Best Night Ever

The day had finally arrived.  The Metallica concert was on the horizon.  Everyone, including my co-workers, knew how much I had been looking forward to the show.  I’d been sharing secrets about my outfit because I didn’t want to just wear my normal clothes.  I needed to be Metallica-worthy.  Barb kept asking all day “Where you changing for the concert?”.  I kept telling her it was none of her business and she’ll get pictures.  Well, they made it their business.  As I’m finishing the look in the bathrooms tucked away by the cafeteria, her and 2 others come busting in camera in hand.

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I headed over to the Pub before the show with my “bodyguard”.  My friend that was with me had a nice John Deere orange shirt amongst all the sea of black.  I think it toally looked like I was being protected.  One kid came up and asked my bodyguard if he could kiss me.  Luckily he said no, but I did get a kiss on the hand. 

Gojira and Lamb of God were the opening acts.  Neither of which I was interested seeing, so we hung out until about 8:30 then Jake arrived and we headed in.  Perfect timing!  We missed both acts and the roadies were getting the Metallica set ready.  We had spent some change on our seats because in Conseco if you get up high, the accoustics suck.  We were lower level just 20 rows up.  The stage was set in the middle of the floor and Metallica started the concert with some force! 

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James had microphones at every side of the stage.  He would go around and sing to the whole arena.  Lars was in the middle and Kirk and Robert just ran around swinging their hair.  They played some new stuff and were promoting Death Magnetic their new album, but we also got the oldies of Master of Puppets, Unforgiven, One, Sad but True.  They opened with a laser light show, had pyrotechnics coming up thru the stage for some songs, then ended the night turning the lights on and releasing about 300 black randomly sized beach balls on the crowd.  Plus, James ripped his shirt off and got in the crowd.  It was awesome!  I have zero complaints about the show and would relive this night every night for the next 2 years.  I can’t say enough how great it was.  This is a band I will go see again, and again, and again.  Until next time…Nothing Else Matters.

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Here’s some video of the show.  It starts with the opening song.  Then about 8 minutes in  you’ll see the fire show then the beach balls are at the end.

Wrigley-licous

A friend put together a rooftop Cubs event for a bunch of people.  I don’t follow baseball, but love to get out and do things so Tim and I packed up and headed out Saturday to Chi-town.  We were a bit late on the road because I set my alarm for 6:15 PM… oops… but we made it 10 minutes late and joined our friends for the festivities at the 3639 Wrigley Rooftop.

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I’ve been to a few Cubs games before, but this is clearly the way to go!  It costs a bit more money but you have open bar with beer and wine.  Food is also included.  Clean bathrooms.  Seats inside with TVs or outside watching the real action. No mess of a crowd to leaving AND you get a Dum-Dum sucker when you exit.  Awesome!

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After the game we headed over to the Cubby Bear but didn’t stay long.  I’m not a fan of that place anyway.  Someone wanted to go to Cody’s.  I wasn’t in the mood for walking and a cab option is boring… so we flagged down some guys on rickshaws and rode our way over.  Well they peddle, we rode.  I think our’s beat Chris and Mindy but to remain friends, we’ll just call it a tie.  We hit a few more bars in the area before finally landing at one with the Purdue game on. 

My mighty Boilers couldn’t come through.  We played hard but ended up short.  It’s likely to be a rough year with new coaches and players.  Everything but the last 5 minutes of this game had Purdue looking really good.  A good test will be in 2 weeks against the Golden Domers on our turf!  You know I’ll be there!

Boo Zoo

I woke up to blue skies on Labor Day, so I called my wingman K to see what was on our agenda for the day.  We decided an outdoor activity was needed, so we headed over to the zoo to see some animals.  The real attraction was WHO was at the zoo.  Holy shit we are an ugly city.  And we saw some canidates for indydouchebags.com. 

