SXSW '07 RECAP FINALLY

TUESDAY

We almost didn't make our plane. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 11:25. We figured this meant we could sleep in. We woke up at 9 and lazed about, eating breakfast, making sandwiches for the plane, and, got in the car at 10. We would be cutting it a bit close, but we could still park the car in the long term lot and make our plane. Afterall, we'd checked in on line. All we had to do was check our bags, go through security and straight to the gate. “Remind me that we have to get gas on the way home on Sunday,” said Brugos.

As we were about to pull into the long term lot, Brugos felt his pockets for his wallet. Which wasn't there. No wallet, no I.D. No I.D., no getting on the plane. We had to go home. It was 10:30. Our plane left in less than an hour.

I wasn't mad. I have done stupid things many a time. I've never missed a plane, but I couldn't be mad at Brugos after all the times I've forgotten something crucial and ruined things for other people. And since those people had always been understanding, how could I not be?

So bad we drove. On the way, I called United to try and discover our options. Calling an airline has become a nearly impossible task these days. After listening to an automated message about visiting them on the web for faster service (I WOULD if I were near a COMPUTER) and a lecture about getting to the airport at least two hours ahead of time, I was placed into the interactive computer situation and asked for my flight information. I don't know how I got through to a person the first time, but he was less help than the computers. He told me that there were two other flights to Austin that day but they were booked. We could go to the airport and try standby but if we couldn't get on a plane that day, we would have to re-book for a fee through Orbitz. “Because that is where you made your reservation. You will have to pay a booking fee.” It sounded like he was MAD at me for booking through Orbitz. Didn't United still get PAID for those flights? I asked him another question. “I don't KNOW, ma'am. You booked through Orbitz so I can't help you. Would you like the NUMBER for Orbitz?” I said no thank you. And then he tried to rent me a fucking car. What do I need a CAR for? I don't have TIME to rent a car. I'm IN a car, trying to get to the damned airport. I hung up on him.

I told Brugos what happened. He was appalled but said that I should call back because we still didn't know what our options were. I never got through to a person at United again. They have an impenetrable automated system that couldn't understand a word I was saying. Several times, in exasperation, I pushed 0 to try and get to an operator. “I'm sorry, I do not understand your command” said the stupid fucking computer. You don't say. “Please state the departure city” asked the computer. “Seattle,” I said, with PERFECT pronunciation. “You said Glasgow, Scotland,” said the computer. “Is this correct?” NO. “Seattle,” I said again. “You said Shanghai, China” the computer said. I hung up and called back. This time, when the computer said “If you are on a rotary phone, please stay on the line and and we will help you”. Great, I thought. I will pretend I'm on a rotary and they will put an operator on to help my little old lady ass. The computer said “Please say your reservation number. Or if you don't have it say 'I don't know it'. I said I didn't know it. “OK” said the computer. “We'll ask you a few more questions to find your reservation another way. Please say the departure city.” OH MY GOD. I hung up again. Perhaps I am already and old lady because I'm pretty convinced that computer was fucking with me. After that, I couldn't seem to even get my call to connect. And by then we were already on our way back to the airport. It was 11:00. The only way we would make our plane was if it was delayed.

As we pulled into the expensive lot, I threw my toothpaste and sunscreen, well over 3 ounce containers, onto the seat. I would not have time to check my bag. Brugos still seemed to think that if we hauled ass, we might make it to the gate at 11:25 and could beg them to let us on. So after we drove into the top level of the lot (“Sorry. Level Full. Please continue up.”) I ran toward the terminal, and Brugos sped off to find somewhere to cram the car. Once in the terminal, I was met with our first bit of luck for the day. The plane wasn't there yet. I called Brugos to tell him the good news and then got in the security line.

After security discarded my $25 4 oz container of face wash, we RAN to the gate. We got there just as the last few people were being let on. It was incredible. My stomach began to relax. We were on our way to Austin!

On the plane, we sat next to a young guy who was also on his way to SXSW. We chatted all the way to Denver and exchanged numbers. From Denver to Austin, we played a little travel Catan. Two person Catan is brutal.

When we landed in Austin, it was storming. Lightening and thunder. But the rain stopped as the cab headed into downtown Austin. I don't know why, but I had a bad feeling as we strolled up to the desk at La Quinta. I had my reservation in hand. I told the lady my name. She said “I'm sorry, could it be under another name?” Nope. And then I showed her my print out. It said we were supposed to check in on the 10th. This was the 12th. There was a good reason for why my reservation said the 10th. When I made the reservation EIGHT MONTHS AGO, we didn't know when we were flying in. After buying our plane tickets, I called La Quinta to change our arrival date. The guy said no problem. I was an idiot and didn't have him email me a confirmation of the change. I had no proof that I had made this phone call. Now La Quinta had it down that we were a no-show reservation. The lady behind the counter didn't seem at all sympathetic. In fact, she seemed like she didn't believe me. “We DO have one room. It's a smoking room with one king bed for $170.” That's a lot of money. Our original reservation was already for a lot of money. $140 a night. But it was also for a room with 2 beds. We were boned. She knew it. Still she let us talk her down to $150. We asked her if there were any rollaways, as Justin would be joining us the next day. She said she'd look. We were tired and just wanted to know we had somewhere to sleep so we gave in and went to our room. We vowed to steal at least $10 in free continental breakfast from them every morning to make up the difference. In it was a huge bed and a small couch which would have been perfect for someone to sleep on if that person were Warwick Davis.

We freshened up a bit and headed out into the warm, misty Austin night. I had a list of karaoke venues. Since the music part of SXSW didn't start until Wednesday, we thought we sing a little ourselves and then try to see a movie. We walked into the bar that ellegedly had LIVE BAND karaoke. There were 2 people in there. They both worked there. They looked up at us expectantly, surprised to see us. “Um…is there…karaoke here tonight?” They laughed. “We haven't had karaoke for 6 months. D'oh!

We decided instead to wander up 6th street and see what was going on. There were definitely shows happening. Maybe something would strike our fancy. We didn't need to line up for the midnight movie for another two hours. Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice. I knew the Toadies had reformed for two reunion shows in Austin. The first was Monday night. The second was Tuesday.

I had tried to get tickets for the Tuesday show but they had sold out in a day. You might remember the Toadies. They had a hit in the late 90's called “Possum Kingdom” about a vampire trying to convince his human love interest to let him bite her.

Needless to say, I LOVED them. And now, it was unmistakable that we were overhearing their set. I asked Brugos if we could wander closer and leer into the venue through the fence for a while. He agreed. We passed by a forlorn looking girl holding two tickets in the air. “Are those for the Toadies?” we asked. They were. “How much?” “Whatever you're willing to give me” she responded. She looked bored and desperate. “$5 each?” Brugos low balled. She frowned. “I PAID $30 for each of them” she scowled. “How long have they been playing?” I asked. She said they'd played about 5 songs. I handed her a twenty. She frowned again and took it. Brugos thought I was being too generous but I still felt bad. I've been in her shoes, trying to get rid of tickets, knowing I was taking a loss no matter what. I would have given her $15 each if they hadn't already started their set. But none of that mattered right then. We had to find the entrance! We walked into the venue and sauntered up to the bar. I was grinning. Brugos bought us each a High Life which tasted MIGHTY good at that moment.

They sounded amazing and played a good number of songs off the two albums I have, including “Possum Kingdom”, which we were glad we hadn't missed. I didn't hear my favorite song, “Away”, but perhaps they'd played that in the beginning. Regardless, we were seeing a sold out reunion show by the Toadies on our first night in Austin for $10. We hadn't missed our plane and we had a bed to sleep in. Not much to complain about there.

After the show, we had just enough time to grab a drink and some street pizza before getting in line to see a midnight showing of Undead or Alive: A Zombedy starring Chris Kattan (yuck), Brian Posehn, Matt Bessar of the Upright Citizens Brigade doing his best Doc Cochran from Deadwood impression, and some dude from J.A.G. It was sort of funny but mostly blah. And the special effects were pretty terrible. They actually used the Final Cut Pro “fire” filter to make an “explosion”. It looked pretty shoddy. And yes, I was jealous. Their script was ho-hum and they still managed to get funding and the same caliber of actor that we'd wanted for “Plight”. Our script was funny and our special effects would have been great (thanks to the guy who did them for “Snow Day”) and our actor choices would have been way better than Chris fucking Kattan.

When the movie ended, we raced to Casino El Camino to have a quick drink with our friend Mark, who was leaving town the next day. He made it in just before last call. Luckily, Mark was still planning to go to some shows the next day before getting on his plane so we'd have a little more hang time with him.

We returned to our overpriced hotel room and went to sleep.

WEDNESDAY

We woke up too late for the hotel's continental breakfast. It was a misty day. Not quite rainy enough for an umbrella (the streets were too crowded to carry one anyway), but wet enough to soak your clothes during prolonged exposure. On our way to find breakfast, we stopped into The Mohawk to hear the end of the Hello Stranger set. I'd heard of them, but never heard them. Their groovy sound drew us into the venue.

I was so hungry, though, that I was kind of glad that they only had 3 songs left. I need breakfast and coffee ASAP. It's hard to find normal things like bakeries, coffee shops and drug stores in downtown Austin because it seems like EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS is a bar or club. It must be weird to live there. We finally found a bakery hidden at the end of 6th st and got egg and cheese biscuits and coffee. Then we headed to Emo's to look for Mark and see who was playing.

