Amanda and I got up at about 9:30 and took our time getting ready, finally getting over to Anna and Barry’s about 11:15 or so I guess. We hung out with them on the porch for a bit and gave Anna her birthday (which is tomorrow) present, which was a panoramic picture of a rainbow we’d seen out there at the beach a month or so ago.  We got the frame and such for it last night.

We’d gotten a text message from Michael this morning letting us know that his car wouldn’t start and that he needed a ride home from work.  Since he got off at 2:00 we didn’t have a real long time out on the beach, but man were the waves great today!  I took out the blue long board (as the Surf City one I usually use is currently missing).  I caught probably five or six waves in half an hour, which is more than I’ve caught in probably the last couple weeks.  The water was warm, the waves were easy- it was a great time out there.

Theo was out there, as was his friend, Josh, who just moved here from Hawaii.  He and his fiancee are going to be living here in Wilmington after they get married, in September I believe he said.  Hannah and Christian were out there too.  Christian had some marks on him from having been attacked by a Portuguese Mon-O-War yesterday.

Amanda and I left and picked up Michael from his Port City Java downtown.  We each got a drink while we were there- she got a smoothie and I got a custom-mixed milkshake.  Michael named it a Milky Way milkshake because it had all the ingredients of a Milky Way candy bar.

After that we headed to his place to drop him off and see about jumping his car, but as soon as we got there it started raining crazy hard so we ran inside and Amanda and I watched a little bit of Enough (the Jennifer Lopez movie) while Michael took a shower.  He and I then had sandwiches and the rain finally died down, so we went out to try to jumpstart his car.

Unfortunately the jumper cables were not in Amanda’s car so Michael went around asking his neighbors if he could borrow some, finally getting some from a lady who had pulled up to visit her daughter.  The car jumped just fine and he headed off to an auto parts store to check the status of his battery while we went home to let the dogs out and take a shower ourselves.

Amanda had a bit of a headache, from the weather I guess, so I went to the store to get her some bread and some juice.  I tried to get some money back from my purchase, but when I put in the amount I didn’t realize you had to put in both the dollars and the cents, so instead of getting $20 back I got back 20 cents.

Adam and Renee were at the house shortly after I got back.  They brought Dobja along for Amanda to watch just in case we all decided not to come home tonight from the Old 97’s concert.  Renee was gracious enough to drive there and we only stopped once, which was to pick up some McDonald’s dinner.  Adam and I mostly talked about comic books and the discussion somehow turned to fencing while we were at McDonalds.  Oh yeah, Tyler, a guy I’d met before but saw again at Blake and Stephanie’s last night, mentioned that they offer fencing at the Wilmington Athletic Club, so I was thinking of taking it back up.  Renne said she’d actually mentioned it to Adam as an activity to get involved in, which was very coincidental.  A sign, perhaps?  I wonder if my Horner cousins still have the equipment I gave them.

So we got to Raleigh sometime before 7:30, parked and went to Moore Square, I think it was, where Downtown Raleigh Live or whatever the concert series is called was being held.  I wore a Duke shirt which I explained to both Amanda and Joel was “comfortable, casual and a little bit controversial.”  When I told Joel this he said something about me liking to take silent jabs like that.

Duke, for those not in the know, is not very popular in Raleigh.  Anywhere you go in North Carolina you’ll run into UNC fans, so you had that plus the Raleigh natives who are NC State fans.  Not a particularly Duke-friendly area, is my point.  That said, the only person who said anything to me was a guy at a booth where Adam updated his voter registration, and he only teased good-naturedly.  I saw a small kid with a Duke jersey on and told him I liked his shirt.

So Joel Freeman and his friend D Webb and another friend of theirs whose name escapes me all showed up.  Rob Sullivan was there too, but I saw him all of thirty seconds as he and his wife never joined us up front for all the action.

There were several bands playing since 2:00, but the only ones we saw before The Old 97’s was The Connells.  They weren’t bad.  The lead singer looked like he could have been an IT guy from any of the office buildings surrounding us.

After they went off I impressed Joel with my ability to maneuver a crowd, getting us to the very front of the crowd area, right in behind the barrier.  There were three girls between us and the barrier, although Adam and Renee found a little spot just a little further down where they were right on it.  It was the three girls (one of them was an older lady, the other two I’d say were in their twenties) then some large guy then Adam and Renee.  About halfway through the show the guy left and Renee tapped me on the shoulder to point the spot out to me, so I slid on in over there.

I had a great time.  They played all but two songs that I wanted them to play (Murder or a Heart Attach and Halcyon were the ones they didn’t play) and they really rocked out on them all.  Ken Bethea, the guitarist, had some sort of difficulty with his guitar or the amp and apologized after one song, but Rhett Miller, the lead singer, told him he had it covered.  Indeed, Rhett amped it up.

What can I really say?  The Old 97’s are pretty much my favorite band and I got to watch a good hour and a half of them rocking out to some of my favorite songs maybe ten feet away from me.  I had an awesome time.

Amanda had told me to call her when they played Question, which is the song I discovered them with and Amanda’s favorite Old 97’s song.  I called her at about 10:30 when they played it and she later told me that she couldn’t make out what it was at first because it was so loud, but eventually figured it out.

Amanda, by the way, had hung out with Michael for the night.  They watched Mallrats which, coincidentally, Jason and Joel had just done the night before in Charlotte.  Michael didn’t like it, but it was his first time having seen it.  Joel had said he didn’t like it his first time seeing it, but that he really liked it this time watching it with Jason.  I was ho-hum about it the first time I saw it, but I’ve loved it since after that time.

The show ended right about 11:00.  Renee drove back as well, although we had trouble finding a way to get onto the interstate from where we were.  We eventually got on I-40 and headed on back to Wilmington.  I downloaded a few new games on my iPhone (particularly Othello and a really sweet 3-D rendered version of Mahjong) and Adam and I talked about memories we had of growing up.  Like the trip there, the trip home seemed to go by pretty fast.

Old 97s in Raleigh, NC
Old 97's in Raleigh, NC

Zach Dotsey