Anyway, we made our way through the zoo to find lots of animals sleeping.  Guess they are done for the season too and aren’t interested in entertaining us anymore.  There was one walrus that was hamming it up with the crowd.  He/She kept smashing it’s face and rubbing it’s body up against the glass as people would walk by.  Some kid yells “I see it’s hole.”  And on that note, the parents took the kid and left.  K touched a shark.  Probably the coolest part of the trip.

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We went over to the Plains section to see the Dragons of Komodo.  Well, they didn’t lie with their pluralization of dragons.  It was dragons, but only 2.  They marketed this as a big fancy exhibit and only had 2?!  Disappointing.  I was hoping the dolphin show would make the trip worth it.  Wrong.  It sucked too!  I think it was a total of 15 minutes with 2 cool high flying jumps.  The rest was boring.  Here’s some random animal shots.

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Our zoo entry allowed us into the gardens and butterfly exhibit.  Let’s go see what they have.  We saw about 10 butterflies total, checked out the gardens, grabbed a photo op and we were on our way home.  It wasn’t the most exciting or memorable time but at least I had good company to share it with.

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Here’s some video of an elephant taking a dump putting on a show, a monkey peeing and the awful dolphin show.

Labor Day of Rock

The end of the lake season… so sad.  Jake, Joe and I headed up north to meet my parents and close up the lake house for the season.  All the water toys seemed to know it was the end of the season because they stopped working.  The battery charger spent time between the boat and one of the jet skis all day Saturday.  But it was perfect weather so we didn’t mind.  I took the boys over to the Frog so they could check out Wawasee’s finest.  Right as we got there, the SS Lillypad II was coming in blarring Don’t Stop Believin’ and all the drunkards on board were singing.  Classic booze cruise entertainment.  There was a band playing inside the bar called What She Said, but we seemed to have more fun when they took a break and we could dance to the jukebox music.  Yes I said “we” and “dance”.  Joe and Jake dancing was awesome.  Should of got that on video.

Sunday we headed back to Indy for a full evening of live music.  The ribfest had booked Candlebox (and some other bands) to open for Puddle of Mudd.  Candlebox’s self titled CD is among my favorites.  They have pushed me to the finish line during many of my races.  Luckily Jake is a fan too, so we headed to Military Park to check out the show.  They only charged $5 to get in, but they stiff you on the drink tickets.  $10 for 7 tickets.  A beer was 5 tickets.  Whatever I can’t take it with me when I die. 

We made our way through the crowd to what seemed like a good spot.  I felt bad for whoever we stopped in front of because Jake is about 8 feet tall.  The crowd was an interesting mix of old hippies and young stoners.  I think I was the only one there that didn’t have a tattoo and has never smoked weed.  There was one guy high out of his mind.  It was all he could do to stand up and blink.  Besides the people watching, the show was great!  They played some of their classics and a few I didn’t know since I only have 1 of their CDs.  I’ll have to fix that with some iTunes uploads.  After their set, people started exiting to check out the festival so I thought it was a fine time to move up some more before Puddle of Mudd started. 

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We got to the front to find a VIP section.  Hmm… I think I’m VIP let’s see if they do.  I walked in and a security guard asked me, “Do you have a ticket?”  I quickly answered with “Yes” even though I only had a ticket to Ribfest.  “Do you have a bracelet?”  “No”.  “Go to that guy to get your bracelet”.  Sweet!  Simple enough but while we are standing there, another concert goer is trying to get in too.  His answer to “Do you have a ticket” was “What kind of ticket?”  The security guard says, if you don’t what kind of ticket I mean, you don’t belong in here.  I started sweating it at this point thinking we were sunk.  But the bracelet guy came up and slapped one on my wrist.  Jake follows only to get stopped by the guard.  “Do you have a ticket?”  Jake’s response, “I’m with her.” The guard motions for bracelet guy and we’re in!  No proof needed!