They handed us a handy little laminated flier meant to look like a pass that had the days' schedule on it. It was a really good idea. We found Mark and listened to the first band called This Is Me Smiling, who were pretty good. The next band on took forever to sound check and still sounded terrible when they finally started. Brugos and I said goodbye to Mark and headed to Red Eye Fly where I'd heard there were free drinks. Unfortunately, when we got there, we discovered that you needed to RSVP to get in. That was when I realized we should probably return to the hotel and start RSVPing to some shit.

With a little time on our hands and a need to replace the toiletries discarded by airport security, we sought out a drug store. We picked also picked up some room snacks, beer and ipod speakers and went back to the hotel to drop the stuff off and ask again about a rollaway bed. Brugos also, somehow, managed to talk them back down to only charging us $140/night. However, they informed us there were NO rollaway beds. We were out of luck. Perhaps we would get to know Justin really well this week by sharing a bed with him. He was arriving at the hotel at 8pm.

We rested for a minute, I RSVPd for some parties (perhaps too late) and then we headed back to Emo's to see The Smoking Popes.

On our way we passed a van manned by hipsters shouting “Free Ice Cream!” This took a second to register in our brains. We had already passed the van before we realised that they were giving away FREE ICE CREAM. And all we had to do was take their crappy fliers as well. Then, we were stopped again by some guys from Camel. “Do you guys smoke?” they asked. I didn't say anything, but Brugos said he did (which is true, I suppose. He DOES smoke. He just doesn't buy cigarettes.) and they offered him a little gift bag and two tickets to see the Faint on Saturday. Realising an opportunity, I spoke up and got myself some tickets. They told us the rest of the deal: go to such and such an address between 5 and 8 for free food, beer and cigarettes. OK!

We arrived at Emo's in time to catch the end of a set by a terrible band called “Catfish Haven”. Their god-awful name and talent to match spurred a conversation twixt Brugos and I about how most of the time, a band with a terrible name is also going to SOUND terrible. We then tried to think of good bands with bad names. I thought of Green Day, a band who's name I don't mind at all, but perhaps if I hated them, I would also hate their name. Can YOU, dear reader, think of any good bands with crappy names? Or vice versa?

While watching the lackluster Smoking Popes set, we chatted with a British record label owner who asked us if we knew where to buy drugs. We said we didn't. He asked us what hotel we were staying in. When we responded “La Quinta”, he asked if that was in the “Spanish District”. In a place like Texas, where everything has a Mexican name, I am not sure how one would know they were in the Spanish District.

Next, we were off to the Camel Party to score some free food on the Tobacco Industry. It was kind of a weird scene. It looked like the Camel office of Austin, but they also had some flame-decorated couches and Camel box art all over the walls. They were giving away cigarettes in addition to BBQ, potato salad and peach cobbler (the last two items being my dinner). We also got two free drink tickets each, and Brugos managed to get two more Faint tickets. So now we had 6. Enough for us, Justin and Cherry who would be joining us later, and two other people (possibly Andrew who was arriving the next day).

Full on Camel food, we went back to the hotel to wait for Justin and deliver the bad news about the bed. He didn't seem to bothered by it. We went back down to the lobby to get some extra blankets and pillows. They seemed none to thrilled to see the troublemakers in their lobby again. In fact, the guy who Brugos had talked into discounting our room, actually said “You guys, again!”. They apparently could only spare one blanket and two pillows, plus one extra towel. We brought these things back up to the room and then got ready to go out for the evening.

We decided to try another karaoke spot, but as we neared the place and heard bands, it became pretty apparent to us that AustinSings.com is grossly out of date. In fact, the venue didn't even have the same NAME anymore. We about-faced and headed to Mother Egans to see Two Cow Garage.

They weren't on until 10 so we sat down for a couple of beers and some chips. Finally, around 10:30, I heard the band start their set and we headed down toward the stage to watch. I have never seen a picture of them before so I didn't realise that

Two Cow Garage are but wee boys. They are adorable. The lead singer has a vague Marty McFlyness about him. The rest of the band are just as youthful and energetic. They give a spirited show. I liked them before, but their recordings do not do justice at all to their live performance. After the show, I sought them out to complete my record collection.

We walked back into town to find something to do for the evening. We thought perhaps we could get into Emo's for the midnight Blonde Redhead show, but the multiple lines around the block told us otherwise. I saw Eugene Mirman duck into a club with no line and mentioned this to Brugos. He decided that we should go in there. It turned out to be a Sub Pop party and whoever the bands were who were playing were boring as hell. This didn't matter much to us because we were quite hammered. Brugos saw Eugene and decided to talk to him. He told him that we came in there because we'd seen him go in. I mentioned that we'd met him last year and that he probably didn't remember us. He said that he did and then, a few awkward beats later, made his excuses and left. Yikes. Whatever charm I had last year for getting him to talk to me for two hours was definitely gone.

Justin decided to try and find a way to sneak into Emo's, as the bar we were in was adjacent to it. I was a little nervous about this notion, but, in the end, went along with it anyway. We wandered into the green room with some excuses about “looking for a place to smoke” only to learn that the venues did not, in fact, connect. I was relieved that the sneaking in business was over, and set about, instead, to play the Star Wars pinball game that was beckoning me.

We stuck around for a while for want of anything better to do and then headed back to the hotel around 2. Justin set about making his bed on the floor and removed the tiny couch cushions to make a mattress when…low and behold he discovered that underneath the couch cushion was a FUCKING HIDE-A-BED! How did the La Quinta people not know, after all of our harassing of them to get us another bed, that the room contained a PULL OUT COUCH?! Doesn't every La Quinta in the goddamn country have the same furniture?!

But no matter, we had our second bed, and we happily wandered off to dream land.

THURSDAY

We set the alarm to wake us up at 8:30, half an hour before the end of the free continetal breakfast. We sleepily threw on some clothes and headed downstairs to check out the spread. They had the usual juice, coffee, tea, yogurt, fruit, cereal and muffins, but they also had SELF-SERVICE WAFFLE MAKERS! These things are amazing. You pour in the batter, flip the maker over and then, two minutes later, you have a perfect golden waffle. This was exciting as hell. My pockets stuffed with bananas, muffins and tea, we took our waffle back up to the room and got back into bed, hoping the waffle would still be tasty a couple of hours later. It was.

Brugos and I got ready to go and left Justin in bed. It was off to the Filter Magazine party, one of the parties I actually HAD RSVPd for. They boasted free food and drinks and the party lasted three days. When we got there, they didn't even check us off a list. We just walked right in and were handed free t-shirts and hats and our drink order was taken. The food was gone, but they still had plenty of free Dewars and Miller Light. We were going to stay for one drink and then walk to Waterloo records to see the Sparklehorse in-store. Zach Galifianakis came out to warm up the crowd and then he introduced the first band. They were called Grand Ole Party, they consisted of a bass player, guitar player and a drummer/singer who was also a lady. She sat in front. They were incredible. The singer sounded like Grace Slick. The music was White-Stripesy. We loved them. We decided to blow off Sparklehorse and stay for the whole set. After the set, they gave out free CDs. We also ran into Matt from the airplane.

We stayed for another band called Great Northern, who were pretty good. Some of their songs were a little too mellow, but for the most part they were enjoyable. This was due, in no small part, to the rhythm section which consisted of a lady bass player straight out of a Robert Palmer video, and a drummer who looked like the cocaine dealer of the week on Miami Vice.

Whilst standing in the courtyard, I stupidly got a sunburn. I never remember, on my first day of sun-basking each year, that I am a lily white Irish girl who needs to wear sunblock.

We then stopped into The Flamingo Cantina to see the Pipettes. We almost didn't get in (apparently, it was wrist bands and badges only) but the guy at the door let us in anyway. Cool! It was hot as hell so we left as soon as their set was over. Brugos hated them. At that time, I found them cute.

Next it was back to Emo's to catch the band Maritime (former members of The Promise Ring). Emo's show that day was sponsored by the Onion A/V club so there was a little table full of Onion Swag. The guy gave us 4 free drink tickets. When Maritime was done, Brugos and I went to our respective bathrooms. When I came out, I couldn't find him, but I DID find Andrew who was standing out in the courtyard with Aiyana and Derek. We chatted for a bit and eventually, Brugos found us. At 5, it was time to go back in side for a comedy set. The opening comedian, who's name escapes me, was pretty lame. The next guy on was Leo Allen. I've never seen him do standup. He's usually an improv or performance guy. His stand up is decent but not awesome. I prefer the out-there stuff he does with Eric Slovin. Next was Aziz Ansari who had some new bits. They were mostly good but a few didn't quite hit. After that, we left to go back to the hotel and meet Justin.

We were all quite hungry so we decided to find a sit-down restaurant and eat. We passed a Mexican place and decided to take a chance. They told us it would be a 20 minute wait, so we got some margaritas and sat down…to watch the WORST BAND IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. The best way I can describe them is easy listening played by frat boys. Good LORD they were terrible. Every minute we watched them seemed like an hour. Finally, we couldn't take it any more and we checked on our table. They were ready for us.

