Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sweet home Chicago

Well, I'm leaving for the next few days, I'll be going to Chicago to catch a Cubs/Astros game tomorrow, and then watch the Iowa Hawkeyes take on the Northern Illinois Huskies at Soldier Field! I'm pretty excited about it, my dad and I have been looking forward to this ever since they announced it. And after the past week that we've had, we could use a little vacation, especially after spending nearly all day yesterday moving him and his wife into their new place, a super nice condo in the Quad Cities. So more about that later, I need to pack and hit the road! I'll be back Sunday, hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2007

What ever happened to suburban rhythms?

I just wanted to elaborate on Friday night's show a little more, I feel like I didn't do it justice. The crowd was huge, we got over to the stage about 20-30 minutes before they came on and it was already getting packed. It seemed like a lot of them were younger, which always sucks at concerts, especially when the younger crowd acts like they've never been to a concert, or only know the new songs. (yes, I've become one of those old codgers that say stuff like "I've been listening to these guys for 10 years" or use the phrase "old codger". It happens. I'm learning to accept it.) I was kind of the opposite, I only knew their older stuff, as I didn't really know they were still around as a band, and probably hadn't listened to any of their stuff since 1998's Why Do They Rock So Hard. I was a little worried that they'd play a lot of their newer songs, and leave me in the past. Luckily, right from the beginning, they played a number of their older songs, starting off with "Trendy" (which KP correctly predicted would be their opening song about 20 minutes before their set), then going into another older one, possibly "She Has a Girlfriend Now" or "Everything Sucks," but I could be wrong. I'm not necessarily that great at remembering the setlist of a show unless I write it down. I'm not that guy yet, but I may be soon. Maybe KP will remember and comment on it. . .

The crowd was good for the most part, aside from the youngsters, the drunk frat-boy moshers who were just there to run into people and maybe cop a feel, the high school couple that have probably already broken up by now but at the time were madly in love and going to be together forever, the couple that was probably in their mid-20's going about 2 bills apiece and wanted nothing to do with moshers even though there were standing directly behind the "pit" and would give angry looks to anyone who came near them, the girl with the kid that definitely wasn't alive when Keep Your Receipt came out in '95, and this large girl that stood directly in front of me, skanking most of the time, stepping on my feet and throwing 'bows like it was going out of style and taking ska along.

But honestly, the energy was good, the crowd was into it, and it was a really great time. I was one person (the aforementioned girl) away from the front, but to the side enough that I wasn't getting the crap beat out of me. KP was going wild, occasionally he'd stop over to say something or to put his shoes back on, but otherwise he was out in the pit causing havoc. There were a few times I would have liked to have joined in, but I was trusted with keeping Eric's camera safe, and I was fine with that.

The show was awesome, even if it it was slightly abbreviated by the rain. I heard most of the songs I wanted to hear, and was entertained for the entire night, what more could I want? Of course they ended the night with their super hit "Sell Out" which I could have actually done without, but didn't figure that they would not play it. The band sounded tight, which is the best thing a ska band can do.

Anyways, here's a couple of their videos for you to watch and hopefully enjoy, as they take you back to the mid- to late-90's!

One of my favorites, "Beer"



And one of their first videos, "Everything Sucks"



Now if you think that's the last you're going to hear about ska here on tPoL, well, you're wrong! In the next week or so, there should be a very special ska post, one close to my heart. Until then, I say Jah!

edit: ok, so I put the wrong video up for "Beer". The one that was up was "Suburban Rhythms", sorry about that. It should be all fixed up now.

Friday Pt 2 (why do they rock so hard)

Friday night I met up with KP, his brother, and one of their friends and headed up to Davenport for the River Roots Fest, an outdoor music festival that's been merged with RibFest, creating a heavenly match. The headlining band for the night? Reel Big Fish! I was a huge fan of theirs throughout most of high school and my early college years, saw them live once before and really enjoyed the show they put on, so for $10 and RibFest, I'd be stupid not to go!

