Monday, March 30, 2009

The Wreck of the Eleanor Roosevelt

Some Friday night mayhem as we're joined by Leroy, Eickhoff & Mitch. As usual when this crew gets together things have a tendancy to spiral wildly out of control. The plan is to hit up Parrots, then head down towards Diversey and knock Matisse, Firkin & Pheasant, and others off the list. The plan didn't exactly work.

We did hit up the basement bar Parrots, and as usual it's quiet and not busy at all. The NCAA games are on, there's 2 guys playing the worst game of darts ever, and Eickhoff invents some billards game that all 5 of us can play ("We all have 3 balls"). This game seems completely made up and we had to change the rules in order for it to actually end so we could leave this place prior to entering a deep depression. Eickhoff also tells us a story about the girl he once broke up with who then threw a book at him across the room. He had a Dubya-esque dodge as if she were throwing a shoe at him. We all guess what book it might've been, consensus is that it was probably The Lorax because that seems right up his alley.

So here's where the plan doesn't get put into action...we stop next at Jake's, one of our favorite bars in the area. Jake's is a bar that deserves it own night, so we stayed here the rest of the night listening to great music (New Pornographers, Art Brut, Pixies), laughing at Eickhoff's "Sweet hoppy hopps" singalong, and dangerously ordering rounds of drinks with increasingly higher alcohol content (Burning River, Delerium Tremens, Bells HopSlam!). The fabulous bartending team of Kristin & Joanna provide us with a round of shots, the night escalates. A desire not to lose my friendships prevents me from writing much else.

Eickhoff: Whats that other beer they have that's the name of a person? I hate that one.
Kyle: Who are you talking about?
Eickhoff: Great Lakes Brewing. I think it's Eleanor Roosevelt.
Kyle: Edmund Fitzgerald?
Eickhoff: Yeah, that one.

The photos from tonight are all terrible, so here's a picture of pre-Shamrock Shuffle misery.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It is quite possible we are too awesome

As the 907, we traded in our keyboards and MacBooks for microphones and charisma.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Future is Uranium

aka, "In This Post Kyle Writes Badly About Music"

No real bar updates here...we might actually be done for March already. This past weekend I was sick sick sick and Rick was checking out the Windy City Rollers. Hence, no bar hopping.

What we did do, though, is head over to The Vic (technically a liquor serving location, very close to our residence) on Wednesday night to check out both Matt & Kim and Cut Copy. Also on the live music front this past week...I was at the Handsome Furs show @ The Empty Bottle on the Sunday around St Pats. So lets hear it for live music, w00t.

I've added back the iLike playlist over here (hopefully it doesn't crash servers again) --> Nevermind, it still doesn't work. If you want to hear the songs I wrote about go here and listen to them all:
Selected Songs:

Matt and Kim -- 5k
This young twenty-something duo of bfgf Matt and Kim are possibly the most maniacally happy people you've ever seen playing music together. Matt on the keys and vocals, Kim grinning like a lunatic and pounding out the beats. It's impossible to watch them without smiling. This track is about track, so of course i'm going to like it.

Cut Copy -- Hearts on Fire
The only thing holding this band back from superstardom is stage presence. The music is top notch dancepunkelectro80sthrowbacknewwave, the crowd loves it, and the band...well the band almost seemed like they were just going through the motions for much of the show. Sounds great though.

Handsome Furs -- Radio Kaliningrad
Dan Boeckner, member of Wolf Parade, also runs this smaller side project with his recent wife Alexei. I've seen them live 3 times now, and I don't think I've ever seen a band react as endearingly and positively to the crowd as they do. Alexei dances around with one leg in the air while hitting minimal keys and messing with knobs on the drum machine. Dan tears apart his guitar and repeats lines over and over, lines that in other hands wouldn't seem to carry the same gravitas as when he signs them. The song ends, the band literally seems geniunely flattered when the crowd erupts, and these two goofy kids on stage just grin at each other. Deal with the noise intro on this song and listen to the rest of it.