It was worth it to stick around. That food was incredible. I got the mushroom enchiladas with poblano pepper cream sauce. The tortilla chips were fresh and warm and they kept them coming. The even the RICE was the best I've ever had. I delightfully packed up my leftovers and happily dropped them in the fridge hotel for later consumption.

We headed out again, this time to Peter Pan Mini Golf for a little night golfing. It was a long walk and we were already tired, so we stopped at a bar half way to rest. We finished the trek and I golfed my worst game it years. It was a bit frustrating to do so badly at something that is usually a strong point for me, but I still had fun.

After that we walked to the Alamo South Lamar in time to catch the midnight screening of Fido. Fido was a good idea (I should know!) but it was half-assedly executed and the story dragged on too long. The sets, however, were incredible. I guess Lionsgate had a little extra change to toss their way. Must be nice.

We shared a cab back downtown with some festival go-er. And then to bed.

FRIDAY

Once again, we woke up at 8:30 to stuff our pockets with breakfast and make a waffle, and then went back to bed. When we woke up a few hours later, Justin once again stayed in bed. Brugos and I headed out to the trusty Filter party, stopping first at a British record label party for which we had been given a flier the day before. It was free food and drink. When we walked in, there were no bands nor were there any setting up. In the back room there was a bar and a chef preparing fresh quesadillas. We ordered some free Dewars and the kind lady filled our glasses to the brim. The quesadillas were also delicious. We weren't sure what the record label was getting out of us being there but we weren't complaining.

Already somewhat drunk, we wandered into the Filter party and listened to a band called Ra Ra Riot as we enjoyed MORE free Dewars. Now we were definitely drunk. As we left the Filter party, we ran into Justin who was on his way to meet us. He said he was hungry so we thought perhaps we should take him back to the record label party (see, I can't even remember what it was for. Terrible marketing, guys. But great quesadillas). The chef was cleaning up but there was still plenty of free Dewars.

Brugos and I had another drink and Justin ate some coconut shrimp that was slightly too old to be any good. Then we made our way to the Muzak party. I know what you're thinking. “Muzak? As in elevator music?” Well, apparently, they are so much more than that now. Now their artists actually sing. Sure, it's god awful adult contemporary…but no matter. They had free tacos and margaritas. And I had RSVPd. So why not?

Unfortunately, a lot of people seemed to think the same way. We got in the long line for tacos and, by the time we got to the table, there were only scraps left. We were absolutely trashed by this point, and we'd yet to pay for a drink.

We left the Muzak party and wandered over to La Zona Rosa to get in line for their British music showcase. On the list was a guy called Mika, who sounds like the Scissor Sisters if they were fronted by Freddie Mercury. His album is already huge in the UK but it doesn't come out in the states till next week. This guy is going to break America though. I'm certain he's going to be massive. He's cute, spunky and his songs are catchy as hell.

As we waited in line, we chatted with an older Brit who was excited to be there and was impressed with my knowledge of British music.

Once through the door, we bee-lined for the hot dog cart that we'd been smelling whilst in line. Our taco scraps had not stayed with us. Luckily, they had a veggie option. It may have just been half a Boca burger in a bun smothered in onions and kraut, but it was delicious.

We got some more drinks and then went to find a place to sit down and eat. The first band started and they were pretty boring so we decided to stay seated and play some cards. A short while later, they turned off the lights so it became kind of difficult to see, but we were only playing Asshole, so we didn't mind too much.

The next band started and also sucked so we stayed seated. Cherry arrived and we dealt her in. We got tired of playing cards and went out for a smoke and to meet Cherry's friend, Rene.

The next band started. They were, apparently, the Special Guests. I recognized their first song. They were called Razorlight. I'd heard them on my indie radio station. They were not, by far, a big deal in the states. But apparently, they were an enormous deal in the UK. The crowd cheered loudly. Everyone moved closer to the stage. The lead singer strutted around in his scoop neck white -shirt and white jeans with confidence. Brugos and I HOPED they were a big deal because otherwise, this guy has some serious delusions. Later shed the t-shirt and continued to strut around stage whilst doing the Mick Jagger one-handed forearm clap. Rene, Cherry and Justin loved him. Brugos and I just thought he was funny. Rene, who we were discovering was kind of crazy, said she wanted to lick his chest.

Finally, at 1am, Mika came on. He was amazing. Every song he played sounded like a hit.

After the show, as we were gathering our wits to walk home, a guy came up to me and ACTUALLY said “Do you believe in love at first sight or should I go away and come back?” Luckily, he sort of flubbed the cliched line, allowing me to respond that he should go away.

We were trashed. But we couldn't go straight back to the hotel. We had to get Cherry's sleeping bag, pillows and suitcase from her car. Once there, she wanted to drive it. I told her there was no way that was going to happen. So, instead, We carried her stuff through the crowded street back to the hotel. People heckled us. We heckled back. I yelled at a guy for driving an SUV. Another guy yelled at me to shut up. Rene fell. Someone tried to snatch one of Cherry's pillows from Brugos.

It's really a wonder we got back to the hotel without being run over or beaten up.

We drunkenly staggered around the hotel for a while. I happily scarfed my Mexican leftovers. Somehow it came up that everyone should leave the room so that Brugos and I could have sex. We didn't argue. Rene said something about how having a curved penis is better and she hopes that

Brugos has a curved penis. Then Cherry, Justin and Rene grabbed a bottle of wine and left.

When they came back several hours later, we were told a disjointed story about getting told to leave by some Japanese people and Justin possibly spitting on the hotel manager's bald head. We were half asleep and just nodded.

SATURDAY

As had become the routine, we woke up just to get free breakfast and went back to sleep. Rene left. She was a lot of fun, but I was glad she took off before any of the hotel staff recognized her and kicked us out. Cherry came back to the room after moving her car. I've just realised they didn't actually end up charging us for her parking. How strange considering how infamous the inhabitants of room 447 were becoming. It was St. Paddy's Day. Brugos, Cherry and I began our day at the Filter party. Getting in was no problem, whatwith the old “I'm on the list” response. However, security was much tighter that day, and after one round of freebies, they began charging everyone who didn't have a wrist band or badge. No big deal. We'd definitely gotten our share of free Dewars courtesy of Filter Magazine. We met Andrew at the party. For lack of any better ideas, we stuck around for a while and watched the Pipettes play a set. Andrew hated them. Brugos hated them. Once they were compared to the musical “Grease”, I began to hate them. Oh well. Justin arrived and we hung out for a bit longer, but with no more free drinks and mediocre bands, our as extreme hunger compelled us to leave. Whilst searching for food, we elected to go to the least possible Irish destination: A Jewish Deli. Even there, they had $1 green beer specials. It was Bud Light and it was pretty gross. Their food was awesome (I ate a potato knish and some creamed spinach), and, for some reason, they corrected a small fry mistake by bringing us 4 large orders of fries. TOO MUCH. We were all quite stuffed after and needed to lie down, so we returned to the hotel for a nap. Andrew came with us. We dozed for an hour or so whilst watching the end of “Oceans 11” and the beginning of “Deep Impact”, before heading out again. Andrew took his leave of us, and I gave him a ticket to The Faint show, not really expecting him to show up.

We had time to catch the Human Giant Showcase at Friends Bar before getting in line for The Faint show. The organization at this venue was pretty ridiculous though. Usually at these places, they have a badge holder line and a line for civilians. They cut off the badge holder line at a certain point to let the civies in. They weren't doing that this time. More and more badge holders kept showing up and filling the bar while the civie line didn't move. We complained to the girl at the door. She kindly, eventually, let us in by sneaking us into the badge holder line.

In the end, though, we wouldn't have missed out on much. Patton Oswalt was supposed to be there, but he'd had to cancel. The Human Giant isn't all that funny. Eugene Mirman's set was good but I've seen him many times. It was hot in there. My stomach still felt terrible from lunch. I wasn't really drinking any more so I was just getting tired. My body was revolting. We stayed for the Tim and Eric set, but we couldn't really see the stage, so we had a feeling we were missing half the act.

We walked to La Zona Rosa around 11 for the 12:30 Faint show. We expected to see a big line. As we walked up, we saw no line and heard music coming from within. Had it started early? We sauntered up to the door and showed our tickets to the lady. She didn't know what they were. She called someone else over. He didn't know what they were. “The Faint aren't here,” he said. Did they cancel? “No. They aren't here. You can go in though. It's $20.” We asked who was playing. He DIDN'T KNOW. He brought us over to the door lady and asked her who was playing. “The Polyphonic Satellites, I think” she said. Um…The girl behind us said “It's the Polyphonic Spree.” Oh. Them, I've heard of. And the other band? “The Satellite somethings…” Hmmmm. Well, what about our tickets. The lady at the door looked at them and said “Those aren't real tickets. They're promotional.” Promotional for what? She asked us where we got them. We told her from Camel. She said “Well, they aren't real. They're laminated. They don't have a bar code. Who laminates tickets? They're promotional.” What are they promoting, we asked. They have a date and a time and a location on them. They don't even SAY Camel. “I don't know, but they're promotional. Do you want to come in? It's $20.” $20 to see the Polyphonic Spree and the Satellite somethings. No thanks! As we walked off, the first lady asked to see our “Promotional” tickets again. As she examined them, another guy recognized them and finally cleared up all the confusion.

