 'Pepper' if he hadn't died in 1966 in a mysterious car crash referenced in 'A Day In The Life. Did you know 'Yoko' spelled backwards is 'Okay?''"
"George would have liked 9/11."
Those are the Beatle weirdoes.
The Beatle psycopaths.

But around 1966 The Beatles put more care into the mono mixes. It feels like these mixes are the way they wanted YOU to hear their music. And because these mixes are hard to find, it makes it secret and special.
Oh no, I'm a Beatle weirdo!

Revolver
"Taxman" - Guitar way higher in the mix, cowbell comes in sooner and louder. Sounds more compressed and raw overall. Heavy.
"I'm Only Sleeping" - Extra backward guitar in verse before instrumental.
"Yellow Submarine" - The acoustic guitar starts at the very beginning of the song along with the vocals. In the last verse you can hear John echo "a life of ease."
"She Said She Said" - I never knew this song had organ on it.
"I Want To Tell You" - You can hear the guitar's first note in the fade up. It's louder and brasher.
"Got To Get You Into My Life" - Longer fade out, with the horns higher in the mix.
"Tomorrow Never Knows" - This one is weird. It actually sounds less professional than the stereo mix, like a rehearsal mix. The sound effects drop in and out rather clumsily. The organ is higher in the mix. Interesting for sure, but I prefer the stereo version for this one.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" - More reverb on the vocals.
"She's Leaving Home" - Faster, higher in pitch. Sounds sped up. Because it is sped up. No thanks.
"Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite" - Sound effects creep in a pinch earlier. Woozier version. Thanks.
"Within You Without You" - Laughing at the end goes on longer and louder.
"Sgt. Pepper Reprise" - The rooster squawk transition is behind the beat and quite different. The tape for the applause rolls on, very meta. The crowd laughs and applauds through the whole thing. Paul scats. Big difference.
"A Day In The Life" - First orchestra crescendo cuts out harshly with no reverb.

Magical Mystery Tour
"Flying" - Mellotron creeps in earlier before the coda chaos.
"Your Mother Should Know" - weird phaser effect on drums and vocals.
"I Am The Walrus" - The drums drop out at 1:17 with a clumsy fade up at 1:20. The edit at 1:34 is more apparent.
"Baby You're A Rich Man" - Another weird mix that sounds like a community college editing class put it together. Vocals seem noticeably higher than the basic track. There seems to be Leslie cabinet breathing, and flange effects on the percussion fills. Atleast the oboe is still going bananas.

The Beatles (The White Album)
"Back In The U.S.S.R." - The airplane noises are longer, in different places, and seem louder than the stereo version.
"Wild Honey Pie" - The kooky guitar part is lower, vocals higher in mix.
"Happiness Is A Warm Gun" - One of my favorite songs became even more favorite. This version has more bottom, giving it more balls and more spook. The guitar tone at the very beginning sounds like wonderful butter, poisoned butter.
An organ part is more prominent. There's a snippet of Yoko yacking at :43.
They fixed the "I need a fix" guitars, giving them more muscle. The drums are finally as loud as the tambourine during "Mother Superior." And the doo wop piano is hotter in the mix. So much better.
"I'm So Tired" - Paul's backing vocal can be heard better.
"Blackbird" - The bird sounds are different and louder, almost distracting. It made me laugh upon first listen.
"Piggies" - More pig noises, strings higher in the mix.
"Rocky Raccoon" - Drums come in sooner.
"Don't Pass Me By" - My least favorite Beatles song just got less disliked. They sped it up so it ends more quickly. Plus the fiddle part is different.
"I Will" - Less percussion at the top, giving it a smoother feel with a better build.
"Yer Blues" - More effect on the vocal at the top. Sounds like the fade out gets cut off.
"Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me & My Monkey" - There's some screaming underneath the 6 big guitar licks before the fade out.
"Sexy Sadie" - Seems to be a reed organ part I've never heard before.
"Helter Skelter" - More squeeze toy sound effects. The instrumental ending is much different. The whole band cuts out at one point, and the drums take us to the fade out, which never fades back in. I prefer this mix, though for future listens I will definitely graft the fade in from the stereo version so I can hear Ringo scream, "I've got chocolate in my peanut butter!"
Or whatever it is he says at the end of this song.
"Long Long Long" - The beginning sounds slower and mellower. Something's off about George's vocal. It almost sounds chipped together.
"Revolution #1" - There's a sustained horn part beginning at 2:44, and a longer fade out.
"Honey Pie" - The guitar solo is more jazzy.
"Savoy Truffle" - The guitar chirp cuts out at 1:04. There's an additional something, (organ?) at 1:27, after which the guitar solo ends differently. A strange out of sync tambourine joins the song at 2:11, followed by a stripped down "cream tangerine."
"Cry Baby Cry" - Paul's untitled song tagged on at the end of this song has a longer fade out.
"Revolution #9" - The talking at the top is more prominent.

