A Rockin' Weekend...

I can't exactly remember the last time I had a weekend like this, so I'm putting this all down on my blog so I won't forget. Earthly Thunder is the "Band" or group of guys I play Rock Band with. We found out that there is a PlayStation 3 experience bus traveling around the country allowing people to compete for prizes. Third Place is a Rock Band set, Second place is Rock Band and a PS3, and First place is a free flight out to another concert venue to play as the opening band for a side performance plus Rock Band bundles for all members. So we researched a bit and found that we are ranked 2nd in the world at a song they allow - In Bloom by Nirvana. So after a little research we found out that they would be at the Chicago Lollapalooza. So the band made some arrangements, and after a couple free hotels from Kurt's travel points we were in Chicago for the weekend. In addition, since most hotels were booked for the weekend (due to the Lollapalooza) Kurt managed to book a 4 Star room at the Intercontinental on Michigan Ave. Just walking into the Lobby of that place made me feel under-dressed. So total costs to attend Lollapalooza:

Tickets $80x4=$320
Gas $50x4=$200
Valet Parking $50

Total Trip Cost: $570

When we got into the concert they had 8 different stages going simultaneously so we went to see the Ting Tings and Ferras, and then headed over to the PlayStation 3 Rock Band tent. It was then that we heard the bad news. Even though the website said the PS3 Experience bus would be in Chicago, it was actually in New York. They were still hosting a ROCK BAND competition, but not the major one we were looking for. But we figured, while we are here we'd go ahead and enter to see what we can win. They were hosting two competitions, the first was for free backstage passes to see Okkervil River. The second competition was for a free PS3 and game.

The first competition wasn't our smoothest attempt. We were the second band that was called up to compete, and Kurt had major problems with the guitar they gave him. He usually gets 100% on the song we picked, but for some reason the guitar would not hit the notes correctly. We made it through easily enough, but only with 1.3 Million which is well short of the 2 Million we can usually get easily. So we reported to them that the guitar might need some fresh batteries stood back and waited to see if anyone could beat our score. After hanging out for an hour, we were pronounced the winners and won the backstage passes. As soon was that happened, we were approached by a group of people hoping to buy the backstage passes off of us for $200. Since we had never heard of the band, we happily handed over our passes for the cash.

The second competition was a little better, Bryce and I both only missed a few notes and got 99%. Kurt still had some problems with the guitar again, and figured out the problem was that it wouldn't let him down strum. Once he started strumming upward for the rest of the song and didn't have any problems afterward. On our second attempt we got 1.79 Million which also held until the end of the competition. For winning that one, we were awarded a PS3 and a game to be sent to us. We decided to give this one to Kurt since he's the only one without a copy of ROCK BAND of his own. Now he can practice while he's on the road and even play with us remotely if we'd like to practice together. In addition, since we won both competitions pretty easily, the announcer got us VIP passes to the all you can eat and drink areas of the Concert. I checked online, and for a single VIP pass it cost $250 in addition to the normal $80 entrance fee.

So total in Cash in Prizes:

First Competition: 4 Backstage passes won to see Okkervil River. Sold for $200
4 VIP Lollapalooza passes: $250x4=$1000

Second Competition: Won 80GB PS3 and a game worth $450.

Total won in cash and prizes: $1650. The organizer of the event told us they would be doing the same competitions the next day if we were interested in taking home more tickets and another PS3. We unfortunately had to leave the next day, but could have taken those prizes too we think. In addition, we were allowed to see the Rage against the machine concert from club Palooza seats and avoid the massive sea of people crushing each other. The singer had to stop the concert three times to ask people to move back so the people in the front woudn't be smashed against the stage.

To celebrate the great weekend we had, went to China grill down the street to spend some of the cash we earned. It was a very upscale chinese/Asian fusion restaurant and we bought a four person sampler to try their best items on the menu. We were having a blast and I noticed a pretty girl at the table next to ours that looked surprising close to Lindsay Lohan. It was when her mom sat down that I was pretty sure it was her. Bryce, Kurt, and Pete didn't believe me until the waitress came over and asked if we liked having a table next to Lindsay Lohan once she stepped outside for a cigarette. Bryce, Kurt, and Pete all let out a resounding "WHAT?!?!" that probably echoed through the restaurant. I just smiled and got up with Pete's camera to see if I could get some proof. Unfortunately, we were still wearing our band T-shirts from the concert so mine read "I Heart Soccer Moms." I went up to her outside the restaurant and asked if I could have a photo because no one would ever believe me back home. She lit a cigarette and told me maybe a little later. I told her that was okay and wished her a good night, and her girlfriend smiled and just replied "Nice shirt." I laughed and told her thanks and went back in without a photo. So even though I didn't get a picture, I luckily have three other witnesses and a great story.

So total Weekend net worth $1650-$570=$1180 and a ton of amazing stories.

Best Quote: (In Reference to the Ting Tings Concert)
KURT: THAT was so awesome my future BABIES heard it.
BRYCE: When your kids grow older I'm going to tell them that's where they got their twitch from.
KURT: Except that we won't call it a twitch, we'll call it a "Ting"


A sorely needed update...

This blog has been sitting lonely for some time, so I figured it was a pretty good time to update it.