They tickets were real. The Faint WERE there. At 12:30. PM. We missed them. OK, so we're idiots who can't tell time. But what of the 3 people who WORKED for the venue who not only didn't know that the Faint had been there at noon, but what bands were on stage at that very moment. Weird.

We didn't know quite what else to do. Every bar was packed with idiots. We wouldn't be able to get into any other shows at that point. We walked past the Alamo to see if there were any interesting midnight movies. There weren't. We went into one last bar and got a round. I couldn't drink any more. My stomach was very angry with me. I just drank water and finally suggested that we get some beer and head back to the hotel. As it was, we didn't get back till 1:00. We sat in bed talking and the others chain smoked. The next thing I knew, it was 3:30 and my hurt tummy was telling me I needed to sleep. The others kindly took the party to the balcony. For some reason, however, I was unable to fall asleep until they came back at 4:30. Getting up to catch a plane was not going to be fun.

SUNDAY

When I woke up, my body kindly asked me not to eat anything fried or drink anything alcoholic for at least 48 hours. I was happy to comply. We checked out of our crappy hotel room and I was surprised to find a straightforward bill at $140/night. We had an uneventful trip to airport, thanks to Cherry, and a quick flight. At the Denver airport, Brugos and I bought veggie laden sandwiches. My stomach was very happy.

At SeaTac, we waited for Justin, who was on a different plane, and then found the car on roof of the long term lot. Much to our chagrin, it didn't start. I enlisted some passing people in a VW to jump us but, for some reason, they had no idea how to find the battery in their car. We couldn't find it either. WTF? Luckily, AAA came shortly after that and we were on our way. We grabbed a quick bite of sushi at Blue C and then Brugos and I had to race to the Sunset Bowl for our first league night. We were home by 9. Sleep came quickly.

Pictures will be uploaded early next week!

Weekend Recap

FRIDAY
It's difficult to say no to $8 bottles of wine at Noc Noc, but I really need to learn to do so. I met Roxy and Carly there at 5:15 and we tucked into the wine and $2 ($2!) plate o tots. Dude. Everything there is so cheap that overdoing it comes easy. I had my nihilist costume and stuffed ferret in a bag in preparation for Lebowski Fest. We were later joined by the rest of the gang. Around 9:00, The Brunswicks and I got into our costumes and we re-convened at the Showbox.

They had a huge table full of Lebowski merch but not a lot of people were dressed up. About 100 people (naturally) said “nice marmot” to me as I passed. This got old quickly, as did the fact that several people just decided to STROKE my ferret from BEHIND ME without my permission. I eventually hid my ferret from view. The Bruswicks were like celebrities, getting their picture taken. They both had very good costumes. Roxy was Maude in the green bathrobe and Rocko was the landlord from the landlord's play. In concept, Lebowski fest was very cool. In execution, it was crowded, annoying, and poorly made drinks were $10 each. Insanity. Most of us tired of the scene quickly and decided to leave to go play poker. Roxy, Carly and Scott stayed behind to watch The (real) Dude (incomprehensibly, apparently) introduce the movie at 11.

We made the long, drunken walk to the car and Arsenio made friends (what's up, ladies?) and enemies (heckling a bum from the open car window) along the way. Somehow, we made it to the Brunswick’s and set about playing some poker. Since much MUCH alcohol had been consumed by this time, motor skills were difficult for everyone, but somehow I managed to win an extra dollar.

When I decided to go home, Roxy called me a cab. This time, I was EXTREMELY clear about my destination address so there were no mishaps there, but the guy was listening to VERY dirty R&B the whole time. Had I been with someone else, I probably would have found it funny, but since I was on my own, I found it a little creepy. I mean, this stuff was dirrrty. The singer was basically giving a doin' it play-by-play.

SATURDAY
I ventured to Capitol Hill to get my hair trimmed at Zero Zero. This is the last time I will pay anyone to cut my bangs. I don't know why people seem to have such a difficult time with them. I only want a blunt, straight line. That's it. No layers, no curving up, no funny stuff. The rest of my hair is fine, but she first cut my bangs crooked (which probably happened because she was so busy “texturizing” them, and then, noticing her mistake, “fixed” them, giving me a sort of widows peak curve to the whole thing. I've since made them straighter on my own, but there's nothing I can do about the “texture” until they've grown out a bit.

After my butchering, I went to Value Village to try and find a red bathrobe for Brugos and then headed home for a rest before Emily's Cartoon Character-themed birthday party.

Brugos has been in Vegas on business and he wasn't sure he was going to be able to make it back in time for the party, but he managed to fly out earlier on stand-by, so he got home around 9:30, and we set about turning him into Mum-Ra. We didn't use the stupid grandma sweater I bought at Value Village. It just didn't look right. So we made do with a red flannel sheet. The TP idea I had for mummification didn't seem to be turning out quite right and he ended up shedding toilet paper all night, but it was close enough for government work.

My Wilykit costume (also from Thundercats) turned out pretty well, apart from being slightly revealing on both the bottom and the top. There were quite a few Thundercats characters represented including Emily's Cheetara and a girl dressed as Lion-O. There was also Yakko and Dot from Animaniacs, and several Futurama characters including a Lela and Zaff Brannigan couple, a Zoidberg and a Robot Devil. Christy and Emily exhibited their mad dancing skills to 80's classics and I made drinks in the dark, resulting in my extreme drunkenness. I took loads of awesome pictures but, sadly, my extreme drunkenness eventually led to the untimely death of my camera, absently drowned in a cup of beer. The good news is that my memory card is fine. But my camera is dead. Someday I will get a new camera and then I will be able to upload all my awesome pictures.

SUNDAY
I spent much of the day doing laundry and also felt compelled to clean the bathroom. Then Brugos and I met his co-worker at the Cinerama to see 300. The movie was AWESOME.

After the movie, we had a late dinner and drinks at the Spitfire ($3 for beans, rice and tortillas!) and then took the Theatre of Life bus home. Tonight's episode featured a nerdy gamer in an army jacket carrying a bag full of Mountain Dew. He opened his new game with a screwdriver on the bus (because he couldn't wait till he got home) and read the insert whilst hanging an unlit, half-smoked cigarette out of his mouth. He called his friend to tell him the “good news” about the fact that another game hadn't yet been registered so they could still play online. Meanwhile, a teenage girl with a very loud bus talked about her life on the street in the back of the bus. I didn't get a good look at her but Brugos said she was fat and white. Apparently, she was a member of some gang called The Bugaboos, who frequently fought with other gangs including one called The Rockers (seriously? Are we in West Side Story here?) and that so-and-so shouldn't have “come at [her] like that” and was “lucky she didn't get stabbed”. She also talked about how she was gonna get a job at Pizza Hut. I can't wait for the next episode.

So, tomorrow I'm off to lovely Austin, TX for Hipsterfest '07. 5 days of beer, tacos and indie music. I can't wait!

Weekend-ish Recap

Since I was sick this weekend, I didn't really do much so I kind of felt like I was cheated out of a weekend. That is why I am including last night in my recap. It was kind of like my delayed Friday if I had an early mellow Friday but still went out.

(True) FRIDAY
Sick. Did nothing.

SATURDAY
I was still not feel tip top, but I was kind of stir crazy so we got out of the house. I had a bit of bad luck with cab drivers taking me to and from the doctor on Friday and ripping me off so I had Brugos teach me how to drive the Stang in case of emergencies. She's a bit tricky, and my driving skills are rather rusty, but I think I can handle her if I need to. We picked up Brad and then I drove us to Ballard to the Chai House with the travel Cattan. We played a game and then drove back to the House of Fun to hang out. We played another game and gorged ourselves on girl scout cookies whilst listening to Brad's MTV Party to Go Vol. 2 CD. At first, I mocked the CD, but after reading the track list, I got a little excited at the prospect of listening to PM Dawn, The KLF and DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. It was a pretty fun little nostalgic trip.

Brugos and I dropped off the Stang and caught the bus downtown to Marrakesh for Erin's birthday dinner. Erin had reserved half of the back room for her 30 guests. Since we arrived early, we managed to score a seat on the couch rather than the floor pillows. My back was grateful for our promptness. We soon learned that when you are a party of 30, you waive certain rights like being able to choose what you order. We told the waiter who were vegetarians and that was the extent of our choices. He handed out our towels and we may have committed the first faux paux of the evening, passing things down. He seemed frustrated that we weren't keeping the towels we were handed.

Towels, it turns out, are for more than just drying your hands after they are washed in the big basin. It is also to keep the copious amounts of crumbs off of your clothes that fall when you have to eat with your hands. Course after course arrived, each time with one vegetarian option. The waiter was a little bossy, demanding that all of the vegetarians sit together. I guess it was along the lines of him having an aversion to passing things. We didn't mind though.

During our meal, we caught the belly dancer show. She was dressed like She-Ra and danced with a sword on her head. If only gamers realized how much they would enjoy a place like Marrakesh.

After eating for 3 solid hours, we lumbered over to Re-Bar for Bacon Strip: A half dance/half drag show night. Brugos and I realized that we were far too full to do any dancing and we were both still feeling kind of under the weather, so after watching the first act of the drag show, we took our leave. The show started with two men doing a strip tease to “In The Navy”, which resulted in stripey and camo jockey shorts respectively. That part was very enjoyable. The drag show was kind of half-assed. Most of the performers didn't seem to know their songs that well and were a bit off. The costumes were interesting though and I always enjoy the humor that a drag show affords.

