Wednesday, May 31, 2006

18th and Blue Island

There's always a little something going on there. Whether it's a bunch of local dudes and their pigeon friends hanging out, a drum circle, or even a mariachi band, it's an intersection unlike no other in a neighborhood that has one hell of a personality.

Last week I was deplaning off the 60 when I looked over across the street and saw a bunch of white tents. Hmmm. What have we here, I thought. Pilsen Fashion Week? Nah. An open air orgy? Maybe, it is May afterall. While I stood there and squinted at the sign hanging near the tent, a gentleman handed me a flyer explaining what was going on.

It was a hunger strike. Two women--Elvira Arellano and Flor Crisostomo--are on said strike until President Bush declares a moratorium on deportations. Geez, I thought, I should check this hunger strike out. There was a problem though.

I was really, really hungry. Starving actually.

Am I bad person? I wanted to go home and eat dinner and I figured they'd be around for awhile. Even though I was going out of town for a couple of days, I thought they weren't going anywhere because God knows the only moratorium Bush declared is one on intelligence, decency, and the hope that America will ever be respected again.

Well here it is a week later and I left the grocery store (no food, just laundry soap and some awesome $1 dryer sheets) and walked past the tents tonight. There was an NBC5 truck and a few people--everyone looked in reasonably good health. But I didn't stop.

Because I had no idea how one "checks out" a hunger strike.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sorry Jen, didn't mean to trample ya

I now know how I would react when mob rule takes over a crowd. After just the teeniest tiniest bit of hesitation, I’ll go right along with the flow.

Yesterday I was part of that throng of stalkers hanging out by the Music Box to star gaze. I’ve had a long time love affair with Vince Vaughan (I started dating him in my head after JFK Jr. died) and was like, “HELL YEAH!” when my friend Jennifer called and asked if I was in for checking out our first big-time movie premiere. Janel (yes, she made the blog again) took no convincing to join us either. And as Jennifer we put it, we’ve been training all our lives for this moment, what with reading volumes of celebrity magazines, hours of watching EXTRA!, and sitting through Oscar telecast after telecast each year.

While we grabbed a bite beforehand (we needed some sustenance for all that pushing and shoving we were in for) we tried to list the stars we’d thought we’d see. Jon Favreau, John Cusack, David Schwimmer. . . maybe even George Clooney--Jennifer’s only-in-her-head boyfriend.

But what we got was that kid from Ed, you know that guy who’s in those new Mac commercials? And Rod Blagojevich—possibly the nation’s dorkiest Governor—was rightfully booed when he got out of his vehicle and tried to work the crowd. (Dude, you’re killing me enough as Governor. Stay out of my celebrity fantasy land.)

We did see what we really came for—Vince and Jennifer Aniston. And I want personally to apologize to Jennifer for that mad rush that almost swallowed the little gal up when she got out of her limo. But it wasn’t our fault. There wasn’t nearly enough cops to hold our insurgency back. I guess Don Rumsfeld must have coordinated the security.

When the crowd initially ran into Southport, Janel and I paused for second and looked at each other—Jennifer was long gone, probably making out with Vince at this point—and we shrugged and ran up with the rest of the herd.

As we watched some idiots climb up on an SUV to take pictures, Janel said, “They didn’t do a very good job controlling us, did they?”

I thought that was pretty funny.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Today when I left Northwest train station (I know, it's been Ogilvie for like a decade) I made the decision that I was going to hate everyone on my bus. Most days I'm indifferent, somedays I'm all "wow, isn't life grand and how cool it is that we can all coexist" and shit, but today I was going to be a hater. And I was going to start while I was waiting for the 60.

Since my iPod battery crapped out about two minutes into my train ride, I was quite glad that I remembered to bring some reading along to thwart off any potential small talkers. And I was most thankful that my bus wait was coinciding with a rare pocket of clear weather. While I was both cursing the shitty job I did last night with the self tanning lotion (my feet look really fucking odd) and enjoying this very good book I hear this off to my left:

"Hey pretty! Preetttttyyyy!"

