Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007 Resolutions

Making their last appearance of the year, the Cherry Ride Players are here to recite their resolutions for 2007.

(click on the image to enlarge)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A [Cherry] Ride (Sorta) XMas Tale

When I woke up on Christmas Eve I thought it would be nice to call friends in London that morning before my day got too busy and wish them a Merry Christmas. I realized that I'd left my phone in the car and Richard volunteered to go down to the street to get it. He came back a few minutes later and gently told me that the car had been broken into and the phone was gone.

I got my coat on and went down to see for myself. Someone had shattered the passenger side window of my car, reached in and took my cell phone. I couldn't fucking believe it. On Christmas Eve!

For a few minutes I was so angry I was shaking. I harbored fantasies of catching the asshole(s) in the act, while also holding in my hands a large, heavy iron monkey wrench (why a monkey wrench I'm not so sure but that's besides the point) and enjoying the feeling of said monkey wrench landing squarely into the skull of the perps.

But then something strange occurred a few minutes later as I prepared to help Richard clean out the car. I remembered something that had happened to me two weeks ago...

... My boss and I had driven out to Glendale Heights one afternoon for a client meeting. Along the way we had taken a wrong turn, became lost and were now about 15 minutes late. We were stopped at a busy intersection, about to make a left turn, and since we just got the green arrow, were about to make the turn. As this was happening a driver decided to run her red light and as she sped through the intersection she lost control of her car and came veering right towards us, missing our car head-on by literally a foot. Her car smashed into the car next to us and careened into the curb. It was like watching one of those new Jetta commercials where one moment your talking to your friend and the next a car blindsides you. I have no doubt that had we been just a foot further into the intersection we would have been hit by her 40 mph-speeding-car and I'd be (at a minimum) hospitalized.

But the really weird part of that incident is that we weren't even supposed to be at that intersection at that time anyway -- had we not got lost we would have already been at the client meeting and nowhere near that intersection. So did I witness this near-death experience for a reason? I dunno and try not to think about that stuff too much anyway. But there's a part of me that thinks this happened to make me realize how short life can be, and to appreciate the life I've got.

So as I walked back to the car with the vacuum cleaner, I decided to just Let It Go. Life is too short to get worked up about this stuff, and besides, it's Christmas Eve. There are millions of people on this Earth who have it worse off than I do. If this was to be my biggest problem that day, well then I think I've got it pretty good.

And as I processed this single liberating thought I actually smiled to myself. It felt good.

So here I am three days later. I've got a new phone (minus all my numbers, but I'll get them back) and the car is fixed. And in the grand scheme of things, I'm alive and healthy and alive to celebrate the Holiday Season. * (Besides, that phone sucked. It was one of those Motorola Razrs and I don't care what you say, those phones suck it. Hard.)

Happy New Year Everyone.

* However, if I ever DO catch those motherfuckers, for their sake I'd better not have a monkey wrench near.

No Time For Love Dr. Jones

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary that I've had this [Cherry] Ride. I started it because I'd just closed a large chapter in my life - I wrote my first entry the day after I left DC, the day I resigned my job, and the day before I hopped on a plane for Australia. It was time to start something new and my old blog just wasn't going to cut it.

It has been a fun ride so far, and since I'll be joining three pals in launching a sweet group blog very very soon, I think 2007 is going to be fun too.
Thanks to all my friends who've kept me going, and thanks to the new friends I've made over the past year.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

This is the first time in 14 years where I didn't have to get on a plane if I wanted to celebrate Christmas in Chicago with my family. 14 years!

Even though it was my choice to move back here, sometimes I forget why and wish I was somewhere else.

Then my mom called me at work on Friday with a problem she was having (which is unusual for her). We talked for several minutes, and I told her everything was going to be OK. At the end of the call she said she was sorry to have called me at work and that sometimes she just needed someone to talk through her problems. I told her it was fine and that I was glad she called. She ended with call with "I'm glad you're back," and as she said "I love you" I could hear a little emotion in her voice, which of course got me all flustered.

And that's why I moved back to Chicago.

Anyway, if you have seven minutes, the Sweeney Sisters would like to wish you Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday Cards

I’m a total slacker and do not generally send out holiday cards.

I blame it on the fact that about 10 years ago I got all ambitious and bought a stack of cards, and spent about 10 hours writing long sincere messages in each. I sent them out (on time) and about a week later I came home from work to find the whole lot of them sitting in a pile in my mail box with “insufficient postage” stamped all over them. Apparently, square cards need extra postage because the US postal system is a piece of shit (but you all knew that already). It pissed me off
so much that I decided I’d probably never send a Xmas card again.

Last week Richard and I went out and bought a small box of Christmas cards and actually wrote some out and sent them. Hopefully I’ve learned my postage lesson and these cards will actually get to their intended recipients (most of whom live in Australia).

Why am I writing this? Mostly to accomplish a few things:

  1. Serve as a thank you to those friends of mine who have sent us cards. You are sweet and much better people than I am. Know that even though you’ve sent me a card you are likely not getting one in return, at least this year. It doesn’t mean I’m an ingrate. It just means that I’m lame.
  2. Serve as some kind of (really really lame) HAPPY HOLIDAYS message to all of you out there; and:
  3. Serve as an advanced apology to those of you who were expecting a holiday card and have not/will not get one from me this year.

Maybe I’ll be better next year. Maybe. But I’m definitely not making any promises on that one.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Very Scared

I was just told by my boss that on Thursday there will be a "team building" event starting at 1:30, prior to our company Holiday Dinner Party. But what has me scared is what he said immediately following that:

"Be sure to bring a beach towel you don't mind getting dirty."

So to recap: I need to bring a beach towel. That will get dirty. To my company team builder. In December.

... I think I'm calling in sick on Thursday.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Under Construction

Hello Boys & Girls.

Please bear with me as I work through some template issues. I tried making some "small" changes to the blog last night and, well, things got a bit out of hand.

Until then, enjoy this lovely photo of a squirrel.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holiday Hell: The Company XMas Party (Pt. I)

Is there anything worse than the Company Holiday party?
Walking that tightrope of: 1) not drinking too much because you don't want to make an ass of yourself, and 2) really, really, really wanting to drink too much just so you can get through the torture of having to be friendly to your bosses in a social setting?

