Friday, September 29, 2006

Here's something for ya

My coworker made a McDonald's run, and for some reason I felt this incredible urge to have a happy meal. The six piece McNuggets didn't make me particularly happy, but the Little Mermaid barrette (I'm wearing it as I type) made me very happy.

The party I was sweating went well last night. I'm in a very male-dominated business (gay porn), and the guys loved the fresh flowers, jazz/blues, and slides from my company's 90+ year past reflecting hugely on a wall. We had a local cable TV station here and I thought they were sending an interviewer along with the camerman. No such luck. So it was me acting like Diane Sawyer, asking my boss questions, with both of us trying not to laugh. I kept saying, you're going to edit this, right? RIGHT? Hilarious. Everything went by super fast, so I never had any time to drink even water until an hour past when it was supposed to end (My brother called this morning, worried that I didn't keep my no drinking pledge. He was geniunely nervous.) No worries. One and a half beers, some entertaining banter with customers, and I was on my way home.

Is this the Land of Lincoln, or the Land of Gutting Pregnant Women and Taking their Babies? You can hardly swing a dead cat around in this state without hitting an honor box holding a newspaper with the headline: PREGNANT WOMAN GUTTED, FETUS MIA. Enough of these stories. I'm starting to miss the old days when the news media was super obsessed with pit bull attacks.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm ready for my closeup!

There are couple of things I learned last night at the last of my introductory writing workshops at The Second City--I'm a terrible actress, and I haven't done nearly enough drugs over the years.

After running through about a dozen sketches that we beginners attempted to give an actor-like reading, some obligatory drinking was to be had at the Old Town Ale House. I was dead tired, but I hadn't self medicated at all over the weekend, and a couple of beers seemed to be in order.

As usual, only the strongest survive these things, so around midnight it was just me and about a half dozen guys--a few of whom actually moved from far away places like Baltimore and Seattle solely to attend Second City. Sitting next to them, I thought, shit, these guys might actually become famous. They're fucking funny, most certainly weird, and they have some major drug creds. I'm not sure where the instructor hailed from (he's just a 27-year-old pup) but he told a funny story about first moving to Chicago to get into comedy. He didn't know a soul and felt like an idiot going to a bar alone. So he spent the better part of two weeks in his tub drinking whiskey and listening to his clock radio until his classes started.

Seattle guy then started talking about "corporate types" who take Second City classes because it was either comedy writing or yoga. I was like, uh that's kind of me, dude. He immediately acknowledged that I clearly could hang, because I was such a good sport when he cast me as the patient trying to get pap smears from two bogus gynecologists in his scene (I'm a method actor, fyi). We also acted together as husband and wife in Baltimore guy's sketch. Totally killed.

The conversation turned to drugs. Seattle guy recalled his days in high school when he was heavy HEAVY into psychedelic drugs. Baltimore guy said he got his best weed as a Marine in Desert Storm. Another guy maintained that everyone should shroom and take ecstasy at least once, and I'm like, well I do take an awful lot of ibuprofen when the ol' cramps start getting bad. That was my contribution.

After some more stories about following the Dead, and things of that ilk that I knew it was time for me to call it a night. Some of the guys decided to go on to worlds that beer alone couldn't take them--I'm certainly not one to judge--since I went on a little self destructive binge myself. This one involved a phone and a gentleman who should know better thant to answer his phone after midnight.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Someone needs to change Brit Hume's batteries

Let's settle this once and for all.

9/11 is Monica Lewinsky's fault.

I stayed home all weekend (10 glorious hours of sleep each night) and this morning I felt so great, so refreshed, I decided I could handle Fox News. And I'm glad I did, because I wouldn't have wanted to miss one second of Chris Wallace interviewing Bill Clinton.

Wallace, a giddy little twit, opened up the interview saying (and I'm paraphrasing), "geez Mr. President, I'm soooo surprised at this, but we got a TON of viewer emails asking me to pose the following question to you: Why were you such a wimpy loser who wanted to be Osama's BFF instead of killing him like a big strong manly Republican would?"

Bubba freaked. He then opened up a can of hillbilly whup ass on him, and when Wallace started giving him the "Why are you getting so upset?"routine, it got worse. Seriously, how could he not want to choke Wallace (uh, cuz I'm sure he could take him) when as Clinton said after 9/11 and everything since, "We have a President who thinks Bin Laden and Aghanistan is 1/7 as important as Iraq."