Pretty? Clearly someone was talking to me. I turned my head.

"Are you a new momma?" the dude asked, gestering to my breasts with his eyes. I looked down at my chest to make sure I left the "open for public comment" sign I usually wear around my neck at the office. Nope. No sign.

Derelict or not, I was pissed.

"Am I a new momma? No, I am not a new momma!"

"Oh." He wasn't finished. "I know you know my face."

He was right. I've seen him on the bus before. "Yep. Seen ya on the bus," I snapped and went back to my book.

Now if I was half the man I claim to be, I would have said the following:

Yeah, I know who you fucking are. You are that total wierdo who can't seem to shut the fuck up for a single second once you get your sorry ass on the 60. And that day you sat near me last month and ate those disgusting pork rinds from Madison all the way to Roosevelt? Brutal. And then that chick totally took some when you offered them to her? I wanted to throw up. Oh, and could you please tell me why you need to carry on a conversation with the driver when you ARE STANDING ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK?"

Maybe I'll see him tomorrow.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Why you gotta be down on Opie?

I think everyone owes Opie Cunningham an apology. I saw Da Vinci Code yesterday, and it wasn't so bad. I, infact liked it, didn't love it or anything like that, but liked it. Just a perfectly respectable movie based on an O.K. book that had a very interesting premise. Tom Hanks' hair deserved a one-star demotion to be sure, and I'm personally not a fan of French accents. But other than that, I find this backlash curious.

I honestly don't know what's worse--people who can't bear anything resembling a challenge to their religion, or the critics/literati/know it all's who can't let me read crap books and see preposterous films in peace without trying to make me feel dumb.

The negative buzz leading up to the Da Vinci Code opening made me think of an old classmate from my days at Columbia. Catherine--a hyperactive, narcissistic cinematography student--told our seminar one day about how horrified she was when she went to see Moulin Rouge and a few middle-aged women were bad mouthing the film afterwards. She proudly declared to everyone, "And I told them, 'YOUR IGNORANCE IS BLINDING!'" The class seemed stunned.

"I fucking hated that movie. I couldn't finish it," I said.

And then I shot the sniveling little bitch.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blessed are the drunk

Among my friends, we have a rule. When going out, never EVER say aloud that you plan on taking it easy, you're just having a couple of beers, you want to get up early the next day, etc.. Because as soon as someone utters anything to that effect, you've challenged fate. The barley and hops gods will become displeased and the night, most likely will end up butt-ugly. You'll take everyone down with you and even prayers to St. Intoxicatius--the patron saint of the drunk and disorderly--will not save you.

Last night I dragged a friend out whose name pops up on this blog frequently. Janel met me at the train station and we preemptively grabbed some food to ensure that we didn't end up in a gutter, in an E.R, or worse yet--speed dating. On the agenda was the Schadenfruede's Rent Party (the greedy bastards are making this a regular thing now--cool cuz now I know what I'll be doing every third Friday until 2036 when that asteroid hits Earth.)

Janel had plans to go out of town later today so she wanted to take things easy. "I'm not staying out late tonight," she cautioned.

Uh-oh. Now she did it. Immediately I knew there would be no rising before noon today.

"Ok. Sure. Whatever." I said and we both knew never to speak of it again.

After sitting at the Bucktown bar where Schadenfruede all at once terrified, enthralled, and entertained the masses gathered to help them pay the rent on their studio, we went to a post-show gathering at a bar a few blocks over on Damen. We weren't there very long before I noticed a pair of legs laying on the floor. I quickly made sure Janel was upright. She was, and dancing a little so all was good.

The girl was helped over to a chair near where we were standing. While she tried to get her shit together, I noticed Janel was kind of staring at her. Not only that, she was dancing--slightly at this point--while she was staring at Passed Out girl. It was pretty weird.

