Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jesus Christ! Did You See The Size of That Sperm Whale? (August)

Well kids, it feels like an eternity since I've posted on here. To our few and far between devoted readers (yes, there are still a few of you who check it on a day-to-day basis) I apologize for our lack of literary substance and public debauchery that has entertained you through the first 7 months of 2009. When Kyle and I first devised this difficult task, we assumed the summer months, with its beautiful weather and street fests would encourage us to tackle the mighty task at hand. It turns out that this has been hardly the case with such distractions as Pitchfork, the Gay Pride Parade, Warrior Dash, bachelor parties and numerous weddings plaguing our open schedule in the last month. As Kyle tackled Wicker Park Fest and other important reasons to booze, I was out east in Raleigh melting to the near 100 degree heat and massive humidity in celebrating the tieing of the knot of an old college friend. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast out there taking full advantage of the open bar at the ceremony and spending most of the day Sunday walking around the campus at Duke University, but the EBONY crew definitely has some making up to do. I would also like to add that I was dubbed The Dancing Champion as this wedding by the brides mother, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

July has been a sad month with only crossing 6 bars off the list. But lets not let that overshadow the 108 bars Kyle and I have visited and reviewed together on this site. Of those 108, I tried to categorize to the best of my ability, which is what the handy chart below visualizes. By the latest count, we still have 78 bars within a mile on our list to visit, but I'm sure that number is in fact higher with a seemingly new bar opening up every month in Wrigelyville to the unknown bar we never knew existed on Broadway. Lets just say we have 85 left. That would reacquire us to average 17 a month for August thru December. Definitely a tall task at hand. Even more difficult considering I'm finally rounding out in to shape and don't see too many crazy bender weekends on the schedule that would interfere with training. The winter will be especially difficult as I've been accepted as an elite runner in the USATF 10 Mile Championships in the Twin Cities in October, and a potential winter marathon in either Sacramento or Dallas in December. I'm starting to fell pessimistic about this.

It's hard to imagine that I've actually been to 108 bars this year. Well, actually I've probably been closer to 140 given there were many happy hours and other weekends out and about that didn't involve Kyle. There have even been 24 bars outside of the mile radius of the 837 where Kyle and I have both drank together, including 6 of them out of state. We have met many people (and dogs) on the way. The first that comes to mind is The Internet Celebrity Baumer which Hall introduced us to on the first weekend of this starting this task. Today Baumer still outranks all other friends with joining the EBONY crew to a total of 21 bars. Others still in contention for the crown are Hall (17), Selfy (16), Chenoweth (15), Annie (13), Holland (12), Seidler (14), and Chuck (19). Everyone else, I'm extremely disappointed in your work ethic. Seidler also gets a big shout out as he's been to most of the gay bars in Boystown with us...way to suck it up Adam.

Enough fun for now, I should end my lunch break and get back to work in which I'm actually paid for now. I'm also competing in the Great Urban Race this weekend, so like Kyle provided after our latest trivia competition, I'll try to fill in the blanks to our readers how the clues rolled.

Update: Ha, after typing in this link (accidently w/o the s in blogspot), my Twitter account linked to this: http://www.emptyblogofnothing.blogpot.com
Too awesome, especially given the name of this post.

2nd Update: I forgot to add, at Polish Tom's wedding they had Yuengling at the open bar. Awesome move Tom, you get big ups!

Friday, July 24, 2009

When You Wear Your Dark Sunglasses, Nobody Can Change Your Mind

Non-mission-critical update here.

I neglected to post the 2 best pictures from Pitchfork Weekend.

Your EBONY Internet Diversion of the Week:
Eternal Moonwalk
A lot of these are just people walking backwards, but the really good ones make it worth your wait.

I seem to be spewing creativity this week like Gordon Beckham spews hits, so there may be additional cosmetic and other changes to EBONY this weekend (in addition to the new header and that lame paint chart i made showing our progress). We'll see how motivated I can get.

Once again I attempted to add the iLike music widget over here ---->, but once again we seem to be having errors with it. All I really wanted to do was post a couple of Generationals songs. I come to find out they're not available on iLike anyway, so bollocks.