Food first, the ribs I had were amazing. There were about 4 or 5 vendors, each with huge banners proclaiming theirs to be the best BBQ, touting their awards and displaying trophies. All of the prices were basically the same, so I chose based on location. There was one from Ft. Worth, TX, but I figured I'd have plenty of time to get some Texas barbecue when I'm living in Texas. I had already had barbecue from Memphis when I took a trip there, and besides, KP was getting that one, we couldn't get the same. Then there was a stand from Chicago, but when I think of Chicago food, I think of pizza, not really BBQ. And I'll be in Chicago this weekend (more info coming in a later post), if I really want to try it, I could just get it while I'm there. So I chose the stand that had no discernible location, at least not one prominently labeled. I can't even remember their name now, but it was delicious. I ordered 1/3 rack (which was supposed to be 4 bones but I got 6!), baked beans, coleslaw, and some bread, in case you were curious.

The main stage for the bands was the same spot that the Bix Jazzfest had their stage, but this was the first time I was seeing a non-jazz band play there. There was also a side stage that was near the river, so there was always one band playing, no down time, which was nice. If only the other bands playing were ones I was interested in hearing. . . Anyways, the set from RBF was pretty awesome, full of energy and moshing/skanking kids. They played some of my favorites (Beer, The Set Up, She Has a Girlfriend Now, etc.) but didn't play possibly my #1 song, "All I Want is More." Oh well. I even found a (crappy) video someone took during the show:



So it was a really awesome time, even if it started raining as the night went on, and the set had to be cut a little short. I loved the rain, it just added to the night. I was extremely glad I went!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Friday

Now this doesn't happen to regularly here on tPoL, but I need to be serious for a post. I've been thinking about what I was going to do about this subject on here, if anything at all, but I've decided that it may be best to get it out there, to help explain some of the stress of the end of my last week. And, I thought it could be a tribute of sorts. Anyways. . .

Last Tuesday, my step-brother Matt passed away, after a long bout with glioblastoma -- brain tumors. He was 36. I was in Cedar Rapids when I received the call from my dad, and it hit me kind of hard. My brother was at work, so I was left on my own to kind of collect my thoughts and myself. He hadn't been doing very well of late, so it wasn't necessarily a huge shock, but it doesn't make it any easier to take. My dad said that I should continue my time up there, which was only one more day, that everything was being handled. As much as I wanted to go home, I was worried about being in the way, and this was my last chance to spend some time with Travis before I left for Austin.

The five-year survival rate for this type of cancer is under 3%, meaning that less than 3% of the patients are expected to live for 5 years after the initial diagnosis. Matt was given about 6 months to 1 year to live when he was diagnosed. That was in 2001. I didn't meet him until 2003, which meant that I never knew him without cancer. We were together on holidays and other occasions after my dad married his mom, with is family (his wife and his step-son). And if I hadn't been told, I never would have guess that he was living with cancer. He was always so energetic and outgoing. He owned his own auto repair garage here in Muscatine, and helped his wife out with her candle shop. He also talked with others, and did all he could to spread awareness and help people in a similar situation cope. And he loved music, specifically playing guitar (he was pretty good at, much better than me, which isn't hard to do). I always enjoyed trips to his place, he had some pretty sweet guitars a hell of a setup in his basement where he and some of his friends would rock out. Plus he had a pool table. His basement was an awesome place to hang out and drink a few beers.

The funeral was Friday morning, to a packed house. One of his buddies played one of his own songs a beautiful 12-string guitar. It was a little overwhelming at times, but all in all, a great ceremony. Afterwards I ate lots and lots of food at a luncheon, then helped move some of the flowers to my dad's place. Everyone was basically wiped out, so I did everything I could to lend a hand.

I'm extremely grateful for being able to know Matt and to have had him in my family. He was a great guy, someone who never complained about his position in life, and would talk to and become friends with anyone and everyone he met.

Now I promise that tomorrow I'll put up something about Friday evening, some much more upbeat times.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A day-by-day rundown of my week. Because you all care.

After sitting around at my brother's place for a few days, not really doing too much of anything, the end of the week got a little busy for me. I'll start off with the days spent in Cedar Rapids!

