Monday, July 30, 2012

Urban Cowboy

The door swung open, and there stood a man, but this was no ordinary man.  Dressed in his finest cowboy boots, blue jeans, oversized belt buckle, tasselled shirt, and black cowboy hat, it was clear to all that he meant business.  Everyone stopped dead in their tracks, all eyes turned in his direction, and he knew it.  There was a long pause, and an eerie silence, as us city-folk aren't used to seeing his kind around these parts.  As if to say “Howdy”, he gave a quick tip of his hat, then proceeded to enter the building.  Ka-chink… ka-chink… ka-chink, his spurs rattled with each step as he moseyed on up to the counter.  “Ma’am” he said, “gimme two slices of your finest pepperoni pizza, to go”.  Without saying a word, and seemingly trying to avoid making eye contact, she went right to work.  He massaged and shaped his moustache while he waited.  Everyone else remained quiet, frozen in place, not sure what to make of this urban cowboy.  Upon being handed the brown paper bag containing his two slices, he nodded his head, and said “Why thank-ya ma’am”, before turning around and making his way to the door.  Ka-chink… ka-chink… ka-chink…, he opened the door and turned around to face me and the other patrons.  “Y’all have a nice day”, he said, tipping his hat once more, before stepping through, and allowing the door to close behind him.  We watched as he walked across the parking lot, opened his car door, and drove off in his blue Ford Taurus.  As the room slowly returned to normal, and people went back to eating their lunch, I overheard others asking one another “Did that really just happen?”  I sat alone, shaking my head, asking myself… “Why do I keep coming back to this Pizza Pizza?”  I know I've said it before, but I seriously need to start packing a lunch.          

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why Dave Matthews Band?

I love Dave Matthews Band.  If someone were to ask me to close my eyes and describe my “happy place”, I’d be at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State, Leia at my side, listening to DMB play the first few chords of the opening song, as the sun slowly sets behind the stage, and the stars begin to light up the night sky.  I’ve had the great privilege of visiting my happy place several times now, and look forward to going back again someday soon.  There’s just something magical about being there, the feeling you get in that very moment, that despite my best efforts, cannot be described.  If you’ve been there, and experienced that moment I am referring to, then you know.

I get asked all the time by family and friends why I like DMB so much, and what it is that makes them so special.  They do not understand how a band that rarely gets their music played on the radio could have this sort of effect on me, where I am willing to tattoo one of their logos permanently into my skin.  It boggles their mind why I need to wait until the summer tour dates are announced before I can make vacation plans.  They may have heard “Crash Into Me” a few times, or the odd song here and there, but for the most part, they don’t really know who DMB is.  I used to try to explain it to people, but I don’t anymore because quite frankly, I can’t.  I once bought my brother a DMB cd (Live in Central Park), hoping that it would help him understand.  I later found out he took it back to the store and exchanged it for Johnny Cash’s Greatest Hits.  I guess DMB isn’t for everybody, and I’m okay with that.  I’m okay that you don’t get it.  I’m not here to recruit you, this isn’t a cult, but if you change your mind, just know that everyone is welcome, and the door is always open for those wanting to join us.   

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and experience DMB in many different venues throughout the United States and Canada.  Many people think this is far too extreme or borderline obsessive to spend the kind of money I do following a group of musicians around the Country.  Some people think I’m crazy.  What they don’t know is that amongst DMB fans, this type of behaviour is not the least bit uncommon.  Going to see DMB eight times in eight different venues over the course of a summer is, believe it or not, normal.  There’s nothing strange about it to a DMB fan, and trust me when I say there are many fans that have seen far more shows than I could ever dream to.  Although the cities and venues may change along the way, there are several constants regardless of where you are that you can count on at every DMB show. 