I've been lucky that in the past I've worked for organizations where either:
1) I liked the people I worked with; or
2) the company was big enough that nobody paid any attention to me; or
3) both.

This year I am not so lucky because I work for a company of nine people, very few of whom I would associate with outside of work (just as I'm sure most of them would not care to spend time with me). Which means there will be no fading into the background or excusing myself to go to the bathroom and then climbing through the window to escape without someone noticing. I will actually need to be "social" and "witty" and "engaged in conversation" and "not a threat to national security." It sucks.

Reading Wingman's thoughts on her company party (as well as several other's adventures and thoughts) and the fact that mine is in a few days got me thinking about all the other work holiday parties I've attended and some of the bad things that have happened. On the one hand, I'm hoping my company party goes smoothly and without incident. On the other, it would be great to add a few items to the list below for next year:

Worst Company Holiday Party Moments (in order of significance):

  1. First off we can start here as a warm-up.
  2. Me spilling a run and coke and the brand new white carpeting in my boss' house. (For as long as I worked there - which was a year - he never let me forget it.) Bonus: I wasn't even drunk!
  3. Me introducing my date/friend to my boss, and my boss responding to her with: "You have nice tits." Bonus: my friend/date calling him a prick to his face. (No, I didn't stay with that company very long after.)
  4. Me smoking a cigar (my first ever) with my boss and getting so buzzed and nauseous from it that I needed to leave the room and use the wall as a means to keep steady and not fall over. Bonus: only about three co-workers saw this.
  5. Me using the bushes behind my boss' neighbor's garage to vomit from smoking a cigar (see #4 above). Bonus: it was fucking raining outside and I got wet.
  6. Me getting behind the bar at the club my company rented out for the holiday party and attempting to play bartender to co-workers and executives. Bonus: I actually made a vodka tonic for one of the VPs.
  7. Me getting yelled at by the real bartenders for getting behind the bar at the club my company rented out for the holiday party and attempting to play bartender to co-workers and executives. Bonus: there are photos of this.
  8. Me thinking it would be funny to lay across the bar while a coworker got a photo of it. Bonus: None. There's no upside to that.
  9. Attempting to get down with the clown on the dancefloor with the CEO of my company. Bonus: Hard to say -- for awhile afterwards she knew who I was, but I don't know if its because she liked that I danced with her or because she thought I was an idiot. I prefer to think the former.
Stay tuned next week for an update... Proper.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cherry Ride Tips for Triumphant Living #3

When brushing your teeth, refrain from singing aloud to the Wilco song* coming from the stereo. Because jamming your toothbrush into your gums because you're trying to hit that high note hurts like a mother bitch.

* Note: it doesn't even have to be a Wilco song. I suspect your mouth will bleed just as much from trying to sing any other song from any other artist.

Other CRTFTLs can be found here and here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy Monday

... Sometimes I just can't be bothered.

In other news:

Fuck off, blogger. **

** if this entry makes no sense to you, don't worry as it shouldn't.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Actual Dreams/Nightmares I’ve Had in the Last Three Weeks

Ranked in order from least to most disturbing:

  1. Went to go see a movie, but we kept going to the wrong theater.
  2. Went shopping on a street in a strange city that resembled London, only this city street was about 30 stories up in the sky and there was constant danger of falling off the sidewalk. And I don’t even think I bought anything!
  3. Boarded a train for a long journey away from home, saying an emotional goodbye to all my friends and family, only to have the train drop me off minutes later right where I started.
  4. I began falling backwards down the marble-like stairs in Kane Hall (the assembly hall at my grade school).
  5. It was hot day in the city, and every attempt I made to drive to the beach was blocked by traffic, construction, or my car simply not working.
  6. Went for a swim at Maroubra Beach, when suddenly a storm came up and the water turned green and I started to drown.
  7. My teeth became brittle and began falling out one by one, with bits of them getting stuck in my gums causing me to constantly spit in order to get them out.
  8. Had to eat big live bugs ala “Fear Factor” style, only I wasn’t on a game show or in a contest; I just had to eat them for some reason. And it was difficult – they kept crawling out of my mouth as I tried to swallow them. (Later in this same dream, I tried to vomit the bugs out of my stomach but they were so packed in there nothing would come up/out.)
  9. Tried leaving comments on other people's blogs, but Blogger wouldn't let me!

Monday, December 04, 2006

12 Hangovers of Christmas

Results from last week's CRQOW are in.
It seems a slight majority of you (about 28%) are staying faithful to the True Meaning of Christmas by being drunk/hungover throughout the Holiday Season. Bravo -- I expect to hear stories of
drunken company holiday parties, bar brawls and alcohol-fueled fights with family members over the next four weeks.

Disappointingly, slightly less than a quarter of you will be whoring it up this month. Either that, or many of you are just plain lying. C'mon people, I expected more from you.

Unrelated: Is anyone else having problems leaving comments on other people's blogs? I haven't been able to for over a week now. And it is pissing me off!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thoughts I've Had On My Way to Work Today

[Ed. note: for those of you not living in Chicago, we got dumped with about a foot of wet snow overnight, making the morning commute a bit hectic. Also, I walked 30 minutes to work this morning.]

In chronological order:

  1. This is awesome. I love the snow!
  2. Hmmm – Maybe I should just take the bus instead of walking. My feet are getting a little wet.
  3. I love snow and all, but this is getting ridiculous.
  4. Hey you, girlie over there - you aren’t going to last 5 minutes in that skirt. This isn’t Miami.
  5. A little snow is fine, but this is bullshit.
  6. Every bus is full. I guess I'll keep walking. This is bullshit.
  7. Where did this hill come from??
  8. It’s literally snowing upside down. WTF! This is bullshit!
  9. Mother fucker!
  10. When is it going to be summer? This is bullshit.
  11. Bullshit!!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm Gonna Be Rich (Pt. II)!