Surf City -- Headin' Inside
This is very very new. Be one of the cool kids on your block and adapt early.

Neko Case -- This Tornado Loves You
As if her voice weren't already a force of nature, in this song Neko puts herself in the position of a tornado madly in love with a person. Destruction follows, you know what they say about a woman tornado scorned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You Dress Up For Armageddon

The doubleshot of Pi day & St Pats deserves a somewhat live blog from AliveOne (several days late)

1:55 Kyle is the first person at the bar. I fear these troubled economic days we live in will impact Chicago's st pats celebration. Thankfully my worries are not met.
2:30 One Great Lakes Irish Ale down...the bar is slowly filling up with spill from other locales, and the full trolleys from the parade are beginning to return to the neighborhood.
2:43 4 people, too drunk to stand, are denied entry into aliveOne. Everyone in the vicinity of the doorway has a good laugh.
3:04 Tim & Annie arrive!
3:10 Annie, to Tim, "I've never thought that you were NOT a jackass."

3:27 Ricky, fresh off a subdued brunch, arrives ready to wreck house.
3:38 ChaCha confirms the movie Kramer saw with a woman in a coma was "The Other Side Of Darkness"
4:13 Somehow Rick materializes a muffin and begins to eat it.
4:21 In reference to the 'bro' at the bar and his friends, one of us says, "those guys all look like rapists"
4:25 We place $1 bets on who will be next to arrive -- Selfy, Kari, Eickhoff or Joe. Knowing Joe will be arriving with the perpetually late Jamie, only Annie chooses Joe. Of course...
4:37 Annie wins $3

4:47 Costello & Crew show up. I think about ordering 4 waters for them, but decide only one of them really needs it.

5:26 quote Eickhoff, "Everytime my friend Matt took a shot his nipples would get hard." We're all afraid to ask.
5:35 Lewis Black has a bit about brain aneurysms happening when you overhear something that makes no sense, it rattles around in your head until you give up making heads or tails of it and your brain simply explodes. His example, "If it hadn't been for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college." Not quite as good as his line, but we overhear the end of a drunk conversation concluding with, "..., Sarah Palin, and then you."

After aliveOne, we get 2 pizzas to go from Eduardo's, play Tetris at the apartment, hit up Baby Atlas for a bit (we'll be back here again, giving this bar the full treatment it deserves). Then it's off to Trader Todd's.

One of the original ideas of EBONY was to participate in whatever a specific bar is known for. In this case, as is also referenced in Rick's post below, Trader Todd's has karaoke. Because I can't seem to convince any of my musically inclined friends to start a Hives cover-band with me, I have to settle for the Karaoke version. Rick and I give that place a stomping they've never seen before.

Later, I perform my interpretation of Spingsteen's "Secret Garden", which no one but me seems to enjoy (as evidenced by the loud boos I receive for the duration of this song). Afterwards the DJ lectures the audience about being a bad crowd. Suckers!

Rick mentions this below, but there really is a video of our Hives show. Whenever our friends from Seattle send it to us we'll have it up here.

Cities of Emerald

Since my memory is foggy and left my notebook at home for our Chicago St. Patrick's day of afternoon boozing, I'll leave the full recap to Kyle. Basically we (and by we, Kyle gets the most credit for showing up an hour before me) opened up AliveOne and nearly shut it down. AliveOne is perfect on St. Paddie's day as it is practically right at the corner of Little Dublin at Diversey and Halsted, which is home to such Irish establishments as Durkins, Harrigans, Trinity, and Hidden Shamrock. We purposely avoid these places on this greatest of holidays and rely on the people watching of fights, break-ups, throwing up, and passing out. A large contingent of Chuck, Annie, Costello and his extremely inebriated posse, Selfy and his sister, and Carrie join us here. This led to too much to describe. The highlight of the EBONY team this evening was hitting up Trader Todd's (after we stopped at Matilda and Baby Atlas) and eventually getting to do a duet of "Hate to Say I Told You So" by The Hives. Kyle and I perfect our Howlin' Pelle impersonations and dominated the crowd. Fortunately we were able to document this on video in which will post here shortly. Kyle on his Hives high, tried to bring back the thunder by singing "Secret Garden" and he was eventually boo'ed off stage.
For a new game today, lets play guess who sent the text message on the all day drinking fest known as St. Patrick's day. The eligible pool is me, Franzen, Hall, Adam, and Costello:

