Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Have No Title For This Post

I need to take a few days off from blogging.

Work is kicking my ass (my 25 hour-per-week contract has stretched into 35 hours-per-week to prepare for a major work event in two weeks).

School is kicking my ass (quiz tonight, term paper due Monday, A&P final exam on Monday, final presentation on Wednesday).

So I leave you with the below, which I think really captures in a single photo the essence of my Friday evening in Seattle:
[Photo courtesy of Recken.]
All I can say is: It's a stuggle, livin' like a good boy oughta.

That, and: I'm Nobody's Monkey Boy.
Proper, bitches.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Going West

I'm off to Seattle for work for the rest of the week, then down to Portland for the weekend.

Very excited.

It will be good to get to both places, since Portland used to be home and I haven't been to Seattle in more than 3 years. Getting a good healthy dose of the Familiar will do me some good. On the agenda:

  • good Thai food (seriously, they're few & far between in Chicago)

  • many cocktails in Belltown with the Wingman and Kate

  • a cow chip cookie while I peruse Elliot Bay Company

  • Powell's, bitches!

  • not hanging out in a women's bathroom with Not Carrie

  • a little somethin-somethin from Local 35

  • a stiff drink from Muu-Muus or a beer at Doug Fir. Or both.

  • a run through Forest Park

  • American Dream Pizza

Yeah, there's no way I will get through half of the above, but we're going to give it a shot.

Bring It!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ghost of Myself

Not a Reliable Narrator posted the other day about what would happen if her teenage self could look into the future to see her current self, what would the teenage self think? Or the 20-something self?

It of course got me thinking about how I would answer. I think if either my teenage or my 20-something self were to spend 24 hours with me today and engage me in conversation, this would happen:
  • Teen Self: "Wow, you're kinda sad. Why should I even bother trying to get through high school and college if this is how you are going to end up?"
  • 20-Something Self: "Dude, what the hell is going on with you? I thought we were making real progress here. We've got good friends, on the path to a kick-ass job... Plus, we lost all that baby fat."
I'm kinda joking here, but there's some truth to it. My life right now is pretty strange and messed up. Compared to a few years ago, when I had a comfortable job (and while it didn't leave me very fulfilled, it did provide me with smart, funny and generally great co-workers and great opportunities that made it easy to get through the day); I lived in a city I loved surrounded by good friends; I owned my own home.

Today, I work for myself so that I can also take classes (which can be incredibly stressful and leaves me spending most of my day alone); going to school (after completing my Masters, it is someplace I never wanted to be again, and I grow continually frustrated at the amount of time it will take me to get my degree); am single; am living in a place I don't necessarily want to be; choose not to deal very well with my father's health issues; break down into tears almost daily ('cuz I find the best way to deal with tough situations is to cry); have a few good friends here in Chicago but I don't usually feel very social (most of whom don't know the "old" me, who I liked better than the "current" me); rent a tiny bedroom in an apartment I share with two other people (neither of whom I am overly friendly with) so that I can save money for school.

And most days I'm actually pretty OK with all of this. Not thrilled, obviously, but I'm in this strange situation because I made the choices - about my life, my relationships, and my career - that put me here. So I'm doing the mature thing and dealing with it. Getting through it.

Whatevs. It is late and I am tired and I still have to study for a quiz tomorrow and try and catch a plane.

(Back to regularly scheduled [Cherry]-ness tomorrow.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!Here's how I'll be celebrating:

  1. Taking Wendell G. out for an all-natural fruit smoothie.
  2. Doing this to every SUV driver I see (except I'll be flipping the "V" instead of the finger).
  3. Choosing not to shower today. Or use toilet paper.*

* This is really no different than any other day, though.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Keep Calm and Carry On

I recently purchased the above poster from artist SFGirlByBay.

It is a reprint of a British WWII propaganda poster created in 1939 by the Ministry of Defense when it was decided that the war with Germany was unavoidable and imminent. The poster was to be distributed throughout England with the purpose of informing King George VI's subjects that all capable measures were being taken to defend the country. However, the poster was never officially used and went unseen by most citizens.

The print now hangs on my bedroom door where I can see it both as the first and last thing as I rest my eyes. And although my chaotic life is nothing compared to that of Londoners living in constant fear of being blown to shit during WWII, I think the poster serves to give me some perspective. I'm a bit stressed that the semester is winding down (a few more quizzes, final exam and group presentations are on the immediate horizon) and I'm in the middle of planning/organizing a big conference for work taking place the week after finals. And because of this, I'm a bit freaked and not sleeping well.

