4th of July week

Big photo album of last week with entirely too many frog pictures :P

Got into Chicago at about 8-something at night, leaving just enough time to grab some pizza and then go out with my brother Dave and his gf to see the new (Live Free Or) DIE HARD movie. This one was all about a bunch of eevil hackers causing mayhem, and true to form, this aspect of the movie was pure comedic (fools) gold, but other than that it was surprisingly good. (Dave grabbed the rest of the movies from a friend and we had an incremental* Die Hard marathon throughout the week.) After the movie we went driving around (yeah, we do that a lot); Dave showed us around the scariest, most ghetto trailer park he’d seen. I don’t think I saw a patch of grass/green in it anywhere, just solid blacktop. Another night we went driving out to various forgotten/deserted places, like old service roads leading to never-constructed construction sites and underneath interstate overpasses, as well as “offroading” in his ole 2WD Buick. Ok, so this was not technically off-road, but down an old and disused service road following along the I&M Canal, full of huge rocks, potholes and mud puddles that came up to about the bottom of the doors in some places. This was a little scary (in a ghett-o-mobile), but fun.

Monday, went to a graduation party for one of the “little Nandos” (not little anymore), which was mainly an excuse to eat brownies and drink, and get our pictures taken every 5 seconds by Matt’s gf, who is reportedly some flavor of professional photographer. (Other reported things I won’t get into here! ;-) Monday night we rounded up a small posse (or vice versa) to go out in the woods in a particular place and have a nice drunken** latenight bonfire. This started small, just whatever deadfall we could find nearby, until someone found a large plastic drum and decided to see how well it would burn. Opinions were somewhat divided on whether this was a good idea; Dave and someone else actually started walking the trail out back toward the car, not wanting any involvement. I figured as long as it was going to happen, might as well watch (and if nothing else, not leave the damn thing unattended). My guess on how high the flames would go was fairly accurate–about the equivalent of a 1-story building–which was apparently enough to arouse the attention of the local cops. As it was burning back down I get a call from Dave, who has by this time reached the end of the woods and the field leading to where we parked. “Dude, douse that fire and get your asses out here, the parking lot is swarming with cops!” When they came out, there were two squads circling the parking lot, almost leaving, then circling back again, and checking out the car. Dave and friend quickly hid in the bushes, warning us to keep hidden and not come out of the woods until the coast was clear. The cops followed the street back out, and as soon as they were out of line-of-sight we bolted for the car and got out of there.

Tuesday night, met up with Kristoff and his friend, and E* and a couple people she had with, downtown and caught the Chicago fireworks show by the lake. (Dave and his gf were also there somewhere, but we couldn’t get hold of them to meet up somewhere.) It was ridiculously packed. There were so many people in a small area that none of our phones worked, even the ones without dead batteries (a CDMA cell can only handle 64 simultaneous conversations per slice, which isn’t usually a problem since the slices are narrow). It was a hell of a show and set to music. The downpour expected that night waited until immediately after the show, at which point everyone scattered for drier places. Kristoff got separated in the crowd and we didn’t see him the rest of the night. Meanwhile, HAL was showing up at my folks’ house to crash for the night before hanging out tomorrow.

For the 4th, we all assembled at the cabin (Morris, IL) and had a nice BBQ and pool party. Just like last year, Kristoff brought a huge handle of Cap’n Morgan, we got nice and tipsy, and my cousins played homicide dunk with me in the deep end. Also in attendance were Dave’s gf, my (dad’s side) aunt and uncle too, Rubber Mel and his wife+kids, and my cousin Da*. We ended up staying pretty late…most of us left that night since HAL and Daves’s gf had to be headed home; Kristoff stayed ’til early the next morning to sleep it off. :P

Met up with J*, her bf and his live-in ex, and we grilled some meat. This guy was…interesting (you know…NASCAR type, hotdog neck), but if she’s happy with him, so am I.

Saturday, went back out to the cabin w/ the folks, prowled around in the woods a bit terrorizing the wildlife with my camera, munched on wild berries alongside the road, and went out fishing with me old man (haven’t done that in ages!). We caught a good sized handful of bluegill, cleaning them in the boathouse and dropping the heads/guts for the catfish that like to hang around down there. (We didn’t see any that day… otherwise there might be one of them in the freezer too :P)

Later that night, raced back to civilization just in time to head out and catch a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with Da* and a couple of her friends. This was crazy. I dressed for the occasion a little bit, but Da* completely gayed me up (unbuttoning my shirt and knotting the tails, also exposing some hawt belly fur). Got a tongue in the ear from some guy. “Oh, don’t worry about him, he hits on everybody.” -Da* Anyway, for those who have never attended such a showing, it traditionally involves some people acting out the scenes, shouting their own lines back at the screen, throwing various things, etc. If you’re interested in the actual plot of the movie, I’d recommend seeing it on video first so you know what’s going on.

Sunday… finally getting into that hardcore sleeping in habit, woke up after noon, loafed around, grabbed some food, and got to the airport for a 6:30pm flight. But there were some “technical difficulties” (broken plane) with the flight at the next gate that was leaving sooner, so they swapped (took ours) and sicced mechanics on the broken one. You can probably guess how this went. They announced we’d be delayed by “about 10 more minutes”, every 10 minutes, for the next several hours. Eventually they moved us to a different gate and put us on one of their “terminators” (no Aussie accents or liquid metal here; it’s just what they call the last plane in that ordinarily becomes next morning’s first plane out). By the time we landed in Boston, it was nearly 1am and the subway had stopped running, stranding a bunch of people including myself with no ride (my request for cab fare reimbursement is on its way).

* incremental mostly because us workin’ stiffs with normal hours have lost the capacity to stay up arbitrarily late, and were zonked out by not much after midnight :( I started regaining this ability just in time to go back to Boston.

** as drunk as people could get from the warm Bud Light someone brought, which is to say, not very.

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