Here's where Monica comes into play. Remember when the story broke right about the time the movie "Wag the Dog" came out? Clinton reminded Wallace that when he ordered cruise missiles to hit Bin Laden and his squad's training camps in Afghanistan, that Republicans flipped out and said Clinton was trying to deflect attention from the afternoon delight Monica offered up, because they are so oddly fucking obsessed with sex. No one was saying, heck we've got a serious threat here and we're getting behind you.

Thusly, Clinton stopped. And shame on him for that. If only he had chosen a different mouth, imagine how the last several years would have played out.

So this all, humorously I think, is about a couple of blowjobs that the Republicans will never EVER get over.

As for Clinton and the Democrats: Please stop getting mad, and start winning elections.

I'm begging you.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Finally cleaning out sent email box

And I found these re: lines from messages I've sent. I thought they were funny. As for the content of these messages. . . only their lucky recipients and I will ever know.

And by quirky, I mean wierdo
My uterus
I'm evil
I look and feel like shit today
An unfortunate choice of words
Reason to not have kids, no. 1,754
How can I not sleep with thim when he says. . .
Did you survive?
I'M HUNGRY!!!!!!!
I ain't sayin she a homewrecker
This is TMI in the Worst Way, but I can't blog about this and I'm BUSTING!
I'm soooooooo over you
Jobs are for suckers
I see your Afghani and I raise you an Iranian
I'm a moron
I'm retarded
. . . and another thing!
Are you ready to puke?
Good Afternoon, Mr. Tuna

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Late lunchtime scraps

Party Girl 2

E-tard is right, I shouldn't tease. This morning I was thinking about some more of my work-related party antics. This one time, at printing camp, I spent three days drinking by night and touring printing presses by day. This printer--located in the great state of Wisconsin--put us up in these cabins, and then let all their customers loose in a sea of booze. I ended up sending a drunken fax to my office at like 2 a.m. one night. Forever on top of my game, I called the next morning to make sure they received it. "Uh, yeah. . . we got it alright," the receptionist confirmed.


I watched the last few minutes of the Grey's Anatomy season finale last night, a show I'm totally into. I am concerned with what's going to happen with Meredith--all summer I've been on edge. Mc Dreamy? Chris O'Donnell? Who? WHO? However, watching it again now made me realize how crazy ridiculous it is. It's mainly the scoring with songs from "The Fray" and "Snow Patrol" at these super dramatic moments like when what's-his-name picks up Izzy from Dead Denny's bed. It made me wonder if my life would be different with a soundtrack. Jerky ex-beau comes back, tries to be all romancy and sad-eyed, but I give him my best Miles Standoffish imitation. What if a Goo Goo Dolls song started up at a pivotal moment? Would I make the same choice? I also saw an awesome parody of Grey's Anatomy on Mad TV this summer that might have something with my new found criticism.

And yeah, I'm all over this show tonight.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Party Girl

I'm planning a pretty big party here at work--one where alcohol will be served--and have told a coworker or two that I've been forbidden to drink during said shindig.

"Oh my God, who said you can't drink?"

"Uh, I said."

I have pre-emptively cut myself off as a way to thwart the Ghosts of Work Parties Past. Some highlights:

It all started in 1994, when as an intern in D.C. I got loaded on wine at a function (attended by Bill Clinton) that required me mixing with members of Congress and the Secret Service. I kept it together, as best as a 22-year-old drunk on White Zin and politics could throughout the event, but ended up putting a cigarette hole in my dress, and making out with a married, uber-Creepy State Senator from the East Coast later that night. Yuck. I didn't make it to work the next day, and my supervisor then (now a big wig in the Democratic Party) was quite impressed.

And then there were the publishing years, which required the occasional dinner with Smithsonian folks at the University Club. I had a partner in crime then--Mr. Bottle-a-Day Art Director--and the two of us would bail out of the boring conversations early and head to Buddy Guy's. I'd wait for his lead. He'd let out a heavy sigh, slam his glass down, and declare, "I AM OUT OF HERE!" Subtle. But it worked. And we'd get a couple of people to leave with us.

Also during my stint at the publishing company, I attended a 30th anniverary party for the first magazine my rich, eccentric bosses started. Two great moves on my part: I told my boss off, and somehow still maintained my job. And I told his boss, who was wearing pants, "You have a beautiful dress on." (It was dark, and she was sitting down.)

This list is endless. But my 6 minute lunch break is over. I have to get back to work. And when the caterer comes this afternoon, I can tell him we'll be less one for the bar.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New blog smell

Pardon my dust, as my brilliant cartoonist and I work out a few kinks on the my new and improved page.

