Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Music Snobs

A bit of a mystery unfolded at The Black Crowes show Sunday night. Their long time keyboardist, Eddie, was conspiciously absent. Eddie's always been a fan favorite. He's much older than the rest of the band, tall and gangly with long, straight black hair. Looks like a member of the Addams Family. Eddie always gives a humble wave and smile when he takes the stage to his adoring fans. He's a real crowd pleaser. Sera loves standing by his part of the stage. Just so odd looking but fun to interact with.

Well, Eddie was not present Sunday. Rumors circulated that he got into an altercation with the Robinson Brothers on Friday night, possibly due to his using heroin, and they sent him on a plane home. There was no word from the band during the show about Eddie's absence. Nor was there a replacement. They attempted to fill in all keyboards with more guitar. It was fine for most of the night, but some songs don't really work without the keys.

But the show was definitely memorable. The band seemed to push harder in efforts to cover for their missing bandmate. They played two sets(first time I've seen them do that), for 3 hours. One of the highlights for me was guitarist Rich Robinson closing the first set by singing an old Pink Floyd tune, "Fearless." The girl next to me insisted it was Dylan, but I know my Floyd.

One thing that bugs me a bit though are the "hardcore" Black Crowes fans. These are the ones who fly all over the world to see their shows (like Deadheads, but much smaller numbers). They whine when the Crowes play their most popular songs. They come to hear the more obscure songs--ones not on any album and infrequently played. Sera calls them "snob" fans. And they are. We've seen the Black Crowes 7 times and love hearing their more popular tunes. That's what made them popular in the first place. It's fine to want to hear some obscure stuff, but give me a break--should the whole show be like that? Their message board on Monday had comments like, "the band was really into it. The crowd was really into it. But I couldn't get into that set list." Gimme a fucking break. The show was lively, energetic and fun.

I had the same problem with Deadheads. I saw them 23 times, not even close to the following of true Deadheads. But the hardcore fans would say that "Uncle John's Band" and "Sugar Magnolia" were cheesy although they were among the best of the Dead's songs. And then other fans would tell me, "you should have been here last night--they played Sugar Mag!"

We saw Paul McCartney back in Sept. I visited the message board on his website the next day and saw that several "true" fans bitterly complained that Paul once again played "Hey, Jude," "Live and Let Die," and some of his other classics. "Why does he always play that stuff?" they ranted. "He's got so many great songs." They listed a ton of obscure McCartney solo songs that I've never heard of. This is what they wanted to hear. Screw the average fan--just play songs for "me." "I'm you're number one fan--play those rarities because I know they exist. I've already heard your hits." Music snobs like that are selfish and annoying. Most people going to a Paul McCartney concert have not seen him 20 times. Paul is playing for the general mass, not the scattered groupies. He has to play with the idea that most people in the audience have never seen him before. He does not want to disappoint 19,900 fans in order to especially please 10. I would have been pretty pissed had he not played "Hey, Jude."

Sera and I saw the Moody Blues many years back in Atlantic City. We had to share a table with the most pretentious people I've ever dealt with. They argued for 30 minutes over who was a better songwriter--Ray Davies of The Kinks or Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues. The one woman was going to London the following week. "I think I'll use BritRail" she repeatedly told her friends. She mainly repeated it for my benefit. To show off that she was going to London. I was also going to London the following week but felt no cause to mention this. Nor did I mention that it was ridiculous to compare Ray Davies with Justin Hayward. The Kinks wrote sarcastic, intellectual and political music--where the lyrics take precedence over the music. The Moody Blues wrote haunting ballads involving orchestral symphonies--where the music sets the tone and emotion more so than the lyrics. I didn't say a word to these idiots. But towards the end of the show the man next to me began complaining. "I've seen the Moodies 22 times and they always end with 'Ride My See Saw'. Can't they play something different?" Well, my simian minded friend, the Moody Blues are not anticipating that everyone in the audience has seen them 22 times. I had also seen The Moody Blues before--they put on the same show every time. It's a great show, but it's the same show.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Little Story With The Black Crowes

Sera and I are going to see The Black Crowes at Hard Rock Live on Sunday. It will be our 7th time seeing the Crowes. I've been a big fan of the Robinson brothers from the first time I heard "Jealous Again" on the radio back in the spring of 1990. One of those rare times when I immediately liked a tune. The sound had the excitement and energy missing from most rock songs since the 1970's, an era of great music that I missed due to my infantile age. One critic at the time wrote that the Black Crowes sounded like what the Rolling Stones should have sounded like in the 1990s had they still had any inspiration or creativity.

