Archive for July, 2005

The final blow…hopefully

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Today Ryan’s insurance company did a 180 and said they would not cover anything in the garage because they were “loose items”. What the hell?? I am little fuzzy on this whole insurance concept but I isn’t the whole point to…I don’t know…insure things?!?

He’s going to fight it of course, but there was some serious dejection in his voice. There are only so many kicks to the balls you can take before they get tender.

Ryan’s curse – part 2

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

I was having some breakfast before I had to go to work this morning when Ryan walked through the door. It’s rare that he is conscious at 7:30am so I asked him if his day was just beginning or just ending. He slowly crawled up the stairs. Ah it’s ending I see. One whiff of his breath was enough to set the room spinning. I have seen him at several different stages of messed up, but we may have a winner.

I couldn’t be too hard on him though, given the

I swear to god I am not making this up. Some of it’s funny, some of it’s actually sad, but above all else it’s the honest truth.

Yesterday morning Ryan was trying to sleep off a night of coping via beer for the loss of his boat and truck in one day. He was rudely awakened by his phone ringing. His friend Andrea left him a voicemail asking him for someone’s phone number. He ignored it and went back to sleep. An hour later she called back again. He hung up on her. An hour later she called again. He angrily opened up his phone told her the phone number and hung up on her. Three hours later she called again. More awake now and wondering what the hell was going on, he finally spoke to her. Andrea was sobbing. “Ryan” she said, “my sister died.”

Andrea’s sister was on a waiting list for a heart transplant. Ryan had told me about her little while back saying at best the 26 year old girl had twenty years left. Sadly it turned out to be about twenty hours. Last night she went in to receive a catheter in her heart, but was too weak to survive the procedure.

So somebody died after all.

Day 2 of Ryan’s curse was off to a great start. When I came home from work I was stunned to find one our DJ subs sitting out in the driveway. In the rain. I jumped out of the car to rescue it and was quite confused to find Ryan just standing in the garage not doing anything. He saw I was unable to grasp the situation and said “Oh I am already up to $14,000 in damage here.”

We have an inclined driveway and a storm drain that easily plugs with debris. The night before the wrath of God had swept through (I spent 4:30 to 6am listening to the house shake), and as a result the garage flooded. Ryan had been using it for storage while he did house renovations, so his big screen TV, the DJ speakers and other random audio equipment he had collected was all soaked.

At this point I was in awe and starting to fear for my own safety. If his aura of bad luck is contagious, then it’s time to get the hell out of Dodge. He may have finally coughed up the trinket though.

He bitched to his insurance agent about what a pain in the ass it was to make a claim and he didn’t even want to make the claim because of all the headache and bullshit that went with it. “Why?” his agent asked, “Ryan you do realize everything damaged gets replaced brand new right?”

We had a riot throwing stereo equipment in puddles…whoops did I type that? I mean, damn those floods are destructive.

Still I think Ryan should lock himself in cabin out in the woods just be sure. He’d still get eaten by a bear or something but at least everyone else would be safe.

like the black cat who broke a mirror while walking under a ladder

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

Ryan is cursed. You know the episode of the Brady Bunch where they are in Hawaii and find a ancient trinket, only to be besieged with one mishap after another? Ryan swallowed that trinket. Sure everyone has bad luck and experienced that feeling of “every time I start to get ahead, something knocks me back down.”,

Yesterday he came home looking like he had spent the last hour taking punches to the gut. “I had a bad day.” he said. At this point I was worried that someone died. He knows everyone and everyone’s cousins, aunts and uncles too, so as statistical probability dictates, he spends far too much time at the funeral home. Once two complete strangers smashed each other into oblivion in a drunk driving accident – Ryan was close friends with both families and had to double duty on the mourning circuit. That was a bad week.

Fortunately no one died this time. Not a person anyway. I asked “What happened?” He said “I just did about 22 5 in damage to my boat.” I said “Wait, you mean $22,500??” Yep. Out in the bay is a buoy that should be blinking but isn’t and should be on GPS but isn’t, so the boat’s fiberglass and engine should be in one piece but aren’t. Were it not for the boat’s second engine, it would now be a new apartment for the local trout.

The good news is insurance will pay for all but the first $1000. Still that’s $1000 he doesn’t really have in his pocket now. More disappointing to him is this happens any and all times he gets a new vehicle. Without fail, he will get it tricked out just the way he wants it and then disaster will strike. There are no exceptions to this rule.

After his tale of woe he left to take out some aggression on the golf course. When he came back a couple hours later, I asked him if he was doing any better. He said “Oh yeah. Much better. Played better than I normally do, had a good time, took a nice relaxing drive home, everything was great…till I hit the deer.”