So the saga continues...
I got a response from Musa Suleman and Benita (apparently we're so close now we've dropped the "Sister" part):

Dear Sir,

Thanks for your reply to our mail, we are glad to hear from you. As we wrote in our previous mail, we saw your profile and as a consultance and a high respectful person we desided to contact you beleiving you will be in the best position to assist us in our quest for a relaible partner.

To enable us submit your name to the finance company for nomination, we will apreciate you furnish us a formal personal data Like:

YOUR NAME......................................
PHONE/FAX NUMBER........................
Upon the receipt of the above listed information's, we will send to your the finance company contact details to enable you contact the company for the transfer of our fund to your position and also submit your name to the finance company as to nominate you as our foreign partner.

We do anticipate your prompt response.

Yours Truly,
Musa Suleman & Benita.

Does anybody seriously fall for this stuff? Here is the reply I just sent off to them:

Yo Musa and Benita:

To quote Ruth Pointer: "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!" I love sending personal information about me via responses to poorly-worded business transaction emails. Per your request:

YOUR NAME: Cherry Ride

AGE: 21
COUNTRY: The best country in the world, the frickin' US of A!
PHONE/FAX NUMBER: 312. 555-6789

The immediate response from your "finance company" or whatever will totally tweak my nipples!

Anyone taking bets as to if I get another reply from them?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Top 5 Reasons Why I Absolutely Despise the Older, Creepy Guy Sitting Across From Me at Starbucks

  1. Did you shower today? Because somebody at this table reeks.
  2. Quit trying to meet my eyes so you can engage me in a conversation. I don't like you. [Btw, neither does this nice girl sitting next to me that you are also trying to start a conversation with.]
  3. You are probably twice my age and you have a fuller head of hair than I do - damn you!
  4. When did Chicago Bears flannel pajama bottoms become acceptable outerwear? Oh, that's right - they didn't. So go home and change into something else. Hopefully by then someone else will have taken your seat.
  5. Your cup of coffee is finished. Now get the hell out.

On a similar note: New CRQOW appears to the right if you haven't already seen.

Happy Holidays!

Unrelated: For past 3 days I've been trying to leave comments on many of y'all's blogs, but something's messed up with the Internets or something like that. Don't give up on me just yet, bitches!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cherry Ride Tips for Triumphant Living #2

[Ed note: The second in a series for helping improve your life, based on my own experiences.]

Guys: I would not presume to tell you how to dance, believe me. However, when you're "gettin' down with the clown" (as Classy would say) and using your arms, two things:

  1. Unless being used for a specific reason - like pointing or jazz fingers* for example -- keep your fingers and hands either closed or in a semi-fist.
  2. Unless you really know what you're doing, keeping elbows in/close to the body is always better.

* Btw, since we're on the subject, always resist the urge for jazz fingers. Always.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm Gonna Be Rich!

I’m very excited today because over the weekend I got this amazing email in my work inbox from Musa Suleman & Sister Benita, who would like to share their $25 million with me if I help them invest it!

I’m so psyched by the idea that I can hardly work today (not that I’ll need to worry about that much longer after this deal comes through!). In fact, I’m tempted to walk into my boss’ office this afternoon and say: “See ya, bitches! This office work is for sukkas!

Here’s their email to me (edited for space, but not grammar or spelling) and my reply. I hope they respond back soon so we can get this $25 million party started!

Dearest One,

In my quest for a reliable and trust worthy partner, I came across your profile and prayed over it and with the help of Almighty Allah the merciful I strongly believe I have met the right person who will assist me and my Sister Benita to invest our fund and with your position and experience, We are trusting you believing you will not betray our trust in you toward the transfer of the total fund to your position.

We are presently confronted with a request to invest funds the sum of $25 Million United State Dollars… belong legitimately to our late father and the funds are deposited with a depository with enabling conditions for the release of the fund which are as follows:

(1) That we must be 22 years or above.
(2) That upon request for the release of the fund, there must be evidence of investment intentions especially outside the west Africa,.

We are seeking your indulgence to respond to us indicating if you are capable and wiling to partner with us. In this case we are interested in Industry and real estate, and your advice will be much valuable and highly regarded in these and other business areas which may be profitable to all the perties involve.

Your swift response will be appreciated, and we will like you to include a brief profile of yourself/business, along with your complete contact information in your response. Thank you so much and we look forward to doing business with you.

Yours Truly,
Musa Suleman & Sister Benita.

My response back:

Hey Musa and Sister Benita:

Did you see my profile on MySpace, or was it on
Either way, sure I'm game! I could certainly use the cash, what with the Holidays and all. I too have prayed (but to God, not Allah) that an opportunity like yours would come to me!

Since you've already seen my profile, I'm not sure what else I could tell you about me, but:
1) I'm a private dancer, a dancer for money. (I'll do what you want me to do!)
2) I have extensive experience (wow - say that fast 12 times!) in many areas including real estate, food preparation and celebrity stalking.
3) The ladies love me. Can’t get enough of me. Not sure how appropriate this is as part of my business profile, but with the two of you being ladies I just thought I’d call that out so there won’t be any problems later (actually, Musa, I am not sure if you are a lady but at least Sister Benita is, so it is still worth mentioning).

So yes, I am definitely a "wiling" partner for you and your other interested "perties!" As we say in America, "Pertie On, Wayne!" (Ooooh - I just had an idea: we could make that the slogan for our new business venture!)

You already have my email address, but phone number is: (312)555-6661.

I look forward to your quick reply!

I'll keep you all posted. Just think -- I'll finally be able to hire a professional to write this shitty blog.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Why I Don't Drop $40 For a Haircut

Let it be known that I don't typically spend a lot of money for a haircut. I go to a Hair Cuttery-type place, slap down my $15 and that usually suits me just fine. There are other things I could be spending that $40 on besides a cut at a hair salon.

I've been needing a haircut for over a week, so on Tuesday after work I went to a place around the corner from my office because I wasn't going to have the chance to go to my usual place before Thanksgiving. It was a salon, but because this was likely my only opportunity to get a cut, and because I've been growing my hair out a bit and wanted to see if perhaps going to a more expensive stylist would be better than going to my barber I thought: what the heck let's give it a try.