Past Masters Volume 2
"Paperback Writer" - More reverb on the vocals in the clear. And for a second you can hear Ringo keeping time on the hi hat.
"The Inner Light" - Different Indian fiddle-y part.
"All Together Now" - Sounds like an air conditioner fan is spinning in the beginning.
"Hey Bulldog" - A longer fade out accommodates one more "Hey bulldog!"
"It's All Too Much" - Horns, tambourine and backing vocals fluctuate being higher in the mix.

So that's what I did today.
Oh, and while I was studying the mono mixes I got a tattoo on my forehead of The Beatles logo as an inverted cross while drinking the blood of Brittany Murphy so that when I meet John and Yoko and Geraldo in heaven we'll have something to talk about.

But I'm not a Beatle psychopath.

Verdict: Win

March 9 - Auditions

Today I saw a commercial for The Sports Authority.
It made me very happy.
Because I no longer have to go on auditions for horrendous commercials anymore.

In 2004, I had a meeting with Aria, a talent agency in Chicago.
I was an improviser. Meaning, I did comedy for free, drank a lot, and was white.
Getting with an agent and going on auditions was the next logical step.
It's one of the few ways a Chicago improviser can make any money.
If you book the audition.
The meeting went fine.
Bob and Ray at Aria asked me if I was an actor.
I said no.
I have never considered myself an actor ever.
At the time I would have called myself an improviser, which is probably worse.
But accurate.
They decided they would represent me, because I was currently dating improv powerhouse Susan Messing, one of their leading talents.
I didn't have much interest in auditioning, especially for commercials.
But it's what you're supposed to do.
We shook hands.
It felt like I had signed up for the army.

I started going on auditions.
Mostly commercials.
I took an On Camera class with Rachael Patterson.
Hers was a great class and I learned a bunch.
In the spring of 2005 I somehow booked a commercial for Long John Silvers.
I played a guy bored out of his mind in a cubicle.
Until he thinks of Long John Silvers.
Then he slides a palm tree into his cubicle and wears flip flops.
Life becomes good.
And I never had to say a word.
The commercial paid for the recording and manufacture of the first Sandwich Shop EP.
Plus they paid for the flip flop-related pedicure, the only pedicure I've ever had in my life.

I continued going on auditions for the next three years.
I had a rare movie audition for the Will Ferrell vehicle Stranger Than Fiction.
The role was for a donut shop worker.
The director, Marc Forster, was sitting in the front of the little room.
It was a small role, and I was told to improvise a little.
I interpreted the word "improvise" to mean "be funny."
So I talked in a dumb voice and did bits about wackily-shaped donuts.
Afterward, Bob called to tell me that they hated my audition.
I never auditioned for a movie ever again.

I also embarrassingly tanked a song at the audition for that spelling bee musical.
All I had was the sheet music for this song I had never heard. When the pianist played it about 50 times faster than I had expected, all I could do was try to turn humiliation into a "choice."
At another audition for a Jewish musical I pronounced manischewitz as "ma-NISH-uh-witz."
Because sometimes you just do really stupid fucking things at auditions.
Yeah, so I never auditioned for theater again either.

