Monday, August 28, 2006

Just when I thought bizarre behavior could no longer shock me

After living in the city so long, I often think that nothing can surprise me anymore. I have seen so many bizarre people and bizarre things that, even when I see something newly weird, I am usually not shocked.

On Saturday I went to a movie with a friend. After the film we went to the restroom. This particular restroom has 3 sinks, two on one wall, and one perpendicular to them. I saw a woman by the single sink, so I went to the wall with two sinks. I washed and dried my hands, I turned around, and I saw the woman was still standing there. She must be waiting for somebody, I thought. As I walked passed her to leave I saw that she was doing something. I only glanced quickly as I walked by her, and it looked like she was doing something, perhaps dipping a makeup brush into some blusher. I kept going, but I noticed that my friend, who was standing behind the woman, wasn't leaving. She was just standing there. I turned and looked at the woman again. That wasn't makeup. That wasn't a makeup brush; it was chopsticks.

She was eating sushi.

In a public restroom. At a movie theater.

She was using chopsticks to dip a roll in some sauce.

I stopped in my tracks. I couldn't move. I was in shock. She was eating sushi in the restroom! My friend later told me she made eye contact with sushi lady in the mirror and started laughing at her. Sushi lady mumbled some sort of explanation to me, but I didn't hear any of it. I just walked out.

When I eat lunch at work, and I stop in the restroom on my way back to my desk with a can of pop in hand, I always feel a little weird. Do I bring the can into the stall? Do I leave it on the sink? Either way, I usually feel pretty grossed out by it. I can't even imagine eating a meal in the restroom.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Finally, My Lollapalooza Post

This is going to be a very, very long post. I was thinking of making 3 separate posts, one for each day, but I worried that if I did that I would get lazy and never finish.

Bud Light Stage and Skyline


Tim and I arrived around 12:15 or so, in enough to to see The Subways. We tried to get toward the front. I got pretty close, but I was on the side, right in front of the speakers. They were so loud that the ground shook, and I swear my heartbeat changed to fit the bass. It took less than a song for me to move back to where I was. They were really good. I was sort of suprised that Tim was watching The Subways with me as he wasn't impressed by the mp3s I gave him, and I knew he wanted to see Blue October. He stuck it out for a while, and maybe a bit past the half-way point of their set he said he was going to see Blue Ocober, because he wanted to see at least part of it. I decided to head over with him so that I could see as many bands as possible. We ended up seeing the last 2 songs of their set. It wasn't bad, but I'm glad I didn't have to sit through their whole set. There were girls dancing during their set who were covered in mud. The ground was a bit wet in the morning, but to be that muddy they had to be lying in it or throwing it at each other or something. This wasn't Woodstock. They looked like idiots.

After that we had a bit of a break before the next band we wanted to see. We got some burgers for lunch and chilled out for a bit. We walked around and got our bearings. We went into the Virgin Megastore tent (the first of many stops over there). They had tons of CDs for only $10, not just of Lollapalooza artists but some others as well. I walked around the tent with a copy of this one post-punk book I'd been wanting for a while, but ultimately left empty handed. Tim didn't. He bought CDs by Pink Floyd, Gnarls Barkley, Danger Doom, and Kanye West.

We had about 15 minutes before the eels started, so we headed in that direction. We decided to stay toward the back and sit on our blanket, which was kind of fun. The eels sounded great. We left a little over half-way through again because we had to use the toilet (my only time using a portable toilet all weekend, thank you very much) and to make it over to see Editors. This was the first time I became annoyed by the way the schedule was set up. The main stages were on each end of the park, which was a 10-15 minute walk depeding on how fast you were going and how many people you had to weave through. As soon as one set ended another began, so we constantly had to miss the end of one band's set to catch the beginning of the next one we wanted to see, or we had to miss the beginning. Sometimes both. We did miss the beginning of the Editors' set, but I think it was still the first song. I wasn't sure what to expect. I have mixed feelings about this band. I love their sound, but they're lyrics are really repetitive, sometimes annoyingly so. But they were fantastic. Really good. I loved their set. They are great performers. Tim caught a few songs with me, and he said he was surprised how much he liked them. Like The Subways, I gave him a few mp3s to listen to in advance, and he wasn't impressed. But he liked them live.