"dude. at most a move of human sacrifice"
'YinZ at alive one?"
"Shrimp fried rice...shrimp fried rice. moo shu sho pork"
"Fuck you coich"
"You're mom"
"Roscoe village//-/cal you if rleabe i"
"Still. Come out axl rose"
"Blow a penises"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

White Light, White Heat, White Trash

Another Thursday night adventure for EBONY. I get home around 7:30, having run after work, then head over to Patsy's Place to meet up with Rick, Adam & Sonny. They've all had waay more to drink than I have (zero).
Adam destroys everyone at darts despite his inability to hit the bullseye (he had everything closed before I had more than 1 number closed). We talk to the bartender & owner about EBONY's 2009 mission, they offer us encouragement and buy us a round of shots.

Next up, Adam & Sonny ditch us for some reason to go drink at Prost!, which is a terrible decision on their part. Rick and I head across the street to The Home Tavern, which is roughly 20x more scummy than Rose's, which I didn't think was possible. Potato the Dog holds court here, and his family runs the place. It's empty except for us. Rick buys me 2 shots so I can get caught up, captured horribly on video over on the facebook group page.

We decide to knock off another gay bar tonight, but not before stopping into Big City Tap on the way. This would be only the second time I've been to Big City prior to 2am. Also of note, I have never found a trip to this bar to be worthwhile. Apparently it's White Trash night here. First, the bartender doesn't know what "312" is after I order 2 of them (right there, the 3 tap from the right, the one with the phone on it, and it says 312). He walked around the bar twice before asking me again what it was that I wanted.
We grab a table by the front, entertained by Cheddar Bob and his motley crue of social misfits. The tall, skinny, tattooed friend of his tries to hit on the pierced waittress by telling her about the 3 gunshot wounds he has, and tells her he can give her more tattoos. He then shows her his latest tattoo, on his shin, which is a picture of his fingers holding open his eye.

I'd like to get off my high horse for a minute and not judge these people, but then another one comes walking over to us, and I literally tried to write down exactly what he said to us immediately after he walked away. This is what I wrote:
"When I was 8 years old my dad gave me crap about eating Taco Bell while he had two porterhouse's on the grill. Now you eat Taco Bell and you have diarrhea for 8 months. Anyway, this is my dad's home. When he asks you to do something, you do it. Don't look over here, (at this point he places something into the large bag at the table next to us) this is where we keep the body parts."

So yeah, we left.

We stop into Spin Club so we can get it out of the way. Two Leine's 1888 Bocks are ordered, and our Bartender hits on the single man sitting to my left. This place has what seems like 16 different rooms and would be a good setting for a horror movie where you can never figure out how to get out. We head downstairs and witness about 5 minutes of a transvestite song & dance review. All in a day's work.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Gonna Take Patience and Money

Quick Reminder -- Saturday 3/14 is the all-day annual visit to AliveOne. Join us. By all day, I mean I'll be there at 2, and I'll leave well after I should've.

Hemingway was once challenged to write a 6-word short story, and he considered his output to be one of the better things he wrote. "For Sale: Baby Shoes, never worn."

