It's That Time of Year Again... Wrestlemania in New York

So once again I find myself about a month behind when I should have posted this. Oh well, what is one to do.

This year all the big wrestling activities happened in the New York - New Jersey area. A place I've been many times. Honestly, I wasn't too thrilled about going out there when it was announced. Since it's almost becoming a yearly tradition, I made the plans and went. Though wrestling, for the most part, has been put on the back burner. I am to watch as much these days and haven't been to a live event since last year's Mania weekend.

After waiting to buy plane tickets and debating driving out and vowing I would never work all day then drive through the night to get to my destination... I did just that, along once again with my friend Scott. He drove. I rode and caught a good four hours of sleep, which usually doesn't happen.  He was an animal powering through the dark with focus and determination.

We hit NYC early. Scott was staying in Queens while I was in Manhattan at a hotel with a bunch of the usual group. After spending a few hours walking around in Queens and grabbing a nice diner breakfast, they were off to a Mets game. I was off to the hotel and navigating the subway system.

I arrived at the hotel a short time later, after a successful navigation, and found friends waiting our rooms. A short time later a few local friends arrived and we decided it was time for lunch. We headed out to La Lucha, a lucha libre themed restaurant. The place had amazing decor with event posters and other memorabilia plastered on the walls. The food was delicious as well and all dishes named after legendary luchadors. It was a fun place.   
Eat here.

So it was back to the hotel where people started arriving included the great organizer himself, Greg. After a couple of hours of simply relaxing we had one big, group meal scheduled at Dallas BBQ. I'm not overly found of the food there, but they do serve some big ass drinks.

The final stop on the evening was for beer and off to the Rattle and Hum Bar is where some of us headed. I liked the feel of the place and it had a nice selection. We stayed until the wee hours of the morning conversing over fine ales. A good night.
Rattle & Hum

Friday afternoon was going to be spent doing want I wanted to do... eating and drinking. I talked a couple of guys, Jon and Anthony and Mark, to head over to The Ginger Man with me for brews. Or really to watch me drink. This place was amazing. I loved the atmosphere and the beer selection is even better. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon there and I am fine with the decision.
The Ginger Man

On the way back to the hotel we spotted an interesting looking food truck called Domo Taco. It was mid afternoon and I needed food. Really I wanted to go to a charcuterie place but didn't have time. But the food truck filled the void in my belly with delightful Asian-Mexican fusion tacos.

A couple of hours later it was time for the Ring of Honor Supercard of Honor show at the Manhattan Center. I haven't been keeping up the product and really wasn't too hyped. A lot had changed in the promotion since I stopped watching on a regular basis four months ago. I nestled into my front row seats beside my pals and prepared to get entertained. It ended up being a good show with a one of the special moments in wrestling as Jay Briscoe became RoH World Champion.
New RoH World Champion, Jay Briscoe

Post show it was off to Irish Times, a place we normally gather after the event, with a quick stop for pizza slices first. A couple hours later I was tired and drained and went back for sleep.

Saturday was going to be a challenge. Three wrestling shows in one day. The first was SHIMMER Women Athletes, an all women's promotion from Chicago. I was excited for the show as I always wanted to go to one of their live events. The promotion only runs a handful of shows a year and they seem to conflict with my work. The ladies did not disappoint. We saw the SHIMMER Title change in a brutal cage match.
Melissa Andeson, SHIMMER Champion

The second show was CHIKARA Pro, a family oriented lucha style promotion out of East Pennsylvania. It was another promotion that I have wanted to see live for many years. The show was an extremely fun and good time. Plus I got to watch the legendary Jushin Thunder Lyger in a rare US appearance. YES!
Jushin Thunder Lyger & Mike Quackenbush

The final show of the day Dragon Gate USA. I was surprising still up for wrestling. This had one of my favorite matches of the weekend, but that was probably due to Mark and Alexi screaming "King of Chop" during the match and the wrestlers playing up to. I faded fast after intermission and despite the quality matches, I really just wanted it to be over.
"The King of Chop" - EITA & TT Tomahawk

We took mass transit back into the heart of Manhattan. As we got off the bus from Jersey I saw another beer establishment that I wanted to go to staring me in the face, The Beer Authority. The small group with me decided to come along for drinks. I might be a bad influence on some of these guys and gals. I had a couple of very rare beers and again wasted time with great pals until late into the night.
The Beer Authority

In the morning I awoke to terrible news. My grandmother had passed away. Her suffering and battle with dementia was over. I scrambled around to figure out what I needed to do in order to get back home. After several calls I decided to stick with my days agenda and head back directly after Wrestlemania, which cut the trip short. Alone in the room I broke down in tears. Then pulled myself together.

A large group gathered for a lunch at a Chinese restaurant down the street. I wish I could remember the name because it was delicious. We ate and hopped on the bus to the Meadowlands for the the WWE Wrestlemania event. I go Mania for the spectacle and theatrics of the event, not necessarily for the wrestling. Even though my mind was preoccupied my good friends Jon, Mark, and Chris helped me make it through.

I found Scott after the show and we drove for a few hours, being smart and stopping for at least a couple of hours of sleep.

We woke in the morning and hit highway. Eventually I made it home. Now I had to take care of family business.