Only fitting that his brand new truck should match his brand new boat.

and all this time I thought they were real.

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

Ryan faked an orgasm for me yesterday.

He came home in a bad mood but quickly cheered up when he realized he had an audience, i.e. me. For some reason he started telling about the best blow job he ever received. The front door was open and he stood half in/half out of the house so the neighbors could watch the show too.

“It was like whoa.” He said and grabbed the doorframe with both hands to brace himself. “Whoa!” He started high stomping his left foot. “Whoa!!” He leaned back “WHOAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!”

Truly the highlight of my day.

Technical Difficulties

Sunday, July 17th, 2005

Sadly no horny ducks to report tonight. Dinner was late so the dance itself was only about two and half hours long, with another soul sucking endless dollar dance and one break to watch the fireworks outside. The real fun though came not from the guests but from my equipment. When I say “my” equipment I really mean Ryan’s equipment that I rent at an astronomical price for every job. Unloading it was not a problem this time, but getting it to function was. The CD players haven’t been taking kindly to the recent humidity. So every now and then they decide to skip, turning CD quality sound into something that sounds like my Dad’s vinyl collection. Alison Krause’s “When You Say Nothing At All” became “When You Sing Nothing At All”. Fortunately alcohol is the DJ’s best friend so anytime this happened I was able to fade into the next song unnoticed by the intoxicated guests.

The real fun equipment issue though was the light controller which has developed an interesting quirk. Every now and then when I touched it to adjust the lights, it would deliver an electric shock. Not every time, – no real pattern really but quite often enough to condition my fear, as if I was a DJ lab rat in some evil scientist’s experiment. On the plus side a DJ that lights up makes for a great pyro effect. I should really charge more for that next time.

*****

The story of the week goes to Ryan though. He did an outdoor wedding last night. At midnight the bride’s mom said she would pay him to play longer. He asked if he could change out of his tux. She said she didn’t care if he played naked. He damn near did, finishing the night wearing only shorts, sandals and the hair on his chest (which almost counts as a sweater). The real kicker though was when he went back to his vehicle to get his shorts and found a man and woman using his trailer for leverage. She was bent over and he was…how do I put this romantically…oh yes – drilling for oil. “Give me a minute” he asked Ryan.
Ryan said “Hey take your time.” Because a good DJ always makes sure the guests go home satisfied.

Vacation

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

After contracting a mild, possibly only psychological strain of my sister’s strep throat, I have taken the last couple days off from work. So hard to readjust to life in the real world after a kickass vacation. So the least I could do is write about it. This will also make me feel slightly less guilty about the last thousand hours I have spent playing Jade Empire.

Day 2 was the 3rd of July, which is when the city has it’s fireworks. The last couple years my family has secured a spot next to the Planetarium which provides a great view from across the lake. My dad was intent on scoring this spot again and although he didn’t leave till 11am (his original plan was 9) he was able to stake our turf.

By the time girlfriend and I regained consciousness, both my parents were down there. My mom called and insisted we come down. My sister Beth however had to sit (or lay) this one out as she was still down with SARS. We powered up with a sandwich from Starbucks and then took the million year bus ride to the planetarium. The bus literally stops at every corner in the city of Chicago. Nice view of the city though and far cheaper than the official tours that charge hundreds to do the exact same thing. I did have to put up with a lady from out of town asking some lame questions – pff! Tourists! Not like me, a true Chicago native…wait did we just miss our stop, ah oh my god what will we do this city’s too big!!

Actually we didn’t miss it though (I think this was our most impressive mastery of public transportation on any trip). We found my parents under a canopy tent. What they failed to tell us is that they had brought their own entertainment. Mom had her books and dad had his granola bars. By granola bars, I mean a granola bar box concealing a bottle of brandy. Neither had brought enough to share with the rest of the class. I asked mom what we were to do with the next 9 hours before the fireworks. “Sit around?” she said.

That was our cue to wander. We discovered the ice cream stand quickly which was just perfect on such a freakin hot day. My twist cone looked kind of weak next to her hot fudge sunday but it is was still tasty stuff. I even managed to keep most of it’s melted goodness from landing on my shirt. Most of it.

With nothing else to do we wandered. Girlfriend did get some great pics of the city which can be viewed at . Eventually our sore feet gave out though and we wandered back to camp. There we found my parents had been joined by their close friends Rita and Thomas (pronounced Toe-mahss). Rita was passed out in her chair, and I legitimately feared she may be dead. She eventually come to though mumbling something about the avocodo dip.