His name was Gino. He was in his late 40's, had perfectly coiffed hair (in that sorta goomba way) and wore a lot of jewelry. The red flags went up immediately, but I was already inside with my jacket off so what could I do?

I sat in the chair and he asked me what I wanted. I told him I was growing it out, but because it hadn't been cut in a month it needed to be trimmed. Or "shaped" as he called it. It must be pointed out that Gino saw how I wore my hair (parted to the side, sideburns of a certain length, etc.) when I sat down in the chair. I point this out because it always amazes me when a stylist kinda ignores what you look like and adds his/her own... flair. But whatever.

To make a long story short: Gino washed my hair, cut it and then cut some more, then washed my hair again, then added a styling creme and then blow dried my hair while brushing, then added hairspray (who uses styling creme and hairspray?? And more importantly, what guy uses hairspray at all in this day and age???).

My hair was so poofy it looked like it should have been on top of a wedding cake. But not just any wedding cake - more like a civil union cake for two guys named Sal from Staten Island.

Apparently, when I say: "I need a trim," Gino hears: "Please make my head look like a mushroom cloud of hair."

And when he asks how I wear my hair and I say: "Parted on the side," Gino hears: "Like the Fonz."

This coif was magical in that not only did it give me big hair, it also somehow made my forehead elongated, kinda Frankenstein-esque. What was also magic was the fact that this hairdo changed the physical properties of my face to make me look exactly like Frank Stallone. I was staring into the mirror and Frank Stallone was staring back at me. (I know some of you would like to see photos, but all you need to do is look at this photo on the left. Or maybe find an old photo of Richard Marx.)

When it was over Gino asked, "What do you think?"
What I wanted to say was: "Well, Gino, I think I should be auditioning for a supporting role in Saturday Night Fever."
But instead I lied and told him: "I think it looks fine" (because really, what could I say??).

The good news is that when I got home I was able to make it look more normal (it actually isn't such a bad haircut, once I styled it myself). But now comes the uncomfortable part of calling Gino back in a few weeks to cancel the appointment I already made for next time. Any advice on how to get out of a hair appointment with a stylist you don't like but are too much of a wimp to say no to in the first place, just let me know.

Friday, November 24, 2006

50 Questions

ToddSpot tagged me with one of those "50 Questions" viral things. (Seriously Todd, did it have to be 50? Couldn't we do 10?) Which I'm not really into but I don't want to offend since I don't know him very well (if/when I do know him better I'd just tell him to fuck off ;-). My apologies in advance to the three people I'm tagging next -- Jader, Dr. Ken, and Wingman -- but you're free to tell me to shove it.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
I got to step it up at the gym.

2. How much cash do you have on you?
None. I hardly ever have cash on me.

3. What’s a word that rhymes with “door?”
Floor. (This a lame question, or am I missing something?)

4. Favorite planet?
I guess I’ll say Pluto, because it’s no longer a planet and I’m a rebel like that.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
Krista. I’m always missing her calls.

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
I don’t have any.

7. What shirt are you wearing?
Black t-shirt.

8. Do you “label” yourself?
Other people are much better at that than I am.

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?

10. Bright or Dark Room?
I prefer the dark.

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
He seems to have nice things.

12. What does your watch look like?
It’s a basic brown Fossil watch that my brother gave to me last year before my trip to New Zealand and Australia.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Plotting to take over the world. Or sleeping. Can't remember which.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
Rather not say.

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?
I wish I knew.

16. What's a word that you say a lot?
I drop the f-bomb all the time - it makes me happy.

17. Who told you he/she loved you last?

18. Last furry thing you touched?
My dog Rawley.

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
Two pills a day, both prescribed by my doctor. Plus a crapload of M&Ms, which are kinda like a drug.

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?
None. Random.

21. Favorite age you have been so far?
Twenty. I could write a novel -- a good one too! -- about everything that happened to me when I was twenty.

22. Your worst enemy?
“Always love. Hate will get you every time.”

23. What is your current desktop picture?
Train station in Wellington, NZ at night.

24. What was the last thing you said to someone?
“It's called parkour.”

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
Fly. I could make a million from public appearances.

26. Do you like someone?
Yes. [What are we, 12?]

27. The last song you listened to?
“Shake Your Ass” by the Lovemakers (they’re the next Scissor Sisters)

28. What time of day were you born?
9:45 am

29. What’s your favorite number?

30. Where did you live in 1987?
Chicago and DeKalb, IL.

31. Are you jealous of anyone?
Nope. Jealousy is the worst emotion and I don’t buy into it.

32. Is anyone jealous of you?
Not likely. Unless it is someone who is jealous of awesome panda costumes.

33. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
In bed. (I had the day off from work and it was only 6 am in Portland.)

34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
Drop the f-bomb and shake them around.

35. Do you consider yourself kind?

36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
I already have three but if I got another one it would be between my shoulder blades, at the base of my neck.

37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?

38. Would you move for the person you loved?

39. Are you touchy feely?

40. What’s your life motto?
Still looking for one, so in the meantime “Popozao!” will just have to do.

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times?

42. What’s your favorite town/city?

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
A Coke Zero.

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
March 2005, I think.

45. Can you change the oil on a car?

46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
She was living in Missouri.

47. How far back do you know about your ancestry?
Not very far – my grandfather on both sides (pathetic I know).

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?
Black suit. Job interview.

49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?
Legs are a little sore from running.

50. Have you been burned by love?
What does that mean, exactly?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gobble This

[Ed. note: After such a sincere and saccharine previous post, it is only natural that the pendulum would swing the other way. Plus, I've had a few too many calimochos as I type this.]

This above photo represents about 88% of what is wrong with this country these days. It is a photo of a sign stating that the Jewel will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 6am - 6pm. You may say: "How convenient." I say: "Total bullshit!" I see this sign and the first thing I think of is the poor employees at Jewel who have to work on Thanksgiving. Doesn't everybody deserve a holiday??

Why does anyone need to be in a Jewel store shopping at 4pm on Thanksgiving? You should be home eating a turkey or watching a football game. Not shopping for food.

If you're one of those people who steps into this store on Thanksgiving afternoon, you seriously should be shot for being an idiot. You're a loser. Shame on you.