WIRED magazine once ran a feature seeking 6 word submissions from writers within the horror, sci-fi, & fantasy realms, etc. Alan Moore has a pretty good entry with, "Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time"

For no reason other than the creative challenge, I've written a handful to recap our experiences at some of the bars we've visited so far this year. Gold Star to the first person who can peg the significance of this entry's title.

Bar Celona -- "Adam denied, should've ordered fruity drink."

Brendan's Pub -- "Cromulent? Try pretentious, confused hack."

Buffalo Wild Wings -- "Gotta Be Here! You, not us."

Cubby Bear -- "Intersection: Sport, Commerce, Greed -- find Hell"

Darkhorse Tap -- "First Round Loss…Again. Questioning Loyalty"

Exedus II -- "Reggae doesn't subscribe to Thursday night"

Goose Island -- "Low turnout (Election - not the party)"

Hydrate -- "Dance glancing upwards to avoid surprises"

Matilda -- "Should've left at 9:30. Instead…2"

Paddy Long's -- "Irish? German? Eccentric not an Ethnicity"

Redmond's -- "Wisconsin Bar Anti-PBR? Get Bent."

Risque CafĂ© -- "Seeking: Regular Customers. Apply Within…please!"

Scarlet -- "Since burned down. One stop wasted."

Trinity -- "Why'd we leave? Damn this mission."

Victory Liquors -- "Boxing for meatheads. Testosterone Factory. Avoid."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Love is a Number

We all know that 77% of all statistics are made up, and being a statistician myself, I got the idea to potentially start a running column called 'Inside the Numbers', a highlight of our weekend excursions thru the world numbers. We'll see how this goes.

19 (x3), 20, Bulls eye - Kyle's winning toss as your EBONY crew beat Chuck and Malmo in the 907 dart throwing contest

15 - number of stuffed animals on the walls at Will's Northwoods Inn, my personal favorite was the stuffed cougar

7 - percent alcohol in the round of Matilda's that put our evening in a whirlwind

6 - dollars spent on 6 cheeseburgers Kyle and I dominated at Wellington

5 - # of times Malmo complained about how awful the Matilda was, then again he is a fan of Coors

3 - number of dogs we've seen at a bar this year, our third was Saturday afternoon at Will's and we believe his name is Gorilla

2 - number of Pineapple cocktails Tiede ordered at Bungalow - lame

1 - round I would draft Osiris Eldridge in the NBA draft next year

0 - number of smiles we got from our least favorite waitress at Fearons, and the number of times we had a cab driver play Kabaddi with us (some day it will happen)

Off topic, but equally funny is direct quote I got in a email from a well known coach in Chicago after I told him about my stress fracture in my shin: "That would seem to limit the wisdom of running, wild dancing and other extremes of debauchery." Well played sir.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

A day full of torrential downpours and we decide to knock off a handful of the neighborhood bars hidden on streetcorners to the West of our apartment. First stop, Will's Northwoods Inn. We've been there once before, and the guy we played pool with on our first visit was also present for the second one. He doesn't remember us, probably because he lives there and the memories bleed together when they're all the same. If you've seen the How I Met Your Mother episode with the Minnesota Bar, well that's pretty much what this joint is, except for Wisconsin. They've got a giant fishtank in the front window and whoever decorated the place is a fan of taxidermy...this is clearly a bar with character. Hearing MGMT songs was a little weird considering the locale.

We order a couple of Broken Arrows, realize this is the 3rd bar we've been to this year that had a dog walking around inside, and wait for former 907 member Malmo to drive down from the 'burbs. We're glad he joined us, he's got a handful of timely quotes making the entry this week.

Next up...we thought we were headed to Witt's but we weren't sure exactly where it was, so we end up at Wellington instead. They've got shuffleboard in here and we planned on saving this bar for later, but oh well. Burgers are on special for $1, Rick and I each had 3.
Malmo only had one because on his ride down he had a double filet-o-fish, large fries, 2 apple pies, and a Shamrock Shake...Disgusting.
We had five beers and seven burgers, our total bill was $31...Amazing. (Jason: "and they weren't even Coors!")