"Dude, cut it out!" I said. There is a drinkers code of ethics we adhere to. We never act soberer than thou if someone can't hold their liquor as well as corn-fed small town Illinois girls.

We continued our circuit training of beer beer cigarette beer cigarette cigabeerette beer when the incomparable Justin from Schadenfreude worked himself into a jukebox frenzy. (note: Jukebox Frenzy is a condition I identified in 1993 where one shovels a lot of dough into a jukebox in order to (a) play all their favorite songs from age 10 on, and (2) completely monopolize the joint's music so hillbilly skanks can't play Tobey Keith).

Now to the untrained eye, Janel and I dancing last night to Salt and Peppa's "Shoop" might have seemed like we thought we are good dancers. But in fact, it was an AUDITION for the next Schadenfreude show. A post modern study of the mother/whore dichotomy challenging the misogynist culture of Bucktown bars if you will.

And Justin, how'd we do?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Moronic slob: Now the official mindset of America

I’m not going to waste anyone’s time with a post invoking the Statue of Liberty on this English-as-our-official-language shit being crapped out of Congress. I haven’t the energy and I’m supposed to be working right now anyway.


Are we nation of toddlers whose attention can be snagged by waving a shiny object in front of our face? This trainwreck of an administration can do whatever the hell it wants because all they need to do is trot out non issue after non issue and all is forgotten.

Apparently the American public can only sustain passion on a question when it comes to whether or not a couple of lesbians can get married, or how quickly Jorge Martinez can learn English. Starting ill-planned wars on a hunch? Eh, whatever.

The Republicans better start getting creative. Gays and immigrants: so easy. What are they going to do after the first bombs on Iran are dropped?

It had better be good. If only for the entertainment value.

Oh, and this is what they don't want us to pay attention to.
Ramadi vay-kay anyone?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

All Aboard?

This is week three of the "Days When I Commuted to the Burbs" chapter of my life.

Initially I planned to carpool with a barely-21 year old coworker when my company moved from downtown to the Western suburbs. It sounded like a good idea at first. And it lasted about a week until I realized that if I wanted to live to see 34, I'd better think long and hard about taking the train. When the guy driving you says, "You might want to hold on, this part's gonna get rough," and the only thing between you and a concrete barrier is a prayer, it's time to get it out.

I told Mr. Nascar if I could be drunk during our rides, I'd be able to handle his driving (80 mph, driving on shoulders, creative lane changes, etc.) Loading up on bloodys for breakfast isn't terribly conducive to being a productive employee, so it was time for plan B. And besides, I'm saving drinking at my desk for my 40s.

So week two kicked off with me buying a Metra pass, getting up at 5 a.m., and officially moving one major step closer to becoming one of "them." What do I mean by them? Wednesday I saw this woman on the bus with her comfortable shoes, windbreaker, no fuss hair cut, and various transit passes hanging smartly around her neck. She is obviously good at this sort of commute. I don't want to get the hang of it. I don't want to be one of them. God help me.

Some of you may think, especially my suburban brothers and sistas, "Wowza, can this girl whine. Just go to work already! Fair enough but for 10 years my intercity commute is when I've done some of my best thinking. The city is inspiring. In early 1997, I singlehandedly solved all the world's problems one morning between Belmont and Jackson on the Blue Line. And I know exactly what I'd say when I'm interviewed by David Letterman upon release of my new, yet unwritten, yet unpublished book. I figured that out one afternoon years back taking the 7 from Columbia back to my old apartment on Lexington Ave.

So at present my time is spent worrying that I'm going to leave my $95 pass sitting in that clippy thing on the seat in front of me. Or that I'm going to miss my stop. Worse still, the Metra trains on the reverse commute run once every 34 years so I can't risk stopping for coffee for fear of missing the train.
And a decaffeinated Angie is not a happy Angie.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

You told number two we sleep together?!

Once in a while, you end your day in a way that is miles from how you imagined it.