I have no problem with Jewel being open for a few hours on Thanksgiving, because Yes, I understand that you will invariably forget some ingredient needed for dinner, or forget to get a pie on your way to Grandma's. But if I'm Jewel I'd be all: "I'm open from 6am until noon, bitches. So if you fucktards need to get your Thanksgiving shopping done, you're shit out of luck at 12."

There used to be a time when you actually had to plan ahead to get your holiday shopping done. If you realize at 2pm that you forgot to buy the cranberry sauce for your 4pm Thanksgiving dinner, well dem's the breaks. Write it down next time. Nowadays, instead of punishing people for their laziness, we reward them by making everything available all the time. We have too many choices and it has made us lazy. Am I being hyper-crtical? Most likely yes. But I think it sucks that some kid has to miss Thanksgiving dinner with the family because she has to work to make sure some dipshit can buy a pumpkin pie at 6pm.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving (again).

PS - What is that brown powder on top of deviled eggs?
PPS - And what exactly makes an egg deviled in the first place??

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

37 Things I'm Thankful for This Year

Allow me to get serious for just a moment.
As we close in on the Holidays, I like to take a step back and take stock in all the things I'm grateful for. In what is becoming a Thanksgiving
tradition for me, I present - devoid of any sarcasm or irony - my list of 37 things that made me laugh, smile, sane, think and/or generally glad to be alive in 2006 (in semi-alphabetical order):

  1. Bondi Beach.
  2. Chicago.
  3. DCAC.
  4. The First Six Seconds of diving into the pool.
  5. The friends I've made through this blog, even if I've never met you in real life.
  6. Giordanos.
  7. The Green Card Lottery.
  8. "... It's been two long years now since the top of the world came crashing down..."
  9. Lake Michigan and the bike/walking/running path alongside it.
  10. Little Superstar.
  11. Lollapalooza.
  12. Luka.
  13. Malt Crisps.
  14. My ex-coworkers in NYC, DC, Portland, Seattle and London. Only now do I realize what a great thing it is to look forward to coming into work just to see the people you work with. Sometimes work sucked but you made it worth it. You were more than office mates, you're friends and I miss you.
  15. My family.
  16. My friends. I haven't talked to many of you in awhile but I am truly grateful to have you in my life.
  17. Monka-Dunk.
  18. Nicole and Mark's place in Manly Beach.
  19. Panda costumes.
  20. Pilar.
  21. Pinatas.
  22. For Remembering Why I'm Here, and What I Need to Do.
  23. Rum & Coke.
  24. A Sense of Humor.
  25. Simon.
  26. Skype.
  27. Starbucks at North and Wells.
  28. Superman Returns for making me feel like a kid again.
  29. Sydney Opera House.
  30. "To make a mountain of your life is just a choice. But I never learned enough to listen to the voice that taught me Always Love - Hate will get you everytime."
  31. Tuesday, Nov. 7th. For several reasons.
  32. Union Square, NYC.
  33. Union Station, DC.
  34. Untitled, Trent Parke, from The Seventh Wave series, 2000.
  35. Vegemite (esp. when paired with toast, tomato and cheese).
  36. Veronica.
  37. Victoria Pool, Sydney.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Insomnia, Stirring Deep Inside*

All my life I've never had trouble sleeping. I can sleep anytime, anywhere. Seriously, no matter where I am - at work, in a movie theater, on the pool deck, driving the car - if I were to just close my eyes I could be asleep in mere minutes, even if I didn't feel "sleepy."

When my head hits the pillow - snap! - I'm asleep. And I don't move or stir until the alarm goes off the next morning. This has always been a good thing for me, to the envy and frustration of friends who lie in bed at night staring at the ceiling and/or have a hard time getting out of bed because they're tired.

Lately something's been happening that is just really starting to piss me off. For the past two months, on average of 3-4 nights a week, I wake up sometime between 2 am and 3am completely wide awake and can't fall back asleep until around 4 am. On those nights, it is virtually impossible for me to get out of bed when my alarm goes off at 5:05 -- I am either so out of it that I switch the alarm off without even knowing it, or I think, "Hmm, I can get up now and swim or I can sleep another two hours." Yeah, that's a tough choice.

And no, I don't have a lot on my mind and am not stressed (certainly no more than I've been at other times in my life). I've even tried cutting caffeine after 6pm but that ain't helping either.

I might have to kill someone if things don't get back to normal soon.

* a special Cherry Ride shout-out to whomever can tell me from what song that lyric is from, (without googling it, of course).

UPDATE - Wow, Fred rocks!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cherry Ride Tips for Triumphant Living #1

In what I hope will be a series of tips to help your life, based on my own experiences I offer the Cherry Ride "Tips for Triumphant Living."

If you ever need to break in through a locked door (like I did), definitely use your leg to kick it in, and not your shoulder. Your leg is much stronger, and you're likely to hurt yourself (or at least give yourself a headache) by slamming your shoulder into the door.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hello Friday

Couple things today:

Bad Omen for Christmas Season: The first holiday song that I heard this year (which was the day after Halloween and don't even get me started on that) was Whitney Houston’s terrible rendition of the horrible “Do You Hear What I Hear?” This is going to be a long 5 weeks. Fuck.

I’m “growing” a “beard” at the moment, which I am prone to do from time-to-time. But unlike every other beard I’ve rocked, this one has GRAY HAIRS in it, at my chin. I’m sprouting a tiny forest of gray hairs on my chin. WTF??

Finally, I challenge anyone to find a more fucked-up sentence that this, which I stumbled upon last night (of course I can't remember exactly where, maybe "E!" or "") :

"Christopher Walken will play Ozzy Osbourne in the upcoming Motley Crue movie.”

Seriously, there are so many things wrong with the above statement I don’t know where to start.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Cherry Ride Thank-You

I’d like to thank the following folks for helping to make my week o-so fantastic so far:

Thank-you Fat Balding Guy in the Gym Locker Room for not even attempting not to stare at me while I undressed yesterday, and forcing me to actually contemplate which would be less awkward for me – turning my back to you so you could see my ass, or just proceeding with the full frontal as I put my gym shorts on. Thanks for giving me another reason for not going to the gym.