Hey, not that I can't write without apostrophes from here on out, but does anyone know how to get rid of the weird characters that are showing up? Anyone? Anyone?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Friday Night Lights

On Friday night I was back at my old high school to watch my niece perform in the marching band. She’s got a little bit of the Goth thing going on, loves punk music and seems to be carving out a different path for herself. Fine by me, because 20 years ago when I started that school I was listening to Debbie Gibson and reading Sassy.

We parked nearby at my Druncle Mark’s lady friend’s house. It was after 7 on a Friday, and surprisingly he was fairly sober. Sandy on the other hand, was on another planet. I introduced myself quickly, and we headed over to the stadium.

With the Who’s “Teenage Wasteland” appropriately blaring over the loud speakers, Chadtee, Staceytee, Zachtee, and I found seats a few rows back from this guy who, in 1986, I thought was one of the hottest things on earth. He was a senior when I was a freshman, and let me tell you, he’s still gorgeous. He has a blonde wife, and five (I think that’s how many I counted) blonde kids squirmed around him. I made a mental note that if I am to take a husband, he must be a hot husband.

They had maybe two too many kids for them to handle, because we watched one girl—about five or so—eat the paper her parents had brought for her to draw on. I noticed what she was up to when she was about three-quarters of the way through a sheet. I nudged Chad.

“Yeah, that’s her second sheet,” he said, laughing.

“Maybe she’s part billy goat. Should we get involved?” I asked, because the girl’s mom seemed to be distracted by her husband’s hotness and didn’t notice her daughter sitting next to her devouring her artwork.

“No, it’s none of our business,” he said. He was right. Maybe she was on special paper diet. Thankfully, she got her mom’s attention and showed her what she was up to.

I got up to get a soda, and saw a few people I know. One guy, a local probation officer, cringed when I suggested that I wished I had more than soda to drink.

“That’s illegal,” he said, to which I replied, “Yeah, well the last time I was in (the stadium), I broke in.” It’s true, last summer after a friend’s bachelorette party, a few of us hopped the fence at about 4 a.m. and ran the field.

After we watched Kaylla play the xylophone during the half-time show, Chad said it was time to go. In the car on the way home, Zach browbeated his father. “Uh dad, why did we have to leave? Dad? Dad? Why?” His mother assured him that they’d come back again for another game—without my brother.

“Uh, because it wasn’t fun?” Chad said.

I tried to distract Zach and gave him a dollar for the two front teeth he recently lost.

“Can I call you Angela?” he asked.

“Sure, that’s technically my name. Hey, you should put that dollar in your pocket. Or don’t you have pockets?”

Just eight-years-old, Zach has inherited our family knack for sarcasm and smart-assery.

“Uh, don’t you think if I had pockets, that the dollar would be in them?”

Thursday, September 14, 2006

She's blogging about boogers?

Early 20th Century New York had Typhoid Mary, and contemporary Chicago has a little known, but very serious public health threat.

His name is Boogerstache. And I had all but forgotten him until yesterday.

It was a lovely day in Chicago several years back when friends and I were dining and drinking alfresco at a neighborhood pub. A waiter there—we’ll call him Joe—knew us as regulars and came out to the patio to take our order.

“Ladies, what’ll it be?” He asked.

As we each looked up from the menu to tell him what we wanted, we saw something that would scar us for years to come. A chunk of snot was smeared into Joe’s black moustache.

Now you’d think our appetites would have instantly disappeared, and we would have jumped up screaming from the table. Didn’t happen. We placed our orders and you can imagine our horror when he came back with the food, the booger was gone.

Where did the booger go? That, my friends, was the million dollar question. Of course we took our chances and ate and drank with reckless abandon. Later that year, Jennifer called me to relay that she had seen the offender, now forever named Boogerstache, crossing Taylor “with his index finger buried to the third knuckle” deep in his nose.

Ready to hurl yet?

So yesterday I walk into a market I frequent and I see a familiar silhouette. As I get closer I hear this guy—wearing the store’s uniform—trying to pick some chick. I pass them, he looks at me. He freezes. Yes, Boogerstache, I know about your sordid, snot-smeared past.

I called Jennifer and left a frantic message.

I bet he works in the deli making coleslaw and the like. And I really need to consider Peapod.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My observations on part one of "The Road to 9/11"

I know Democrats--particularly Bubba--are fuming over ABC's show. I watched it very carefully last night, and I have some additional issues with the artistic license of the film's creators:

-Was there really a Filipino dude singing "Whoop there it is!" at the Manila nightclub where Ramzi Yousef used to hang out with hookers and make bombs?

