Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Hooked

Played two rounds of Disc Golf (I call it Hippie Golf) with my brother and his friends. Had a great time and the weather was unseasonably warm (40's) if a tad windy.

Now I like playing the occasional round of regular golf but I like Disc Golf better because:

  • No greens fees
  • I can use one disc/club
  • The disc is easier to find than a small golf ball
  • The discs are much cheaper than clubs ($10 versus $150)
  • The rounds are quicker (1.5 hours v 3+)
  • You can hold a drink in your hand while throwing (clandestinely though, the course is in a public park)
  • I have a much higher chance of making par
  • No dress code
  • No rich tools playing in front of or behind you

So, I will still play the very occasional round of golf but I will definitely play more Disc Golf next year.

Saturday Night's All Right for...

Having Fun! This time Rachel and I went to a friend's birthday celebration at NV Lounge in downtown Normal. Had a great time drinking $1.50 Coors Light pitchers (no, that is not a typo) and playing one of those bar video games.

Capped the night off with some Mario Kart on the Wii and a Buffalo Chicken Cheese Bomb from Flinger's (a local pizza joint named after the restaurant in Office Space). Mario Kart was great; I was in the zone. The Buffalo Chicken Cheese Bomb dropped the bomb on us (sorry). It was awesome though Rachel thought it was a tad too spicy. I highly recommend it, if you are susceptible to spice, ask for them to leave off the jalapenos. We were in bed by 10:30. Yes, we are old and lame, and we know our limits ;)

Ups and Downs Part Dos

So, this is how my Friday (my day off) went.

Instead of loafing around all day watching stuff on my DVR, OK, I did loaf for a little bit, this is me we're talking about now, I had to tackle a couple of projects. Number 1 on my list was to make a pork roast/stew. I hopped in my car to go get the ingredients I forgot (nothing unusual about that). Upon turning the key I was greeted by a mostly dead battery (not totally dead, have fun storming the castle). So, the mostly dead battery became project number 2. Then, I disgustedly got out of the car and decided to walk to Kroger's (not far) and tried to close the garage door. Of course the door goes down about a foot and then reverses. Attempt 2, 3, and 4 produce the same results. Now I have project number 3! Huzzah!

After closing the door manually I walk to Kroger's in the sub freezing temps. Hey, makes for a brisk walk. I return home with the ingredients plus some pork ribs that were on sale for $1.19/pound (this post brought to by the Pork Council) and put the stew ingredients in the pot and start the 8 hour cook time.

Now I head out to the garage. First I have to push the car to the front of the driveway, not that fun if you know my driveway. Take off the opener cover, look at it contemplatively like I know exactly what I'm doing. Fiddle with it, take off the chain, curse many times, and come to the conclusion that I can't fix it. Briefly contemplate taking batting practice with the opener. Resign myself to buying a new one (grrrrrrr).

Now I look in the car for the battery receipt, it couldn't have been that long since I bought it. No dice. Call Sears, they have the battery for $124 (at least the price hasn't gone up) and show I last purchased a battery in June of 2005. Quick calculations deduce November 2008 is past the 3 year warranty (Of Course!).

Total pending charges $450

Now I remember that I have a home warranty, does it include garage door openers? It does! It will only cost $60 for repair/replacement!

Total pending charges $184

Rachel comes home for lunch to give me a jump, my car that is ;) Drive to Sears and find the battery is still mostly dead. Unfortunately Billy Crystal is out of potions. Good news though, after prodding the sales guy they prorate the cost because of the 100 month limited warranty (thanks Sears). New battery will now cost $63!

Total pending charges $123

Walk around the mall (man, it has changed) and find a used copy of Bust-a-move for the Wii for just $19! Receive a call from the Sears guy, found a screw in my tire (same tire I just replaced last month). It will cost $18 to repair, $100 to replace. Great.

Total pending charges $151-223

Get back to Sears and the screw didn't hurt the tire, no charge!

Total pending charges $123

So, my Friday definitely had some ups and downs but turned out better than it could have been. Plus, the stew turned out great.

To paraphrase a great urban poet; Damn right it was a mostly good day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saturday Night's Alright

Well, ladies and gentlemen, this past Saturday night I got into my first (and hopefully last) bar fight. Don't worry, I'm fine and didn't end up in the hoosegow (that word needs to be used more). Here's the story.

Rachel, I, our friends Amy and Scot, Rachel's co-worker Dean, and his friend, went out to the bars for a night out. We first went to Coconut Louie's where there was a $7 cover for some death metal band. The bar was cool aside from the music. It is co-owned by the guy who owned Paulie's, which used to be Lizard's Lounge.

We then went to Shooter's for some more drinks. Although we thoroughly enjoyed the Baby Boomer Meat Market, we decided to visit Fat Jack's. This is where the fun started.

We were sitting near the bar when a guy rushed by and bumped into me. No biggie, he was in a rush to the dance floor. About 20-30 minutes later Rachel and Amy go out for a smoke (this will come into play in the story). So, I'm sitting there talking to Scott and Rachel's friend when the same guy bumps into me. I look up and he's standing there with that "I'm drunk and I think you have slighted me at some point in my life, I must now fight you" look. Drawing on my bar hopping experience I quickly deduce this guy is itching for a fight because:

He's picking on me
He's zombie drunk (no light behind the eyes)
Instead of continuing his path after bumping me, he decided (or the liquor decided) to stand there

Now, before anyone thinks I'm being egotistical about the first reason, let's think about it for a second. Regardless of what the outcome could be, maybe he's a tazmanian devil and would kick my ass, he's still got to be a little gone if he is going to pick on me from sight alone. I'm not a small man. But, I digress. So, upon running through the reasons for his behavior in my head, I stand up because I'm not taking a right cross to the head while seated.

