Okay Bob Schneider, we get it. Life is harsh. You get depressed; you get addicted. Shut up already! You got to date Sandra Bullock. By rights, every tune you write should be annoyingly catchy, poppy and happy. But no, you left the Ugly Americans and now you're this hipper-than-thou (don't act like you're not -- you're an Austinite, dude) crooner. On your new CD, Lonelyland, you even have the nerve to do this existential brooding thing. Brooding? Three words, buddy: Sandra. Bullock. Naked. We don't ever want to hear you complain about life again. (But if you really do, visit Schneider at 8 p.m. at the Engine Room. Tell him to smile.) 1515 Pease. For information, call 713-654-7846 or visit www.engineroomhouston.net. $15.
Friday, December 31
Fortunately for you, we've offered an entire NYE Guide to help you figure out where to be when the clock strikes midnight (and where you'll end up the morning after). But should you need an extra tip, SportsMonkey is throwing the BLT New Year's Eve Party at the Meridian. The party's named for the theme (not the sandwich): Black Tie, Lingerie, Toga. Come dressed in any of these, or any other sexy getup you can throw together. SportsMonkey tradition apparently dictates that you celebrate NYE in six time zones starting at 8 p.m. Along with an open bar, you'll be entertained by live tunes from SuperCell and Silverleaf, and DJ Jager and DJ Clear will be spinning all night. There will also be party favors, free parking, a breakfast buffet and hotel packages, should you need to hook up, rest up or throw up. The party starts at 8 p.m. 1503 Chartres. For information, call 713-522-0881 or visit www.clubmonkey.com. Prices start at -- surprise -- $69.
Saturday, January 1
If you're downtown today (or if you regain consciousness only to find you're lying outside the Meridian) and have a severe case of the munchies, head to the Magnolia Hotel for a New Year's Day brunch, starting at 10 a.m. After you've fed your hangover, relax in the hotel's ballroom with Live Art 2005, hosted by several local artists and musicians. At noon, painter-sculptor David Adickes and painter Frank Larkey will create "live art" while pianist-composer Paul English performs. Later, the trio will join musicians Erich Avinger and Fernando Ledesma, photographer Rudy Flores and painter Tomás Schoelman for a panel discussion called "The Creative Experience." If this all seems a bit heady for a day after, just smile, nod and sip your mimosa. Live art begins at noon. 1100 Texas. For information, call 713-221-0011 or visit www.paulenglishmusic.com. Free; $15.99 brunch.
Sunday, January 2
Unless you're a lightweight, you've recovered by now. We suggest screaming for the team today as the Houston Texans welcome the hapless Cleveland Browns. Today is Fan Appreciation Day, so you're bound to walk away with some free swag. There will also be a postgame party with live music, appearances by coach Dom Capers and Texans players, and giveaways including a Ford Mustang and game-worn jerseys. Considering the pathetic Browns -- whose coach Butch Davis quit mid-season -- can't even beat themselves in practice, this should be an easy win all around for Houston fans. Start waving your foam fingers at noon. Reliant Stadium, One Reliant Park. For tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.houstontexans.com. Tickets start at $35.
Monday, January 3
If your New Year's resolution involves becoming famous, your journey to stardom begins today. Get into character and head to the CenterStage Performing Arts Studio in Deer Park to audition for Laundry & Bourbon and Lone Star. The companion one-act comedies revolve around the small town of Maynard, Texas. The story opens with a sassy interchange between the sexy Elizabeth and her friend Hattie as they fold clothes, sip bourbon and trade witty barbs with Amy Lee Fullernoy, the town socialite. Later, in Lone Star (Act II), Elizabeth's husband, Roy, and his brother, Ray, are chugging Lone Stars with Cletis Fullernoy (Amy's inept husband). He confesses a gruesome secret to Ray, who in turn has a confession for his brother Roy, which sends all three men into a wacky meltdown. Hopefuls will be doing cold-readings of the script, but you can prepare a one- to two-minute monologue to really impress folks. Showcase your twang from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 4201 Center, Deer Park. For information, call 713-477-7385 or visit www.centerstage.cc. Free.
Tuesday, January 4
It's got all the makings of a bad-brownie dream, but at its heart, Little Shop of Horrors is a parable about the evils of greed, lust and pissy plants. The show, based on the 1960 film, follows the trials of the bumbling Seymour Krelbourn, a florist who makes a Faustian deal with a plant to win Audrey, the girl of his dreams. Audrey's response is cool, but she gets red-hot over Seymour's exotic plant, which is starting to get a little big for its, um, pot. Oh, and the plant eats people. This Houston premiere of the Broadway run of Shop is big -- literally: The largest version of "Audrey II," the killer plant, weighs five tons and is more than 18 feet tall. Its head is the size of a Mini Cooper, making actor consumption easier. We suggest covering the eyes of anyone who's squeamish or, for that matter, baked. Opens at 8 p.m. Show runs through Sunday, January 16. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information and tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com. $20 to $66.
Wednesday, January 5
The sage Homer Simpson once said, "All my life I've had one dream: to achieve my goals." To help achieve your goals for 2005, we suggest a pep talk by Jenna Wayne, a life-coach and trainer who teaches people how to maximize their "potential and output." Her discussion, Maximizing Performance and Balancing Life, should help you achieve success, fulfillment and work/life balance and maybe even take care of that criminal record of yours. Be all you can be at 6 p.m. Haynes and Boone office, 1 Houston Center, 1221 McKinney. For information and registration, visit www.witi.com. $15 to $25.