I got up there Monday, sat in front of my brother's house for about an hour while I waited for him to get off of work, then we were going to meet up with one of my friends and go to the baseball game in town(Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Class 'A' affiliate of the Anaheim Angels [or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or whatever the hell they're called now. Personally, I think they should go back to the California Angels. Just for old time's sake]). Turns out he had to work later than he thought, so he missed the baseball game, but Jeff and I still had an excellent time. They have a deal called the "Belly Buster" on Monday games, for $7 on top of the ticket price, you get all-you-can-eat hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, and chips. Of course we had to get it. And I made sure to get my money's worth (3 hamburgers, 2 hot dogs, one cup of peanuts, a cup of popcorn, and a hamburger I smuggled out to give to my brother). On top of all of that, the game was exciting, a 1-0 win for the Kernels, with the 1 run coming on a couple of bad defensive plays: a runner on 2nd took 3rd when the 3rd baseman went to talk to the pitcher, and time was never called. By the time the defense realized the runner was going, it was too late. He then scored a couple of pitches later on a wild pitch. Minor league baseball everybody! The best part of the night may have been when a member from the opposing team (Burlington Bees, who happen to be an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals!) tossed a ball up to me, after much pleading and pointing to the Royals hat I was wearing. Awesome! I also got to see Jeff Bianchi, the Royals' 2nd-round pick in the 2005 draft, in action. He looked alright, had two walks and a single in the game. Unfortunately, I left my camera in my car.

We made Tuesday night burrito night, which was delicious, and a great decision, I must say. We also made it "Wii Bowling Drinking Game night," which was another great decision. Another one of my friends in the area stopped by, so we had a night of talking, drinking, and Wii bowling. We even played some darts, as shown in the picture. The second picture is my brother's pretty decent TV, showing some Wii bowling action.



Wednesday met up with Travis on his lunch break and had what may have been the best Mexican food I have ever had (which may stand until I go somewhere in Texas. I bet they have decent stuff there. . . ) at a restaurant called "Cancun." If you're ever in CR, go there and get the burrito with carnitas (pork). It's amazing. That night we did a little more Wii bowling and a little more drinking, but not quite as much as Wednesday night. And as always, Chico was on the prowl.


I went home Thursday, hung out, and watched Kenna, since my mom and step-dad were both working. Not too much happened. Except for the whole ridiculously strong thunderstorm that came through and knocked down a bunch of tree limbs and stuff.

I think Friday is going to require a couple of different blog posts. That'll come this weekend, I promise. For now, I need to do some yard work and then lounge and enjoy the beautiful weather!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dog days of summer

I'd really like to be in bed, asleep right now. But the new addition to the family is keeping me from what I'd like. Kenna came home yesterday, and tonight is spending the night in her crate for the first time. (I don't know if it's a "crate" or "kennel". It's an indoor one, something that she's going to be sleeping in until she's potty trained, which seems like it can't come fast enough. This decision came after she peed on my step-dad Bruce's bed last night.) She doesn't like it down there, apparently. She's whining and crying and carrying on. I feel bad for her, but at the same time, I'm not staying up with her and letting her sleep in my bed and taking the chance of her peeing on my stuff.


She is a cute dog, though, I'll give her that.

And she's pretty fun, too. Aside from the occasional piddling on the floor and constant whining while not being attended.

This weekend I was also attending to a couple of other dogs: I dog-sit for some people in Iowa City (although this was probably the last time). It's a pretty awesome gig, I get paid to hang out at their house, play with their dogs, eat their food, watch their satellite TV, and just lounge around. I should do that full-time. Anyways, Tucker and Sweetie were the pair that I watched over this weekend, a couple of mild-mannered dogs that made the job easy.

Tucker

Sweetie

That's basically what I've been up to lately. Nothing too exciting, just a lot of animal-related things. I promise this is not going to turn into a pet blog or anything like that. Maybe some random updates on Kenna, and a picture of Niles, the Jack Russel Terrier that my mom has had for about 9 years, and Skipper, my dad's dog, just to keep things fair. But once I get some more sleep and whatnot, I'll be back to my regular postings. That is, when I'm back from my brother's place in Cedar Rapids. I don't believe he has his internet set up yet, so I may not be able to post anything until I get back later this week. We'll see though.