Tailgating is a DMB tradition.  The hard core fans of DMB are extremely loyal, not just to the band, but also to the DMB family of friends they have interacted with along the way.  As I mentioned earlier, since travelling to shows is very common, pre-show tailgate parties are often seen as a reunion of sorts that many fans look forward to each summer, an opportunity to not only meet old friends, but also make new ones.  Going to a DMB show is not simply something to do, it’s an experience.  The opening act takes the stage at 7:00pm, with DMB beginning their set at 8:25pm, but the experience begins much earlier than that.  Vehicles are often customized with DMB stickers, hand written lyrics and firedancers before the keys are even in the ignition.  As soon as the venue parking lot gates are opened, the fans pour in with canopies, barbeques, frisbees, footballs, an assortment of drinking games, and of course alcohol and other herbal mind enhancers.  The sounds and smells are intoxicating, and for those few hours, nothing in the outside world matters.  It’s all about the here and now.  Canadian venues don’t have tailgating worthy of mentioning, but our neighbours to the south have perfected the art of it.  If you only go to a DMB show just for the actual show itself, you’ll still have an awesome time, but that’s not the true experience.  I highly recommend arriving early, and taking the time to soak it all in.

Once inside the venue, many will take to their seats right away, or at least find a place to stand as 7:00pm approaches.  Dave Matthews always comes out at 7:00pm to say a few words and introduce the opening act.  DMB fans cannot get enough of “Davespeak”, which is the awkwardly hilarious way in which Dave often expresses himself.  After sharing a few laughs and with big smiles on our faces, Dave welcomes the opening band and the live music portion of the experience begins.  By this point barely half of the attendees are in their seats, with the remainder still walking around, listening to the opening band, chatting with friends, etc…  The opening act generally plays for roughly 45 minutes, and during this time, people in the pit (ie. general admission area just in front of the stage) jockey for position, while those in the reserved seats and lawn section are able to take a slightly more laid back approach to the evening’s festivities.  Without fail, you can count on watching a dancing girl or two bouncing around vigorously to the opening act right up front and centre in the reserved seats, taking advantage of the extra space that is afforded during this time, gaining the attention and acknowledgement from the band.

Once the opening act has ended their set, the roadies and stage crew appear from every direction in a frantic yet organized manner to switch out the instruments, and make any final adjustments to the lights and video screens.  Many from the crew have been with the band for years, so we recognize their faces, and even know some of them by name.  The crowd files in to take their seats, having loaded up on their refreshments of choice, and the traditional pre-show vacuuming of the stage notifies all that DMB will soon be entering the building.  Fans begin trading guesses about what the opening song will be based on the guitar that has been placed upon the stage.  6-string or 12-string, we go through the possibilities song by song.  Excitement continues to build, and the buzz within the venue gets increasingly louder.  The lights turn off, the house music ends, and everyone takes to their feet, with absolutely no intention of sitting back down for the next 2½ to 3 hours.  Nobody sits at a DMB concert.  Applause thunders down, getting even louder the moment the first band member is spotted walking onto the darkened stage.  One after another the band members appear, taking their usual positions.  Boyd and Tim to the left, Dave and Carter in the centre, Stefan, Rashawn and Jeff to the right.  They wave to the crowd.  The crowd roars with anticipation.

With the lights still low, the cheers of the crowd reverberating throughout the venue, the band members all turn to face Carter, for he is the pilot sitting in his cockpit of percussion.  On his mark, the band begins, and a wall of sound and light explodes over the crowd.  All it takes is one note, the crowd immediately recognizes the song, and begins dancing rhythmically to the music.  The show is not choreographed, there are no dancers, no set changes, no costumes, there are minimal bells and whistles.  Lip-syncing or backing tracks?  Pfft, I think not.  This is truly about the music, pure music, and nothing more.  There are only two rules when attending a DMB show:  1.  Have fun;  and 2.  Don’t do anything that will take away from the fun of those around you.  We’d prefer that you leave your beach balls and glow sticks at home, but if you just can’t help yourself, please do not throw them in the direction of the stage.  Everyone expresses themselves differently, but all are there for the same purpose… the love of the music.

One song after another, the band makes their way through the ever-changing setlist, while the crowd dances the night away, and that distinctive herbal scent fills the air.  No two setlists are ever the same, every show is different, each containing an element of surprise, and the rarer the songs the better.  DMB fans know all the songs, every note, and every word, even when Dave periodically forgets.  Nobody expects perfection.  Perfection isn’t real.  We want what’s real.  Boyd tearing up the stage with his violin during a killer version of “Tripping Billies” is real.  Stefan bouncing around with his bass at the beginning of “Anyone Seen the Bridge” is real.  Dave dancing in the way that only Dave can dance is real.  Jeff playing two saxophones at the same time is real.  Songs just 4 minutes long on an album are enhanced into 20 minute masterpieces, showcasing the skills of each band member along the way.  Dave Matthews may be the lead singer and namesake of the band, but this is about more than just him, and he’ll be the first to admit it.  The musicianship within this band is second to none, with each member equally important to the overall sound.  More than anything, DMB is real.