Observations of an Illogical Mind by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Creative Commons LicensePlease feel free to share the link but contact me for any other uses or publication. Thanks.


Favorite Albums (part 1)

I've had this idea floating around in my head for about six months to list my top one hundred albums. But I keep putting it off and coming up with excuses not to write it up. Well no more. This is the fist part of (at least) a Top 50 Favorite Albums list. Yeah!!!! 

I decided to set a few ground rules before writing: 
1.) only use one album per artist
2.) greatest hits, compilations, or box set could not be included
3.) neither could live albums
4.) all albums must have been released before 2013

The list was a hard to narrow down. Some artists I like their collection as a whole but not one specific album (such artist as  Faith No More, Johnny Cash, Danzig, Beasstie Boys, Shins, Rollins Band, My Morning Jacket, Tool, and others all into this category). 
Here are the fist ten on the list and in no particular order.

Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti (1975)

** Those who know me well realize I am a huge Zep fan. And of all their great albums, Graffiti is by far my favorite. Everything on the album clicks as flows seamlessly from one track to the next. You can rock out hard with "Kashmir" or simply hit a mellow vibe with "Ten Years Gone". Bonham, Page, Jones, and Plant had never been better.
Favorite Song: "Down By The Seaside"

Soundgarden - Down on the Upside (1996)

** While many of my generation really got into Nirvana (and dubbed them the kings of grunge), I always preferred Soundgarden. Maybe it's the way Cornell belts out a tune. The man has one of the best vocal ranges in rock history. Period. Or maybe it's the heavy guitar strumming of the highly underated Kim Thayill. Regardless they are one my favorite bands of all time. And Upside is their signature effort. You can get lost in the melodies of "Blow Up the Outside World', "Overfloater", and "Tighter and Tighter".
Favorite Album: "Zero Chance"

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1970)

** As an AV event technician I am often asked to supply walk in music for meetings or background dinner music at the last moment. When the situation occurs, nearly 75% of the time Bitches Brew is my go to album. Miles blows his horn with a fury never heard before. The result is amazing on your eardrums. Crack it loud and fill it's passion.

Favorite Song: "Spanish Key"

Jimmy Eat World - Invented (2010)

** J.E.W. is a band I got into a little late. I didn't care for the band when they first came out while attedning college. Years later I started hearing all this awesome songs on the alternative radio station in town. When I found out who the artist was, quite frankly I was shocked. So I gave them another chance and now the band is right up with all my favs. Invented is their crowning achievement.The second half of this album from "Stop" to "Mixtape" is as good as anything produced in the last decade. Honestly, it's that good and the lyrics are pure poetry. 

Favorite Song: "Invented"

Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me (2006)

** I bought this album after hearing one song that instantly resonated with me, "Jesus". It's an act which rarely occurs for me with a new to me band. I popped the CD and one song after another hit the right mark. I probably listened to it for two weeks straight, non-stop, without ever getting tired of it. Whether it's "Millstone", "Handcuffs", "Degausser", or "You Dont Know" this album never misses.
Favorite Song: "Jesus"

Toadies - Rubberneck (1994)

** Rubberneck is one of the best, lesser known albums of the 90's. The huge hit off the album was "Possum Kingdom", a fine song indeed. But the rest of the album continues with a southern punk hybrid style rarely heard and extremely dark lyrics. Songs like "I Burn" and "Tyler" make this one stand out which is why it makes my list.

Favorite Song: "I Burn"

Jack White - Blunderbuss (2012)

** As far as I'm concerned anything Jack White touches is gold. So it's no surprise his fist solo album is on my list. He combines rock, country, and blues guitar riffs with lyrics that tell compelling stories. The album just makes me happy. It's musical bliss.
Favorite Song: "Love Interruption"

Fleetwood Mac - Rumors (1977)

** Simply put. Rumors is one great album. Like many of the group's effort it's the vocal stylings of Nicks, McVie, and Buckingham which drives the songs. And almost every one on the album is a hit including "Second Hand News", "Go Your Own Way", "Dont Stop", and "Gold Dust Woman". Pure 70's soft, pop rock goodness.
Favorite Song: "The Chain"

N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (1988)

** As a middle class white kid from Northeast Indiana obviously this album about living life in an LA gang connected with me. It was different from the normal with songs like "8 Ball", "Staight Outta Compton", "Dope Man", and "Gangsta Gangsta" containing sensationalized lyrics about death, drugs, and women. It was frowned upon by the adults for the content. It was listened by me and friends over and over again in act of rebellion. To this day I can recite a good share of the lyrics on the album.  
Favorite Song: "Fuck Tha Police"

ACDC - Back In Black (1980)

** Quite honestly a near perfect rock album containing songs everyone knows like "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Rock and Roll Aint Noise Pollution", and "Hells Bells". It is the second biggest selling album of all time. Angus Young guitar riffs sink into your skull while Brian Johnson's gravely voice pumps you up. Many beers have been slung to this tunes in my day.
Favorite Song: "Back In Black"

More to be revealed in the weeks to come

Creative Commons LicenseObservations of an Illogical Mind by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please feel free to share the link but contact me for any other uses or publication. Thanks.