Hey, the whining's stop

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nothing like getting drunk with Pops

Like I had mentioned before, I went to Wal-Mart a little before midnight on Monday to get the new Madden game for the Wii. I went probably 15 minutes early, and showed up with a line of 8 people already waiting. So I joined them, and made some idle chit-chat with the other members of the line as it grew. When 12 rolled around (it was actually more like 12:03 or 12:04), the employees started handing out the games. I asked for one for the Wii. The guy said "huh?" And I repeated that I wanted the Wii version of Madden '08. He looked around, then said, "uhh, we don't have it."

I replied, "what? Why not?"

"I don't know. It's supposed to be here right now, but we can't find it."

"Well when do you expect to get it?"

"I don't know. . . Either today or tomorrow."

And with that I walked off. I did pick up a copy of Zelda: The Twilight Princess (after waiting about 20 minutes for someone to find the keys to open the case) and a movie for my mom. I'm hoping that those will be my last purchases ever at a Wal-Mart. I try to avoid them as much as possible, but living in Muscatine for the time being doesn't give me much options. For a town of around 23,000 people could have something else. Guess not. Anyways, I'll go someplace next time I'm in Iowa City or Cedar Rapids and get Madden eventually. But I'm having an awesome time with Zelda.

***

Last night was spent at a going away party for a girl that I used to work with here in town, who was currently a pharmacy tech at Hy-Vee with my dad. (the Hy-Vee I worked at in Muscatine, not to be confused with the Hy-Vee I worked at in Iowa City.) My dad was all excited since the place where the party was held had $3 pitchers of beer until 6, so we had to hurry down, and made it just in time. He ordered two, handed one to me, and took one for himself. Now, a pitcher of beer is no problem for me, but it's probably more beer than I've seen my dad drink, ever. He's not a huge drinker, as far as I know. He'll have the occasional glass of wine, sometimes a cocktail, and a wine cooler every now and then, but I don't know if I've ever seen a can of beer in his fridge. So I finish mine up, and he's a little less than 1/3 of the way through his. So, like any good son would do, I helped him out. I was feeling a little buzz, and I'm pretty sure my dad was too. What a lightweight. It was a good time, I met a guy that's going golfing with a few guys that I used to work and occasionally hang out with here in town, so I may join them. Then I was looking forward to making a drunk post here, but by the time I got home (my dad put off leaving for a little while, I'm pretty sure so he could sober up. But we were having a good time, so why leave?), I was basically sober, but tired. And I needed to play Zelda. So sorry about that. Maybe next time.

Hopefully today it won't rain so I can move my stuff up to my bro's place for storing. If I do go, I'll try to take some pictures of my brother's place, or maybe some more of "Chico", or maybe an updated "Brothers Flenker" photo. Until then, I need to go save Hyrule. (And yes, there will be a post in the future about how much the Legend of Zelda video game franchise means to me.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chico/Pussiliah/Snowball/Lilly

Here are a couple of photos of my brother's housewarming gift from his girlfriend:



Chico sitting on my lap




Chico napping on the couch




Chico yawning

(I'm calling her Chico, all of her other names are in the title of the post. I'm sure eventually we'll settle on one. And I think the last photo is hilarious, she just happened to yawn as I was taking her picture.)

Travis's house is pretty amazing. It's a huge house, with a nice backyard, and in a great neighborhood. We met the neighbors to either side last night, both of whom seemed really nice. And then we had some delicious Casey's Pizza. I don't know if many of you have experienced the wonderfulness that is a pizza from a Casey's General Store. If you live in a small town in the Midwest, though, you know what I'm talking about. They are seriously some of the best pizzas I've had from any place, let alone a gas station. Unfortunately for me, there were never any Casey's in Iowa City until recently, when they bought out HandiMart, but none of those places had the capacity to make pizzas. Luckily, there are about 30 locations in Cedar Rapids, so that was the obvious choice for dinner last night.