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P of M finally took the stage around 9:30pm.  I’d never laid eyes on these guys before, but didn’t want to take my eyes off of them.  There is something dead sexy about a grungy guy wielding a guitar and whipping his long hair around.  If I saw these guys on the street, I probably wouldn’t give them a 2 second thought, but on stage, I was hooked.  I knew a few songs just from listening to the radio, but learned a few new ones too.  We only stayed for about 5 songs, because we still had one more live music show to see.  Mike Kelsey, was at Birdy’s playing with my boy Bruce Barker and Dr. Kevin Morgan.  It’s rare to see all 3 of these guys jam together on one stage.

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We got there right as Mike was taking a break, so I grabbed Bruce to introduce him to Jake, and while we are chatting Mike and Kevin joined in.  More VIP treatment for Jake to meet these guys.  The 3 guys did all different sets together and alone, so the crowd got a taste of Bruce’s original songs too.  They put on a great show and an awesome end to 24 hours of live music and 4 groups.

Here’s some video of the Candlebox and Puddle of Mudd sets.

Happy Birthday Tiki-Man

Mr. Bruce Dawson celebrates his birth today, but we celebrated over the weekend at, where else, the lake.  Most of my friends know I’m a planner and I do greatly appreciate it when we can stick to the plan.  This was not the case for this party.  This “chipmunk” (thanks Carla) had to replan about 27 times.  Which is fine, just took some energy.  As the host, I wanted to make sure everyone had directions, food, a nice bed to sleep in, etc.  In the end, it all worked out fine and I hope everyone had a good time. 

Bruce and I have a Tiki-man language of our own, so the theme of the party was all about the Tiki.  We had stellar luau music, souvenir cups (which I forgot to mention were souvenir, so now I have a shit-ton of tiki cups), tiki ring toss on Bruce’s head, a photo luau booth that had an unfortunate accident with a football, an inflatable 4 foot tiki, and since I couldn’t find the tiki pinata, I opted for a pink and white unicorn.  Seemed perfect for Bruce.

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Here’s a recap of our birthday bash.  My small crew of Bruce, Jake and K went up first Friday afternoon.  A couple of Bruce’s friends and another crew of mine Sara, BA, Ian and Matt followed later that night.  We had a field trip that night into North Webster that provided us great memories to share the next morning.  Saturday brought a few more of Bruce’s friends and some nasty weather.  1/2 of the day was spent inside on a puzzle that we did finish, the other 1/2 outside playing games.  Ian and I made an attempt on the jet skis only to find rain on the other side of the lake that hurt like needles when trying to go through it!  Not a bright idea, but I wanted to get out on the water.  My parents also came up and guess who got fish art for his birthday?!?!  Saturday night, some folks went to the Frog, Lake Wawasee’s finest establishment.  Others stayed home and played games.  I made myself disappear for a few hours to get my peace and quiet at the lake.  Sunday ended up being semi-nice but everyone left pretty early in the morning, so my original Friday crew remained to soak in the rays we could find and take a boat ride.  Shitty weather, but still good times with friends.

Drrrka drrrka Bruce!

Michael Kelsey @ The Fair

After reviewing the 30 page Indiana State Fair program, I picked out a few things I wanted to attend if my schedule permitted.  Tonight was my first opportunity to go.  2 friends, Brew and CS went with.  I wanted to see a phenominal guitarist named Michael Kelsey.  I first met Michael at Purdue through my friend Bruce Barker.  They are both incredible musicians and always put on a good show.  Michael even opened up for the BoDeans when they were here in Indy 10 years ago.  His main venue in Indy is Birdy’s but he usually plays on Sunday nights, so it’s a bit hard to round up a crew to go.

If you are around when this guy is in town, go see him.  You are guaranteed a great show.  Even if you really don’t get into music or understanding that craft, you’ll like this guy.  He’s on-the-fly creative and sings about what he sees in the audience and even grabs things from the audience to play on his guitar.  Tonight he used a kid’s juice box and Pringles can.  It was great.  He was up on the tables and playing amongst the crowd.

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After the show, we walked around to take in the scene. We are a great looking city! We headed over to the “Shit under a tent sale” to see what kind of fun As-seen-on-TV stuff we could buy. None of us spent a dime on any products, but Tim spent some quarters feeding the goats and piglets. He even took some time for a photo op.