22 Bands seen live in the last 6 days. Adding a few more at Wicker Park Fest this weekend. Bar recaps return next week once Rick returns from a southern fried wedding.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Very Long Weekend in Pictures

No bar updates...we've been busy with other adventures. A mid-year recap should be coming from Rick one of these days, then we'll get back in the saddle for the remaing 100-some bars or so left.
This covers Friday night through Sunday night. Not pictured: the 9 cumulative hours of sleep I got, the cut on my left hand from barbed wire, waking up at 7:30 to watch Sunday's Tour de France stage, Hall's surliness.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Hate The Feeling When You're Looking At Me That Way (cuz we're...)

We'll begin with the incomprehensible/unrelated/illegible.
Thursday night for happy hour Rick and I met up with D-Train, Rob, Hutton, Peter, later Beth, and even later Annie. First stop was State/Lake, a new classy joint at State/Lake. They have a rooftop that is a meat market and you should go there if you want to be seen and to have people presume you make a lot of money and like to look pretty. Our goal is more along the lines of enjoying good beer with hilarious good friends, so our trip to the rooftop lasted about as long as it took Usain Bolt to run the 200m dash yesterday.
This bar is not in our radius, and neither was the next place we visited, the fabulous Paramount Room. Thursday at Paramount is the $10 Beer/Burger combo. The burger is seriously terrific...maybe not a Kuma's Burger, but it's pretty damn good. Paramount has a statue on the first floor I'd like to steal.

For some reason I have the following scribbled in my notebook:
D-Train, "Labradors have no risk, no reward. You never see someone with their face chewed off saying, 'man, i wish these <>.'"
I'd love to know whatever it was that he finished that thought with. A little help, anyone?

On to Saturday's 4th of July Independence Day celebration of bars and games and beer and friends and entertainment. We leave the apartment and pass an attractive girl on her cell phone remarking, "The Raptors?! Hedo, what a piece of crap!" The NBA free agency news market apparently extends to corners I never thought possible. A man on the bus across from us is browsing through a gay porn magazine, which he leaves on the seat in front of him when he exits the bus.

Our initial destination is the movie theater at 2600 N. Western to catch an afternoon showing of The Hangover, hoping that everyone else's raving about it hasn't oversold the movie's humor. A quick note to enteprenuers and developers: There ought to be a bar (with televisions) near this movie theater. Get on it.
Since we've arrived at our destination 30 minutes early without a bar to kill time at we join the rugrats running around the arcade and play some video games. I couldn't convince Rick to waste any money on the claw games, we hadn't started drinking so Dance Dance Revolution was out of the question, and someone was already playing Guitar Hero. We go old school with a few games of Cruisin' USA, in honor of this land of the pilgrim's pride.

Selfy had met us for the movie (review: four stars, all three leads are hilarious), and prior to departing for the desolate suburbs to catch whatever aging acts Ribfest has procured this year he graciously drives us to bar #1 on the day, #103 on the year, Jack's Bar & Grill. STEVE MCNAIR HAS SUFFERED FATAL GUNSHOT WOUNDS. Huh.
Jack's has very very good food, and it hits the spot. I have no hesitation recommeding the buffalo chicken sandwich, and Rick would say the same about their bbq pork. +2 admittance to the Clean Plate Club, washed down with a 312 and a Pride & Joy.

Next door to (actually a part of) Jack's is the 404 Wine Bar, #104. Rather than leave our table to enter 404 we just order a couple glasses of wine from their menu to check that one off the list. For the record, I did walk over there, it was loungey and empty on a summer afternoon. I had a glass of Cloudline, Rick went with something red.
Jack's/404 is a pretty solid option for a neighborhood bar, my only complaint would be the jukebox playlist chosen by the man drinking by himself at the bar. All songs at least 10-12 years old, former staples of the heavy alternative rock radio playlist. He was living out his glory days of HS, I'm sure.
Also while we're at Jack's? Craig sends us a mystery text about the Philadelphia Phillies. The mysterious life of a tour manager...

