Sunday, April 19, 2015

Steve's Birthday Bash

Steve is a social butterfly. And he loves being the center of attention. So for his birthday this year, even though it wasn't a "landmark" birthday, it did fall on a Saturday, so I threw him a bash the likes of which I'm not doing again for a LONG time. Thank you everyone who came out and made it such a wonderful party!

Thanks to Megan who volunteered to be photographer for the evening and document the night!

We had a wrestling theme, to keep the party going from Wrestlemania weekend. I'll bet that's the first time someone has used the WWE Happy Birthday banner for a 42nd birthday.

Our awesome friends and family helped me doll up the clubhouse, make plenty of food, and get everything set up. And Chari let us borrow her PS3 for some Singstar karaoke action. Most people swore they wouldn't sing, but we got a lot of people to participate by the end of the night.  Of course, we were lucky to secure a guest of honor!




Without [much] commentary, I'll let the pictures tell the story of the progression of the evening:
Actually using the clubhouse kitchen

Way to help out guys.
Part of the spread
Beards were encouraged
Early arrivals--Holly!

And the folks!

The party is always in the kitchen

The two Sarahs!

Deep conversation

John and Erin even made it!

OMG so did February!

And Maddie & Josh!

John Cena did not make it. But his spirit was there.

I let someone else handle the baking so that the cupcakes would actually look and taste good.

Brett showing his support of both the beard and wrestling theme.

Mid-way through the party, the Hulk interactions got weirder

Hulk totally photo-bombing Megan

What a cute couple!

Natasha and Megan with the birthday boy!

"Her name is Rio!"

Damon and Chari keeping it chill

A tiara and a frenchie shirt for the birthday boy!

BEST BIRTHDAY CARD EVER

Maddie and Josh were up to the challenge and made sure Steve got the "Pimp Cup" he requested

I think we made it

Greg gets a rub down from the birthday boy

John and Chari are adorable.

ADORABLE

Time to get serious about some singing

More singing

EVEN MORE SINGING

Towards the end of the night, things got weird with the Hulk. Megan and Greg going for a three way.

Jags was suitably impressed

I don't really know what was going down here

I'll empty the keg while you all are busy with the Hulk. Party Over!
And, if you want to see the rest, here is the link to ALL the pictures!
Steve's 42nd Birthday Pictures

If you want to add your own pictures in the comments, I think you should be able to. Send them to me if you have any problems: cottingh1234@gmail.com

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Wrestling Weekend Part II

Sunday started off with a light rail ride down to the new Levi Stadium with our friends Mark and Christine. It was pretty smooth for San Jose public transit. We pre-gamed a little in the parking lot, but we missed the tailgating party we were going to meet before going in, so we mostly chugged beers and ran inside. By the way, you can't take anything into Levi Stadium and the security check is worse than TSA. Sports!


Steve and Mark getting ready
Holy shit!
Inside the stadium was truly overwhelming. So many freaking people! Our seats were of course on the absolute opposite side from where we entered, so we got to walk around the entire stadium. I got a little claustrophobic. It was intense. I've never been around so many 20-30-something dudes in one place in my entire life. There were a smattering of ladies and a couple kids, but nowhere near as many as I was expecting to see. It was a long day, though. We were at the stadium from about 3 until after 8. Half of that time we were baking in the sun and towards the end the typical bay breeze came in and chilled everyone. And remember--you can't take really any bags in with you, so I would not have wanted to be toting kids around.
The view from our expensive seats. Good thing I brought my zoom lens!

There were some early matches with people I don't really know, but the first big match was the Andre the Giant memorial Battle Royal!
So many people in the ring it's hard to tell what the hell is going on. And you suspect there's really not too much going on.

Of course the giant won the giant's Battle Royal. Big Show takes the trophy
After the gimmicky group grope, there was the gimmicky ladder match.

Now this match looks like it's gonna be fun!
Daniel Bryan--who has been milking his underdog appeal for a little bit too long at this point--beat out Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Stardust and Luke Harper to win the Intercontinental belt in a ladder match. I'm not sure if this just did not live up to prior ladder matches I've seen in the past with the likes of Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boys, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, etc. or perhaps it's just the problem of watching an event live and without the camera shots and commentary. I'm jsut saying they put up a LOT of ladders, and most of them didn't seem to move.

Last men standing--Bryan and Dolph Ziggler (Steve's favorite for the match)
After the ladder match was the Randy Orton/Seth Rollins match. Below is an "oh shit!" moment from the match. Orton, who looks like he was genetically engineered for action movies, beat out the emo-y Rollins. But that was not the last we would see of Rollins that day.


Next up--time to bring out the old guys and make the audience cross their fingers that they don't see someone break a hip. Well, HHH is still in his 40's, but Sting is 56. I can't even imagine the history behind this match coming about because it's the first time Sting has ever wrestled for WWF/WWE. I guess he wanted another pop of fame and WWE is now pretty much the only show in town. He still has a huge fan following, so I'm sure that WWE benefited handsomely from his participation. But anyone who thought they were going to let Sting win the match has NOT been paying attention for the last 30 years. There was 0 chance of that happening, but he did make HHH work for it. The entrances were insane. Sting came in to a taiko drumming group (I'm still wondering if that was San Jose Taiko, and if it wasn't, seriously, WTF WWE?)