But I continued auditioning for commercials!
And I hated it.
It meant having to take time off from my job as a bike messenger, carry a change of clothes in my bag, and then sit around in a room full of talky actors talking about acting and being actors and talking and actors and talking.
Yeah, I hated everything about it.
And the auditions were always stupid.
I'd have to pretend to be at a Best Buy, and pretend to be amazed by HD TV. Then I would have to say something fucking disgusting like "Wow, I never knew HD could be so real!"
It felt like my soul had diarrhea.

Worse were the bite and smiles.
That's when you have to bite into something (often a slice of bread) and pretend to be amazed by the taste of a worthless Little Caesar's slice of shit pizza.
Or some crap.
My face just doesn't do that.

Maybe even worse, were the auditions with kids. Because then the weird parents would be there, too. And those people are just plain alien to me.
In a The Day The Earth Stood Still way.
Meaning, a nervous soldier should shoot them right there in the waiting room while they schmooze loudly on the phone above their child product.

It got to the point where I would show up to the audition, fill out the form, put my head in my hands and take a nap until it was my time. If they were running late, I'd leave. Even if they were five minutes behind. Any excuse to get me the fuck out of that environment.
It made me miserable.

I started not taking calls from my agent.
I began turning down auditions.
Or blew them off.
They called less.
I became more happy.
When they did call I felt a jolt of stress that would make me inhale hard.
I knew I did not want to do it anymore.
But if I quit it would seem like a step backward.
Throwing away potential opportunity.
Potential income.
It would be seen as self-destructive.
Because as an improviser, this is what you're supposed to be doing.
Going on auditions.
Booking commercials.
Landing a small role in a movie.
Making a reel.
Moving to LA or New York.
Making it!

I dunno.
It just didn't seem like the direction for me.
So when I got back from a four month contract performing with Second City aboard a cruise ship, the agency called. I was turning in my paperwork at the end of a day bike messengering.
I didn't take the call.
Bob left a message to say that he noticed I hadn't contacted him since I returned. He took it as a sign that I wasn't interested in being represented by Aria.
When I got home I responded that I was not.
That I had tried it.
For four years.
And that it wasn't for me.

I felt free again.
And in control of my life.
I still do.
And now whenever I see some guy getting paid to shill something on television, I am glad it is not fucking me.

Verdict: Win

March 8 - No Sleep Til Westchester Or Til Ira Glass Shuts The Fuck Up

The alarm was set for 5am. I had agreed to do a van job that paid well but had to be at 311 S Wacker around 6am. I parked on Upper Wacker, put the hazards on, and got the 2-wheeler out to pick up nine boxes. A security guard approached.
"Do you like your car?"
Security guys like to speak in these riddles.
It makes them seem wise and full of humor.
I do love riddles and I do love humor, but I was in no mood to play.
"Where do you want me to park?" I exhaled.
"I'm just sayin', they'll tow you as fast as they can."
Clearly I understood what he meant the first time.
Unfortunately, there are no loading zones around 311 S Wacker. Essentially there is nowhere to park, unless the loading dock on Lower Wacker is open.
"Is the dock open?"
"The dock opens at 6am."
I thanked him because I am trying to be a better human. But couldn't he have just told me that in the first place? Fuck you, man.
Fuck you.
I took the boxes to beautiful Des Plaines, where they were joined by an additional 37. I drove around with 1300 pounds of...I don't know. Probably pamphlets. How To Ruin The World While Being Boring And Excel!
Meanwhile, Ira Glass yelled at his listeners on the radio. It's pledge drive week on WBEZ, and Ira Glass might be my least favorite pledge personality. All he does is berate the listener for not pledging. And then he will specify that he is berating you, yes you. His voice is irritating, which I suppose gives him indie cred. But it's 7am, Ira. Go back to New York and be organic and cage-free over there.
On a few hours of sleep and an empty stomach, I got lost in Northbrook looking for the big suburban man-made pond Bartleby corporation complex. I turned off the admonishing radio and eventually found it, delivering the load to a fluorescently lit mailroom of listless Harvey Pekars and Pekarettes.
Next stop was Westchester to pick up the mail for the Laborers Union.
They had three tubs, a weekend's worth of accumulation. I carried it to the third floor of the union office. I greeted the receptionist behind the glass.
"Good morning. Where would you like me to put this?"
"You need to sign in."
I was carrying 60 lbs of mail, which requires the use of two hands.
"I will, but where would you like me to put this?"
"Hold on," she said and got on the phone.
I put the fucking mail on the ground.
"There's a new mail guy," she said into the phone.
I'm not new. But usually someone else does this run.
Thank Fucking God.