About two weeks ago I got an Evite from a friend to attend his Second City Improv class end-of-session show for Saturday afternoon. He told me to bring some friends, so I asked my pal Janel to go, using the magic word "bender" as we would begin cocktailing at precisely 2 p.m.

After Mr. Improv's show (very funny btw) we attended the post-show party and then jetted across the street to a pub to get some food and plan the rest of the day. There was a full house near the bar, so I scanned the place and found an empty table in the back. I asked the guys at the neighboring table if the spot was vacant, they nodded yes and the six of us became fast friends. BFFs even.

There was Dan and Jeff, who had just finished their beginners improv show. They also do stand up along with Bob. And Brian--a corporate whore by trade--gets to attend all their shows, cheer them on, and try to romance comedy groupies I suspect.

We drank a lot, laughed a lot, forgot about eating, and since I consider myself to pretty funny, I enjoyed the competitive nature of trying to one up eachother. The guys asked us what we were doing with the rest of the evening.

Janel and I looked at eachother, then at our beers, and then at eachother.

"Uh, this pretty much," I said.

"We're going speed dating," Brian said. He wasn't joking. We we're hanging out with veteran speed daters apparently.

A drunken lightbulb appeared above my head. I was pretty sure Janel saw it and began to rethink her friendship with me.

"Well if you're going speed dating, then we're going speed dating!" My mind started conjuring up the stories that could come out of this.

"No way. Fuck that. I am not going speed dating." Janel said.

"Dude, WE ARE GOING SPEED DATING!" I was going to win this one.

After explaining to her how important this was going to be for my career (don't ask) and acknowleding that my blog has suffered as of late--and after plying her and myself with more alcohol, she agreed. We exchanged numbers and told the guys we'd meet them at Lucille's.

We sucked up our beers and a couple of cigarettes and soon found ourselves in the 2400 block of North Lincoln Avenue. We walked into the restaurant/bar and began to revisit my decision when I saw white tablecloths, candles, numbered spots and women who showed up early and who clearly took some time to make themselves presentable.

Presentable. Now that's a concept. Janel and I were both in jeans, reeking of smoke, and pretty darned drunk at this point. I asked the cruise director if it was too late to get in on the action.

"Uh, we want to speed date."

"No problem. You're a friend of a member?"


"What's his name?"

"I don't know. Lemme call him real quick."

Thankfully, they were close behind. And they would have been there sooner, if one hadn't stopped to change clothes and douse himself in cologne. We all registered, grabbed our sheets to track our 3 minute dates, and hit the open bar.

Turns out I was right. There's a lot of material to be had at a speed dating event. Example. A middle aged guy gravitated to our table during the pre-dating cocktail hour. In his hand was a plate loaded with appetizers. One of guys gave him a stern warning:

"Don't over do it, man. This is speed dating. You don't want to cramp up."

Once we took our seats and the guys started moving from table to table, the fun really started.

Janel was several feet away from me, but with her beyond audible voice, I was able to keep tabs on her closely. This even over the din of 70 people chatting eachother up. I even missed a few guys, ignoring them, because I was so amused with watching her.

"That's my friend over there," I told one guy. "She's an asshole." We thought it was very funny to bad mouth each other to the bachelors.

I was talking to another guy, when I heard a familiar shriek.


We were definitely making some lasting impressions.

I actually ended up interested in a couple of guys. One, a gentlemen from Sweden, seemed geniunely captivated by me declaring my undying love for IKEA. Later I heard Janel ask him, "What are you, Scottish?"

Another, a guy who had a bit of an allergy attack while we talked, was awfully cute and quite a departure from my usual meat head tastes.

"I have to tell you that I'm not hypoallergenic," I said while he sneezed and rubbed his eyes. "Nor have I been tested on animals."

"Well you should have a label then," he said.

"Yes, I should. And I swear a lot." I said.

"You sweat a lot?" he asked, eyebrows raised.


"Oh, well that's ok." he said.

I gave him a once over. "I'm putting you down as a yes."