At around 10:40pm give or take, the band ends their set and takes their encore break, lasting 5 minutes or so.  The crowd cheers loudly the entire time, still on their feet, but wanting to show their appreciation to the band that has given them so much.  Sore feet will heal tomorrow, the memories will last a lifetime.  Dave often returns to the stage alone, picks up his guitar, and plays a heartfelt solo version of one of the band’s quieter songs.  The rest of the band then joins him, and depending on the particular venue, plays one or two more songs, frequently continuing past the 11:00pm curfew.  Some songs are better closers than others, and DMB rarely disappoints.  “Two Step” is a particular favourite of mine, especially when Carter takes control of the stage with a masterful drum solo which gets you thinking that maybe, just maybe, the boys will throw caution to the wind and transition into “Halloween”.  It rarely happens, but when it does, it’s a treat.  Alas as all good things must, the show comes to an end.  The house lights come on, the band waves goodbye, and one by one they leave the stage, all except for Carter, who remains for several more minutes to toss a seemingly endless supply of drumsticks to appreciative members of the crowd.  The applause slowly subsides as everyone makes their way to the exits, and the countdown begins until the next time we get to do it all over again.               

DMB is best experienced live and in person, where you can expose all five of your senses to that which is going on around you.  That is when they are at their best.  That is where the magic happens.  Why do I like DMB so much?  I don’t know, I just do.  I don’t expect you to understand.  And that’s okay.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Journey to Hell

We’ve all been there, we all hate it, but somehow in spite of the overwhelming feeling of dread we get at the very thought of it, it keeps drawing us back time and time again.  I am of course talking about the Hell-on-Earth known as Costco.

From the moment you arrive in the jam packed parking lot, you know the next two hours of your life are going to be completely miserable.  There is no such thing as a “quick” trip to Costco.  During your quarter-mile hike from your car to the entrance, you scramble to find an oversized shopping cart, before finally reaching the long line up of people waiting to funnel into the building.  But they don’t just let anybody in, oh no, you have to be a confirmed member, part of the exclusive club that is granted the esteemed privilege of shopping at this store.  With a secret handshake, a knowing nod of the head, and a quick flash of your membership card, you are herded through the doors like cattle, and handed a flyer with today’s list of sale items.

The bumper cart derby begins immediately as you make your way past the televisions and electronics section, just trying to get away from the masses so that you can take a moment to strategize, figure out where you need to go, and how best to get there.  Alas, there is no relief.  You look to your left, then to your right.  There are people in every direction, a sea of humanity all in search of a bargain.  Adding to the ever-present congestion, some idiot executive decided to place food sample counters at the end of each aisle, where hoards of shoppers park their shopping carts and plunk themselves down as though waiting for their sandwich at a deli.  This isn’t lunch people!!  Take your tiny cup of yogurt, and move along!!!  Images of taking a running start and ploughing your cart through the crowd fill your head as you decide whether a single tortellini on a toothpick is worth the wait, or whether it is best to just continue on before you lose it on the lady that keeps stepping in front of you.

You begin to fill the cart with your bulk items of choice, all the while scoping out others as they do the same.  You judge others based on the items they have selected, and wonder what could possibly motivate someone to buy a 100 pack of toilet paper, until you see the food items they’ve buried beneath, and gain the understanding you were searching for.  Aisle after aisle you dodge and weave your way through the crowds.  By the time you are halfway through the store you are so filled with rage that it takes all your strength not to abandon your cart and just run far, far away, but then you arrive at the baked good section, and it smells delicious.  A momentary oasis in a jungle of hate.  You ask yourself whether you can realistically get through all 84 bran muffins before the expiry date 4 days from now.  There’s no denying that the price is right, so you and three others each grab a corner, and bending at the knees, lift the box into your cart.  Challenge accepted. 