I wish we'd been a bit more energetic because the music they were playing was pretty good and it was a rare opportunity to party with both Erin and her awesome mom. Alas, it was not to be.

SUNDAY
After (what I assume was much needed) sleeping in till noon, we lazed around the house for a bit. So as not to waste the nice weather, we headed to the tennis court. I was playing pretty poorly. Even worse than last time. I blame the dizzying side effects of my antibiotics. Luckily for Brugos, Darshan showed up so he was still able to get in a good game while I watched the bizarre high school sports photo shoot going on in the neighboring basketball court. At least I assume that's what was happening with a girl in an oversized basketball jersey (and nothing else) shouting “GRRRRR! We're number ONE!” and having her picture taken by 4 guys.

Later on, Brugos and I watched the “Comedians of Comedy” documentary (mostly hilarious, slightly sad) and then Brugos' high stakes poker buddies arrived. I watched some more TV and then went to bed.

MONDAY
My work day was typically irritating for a Monday so I was definitely itching to go out. The Bunswicks came over and we walked over to Dante's. Every time I've been to Dante's on a weeknight, it's been dead dead dead. Tonight was no exception. We had the place to ourselves for $2 wells and Hales night. We played some air hockey and Bram Stoker's Dracula Pinball (which is hard but the music is AWESOME) and some foosball. Eventually, a karaoke DJ showed up, along with one of the strangest karaoke crowds I've ever seen. We had a woman and her companion who was her demanding boyfriend or her demanding gay friend or her manager. He insisted that she sing her songs in a particular order because she must “save the best for last”. There was a pretty amazonian girl and her surly, fashionably dressed nerd of a boyfriend who didn't speak or move the entire time. There was a really geeky looking guy in a Cosby sweater and coke bottle glasses who showed up to do a shy rendition of “Cracklin' Rosie” and then left. He was like a character in a movie and he was awesome. There was the host who may or may not have been friends with the “team of professionals”, based on the fact that he was engaged in a game of suicide karaoke with them. And then there was us. We sifted through the two volume song book “organized” by song title in MOSTLY alphabetical order) and each found a song. Brugos put in “Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground” and I did “Manic Monday”. Rocko decided to put in “Never Tear us Apart” which he did VERY well under the name “Mr. Johnson”. Roxy still couldn't be convinced to put in a song. Maybe next time. :)

It was pretty much just us singing to the rotation went around fast, with one angry young man singing some nu metal song as a drop-in. So the host kind of guilted us into singing a second song each. Sadly, Cosby Sweater left after his one song. I would have loved to have heard him sing again. Since there were so few people there, I decided to be annoying and put in “November Rain” in the hopes that THIS TIME they would have the whole song. Almost as soon as I started singing, the motley crue of weirdos ALL left the room. I guess they aren't Guns n' Roses fans. The karaoke DJ didn't seem to be familiar with the song because after the second instrumental he said “I guess this IS the long one” to which I replied “No, we're not there yet. We'll know for sure after the third instrumental”. To my delight, the third instrumental arrived, and I was able, for only the second time in my karaoke career to rock out to the end part of “November Rain”.

Shortly after my song ended, the weirdos came back and Brugos sang “Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)”. Mr. Harry Johnson sang his third song, “Float On” (which was also awesome). After he sang, the bossy manager/boyfriend/gay friend said “You think THAT'S funny (referring to Harry Johnson), when I was in the hospital, my doctors were named Dr. Hurt and Dr. Ow. True story.” He received polite laughter for his hacky stand-up. I guess some things aren't funny just because they're true.

Around 11, we decided we'd had enough of the Dante's universe and headed home. I would definitely like to sing with the weirdos again sometime. Especially Cosby Sweater.

Weekend Recap

FRIDAY

I packed my bag full of booze and Brugos and I met Ben at the Oak Tree Cinema to see Ghost Rider. About 10 minutes in, I realized that this was the greatest bad comic book movie ever made. It was truly glorious. Actors were hamming it up right and left and, at the center of it all, was Nicolas Cage. Brugos and I are both now convinced that he is am incredible actor. It takes a tremendous amount of talent to be able to pull of hammy lines like that and be engaging. I was also very impressed with Wes Bentley who proved that he's not just a bag-obsessed dramatic actor but camp it up with the best of them. (The best being Nic Cage. God damn. He was awesome.)

Ben wasn't quite so enamored with the whole thing. But, by the end, most of the theatre was laughing along which was great because it meant that mine and Brugos' constant cackling wasn't as annoying to others as we'd feared. We weren't making fun. We were genuinely enjoying the shit out of Ghost Rider. I'm excited to write my review for the work blog.

After the movie, we wandered over to the Mandarin Gate for some karaoke. We were met by Elyse. The place was pretty crowded and we were surprised to see a few hipsters in attendance. One of them sounded like Cat Power, if Cat Power sang fun songs. I felt a bit off but everyone insisted that I sounded OK. Still, I couldn't really hear myself and I was getting kind of frustrated. We left around midnight but I never did get the post-Ghost Rider high back, we Brugos and I just went home after dropping Elyse off.

SATURDAY
We spent all day getting the house in order and got SO much done. It was really nice to be so productive. After picking up some food from Taste of India, we had Andy and John over for poker. Brugos won both games. We finished the evening with some very intense Catan which we were all pretty close to winning. John pulled it out in the end.

SUNDAY
We did a little more clean up and then decided we needed to get out of the house. We were going to play some tennis, but I realised I didn't have any sneakers. I had gotten rid of my last pair because they hurt and I hadn't replaced them. Brugos suggested a trip to the mall, which I am always quick to nay say. In the end, he convinced me that we could get in and out fast and then play some tennis. So we hit the Payless at Northgate and it was, indeed, very fast. Best of all, they were having a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale on ANYTHING in the store. So I ended up with a pair of sneakers and boots for $40 and Brugos got some dress shoes and hiking boots.

We got to the tennis court around 3:30. It was raining a little bit but we managed to get about 45 minutes of play in before the wind and exhaustion got the better of us. I hadn't played tennis in about 10 years so I was, naturally, terrible. But it was very fun and I improved quite a bit during the short time we were out there. I look forward to playing more once the weather improves.

When we got home, we cooked up some dinner and then put in Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst. Neither of us knew very much about the story, but the documentary was amazing. Not only was it a fantastic story, but they had SO much actual footage of the events, and all of the tapes that the S.L.A. sent, that you really felt like you were watching the events unfold as they happened. They also interviewed the 2 members who were in prison during the kidnapping. I also had a revelation, during the movie. I didn't realize that Cecil B. Demented is basically the Patty Hearst story re-told with radical filmmakers. Cecil has been my favorite Waters movie since it was released, but now I can enjoy it on a whole new level. Waters is a genius. I also now understand why so many college kids identified with Hearst and elevated her as a hero. I wish I'd sought to learn about this story years ago.

Brad arrived just as the movie was ending, and we broke out the Catan board. We played a rousing game and finished in time to watch a TiVod BSG. I must admit that I feel like this last episode of BSG kind of jumped the space shark a little. Come on, guys. Blowing Chief and Callie out into space and catching them in a Raptor? Because apparently people CAN survive for up to a minute in space with no suit. And does a hull breach really sound like a wind storm is going on outside? I didn't think space was all that windy. But what do I know? And every year on his anniversary, Adama has to put up with the bitchy ghost of his ex-wife? The only good thing about this episode was the Lee finally got to give a rousing speech that didn't sound whiny or insolent. Otherwise, it was pretty weak.

Weekend Recap

FRIDAY

After pre-cleansing our bodies with a nice, big salad, B. and I attended a wine and cheese party at his friend's house. We were both still a bit rough-around-the-edges from having gone out the night before so we didn't last too long, but we managed to socialize till a respectable 12:45, before heading home to bed.

SATURDAY

Too much cheese + IBS = pain. I woke up in the middle of the night with my tummy not very happy with me. The problem continued to plague me throughout the day. Regardless, I was able to be out and about. We brunched at my favorite restaurant (food-wise…not as much atmosphere), The Vegetarian Bistro. The other attendees seemed dubious but agreed to try all-veg dim sum because the meat-loving B. attested to its deliciousness. They all seemed to be pretty happy with the outcome, apart from Darsh who was mortified to discover the abundance of mushrooms in everything.

Next, Andrea drove Brugos and me to the opening of the Sculpture Park. It was a lovely day and we wanted to be outside. This was the best idea we had for doing so. The park was pretty neat, but also packed with people (and guys in dog suits schilling for Target). It will be nice to go back once the fanfare has died down.

We returned to my apartment to rest and pick up some movies for Brad's DVD night. I chose 6 titles from which the group could decide at a later date.

The bus to Wallingford took forever and my stomach was not happy enough to allow me to walk very far. We finally arrived with enough time to play some Cattan before everyone else got there. Brugos cleaned up this particular island.

The Brit Boys, and Elle arrived, and later Justin and Steve and some people who's names I can't remember. We ended up officially watching “Cannibal! The Musical” and “Brain Candy” and unofficially watching parts of “Bloodrayne” and “Jaws 3” on TV. Later, I slept through most of “Bubba Ho-Tep” on TV. By then, my stomach was taking no prisoners and it hurt to move.