Today is being spent preparing the yard and house for the new addition to the family. My mom and step-dad are getting a new puppy next week, a Weimaraner that they've named Kenna (Gaelic for beautiful). So we've tilled the yard and are going to level the area where the kennel will go, and all sorts of other fun stuff to do in the 90+ degree heat, with the near-80% humidity. But I'm thinking of seeing if Wal-Mart is going to be doing a midnight release of Madden tonight, because those midnight releases are always fun. Otherwise I guess I'll have to wait all the way until tomorrow morning to get the game! Yikes!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Kickin' it in Muscatine

Sorry for the little lack of updates recently, I've been busy doing, well, not much of anything. (Plus, I wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to read Jad's most excellent post! If anyone else ever wants to do a guest post here, let me know, I'm always up for new and exciting ventures!) I've been helping out around the house a little, watching some TV (it's been a long long time since I've done that), hanging out and watching baseball with KP, and just enjoying the air-conditioning. (I've been thinking that I need to write stuff down as it happens, because I feel like there were some funny/good thoughts, etc. that would have been good to put up here, but by the time I get around to doing anything about it, I forget what the hell it was that I thought was clever or whatever.) I drove a motorcycle for the first time yesterday, my mom and step-dad took me out to an empty parking lot yesterday and I tried out my mom's Harley! It was a ton of fun, and I think for it being my first time ever on a bike I did alright. Definitely something that I want to do more of in the future.

My big excitement recently was purchasing a Nintendo Wii! This was the only one I've ever seen at a retail store; I had to stop by 5 different places before I found one in stock. Muscatine only have one store that sells stuff like this, as far as I know (Wal-Mart, gross), but I was in Iowa City to take care of some things, and had nothing but time on my hands. It's a little present to myself, a done with school/moving away gift, if you will. I'm very pumped for it. I didn't get any extra games yet, just the Wii Sports that comes with it, but those are hell of fun as it is! I think I'm going to be picking up Madden '08 on Tuesday. And of course I'll have to get Zelda for it very soon. I've done some stuff online with it, like reading sports, news, and weather, and am thinking about spending the $5 to be able to actually surf the internet with it. I'm also going to look into buying some points for it, which will allow me to download old Nintendo/Sega/Turbografix 16 games and play them on the Wii. Most excellent stuff. If anyone out there reading this has one and wants to be Wii friends, let me know, I'll send you my Wii number.

Later this afternoon I'll be heading up to Cedar Rapids with my dad and step-mom to see my brother's new place. He seems pretty happy with it, from what I understand there was already a little garden there with grape tomatoes and jalapeƱo peppers and asparagus growing. Maybe onions too, I'm not sure. He called me up yesterday to find out what goes into salsa, so today I'll have to judge it and find out if he did a good job. And apparently, his girlfriend gave him a cat. I'm going to get him to name it Chico.

One good thing (among many good things) about being home is the food. I haven't gone out to eat once since being here, and the food that my mom has in stock is usually pretty healthy stuff, which is nice. I've grilled out a lot (turkey brats, chicken sausage, veggies, etc.), including one of my favorite foods, fresh sweet corn. Last night I was talked into eating 4 ears of it! (We made 6 ears, my mom and step-dad each ate one, and I was told that I should eat as much as I wanted, since they don't usually eat corn. So it didn't take too much convincing.) Plus, they get Schwann's food delivered here, so there are some good things with there, like frozen loaves of bread you just pop in the oven, or chicken breasts, or best of all, butter pecan frozen yogurt. mmm.... Also, there is a lot of beer here. Good beers. In the past few days, I've had the following: a Rogue Brewery chipotle brew and a Rogue hazelnut brew, a couple of the new Michelob Ultra flavors (Pomegranate raspberry and Cactus lime - both amazing!), Sam Adams Brown Ale, Miller Chill (like water with a hint of lime) and some others. I'll devote an entire post to these beers soon, I promise.

Well, I'm going to see what baseball games are on right now. For some reason I started watching a NASCAR race today and haven't been able to turn the channel. I actually kind of enjoy it. Although in my defense, it is a road course, so it's not just driving in a circle. But also I've catching some of the Little League World Series games, and love them. Those kids love the game, which makes it so enjoyable to watch. Also now that I'm somewhere that has cable, I can watch like 3 or 4 MLB games almost every day, whilst eating delicious frozen yogurt. Incredible!

