Believe it or not, I've got a few things on tap for the Summer aside from drinking Mexican beers and showing off my pasty white legs in cut-off jean shorts.
At the end of the month (May 30th), I'm heading to the city of Milwaukee to catch a Reds vs. Brewers game. To many of you, this probably seems like a meaningless, ho-hum trip. However, I get excited with each subsequent ballpark I visit. During a ridiculously tumultuous trip to San Francisco in 2006, I went to AT&T Ballpark and caught a Giants vs. Braves (I think) game. Even though it was a game between two teams I could care less about and Bonds wasn't even playing (this was the year he was chasing the homerun record), it was an awesome ballpark and a damn good time. The garlic fries didn't hurt either. It actually almost made up for the overall terrible trip.
So, Milwaukee it is. I've only heard good things about the ballpark. Plus, I'm just interested to check out the city. Mid-major cities intrigue me for many reasons I can't explain, but I'm sure most of it has to do with the fact that I was born and raised in a mid-major city. Every city has its charm and interesting characteristics (yes, even you Detroit) if you're willing to search it out. Chicago's easy because there's a ton of shows, events, and shit to do here all the time. Not to say that's a bad thing. I initially had a negative view of Cleveland until I visited it on a regular basis back in '05. Great city if you're patient and optimistic enough to enjoy it.
On June 11th, I'm taking my first well deserved and lengthy vacation from the Reader. I'd feel like I was cheating myself if I didn't take some sort of trip, so I'm flying to visit Russell the Love Muscle in Washington, D.C. I've been through D.C. on tour but never actually stopped to give a shit about it. As if scheduled by God himself, I land at 1:05 PM and the Reds are playing the Nationals at 4:35 PM. How fucking great is that? Another ballpark down, even it is the Nationals. Hey, at least I can throw my voice out yelling at Dunn and all of the other discarded Reds rotting away on the Nationals bench. Man, I can't wait to yell at Dunn. I miss that so much.
I plan on being a wreck most of the trip and embarrassing Russ in the city that he lives. Actually, Russ was here not too long ago for work and we went to a bar I tend to frequent. Unsurprisingly (but not in a bad way), Russ took upon himself to get smashed on a Tuesday night, and I spent the rest of the night pleading with him to not to become the belligerently drunk Russ we all know and love. Believe it or not, I enjoy this process. It's a worthwhile nostalgic experience. Aside from all of the ballyhoo (nice word!) that is sure to ensue once I arrive, I'm also excited to shoot the shit with Obama and see how he's been doing since leaving Chicago.
The last weekend of June marks the arrival of my mom and stepdad. I mean, it's only taken them over a year to come on up. That's cool, though. I like my mom because I know she'll be excited even if we just piddle around the lobby of the Sears Tower and eat Pizza Hut buffet the entire trip. She's great like that. Unfortunately, I wanted to take my stpedad, who's a huge baseball fan, to Wrigley to watch the shitbag Cubs play a game, but they'll be out of town trying to act like they're not a fraud of a baseball club. So, I need some ideas of what to do with them. I've got a few already (architectural tour, Signature Room in the Hancock Tower, Shedd Aquarium), but one or two more wouldn't hurt. Plus, I don't know where to take them to eat because there just isn't a LaRosa's in Chicago. Regardless, I'm confident this'll be a good time because my mom and stepdad don't go on enough vacations, so I know they'll have a solid time one way or another. Plus, they'll be toast by like 9:30 PM, so I won't be kept away from my scandalous and outrageous weekend escapades (pfffftt).
The weekend of July 10th-12th will mark the annual camping trip with those I hold most dear, or just those that have yet to be utterly sick of me. Massive amounts of shitty food and awful beer will be consumed, and I will more than likely end up with some sort of wrenching stomach ache. I love the posse camping trips where everyone converges on a designated spot for a weekend of "Hey, we may not live near each other anymore, but we can and will still pull out the same humiliating jokes we've been badgering each other with for years." This is a great weekend and has become a much deserved tradition. Now, if we can just find a solid spot to do it this year. Last year, Indiana once again proved how much it sucks.
Pitchfork begins on July 17th and has a decent amount to live up to from last year. I was a decent wreck most of the time (thank you job perks) and actually couldn't hang on Sunday to see Spiritualized. If you are at all aware of my love for Jason Pierce and Spiritualized, then you can probably understand how much of a disaster I was. Regardless, festivals usually disappoint. I've come to accept this. However, last year was my first Pitchfork experience, and it was a delight for the most part because the afterparties and aftershows push it into a whole different realm of festival. I anticipate even more antics this year.
I have no doubt other occurrences will be peppered in, but truth be told, I can't plan past mid-July, so I'll just have to leave it at that. Chicago Summers dominate. That's what tends to happen when you have a three month window in which to cram all warm weather activities.
I didn't do this last post, but here is what I've been listening to lately:
Thee Oh Sees - Help
Trap Them - Seizures in Barren Praise
Papercuts - You Can Have What You Want
Black Flag - My War
Passion Pit - Manners