Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Are you ready to rock!

The summer festivals have officially started. The festivals are held weekly at different northside neighborhoods with live music, food, and beer…lots of beer. My friends and I have been busy most weekends with various excuses like work, weddings, family, etc., so this first festival was a chance for all of us to let loose. The band line up couldn’t be better. First up was “two white crew”, a cover band of 80’s & 90’s hip hop. Yep, there was some serious Jock Jams like Hip hop hurray, Jump, Waterfalls, and Baby Got Back. Speaking of baby got back, the band asked women to get up on the stage and shake their booty. As expected, a collection of women with low self esteem and tight clothing flocked to the stage. One stand out was a 50+ year old woman (someone’s grandmother we joked) who had some serious junk in the trunk. To our amazement, she shook it and stunned the whole crowd. Seriously there was a collective gasp in the audience. The funny, and slightly disturbing, thing was that every part of her body shook. The wave reminded me of Homer Simpson’s poke test. She kept grinding up against the singer who a first laughed and then cringed.

Another character was an Asian guy who took hair gel to a whole new level. You know Pauly D from the Jersey Shore, and how his hair stood straight up. Well this guy had his hair straight back. It was like a Magnavox or RCA commercial.

The festival attracts all sorts of people. This woman was an animal rights activist or something. Kind of a downer shirt for a festival. Okay maybe I could forgive the shirt, but the mom jeans…tisk tisk.

The headlining band was Hairbangers Ball. They are an excellent cover band of 80’s big hair rock (Bon Jovi, Metallica, Heart, Def leopard, etc.). The band gets into it and dresses up in 80’s fashion with mullet wings. Now this band rocks hard and usually your ears are still ringing the next day (hello hearing loss). Imagine my surprise when I saw a baby at the show. Yes, a BABY! In the front row! He was sporting just a diaper and was perched on top of his idiotic father’s shoulders (his parent of the year award was lost in the mail).

As you will see in the pictures, everyone just let go and went nuts. It felt good to cut loose after so long of being an adult.
Here is journey’s “Don’t stop believing” song. I caught the girls singing along.

Jensen got a little too carried away with the balloon hat.

Even Jesus likes hair metal. Okay I am now officially going to hell.

Everyone said it was one of the best nights out in a long while. I’m surprised they remembered it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Samantha who?

The Sex in the City movie sequel soon will be released. I hear about groups of girls making an event of it by going out for cocktails and seeing the movie in their fashionista best. I am a fan of the show, just not a HUGE fan. Granted, I did go on the Sex in the City tour…twice. Both were due to visitor requests when I lived in NYC. There are usually only four or five guys on the tour. They are either dragged their by the wives/girlfriends or they are effeminately gay. The tour guide always asks, by show of hands, where all her Carries were. Same goes for Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte. The funny thing is they gay men always want to be Charlotte. Most women want to be Carrie but I feel best represented as Miranda. I value her black and white take on things, her practicality and sense. I mentioned this to some friends last night and they said I was wrong. They all exclaimed I was a Samantha (like it was some verb). My first thought was “wait the slut…I ain’t no whore”. Then I thought about the character, and although she was a giant whore, she was sure vivacious. She is the instigator, the life, the “yes girl”. I am a “yes girl” meaning if someone suggests something, and it won’t cause permanent damage (ie tattoo), then I’ll likely say “sure…let’s do it”. Maybe that is the root of my adventures.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mediterranean Adventures - Part 7 (Rhodes, Greece

Our next stop was the Greek Island Rhodes. Rhodes is about half way between western Europe/France and the Holy Lands of the Middle East/Israel. This made it a perfect refueling stop for the crusaders in the 10th-13th centuries. The Knights built the towns and they remained to this day to give you a glimpse into medieval times. The port town of Rhodes Town (original name I know) is a medieval fortress with walls encircling the town.
The streets were crooked and narrow with shops peaking out in all the nooks.

Topping it all off was a giant castle called the Palace of the Grand Masters. The castle retained all of the artifacts like suits of armor, gilded statues, grand floor mosaics, tapestries, and a MOAT! Yet, I was excited to see a real moat.

One thing that didn’t add up was the Laocoon Sculpture (a guy wrestling with a serpent) which we also saw in the Vatican. Both places claimed to have the original, but one must be lying.
Being caught between two worlds, everything in the castle was imported. It was the running joke picking out where things came from. One thing entirely American was the three wolf shirt! I spied a ten year old sporting the infamous t-shirt…with the sleeves cut off. Yes, it was the holy grail of white trash. I stalked him for several minutes trying to get a good picture without arousing the suspicions of his parents (warning Amber alert!). It was difficult because he kept wandering into rooms where photography was prohibited. There was even a photography Nazi lady who shouted out “no no lady” at any sign of a camera. I wonder if she is related to the sunscreen lady in Athens.
The Castle had gorgeous views of Old Town Rhodes. We were able to get a look at the town from above by walking along the fortress walls. We ran into a tour guide who explained how different towers held different purposes during sieges.