The temporary bakery buzz quickly subsides though, and your voice becomes hoarse from yelling “excuse me!”  As much as you’d love to wet your whistle with a shot of that peach juice they’re handing out samples of over there, the large family that has been seemingly following you since the moment you arrived has somehow pushed their way through and set up camp at the front of the line.  You decide to go for it anyway, temporarily leave your cart aside, and bounce shoulder to shoulder through the food sample mosh pit.  As you get closer, your eyes focused on the single remaining tiny paper cup, you see the hairy arm of the father reach in to grasp it, before gulping back his third helping.  Noooooooooooo!!!  You son-of-a-bitch!!!!!!!!  

Defeated and juiceless, you return to your cart, desperately just wanting to get this whole misadventure over with.  Having long since lost your last remaining ounce of patience way back in the furniture section, you use your cart to nudge children and the elderly out of your way, clearing a path just wide enough to squeeze your cart through.  You skip the remaining aisles, choosing instead to just head towards the cashier section so that you can get the hell out of there.  Somehow though, you end up in the pharmaceutical area, unknowingly having taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way.  A sea of heads all around you, you climb up onto the skid of adult diaper boxes to survey the lay of the land, and realign yourself in the direction of the exit.  When you finally arrive, a mass of people with overloaded shopping carts surround the cashiers.  In the absence of anything resembling an orderly line, you place yourself at the mercy of those in front of you, praying that they are in the check-out line, and not the line to purchase an overcooked hot dog from the nearby Costco restaurant.  A wall of granola bar and snack mix boxes behind you eliminates any thoughts of retreat.  There is nothing more you can do, but wait.

30 minutes later, your will to live nearing extinction, you empty the contents of your shopping cart onto the conveyor belt.  The extra large cashier in the medium size Costco shirt, greets you.  “Hi, how are you today?  Did you find everything you were looking for?” she asks.  Rather than demonstrate your proficient use of four-letter words and express how you really feel, you simply reply “Yes, thank you”.  We are Canadian afterall.  She swipes each item along the electronic scanner, waits for the audible “beep”, then places each item back into the cart, each time exposing a portion of her tramp-stamp tattoo.  You don’t want to look, but you can’t help it.  You try to figure out what it says, but the combination of her too-tight shirt and muffin-top body squeezes out just enough skin to make the distorted writing very difficult to read, at least while she’s moving around like that.  It doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that this nightmare is almost over.

Having successfully completed the transaction, you frustratingly find yourself once again separated from the exit by another long line of people.  As you shuffle along, you get a closer look at those over-cooked hot dogs, and the people that enjoy them.  You see that same large family from earlier cutting back into the food service line to argue with the counter staff over the amount of french fries that were included in their combo, while leaving their cart directly in the way of those trying to get out, oblivious to the dirty looks aimed in their direction.  As you get closer to the exit you are approached by part-time wannabe Customs Agents, demanding to see your receipt.  They scan through your cart as through you’re a criminal, looking for something to nail you on.  Finding that everything is in order, they seem disappointed as they stamp your passport and allow you out of the People’s Republic of Costco. 

Several steps later you are free, and an overwhelming feeling of relief overtakes your body as you breathe in that fresh air.  You pause to take several deep inhalations.  The birds sing, and the sun gently caresses your face.  The quarter mile walk back to your car albeit long, is a pleasant one.  As you walk in the opposite direction of another wave of slouching zombies making their way towards the entrance.  You stand tall.  You stand proud.  For you have been to Hell and back, and lived to tell about it. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I heard the stupidest thing on the radio today.  Two PhD students in physics actually conducted a study, and concluded that if Batman were to jump off a 400ft building, he would die.  They apparently had the calculations to prove it, so who am I to argue.

I wonder what would happen if we took both of those guys up to the top of that 400ft building, tossed a  first edition Batman comic over the edge, and convinced them that whoever catches it first, gets to keep it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Twitter Dot Com

I don’t “get” Twitter.  Maybe it’s my age showing, but I struggle to see the point of it.  Maybe I haven’t been using Twitter long enough, or maybe I’m not using it correctly, but the whole thing just kind of leaves me scratching my head in wonder.  Maybe it’s only meant for people under the age of 20, I don’t know.  One thing that I very quickly noticed though is that there are three types of Twitter users, and they are as follows:

Type 1 – Celebrity Tweeters
Celebrities use Twitter to promote themselves, and every inane detail of their lives, which we only find remotely interesting because, well, they are celebrities.  People have always been very fascinated with celebrities, and Twitter seems to provide the reading public the invitation they’ve always wanted to sneak a peek into the world of the rich and famous, as described in their own words, in as much detail as they can muster in 140 characters or less.  If you check the “following” list on 99.9% of the world’s Twitter users, celebrities will make up the majority of those being followed.  Comedians on Twitter make jokes.  We like that.  Musicians promote their albums.  We only follow the musicians we like anyway, so we like that too.  Actors and actresses either promote their new movie or television show if they are fortunate enough to have one, or if not, tell us about what type of coffee they ordered this morning, or post a photo of their pet wearing a hat.  This provides a rare “behind the scenes” glimpse into their real world, and we can’t get enough of that.  Athletes post photos of their swollen ankles and surgery scars.  For some reason we even like that too.  Very rarely is there anything posted of any major importance, however it allows them to say they are in touch with their fans, and we as fans eat that stuff up.  It puts a human face on people who have been elevated in the media to super-human status.  Beside the fame and fortune, it turns out they really are not all that different than we are.  And we like that.

Type 2 – Corporate / Informational / Blog Tweeters
This group submits posts about what’s going on in their specific lives, businesses, or specific areas of interest.  They post informational items, opinionated items, and a wide variety of items of a general nature.  Some of them have a small niche following, but the majority have one major insurmountable strike against them – they aren’t famous, which means in the Twitter world, they just aren’t that interesting.  People aren’t going to go out of their way to read what they have to say.  If people really want to hear what they have to say, most times they can read about it elsewhere, on different and more credible websites.  This isn’t what Twitter is about.  At last check my Twitter account for this blog had a whopping 6 followers.  Sure it’s lame, but it’s true.  For many people my blog isn’t that interesting.  I have a small group that like it and check back every so often, and that’s good enough for me.  I’m not upset by that, or offended in any way, that’s just reality.  They don’t need Twitter to find my latest blog post, they just go directly to the blog website.  Type 2 tweeters at best will only ever get a moderate following.  We know that.  We accept that.

Type 3 – Everybody Else
Every single person who has a Twitter account, and who doesn’t fall within the Type 1 or 2 groups above, is a Type 3 user.  These are average everyday people.  They are the nameless and faceless masses.  The vast majority of the millions and millions of Twitter users fall within Type 3, and they are both insignificant and significant at the same time.  Even though nobody knows who they are, without them, there is no Twitter.  They maybe have a few actual friends that they follow, but for the most part they are the ones that follow celebrities.  Twitter has been around long enough now that most people have come to the realization that other Twitter users really aren’t interested in reading about their lives, because, well, they aren’t famous.  Nobody cares that you read a good book, unless you’re famous, in which case we all want to read the same book too.  Ate at a good restaurant?  Don’t care, unless you’re famous, in which case we all want to go there too for the chance of seeing a celebrity there!  The power of fame is amazing, as are the lengths ordinary people will go to in order to feel closer to it.  Nowadays for the average Type 3 user, their Twitter time is spent sending messages to celebrities, asking for retweets or begging for some form of acknowledgement.  Somehow this is satisfying for them I guess.  When it eventually happens, and they are awarded their requested retweet, I can only assume it somehow makes them feel that for that brief moment in time they are somehow part of the club.  But then what?  What does that mean?  What’s the point of that?

I recently tried this out for myself, just to see if I could get a better understanding of what the attraction is.  So I tweeted a little blurb to a member of my favourite band.  To my surprise, he actually tweeted me back, not only acknowledging me, but even responding with a little statement of his own.  I have to admit, it was kind of cool at first, and provided a brief moment of excitement, but it’s not something I feel the need to continue to do.  It’s not as though I now feel like we’re best friends or anything.  I certainly appreciate his momentary effort to acknowledge me, but I’m sure he’s already forgotten about the whole exchange, and that’s okay.  In the scheme of things, it really isn’t a big deal, for him or for me.  Life goes on as usual. 