Leaving 404 we decide to hit up the nearby Side Street Saloon. It's closed today, and they incidentally have an anti-White Sox sign in the window. We'll be back, and we probably won't enjoy it.
So next...we head up Southport to Justin's. After entering we immediately exit realizing we've been here before -- with Internet Celebrity Baumer for a Blackhawks playoff game. Heading further north Rick and I have a brief argument/discussion about what actually constitutes a bar (you'd think we'd have settled this prior to the halfway point of our journey). Before making a second stop for the year at the Newport we realize we haven't yet been into SoPo, #105.
Our SoPo waitress wins the cutest waitress of Independence Day award. Tell yr parents good job. Rick tries a large sample of the "Purple Haze" beer for free-99. The sample is too large, too terrible, and is never finished.
Conversation drifts back to Joey Chestnut's successful defense of the Mustard Yellow Belt from earlier in the day. Rick thinks he could eat between 6-10 hot dogs in 10 minutes. I'm pretty sure I could take down 20.

Again heading north, and skipping the Newport, we run into a couple of guys that Rick went to High School with. Pleasantries are exchanged. Bar #106 is at D'Agostino's, which delivers an exceptionally strong performance. 2 Sam's Seasonals, a great song selection (seriously, Pearl Jam's "Down", some Flaming Lips, the Decemberists), and The Program is airing on the TV (Lattimer still frightens me). Also of note (since I could pick up a wireless signal here): following Tour de France riders on Twitter is pretty excellent. Right now I've got Carlos Sastre, Cadel Evans, Danny Pate, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Lance Armstrong, David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde and Levi Leipheimer. I can tell you that Danny Pate is upset with the taco selection available in Europe.

A very short list (inspired by The Program) of women who without a doubt look better as blondes (over brunette):
Kristy Swanson

Last bar on our Independence Day Tour (prior to a house party, and prior to a stop at Taco Bell for 4th meal): Guthrie's!!! #107.

Guthrie's has a lot of board games on a shelf next to the bar. A LOT. One of them, according to this girl Ami we ran into while browsing the available options, "seems to have religious overtones." We hid that one in the back so no one would get stuck with it.
First up, Connect 4.

A few years back I found the Senior Thesis that someone wrote proving that if you have the first move in C-4 it's possible to always win the game. i started reading it, hoping to learn the procedure in case I ever encountered C-4 savant Kanye West in a game. It's 70 pages long, and I quickly came to the realization that I wouldn't get any work done in the office if I kept reading.
Kyle goes up a quick 3-0 in C-4, before Rick storms back with 4 straight wins. Just like the Red Sox vs the Yankees, and just as epic.
Next up? Othello. Rick has never played before and gets stomped on the first 2 games. Annie shows up and offers her support for game 3. It helps...to an extent. Kyle wins 33-31.

Rick and Annie head to Costello's, and I steal a line out of Selfy's book to "stick around and see what happens." ...before too long I'm at Costello's as well.

Random quotes I can't assign to a specific circumstance from the party:
"This isn't a kid's game, Brent. You'd better man up."
"Robert, whatever you did that you thought was cool. It wasn't cool."

Other Weekend Notes:
*I saw Moon on Friday night. No, not that New Moon crap, MOON. If you like movies that don't treat the audience as a bunch of eight year olds and makes you think while enjoying the progression of the story, not really knowing where it's headed, check this one out.
*Why is it that the people you see travelling in between cars on the El Train never seem like the kind of people who have their lives in order?

EBONY Internet Diversion of the Week:
Head on over to songmeanings.net, and enjoy the ridiculous comments people have left for Toto's "Africa" about whether or not this song, or simply liking this song, is racist. People, in general and as a rule until they prove otherwise, are stupid.

Weekend Epilogue:
Sunday was the reunion event for my MC200 team, the FF Rock Steady Crew. We met up at Seven Ten Lounge, #108 for some half price bowling and half assed competition. Joined by a solid turnout of Rick, Annie, Adam, Dave, Sof, Gin, Mike, Michelle, Matt & Amy we started throwing so many strikes Adam remarks, "Non-stop X's, this is like a porno film."
Kyle rolls 136, 121 & 149
Rick rolls 89, 123 & 147
During our last round the 5-some of Kyle, Rick, Annie, Adam & Iceberg at one point had closed out 14 of the first 17 frames. Unheard of performance for a group that had no one cracking 150.
Later a group of us headed up to Gino's East for a late dinner. Adam finishes his 7th slice of stuffed pizza (every slice covered in hot sauce), and he's dripping in sweat from the herculean effort. Mike astutely asks, "He lives alone, right?"

Excess? Overindulgence? North American Scum indeed. And proud of it. Lee Greenwood has got nothin' on James Murphy.