Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Last Fortnight Or So

Realized I haven't posted in a bit. I actually have motives behind this but I'm going to leave you in the dark about it unless I've already told you. Anyhoo, I'm no longer apologizing for being slow with these things. I'm not sorry? Wait...I'm not sorry. Yes, I'm not. Moving on, I have a few things to intimate since my last post and I hope that they're interesting (if not, busy yourself with the first two seasons of Smallville for twenty bucks a pop at Wal-Mart. I know I did and 17-20 hours later, I can honestly say it's worth it).

There's no better way to kick off this post than with the story of what kicked off the month. That's right ladies and gents, the battle of the century, Joe v. the Vermonster! (**Warning to parents: Due to the graphic nature of the bout, it is recommended that those under 14 be sent to bed without dinner and possibly a spanking if not a black eye IMMEDIATELY**) The story of this illustrious battle begins at Jessie, Angela, Katie, and Rachel's appartment (aka Team JAKRabbit) for Angela's birthday. Whilst we were sitting discussing pressing issues, Joe, with a wild look in his eye, stated his intenion to challenge the Vermonster in man to bucket combat if any brave souls were willing to pony up the necessary funds needed to grease the axles of the Ben and Jerry machine and coax a battle. Four of us rose to his impassioned plea and the game was afoot. Who were those brave enough to stand by Joe in this life defining moment? Counted among the war party were Brummitt, Bozeman, Broady, and myself. The team gathered, we made our way to our destiny, be it victory of the highest order or fairly failure which could rob us of our very manhood. Arriving at Ben and Jerry's, the challenge was announced. A hush fell over the room as mothers covered their children's ears and a tumbleweed blew by behind us. The employees nodded and asked for our offering to the ice cream deities Ben and Jerry. Once it had been presented, the construction of the beast began. A Vermonster consists of the following: 20 scoops of ice cream, 3 cookies, 4 bananas, a brownie, 10 scoops of nuts, 10 scoops of other toppings, and whipped cream. Joe, not a fan of bananas, replaced his with 4 additional brownies, a decision which will play a pivotal role later on. The Vermonster assembled, it was time for battle. The challenge of the Vermonster is as follows: If the Vermonster can be fully consumed in under an hour by one solitary individual, then it is free of charge. Joe sat down, spoon and stomach ready, and began. Right off the bat, we realized a problem. The spoon which Joe had been furnished was very small and in no way useful in consuming such a beast in under an hour. What were we to do? That's when Broady, shrewd as ever, spied a shovel spoon on the novelty shelf. Forking out the necessary funds, he obtain the shovel spoon and the battle began in earnest. Joe ate furiously, devouring browie, cookie, and ice cream indiscriminately. For a time, it seemed as though the battle was his. But, much to our woe, the substitution of four extra brownies began to take its toll. Joe's consumption rate began to drop most precariously and the furious gleam in his eye began to dull. An hour and about half to 3/4 of tub later, Joe was defeated and a lesson was learned by all. Take this to heart all of you: Never, ever, substitute brownies for bananas under any circumstances for it will be the death of you. Or it least it could be. Joe was lucky and he survived to tell the tale but you may not be so fortuneate. It is best not to tempt the fates. So doth ends the battle of Joe v. the Vermonster.

Several days later, inspired by Joe's bravery and the acquiring of a Vermonster tub, Bozeman decided to challenge the Jellomonster. That's right, a Vermonster tub filled with approximately a gallon of jello. I think we should take to moment just to think about how brave Boze was to challenge the Jellomonster. First, he has our respect and needs not prove himself. Second, jello is a dangerous substance to mess with and lesser men have paid the ultimate price for thinking themselves above the chilled dessert. Third, there was no tangible reward for conquering the Jellomonster except for knowing that songs of a such a feat would be sung generations after one has passed. When thinking about all this, it makes Bozeman's challenge all the more awe-inspiring. Bozeman began strong, finishing nearly half within fifteen minutes of starting, a feat in itself. Victory seemed imminent as time wore on and the Jellomonster gradually became smaller and smaller. But then a snag was hit. Not only was Boze dangerously over the full point, but making such an excessive amount of jello led to all the sugar settling in the bottom of the solution, making the bottom layer sweet to a disgusting degree. This unfortunate occurrence led to Boze demise in the challenge but he still will be remembered, for he was nearly finished. I would even say he was 7/8ths of the way there. Such a deed will not go unforgotten.