It was a slow enough day to go home and take a nap between runs.

Then I taught my first improv class in the spring term at The Annoyance. Looks to be an interesting lot. Many folks from Boston, with a few people just doing it for fun. One student punched his scene partner in three consecutive scenes. I gave him the note that he tends to punch all of his scene partners.

When class ended the city had become The Exorcist. It was the foggiest I had seen Chicago. Foggy enough to wet my eyelashes on the bike ride home. There, I drank a beer and decided to sleep some more.

Can't say it was an amazing day.

Verdict: Loss

March 7 - House Of The Selfish Son

My mom attended the Rush show today with her 91-year old friend Elizabeth. They liked it.
It's nice when my family enjoys the shows.
For years I never invited them to any, for fear they wouldn't enjoy seeing me be who I really am.
Then one day while my extended family was in town, I scraped up the courage to invite them to a show I created at the Annoyance called Arm Soup. It was a Donner Party tale updated for the year 2006. In it a food fight occurs, Wade Boggs sings a song about fireworks with a mouthful chicken, and a mentally challenged man is murdered and eaten at a Taco Bell outside of Reno. There's lotsa cannibalism and lota sexually perverse humor.
That night I was going in for the lead role of George Donner. At one point in the revue, he watches in horror as his slutty girlfriend enjoys eating his dead brother's penis, portrayed by a tofu hot dog.
My family hated it. They didn't say so. But after the show only my mom and my uncle stuck around to say goodbye. And they never talked of the show again.
Every so often if it comes up, I mention that the director of Arm Soup is now a writer for Saturday Night Live. Proof that someone from that show is now making a good living doing comedy.
But now I only invite them to things that they may like.

Afterward, my Mom treated Elizabeth, Lauren and I to a lovely Italian dinner in Andersonville. It was delicious. And it was generous of her to treat. She’s getting toward the age where I am the one that is supposed to take care of her, yet I am nowhere near that. Often I feel that my show business, rock and roll, childless, self-absorbed blogging lifestyle is just an extension of a rather immature adolescence.
My mom lost her husband and I lost my father four years ago to awesome cancer. He was 56. Now she lives alone everyday in a neighborhood that’s changing for the worse. And while she tries to sell the house and move on, I remain a perpetual twentysomething with my bands and my shows and my blogs, dropping in to visit her every once in a while. I suppose a lot of people in the arts feel this way when they reach their mid-30’s.
Anyway, no one on stage today ate any genitals and dinner was excellent.

Later, our boat friends Rebecca, Tim and Jessica joined us for an Oscars get together. We made lists, ate badly, drank beer and Diet Pepsi, and got snarky at the TV. Ben Stiller’s bit was not enjoyed. James Cameron was repeatedly heckled. I yelled “fuck you” a lot when Sandra Bullock got an Oscar for best actress. I don’t hate her, but c’mon, man. Fuck you.

I drank enough beer to forget that I was behaving like a selfish, thirtysomething teenager with a self-absorbed blog about how terrible a son he has become.

After that sentence it's hard to call this a win, even though Mom enjoyed the show, we had a wonderful dinner, and a fun-filled night entertaining.

I should visit my Mom more often.

Verdict: Loss

March 6 - Goddamn Day Off

Finally a day of no obligations.
Except groceries.
And laundry.
And cleaning the apartment.
And returning an air mattress we borrowed from friends in December.

I made steak tacos for lunch that were actually pretty good.
I'm getting better at creating meals on my own.
I'll be 35 next month.

