February 10, 2010

#80-83:  Theme Nights in C-Town Bars

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Items #80-83 on the Big Red Ambition list offer an itinerary for Sunday through Wednesday nights. Still reveling in my second semester senior status, I set out last week to accomplish these four tasks in as many days.

On Sunday, I trekked through the snow to Ruloff’s for Sunday Night Trivia (#80). My two roommates and I were not particularly adept at coming up with a clever team name, so we settled on a one-word inside joke that paled in comparison to the amusing “my couch pulls out but I don’t” and the particularly timely “Jeremy Lin Sucks” and “Harvard.” We did reasonably well in the first few rounds, despite our fourth teammate being too inebriated to allow answering trivia questions to get in the way of his quest for nachos. As soon as the questions turned away from pop culture and toward the more legit categories of Greek mythology and geography, however, we were screwed. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d actually never heard of the answer to the last question — the Sargasso Sea — but I’m guessing most of the people reading this column also couldn’t pick it out on a map. Very few teams were aware that it is also known as the borderless sea because ocean currents completely surround it. So glad I’m now up on my Bermudan geography.

The thought of karaoke night, also at Ruloff’s, used to give me serious anxiety; subjecting others to my raspy, out of tune, truly horrific singing voice is not really my idea of a good time. Two weeks before my Big Red Ambition bar marathon, however, I decided to get up on stage and sing along to Hanson’s “Mmmbop” with a friend. We didn’t realize the song had real lyrics, however, so we were completely lost during the verses. The D.J. actually had to sing along while we figured out what we were doing. Despite the total humiliation, I was hooked. Last week, I began to peruse the song catalogue when one of my friends told me she was embarrassed to be associated with me, as I was fast becoming “that girl who’s always singing karaoke.” Hurtful, but possibly true. Though I took her comment to heart and refrained from singing, I still think it’s less disgraceful to be grouped with me than with the awkward girl belting out a depressing ballad with all her might. Public Service Announcement: It’s karaoke, not American Idol auditions.

On Tuesday, I headed out with a group of friends for #82: Dress in Pastels for ‘80s Night at Johnny O’s. While I was abroad last year, I went to ’80s nights at a club in Prague almost every Friday. Few experiences beat watching hundreds of Czech people bop around to “Candy Girl,” but I had high expectations when I walked into J.O.’s for an evening devoted to one of my favorite music decades. “Dancing with Myself.” “Loveshack.” “Sunglasses at Night.” All fabulous ’80s tunes, none of which, to my surprise, were on the playlist last Tuesday. Instead, we danced to the musical stylings of Ke$ha, a favorite of those born post-1990. The only ’80s song of the night, “Don’t Stop Believin’”, came as the lights went on after last call. Hearing Journey at a Cornell bar is clearly a too-frequent occurrence, and its playing does not warrant a spot on the 161 things list, so I’m thinking the Sun should replace this one with yet another Ruloffs night, and a particular favorite of my roommate T. — Taco Tuesdays.

By Wednesday, I was feeling a little burnt out, but I was looking forward to Group Therapy at Dunbar’s (#83). Though I usually find several familiar faces at this weekly event, I was shocked at how few people I recognized in the standing-room-only crowd. A couple of minutes later, the high incidence of strangers was explained as I began to hear rumblings circling through the crowd. “What is Ithaca College doing here?” The place was overrun with our neighbors from the hill to the south. I don’t mean to sound like an elitist brat, but seriously, these people were weird. I headed home a little early, slashed some things off my 161 list, and rested up for Thursday.

Next week, the Big Red Ambition bar cycle continues. If, like me, you are a senior taking just a single class for a grade, cross #80-#83 off your personal Big Red ambition lists next week with a Zinck’s night at each of the 161 things bar events. Johnny O’s better give me the opportunity to rock out to Pat Benatar on Tuesday.

Original Author: Jenni Warne