I'll try to get some pictures from my next adventures on a bike, or maybe some exciting Wii shots, or just photos of whatever the hell I can find around Muscatine. I gotta say, though, sometimes it's nice to be able to lay around and watch TV.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Guest Post: Jad from Canada! (and Three Pints and a Towel!)

You know how I've been saying that there was going to be a special post coming up? Well, this is it! I'm honored to have exchanged guests posts with Jad from Three Pints and a Towel, one of my first "blog friends" that I made, and a blog that I always look to for some excellent music. I suggest everyone else do the same. But without further ado, let's let Jad take it away!

*****

Dear Blogosphere:

I seem to be going through a quarter-life crisis.

We seem to hear a lot about mid-life crises; a full blown psychological event, they say. Does it really hold a candle to the quarter-life crisis, though? I mean, at least when you're going through your mid-life crisis you have the money to buy a red sports car or fly to Bora Bora. What do itinerant quarter-lifers have? Ramen Noodles and public transportation, that's what.

"Sad Song" - Au Revoir Simone

I have a feeling that many of us bloggers and blog readers are finding ourselves at this very same crossroads - the point at which we finish our formal education and make some sort of attempt at beginning the rest of our lives. We find ourselves ejected from the College womb, bleary-eyed and mostly helpless, expected to fend for ourselves, to become independent.

"The Times They Are A-Changin" - Bob Dylan

Likely, a lot of this has to do with our current culture. We're bombarded with messages of competitive consumerism, we're forced to overeducate ourselves, then we're stuck into jobs which we're vastly overqualified for. Growing up, we're all sure that we'll become rock star astronauts. Why wouldn't we? We're awesome!

"I Was Born A Unicorn" - The Unicorns

Now, with 36 dollars in the bank and large student debts, we're hit with the reality of it all. Gone are the dreams of yesteryear, now replaced with the less glamourous actualities of today. From delusions of grandeur, to feelings of inadequacy - it's a long way to fall. Sadly, we all need to take this trip.

"Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" - The Smiths

Given the choice, I'm sure most of us would stay students forever. We'd like a family, a house, and a dog, just not quite yet. There seems to be a notion among young people that we'll never turn out like our parents, and, when we start to, it can be pretty terrifying.

"Little Boxes" - Melvina Reynolds

We all deal with this in different ways. Some of us pound the pavement, handing out a hundred resumes a day to disinterested human resources officers. Others run off to Ecuador and live with the native peoples there, in a vain attempt to escape it all. Still others move back home, sleep on the couch until noon all summer, and bum around with their old friends, waiting for NASA to call and offer them the rock star astronaut position they so richly deserve.

"Beautiful Dreamer" - Mates of State

Now, I know this post is coming out a little negative. It's hard to give something like this proper perspective when you're smack in the middle of it. Really, it can be quite disconcerting, but, and this is crucial:

"Don't Panic" - Coldplay

Remember - this is an important phase to go through. We're supposed to start out all doe-eyed and idealistic, and the world is supposed to make us grow up. That's not to say we should become cynical, or hard-hearted. In fact, quite the opposite. I think this little transitory phase between twenty-something student and adult is the perfect time to solidify those fantastic beliefs we've been developing. If we can actually hold on to our ideals, in spite of the world's attempt to jade us, then we'll be able to do some serious good after all.

"To Be Myself Completely" - Belle and Sebastien

So, fellow crisis sufferers, worry not. Not only is this crappy time in your life normal, it's also necessary. Get out there, seize the day, and take the next step with confidence. At least we're still young.

"First Day of My Life" - Bright Eyes

-Jad




Big thanks for the opportunity to guest post at PoL go to Flenker. Hope you've enjoyed reading and listening!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Congratulations Barry!


Tonight, Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run, breaking the record and becoming baseball's all-time leader. I know I'm in the minority here, but I've been a fan of his for years, since I saw him play in a game when I was visiting San Francisco in '93.