Skipping a bit, I'm going to jump ahead from two weeks or so ago to yesterday, when I went with my brother and sister to see Anna Nalick live at the Freebird Cafe. I realize I have probably hyped Nalick enough in this blog but damn if she doesn't deserve it. Not only did she create one of my favorite albums of all time, she also put on an amazing show despite having laringeitis (I'd be more surprised if I spelled that right but its that illness where you can barely speak let alone sing). Somehow, even with the illness, she sounded much the way an angel should sound. She was friendly, graceful, funny, charming, and, just to continue with such a string of cliched compliments (so funny how they're typically true), drop dead gorgeous. Did I mentioned she did an acoustic set with one other guitarist? I can't even begin to descripe my passion for acoustic sets. She even played guitar on several songs (not necessarily a requirement but certainly an impetus to getting into my heart), including personal favorites of mine, Catalyst and Wreck of the Day. I'm going to be honest though, I can't really think of a song of hers that isn't a personal favorite. Many of you who know me will recall my penchant for giving flowers to female singers at shows. Finally realizing how silly it was, I decided not to this time. Of course, someone else did and you know what happened? He got a friggin' kiss on the cheek from Nalick! Needless to say, I was chagrined. Some of you will also recall my habit of providing my phone number for female singers (who are, of course, desperate to get it). I wimped out of that too and in the car ride home, realized I had a great set-up to do it. You see, Nalick felt bad that she had to do a stripped down show and cut out the the rougher songs as a result of her illness so she went to the back of the venue to meet everyone. I had upon my person a scratch lotto ticket (a winner!) and a pen. Thinking back, I realized that that combination gave me a perfect line. "Hey, ( a little small talk)...Here's my number and if you never call it, hey, you still get a winning lotto ticket." Or something like that. It seemed smoother at two o'clock yesterday morning (as opposed to 1 o'clock in the morning now). I'm also happy to report that I worked for Nalick for ten minutes. My good friend Mikey was working the Merch booth but needed someone to sell stuff while he was changing the stage from the opening act (I'll get to them in a bit) and, as I was the only person there he knew, he asked me to sell whilst (is that my second whilst? I'm on fire) he was hauling equipment. Needless to say, I helped him and, in the process, worked for Nalick for ten minutes. Does it mean anything? No. Did I really need to tell you then? No, but nothing else I ever say really means anything either (except the Basket Story). Anyways, awesome show. Buy the album, go to a show if you can. (Sidenote: I just reread that paragraph and I think I may have to clarify something: I'm really not that creepily obsessed, I swear.)

Speaking of album recommendations, I've gots a couple new ones. First, Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine. It's not for everyone, but it has some really out there instrumentation that I really dig and the lyrics and vocals are rock solid. Next up, Jamie Cullum's Chasing Tales. Did you like Twentysomething? It doesn't really matter either way, you'll still dig this album. Great instrumentation, great lyrics, great vocals, cool vibe. After hearing Photograph, I realized that Cullum's album was really what I needed at that point. It hits the spot. My final recommendation happens to be the band who opened for Anna Nalick (I know you were wondering when I was going to come around to that). Blue Merle not only puts on an amazing performance, they also created a slick album, Burning in the Sun. The thing about Blue Merle is that the band uses very traditional instruments that are closely identified with Bluegrass music (ie, acoustic guitar, mandolin, upright bass, and fiddle) and use them to create straight ahead rock that sounds really progressive and cutting edge. How do they do this? Buy the album and find out (you knew it was coming).

Well kids, that's it for now. I hope that was enough to keep all three of you content...stupid flowers, argh I can't believe it! I mean seriously the one time I don't...

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