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Thanks for indulging my musical side, boys! I had a great time, and think they did too.

2009 Urban (my ass) Adventure Race

The big day finally arrived!  Last year’s Urban race was awesome so I was really looking forward to this one.  For those that don’t know, an adventure race consists of orienteering through woods, canoeing, running, and biking.  You get a series of maps, all different scales, with checkpoint locations on them.  You have to race in numerical order and get punches on a passport that proves you were at every spot.  An Urban race is on city streets and has the same concept but the passport includes tasks at each checkpoint that you have to complete in order to move on.  I call it “The Amazing Race” in one day.  Last year was my first year competing.  We cargo-netted 2 stories down and up into the White River, repelled off a building, jumped off the IUPUI 10 meter platform, ran in the storm sewers under downtown Indy, ran all the stairs at the U of I gymnasium… I could go on.  We ended up 4th in our division and finished the whole race.  We were looking to improve on that this year!

I was like a little kid at Christmas trying to sleep Friday night.  I managed to get some shut eye around 1:30am, but was up at 4:30am to head over to Kevin’s to get the tow system hooked up on my bike.  In this race, it’s legal to create a home-made tow system to use your strongest biker’s momentum to carry the rest of your team.  Last year, Kevin didn’t look like he even broke a sweat on the bike, so this year the engineer in him fashioned something out of PVC pipe, ski rope, carabiners and bungy cords.  It worked well and not so well at one point, but we’ll get to that later.  Here’s a shot of it.

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The next thing we decided to better than last year was get to the park on time.  Last year, we couldn’t find the damn place and got there with about 10 mintues to spare and didn’t have time to review the maps.  We only took 1 wrong turn on our way to Southwestway Park but arrived at 6:15 to check in.  We got our maps and started studying our course.  Got all of our gear organized, including the random straw, sugar packet and quarter we were each required to have.  I spent many hours contemplating what this stuff was for.  I was not going to snort sugar off a quarter with a straw.  I couldn’t manage to suction the sugar to the quarter using the straw.  And I tried to walk and balance them on the straw.  Was very interested to see what we needed this stuff for.  Here’s the team.

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Race started at 8 am and we were off to checkpoint 1.  The first 7 CPs were an orienteering section.  The instructions said, get 3 of the 6 and move on.  So we did.  We grabbed our bikes, PFDs and paddles and biked over to CP8 and found canoes waiting for us.  We had to drag the canoes down a hill into the river.  At some sections, the river wasn’t deep enough so we took turns dragging it down the shore until we got to a point we could paddle again.  Brian provided some comic relief at this point with a song that we had to repeat as he sang.

“I… wish all the ladies”

“Were holes in the road”

“Cuz if I was a dump truck”

“I’d fill’em with my load”

“I… wish all the ladies”

“Were bricks in a pile”

“Cuz if I was a mason”

“I’d lay’em all with style”

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We made our way up and down the river and were in 5th place at this point.  As we were headed out to CP10, one of the race organizers said that the advanced teams were suppose to get all 6 CPs from the beginning section.  WTF?!  Then put that on the instructions!  We had to go back there around CP26 anyway, so we decided we’d talk about it then.  More checkpoints = more points overall.  We hooked up the bike tow system and headed off.  It was working well until Kevin took a turn that my tow system didn’t like.  I was hooked to Brian and it kind of flung my bike in a big swoop.  I knew we had a problem, so I just calmly said “I’m going down boys, going down.”  I did my best to land in the grass, but my knee took a pretty good scrape.  No time to waste, so just get back up and move on!  First aid will have to wait.  Did break my front brake, so had to manage without that for the remaining 30 miles of the day.  We rode up to a house and were directed to the backyard.  There were 9 clear water bottles submerged in a pool.  We had to find 3 of them before moving on.  I had brought goggles with me, so I threw those on and walked into the pool, shoes and everything.  Made quick work of it and headed out.  There was a lemonade stand next store with a sign “A QUARTER”.  Really?!  This is what the sugar/straw/quarter was for?!  Cute but boring.  We each downed a glass and got some bonus points for figuring it out.  Next we headed to the golf course for a putting challenge.  It was kind of lame.