Tim left before the end of that set because he wanted to catch Ryan Adams. I stayed for the whole thing, then walked over to the stage Lady Sovereign was going to be at to get close to the front. It was really hot and the sun was beaming down on my shoulders. I could feel them burning, even though I applied sunscreen three times. I felt bad for Lady Sovereign because the stage faced west, so the afternoon sun was right in her face. She performed really well, but there were a couple of times where it seemed like she let her guard down and you could tell she was really hot. But she was really upbeat and spunky and cocky and it was fun to watch. There was an artist on stage with her who made a painting during her set by painting in time to her music. Her bass player reminded me of Locke from Lost.

I met Tim after that, and asked him how Ryan Adams was. It turns out he had to go buy a new needle to test his blood sugar with because his broke. He only saw one song, then left. Upon his return he caught a few songs by Iron & Wine, who he liked. I found a real toilet, and that made me really happy. We then grabbed some dinner and went to catch The Raconteurs. We put our blanket in the middle of the field where their stage was because we wanted to see the Violent Femmes after that, and their stage was diagonal from there. That way we didn't have to move. The Raconteurs sounded really good. I really liked their covers of "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley (the first time I heard that song performed over the weekend) and "Bang Bang" by Nancy Sinatra.

Next we turned around and watched the Violent Femmes, who were awesome as usual. Tim really enjoyed their set. It was the first time he seemed really excited the whole day. Earlier I had been thinking he wasn't having a good time, but he assured me that wasn't true. I think Friday was a weak day artist-wise for him. I think this was the only set he was excited about seeing in advance. The Dresden Dolls were on stage with them part of the time. I'm not sure how long they were up there because I only saw them on the screen when they were introduced in the middle of a song. There was quite a party atmosphere in the crowd during their set, and there were a lot of people who knew all of their songs.

End of Violent Femmes set

The sun started getting below the horizon, and I got really cold. It wasn't cold out, but I had a pretty bad sunburn, and since my skin was so hot the cooler air made me feel cold. We walked over to the t-shirt tent so I could get a long-sleeved t-shirt. It's a brown Lollapalooza shirt, which was very reasonably priced at $25. I was actually surprised how cheap the Lollapalooza memorabilia was. A hoodie was only $35. I have been to concerts where hoodies are in the $60-$90 range, so that was cheap. Then we made our way to the ice cream stand. The line was really long, but it was close to where Death Cab for Cutie was performing, so we could still hear. After we finally got our ice cream we sat and listened to some more Death Cab for Cutie. They sounded good, but it wasn't overly exciting. We left a bit early in order to beat the crowd out.


This was our short day. I didn't arrive until abut 1:15 or so. I walked around the little area where the vendor tents were set up, then went back to the Virgin tent and bought that post-punk book. I was happy to discover that they must have been selling the books at a discount because the book cost me less than the sticker price. Yay! I then headed over to where Coheed and Cambria were performing. No, I wasn't interested in seeing them, but I was trying to inch to the front for Gnarls Barkley, who was next to take that stage an hour later. When I wasn't looking at the stage I thought the set sounded alright. But whenever I would see the lead guy, I just couldn't take them seriously. Sorry. Ugh.

Anyway, their set ends, and I push up even more. I got a called Tim to see if he had arrived yet. He was coming from work. I arrived early so that I could get to the front and he could find me, but it became clear that there was no way he was going to be able to get up to me. I couldn't even move. The people around me were incredibly irritating. Eventually I moved back to where Tim was. It was still crowded there, but I didn't feel nearly as claustrophobic.

Gnarls. Barkley. OMG. Best. Set. of. Lollapalooza. No kidding. They were amazing. Amazing. Did I say amazing? So good. They were all wearing tennis outfits. Besides Danger Mouse (OMG I set my eyes on Danger Mouse for real!!!) and Cee-Lo, there were probably 10 or 11 other people on stage with them, including a string section, all decked out in tennis outfits. When the members of the string section weren't playing they were dancing in their chairs. It was very cool. They were very good. And, of course, it was the second time I heard "Crazy" performed over the weekend. I was so hoping the Violent Femmes would join them on stage for "Gone Daddy Gone" but alas they did not. Perhaps if they were performing on the same day one of them would have joined the other.

Next we waited in a long, long line for food. We went over to the food court that was further away from where we were. At first I didn't think that made sense because we were going to be going back to the same stage after eating. It was Tim's decision. I thought I realized why when I saw that the rib place we wanted to try was in that food court. Then Tim told me the other reason: we were right by the stage where Blackalicious was performing. Given the amount of time we stood in line we heard probably half their set. It was good.