I'm glad that espn2 was showing the game, and that I was home to watch. As soon as the ball hit the bat I started jumping up and down and cheering to myself. I'm a dork like that. And I thought it was a very nice gesture by Hank Aaron to have pre-recorded the video.

Anyways, congrats to Barry, here's to a few more, and maybe reaching the 3,000 hit mark.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A (non-baseball) recap of Flenkerfest from the depths of the mess

I must give credit to Marin for coming up with the title for this post. Although her room is not exactly a mess. I've seen messes before, I've lived in them. This is more of a "cluttered" room than a "messy" one. But I digress.

Thursday I arrived after an uneventful afternoon of flying, getting into town around 6. Marin picked me up and headed off for dinner, an ill-advised meal at IHOP. Some pretty terrible service, and a poor meal choice on my part didn't get the trip started on the right notes. The iced tea was pretty good, though. I tried to talk her into going over to Best Buy so I could see if they had a Wii, but probably for the best, Marin wouldn't take me. Had I bought one, I think that's all I would've done over the weekend. Not that it's a bad thing.

The rest of Thursday was pretty much spent relaxing at her lovely house.

Friday had a lazy start, with breakfast at a little place called "Bagels and Baguettes," then a trip to the grocery store. (We planned for many meals, 3 or 4, and ended up actually making one. But, we did make Scotcheroos! They turned out delicious, something I'm very proud of.) After the store, we met up with a couple of our friends, AJ and Matt, and had an early dinner at Bread & Chocolate, home of what I remember as one of the best glasses of iced tea I've ever had. This time the tea wasn't quite as good as I remembered it, still good, but not enough to classify it as "best ever." I probably would've been better off not going and having the mental image of the best glass stay with me. Oh well.

We hurried off to the game after the dinner, eating a hot dog while we were there, of course. After the game we went home, made the Scotcheroos, then headed to bed.


Saturday morning brought some amazingly delicious pancakes, courtesy of Marin. Very very tasty! Most of the rest of the day into the afternoon was spent at the National American Indian Museum, probably my favorite museum, architecture-wise. The exhibits themselves are incredible, too. As is the food. They had an eating area where you can choose foods based on the cultures of many different areas in the US and South America, we went with the buffalo chili with some fried flatbread. Very delicious!

That evening we made our one meal that we planned, tacos! They ended up being more like over-stuffed burritos, but everything was so good, I had to put it all on my tortilla at once.

Sunday we had a nice breakfast of omelets and cinnamon rolls before we headed out to our second game of the weekend. And second hot dog at the ballpark for the weekend. AJ went with us, I'm pretty sure mostly due to the Family Pack that was being offered at the game: $10 got a ticket, a Pepsi, a hot dog, and a bag of chips. Heckuva deal!

Later that night, we went to La Loma for a wonderful Mexican meal, then spent another relaxing night in.

Today I went Thaiphoon, one of my favorite area restaurants. If anyone makes it out to DC, I would strongly recommend a visit here, and get the "drunken noodle" dish. It's amazing. And the iced tea was delicious.

Of course the weather was pretty hot today, and of course I walked about 6 blocks in the wrong direction heading to lunch. But I needed the exercise, because I found a Krispy Kreme with the hot light on. I ordered 3 glazed. Unfortunately, they didn't have any hot ones ready, but I was told if I wanted to wait a minute or two, there would be some right up. Since I was in no hurry and had just purchased a new book (Why We are Hungry by Dave Eggers), I told the lady I could wait for some warm deliciousness. After waiting for about 8-10 minutes, I decided to see what the hold up was. Apparently I was forgotten about, and the machine was turned back off. The lady at the counter felt bad and wanted to know if I wanted her to fire it up again to get some hot donuts since the others had cooled, but I didn't really want her to go through the trouble, I just took what they had. And she gave me 6 donuts! O glorious day! I headed home on the Metro with donuts and book in tow, feeling great.

Now I'm all packed up and ready to head back home, even though there are so many more things I want to do while out here. 4+ days is not enough time anywhere, let alone a place with as much going on as DC. This is my 3rd trip out here, and I feel like I've just scratched the surface.

Anyways, the next post will be from Iowa, and the very special post that I promised last week will be here soon. . . What could it be. . . ?