The table next to us brought their own 2 liter of coke and were mixing it with the Jack they were ordering...Strange.
Any bar experience that includes Guinness and Biz Markie can't be a bad one. I schooled Rick and Jason on the correct order for telling the various animal walks into a bar jokes (ftr, it's Horse, Grasshopper, Bear, Parrot, Whale).

Then we head over to Fearon's for a larger "former members of the 907 reunion" -- Leroy, Malmo, Rick & Kyle. According to Jason, "it smells like meat & potatoes in here". I think our waitress was physically incapable of smiling. We tested this theory by being as witty and clever as possible, results weren't entirely clear.

Retired Steeplechasers

Heading north we cross Belly's off the list. This was the first time I'd gone to Belly's by my own choosing...previous visits here were the result of girls. It's completely empty, we throw darts. I killed the opposition with a toss of Triple 19, 20 and Double Bullseye to win the game.

Next up is a quick visit to Fizz and a round of Goose Island Matildas. We would soon pay the consequences for drinking such a strong beer this late in the game.

Second to last stop, we return to the Pony Inn because we enjoyed it so much last time. It's crowded again, and the 907 reunion grows with the arrival of Selfy and professional couch-surfer Tiede. Worlds collide as one of my coworkers is here and Rick tells her all about the EmptyBlogOfNothing. A Kyle divided against himself cannot stand!

Last stop...Bungalow Lounge. Craig orders a pineapple cocktail, as if we needed another reason to make fun of him.

ChaCha response of the evening: After I used ROFLCOPTER in a sentence Rick and Jason wanted to know what the heck that was. Thanks to ChaCha for providing us with the origin (ROFLCOPTER means you are laughing so hard that you start to spin in your chair). Maybe next week we'll cover LOLLERSKATES.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Everyone You Forgot, Everything That You Need, Everybody's Gonna Make it to the Cemetary

3/3/09...Square Root Day and more importantly the special primary election in the race to replace Rahm here in IL-5. Essentially this was the entire race -- the 6th place finisher in the Dem primary had as many votes as the total Republican turnout, and the Green Party winner came up with less than 2 bills to win his JV division. Quigley and the Dems should wreck house in April's actual election.

Rick and I headed up to Charlie Wheelan's election night party at Goose Island for a couple of reasons 1) no on wants to have a party and not have people show up; 2) we liked pretty much everything this political outsider had to say during the campaign.

February's champion 3rd wheel of EBONY, Adam, joined us yet again and would provide the stupidest line I heard all day. Yes, he managed to overshadow the election judge in my precinct who didn't know the alphabet and looked for my last name, beginning with "Mc", in the A-L binder. Yes, he also managed to top the person in line at the Goose Island buffet behind me who saw the beer list and said, "I can't believe that! Why would they name a beer India Pale Ale? The water quality in India is horrible." So what then did Adam say? You would think that after visiting doubledigit bars with us last month he'd have a pretty good idea of our likes/dislikes. Adam's winning entry, coming during a quiet moment at Goose Island, "so, do you guys watch One Tree Hill?"

Anyway, Charlie didn't win, which in the end is okay. He was grateful to his volunteers & supporters and mentioned had he not been running that eventual winner Mike Quigley would've gotten his vote. Coincidentally...Quigley's party was 2 doors down at Red Ivy. We stopped over there for drinks and Rick ended up involved in confrontations about visibly supporting candidates other than the one throwing the party...which led to some interesting discussions with Quigley supporters about public service, volunteering, and something apparently called "election sex".

Overall turnout was predictably low -- and seriously Chicago: Our governor was impeached, we just elected a President that many people hope will maintain a level of transparency in goverment, our Mayor is involved in daily corruption whispers, our junior senator has been asked to resign due to allegations surrounding his appointment, and our county board president is a worthless product of nepotism. So what do we do during an important election that gives us a say in our future, and allows us an opportunity to participate in the democracy that makes our country great? What do we do? We fail to show up. Looks like interest in politics is confined to one polarizing office. Lets do better, people.