In June 1990 I went on my first backpacking trip to Europe, one that would ultimately change my life forever. I arrived in London on June 6, the anniversary of D-Day. That was no coincidence as I timed my landing to have some significance.

I was very lonely in London and spent 8 days wandering its rain soaked streets wondering if I did the right thing by coming overseas. I didn't meet many interesting people and I was spending a small fortune in the city. I chose London as my first stop because they spoke English. I was afraid to head to the mainland due to the language barrier and spent more time in London that I should have.

One afternoon I picked up a local Time Out magazine. This was new to me as it had yet to make its way over to the States. Thumbing through its list of events I saw The Black Crowes were playing that night at the historic Marquee Club. This is where The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones played before they made it big. I only knew two Crowes songs, "Jealous Again" and the Otis Redding cover, "Hard to Handle." But I wanted to do something fun and different. Something to liven up my London doldrums. I headed to the Marquee that afternoon for a ticket and saw a sign indicating tickets would not be on sale until 3 hours before showtime. I had a few hours to kill. I walked over to a local park and watched the ducks. My loneliness was only exacerbated by watching school children playing soccer. I was a ghost on that bench. No one took any notice. I felt like a ghost in life. I seriously questioned what I was doing in Europe. I never cared about traveling but felt the need to do something different. Many friends from college did some type of exploratory adventure after graduating--hiking the Appalachian Trail, traveling across the US, etc. I had no money after college and simply moved back home and found a job.

But during that year of working I met several people who told great tales of their backpacking exploits around the world. They opened my eyes to the possibilities of another world. I was convinced. I soon had a passport, a Eurail Pass and a Let's Go Europe book and was ready to go.

But now I was lonely and unhappy in London.

Eventually I made my way back to the Marquee and found a huge line wrapped around the block. I gloomily trod to the back of the line by myself. I was surrounded by English and Germans, all talking, laughing and sharing smokes. Once again I went unnoticed. Word was that we would never get in to the club--it would be sold out shortly. Forty-five minutes went by and we hadn't moved more than a few feet. I was getting skeptical. Then typical English weather arrived and further dampened my spirits. I had no umbrella and was getting drenched. Frustrated, depressed and soaked I left the line.

I finally left London a few days later and took a ferry to France and a bus to Amsterdam. I had a horrible experience on the day I arrived in Amsterdam and fled the next morning for a quieter, safer Brussels. But I couldn't figure out how to use the pay phone at the Brussels train station and felt utterly lost and hopeless. I was on the verge of tears and desperate to return home. And then, like what happens to so many vagrant travelers in dire straits, fate took over. I met another American who was traveling alone, having just arrived. He was visiting a college professor from Michigan. He helped me find a hostel in Brussels and invited me to dinner. That evening I enjoyed an exquisite meal in a 4 star restaurant in Brussels, free of charge. From loneliness and despair to pure joy in 24 hours. The rest of my European trip was almost beyond words. I stayed several months, moved to Paris with a French girl and almost got married and became a French citizen. Amazing how quickly things change.

The Black Crowes toured the U.S. in 1992 but once again I found myself in Europe, and I missed the whole tour(a bit of irony is that I met Crowes singer Chris Robinson's future wife, Kate Hudson--about 15 at the time, and his future in-laws, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, while in Greece.) They didn't play in New York again for 3 years. By this time I was living with Sera and moaning how I had never seen them. But they finally returned in 1995 for their "Amorica" tour. Five shows at The Beacon Theater that March--the best venue anywhere for a rock concert. I got on line early for tickets and got two great floor seats for one show. The band allows recording of their concerts, and I brought in a cheap Walkman. They put on one of the best concerts I have ever been to. We were on our feet the entire night. Great rock music at its purest and finest--and with the band simply dressed in t-shirts and blue jeans I imagined this was what a great '70s show was like. The way concerts were meant to be. And for me, it was a show 5 years in the making. I still have my poor quality recording of that night tucked away in a box somewhere. A few years later I watched VH-1's Behind The Music on The Black Crowes and was surprised to hear they seriously considered breaking up just days before their 5 night run at the Beacon in 1995!

