Saturday, July 29, 2006

JACKSON, MI--Stand-alone condos are da bomb. My aunt and uncle took me on a driving tour of several of the structures--imagine having a house with three bedrooms, a cellar, glass panels on the garage door, ample garage and parking space and a lush green lawn...without having to do any lawnmowing, exterior maintenance, interior maintenance, painting, repairs or anything else encompassing work beyond a minimal screwdriver-twist. There's the stand-alone condo. No wall-to-wall neighbors. No shared common property. Your own mailbox at the driveway end.

The catch? About half a million, give or take.

Off to Jackson's hosting of Midsummer Night's Dream.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I think the Man of Steel would approve. cartoons. Not for those with a right-wing frame of mind.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Another freaking Styx concert.

You'd think an hour north to pick Tso's worthless butt up, another hour and a half north to Milwaukee's Summerfest, twenty minutes finding an ATM, another ten minutes parking the car and twenty minutes walking just to hit a wall of sweaty suburbanites making a mass exodus to soak up plastic bottles of domestic beer and buy ridiculously overpriced legs of meat to gnaw on would be something I'd be just as apt to do as seeing how many of my fingernails I could yank out before passing out.

But then, when Styx is in the bargain, that's a different thing altogether.

Crowd: insane. Sound: okay, except we couldn't get close enough to hear it the way it's mean to be heard. Lineup: the same songs for the most part. They still rock, except when the hell did JY Young start singing "Crystal Ball"? And no guest performance this time? I'm insulted.

No, Styx, unlike much of life, does not dissapoint. But the crowd often does.

I saw more fourteen-year-olds chainsmoking and texting each other from ten feet away than I would care to count. It made me sick, and I said so. Tso tried to remind me that both annoying/stupid habits were habits I either had for years, or still have today, but what the hell does he know? He works in a paper company, for God's sake. I'm surprised it hasn't blown away yet.

I saw plenty of potbellied middle-aged men with their overly-painted-in-makeup wives and halfwitted tagalong neighbors cluttering up space in the concert hall that could more advantageously been taken up with...I don't kegs? Strippers? Empty space for me to stretch my legs out in?

One group spent ten minutes interrupting a significant chunk of "Angry Young Man" and "The Grand Illusion" with an animated conversation about the Milwaukee Brewers. They all had those ridiculous Chicagoland mustaches that Chris Farley, et al made famous back in the nineties in those Saturday Night Live concerts. I wondered if I were overreacting when I contemplated ripping the mustaches off them and feeding them to their wives (who apparently only knew the chorus to each and every Styx song, judging by volume, enthusiasm and slurred vocal performances). I quickly decided, nope, no overreacting here.

And when the band broke into their encore performance of "Renegade," I was pulling a Frank Costanza, yanking on Tso's sleeve and pointing towards the exit. "Come on!" I bawled while Tommy Shaw was droning on about a great audience and the beer capital of the world. "We can still beat traffic!"

Well, Shaw will forgive me. Such disrespect in front of the masters will anger any ardent disciples.

So: that's Styx and the Cult in one calendar year. Sweet. Somebody tell the Black Keys or Big Head Todd to make an appearance before August, and I'll be content.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

What kind of friend (who shall remain nameless) meets you at a bar (which shall remain unstated), lets you buy a round of beers (the brands of which shall be omitted), and then lets you drink one after he notices a film of soap in the head?

An ijit friend, that's what.

An interesting forty-eight hours, friends and neighbors. Any water I swallowed went south immediately. Big bubbles of what I can only assume were soap bubbles swelled up in my gut and intestines; I must have made the walls shake on at least three occasions trying to get rid of them. And in case you're wondering, five running steps to the bathroom to take care of all of this business was only a barely tolerable distance.

The good news: the delirium and dehydration allowed me to enjoy two straight hours of Not Another Teen Movie. Or maybe that's the bad news, who the hell knows?

What a way to celebrate the Fourth, I tell ya.