HHH came out to an even more inexplicable "Terminator" type entrance. What are you saying, that Stephanie married a cyborg? That HHH is from the future? That you gave Arnold Schwartzenegger an honorary award and therefore got permission to use the imagery for free, so you HAD to use it? Probably the last one.

I don't get it.
So, we know that HHH has to win, but how is he going to do it? Well, if he was a cyborg he wouldn't need any help. But he's really just made of manmeat and we all know that his character is a liar and cheat so of course he's going to have some assistance.

Here comes the cavalry!
Are they going to jump into the ring and beat up Sting? No! Of course not. They are more aged than both of the participants and might actually break a hip. They are going to hand HHH a weapon to use unconvincingly. I actually saw the handoff, but missed the use of the weapon. Because I was taking pictures. Or because I went to get more beer. Whatever. (Craft beers are $11/pint at the stadium btw. Expensive, but it could be worse; at least you're not  forced to drink Bud.)

I was seriously wincing and not wanting to watch by the end. Check out the bruising on HHH's ass and Sting's underarm!


Next up was the Legend's presentation. (Actually, next up was the obligatory women's match, but I definitely spent that entire match getting beer. Sorry. Ever since they started referring the the female wrestlers as "Divas" and got a reality show on E!, I've been dry heaving through every match. Sorry to the ladies who work so hard! I wish the WWE [and their fans] had more respect for women who weren't named McMahon.) I'm still not sure why the ex-Governator is deserving of any wrestling related honor, but he loves pumping iron, spray tanning, and popping up at every opportunity for fan adoration, so perhaps Vince McMahon and Arnold are actually long lost brothers reunited?


Next is the John Cena match. Cena is the "face" who no one likes anymore, who refuses to, or can't go heel. Because of the children. Or something. I don't know. He's sometime amusing and yet annoying, and the crowd seems evenly split. But under no circumstances can he ever be put in a position where he looks like the bad guy, so they took this Bulgarian guy and turned him into an old school Soviet-era villain. Because that is what you have to do to get some people to grudgingly cheer for Cena. The more politically knowledgeable folks found the whole thing laughable. Russia is not the Soviet Union and I think most people are just a little confused by the whole thing, but there is NO room for nuance in the world of wrestling. I gave 0 shits about this match.


Rusev's military entrance. Cena won. Of course. Because of the children. Or something.

Next up, the Rock came on and didn't wrestle, but did something that I still don't understand with some MMA chick or something. Whatever. The Rock is still under contract, so he is obliged to appear! Everyone wants to see him. And he was never the best wrestler. Mostly we want to see him do something amusing and look pretty. He's still pretty, but this wasn't all that amusing.



Next up, Undertaker! The last of the old school wrestlers. Undertaker is still the gothest wrestler, and he got over that "biker-taker" phase he had, so I always like seeing him. This one was up against one of the Wyatts, who bring a "True Detective" kinda vibe, but are otherwise old school sweaty-big-white-chubby-guys-with-really-bad-hair-styles-type wrestlers. So I don't like them. Taker won. Because he's Taker. And also I heard that Wyatt wrestled with a bad injury and is probably going to live to regret that.

A fitting entrance
This is what they call "selling it", because I'm such a wrestling expert ;)

The title match was possibly the worst all time Wrestlemania match, and not because the wrestling was bad per se, but because I think it has been brought about by some really poor decision making by the powers that be. Brock Lesner, who keeps coming back mostly to be hated on and kick some ass, up against Roman Reigns, who is one of those lucky dudes that Vince just decided was GOING to be a Superstar regardless of what the fans thought of him. In fact, the fans are SO annoyed by Roman Reigns, that they were actually supporting Brock Lesner in a stunning reversal of alliances. But, Reigns was going to win. BUT, I think they knew they couldn't get away with that, so Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank, turning the match into a triple threat and takes the title by pinning Reigns. The whole thing was cheap. I was getting cold and antsy to leave. The beer was beginning to wear off. Can we just end this already! It's the Main Event and I could not care less about the outcome.


Brock manhandling Reigns. Does anyone believe he could actually lose to Reigns?
Holding the title belt.
Yeah! Finally the fireworks!
We were tired from the weekend, and hungry because $30 worth of food at the stadium doesn't get you very far. The light rail ride back was easy peasy (shockingly!) and we managed to pick up burgers from Foster's Freeze to top off the night.

What a weekend! It was a lot of fun, but I'm glad it was a one time thing. That was exhausting! I can't even imagine what it must be like to have to work that weekend. Hats off to the folks who made it all happen--they also had to put on Monday Night RAW after all that. I hope they got to sleep on a beach for a week after it was all over.