Rita. Rita is one of Chicago’s most beloved citizens. She gained her fame by starting a musical institute for the city’s poor. She firmly believed that music should be accessible to everyone, not just the fortunate few, and she made that vision a reality. Since then she has been featured by CNN and honored several times. Recently the president of Cross sent her a pen specially made for her as a lifetime achievement award. So when someone of such renown offers advice, I pay her the utmost attention:

“The key is” she said “to wear a bathing suit on under your clothes. That way when you get down to the beach bathrooms, you don’t wait in line. You just take your clothes off, go in to the lake and pee.”

I like Rita.

There wasn’t much else to the rest of the afternoon, mostly spent eating. I did sample some of Dad’s “granola” which did seem to make the time go faster. We finally made it to the fireworks and they were solid as always. Probably the coolest thing is the way they reflect off the water and the skyscrapers. When they were done the crowd applauded wildly, the boats honked their horns and Dad said “ok, time for you to drive Rita and Thomas home.”

Excuse me?? but the city? big! scary! Dad said it will be all right, Thomas would navigate me. He failed to tell me the car was almost out of gas. Despite that and the heavy post firework traffic I was able get them home safely and us back to my parents apartment. It made me feel strangely grown-up. And ready to tackle another day. As a true Chicago native of course.

Tales from a DJ

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

Work takes a good chunk of my life, leaving me with not much to write about. I mostly just live the same day over and over. I also work for a large chemical company that frowns on it’s employees discussing their internal issues. So when the CEO asks us to write our senators and demand they legalize offshore drilling, I am not allowed to write about it. I can’t and I won’t.

Last night’s job wasn’t anything overly exciting (I’ll provide some real DJ horror stories a little later) but it did have some quirks.

I arrived a half hour earlier than I normally do to set up. Normally I am crunched for time so I was quite proud of myself. I even brought my Gameboy to kill time after I had unloaded the equipment. I had never played at this hall before and found it to really be…something. It was obviously new, well decorated, bordering on classy – except for all the dead animals. On every wall were the heads of deer, elk, and wild boar. A full bear posed in a snarl over the entrance. Above my show was the giant head of an ox? wildebeast? wooly mammoth? But by far the creepiest thing was the chandeliers made with piles and piles of horns. It basically looked like this only with deer parts. It was also to date the only venue I have ever played with a broken canoe at the base of a fully functional waterfall. Nothing sets the stage for a romantic night better than a scene from Deliverance.

So I was a little surprised when I met the banquet coordinator Kate – an attractive woman who would seem more at home working at Marshall Fields than the Safari of Love. We talked about where I would set up and few details about the night. I then backed my trailer to the door to unload.

The thing about unloading equipment is it goes much smoother when the trailer door is open. So I became a little concerned when after several twists of my key, the door lock refused to budge. I knew it was a long shot but I asked Kate if she had any WD40 to loosen it. She said no problem and found one within minutes. Kate is now my hero.

I greased the lock, but still nothing happened. I continued to fight and time was passing. Guests were starting to arrive. I would take time out to let in a little old lady carrying presents bigger than herself. By now my thumb had developed a good blister. The lock simply would not open.

I will never be featured in Popular Mechanics. The inner workings of gear shafts connecting fizzygigs to whatchamagiggers will always confound me. So when situations like this arise (sadly far too often), I am forced to call my roommate Ryan. His brain understands the fizzygigs in sickening detail. Calling him this time was difficult because my hands were well greased, but I finally managed.

His initial “Are you fucking kidding me??” response was to be expected. Fortunately he accepted who he was talking to and began to advise: just keep twisting, put the key in all the way then pull it out a millimeter, pull down on the lock like your trying to rip the fucker off, bang the lock against the trailer – all nothing. We had about given up and I was wondering if SuperKate happened to have some bolt cutters. Then Ryan said “oh and it works best when you turn the key to the left not the right”…click!

So my place in the Mechanically Retarded Hall of Fame is secure, but at least there was music at the wedding reception. I managed to get the equipment set up and change in to my tux just before the bridal party arrived. I lined them up and formally introduced them to their guests. Normally at this point the guests request the new bride and groom kiss by clanking their glasses or chiming bells or occasionally singing songs with the word “love”. This group naturally used duck calls. The calls were set up at every table and the guests blew them with reckless abandon. If the mating call of wild fowl doesn’t say love I don’t know what does. This went on all night and I could only imagine all the horny male ducks bouncing off the outer walls of the banquet hall in confusion.