Quick run down of things that have happened...

This year:
1.) Moved into a house with a friend of mine from work we'll call BR. It's been working out extremely well -- he and I get along great.
2.) Gave up my guitar hero skills to pursue playing drums in Rock Band. We now have four players that come over and try and get on the "top ten" lists in the game. So far we are on four of those lists out of about 152.
3.) Was the best man in my Brother's wedding -- gave a speech that made mom cry a bit.

Last Month:
1.) Turned 26 and had a great birthday weekend. We celebrated at Bar Natasha where A works and people bought me too much alcohol. The following day went to a LAN party where BR and my rock band (called Earthy Thunder) competed against other expert level players and won. Then just to be sure, I challenged the other expert drummer to a drum off. Even dropping a stick I had enough points to win the match. We played 7 songs -- I beat him at 5. Check out the video (sorry for the language I got a little stressed on this one):

Then the next Sunday we had a huge BBQ at the house and played volleyball and games in the back yard. I actually had to go to be early the next couple nights to recoup from the weekend activities.

2.) I got a promotion at Cerner. Now instead of being a System Engineer, I am a System Architect. Which basically means instead of taking care of whatever is handed to me -- I'm directly responsible for keeping three hospital systems up and running. There's a lot of responsibility (24x7 hour support and being tied to my cell phone), but the perks are worth it I think. Better pay, and an extra week paid vacation. Plus, my new Boss told me she had a very laid back managing style which I think will be awesome for me.

3.) I bought an actual drum set and have started playing real music. I figured that all the Rock Band gaming was okay -- but a real instrument would be better. I plan on buying a double bass pedal for my drum set and modifying it so it can be used on my Rock Band set. I'll definitely send out pictures when it is done.

4.) A and I made it official. We're still taking things slow, but figured we were being exclusive anyway and calling each other boyfriend/girlfriend is just much easier than "that girl/guy that I've been sorta seeing and kinda dating, but not in a serious relationship with." So A has been officially titled "girlfriend". And for two complete commitment-phobes we haven't suffered any panic attacks yet...

This week:
1.) BR flew off to Ireland to celebrate the last days of his friend's bachelorhood. I've been cleaning up the house since it has been a mess since the BBQ.

2.) I've been enjoying the house to myself and making an errand here and there to help out with A's upcoming cabaret show called "The Doctor Is In." The show is tomorrow night and she's been pretty closed lipped about it so I'm excited to finally see it.

3.) Finishing re-finishing the dresser I inherited from college in Rolla. It now matches my new bed (love that bed) and the black theme I have going in my room. I have to say, this thing looks pretty good. I'll post more pictures when it is all done.

4.) Catching up on all the LOST episodes I've been missing. This season has been surprisingly good...

Next Month:
1.) I'll be going on a float trip in Cuba. Lots of A's friends will be going so it should be fun meeting all the people she hangs out with.

2.) I bought tickets to see two shows -- but can't say more than that. A is a snoop and I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

3.) I'll be attending E's wedding on May 17th and will be driving home to attend that and see family and friends. I'm hoping Andy and J will let me play one or two songs with the Slick Chixxx on the drums. Looking forward to finally catching up with people I haven't seen in a while.

That should catch up everyone for now -- I'll try to update again soon (not the 6 month periods it has been lately).


Christmas 2007 (1 of 3)

Here's a few Christmas vids for my brother B across the globe in Germany. Merry Christmas!


A New Place to Live

It's been a really long time since I posted anything, so I thought now would be a good time since I have lots of videos to make up for my lack of content. BR bought a house and asked me to be a roommate a while back, and I decided to move in. Here's a few videos of the new digs...

...Ha! That would require bluetooth to be enabled on my computer so I could pull videos off my cell phone. Since that doesn't appear to work, I'll call the help desk...

...So I'm currently on hold listening to relaxing music while the the tech support guy tries to figure out how to turn that on...

...still listening to smooth jazz music while waiting on hold. I'm gellin'. The suspense is killing you isn't it?



Two Cats - One Cat = Clean Carpets

Last Friday I finally gave up one of the cats in my apartment. It had been two years of constant training and still she preferred carpets to litter boxes. So I gave her one last chance, rented a steam cleaner and cleaned the carpets (7 times in some areas) and kept her locked in the bathroom with her litter box for the entire day. When the floors were finally dry, I let her out and she sniffed a lap around the living room and then pee'ed on the floor again.

I had tried cat prozac, different litter, moving the litter box, putting carpet in the litter box, using sand and shredded paper, using different types of litter boxes, and still no luck. So I had to take her into the Vet last Friday to get her put down. Fortunately enough for both of us, the Vet was going home that weekend to visit his parents and said he could drop the cat off at a neighbor's house where she'd be a barn cat. I was all for that -- so hopefully she's having a blast outside somewhere. It's probably better than being six feet under at any rate.

Today I gave Lance a bath (always one of his favorite activities...) and found that his undercoat had a lot of small mats. His long coat looked bumpy where the mats were lying underneath. So it looks like I'll have to get him professionally groomed (and possibly shaved). If he comes back without any hair, I'll definitely post some pictures...

So long Nimue, I hope the barn works out for you...