Greetings from the East Coast

This is my last day out in the DC area! Right now I have a little free time while I'm waiting for a friend to call, so I thought I'd write something in the meantime.

First off, a pretty monumental weekend in baseball, with Alex Rodriguez hitting his 500th home run, Barry Bonds getting his 755th, and Tom Glavine picking up with 300th win. Congratulations to all, we won't see another 300-game winner in a long time, and it'll be a few years before A-Rod catches up to Bonds, if he's able.

Speaking of baseball, I made it out to a couple of Washington Nationals games, seeing them win twice against the Cardinals! Awesome! The Friday game started with a nice diving catch by Nats' centerfielder Nook Logan, and Austin Kearns made an impressive diving catch on Sunday to end that game. Ryan Zimmerman is a stud, a Cardinal-killer. He had a large weekend at the plate, hitting a walk-off single on Friday night, then 2 HR's on Saturday, and then driving in the tie-breaking run in the 8th on Sunday, going 3-for-5 in the two games that we saw.

Here are a few pictures from the games:


it was "Negro Leagues Tribute Night" at RFK on Friday, so the teams went by old Negro League names and wore the corresponding jerseys. This makes my 2nd Negro Leagues tribute game this season!


The view from our seats on Friday (this was still during batting practice, the place filled up more)


It was nice that the Cardinals let a 14-year-old play shortstop for them.


The Nats have the presidents from Mt. Rushmore race and dance. Fun, but not quite as entertaining as Milwaukee's sausage race. Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared to take a picture of the president race on either day.


Our view for Sunday's game


Poo-Holes


My favorite picture from the games, this is a broken-bat single by Nook Logan. You can see the barrel of the bat, and the ball in the air and everything! I should become a professional.


Chico was the starting picture for Washington. This made my day.

There were other activities, including a trip to the National American Indian Museum and some delicious food, but that'll wait until I'm back home.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My weekend in pictures

The first phase of my move is now complete! As I'm typing from Muscatine with my car parked out front with a lot of crap in it, my bed, futon, and lots more crap are all sitting in the basement of my brother's current place of residence in Iowa City. On Saturday, Travis will be moving into his new house, one that he's actually buying. (Ridiculous stuff, right? My younger brother is buying a house and starts his full-time job on Monday. In the meantime, I'll be "temporarily homeless" for the next month, surfing from couch to couch. And I'm fine with that.) Hopefully a majority of my stuff will be moving up there with him this weekend, at least the larger items (bed, futon, tv) that I can't get with my car. The best part about it? I will not be around to help out, as I will be invading DC for Flenkerfest 2007 (apparently my first 2007 trip that way wasn't the "official" Flenkerfest. That one might have been Birthday Bash). I feel bad about not being able to help out, I mean it's my brother's first house and all, but the timing on everything just didn't work out. And besides, he only helped me a little bit, while he was extremely drunk, around 3:00 Tuesday morning. Yes, I was up, moving at 3 am yesterday. I didn't really sleep between 9 am Monday and 11 pm Tuesday. Poor planning on my part. Not packing early was a poor choice. But, my room went from looking like this:



To looking like this:


(that brown spot was on the floor when I moved in, I swear. It was under my bed the whole time, how could it have gotten there with my bed over it???)

Many thanks to my friends Travis (not to be confused with my brother Travis) and Erin for helping with my move by providing a truck and moral support!

To keep the theme of some recent-Flenker pictures, here are a few from the Bix weekend festivities!


This is LeClaire Park, one of 3 or 4 venues hosting jazz bands during the weekend, right on the Mississippi River.


Every year a building on the Illinois side of the Quad-Cities turns on the lights in some offices to spell out "Bix". I think it's pretty neat.


This is the Centennial Bridge, right near LeClaire Park, a nice site when it's all lit up. It's even better in person or in a photo taken by a good photographer.


And this is the only photo that's been posted so far of me from the run. I'm hoping that there will be a couple more, but this one will do for now!

Now I really should be getting to bed, I've got a long day of travel ahead of me. I'll try to check in from the east coast while I'm there, but be sure to be on your best behavior if I'm not around.