Lauren got home from understudying a Second City touring company show.
By then I had two Red Stripes in me and, having ignored the first nice day in Chicago this decade, had just begun a crummy nap.
I asked her to retrieve the van's sleeping bag from the laundry room when she went out to get ingredients for the garlic lemon roasted chicken for dinner.
Poor Lauren hadn't eaten since breakfast.
It was 7pm.
When she got home we discovered that the chicken we had left out all day was still frozen.
Therefore dinner was not happening as planned.
We both got cranky.

Eventually we decided on steak sandwiches and fried plantains, with Lauren on steak, marinade, bun, onions and peppers, and me on plantains. Cooking smoke filled the apartment and transformed it into a woozy dream. Like we were living in an aged photograph.
Dinner was good, but the smoke made us squint and make elderly faces.
Looking and feeling old, we groaned our way to bed before 11.

Even with its missteps, it was a goddamn day off, and it was needed.
So suck it.

Verdict: Win

March 5 - Nurse Novels Preview

Tonight The Nurse Novels made their live debut at Quenchers in Chicago.
It was a great night.
The turnout was huge, lots of folks from the Electrical Audio message board came out to see The Columbines, Whales, Begin By Gathering Supplies, and us. Some folks from ifihadahifi drove down from Milwaukee, and an Electrical fan drove up from Missouri, man. He's booking The Bitter Tears in Champaign and St. Louis in a couple of weeks. Chicago rock show archivist Aadam Jacobs recorded some of the events. People were wonderful.

Whales were good and loud with guitars and Nords stacked high.

The Nurse Novels followed. Most of The Bitter Tears were there. Alan asked me if was nervous. I admitted so. I felt an expectation for us to be a funnier band with more theatrics, unable to avoid the shadow of Let's Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop. I want to get away from being a comedy band, and was hoping people would be receptive to us just doing music and just being us.
So how did it go?
All things considered it went well.
Our first chord was loud!
Louder than I had expected us to be.
There was no sound check beforehand.
There were also no monitors.
So from behind the drum kit all I could hear was Thea's guitar and muffled vocals.
People cheered after the first song, "War."
I sang the next song about my time living on a cruise ship called "Sea Day."
I could not hear my vocals and had to scream and guess about the notes.
People cheered after that one, too.
The rest of the set had its ups and downs. We went without a set list for some reason. During "Monsters 'n' Moldies" we got lost. My vocals on "Inside A Car Wash" were embarrassing. It's a song that I would like the girls to sing but we haven't practiced it like that. A drum stick bounced off of my floor tom and brushed Nicole. Not cool.
Thea's rocker "Catalyst" went well. Tom's complicated "The Pelts To Prove It" had no hitches. "Little Boy" got the cross dressing man moving. People seemed to like the lyrics to "NIMBY," a song about auditioning for shitty commercials and ridiculing shitty condos.
Overall, we got a good response.

The Columbines bashed out that glorious cave rock. You could hear them well in the mix, too. War On The Bullshit!, a Begin By Gathering Supplies alter-ego closed the night with My Bloody Valentine slow jams that were surprisingly ass-shaking. The Jamaican man in the 69' Memphis Elvis jean jacket loved it.

It was a great night at Quenchers.

I felt it was a good preview for The Nurse Novels.
I think we'll do another preview type of show at Cal's and then make our opening at a venue where we will have a soundcheck and monitors. We will probably have a set list by then.
Shit, we might even practice!

Verdict: Win

March 4 - Asleep At The Wheel

The only time the Nurse Novels could practice before our first show tomorrow night was at 10pm tonight.
There was a moment today at a red light in Western Springs, where I nodded off behind the wheel.
So I called off practice.
The theory being that rest would be better, and that I would be alive for the show tomorrow.

Verdict: Loss

March 3 - Carnival Of Sound

The official release of Jan and Dean Carnival Of Sound arrived today.
It's their Smile, left in a vault for 40 years.
It's a really weird record.
It starts with Jan's post-car accident music.

One of the weirdest songs I've ever heard is his sitar-infused tribute to Laurel and Hardy.
It sounds like a frog sang the intro.
I guess while Jan, paralyzed from the auto wreck, was in the hospital his dad set up a projector and ran Laurel and Hardy reels to pick up his son's spirits. It worked. Albeit in a strange way.