We thankfully got a ride home from Elle at 2am and said goodbye to the Brit Boys, who were very fun to hang out with.

SUNDAY

The medicine kicked in and I woke up with my stomach issues all but (temporarily) taken care of. I was given some great advice from Brugos' friend, however, on how to possibly cure my problem. I am starting a month-long pro-biotics/no sugar or yeast diet. It's going to be very difficult but will hopefully re-balance my system and get rid of this IBS once and for all.

ANYWHO, after breakfast and loads of sitting around, we organized a little game night with the Boobergs and the Brunswicks. We hopped on a bus to the Hill and picked up some ice cream and wine for my last meal of sorts. The Boobergs brought over some delicious brownies as well.

We played Apples to Apples, Uno and Dominoes. I had never played Dominoes, other than to set them up and knock them down. It was actually pretty fun, even though it's centered around luck-of-the-draw and quick math: two things I'm patently lousy at.

Weekend Recap – Half-Assed Edition

FRIDAY

B. and I supped at the Rendezvous and then met the Brunswicks for a screening of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. None of us had read the book which apparently has quite the cult following. We all agreed that aspects of the film were very interesting and it was beautiful to look at, but overall, it was kind of tedious. Even a film with the world's largest orgy couldn't get us excited about it. Ah well.

SATURDAY

I DDRd the breakfast calories away and then wandered around Broadway for a bit before meeting Roxy at Liberty for sushi and lemondrops (not as good as Andy's lethal lemondrops the week before).

Roxy and I then got some snacks and caught a ride to the 4A house with Jon and Emily. We caught the end of an EPIC Seahawks VS. Cowboys game on TV (which Brugos was attending) and played some poker. All night, I played better than I ever have before. I came out $2 richer in the end. Brugos showed up about an hour after the game ended. He was drunk. I was drunk. Everyone was drunk. We played Jenga. We danced. The next thing I knew, it was 1:30 and time for bed.

SUNDAY

I helped B. pack for CES by approving outfits and showing him some ironing tips. We watched more Thundercats (which we have been immersing ourselves in for a few weeks now. It's like nacho cheese. It's terrible and you KNOW it's not good for you, but you just can't stop). B. called a cab to the airport and I headed back to the Hill.

I met Erin for dinner at Polermo. I gave her her Christmas present and she gave me several terrible (but probably fun) movies including “Snakes on a Train and this movie which happens to star Paul Rudd and Stephen Dorff who are two actors I will sit through ANYTHING for. Yes!

Weekend Recap – New Years

All told, a lovely, relaxing long weekend. Happy Ought Seven!

FRIDAY

I brought some Thai food over to Meep’s and we opened Christmas presents. I got one thing that I've really needed for a while: a mortar and pestle. I also got a cute book about a hippo and a turtle who are lifelong friends, and a dancing pig i-pod speaker! It was a whole pile of adorable. Thanks, Meep!

After that, I convinced her and Scrapps to come with me downtown to meet B. and some Amazonians at the Lava Lounge. They were mid-shuffleboard tournament with (a guy who looked like) an aggro Morgan Spurlock. Brugos was wound up from 3 drinks on a empty stomach and was dancing. It was cute. Meep and Scrapps played a round versus me and Alex. I was playing better than I ever had before. It turns out, contrary to popular belief, that shuffleboard is one of those games that is easier to play when you aren't drunk. Meep had some pretty impressive shots in there as well. I would have liked to continue to play with Meep and Scrapps, but aggro Spurlock returned from smoking and demanded, since he'd won the previous game, that he be incorporated into the next game. Somehow, I ended up on his team against Alex and B. “Don't throw the game just because you're sleeping with this guy!” he yelled at me. I assured him I wouldn't. He continued to yell at me whenever B. and I would interact. He wasn't a BAD shuffleboard player, but he did mess up a few shots by being, well, aggro, and shaking the table.

We won that game, and I wanted to be on Brugos' team for the next one because, frankly, my team mate was a bit annoying. But he wouldn't let me. So we played another game, and Alex and Brugos won. I was relieved.

Meep and Scrapps’ friend arrived and we all relocated to Shorty's briefly, so that some of the Amazonians could check out the new room. B. and I played some Medieval Madness.

Thanks to Meep, I was able to talk B. out of going to Ozzie's, opting instead to try a new tiki bar called “Hula” wherein you could buy drinks served in plastic coconuts. Meep and Scrapps stayed behind at Shorty's, and the rest of us piled into a car and drove to Queen Anne.

We were met, at Hula, by the Brunswicks. It's still a relatively new place so it wasn't that crowded. The atmosphere was a little strange. It was a bit too dark in there. But, at Meep’s suggestion, I ordered the Chewbacca along with some plantain chips (which were delicious). B. got a pork sandwich. I would like to go there again one day when we're not all so tired and before it becomes overrun with Queen Anne regulars.

SATURDAY

The plan was to work our way to Brugos' via Fremont so that we could pick up the Catan game we'd left at Elyse's on Christmas Eve. We stopped at the Fluevog store downtown to see if I could utilize the gift certificate that Brugos had given me for Christmas. Turns out shoes at the Fluevog store are ridiculously expensive. They have a lot of stuff I liked, though, so I'm certain that one day I will be able to score some boots on sale. I just need to keep checking the website.

The next stop was Fremont for lunch Blue C Sushi. This is by far my favorite sushi in all of Seattle. The novelty of the conveyor belt aside, they have LOADS of veggie options (unlike Sushiland in Queen Anne) and everything is usually delicious.

Unfortunately, Elyse's phone was dead, so we were unable to get a hold of her to pick up Catan. We still managed to satiate our hankering for Settling by going to the House of Fun to play with Brad.

Eventually, we made our way back to B.’s, having walked the whole way. This walk is MUCH less daunting when you get to make stops along the way.

We made some food and then the Brunswicks arrived to play games. Since we were Catan-less, we decided, instead, to play Star Wars Monopoly. This is the same as regular monopoly except you buy the Millennium Falcon instead of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Mos Eisley Cantina instead of State Avenue. It was quite fun and it didn't last for 5 hours because of B’s way of playing. The rest of us had never traded properties before. This way, everyone can have monopolies and get started buying houses and hotels with which to ream the unlucky people who land on them. Roxy creamed us all.

We didn't feel like playing another game or going out so we finished out the night by watching The Warriors, which I also got for Christmas from my fella.

SUNDAY

We puttered around the house for a while. Eventually, we headed back to my place so I could pick up my dress for the evening. Brugos looked quite fetching himself in a black dress shirt, tie, and Punisher belt buckle. We dropped some champagne and snacks off at the Boobergs and then killed some time playing Karaoke Revolution at Brugos' before catching the bus to the 4A house. They had a lovely cheese and veggie spread waiting for us. We also helped Andy create the perfect lemon drop ratio this job got me tipsy fairly quickly. The rest of our time there went by very fast. It might have also had something to do with the tequila shots that Arsenio was doling out.

B.’s friend showed up with some guy. I talked to Jon about David Lynch and some other guy about the Sci Fi network and Dr. Who. B’s friend hit on Amy, not taking “I'm gay” for an answer. Then we all piled into Mana's car and headed to the Boobergs for the fireworks and poker.

The fireworks were kind of lackluster, but the company (and Boozer's shirt) were great. Boozer cleaned up at poker. The last game lasted for a long time. It probably had a little to do with the passing around of the Longbottom Leaf. We finally vacated the Booberg's at 3:30.

MONDAY

We woke up nice and late. After breakfast and a mini Thundercats marathon (Brugos and I have been watching Season 1. Thundercats is the most ridiculous cartoon EVER MADE. But it is also strangely addictive.) we headed back to Ravenna to Settle some more Catan with Brad. After an exhausting couple of games, Brugos and I were in need of more relaxing, so we watched Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (starring David Hasslehoff and Lisa Rena) and Tombstone on On Demand. The first, neither of us had seen. I think I enjoyed it a little bit more than Brugos did. It was appropriately silly and at LEAST as good as Fantastic 4. Brugos had never seen Tombstone before. Man, remember when Val Kilmer was talented? I'd also forgotten that Tombstone was basically a character actor yearbook. It hadn't registered that Cy Tolliver and Trixie from Deadwood were in it. And Jason Priestly, who isn't a character actor as such, but I kind of love him. I recommend a little indie film called Coldblooded in which he plays a low-key hit man. It was written and directed by Simpson's writer and Wes Anderson pal, Wallace Wolodarsky. Oh, and Tombstone also features your friend Billy Zane, who is riveting as usual.

WEEKEND RECAP

FRIDAY

I hadn't been feeling well all day due to lack of sleep and the onset of a cold. I thought perhaps I could power through the evening though. Andrew was in town and this was the only night he was available to hang out. I left work early and met Andrew, Brugos, Alex, Elyse and another Amazonian at the Nite Lite. It was lovely there. It's usually warmly lit and inviting, but they had gone all out with the Christmas decorations. Ordinarily, I find Christmas decorations gaudy, but these were tasteful, fun and made me happy. I had a couple of greyhounds and put some songs on the juke. Andrew suspected that I would give him something for Christmas (I made banana bread) so he picked me up a bizarre karate baby statuette from China Town. Love it.