Now this is where things speed up. Upon standing the guy asks if I have a problem. I inform him that he is the one who bumped into me. All I get is drunken gibberish to which I give him the universal sign to hit the road (my thumb pointed to the side). I repeat this sign language (as he is on a base level of communication) several times only to receive gibberish again. After my attempts to communicate with him (short of drawing pistures with crayons) I notice him tense and his eyes narrow. This is when fight or flight kicks in and I push him into the waitress rail to create separation. Drunk guy then regains his balance and launches a drunken cowboy punch which I easily duck and then return with a headlock (because I don't want to sort this out downtown). Just when I have him in the headlock I'm blindsided from the right. After thoughts of elbowing run through my head I quickly deduce it is a bouncer because if it was drunk guy's friend it would have been a punch. I relax, the bouncer leaves me, I then get to witness a beautiful sight.

Drunk Guy either tries to run to the back exit or is hustled that way by about 5 bouncers who proceed to introduce Drunk Guy to the side of a pool table. The bouncers then start taking him out front. On the way Drunk Guy tries to slip away or fight some more. Regardless of the intent, the bouncers then pig pile him into the floor. From there, Amy and Rachel fill me in on the rest of Drunk Guy's night. Apparently when the bouncers got him to the door Drunk Guy got to see the side of an SUV up close and personal head first, along with some goodbye punches.

The bouncers tried to escort me out until Dean and the bouncer who tackled me inform them I was not at fault.

So, it was a very eventful night. The last time I was in an actual fight, and not a stare down, was Junior High. Hopefully I can space out the next one for at least another 20 years.

Ups and Downs

Got to experience the joy of home repair Saturday. My garage door opener crapped out oh, about two or three months ago. So, yes, I haven't been parking in the garage during that time. And yes, I haven't kicked my procrastination yet. Besides, if I did, I wouldn't be Mike anymore...

Anyway, I called around for estimates to repair/replace the opener. I found out that since I didn't have the electronic eye on the door (to prevent killing my non-existing progeny) I would basically have to replace the opener at a cost of $300+ with installation! I asked if there was another way around it and was told that my Sears Craftsman opener had a habit of stripping the plastic gears inside (more on that later) and there was a repair kit I could buy for $45. While mulling over whether to repair or replace (for two months, I like to contemplate) I stumbled upon the kit online for $15 plus shipping and handling. Sold!

Now onto the repair. It wasn't the easiest thing to do but through much hammering (locking pins definitely lock) and adjusting I finally got it repaired. As for the plastic gears, they are most definitely plastic because I found about two handfuls of plastic powder upon opening the box (that's what she said). I must say I am perplexed as to why Sears Craftsman would use plastic in their gear boxes. The metal equivalents could only cost $5 more. I'm sure there is a valid reason but I'm inclined to think it is to perpetuate the replacement kit market.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Amber Bock

Just wanted to update that I now have Michelob Amber Bock on tap and it is tasty.

The last keg was Goose Island 312. Apparently, it was popular because the keg (1/6 th barrel) went dry 2 1/2 hours into the Halloween party.

Thankfully this time I didn't have any problems with tapping the keg. The 312 gave me problems because the check-valve ball was blocking access to the delicious nectar known as 312. The keg before that was Hofbrauhaus Original and I got to find out first hand that there are many different types of keg couplers. Apparently the Marshal Plan didn't include requirements that the Europeans use the same tap system as North America.

As an asside, I highly recommend Budget Liqours for your keg needs. They are always friendly and Chris the owner can get just about any beer you want. After obtaining the HB keg he will have my business for quite some time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Furious Wiper

I would like to introduce the world to The Furious Wiper. TFW (as I like to call him) is a guy who occasions the men's room in my building. The reason I call him TFW is because if he is utilizing the WC at the same time as you, you will undoubtedly ask yourself, "What the heck he is doing?" My guesses from the sound:

  • Sanding his son's pinewood derby car
  • Practicing his scratching for his second job as a DJ
  • Using those blocks from elementary school music class
  • Rubbing out stains on his shirt with a Shout Pad
  • He's a member of Opus Dei and he has sinned; therefore, he must punish himself

Anyway, to steal from George Carlin, these are the thoughts that kept me out of the good schools.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Yes, I know it is almost a week after the event but I must say I couldn't be happier with the outcome of the presidential election. You might say I drank the kool-aid and asked for more. I honestly believe Obama will take our country in the right direction. My only hope is that the public and press don't expect magic. Our nation (and the World) is in a huge mess and it will take a while to get out.

Anyway, I was watching the coverage election night and at one point CNN had live coverage of people outside the White House celebrating. I thought to myself, "Self, if you were outside the White House, what chants would you try to get the crowd involved in?" Well, here are the ones I thought of;

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye - I know, very obvious choice
Pack your bags
Enjoy your legacy, clap clap, clap clap clap
Back to Texas, clap, etc
Bet you want a drink, Bet you want a drink - I know, I'm mean
Bet your father's proud, Bet your father's proud
We didn't cheat, We didn't cheat - Someone may have to explain to W this is in reference to 2000
Don't stay in touch, Don't stay in touch

So, to sum it all up, I'm pretty happy that Obama was elected. Also, it's a good thing I wasn't outside the White House...