We hiked back to where we were before, and set out our blanket to make a picnic out of our rib dinner, and waited for Common to come on. This was probably our toughest decision of the whole weekend: Who to see... Common or The Flaming Lips? I don't know how we chose Common, but he was really good, so I don't feel like we missed out on anything.

After Common we hiked back to the other end of the park to listen to Thievery Corporation. I really wondered what they would sound like live, and they were really great. I worried that they wouldn't sound as good as they do on their albums, but they did. It was the same sort of party atmosphere I noticed during the Violent Femmes set the day before. We sat on our blanket. I did some people watching while Tim played sudoku.

We left a few minutes later to hit the ice cream stand again, then went to see Kanye West, who was really really good. It was the third time I heard "Crazy" performed. Twista joined him on stage. When he did Golddigger it seemed like everyone around us had their cell phones open, trying to play the song for someone on the phone. They probably didn't hear well.


We arrived sometime before 1:00, and spent the first hour or so looking at the vendors' stuff. We went to all of them before going back to find the things we liked. We each got a t-shirt from this stand that had them 2 for $30. Tim's was a bit dirty so the guy knocked $5 off for us. I got a navy blue hoodie with some cool emboidery on it, a birthday present for someone, and a bracelet from Thailand.

We made our way over to see Hot Chip, who were really good. I was a bit surprised by the size of their crowd, and the number of people who seemed to know them. I had never heard of them before seeing them in the lineup. Then again, I don't listen to the radio much, so perhaps that explains it. I really enjoyed their set. On our way out, Tim ran into a guy he used to work with who now lives in Uptown, so we talked to him for a bit. Then we headed over to see 30 Seconds to Mars.

Several months ago I was talking to a guy I used to work with. He was telling me about a concert he attended, and 30 Seconds To Mars was one of the acts. He didn't know that Jared Leto was the lead singer, but when I explained that he was an actor, he said that made sense because he got the feeling that the lead singer was acting like a rock star instead of just being one. That it seemed calculated or something. And I must say, after seeing them, I agree. There didn't seem to be anything spontaneous about their set. I did think they were cool for throwing roses and popsicles into the crowd, but even his climbing to the top of the rafters to sing seemed calculated (though still cool). I thought they sounded good, though, and he looks hot.

30 seconds to mars

We listened to Matisyahu for a bit, but the beginning was boring because it was some sort of chant song or whatever. Once he started his more reggae songs it was more interesting, but neither Tim nor I felt like sticking around. We went and got food, then sat and ate it near the stage where Of Montreal were performing. Then we went back into the Virgin tent. I was looking for the $10 Thievery Corporation CD I had seen before, but they were gone. I got CDs by Hot Chip and Lady Sovereign instead. Tim bought the new Kill Hannah CD. Then we got more ice cream. We then went to find a good place to sit for the rest of the day.

Next we saw Queens of the Stone Age. They were really good. We got distracted mid-way through their set by this really annoying group of people that came and sat near us. They were so annoying that several people got up and left. I got up to see if I could find somewhere else for our blanket, but by this time it was really crowded with people getting ready to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers later, so we stayed put. Broken Social Scene were playing nearby after that, so we could hear them. I have heard one of their albums, and thought it was good, but I couldn't get into it. I pretty much ignored them.

Finally, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They are really good performers, so don't get the wrong impression when I saw that I was disappointed. Their actual performance was good, but the set list was a big disappointment. Most of the songs were from their new album, which I had only heard once. Even the old songs they played weren't may favorites. I wasn't asking for "Under the Bridge" even, but "Breaking the Girl" and "Other Side" would have been nice. I guess I expected something different from a set at a festival, given that these aren't the same people who would pay to see them tour to promote a new double album that doesn't seem to be quite as good as their older stuff. Oh well.

So there you go. You can see some pics here. Most are of the crowd.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'm ready

I'm ready

Lollapalooza starts tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


With a heat wave covering much of the country, resulting in power outages, there is one issue I haven't heard much about. That is over-air conditioning. It's nice to walk into a really cold room after I've been walking around in 98-degree heat. I've been noticing more and more, however, that within a few minutes of being inside I get cold.

I have spoken to a few friends about this, and they have noticed the same thing, so it's not just me who is having a problem with a temperature level in many buildings. I understand the businesses want to be cool for their customers and employees, but it isn't comfortable when I'm getting goosebumps and having to rub my arms to stay warm.

It is a waste of energy, and perhaps there would be fewer blackouts if those buildings turned their thermostats up by just a few degrees.