We took to the charming cobblestone streets to shop. One thing I don’t get is the toy guns. Actually the authenticity of the guns. The toy handguns look like real handguns. Shockingly so. They also sold all sorts of medieval weapons like maces, swords, and pikes. Them Greeks are sure violent.
Dana and I are corny enough to take “it’s all Greek to me” pictures. I’m sure the locals were thinking “lame Americans”. Granted I bet they all write home about funny signs in Chicago like Wacker Drive.

We ate lunch at an outdoor café that surprisingly didn’t serve much Greek food. I guess they catered to the hundreds of tourists that flock the town.
On the edge of the harbor are two goat statues that mark the location of the Colossus of Rhodes Statue that existed thousands of years before. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The statue was a giant man straddling the harbor. It fell down after an earthquake. Granted I don’t know what it would look like sailing in under his crotch.

The waters were so clear and blue that I couldn’t resist jumping in. I don’t know if the waters would give me diarrhea but it was so worth it.

After getting back to the boat, I stalked the Hot Glass Show guy some. At dinner we noticed the people assigned to sit next to us kept changing. In fact, it was a different couple every night. I wonder if it was us, or the super annoying foursome on the other side of the table. Seriously, I fought the urge to stab him with a fork every night.
We watched to sun set behind the Greek Islands as we steamed on to Turkey.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Vegas Vacation - Part 3

One item I forgot to mention about night #2 was “invasion of Joose”. When we bought beverages at the hotel convenience store (that is what I call a true Vegas experience) they had these “Joose” drinks on sale. The two varieties were Dragon Joose and Panther Joose which both came in obnoxious Ed Hardy decorated tall cans. I could best describe them as a failed attempt to justify what a douche bag tastes like. We tried to class it up by drinking it out of wine glasses. FAIL! Still awful and gave me the worst hangover the next day (it was like fist pumping my head). What should I expect from something made from real bits of panther.

We also ran into the boys’ shirt twins. All five of us were in the elevator and there was an uncomfortable silence while the two sets of guys checked each other out. It was like they were the same…just smaller. Thankfully they laughed it off and let me take a picture of the bizzaro group.
By day three, I was sick of all things Ed Hardy and Chris Angel. We chatted with a woman who actually at the Chris Angel shown and she said “the only magic he does is make your money disappear”.
The main focus of day three was the 311 concert. I’ve never been to a 311 day before, and I can say the description preparation I heard doesn’t do it justice. The sheer number of people there…it was like a river of people that extended a half mile. I think it took us 45 minutes to progress into the theater from the hotel lobby (which is only about a football field in length). The crowd was so amped that I couldn’t help but be super excited. Everyone had homemade 311 day shirts that were awesome and one guy even walked around with a 311 balloon hat (jealous). The entire place was packed shoulder to shoulder with die-hard fans who could (and did) sing along to EVERY song! One couple even got married to Amber. When the house lights went down, the crowd stood up and unleashed cheering that would rival Oregon’s football stadium. I admit, I had chills when the first chords were struck.
Our seats were high up so I had a great view of the entire arena. Everyone was on their feet (even those with seats)…and they stayed standing the entire concert! Did I mention it was 5 hours long!!! I guess they play something like 60 or 70 songs. Granted I think a lot of 311’s songs sound the same (same with Nickleback and my fav Offspring), so two hours in I was like “did they play this already…oh wait that was a different song…sort of”. I think they play every song they ever released and jammed a few times to segway from an intermission. Yep three intermissions, it was that long!
During the concert, I couldn’t help but smell weed. I don’t partake in the recreation but have no problems with those who do. After about an hour, I could tell the affects of second hand smoke. There was so much smoke that it literally saturated every part of my body (like down to the eyelashes). Thankfully I was being fed liberal amounts of beer so I couldn’t care less. I did have a thorough scrubbing afterwards.
During one of the beer runs, I ran into a guy wearing the keyboard cat three wolf shirt. I demanded a picture and it was the second most impressive thing I saw that night.
The first being the concert. I couldn’t believe the amount of energy the band put in. I mean 5 hours, they were still dancing, jumping, shouting, etc. Granted, I thinking they’ve done this before, but I was still impressed. Some concert goers didn't even make it that long. The band also sounded fantastic live. Say goodbye to robot voice, these guys really delivered. Plus the light show and effects were awesome (okay say it…I’m a total dork but it was really a well put together piece).
After the concert, we tried to find the party. There was a ridiculous line for the hotel restaurant (hmmm, maybe that is somewhat related to extreme amount of pot consumed) but all of the other bars and clubs were empty. I guess after jamming for over 5 hours, everyone called it a night.
The next day, we recovered on Fremont Street which is the old school Vegas strip (think Sinatra and the Rat Pack in lieu of the white tiger show).

I took close to 100 pictures during the concert. Here are a select few.