When we left the Nite Lite, it was dinner time, so we went to Ohana to take advantage of the happy hour specials. I ordered a Blue Hawaiian, which was probably the beginning of the end for me. Those things are not weak. Andrew and Alex ordered the Pu-Pu Platter, which is worth mentioning because it's a PU-PU PLATTER.

Next, we met Faye and the Whiskey. Things were starting to go downhill for me at the point. I was operating on too little sleep and too much alcohol. I probably should have gone home then, but I stuck with it. And, of course, had more drinks. It was too late to stop at that point.

It was on to Shorty's…which, apparently doubled in size when we weren't looking! There was a whole other room hidden behind the pinball machines. Now it's an additional bar and more seating. And proper bathrooms with multiple stalls. Fantastic! I locked myself in one of the stalls and contemplated what I should do. Eventually, I concluded that I should leave. IMMEDIATELY. I said some hurried goodbyes and, aware that a bus trip would have been hell on earth for everyone involved, poured myself into a cab and headed to Ravenna, where my Tobe and I were spending the weekend.

I put on my jammies, drank several glasses of water, and plopped onto the couch. 10 minutes into Lost Highway, I was out. I woke up at 2:30 to a DVD menu. I should mention it was only about 10 when I got home. That's what happens when your night (that you shouldn't even be having) starts at 3pm. I drug myself upstairs and slept for another hour. When I woke up again, it occurred to me that Brugos still wasn't home, so I texted him to make sure he wasn't dead, and then went back to sleep.

SATURDAY

Oh how lovely it is to sleep in and have little to no responsibilities. I made egg nog french toast for breakfast (which didn't taste that much different than regular french toast). We sat around, watched some Carnivale Season 2, and decided what to do with our day. Brugos gave me some early Christmas presents, in case we got bored: Total Recall, T2, and the Warriors. AWESOME.

We needed to go to the grocery store and Brugos also decided he should buy the Catan game expansion for Wade. As much as it pained us, it seemed like we needed to go to…the mall. The day before Christmas Eve.

We drove the back way to the mall to avoid I-5. The parking lot was appropriately hectic. We parked in the first spot we found and walked into the food court to find me a snack. An Orange Julius (the American Mall's only saving grace) hit the spot. We then hit Toys R Us.

Their board game section was tiny. There was no Catan expansion set. There was no Catan period. Just a lot of stupid looking board games. Even then, the selection was limited. We wondered what Toys R Us sells these days if not games. I guess the kids won't play a game anymore unless it's electronic.

I called Elyse to find out where she bought Catan for Wade. She directed us to a small game store near Ballard. Since we were there already, we decided to stop at Archie McPhee's to browse for some other small gifts for people. I saw one of our trivia hosts there. Was he buying gifts for friends and family or stocking up on crap to give away at trivia?

Our last stop was the grocery store which was surprisingly calm. The Asian checker lady at the QFC by Brugos' house recognizes me and likes to tease me.

When we got back to the house, we heated up a pizza and watched some more Carnivale. A bit later, Roxy came over (Rocko was sick) and we played a rousing game of Catan followed by Scrabble. Roxy took off and we watched a little more Carnivale before going to bed.

SUNDAY

We had another leisurely morning of breakfast and watching Total Recall with the Verhoeven/Schwarzenegger audio commentary. Hilarious. Arnold constantly talks about how much fun he had making out with Sharon Stone and makes very cheesy jokes. Verhoeven always helpfully explains what's “reality” and what's the “Rekall fantasy” and how the film is constantly working on TWO LEVELS. He also likes to mention Robocop and Starship Troopers a lot. He says “Rrrrrrobocup”.

After the movie, we started cooking. I began to prepare my first of THREE puddings that I would be bringing to Elyse's Christmas Eve Pot Luck. This was not entirely intentional. I knew I wanted to make bread pudding and I also wanted to make a sweet potato dish. I happened to have a good recipe for Sweet Potato Pudding. The third dish was a box of Figgy Pudding that my mom sent me. If I didn't bring that to the pot luck, I would never eat it. So…three puddings.

Brugos watched the Seahawks game and made his cinnamon rolls which take a long time but are definitely worth it. I made several sauces including a glaze for the cinnamon rolls. I found it funny that everything I made had booze in in. No, mama wasn't sneaking sips. But it seemed like I should have been.

Tobe and Lucy were getting along fine. This means that Lucy wasn't hissing at Tobe and, in fact, they were in the same room on several occasions. Tobe, of course, is unaffected by everything. He quickly became comfortable at the house. He loves padding around and checking out the nooks and crannies. Occasionally, he'll tease Lucy by following her. I love that they both seem so comfortable. Brugos' roommate was gone for the weekend, having taken the dog with him. I think that Lucy is just glad that Tobe isn't a dog.

We finished cooking in time to shower and drive to Elyse's. We arrived to find Wade sawing away at the cooked Christmas Goose. I immediately began to simmer my spices for my experimental Mulled Sangria. I'd made Mulled Wine for Brugos' Christmas Poker Party the week before and it was tasty but virtually non-alcoholic. I guess that even without boiling, the wine had lost it's potency. So I decided to add less water, and use rum instead of brandy. It worked out quite nicely. I thought it was a tastier drink, easier to sip slowly and definitely had more of a kick.

There were many delicious dishes at the pot luck. Unfortunately, several people couldn't make it, so there was too much food. However, having too much food is certainly a holiday tradition. Borg brought some awesome mexi-egg rolls. Another guy brought some competing cinnamon rolls. Elyse's friend, Andrea, (whom she had talked about for ages but we'd never met) brought Mexican Chocolate Pudding. (Yes. MORE pudding!)

Wade made fresh goose liver patte. Obviously, I didn't try it, but it received rave reviews. I was fascinated by the goose which produced a large jar of bloody fat. Wade put the jar in the fridge. He plans to cook with it. I took a picture.

We gorged ourselves on delicious food and then sat down to watch the first of two bizarre Christmas Specials: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. I had never seen this but it was apparently a childhood tradition for both Elyse's and Andrea's families. It came out a year before I was born. Elyse and I are the same age. I loved the Muppets as a kid. Still do. I'm not sure how I missed it.

Anyway, it's a pretty rad little film. The Riverbottom Nightmare band song rocks. They sound like Spinal Tap. My favorite character was Dr. Bullfrog. He is a dapper frog who owns a restaurant. The ending was something you wouldn't see in a kids film these days: Neither Emmet or his mother win the talent competition. They are still poor. But they realise that it was the thought that counts and that love is the most important thing at Christmas time. Also, Dr. Bullfrog lets them sing at his restaurant.

After the movie, we watched the blooper reel which was hilarious. Making Muppet movies must have been the most amazing job ever.

Next, we got appropriately fuzzy headed and put in the Star Wars Holiday Special. Elyse had seen it before at my house with the sound off. I was the only one who had seen the whole thing with audio. It's probably the most fucked up hour and a half of network television in history. The best part of the copy I have is that it still has most of the commercials. Commercials in 1978 (the year of my birth) were SO MUCH DIFFERENT than they are now. They are full of blue-color Americans eating McDonalds and talking about their jobs at the auto factory. Women buy panty hose and sing about looking for the Union Label. Whirlpool has a serious ad featuring a soaring bald eagle that talks about how important it is to them that they provide quality products to America. Every jingle is original, not a co-opted pop song. The only celebrity in the ads was Reggie Jackson selling his candy bar. Commercials may seem irritating to us now, but they really are a snapshot of America during the time they occurred air. With TiVo gaining so much popularity, we won't have this for much longer.

It's hard for me to talk about the special itself. It's just…something else. The best part is Bea Arthur. She owns the Mos Eisley Cantina and sings a song to get her patrons to leave. Did you know the song in the Mos Eisley Cantina had lyrics? So does the main Star Wars theme. An obviously coked-out Cary Fisher sings that one. Harrison Ford looks like he wants to die. mark Hammil looks like he's been hanging out too much with Cary Fisher. Most of the special is Chewbacca's family hanging out, speaking Wookie and hitting things. There are no subtitles. They are just speaking Wookie. It's astounding.

After the Special, we talked about the commercials. Borg and Andrea took off and the remaining 5 broke out the Catan expansion set. We played a very good game in which Wade took us all by surprise. Around this time, I was feeling pretty crappy. I had been sneezing all day but it was escalating since I'd been out of the house. Brugos and I left around midnight.

MONDAY

Christmas! I woke feeling pretty fuzzy headed and stuffy. We made breakfast and set about opening gifts. Brugos' parents gave me a necklace with a black pearl pendant. It's very pretty. I wish I was more inclined to wear jewelry. I will wear it on New Years Eve.

Brugos gave me a gift certificate to a shoe store in which I'd remarked about the shoes in the window. This was a very thoughtful gift. I need some new casual boots that aren't wintery. The boots I'd seen in the window of the store were really cool but they were high heeled. Hopefully they will have something similar that won't send me falling to my death.

I gave Brugos his favorite movie of all time, a book and some other stuff.

We sat around in our jammies and watched more Carnivale. Not sure why we're continuing with the Carnivale. The creator had planned a 6 season story arc. He learned too late that the show was canceled and wasn't able to tie up anything. We are asking for a lot of dangling story lines. It will be like watching TV's Lost but with better actors.