Thank-you Singer and Producer of the Dance Club Version of 4-Non Blondes’ “What’s Up?” for deciding to take what is perhaps the shittiest song ever recorded, and thinking it worthy of some shitty dance beat and electronic drum machine (which was “fresh” about 14 years ago, btw – you guys are so cutting edge). Because there’s nothing I like better when I’m stretching and doing sit-ups than hearing some fucktard whose voice is worse than Linda Perry’s (the original singer) – which, btw, I didn’t think was possible – screech “And I said, Hey Yea Yea Yeah Yeah, Hey Yeah Yeah. I said Hey, What’s Going On?” over and over and over and over again. Extra Points: for deciding your fucking song was worthy of 11 minutes of air time. If I ever meet either of you on the street I swear to God I will punch you in the face.

Thank-you FAA for making me check my carry-on bag because it contained a 3.2 oz jar of hair styling crème and for inspiring the following conversation between me and an Airport Screener at National:
AS: “Sir, you cannot bring this item in your carry-on bag because it is more than 3 ounces.”
Me: “But why?”
AS: “Because it is larger than 3 ounces.”
Me: “Yes, but why? Why am I not allowed to bring my hair crème onto the plane with me?” *
AS: “You can bring it on, but it must go in your checked luggage. All liquids and gels over 3 ounces are not permitted.”
Me: “Yeah, but this isn’t a gel or a liquid. What harm could this possibly do?”
AS: “Sir, we are in a state of heightened security and there are restrictions against certain items including this here jar.”
Me: “Fine, whatever. I would just love it if for once someone could tell me exactly how my hair crème is a threat to national security, but whatever.”

Extra Points: for then physically escorting me and my bag back through security (because I’m obviously not smart enough to figure it out myself). Extra, Extra Points: for not catching my hair crème in Chicago. Glad you guys are both consistent and vigilant in keeping our skies safe from the threat of hair pomades and styling products.

Please keep in mind that I really do know why, but because I’d already missed my flight and was feeling pissed off at the world, I decided to be a prick.

My Apologies to the iPod Shuffle

A few posts ago I gushed about the new iPod Shuffle and how cool it is.

Apparently at some point in the past I had said some harsh things about it -- that it was a useless device that made no sense, or something like that (I have no memory of this but anyway). Two people (Richard and Darci) have brought this to my attention since my post from last week. So I guess I must have said it.

My apologies, Mr. iPod Shuffle, for anything bad I may have said about you in the past. You rock.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

DC Weekend Recap: Tequila, Wigs, and Ron Jeremy

I got back from a weekend trip to DC yesterday but feel like I’ve been gone for weeks. It was one of those trips that kinda scrambles your brain, so that when you return home your first inclination is to turn on the news or read the paper because you feel out-of-touch with reality. Not that that’s a bad thing – I needed a weekend to unwind, and DC was certainly the best possible place to do it.

DC's a weird place. I lived there for two years and made some great friends who I miss. But it was also a tough time for me personally and professionally. So when I go back for a visit, it becomes a series of emotional highs and lows; a remembrance of some really great times and some things I’m getting past.

But enough of that mushy stuff. It was Christina’s surprise 30th birthday party at the Capitol Lounge on Friday (the Cap was my favorite hangout in DC, thanks to my friend Krista who tended bar and her Kick-Ass Lemonades. But since she moved to Denver in August I figured I'd probably never get back there so it was nice to reminisce) and Jeff’s 50th birthday party on Saturday. Both happenings gave me the chance to see virtually everybody I ever knew in DC, which was great. They were also great opportunities to drink. (Not that it needs to be said, but drinking was a major factor throughout the weekend.)

Let me back up a minute to point out that I sat next to Ron Jeremy while waiting for my flight Friday afternoon (see photo to the left). I fought the impulse to introduce myself to him, because, really, what would I say? I didn’t want to lie with a line like: “Hey Mr. Jeremy. I’m a huge fan!” or even: “You know, Mr. Jeremy, as a gay man you’re work has had a profound impact on me.” (Probably the first 4-5 pornos I’d seen as a kid prominently featured him and his, ummm, talent. It might have been funny to see his reaction to that.) Then I thought maybe I should get his autograph, and have him sign it to Dr. Ken or something. In the end I thought it best to just let him alone (and stealthily take his photo with my phone because if I was going to blog about it I needed physical evidence). Regardless, I decided this was going to be a good omen for the weekend.**

When we left Christina’s party around 11 on Friday night, I suggested to Phillip that we stop to get some food, since I’d been up since 5am, swam 3 miles, had only a banana to eat all day, and just drank 3 rum and cokes (and I wonder why I’m coughing up grey/purple phlegm on a frequent basis).

One of the things I hate about DC is that it is hard to find a place to grab a decent bite to eat after 9pm, at least in Capitol Hill. So I suggested we stop by our local 7-11. Phillip and I lived about a ½ mile from the one at 8th and Maryland NE and drove past it probably every day but remarkably he says to me: “For what? For food? I don’t think I’ve ever been in there.” And as I’m pointing out to him that I was in there, oh, probably one night each weekend for at least a year it occurs to me that more than any other store – more than our local Giant on Brentwood, more than the (un)Safeway on 14th St SE – I’ve been to the frickin’ 7-11 more times to buy food than a real supermarket. That’s a sobering realization.

Jeff’s party Saturday night was a blast, a blur of tequila shots with pineapple juice chasers (I don’t care what you say about them Mr. Surprise), some guy known only as Flawless, and Pablo’s wig getting passed around for photo opps (best not to ask too many questions about any of these things). Also, I’ve noticed when I have perhaps a little too much to drink I commandeer the stereo and become DJ. I played at least two Kylie songs (in tribute to Richard) and Madonna’s “Jump” (since I couldn’t dance to it as a Panda on Halloween like I really wanted to, this was the next best thing). I know what you’re thinking: “Kylie and Madonna at a gay party? I’m shocked!

The rest of the weekend was good too, save the part where I got to the airport Monday morning for my 6:20 flight and realized I’d left my wallet back at the house and had to go back and get it, get back to the airport and wait until the 10:30 flight, which caused me to be 3 hours late for work. But that is another story entirely.