Rollercoasters on a rainbow,
Running on like endless time,
With Stan and Ollie in the front,
And Maharishi back behind

The demo version is reeeeeaaaaally weird.
It's The Wrecking Crew backing two whole minutes of Jan, who can barely speak from paralysis, singing "La la la" in and out of key. The third minute is a psychedelic freakout with Jan screaming "NO! NO! SO HELP ME! SO HELP ME!" and so on.
There's an ode to marijuana sung to the 1963 backing track of "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" called "Tijuana."

Everybody wonders what she's got in her pot now
(Go granny, go granny...)
She's got a bunch of bananas that'll blow your mind
Everybody knows that there's nobody stronger
Than the little old lady from Tijuana

Then they finish the album with the pre-accident songs, most of them are just pointless throwback covers like "Stay" and "Yakety Yak," but there's an odd 60's support-the-troops Vietnam tale called "Only A Boy."

Only last June he got his diploma
In just a short while training in Oklahoma
Learnin' to shoot
To salute
Shine a boot
Takin' orders
Fixin' mortars
Guardin' our borders

Set sail for Vietnam to help out our nation
Trying to put down the red infiltration
Fightin' in trenches
Out in drenches
In stenches
Shootin' headlong
At a throng of Vietcong

He thought about his folks
He sure missed his girl
As bullets and shells around him started to swirl
One ripped through his shirt
Blurt spurt
And it hurt
He spun around fell face down
Head to the ground

The next song is "In The Still Of The Night."

I listened to it all day.

Verdict: Win

March 2 - Dorito Douchebag

I haven't had the opportunity to get groceries lately, and needed something to accompany a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. So when a free moment between runs at work popped up, I took advantage of it.
At Jewel I purchased a bag of carrots, and headed to the checkout. On the way there, I noticed a flavor of Doritos I hadn't seen before.
Last year, Doritos unveiled a new line of drunk douchebag flavors, for when drunk douchebags want to eat unhealthy meals in the form of finger-staining chips. Last summer I tried the flavors Tacos at Midnight and Last Call Jalepeno Poppers.
But today I saw All Nighter Cheeseburger.
So for the sake of comedy I bought it.
I thought I could blog about other new late night Doritos flavors.
Flavors like:

Doritos Late Night Ass Kicked Bloody Nose Buffalo Wings
Doritos Late Night Unprotected Sex Calamari Stingers
Doritos Late Night Racial Slur Yelled At Cab Driver Super Beef Nachos
Doritos Late Night Domestic Abuse Ranch Sauce Cool Kickers
Doritos Late Night 4 Dead In DUI Mozzarella Sizzlers

When I got in the car I opened the bag and sampled the cheeseburger flavored Doritos.
They tasted like pickles. I hate pickles.
I even briefly blogged about it.
Yeah, but for some reason I kept eating those fucking things.
I ate 3/4 of the bag in about 20 minutes.
It was 10:30am.

The rest of the day I felt awful.
It took all day to come down from the stomach coma.
I tried to eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the early afternoon.
But it was too late.
I was a drunk Dorito douchebag.

I never even ate the fucking carrots.

After work I rode my bike to Second City.
The ride was hard.
I am greatly out of shape.
I got home and still felt awful.

I think I'm getting way too old to eat ironically.

Verdict: Loss

March 1 - Lazy Heart

We had a night off from teaching, both of us.
And we spent it well.
2 for 1 entrees at Duke Of Perth.
She had fish 'n' chips.
I had shepherd's pie.
We each drank a Scottish draught ale.
The movie was entitled Crazy Heart.
It stars Jeff Bridges as a self-destructive country singer who falls in love with a young woman played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
I enjoyed it.
So did Lauren.
But she thought about it some more, and liked it less and less.
As she pointed out its inarguable flaws so did I.
It isn't a bad movie.
But it's The Wrestler without stakes.
We got home and I was KO'ed.
I fell asleep immediately.
I heard Lauren pointing out this flaw as I faded away.
But we had a date out in society.

Verdict: Win