Yesterday, you received Bryan's personal opinion on Nickelback. Like most people, he thought they sucked. Today, you can read his thoughts on Republican John McCain and actor Don Cheadle. A hint: he thinks one is old and the other's a good actor. (Which is which?) In the midst of such personal confessions comes more Bryan-esque reportage from the road - The National did this, The National ate there, etc. The possibility for blandness always poses a threat, but Bryan - being a real man - savors the challenge, taking on banality with quick, wry wit and keen observations. Meanwhile, Scott Devendorf observes with a camera, taking pictures for Flickr. To catch the band live, head over to the shows page.
DAY THIRTEEN (6/4): The Hall of Foam and Applebee's Redux.
We start our day off with a ten-man elimination game of "pig" on the Marriot's tennis-cum-basketball court. It is a hard-fought battle royale. Bryce and I are the last ones standing, heaving in the thin mountain air like a pair of punch-drunk fighters. I jam my ring finger going for a trick shot off the backboard (that misfires hilariously) but still manage to triumph with a free throw.
After the game we go to a nearby chain restaurant whose theme is "Chicago pizza." An enormous plaque etched with the words THE HALL OF FOAM commands an entire wall behind the bar; the pizzas have funny, low-budget porno names like Thai Pie and Meat Me.
"The Hurricane" returns from the dead like Senator McCain on the Straight Talk Express. He's so old. From the back lounge I look out on hundreds of miles of wide-open spaces and experience a mild aura. The true fear of God. Somewhere in Nebraska the skies darken to an otherworldly shade of purple; we enter a storm cell of biblical dimensions. I climb into the shotgun seat (more of a leather easy chair really) and watch the storm develop from the front window. The bus sways from side to side on sudden bursts of wind. Lightning flashes endlessly across the sky behind a towering wall of thunderclouds. Eventually, over the strains of "Billie Jean" on the radio, Steve (the bus driver) says that tornadoes are touching down up ahead. I retreat to the back lounge and seek escape in an inspirational movie called Talk to Me, starring Don Cheadle. I'll see him in pretty much anything.
At the end of the night we find ourselves at yet another Applebee's. The riot of paraphernalia on the walls is oppressive and the round of tequilas we order to celebrate our safe passage through the storm taste faintly of orange Starburst. Nevertheless, we do another round. Hasta mañana, chulos y chulitas.