** or a bad omen. Because there’s really no logic in deciding that seeing an old, fat, disgusting porn star at the beginning of a trip should or could be construed as a good thing.

Friday, November 10, 2006


For those of you feeling a bit more patriotic this week (and really, who among us isn't?) head on over to ReckenRoll today for her Top 5 List and join in on the conversation.

Speaking of patriots, I'm off to our Nation's Capital in a few hours for a weekend of old friends and new opportunities to get drunk and make a donkey of myself.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


It has been a busy week so far and this is likely the only chance to write until Monday or so, as I’m off to DC tomorrow. Few things:

  • My faith in humanity and the US has – at least temporarily - been restored. Watching the news get better and better over the last 48 hours – first the Democrats take the House, then Rumsfeld resigns (holy crap I could go on and on about that one by itself!), then the Democrats take the Senate – almost makes up for the pain of two years ago. Almost. I’ve actually been waking up the last two mornings with a renewed sense of hope that maybe things can improve for the better.
  • I bought an iPod Shuffle on Sunday. Holy crap this thing is tiny and cool. It is supposed to make me want to go to the gym. (So far it hasn’t worked.) For the record, this the 5th iPod I’ve owned in 4 years (and certainly won’t be the last – I want a new 80-gigger for the holidays or soon after). But I must say that I’m a bit interested in the new Zune too, but I’ll likely wait a bit for that one -- I’ve suffered from the early adopter burn before.
  • I’m no doctor, but when I cough up some phlegm from my lungs that is grayish-purple in color, I’m thinking that can’t be a good thing.
  • Happy Birthday Laura and Fred!!!!
  • Finally, and most importantly, Richard got the green card. It is official. I could go on and on about this but then I’ll get choked up. So I won’t. But thanks to everyone for the comments and the emails and phone calls.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Green Day

At about 3pm this afternoon (Chicago time), my boy Richard has his green card interview with the US Consulate in Sydney (8am Wednesday morning there).

It is the last major hurdle in his green card process which began a year ago.
If all goes well (and we believe it will!) then he'll be given the green light for his green card. We should have more information immediately following the interview, but won't likely get official word for 48 hours. After that, there is one last piece of paperwork to be processed (which takes about 2 weeks) and then he'll be on a plane to Chicago as a legal resident!

I'm wearing my lucky boxers today for this reason. For those of you reading this, please send some positive energy out into the universe (or more specifically, the way of Sydney Australia) today!

Monday, November 06, 2006

High School Soundtrack

Gapers Block posits a great question today:
What would be the lead track on the soundtrack for the John Hughes movie about your high school experience?

Mine is easy - "Disappointed" by Morrissey (this is the same song I want played at my funeral; I also want "Let It Be" by the Beatles, just to give everyone some yin/yang and keep 'em guessing).

As a side note, the movie would be cast with completely anonymous, no-name actors (aside from Nathan Lane who would play the principal), get panned by critics for being completely lame and pulled from theaters after 2 weeks, but then years later would resurge into the public consciousness as an ironic cult classic. Because that pretty much sums up the subject of "me and my high school experience" (forgetful, lame, ahead of its time and full of irony).

What is your high school theme song?

Because It's Never Too Early...

Got this email from the folks at Lollapalooza last week. Looks like Lolla '07 is happening Aug. 3-5 (which is only 7 months away!). And they've signed a contract to stay in Chicago through 2011, which is cool. Other cool news - this year's festival raised almost a million dollars for the Chicago Park District to help build and/or improve the city's public parks and park programs.

Out-of-towners are welcome to spend the weekend at our place. Couch and floor space is on a first-claimed, first-served basis. It is going to be a blast so you should definitely consider!
In even other news: Morrissey is coming to Chicago for one show in a few weeks, his only U.S. appearance. (This is old news for most people, but I heard about it for the first time on Friday - how do I not hear such things???). Of course it is sold out.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Everybody Loves a Panda on Halloween *

* some more than they probably should.

[Ling Ling with the Koreans on Halsted. No, I don't know them either.]

Tuesday night I joined Kevin (as Princess Fiona), Dop (as Shrek), Jessica (as Bea Arthur), Marty (as his Medical History) and Dave (who was dressed in a suit but aside from that I don’t believe was supposed to be anybody) for a night of Halloween revelry in Boystown (photos can be found here).

First up was the Halloween Parade, where all kinds of people – straight, gays, families with kids – crowded the streets. Because their costumes were quite simply awesome, Shrek and Princess Fiona got all kinds of attention walking the sidewalks, while Marty, Dave, Bea Arthur and I just sorta followed behind them (they were in their element). I did make a fan of two little girls who wanted to touch and hold my hands, which was cute (I was prepared for all kinds of attention that night, but not from toddlers), but I also scared the crap out of another child on the sidewalk, so there you go.

Sidetrack was packed, mostly with people in costume. Ling Ling’s big head made it hard to move and maneuver through the crowds. Unlike Saturday, I was able to keep the panda head on all night (thanks to a little McGuyvering with the headband and additional Velcro, which helped make the head more stable and secure on my scull) but the drawback was that if I ever took the head off I would never get it back on (it seriously takes about 5 minutes to get it back into place). The other drawback is that it limited my vision and my mobility. For example, if someone grabbed my ears (which happened often) I couldn’t turn around to see who it was. Likewise when someone grabbed my tail.

Luckily, Bea Arthur and Marty and Dave where there to protect me. And trust me you don’t
mess with those bitches. At one point an overly-friendly patron started a grope on Ling Ling and Bea Arthur and Marty were all up in his grill: “This isn’t a petting zoo buddy! Move along!”
Me: “Yeah, beeyatch!”
Ling Ling was ready to bust some ass, and luckily for that guy Bea Arthur needed to hold him back.

Extra points to Bea Arthur from saving me from lighting on fire earlier in the evening (that would have been so NOT cool for me).