He left the table, and I leaned over to the girl next to me and said. "You better stay away from him."

"Uh, don't worry,"she said.

After the dating was over, we met back at a table where the guys filled us in on their conquests. Apparently Brian was hurting Bob's chances by telling girls they had a relationship that was more than just friends. And Janel didn't fill out her sheet at all, prompting Bob and Jeff to fill it out for her--marking down every guy as a yes.

They turned it in.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Here's a picture of me on the #60 taken today at 6 pm

"It's warmer in the interior of Alaska than it is here in Chicago," said Tom Skilling, WGN weatherman extraordinare, about five minutes ago. Right now it's 42 degrees outside my window, but it feels like 33 degrees. I really shouldn't be expected to go to work tomorrow.

Enduring crappy weather is our solemn duty in Chicago. But can someone explain to me how, no matter what direction you are walking in, the icy wet wind will always be blowing right into your sleep-deprived face? Anyone?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

No more boze!

A co-worker of mine, and now fellow city to suburbs train commuter was not her usual chipper self when I plopped down in the seat next to her.

“Hey,” I said, greeting her at the God-forsaken hour of 6:50 a.m.

“I feel like SHIT.”

“You got a cold or something?” I asked, not realizing that it’s entirely possible that I’m not the only one capable of coming to work hungover.

“I’m hungoverrrrrrr,” She replied and then ran down the list of stuff she drank last night. Shots of Jameson, beer after beer after beer. I was going to throw up just listening to her.

We have a car pick us up every morning for the last leg of the journey. While I entertained our driver with my morning rants about the state of the world, woozy whiskey girl started coughing like a emphysema patient.

“Ah, man. I sure hope I don’t barf or something awful like that,” She said. “We have such a nice bathroom." She's right. We just moved from a century-old warehouse near the Chicago River. We're still amazed at our working plumbing and squeaky-clean environs.

Looks like someone hasn't learned her lesson. She might be at it again soon--the following message just popped up:

"I just got an invite to go to the Kit Kat club tomorrow night at 9! I am going to die! No more boze (sic)!"

Ah, the all-too-familiar No more boze pledge.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Funky Town: Now a suburb of Chicago

Last night I spent the evening in the Northwest suburbs with some lady friends who dwell out in those parts. We had two objectives: one was to see one pal's new apartment and drink her beer, and the other was to bust out a mother of two who had spent the day with her family at Elmopalooza.

We settled in at Durty Nelle's in Palatine where the menu included burger, beer, and three decades of cover bands.

The 70s band (pictured above during a WGN appearance) called the Aphrodisiacs were decked out in Disco Stu attire, theatrical, and fun to watch. The guys then repackaged themselves as the Spasmatics to cover the 80s with the lead singer wearing a neckbrace. While I was thinking that I didn't quite get that part of his costume, he must of read my mind because he dropped to his knees and started simulating how he performs oral sex on a woman, while noting that the neck brace helped him in that endeavor. It was a shocking display as I was sure oral sex is illegal in the suburbs.

The last band of the night--covering 90s and more recent heavily played radio songs--really took their job seriously. And by really, I mean REALLY. Since I wasn't drunk, just awfully relaxed and slightly silly, I had the presence of mind to stand there and be as judgy and critical as possible. And yes, I still shook my ass from time to time, so they weren't all that bad.

"WE'RE FUCKING PARTYING!" Hissed the lead singer, who was wearing a T-shirt that read, I love rock. But the word "love" was represented by a pentagram, encased in a circle. This guy was bad ass. He continued to massage the crowd.

"RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE!" someone yelled behind me. He was ignored.


I'm in the pill? I looked at my friend, Elmopalooza mom and she said, "Hey, I don't live here."

When the band struck up the beginning of The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army, Mr. Bad Ass bit his bottom lip and started to punch the air with both arms to the drum beat, almost as if he was doing bench presses. He urged the crowd to follow suit. One of my friends immediately obliged.

"Don't do what he tells you to do," I said, scolding her.