All their shows are lively, fun and extremely loud. The band has never reached the fame of bigger acts and usually plays smaller venues with general admission seating(though they just headlined Madison Square Garden on New Year's Eve). Sera and I always arrive early to get in the front row, and we always have an incredible experience with a great jamming band.

But whenever I think of The Black Crowes I am reminded of a lonelier version of myself many years ago. I don't know if I would have enjoyed the show that night in London--only knew two songs, no one to talk to--but I always regret that I didn't see a show by a much younger version of The Black Crowes back then. A version as young and innocent as myself back then. Guitarist Rich Robinson was only 18 at the time and had just graduated high school. This turned out to be their first ever U.K. show. The Black Crowes website has set lists and little tidbits for most of their shows, but the London Marquee page simply says, "no information available." I do have a lot of information available on events surrounding the day of that show, but I doubt that's what they're looking for.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another Week...

Finished reading Douglas Coupland's "Generation X" the other night. It left me unfulfilled. But maybe that's how you're supposed to feel after reading it. The characters are unfulfilled--three twenty-somethings who forego the ennui of their current lives for meaningless jobs in Palm Springs. I really enjoyed his novel, "Girlfriend in a Coma" and was hoping this book would also provide such mental stimulation. But that wasn't the case.

Lately I've been feeling like a poser. At least as far as being a writer is concerned. I've published a few minor things in the past but nothing lately. And I haven't written a word in my book in 7 weeks. I won't consider myself a writer until I finish it. For now I'm just a dreamer stuck in a mindless job.

I've been getting into a new travel show called "Passport to Europe" with Samantha Brown. I record them on DVR and watch a few when I'm able. What really got me interested was the first episode I saw, where she visits Amsterdam. Amsterdam is my favorite city and I'm usually disappointed on travel shows that go there. They tend to skip over the sex and drugs aspect. I understand that travel shows are geared towards families, but if you're going to visit a city such as Amsterdam you have to visit its most famous attractions. So I was quite impressed when Samantha Brown did just that. She visited a coffeeshop and even went so far as to inquire about the difference between marijuana and hash. The young girl at the counter showed Samantha the drug menu and explained the different types of pot and hash, where they're grown, and then showed her some large samplings of the drugs. The camera showed people happily smoking away right behind Samantha. I immediately gained respect for her and the show. Now don't get me wrong--I'm not saying that's all there is to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a charming, friendly and historical city. It's filled with the most spectacular and bizarre architecture I've ever come across. But it's also a hell of a lot of fun.

I'd love to have my own travel show. I wonder how people get such a show. How does a woman I've never heard of suddenly have a show where she travels all over Europe? I'd love to go back to Europe. I've always felt more at home there than in the US. And I've always appreciated the US more while I was over there.

I bought some shares of Google a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure why I did this, maybe just part of my obsessive compulsive behavior. I know zilch about the stock market. And then a week after I bought it Google had its biggest drop in their history. Great timing. But it's gone up quite a bit in the last two days, almost recouping the losses. This gives me a little stimulation during my workday. I monitor my stocks with streaming quotes that I minimize on my screen. Something to get me through the day.

That's about it for now. Maybe I'll write something more profound next time.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Where Am I Going, Where Have I Been?

I took a break from all forms of writing recently. Mainly needed to get my head together--or at least parts of it back. Sometimes I feel I'm fooling myself. I dream about finishing my book, starting a worthy writing career and moving my life into a worthwhile direction. I also try to learn new tech programs to advance my career in case the writing doesn't work out. But I wonder if I'll ever actually do any of this, or if they're just pipe dreams. I enjoy watching television and renting movies, much more so than writing or learning programs. And I've been doing a lot of it lately.

I bought the Band of Brothers box set on E-Bay a few weeks ago. I truly love that series. Though I'd never want to experience the life-threatening hardships that those soldiers went through, I feel I'll never experience the permanent bonding and comradeship of those men. I've made a lot of friends in life, but have lost touch with most of them. I have no bonding experiences with anyone. There was great bonding with my backpacking trips around the world, especially those in the third world, but I've lost contact with most. I get a few sporadic e-mails and phone calls from a couple of people, but most are gone for good. And maybe that's the problem with society today. We feel isolated and disconnected. Most of us don't have a special bonding. Or at least that's how I feel.