It was a beautiful day so we decided to go for a walk. I was feeling pretty ill still so we couldn't go too far, but the fresh air did feel nice in my lungs.

We got back to the house and watched some more Carnivale before heading out to pick up Gene and go to the Rickshaw. It was very crowded. The bar was full of serious-looking blue collar types and, for some reason, rockabilly folks. The karaoke host apparently brought a large group of friends out. We got our songs in early but still had to wait till after midnight to sing our second numbers. This may have been the biggest crowd I've ever sang too. Brugos and I decided to do songs we knew well on account of the caliber of talent in the room. Everyone looked like they would be too cool for karaoke and then would get up and rock it. All but one guy who was either being the most ironic man on Earth or else didn't know that striped cable knit sweaters, white jeans and bushy mustaches were SO NOT SEXY. (Well, bushy mustaches can be sexy, but not on that guy, and certainly not in conjunction with the outfit). He pissed off the host by messing with her sound board. She cut him off and banned him from singing.

Gene was awesome with T-Rex and Blue Oyster Cult. Brugos did “China Girl” (which is probably his best song) and Cult of Personality. I did Build Me Up Buttercup and I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone. A bald, tattooed man spoting an ungodly amount of eyeliner sang Jeff Buckley. He sounded beautiful. It was an evening full of surprises like that.

I wasn't feeling great so we left immediately after Gene sang his last song. Gene stayed on with his lady friend.

T'was a good Christmas. Mostly because it didn't feel like Christmas. If all holidays were like that, I could really get into them.

NEXT WEEKEND: New Years Eve. What I'm doing is a mystery.

Weekend Recap

FRIDAY

Friday was somewhat of a trying day. It started at work with a bunch of issues I won't get into right now. But after, I met Brugos, Elyse, Meep and Ben at Bill's for a quick beer/meal before Crispin Glover's movie/slide show/lecture. I don't know what's been happening to that place but the service and the food have been steadily declining over the last couple of years.

My honey mustard dressing, previously considered by me to be the best in the city, tasted like water. My quesadillas were pretty dry too. Ben said his tortellini was pretty bland as well. It took Meep 20 minutes to get a beer even though the waitress actually passed our table 7 times. Also, her attitude (the waitress') was generally poor. It's a bummer because when Bill's had good food and a nice waitress, it was one of the Hill's gems, since you could always get a table, even at 11:00 on a Saturday night.

Anywho, Meep and Ben went to get in line at the Broadway Performance Hall whilst Elyse, Brugos and I went to grab some contraband for the movie. We got to the theatre just before they started letting people in. The theatre is small (ish) but it was packed. Although, it was NOT the crowd I was expecting. For some reason, I was expecting a bunch of freaky goth kids. Instead, I got Seattle's Most Pretentious Film goers. I would have preferred the goths. Listening to the conversations that people were having around us was somewhat excruciating. Also, there was no food and drink allowed in the theatre, so it was impossible to utilize our contraband.

Crispy came out with little fanfare, and started his slide show, in which we theatrically read to us from his “books” and accompanied the performance with slides of the pages. He creates his “books” by finding obscure public domain books and blacking out certain words, manipulating the pictures, pasting in his own pictures, and drawing and writing in the margins. In some cases, little manipulation is necessary to reach the desired result: strange-ass stories. I own the ones that can be purchased from his website. My favorite of the night, called “Round My House”, is sadly, not available for purchase. It sounded a bit like the first-person narration of a Dostoevsky character. I personally enjoyed the slideshow, but it did seem to run a little long. This ended up being a theme of the night. Continue reading

Weekend Recap

FRIDAY

As soon as I could leave work (5:15), I hopped on a bus to Ravenna to help Brugos set up for the party. He was supposed to have left work at 3:30 and so, when he wasn't at his house, I assumed he was at the store or something, and well into his preparations. I let myself in and set about look at pictures of bruises on google for my costume. When he got back around 6, he was kind of stressed out. I guess he had left work pretty late and had gotten nothing done. So I tried to be as helpful as I could by doing a little decorating and fetching us dinner. It all worked out in the end. The karaoke machine arrived around 7:30 and the first guests about an hour later. By 11, the place was packed. About half of the guests were people I didn't know (and many of them, apparently, were also strangers to Brugos). There was much singing and dancing and making out. It was every bit the rager. Elyse and Wade's Fraggle costumes were adorable. Brugos looked quite good as Al Swearengen. Apparently, my bruise makeup was pretty realistic because Rocko thought I'd actually been battered. Meep was sexy as an undercover assassin. Things got a little out of control for a while. Someone drank all of my vodka. There was some crying. At one point, apparently, Matt's (Brugos' roommate) dog bit a crazy girl in the nose. Brugos and I began to slack on the DJing and strangers struggled to opperate the machine, so we heard a couple of songs twice. Around 3:00, a group of people no one knew, yet who were among the last to leave, began to sing the entire Beastie Boys catalog. It was then that I realised I don't like the Beastie Boys. Brugos exacerbated his bruised rib by attempting to do The Worm. Eventually, the strangers left and Brugos and I were just about to go to bed when one of his co-workers and a guy in a poncho came in from the back yard. They quickly exited the front door. We probably should have made sure that the last few people who left were ok to drive, but we just wanted to go to bed. It was a fun party, to be sure, but Brugos declared that it was the last one he would ever throw. This is probably an overstatement, but I could see his point.

SATURDAY

We stayed in bed for as long as possible so as to prolong dealing with the wreck downstairs. Eventually, hunger forced us out the door. The scene at Cafe Racer was surreal as usual. This time, however, it was not the owner, but the clientèle that was making with the weirdness. A fey bald man in sunglasses and a trench coat came in with his straggly, vaguely homeless looking companion and ordered a drink with 3 shots. The owner attempted to explain that they brew double shots and so if he wanted the extra shot, he could have it. While this was clear to everyone listening, it was not clear to the bald man. “You are not understanding me. I would like THREE shots,” he demanded. The owner once again explained that he could have his 3, but there would be a 4th that would go unclaimed unless he wanted it in his drink. “I would like THREE shots. Do you understand what I am telling you, Cochise?” said the man. Yes, really. Cochise. “And my friend here would like a cookie.” As the owner prepared the coffee for the companion, he asked the bald man how he was enjoying his coffee with the THREE shots, he replied “I have not yet TRIED my coffee. I am standing here waiting to pay you.” Good lord. There was also a strange exchange between a Husky football player and the vagrant companion about origami. I didn't hear it as I was still listening to the bald man be bitchy, but Brugos said the vagrant hilariously repeated himself in his explanation of the concept. “It's about paper and folding and zen and your soul and paper and your soul and folding.” If I believed in that sort of thing, I would suspect that Cafe Racer actually existed in an alternate dimension.

Our bellies full, we walked back to the house, picking up the keg cups and bits of Fraggle costume that had made their way to the end of the block. We then plowed into the cleaning. Several trips to the recycling bin and several of Brugos' declaration about never having a party again later, we had actually made some headway. We took a few songs breaks (until the machine was taken away) and one ANTM break so that I could confirm that Fabio is indeed the creepiest”sex symbol” alive. We were done with all but mopping by 2:00, at which time Brugos had plans to go to the Husky game and I had a meeting to attend.

I was supposed to meet Brugos back in the U.D. for dinner, so I decided to leave the Hill early in an attempt to avoid the Husky traffic. I wandered around a little bit and checked out Tiger Tiger. I've always wanted to go in there but avoided it since I loathe shopping unless it's under very specific circumstances…like time killing by myself. After that, I got an Irish coffee at Flowers and read until Brugos called to say the game was in overtime and that I should meet him at his friend Joey's house. I wandered up to Joey's and hung out with her and her Chihuahua brood until the boys returned from the game. We got some Mexican takeaway and played the new Marvel game for X-Box (which was pretty fun) until it was time to go to the House of Fun party. We made a decision early on that we didn't feel like bothering to dress up again. We're not really sure why, but people kept asking us why we “changed our costumes”. Umm…this is actually just what we look like. But thanks!

The scene at the H.o.F. was kind of weird. We didn't really know that many people there besides Elyse and Wade (I guess Brugos' friends showed up later) so instead we decided to go back to Ravenna with Brad and his girl to smoke and play Catan. That sounds awfully nerdy in print. I was glad we did it though. I didn't feel physically hung over but I was definitely emotionally wrecked. Partying is hard work, dudes.

SUNDAY

We spent a leisurely morning eating leftover curry and watching BSG. Then Brugos and I raked leaves in his backyard. When I was a kid, I loathed yard work. I would probably feel differently if it was something I HAD to do, but in this case, I actually enjoyed it.

After showering, we went out in search of nachos, only to find many bars closed. I found out today that it was due to power outages. It was certainly bastardly windy yesterday so in retrospect it makes sense. We finally found nachos (and a fireplace! and football for the lad) at Dante's. We had a lovely chat and Brugos beat me twice at air hockey.

Then we returned to the Hill to watch a little Angel before heading to Scrapper's to watch brilliant b-movie/gay porn horror film LEECHES! on his giant TV. Dudes. Leeches! Netflix it now.

When I was a kid, I also hated Sundays. Now, I love them.

NEXT WEEKEND: Crispy and PTLD!

Also: Halloween pics forthcoming.