She immediately stopped and looked down at her feet.

Then he started to sing, prompting someone on stage to push the "CHOICE VOCAL EFFECTS" button, because this is what I heard:

I'm going to fight 'em off
A seven nation army couldn't hold me back
They're gonna rip it off. off off off off off off off off off off off off off off

Friday, May 05, 2006

Doctors now prescribing Jim Beam

Full disclosure. I love the Kennedys. Unless one of them drives me off a bridge or into a barricade, I don't see that changing. Ever. And while I loves me some Kennedys, I know enough to never, ever accept a ride home from one.

Clearly, Patrick Kennedy was still drunk when he offered up an explanation for his accident. He said prescription medication made him all loopy and out of sorts.

"Sometime around 2:45 a.m., I drove the few blocks to the Capitol complex believing I needed to vote," he said. "Apparently, I was disoriented from the medication."

Oh, Patrick, dear drunk Patrick. At least we know even inebriated, this Kennedy has his constituents first and foremost on his booze-soaked mind.

It's too bad he couldn't hire away some of Cheney's spin team. I sure hope he tried.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Vagina Monologue

To get the stink of the suburbs off of me (because I apparently work there now) I took an awfully long walk after work tonight.

While hoofing it up Halsted, my shuffle started playing "Fat Bottomed Girls," as if to goad me into walking faster. Stupid shuffle. I skipped ahead to the next song and just tried to suck up the citiness of it all. Traffic, pedestrians, homeless, cops, half-built kajillion dollar single family homes off the Dan Ryan Expressway. Ahhh. Life was good again.

Before I knew it, I was up in my old neighborhood--Little Italy-- and decided to pay my old bosses a visit on Taylor Street. Jeez, Ang, that's quite a walk you're on, they said and I helped myself to some bottled water, grabbed a seat to shoot the breeze, Taylor Street style.

There was lot of "@#$%" and some of "&%$#@!" and then someone said, well, "@#%^@%!!" And then I said, "you ain't kiddin." Before long it was time for me to head home to avoid the whole nightfall and danger lurking around every corner thing.

So off I went.

Heading back down Halsted, I ducked into a 7/11 because I needed some tampons. I walked over to the beyond-over-priced section where they keep the stuff you should get at Target, but you didn't last Friday because apparently you forgot you had a vagina. There I see just about everything--pads, this, that, and the other--but no tampons.

Bold as can be I walked up to the counter. And there they were, safely guarded by the 7/11 guy. These tampons would not be getting into the wrong hands, thanks to the convenience store powers-that-be.

"I'll take a box of regular tampax," I said, unaffected as if I was ordering a latte.

7/11 guy got all spastic and stumbled over to the boxes. Regular tampax?

"Uh, the yellow ones. Yep. . . Them. That's cool."

"That'll be $3.05," he said, not looking me in the eye.

Anyway, that exchange made my day. Or at the very least, my early evening.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Finally, a winning strategy for Iraq

In today's Chicago Sun-Times, crime reporter Frank Main writes about Chicago gangbangers who are serving in Iraq. Our hometown heroes, according to the article, are making us proud with their graffiti and all around wholesome gangsta nature. (Picture at right is the work of a Latin King, a Little Village gang.)

It turns out the military's new found we'll-take-anyone approach to recruiting has given us soldiers who have criminal backgrounds, and known gang ties before entering the military. And even better, gang bangers wearing the uniform are saying their leaders urged them to join so they could bring their urban warfare skills home to Chicago, L.A., and New York, among other places.

A familiar quandry, no? Haven't we been concerned for the last few years about Al Qaeda sending their guys into Iraq for training?

When I read this, I thought, "man, just when you think you couldn't be more pissed off about this war." But, inherently I'm a positive gal. Maybe this is a good thing. The insurgents will get up close and personal with the craziest American bastards we can serve up, and probably more importantly, gangbangers will become better shots and hit their targets--eachother--instead of kids playing in parks.