This could be why I've lost my inspiration to write. My life seems meaningless and directionless at the moment. I have no fire. For example, Sera and I have never been happier since we moved to Orlando. We have no desire to ever return to the Northeast. But one of Sera's friends is looking into the possibility of getting Sera a job at her company back North. The salary was too good to turn down: 3.5 times her current salary. We didn't even have to think about it. If Sera gets it, she's gone. And if it works out for her up there I'll be back as well. So no matter how happy we are down here we'd be willing to sell our selves for more money--like selling our souls to the devil.

I'm lacking passion right now. And inspiration. I'm happy down here but I'm willing to return to an area I loathe for more money. What does that say about myself?

I want to continue with my book but I just don't feel it right now.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I Like Shiny, Metal Things

Last month I attended a Microsoft convention for work. The center was filled with thousands of techno-geeks, most making tons more money than myself. The big draw was free software from Microsoft as well as stuff from other vendors. But despite all the high-tech lectures from Microsoft(complete with music by The Doors and Jimi Hendrix!) what stood out most for me was Hewlitt-Packard's gift--a flashing keychain. The lectures were packed with blinking glow in the dark key chains dangling around necks, shirt pockets, etc. I couldn't help but think that the intelligence quota of most people seems to decrease by at least half if they come across something shiny and metallic or something that blinks and flashes. A convention center filled with thousands of people presumably making 6 figure salaries, to hear about Microsoft's latest product line, and the biggest attention grabber is a 10 cent flashing key chain.

And this goes on everywhere. The Doobie Brothers played a free concert in Orlando a couple of months back. Flashing neon swirls of red and green lit up the crowd. Now keep in mind that most fans of the Doobies are 40+ years old.

So what is it about things that sparkle and flash that reduce our minds to that of children? I mean the same goes for myself. Sera and I were at Universal Studios a couple of months ago and we kept pointing out all the neat-o stuff for sale that blinks, flashes and glows in the dark. We can attend higher education, read classic literature to enrich our minds and visit third world cultures to expand our horizons. But it all goes down the drain when we something light up and blink. Though I must admit I don't go for any old blinking thing. I had no problem shutting off my blinking Hewlitt-Packard keychain and stuffing it into my pocket.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Empty My Brain

"I'd like to go somewhere...and just empty my brain, read books, and be with people who wanted to do the same thing."
That's a quote that really stood out for me in the latest book I'm reading, Douglas Coupland's "Generation X." It's about 3 twenty-somethings who give up a life of stress, conformity and materialism and move to a cheap bungalow apartment complex in Palm Springs. I'd prefer to live by the ocean, but it's the idea that grabbed me. It's what I've been talking about for some time now. Just leaving it all and reading and writing. I would so love to do that. But I need some financial stability, otherwise I'd stress too much to do it. The characters in the story take menial jobs bartending or working in the mall for cash; the rest of the time they can just "be."
But the key is to "be with people who wanted to do the same thing." I'd hope the people I was with weren't too pretentious.

I left NYC for this very reason--to escape the frenetic rat race and pressure of the big city. Sera always pointed out that I walked twice as fast in Manhattan as anywhere else. In all my life I'd never noticed that. I was just keeping up with the pace. It took an outsider to point this out. So we picked up and moved to sunny Florida--for a quieter, slower pace of life and better weather. It is all those things, but it's also the land of the zombie. Everyone's idea of quality of life is to have a nice house with a pool and stop there. Sure, I'd love a nice house. But why stop there? No one here has any dreams. No one says, "I'd love to travel," or even "I want to go hiking." Instead it's "I want to retile my bathroom."

I'm mocked at work because I go canoeing some weekends. Most people I work with have never been to the Everglades, gone on an airboat or done anything to explore the State of Florida. Sera and I have been doing that since we moved here.
"Why do you want to do that?" I'm asked when I discuss my latest adventure proposal. In the meantime these people are content to just sit on their patio and stare out at the highways and strip malls that are quickly taking over the natural beauty of this area.