So at least now I have something to stare at as I lay in bed. Not sleeping...

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Might Be a H.O.B. Whore

Last night my good friends Greg and Stacey came up from Indy for the Sara Bareilles show at House of Blues, which was sweet and fun. And we had a great time and I miss them.

Off topic: I stuffed my camera down my pants as to get it past security. Having cold metal and plastic snuggling your taint is a good time. Also off topic: If I was a straight single guy, this would have been my night. Wall-to-wall Bettys. (And some lesbians, too. But not a Geigh in sight, which is odd.)

But anyway. Sara looked pretty much just as she did in her "Love Song" video - down to the pretty, slender dress and the pulled-back hair. And she was clever and funny and sweet, and it got me all flustered and thinking about my
fantasy scenario, and at one point between songs I yelled: "I LOVE YOU SARA!" which got a few chuckles.

And then I remembered that just a few months ago I professed my love for Neil Finn
in the exact same way!! Is it the atmosphere at House of Blues? Or am I just a little bit of a (sexually confused) slut?

(Ed. Note: I know this post is ripe for snarky comments from some/all of you. But No Judging, people.)

PS -
5.4 earthquake hit Illinois this morning. And like most significant events, I slept right through it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm On The Boat Shoe Boat!

That right there is a photo of my latest purchase.

Yeah, they're boat shoes. And they're spectacular.

And I don't care how much you dislike them. I've been hankering to buy me some for several months now, and the write-up in this month's GQ sealed the deal (not to mention a story
from last summer in the NYT).

I never had a pair growing up (didn't really want them actually; mostly because they weren't considered cool on da South Side -- only the lame suburban kids wore them).

But I'm bringing the boat shoe back, bitches. Big time. And yes, they'll go sweetly with my favorite shorts, in case you were asking.

Bring on summer! PROPER!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's Hard Out Here for a Sunday Morning Alcoholic

For my Chicago readers: Did you know that you can't but alcohol before 11am on a Sunday?


Sunday I was heading to a Bloody Mary brunch and I volunteered to make and bring the Bloody Marys. It is a big responsibility but I felt that I was responsible enough to handle it, as did my hosts (mistake). I had ever intention of buying the materials in advance on Saturday afternoon/evening. But after a long day of
not studying and not catching up on some work projects, I decided to reward myself by putting on my pajamas (at 5:30!), eating Ranch flavored Wheat Thins and cheese spread, and watching "30 Rock" from Netflix on my computer and heading to bed around 10:30.* So needless to say, I never made it back out that night.**

Anyway, so Sunday morning I arrive at
Dominick's and head to the liquor section, and while there a voice comes over the PA system: "Attention customers, please be aware that no alcohol can be sold before 11am." What the hell?

Now, normally I would throw my arms in the air, curse audibly, and flick some innocent Dominick's employee the "V" sign (which has become my new favorite "fuck you" gesture -- see photo at left).*** But since there were people depending on me, I vowed not to give up and instead try another grocery store (in this case the ghetto Jewel in West Town), where maybe restrictions would be a bit more lax.

Turns out they weren't. There was an employee working the liquor section there watching the place like a hawk, not letting anyone step foot in her domain. She did however let me in to buy some non-alcoholic BM
**** mix.

Still not deterred, I came up with a plan: If I could sneak back in while she had her back
turned, I could grab a bottle of vodka and bring it to the checkout -- because I was convinced that the slacker 19-year old clerk working the register would not be aware of this ridiculous arcane law (after all, if I wasn't aware, he would not be either!) and I would get out of there with alcohol in hand.

So sure enough, I waited until the biddy stepped into the back room and -
bam!- like a puma I pounced on that vodka end cap and headed to the cashier. Unfortunately the cashier was on his game and I was deee-nied. To add insult to the injury, he also wouldn't sell me the non-alcoholic BM mix, because after a long discussion with both the cashier and the store manager (not kidding), I was informed that the computer has that item locked-out of the computer until 11am and there was no override. So naturally, I threw my arms in the air, cursed audibly (I actually said: "This is bullshit!"),and left, turning to flick them the "V" sign. as I walked out the door. (Yeah I totally showed them!)

it turned out, everything ended OK. Even though brunch started at 10, we were able to keep the thirsty guests at bay for an hour with a small bottle the hosts had. And at 11, I ran to Rothschild's Liquor store down the street to get the vodka. But let me tell you something: There's no experience quite like waiting outside Chicago's sketchiest liquor store on a Sunday morning with a half-dozen drunkards to buy alcohol. Where else can you see a woman yelling at her grandchild to quit her crying "for a minute so she can get her beer" while the guy behind you in line gets all up in your grill so he can set down his two fortys because his arms are shaking too much to hold them any longer. It is a soul-crushing experience. And naturally, I recommend it to all of you.