Celebrities who use Twitter knowingly chose to open themselves up to cyber-stalking tweets from Type 3 users, so I don’t feel sorry for them at all for having to deal with the constant barrage of incoming messages.  No harm done I guess, to each their own.  I suppose in today’s world of reality television, this is what people find entertaining.  I still don’t get it though, and can’t help but ask, is this really what Twitter was created for?  Really?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Daze Of Our Lives

If you’ve ever worked in an office environment, you’ve likely found yourself at one time or another sitting at your desk with your head down, eyes closed and fists clenched, questioning whether it’s all worth it.  Suppressing daily frustrations is a fact of life, and the reason lottery corporations and alcoholic beverage distributors are as successful as they are.  If you’ve never worked in an office, consider yourself lucky.  Here’s just a small taste of what you’re missing:

Microwaved Fish
The lunch room is often the scene of many horrific offenses to the senses, and you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastard whose desk is closest to it.  As if the daily grind wasn’t motivation enough to leave all your possessions behind, move to a tropical island, and sell coconuts along the beach, you’ve got to deal with the wafting odour of burnt popcorn, a cornucopia of ethnic spices, and the overpowering stench of microwaved fish.  If you routinely prepare fish or curry dishes at home, and don’t really notice much of a smell, then I’ve got news for you… your house stinks, and you probably do too.  You might be a very nice person, but it’s important that you know your neighbours talk about you, and wish you’d just move away.  Your office-mates are no different, and would really prefer that you not bring in your malodorous leftovers.  You may have grown accustomed to the smell at home, but believe me when I tell you that everyone in the office is offended by the scent of what you’re eating, they’re just too polite to say anything… at least to your face.  Everyone knows certain foods create a foul odour in the office, yet every day in every office in the world, another moron waddles into the lunch room with their little Tupperware container, ready to commit another nostril punishing offense.           

Birthday Celebrations
We’ve all been faced with this dilemma.  Every so often the office “Goody-Two-Shoes” will come around and place a birthday card on your desk for some co-worker you couldn’t care less about, asking you to sign it.  Coming up with something to write in a card for a family member you love and care about is enough of a chore, let alone for someone you barely know.  Through the years I’ve conditioned my brain to go into autopilot every time this happens, and have therefore written “Happy Birthday, hope it’s a good one!” in more cards than I care to remember.  Whatever requires the least amount of effort and will get that card off my desk in the fastest time is about as far as I’m willing to go.  I don’t even care that ten other people have written the exact same thing.  It’s even worse when they include an envelope, asking you to make a donation to the alleged gift fund.  Nothing screams “I’m only doing this because I have to” like the sound of my change hitting the other coins at the bottom of the envelope.  The only reason there are ever $5 dollar bills in there is because others before you needed coffee money, and did a little swap-er-roo.  The eventual presentation of the birthday cake is the epitome of office awkwardness.  Everyone gathers around knowing that whatever time is wasted on this grand celebration just means they’ll have to stay that much later at the end of the day to complete their work, while trying to stay far enough back from the action so that people won’t recognize that they’re not singing.  With the “Goody-Two-Shoes” ringleader standing next to the mortified birthday celebrant, the pathetic singing of Happy Birthday begins, with about as much enthusiasm as a non-church goer singing a hymn.  Once the excruciating pain of that moment mercifully comes to an end, they cut the cake, which is always way too small and is never the kind you like.  But you eat your two bites of cake anyway, listen to someone try to make a joke about this imaginary sugar rush getting them through the rest of the day, then go back to your desk dreading the thought that your birthday is next. 

Company Christmas Party
Next to Halloween, nothing brings out the inner slut of your female co-workers like the office Christmas party.  It may be the middle of winter, and you may question the appropriateness, but one thing that you can always count on is a lot of exposed skin.  Once the first drunken girl with the short skirt falls over and gives everyone a great big eyeful of vagina, the party has officially begun.  Don’t worry if you missed it either, because now that everyones cell phones have cameras, her “inbox” will very likely land in yours before the party is even over!  Office Christmas parties have a very strange effect on people.  Although you’ve just spent the last 52 weeks working side by side with these people, when you arrive at the party, the greetings are more along the lines of what you would expect if you were reuniting with a long lost friend.  Scenes of double cheek kisses and awkward handshakes are aplenty, and if it wasn’t for the complimentary drinks, the phoniness of it all would be nearly unbearable.  The only reason people stay beyond the first hour is either because their boss hasn’t left yet, they want to see who hooks up with who, or to witness the crowning of the “Drunken Disaster Queen”.  There’s always at least one.

I could go on and on, as the office provides an endless list of reasons to take up binge drinking, but it's almost 5 o'clock, and I'd prefer not to stay any later than absolutely necessary.