Oh, and this reminds me. Our adventure to find Kira Salak in Key West this weekend has been cancelled. With my cat's illness(he's doing SOOOO much better, by the way), I just don't feel comfortable leaving him. There are vet techs available to stay at our place and administer his medicine, but I'm just not at that point. It will take a little more time to feel secure in leaving him.

But I am planning on returning to my novel this weekend. It's been a month since I've written in it. Was too depressed, then too exhausted. But I think I'm ready to pick it up again. Plus I think I came up with a good idea for the prologue.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Gina and the rest of the day

Saw Gina today for the first time in a month. We got into a fight last time and I wondered if it might be awkward today. Thought maybe she might not even come over. But she did and it was awesome.

Tom, myself and a few others went to the club on a Friday after work last month. Everyone got very drunk and a bit belligerent. Especially Tom. He can get out of control when he drinks. Gina was spending time with all her rich friends that night and that pissed him off.
"You're evil and I hate you," he told her. Not something you want to say to a really sweet girl.

She and I had some words--I was pretty drunk and upset that she wouldn't spend more time with me.
"How much do I have to give you to sit with me?" I demanded.
She looked pissed. "I don't want you to give me anything. I don't think of you like that."
Tom threw a $10 bill at her. "Dance, bitch, dance!" he yelled. Not good.
Gina threw the bill back at him.
"But you have to dance," he said. "It's your job."
"I don't HAVE to do anything!" she said as she stood up.
Gina looked at me and said, "I like you better when you're sober. You have this look of hate in your eyes."
A few more words were spoken before we left, thought I don't recall what they were.

But there was Gina today, all sweet and pretty.
"That was a horrible night," she said. "I had so many men asking for me and I didn't have time for everyone. I really didn't know what to do."
Tom stood up and reached out his hand, "I'm so sorry for the things I said. I was very drunk." They shook and made up.

Gina sat down beside me. "I wanted to call you to apologize but I couldn't find your number. And when I finally did find it I figured it was too late. I didn't see you for the longest time and assumed you just weren't coming back."

I felt like an excited teen sitting next to her. It had been so long.
"Can you flash me?" I asked.
Gina giggled.
"Quick," I said, "while nobody's looking."
She burst out laughing. "Why does it matter if anyone's looking? This is a strip club." And she gave me a nice flash. Funny, it's more enjoyable to be flashed than to have a lap dance. It feels like you're doing something naughty.
Tom leaned over the table and yelled, "Hey, you're supposed to pay her for that."
Gina wrapped her arms around my neck and replied, "He doesn't have to give me anything."

I could only stay an hour before going back to work. Gina didn't feel like doing any lap dances and I didn't really want one anyway(how many times can I watch the same girl dance?). We talked like old friends that hadn't seen each other in years, with an occasional flash thrown in. She didn't want any money. Just to relax and catch up. It was beautiful.

And then I got back to work and felt stressed. I don't want to be stressed at work. I don't need that in my life. I try and convince myself that work doesn't matter; it's not an important part of my life. It just pays the bills. I try and convince myself of this--but it just doesn't work. Yes, it would be hard financially if I lost this job. But I could collect unemployment and work on other things that mean more to me. Like my novel. Yet I'm still feeling stressed and I don't like this. I need to get out of all this.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Beware of The Blob and Dirty Mary

"The Blob" with Steve McQueen was on TV the other night. Sera had never seen this "classic," and so I raved on and on to her about how great it was. Of course I hadn't seen the film since I was about 6 or 7. I'd gather with my friends when it was on and we'd be awestruck. It was creepy and scary, great effects and the best acting.

Now flash forward to the other night, many years later...more mature and jaded. This was the most silly and ridiculous film. And the special effects--well, I could have created better effects with some motor oil and ketchup. I always recalled The Blob being this eerie looking black ooze(I always watched it on black and white TV way back then). Now it looks like cherry pie filling--like someone was having difficulty trying to squeeze it through vents or roll it around the floor in a large lumpy ball.

The scenes I most vividly recalled from my childhood where the panic in the movie theater and the end. Now I found the movie theater scene to be hilarious. Funny how the theater only has about 20 people when McQueen goes inside, but when the crowd flees in a mad rush there seems to be a thousand people. They were watching a midnight horror film fest--the audience included elderly blue-haired grandmothers with glasses and little old men. And if you watch close enough as they flee you can see some people laughing and smiling.