Switching from the very important to the frivolous, our Facebook group is up to 98 members! Almost as many as voted for Green Party Primary Winner Matt Reichel. Lets see if we can get more members than he got votes (roughly 160ish) before the actual election in April. Get on it, STREET TEAM!

The EBONY February Recap will be up one of these days...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Olympic Airwaves

First off, we would like to apologize if the blog forced your IE to crash. Apparently the iLike music app was the issue and we have since deleted it. Hopefully we'll find a way to bring the tunes back here soon.

As far as the weekend, EBONY had a productive and time. We only crossed one bar off the list, but the main reason for that was we celebrated Selfy's birthday on Friday in his hood. Eickoff apparently has no work to do on Friday's as he created an elaborate spreadsheet for him, Kyle, I, Selfy and Timmy to compete in a 5 game (ping-pong, shuffleboard, billiards, darts, and naked photo hunt) round-robin team Beer Olympic tournament. On paper this was an easy accomplishable goal, but just like Communism, it was harder in practice. Ping-pong went down easily at the Happy Village. Selfy and I tied for lead after game 1, with both us winning 3 of 4 games. The Happy Village is great. You feel like you are drinking in your parent's basement and the fridge is full of Hamm's. Yes, we were drinking Hamm's. Aside from when I was down in Champaign, the only time I've ever had Hamm's was when we were in PDX for H2C and at the end of a long night of drinking (mind you, the night before the race) Chenoweth and I go to the bar and ask the bartender is they have anything worse than Hamm's. We proceeded to knock down a round of Olympia.

The Boundary was next for Shuffleboard. I've never played Shuffleboard before, but I feel I held my own for it being my first time. The 2 Tim's excelled at this game and pretty much everyone except Kyle was still in the running for the crown. In between games, a 40-some year old women approached Eickoff and I and kept telling us how much she loved our red hair. She claims she used to have red hair, but her 10 year old son told her to dye it blond. She was hammered. Eickoff tried to convince her that we are going extinct and that she should bring the red hair back and try to make some ginger children to keep the race alive. Apparently this isn't possible though because she says she doesn't have a uterus anymore. Touche random lady.
Next was Gold Star for some billiards. This was pathetic. We are all horrible. We were getting blank stares from the regulars for us to finish our games . I'm surprised we made it out alive. From what I remember, Bell's and Rogue was on special and this completely tipped us over the edge. I think I lost all 4 games of pool, and the first two came from me scratching on the 8-ball.

Tim convinced us that we should hop in a cab to Floyd's to play some darts. This was a horrible idea as we just had one beer there and left. From then on, it was just Kyle, I, Selfy and Eickoff. We went down to Mother's and made the most of it. Nothing special. The highlight was seeing this other older women try to convince Eickoff he should go out with her daughter. The 40+ crowd was all over Eickoff tonight. We finished at Chi-Town Pizza and called it a night.

Saturday we went up to the Music Box to see Gomorrah. We heard amazing reviews of this Italian film and we just thought it was pretty, pretty, pretty good. I can't do the synopsis any justice right now, so I would recommend you check it out yourself. I find the story (true story too) itself to be very interesting, but the film was just decent. After the flick we headed across the street to Messner's. This was the only bar we were able to cross off our list this weekend. We each dominated a large lunch and 2 Bell's Best Brown Ales. The bar was nothing special and I probably wouldn't come here again. We were entertained by the guy sitting at the bar by himself explaining to anyone who would listen to him how great Boston is, and how much he wishes he still lived. I wish he would move back too.

For all those in the fifth district, we will be heading over to Goose Island (in Wrigleyville) for Charlie Wheelan's election party Tuesday night. Rock the vote and join us out.