So to summarize:
  1. Don't even think about buying liquor before 11am in Chicago on Sunday.
  2. I'm calling the ACLU about this law, because it is total bullshit.
  3. I'm bringing the "V" symbol to America. Big Time. Because it is totally effective.
  4. Ranch flavored Wheat Thins and cheese spread is the bomb.
  5. Swear to God, I'm not really a loser. Seriously, I'm not. *****
* I'm no shrink, but I might be depressed.
Try not to be jealous.
Who am I kidding? I did it anyway.
Any excuse to write "BM" is funny.
***** I'm not, right?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Hot Summer Romance

I got me a new bicycle yesterday, a Specialized Sirrus in sleek black.

His name is Wendell G. (
Wendell means "wanderer" in German), - and he's spectacular.

The above photo is just an approximation, as Wendell is tricked out with all kinds of top-of-the-line commuter bike accoutrements - fenders, blinking lights, a rack for the back and -
hells yeah - a bell. He's even got an intricate award-winning lock system which locks my wheels and seat making him (or rather, his parts) much more difficult to be stolen. (Chicago ranks #2 in the US for bicycle thefts, but #1 in per-capita thefts. Isn't that awesome?) Wendell G. is the frickin' Batmobile of commuter bikes, yo.

He's almost too pretty to ride
*, but I'm confident that after just a few weeks of braving Milwaukee Avenue potholes and crazy-ass drivers, he'll have some sweet battle scars and won't be just another pretty face.

My other bike,
Veronica, has been good to me and I'm going to keep her close. She was the best $105 Craigslist investment I ever made. But she's getting a little long in the tooth (actually, she was already long in the tooth when I got her) and she's a big girl (I'm pretty sure she's made of iron and weighs around 80 pounds). And she's purple. The great things about Veronica are that if hit by a car, the car would have more damage, and nobody would want to steal her.

But I figured since I'm spending about an hour a day 3-4 times a week commuting to/from school and work, it was time to treat myself to an upgrade. The original plan was to buy something more down-market, but really, who was I kidding? I am a sucker for new, pretty, shiny things. And the sales guy was cute. And did I mention I was a sucker?

Anyway, I think Wendell G. and I are going to have a good summer. We'll go to Pitchfork, Lollapalooza, the Lakefront, rooftop parties, backyard barbecues, etc. Don't be jealous.

PS - this post is very timely, since it is fucking snowing outside at the moment.

* That's what she said.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's Raining McCain

Holy shit have you seen this video?

The McCain "girls" (I use that term loosely) are getting absolutely stinking... McCain. What does that mean, exactly, if it's raining McCain? It's raining dentures and double chins?

Who is the old biddy in this thing? And what's with the one on the right - is she mute? Actually, I'll bet this is a clever ploy by either Hilary or Obama to steal votes away from McCain.

I'm not sure which is more funny: the video itself or the comments on YouTube. I think commenter "thaintrain" says it best: "this is some dumb shit."

UPDATE - It's a Hoax!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Like They Always Say: It Isn't a Vacation in Mexico...

... until someone is rushed to the hospital to have her appendix removed.

[Sign in the waiting room of the Amat Hospital in downtown Cancun.]

So as I hinted before, the Cancun vacation was a lot of fun. It would be hard not to (condo on the beach, awesome weather, great friends gathered together for a reunion). But I, as well as my friends, learned a valuable lesson this time, which is: We're Getting Old.

It's true. The last time this same group of us got together for a Cancun adventure four years ago (thanks to Grandma and her time share), there were Daiquiris and Miami Vices, hours spent at the swim-up bar, drunken handstands in the pool, illicit partying with Canadian community college Spring Breakers, you name it.

