Back in my college days (or as I refer to it, When Life Wasn’t Stressful), I was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Every meeting, we’d talk about what was going on in life and most of surrounded what had happened the past weekend, probably because the alcohol prevented us from remembering anything prior to that. This week’s entry is in honor of one of our brothers who always started his rants with, “Ooohhhh, what a weekend.” I don’t know why, but it just hit me as I was rueing traffic on 93 Sunday AM.
I want to send a shoutout to two of my great friends who this weekend revolved around and whose respective gatherings helped me get two great hard liquor induced hazes on Saturday and Sunday, plus a chance to see old friends and meet new ones.
The Rob Night – Many of you know the Goateed Gorilla, Robbie Akerley. Well, Ak turned 30 and a surprise party was thrown in his honor Friday night in Portland, ME, by his ladyfriend Jen. Now, we’ve all known about this for a few months now and part of keeping a surprise secret is really thinking about what you say to the person without accidentally spilling the beans, especially when that person begins thinking of taking a trip and you have to agree instead of saying, “Nahhh….that weekend would suck for a trip. Why? Uhhh….locusts?” Luckily, everything worked out well and we celebrated another bloke turning the corner of 30 years old. It did get me to thinking though: what if someone had a surprise party planned for them and they somehow made other plans or missed it because of an emergency? Does everyone still get together and celebrate? Has this ever happened? I need to know.
I’ve always been an admirer of birthday parties, probably because my own birthday comes at one of the worst times of year – January 4th, less than two weeks after Christmas and four days after New Year’s. Compound the hockey schedule for the past five years and Jan. 4th has been about as important a date as May 23rd. So when other people have a surprise party, I get pretty excited for them. Of course, my dad has it a bit worse: his b-day is December 30th. Sorry about the rant, but the winter’s coming and I get a bit crazy these days. Other highlights of Friday included the official coronation of a new catchphrase, the announcement that Cartoon Clyde is FINALLY moving out of Bangor and into a new place about an hour down the highway (it’s Waterville, but it’s a start) and…hey, there’s an Ultimate Warrior dvd set coming out! Yes!!!!
What was I saying? Oh yeah. Rob’s a great guy, yadda yadda. He does love his bacon/pepperoni pizzas (four, dude? Wow) and still would love if Jimmy Buffet turned out to be his real dad and if Rivalries’ hot Chili Buffalo sauce came out of faucets in lieu of water. I did get a lot of compliments that the blog has returned, which I really appreciate.
The Ben Night – After a long night and a straight three-and-a-half-hour drive to Plymouth, MA, (complete with bumper to bumper traffic once we neared the Cape Cod area), Day Two was my first and only wedding of 2005 for my good friends Ben and Jen. Now, we can all complain about our hectic schedules but I think Ben’s tops pretty much anyone I know. He took a job directing games with the LA Kings recently and barely moved out there a month ago with his fiancee, only to have to turn around and come back for their October 1st wedding, a date which they had planned months ago. They were in town for about six days before turning around and heading right back to LA Sunday. In normal jobs, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, the Kings’ opening night is planned for this week and they’ve told him that it’s the most important home opener in thier history. No pressure, Big Ben, no pressure.
Upon arriving at the ceremony, I caught up with Ben and some others and was given the task of helping break down a sound system at the ceremoney and transporting it back over to the reception hall for the party. We’re not talking about a boom box here – it was two big mounted speakers, 50 ft. of cable and a big soundboard. After a pretty quick and interesting ceremony, myself and two other guys turned into the Wedding Roadies and started packing up, trying to stick to a pretty well-timed out schedule. But this is Nason involved, so SOMETHING was bound to happen. The first problem was trying to lug out and then drive out two carloads of equipment while the wedding party was still getting congratulations from all of the guests in the recieving line, almost directly in the way of where we had to go. We finagled another path and made it out, unloading and setting up while everyone was enjoying cocktails in another room. However, not having ever set up audio equipment, we kind of winged it just trying to make sure everything was ready to go before the guests started entering the main room and the wedding party arrived.
Everything was wired up when the moment of truth came: plug ‘er in and let ‘er rip. Problem 2: nothing was working. The music sounded horrible and the mikes weren’t doing anything. The issue was compounded by the wedding planner/location manager who was telling me that everyone was ready to come in, basically refusing to work with us when we tried to explain that we were having audio issues. But sometimes, luck comes at the best time and literally 30 seconds before everyone started entering, the board came alive and we were in business. So, overheated, stressed and relieved, I helped introduce the world to the newly-married Ben and Jen (insert Benifer joke here) and we were good to go.