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Then we were off to another park for some more orienteering.  This time it was 2 of 4, so we got our 2 and moved on to take the lead in the race.  We found a lady standing in the middle of the road at CP18.  We were told to ride down this huge hill to the stop sign and back… twice.  WTF is urban about that?!  We completed the task and headed to Perry Meridian high school to find some volunteers at the track.  We each had to run 1/2 a lap before we could get our stamp.  Easy enough and on our way to CP20.  We arrived at a house with a nasty pond out back.  There were several inflatable canoes in the yard.  All 3 of us had to get in one and using a rope across the pond, pull ourselves to one side and back.  Brian got in, I followed and Kevin took the rear.  The rope had accumulated some scum and seaweed on it, so as we were whipping across it, shit was flying everywhere.  I looked back at Kevin and he’s just covered in a green mess.  I started to cry it was so funny.  He just did a shoulder shrug and said “Yea, f*ck it”. We knew we wouldn’t stay clean, but it was awful. 

Our next checkpoint was at a creek.  We learned that we had to take our bikes through the creek to the exit point.  WTF is urban about this?!  The creek was knee to waist high.  It was a soft foundation so you couldn’t ride through it and you’re a bit tired at this point so carrying a bike wasn’t a viable option either.  Glad I just bought a great bike 2 weeks ago only to run it thru 1/2 mile of Indy’s finest water.  A team ended up passing us at this point, so we were back to second.  The next few checkpoints were on a dirt bike trail at a levee.  We regained the lead by cutting through a backyard to return for our stamp.  Upon our return a volunteer noticed we were missing CP10 on our passport.  WHAT THE FUCK, BOYS?!  Kevin was navigator.  Brian was in charge of the passport.  A huge wave of disappointment came over all of us.  We had blown right by the CP after the canoes.  We immediately rode back over to the spot on the map, but the task was over and no volunteers were there.  Son of a… Major penalty for missing a CP.  Strangely, I wasn’t mad at anyone just sour that our great ride was not going to be a 1st place finish.  And I took over naviagation.

We biked over to CP26 to find a zip line across the river.  Jerry, one of the organizers, was still setting it up.  Geez, guys… clock is ticking.  The gear list told us to bring our own harnesses, so we’d been trudging around town with about 20 extra pounds only to find harnesses waiting for us at the zip line.  Maybe they didn’t plan on it, but just frustrating that we didn’t need to carry such a heavy load.  I snapped on the line and sailed across.  The return line was sunk down in the river so once I snapped on and got in, the pulley slid off the wire and got stuck.  I wrestled with it for a bit and ended up just walking back across the river.  Disappointing.  Since we were close to the area where CP5-7 was, we decided it was best to go get those and make up some points since we missed 10.

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Well, that was a big mistake.  We had our bikes with us on a very thick vegatation trail.  We spent 40 minutes in the woods getting scratched, scraped, bitten and muddy.  You needed a machete to get through parts of it.  We didn’t find 5, 6 or 7.  Finally a clearing with a dirt road opened up in front of us.  I think Kevin wanted to call it quits at this point.  He said if he sees his truck, he’s done.  Slap-happy phase set in for me, but we motored through and headed off for Stage 2 of the course.  There is a 6 hour maximum completion time.  If you finish after that, you get penalized so I kept an eye on the time.  We had an hour left and 7 more check points to go.  These CPs were very spread out but we managed to hit 3 before heading back in.  One was moving 3 bails of hay at a horse farm, another run thru a creek, and then had to catch 2 fly balls at baseball diamond.  We rode back in with 5:54 on my watch and 43.16 miles covered.