Dop and Kevin, who honestly had the best costumes there, did not win the contest, which was complete bullshit. Second place went to a guy dressed in a big, stuffed vagina. As he was on stage I heard two guys next to me talking:

Guy #1: “I don’t get it. What is he supposed to be?”
Guy #2: “A vagina.”
Guy #1: “A what?”
Guy #2: “A vagina.”
Guy #1: “Oh, that explains why I don’t recognize it.”

90% of the people recognized my outfit, but I was surprised that some did not. Seriously, how could you not know I was panda?? A few people figured I was a bear, but didn’t know what kind. “You look like my dog. I have an akita!” one drunk guy said. Excuse me, I ain’t no dog. However my favorite was the guy who thought I was – get thisa cookie.

What is wrong with you people?

Wanting to be seen by more people (and who could blame them they looked so good) Dop and Kevin suggested we go to Roscoe’s. Luckily Kevin knew the bouncer and sweet talked her into not making me take off my panda head in order to verify my ID. In Roscoe’s there was a little more room to move around, so I was able to show off some of my killer Ling Ling pop and locks. It was awesome.**

Some of the more ridiculous things said to me Tuesday included:
  • “Hey panda, I’ve got some bamboo for you to chew on.” (Ha ha. Very original.)
  • “Pandas don’t wear shoes!” (This killed me because it’s as though everything else about my appearance – the huge head, the strip of Velcro down my back – was plausible. But a panda wearing black slippers? Unacceptable!! How about: “Pandas don’t hang out in gay bars drinking Long Island iced teas!” – that would have been a more appropriate observation, I think.)
  • “Oooh I want to French kiss that little panda tongue!” (Which he did; I was pretty much powerless to stop him. I’m just glad it was the costume tongue and not mine.)
  • “Hey panda, why you taking the train?” (What did you think, that I’d fly? I gotta get home somehow.)
  • And my favorite: “Can I blow you?” (Obviously one of those freaky furry fetish people. Umm, that would be a no.)

Later, on the long ride home, while waiting at the bus stop on Chicago I was stopped by two drunk bums who initiated the following conversation:

Bum #1: "What are you?"
Me: "A panda."
Bum #2: "Gimme some money."
Me: "You’re barking up the wrong tree dude, this panda has no pockets and no money."
Bum #1 (reaching for my panda head): "Take this off."
Me: "No."
Bum #1 (again): "Take this off."
Me: "No."
Bum #2: "You got any weed?"
Me: "No."
Bum #1: "You a girl under there?"
Me: "No, I am not a girl under here."
Apparently, that was the magic answer. Sure, the facts that I had no money or weed were negligible, but the not being a girl part was the deal breaker. They immediately moved on.

So I must admit, I am going through a bit of Halloween withdrawals. I loved being a panda for Halloween. As did a lot of other people, too.

[Ling Ling with the Devil Girl on the Brown Line. No, I don't know her either.]

** and of course by "awesome" I mean "completely retarded."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Year of the Panda (Pt. I)

[that's me as Ling Ling and Fred as Sing Sing]

After weeks of anticipation, Halloween 2006 kicked off last night with a bang. Back in August (or maybe even sooner) Fred and I decided this was the year of the Panda. We didn’t really want to rent panda costumes, so I asked my Grandma if she would make them for us and she said yes. (Yeah, you heard that right – Ethel made the outfits.)

As you can see from the photos, they’re pretty awesome. We struggled for a while to come up with a theme for Fred, Laura and me (because for some unimaginable reason Laura did not want to be a panda along with us) but in the end Laura went as a Cat Pez Dispenser (which was beneficial for me because I didn’t really eat that night and Pez made a great – and totally legitimate alternative to – dinner).

One of the great things about dressing as a panda is that the walk to/from the party can be as much fun as the party itself. The three of us made all kinds of friends on the way to the bar. People stopped us to take photos, we got car honks, catcalls, high fives, hand shakes. It was like we were movie stars, minus the movie or stars part.

The best part of owning a panda costume: I
am totally wearing it again and again – New Year’s Valentine’s Day, Flag Day, whatever. Hell, I can (and will) wear it around the house when I wash the dishes or water the plants.*

Classy had invited us to a party at Wellington’s, which was great. (Classy and I have been great blog buddies for about 3 months but until last night had never actually met, which was strange but cool and worthy of another entry entirely.) Thankfully, we bonded instantly – partially because we’ve got the same sense of humor, and partially due to the Great Social Mediator known as alcohol.** Classy and her friends went as football players and referees. They were also drunk (but that might have been part of the whole costume theme).

Soon after, the Gancer arrived as Frankenstein, which was appropriate because he’s tall, and can pull off plugs better than anyone I know. Like Classy, Dr. Ken is a blog buddy who I’d never met until that night. And also just like Classy, we got along great from the beginning. (Although he tried engaging me in sports talk and because I couldn’t follow I could sense him begin questioning what kind of future we could possibly have as friends. But we did make plans to visit a tittie bar together in December for naked field goal kicking, so we’re cool.)

After a few hours, we all left Wellington’s (not before some dancing in the corner, where Laura had to save me from some the receiving end of your basic friendly drunken molestation) to head to another bar on Halsted. But to make a long story short, Fred, Laura and I didn’t quite make it (sorry Classy and Dr. Ken!), so the three of us ended up at their old local pub, where we befriended some folks dressed as Swiss, a Kleenex, a Gingerbread Man and some girls dressed in trashy, slutty outfits.***

Best conversation of the evening, between Fred, me and a girl dressed as Swiss Miss:
Swiss Miss: “So, like, what are you guys? Besides pandas, I mean.”

Us: “Nothing. Just pandas.”

Swiss Miss: “Oh.”

Swiss Miss: “So then where did you get the outfits?”

Me: “My grandma made them.”

Swiss Miss: “Really? Wow. Now I feel bad for making fun of you.”


So overall a great evening. Laughed a lot with Fred and Laura, finally met Classy and Dr. Ken face-to-face, and sported kick-ass panda outfits. Next up: Tuesday night’s Halloween parade on Halsted and cheering Dop and Kevin to win the costume contests afterwards.

In theory, that is. Because I don’t actually wash dishes or water plants.
And by “alcohol” I of course mean “plenty of it.”
Girls dressed trashy on Halloween?? Hard to believe, I know.