Or so we thought.
The wedding reception/post-party went as expected (complete with a record amount of noise complaints and one police visit to the Plymouth Comfort Inn), despite me somehow getting lost driving to pick up the equipment from the reception that night. I mean, I had to drive about 200 yards and somehow ended up on Route 3 North, a full exit away from where I had to be. I would say that’s why you don’t drive partially drunk, but most everyone that knows me would say that could happen while I’m sober as well. I have no idea how long I was gone, but apparently, it was quite a while. Needless to say that I sobered up quite a bit when I finally did make it back to pick up the damn equipment, which was still waiting for me. I wish I could truly put this 20 minutes into words, but just imagine confusion, utter rum-induced confusion.
(Side note: Ryan Reynolds can do a movie, ‘Waiting,’ about working at a restaurant, but doesn’t want to do the much-rumored remake of Fletch or a Van Wilder sequel? Huh?)
Sunday was the icing on the wedding cake as I groggily answered a call from Ben at the hotel, asking me if I knew where his backpack, which contained his work laptop, was. I told him that I could check my car, but I wasn’t sure. Our other friend Matt had also packed up some equipment and had headed north to Manch-Vegas, NH, the next morning and lo and behold, the bag was with him. I told Ben not to worry and that I would simply same-day the computer on Monday AM to him when I got home. “Shit! I think my wallet and….oh man…my house keys and cell phone are in there too!” Uh oh. “No problem….you’re flying out of Manchester right?” Double uh-oh. Ben and Jen were flying out of Providence in six hours, barely enough time to drive up to Manch and back. Luckily, Matt offered to drive down to Providence to meet the newlyweds and saved the day. That guy deserves his own Sovereign Bank player profile or something.
By the way, I heard today that Ben and Jen got to the airport 20 minutes before they were supposed to leave. I love ya bud, but…holy shit! A tip for him and others: if you leave your stuff in different places, it will never get all lost at once. (Take it from someone that consistently loses everything and is always looking for something.) But the two are a great pair of people and the whole day was a truly fitting tribute to who they are. Too bad they live 3000 miles away, but alas, another potential landing spot could be established.
And I didn’t even mention about Thursday night and sitting in Monster seats to the Sox/Jays finale, capped by Big Papi’s game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth when sent the place into an Oprah’s Favorite Things fury. If Sox management could somehow make the seats a bit more comfortable and actually facing toward home plate, Fenway could stay alive forever. Despite a pretty brisk evening and me in the middle of a flu-like illness, those seats are AMAZING and really do bring you so much closer to the action. If you are ever able to snag some of those, do it…well-worth the cash.
–As if the past two Octobers weren’t stressful enough, the Sox have once again pulled us back in for what we hope will be another deep run. It’s an anxious but amazing time that can only truly be understood by those fans who have lived this all their lives. I haven’t written much about the boys in red for quite a while, but I think that might change this week.
–The Atlanta trip blog, among other ‘What I Did This Summer’ essays will come soon, promise.
–The insanity has begun as work craziness has intensified over the past four weeks, culminating in another two weeks for our home opener. The good news is that unlike the past few years, I haven’t picked smoking back up as a result of the intense stress. The bad news: there’s still two more weeks for that to happen.
–Any Spider-Man fans? Kirsten Dunst recently spilled the beans that Venom and Sandman will be the next two villains in SpM 3, due out in 2007. Venom would be played by Topher Grace of That 70s Show fame and Sandman by Thomas Hayden Church of Sideways and more importantly, the former NBC sitcom Wings. That show ruled.
–After deciding to take the plunge and pick up HBO (fantastic decision), I also just bought a TiVo box last week for $50 thanks to their new rebate program. I haven’t set it up yet, but I can already tell you that Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ultimate Fighter II and Entourage will get season pass status. I’m also hearing great things about Prison Break, Lost and The Office. Is it just me or is TV finally getting better?
–What looks like a great movie – Domino – opens up next Friday the 14th. It’s based on the life of Domino Harvey, a former model-turned-bounty hunter. I’ll let y’all know how it is, but the cinematography looks fantastic.
–Y’know, Keith Foulke almost cost the Sox a shot at the playoffs if you really think about it.
–Have you heard of the rap group, the Ying-Yang Twins? Yeah, I think they suck too.