After the initial wave of duck calls died down, the best man and matron of honor gave their toasts. They then attempted to show a video presentation they had put together highlighting the lives of the bride and groom. We had tested it earlier and it worked fine. However my mechanical aura must have been spreading because the DVD player jammed and refused to play. The best man and matron of honor returned to their seats dejected. I felt simultaneously bad for them and relieved that this one was not my fault.

We did get to see the presentation about twenty minutes later though because Kate provided a new DVD player. I plan to name the firstborn child that I am never going to have after Kate. Even if it’s a boy.

Kate Jr: Dad, why did you have to name me Kate? I always get beat up at school!
Me: Aw quit whining! I’m never going to have you anyway, so go mow the lawn or something.

The dance itself was quite successful. I love a crowd who will dance to anything and I don’t have to pull teeth. I did get some helpful advice from the best man. Once he suggested we stop the dance to have a duck calling competition. Hey that’s a great idea except for not at all. Later when I was playing newer hip-hop music, he came over asking for country because most of the people didn’t like this stuff. I looked at the jam-packed dance floor, then looked back at him. He backtracked “well ok man, I trust you.” It’s these small victories I treasure so much.

The night was winding down, when grandpa approached asking who to sign the check to. Without fail the rule is: who ever appreciates you the least that night will be the one paying you, eliminating any chance of a tip. Not that gramps hated me – he said I was doing a fine job. It just wasn’t “Oh my god you fucking rock, how many hundreds do you want?” Worse was he didn’t know how much he owed me – and because I am horribly badly disorganized I didn’t know either. I knew the total contract was $850 but I didn’t know how much their deposit was to my booking agent. Grandma intervened and said they had already paid $300. This struck me as very high for a deposit, but I had no way to dispute it so I took the check with a smile. My agent gets a call first thing Monday to confirm I wasn’t taken by a geriatric Bonnie and Clyde.

Vacation

Sunday, July 3rd, 2005

My town offers a variety of entertainment options. There are several gas stations you can visit, a McDonalds and Burger King which stay open sometimes as late as 10pm, and fields of corn. I think there are some cows too but they try to keep a low profile. Normally this is no big deal in the summer when between my day job and DJing weddings I use my free time to catch up on my blinking. But when vacation rolls around I feel strangely compelled to get the hell out of Dodge.

My parents and sister live on the north side of Chicago which is darn convenient – free crash pad! If you can’t use your family, who can you use? Oh yeah it is nice to see them and stuff too. So girlfriend and I hopped in the car Friday and headed west.

So much to do here, yet afterwards when people ask what we did, girlfriend and I often respond “derr?” So we decided to document our days this time. For an accurate account of the trip with things like “details” go see hers at . For me details are just the fluffy things on desquirrels.

So Day 1 – girlfriend had stores to hit so she could use bought products for the rest of the trip. Off to Sephora we went. They have makeup – every and all kinds of makeup, anything you need to get the look you are going for. The also have a loan officer standing by to help you get that look in 95 simple payments.

I’m all about my girl looking good, hell yeah! But the whole making up process itself is mind numbing for me, so after 40 minutes in this store I was cursing the day of my birth. I expressed this by using makeup samples to draw frowny faces on my arm. The worst part was everytime we seemed to be heading to the cash register, she would remember something else she needed. I did everything I could to hold back the tears.

In all fairness though, she had been looking forward to this months. Now that she is gainfully employed she has money to play with. She is finally able to get the things she used to sadly pine for. I remembered when I was finally able to get a Gamecube, Playstation 2 and X-box just because I could – it’s a good feeling. We agreed though that on any future visits, I would spend my time at the nearby Lego store :)

On to the Lush store. I had actually been curious about this one. One of her LJ friends from over the pond once sent her a Lush massage bar and that’s all it took to create addiction. Not just her either. Call me a girlyman if you want but Lush is the shiz-nit! But after a million years at Sephora, I feared I was burned out. The Lush store kicked ass though. Piles and piles of bath stuff in tons of different scents – it was a nasal adventure. Like a good metrosexual I got a sample of some coconut almond body scrub. But I still like Football really!

Later that night, the main even: Blue Man Group!

Cab ride to the theater: $10
Center ailse seats four rows back from the stage: $112
Staring up at a Blue Man’s ass while he uses your head for balance: priceless

Show was just everything I could have hoped for – no real words for it, just something you have to experience for yourself.

Afterwords girl friend got a Blueman to pose with her stuffed bunny, Bonnie. Check out her site next week for the pic!

So ended Day 1.

Folks are waiting for us at their firework stakeout, so it’s off to Day 2!