We didn’t place in the top 3 for our division.  Results aren’t posted yet, so no idea how bad the missing CP hurt us.  Only 1 team finished the entire course, which to me says it was too long.  I think you would want a few teams to finish or why else plan that many CPs that no one is going to get to do?!  Overall this year, I hate to say, I was disappointed in the course.  It was much more on the Adventure side, than the Urban side.  Just wasn’t prepared for that.  After the race, we noticed our race tshirts had “sub” urban written on them.  Exactly!  It was not advertised that way.  The tasks at each stop were not challenging like last year.  You were through each one in about 2-3 minutes this time.  Pushing all that aside, I had a great time with my team and made some wonderful memories.  Hopefully Kevin and Brian will be back again next year because remember boys, Win Or Lose We Still Booze!  (That was our team name 🙂

Here’s some video Jessi and Sara shot while we were out on the course.  Leave it to Jessi to find room for the Glamour shot on a stick. That thing will haunt me to the day I die. Still trying to get the Google Earth map to work…

I Touched Greatness

I invited a few friends to the Colts pre-season game.  So we all met up and headed downtown to the massive Lucas Oil Stadium.  My cousin offered us his seats, so we found our way and they were fantastic!  The roof and north side window were open.

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Here’s my crew.  Tim, Joe and Shawn.

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3/4’s of us were enjoying watching our fellow Boiler, Curtis Painter #7, try to make something of his first NFL QB showing.  He didn’t do anything to write home about.  Bummer.  We were having a great time anyway, and Tim ended up getting a text from our friends that were in a suite… a OneAmerica suite?!  What?!  I had to check this out.  I know I’m still low on the totem pole, but geez, now I really have something to strive for.  We went up to meet Danielle and Kevin in the suite.  Turns out Kevin works for OneAmerica too.  As we are walking in, the clouds parted and the angels sang…. the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy was in the suite.  These 2 dudes were walking it around and letting people take pictures with it.  We all jumped at the chance.

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When the 2 dudes looked at Tim… they didn’t approve, so Tim got his picture with the next best silver thing in the suite.

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Just kidding, Tim got a photo op with it too.  What are the chances that you get to see the trophy, let alone hold it?!  It was great.  Ranks above me meeting the Heishman trophy, picture circa 1999.  I’ll have to find and scan that one.  Now I just need to find the Commissioner’s Trophy and the Stanley Cup!

Climb Time

I recently met some friends who like to rock climb.  Hmmm, I’ve never tried that… sign me up!!  Mitch graciously offered to take me to Climb Time Indy for my inaugural attempt.  It’s a big warehouse looking building, not quite that tall, but full of different angles, sections, and grips.  I got my tutorial from Mitch about finding the path to the top.  They have colored flags that criss cross to the top or easier paths that are straight up.  Since this was my first time, I just did what felt right to get to the top.  I liked the grips that were called “jugs”.  Imagine that?!  They had real small holds that you get about 3 finger tips on.  I’ll leave those to the pros… for now.

After a run or 2, I got a tutorial on how to spot Mitch as he got to climb.  He trusted me, and set up on his way.  He did awesome on the small grips.  I’m happy to report I didn’t injure or kill Mitch on his rides down from the top.  I might of hurt his “boys” a few times with my release techniques, but overall, he’s safe.  And I’m not sure who invited this guy, but Rick showed up too.  He was like King Kong up the wall with his go-go-gadget arms.  He let me spot him.  His release was not so smooth, but he is safe as well. 

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I tried to do one last run up a white line but couldn’t make it and released 1/2 way up.  We had spent about an hour and my fingers and forearms were shot.  Next time wall… next time.  Thanks to Mitch and Rick for introducing me to this!  One more time indoors, then we are headed to the good stuff outside!

Powerball

I play the lotto with 3 guy friends once it reaches $100K.  We take turns buying the tickets.  I tried the small town luck of North Webster last week, but it was a flop.  It’s not my turn to buy, so I have eagerly been awaiting to see what our numbers are.  Here’s what I got today…

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My friends are so nice.