This time there was a lot of sickness going around, tired parents and pregnant woman heading to bed by 10pm, one of us having to leave a day early for a work emergency, and the above mentioned emergency appendix removal at a local hospital.

These things tend to put a damper on the festivities.

Still, we did manage to have more than our share of good times: upping the already high alcohol content of our drinks on the beach with our own bottle of vodka (see photo on the left), Original Trannie Hookers and 1-800 Mexi-cock, the unfulfilled promise of La Tequila Pistola, crazy taxicab drivers, jamon rolls & hot peppers (muy delicioso!), me getting busted by cleaning staff for using the women's bathroom, and the usual watching (judging) of fat Midwesterners on the beach from our 5th floor balcony.

I just hope that when we do this again, we can all manage to stay out of the hospital (unless it's for an alcohol-related injury). Or awake past eleven (unless passed out from drinking all day). Because that would be, like, definitely more acceptable.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Open Letters (Special "The Airline Industry Can Suck It" Edition)

[Remember this Twilight Zone episode with the monster on the airplane wing? This was about the only thing that didn't happen to me during my travel day yesterday.]

My Cancun trip was great but not without some issues, which will be chronicled in my next post. But in honor of the 17 hour ordeal it took for me to get home yesterday (sadly that is not an exaggeration), I present you with the next installment of Open Letters.

PS - To all you Haters who commented that I seem to take a lot of vacations, I have only this to say: It isn't easy being me (as illustrated below).

Dear Mexicana Air Passengers On The 1:20 Flight to Miami Who Showed Up An Hour Before Your Flight:
Thanks for teaching me a valuable lesson that it does indeed pay to sleep in and show up late for your flight. While the rest of us did the responsible thing and arrived to the airport at least 2 hours before our international flights, a whole busload of you fuckers got special treatment by skipping the long lines and heading straight to the front desk as to not miss your flight. While I then had to wait even longer because you got to go ahead of me. Bravo! Oh, and also: Fuck You.

Dear Incompetent Mexicana Air Ticket Agent:
While I appreciate your effort to multitask and check several people in at the same time, I’d like to thank you for mixing up my passport with someone else's and leaving me identity-free in a foreign country. And thank you for trying to make
me look like the idiot when I asked you for my passport back and you insisted - in your snotty fey way - that you already gave it back to me when in actuality you not only did not give it back to me, you put it into a stack of passports that were handed back to someone else (!). Given the fact that at this point I had already been waiting in line for 90 minutes (see above open letter), I appreciated those long 5 minutes of waiting and praying that the woman passenger who did actually have it would come back to the counter and return it so that I would be able to leave the country.

Dear Benito Juarez International Airport:
Thanks for not turning on the air conditioner Saturday. It made my two-hour layover that much more pleasant. Oh, and also: I'm reasonably sure they sell vacuum cleaners in Mexico City. There's a Wal-Mart there somewhere. Look into it.

Dear Customs Lady at Zacatecas International Airport:
After searching my carry-on bag, thanks for telling me that I had to throw out the $12 worth of bottled water, Gatorade and Coke Zero (I was thirsty and needed to get rid of some pesos) that I purchased during the layover in Mexico City before I re-boarded the plane.
Yeah, I’ll get right on that. I understand you do things differently in Mexico, but that just doesn't make any sense. Eat me.

Dear Incompetent Mexicana Air Flight Attendant:
Thanks for spilling that kettle of scalding-hot water on the poor woman in 6-A, causing us to make an unplanned emergency stop in Dallas so that she could be treated at the fucking hospital, and prolonging the already long trip for the rest of us by another hour. I hope you and the airline have a good lawyer.

Dear CTA Blue Line:
Thanks so much for NOT posting a sign at O’Hare letting us know you’re doing track work and that the line between Cumberland and Jefferson Park is fucking closed. Had I known, I would have taken a fucking cab and gotten home at 2:30 am instead of 3:30 am. Go fuck yourselves.

Dear Drunken Smelly Vagrant In My Train Car:
Normally the incredible odor radiating from your being and permeating the whole fucking car alone would be enough for a shout-out, but I’d really like to thank you for waiting until the train left the Jefferson Park station towards the city before you woke suddenly from your drunken stupor, stumbled over to my end of the car, and whipped it out to empty the entire contents of your bladder onto the floor directly opposite of where I was sitting. It was the icing on the cake of my shitty travel day, and just the kind of “Welcome Back to Chicago” message I was lacking. Hats off to you!