But the most memorable part of the film, which comes right at the beginning and seems to tell you right away that "this film is silly and absurd," is the opening credit theme song. If you play this, and you really must, listen to the entire song. The last 30 seconds have the funniest lyrics. But another great effect is the popping sound which seems to be made by someone popping their finger in their cheek.

The Blob Theme Song

So this brings me to another film "classic" that I made Sera stay up late to watch. It was called "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" and starred Peter Fonda and Susan George. I LOVED this movie as a kid. One time I acted out my favorite scenes, solo, on my front yard. In fact, I loved it so much I wrote a letter to Susan George. She never responded. A few years ago Sera and I watched it and once again I was shocked. The movie was terrible! There was very little story--the point of the film seemed to have Peter Fonda's Dodge Charger speed around on dirt roads trying to look cool while the cops chase them with cars and helicopters.

And I always remembered Mary (Susan George) as being so beautiful and cool. Now I saw her as this little bug-eyed nuisance. Funny, isn't it? How the things we think are so cool as kids are really just junk? But it's fun to look back at how stupid and naive we were back then. And it's fun to watch films like this today for a good laugh.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Here We Are...Now Entertain Us

It's 2006. I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday it was 1986--the year of the Mets. How can that be 20 years ago? That's sick. I wasn't even alive 20 years before 1986. I always have a problem refusing to believe the world existed before my birth. How self-indulgent of me.

Sera and I rented a couple of movies last night: "Van Helsing" and "Star Wars Episode 3." Universal Studios has a horror exhibit based on the "Van Helsing" film. It always looked so cool and we've been meaning to rent it. Plus it has Kate Beckinsale--one of my top 5 lust women. The first scene of the flick was great--excellent effects, nice touch with the black and white. Then came a ridiculous scene where he fights Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. Terrible effects, many flaws in the scene.

Then my phone rang. It was Tom. Sera and I were planning to blow off his New Year's party. It was nice to relax and just watch movies last night. I figured Tom would be so drunk he wouldn't notice my absence. Guess I was wrong. So we stopped our movie night and drove over there at 10:30.

There weren't nearly as many people there as planned. Only about 30 or so. The highlight for me was watching the reunion of The Bangles on TV. I loved The Bangles in the '80s and have always been disappointed that I never got to see them(I have the same problem with The Go-Go's). I hope they go on tour and play down here.

As for the party--got flashed by a few girls--that's always nice. Men are so easy to please. Met a strange woman, Rachel, who apparently works with me. She's only been there a month so I didn't know her. Rachel kept saying how she hadn't been kissed in years and didn't want anyone to kiss her.
"I usually leave New Year's parties at 11:30 for that reason," she blurts out.
"But all you guys are typical in that none of have you have even asked why."
I speak up. "Okay, why do you usually leave at 11:30?"
"I'm not answering that. It's very personal."
Stupid woman.

I told Rachel she reminded me of the '70's actress P.J. Soles. P.J. was a cult star in films like "Halloween," "Carrie" and "Stripes." Rachel never heard of her but took offense.
"Oh, so I remind you of a girl who gets killed in 'Halloween.' Thanks a lot."
Isn't the point that she looks like an actress, not the fact that the actress dies in a film?

Then Rachel says most men are evil(I'm evil because I don't wear a wedding ring, despite my wife standing by my side all night). She got into a nasty argument with my friend, Mark, in the kitchen. Then as I'm leaving I see the two of them head upstairs together. Total psycho girl. Even Tom, who was his usual drunk self, had enough wits left to whisper, "that girl's a whacko."

Sera, always the astute woman, points out that Rachel just wants attention. The arguing, the stupid comments--it all just keeps the attention on herself. At least I don't work in her department. I can just give the obligatory 'hello' on Tuesday.

As Sandra, one of my managers, was leaving I asked her to give me my birthday present--a couple of flashes of her boobs in the kitchen. The look on Rachel's face was priceless.

It was an interesting evening considering I was only there 2 1/2 hours. And I didn't get too drunk--so now I can enjoy my b-day pain free.