-Did Al Qaeda soldiers actually have a jamboree-like party where they shot up a screen broadcasting Bill Clinton talking, and then did Jesse White Tumbler moves through rings of fire?

-The costume design was a little problematic. Does anyone know if Northern Alliance soldiers really wear J.Crew barn jackets? I mean they looked good and all, but I don’t think they’d be warm enough for that climate. And they're pricey, although the film makes a point of establishing the Alliance's penchant for heroin trafficking.

-Playing Madeline Albright as a shrill Mary Kay saleslady? Interesting.

- When CIA agents grabbed the guy hiding out in the Sudanese village, all they had to say was “MICHAEL JORDAN!” to the angry machete-wielding crowd, and they let U.S. operatives take the guy? C'mon.

More tomorrow. . .

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bridgeport Lori

Bridgeport--the neighborhood that birthed five Chicago Irish mayors--is the next neighborhood south of me and is where I found myself Friday night at the Sox game.

My hometown friends Kim and Jeff had a couple of extra tickets. I took one, and Jeff's friend Lori--a Bridgeport native and big Sox fan took the other.

I like baseball--just not six freakin months of it--so now is about the time I can consider to start paying attention and Lori was more than willing to bring me up to speed. Before long I was watching the board to see how the Detroit/Minnesota game was progressing and was as concerned as Brideport Lori about reliever Bobby Jenks' hip issues. We were just a couple of rows off the third base line, where we could keep an eye on the bull pen. Yes friends, I was keeping an eye on the bull pen.

"Uh, look. Bobby's up!" Lori said. He had started throwing some pitches, something that also that grabbed the attention of the guys behind me.

"Hey Bobby! Don't mess dis one up!" shouted one.

"He's not in yet, douchebag!" said the other.

He was in soon enough though, and immediately gave away their two run lead.

"What is this? A Cubs game?" I asked to no one in particular.

Bobby was pulled, some other guy came in and the Sox ended up with a win. I couldn't help but think that maybe the 11th hour drama was staged ala the WWF. Seriously, they're in the lead, a reliever comes in and sucks to the high heavens, then the stars come out (hottie Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski) and save the day. Great script.

After the game, the four of us went to Jimbo's to wade in a sweaty sea of drunken Sox fans. I asked Lori where she watched the Sox win the World Series last year and she mentioned this place, the oldest bar in Chicago. It seemed like a great alternative to our current crowded environs, so we left immediately. And after Lori tells you, "the joint is a hoot!" you know you can't go wrong.

I immediately fell in love with Schaller's. Honestly there are a dozen places like this back where I grew up, but what we don't have is Schaller's entertainment--a 70-something crooner playing a keyboard and singing Sinatra, and equally vintage waitresses coming up and belting out a tune or two. It was awesome. Jack Schaller, 82, and the grandson of the guy who originally opened up the place in 1882 was quite the host. When I thanked him before we left, he said, "Ah shit, it's nothing."

As for Bridgeport Lori, she is one gal who loves her neighborhood. At 51, she swears she's never been to Wrigleyville (Jack told me he's never heard of it) and gets all tense if she ever has to go north of Archer.

"It's too transient up there," Lori said. "We come from people who worked in the stockyards. Generation after generation stays here." She was preaching to the converted--I've spent 9 of my ten years in Chicago living south of Madison.

And I for one, would put my money on the South Side if Chicago ever dissolved into Civil War.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lunchtime scraps

Today the city of Chicago is launching an evacuation drill downtown affecting a few thousand Loop workers and my bus, apparently. The driver on the 60 today (who was driving like a bat out of hell and is now my favorite CTA worker) reminded us that the drill was going to slow things down this evening. And I was like, you’d think we’re supposed to get out of the Loop faster than normal if we’re being evacuated. Badoomboomp.

I completely forgot to buy Vanity Fair yesterday, but saw the Suri pics on this web site. Whoever’s charged with keeping LA demon-free—the Catholic Church, the Power Rangers-who knows—should scour the area looking for a buried jackal, cuz this kid is scary looking. Maybe Tom Cruise’s new movie production plans call for an Omen sequel with Suri in the lead.

On Saturday Marshall Fields will officially become Macy’s. Lots of people are really pissed about this here, and I’m surprised I don’t care much considering I think New York sucks (just kidding). Anyway, all this whining is a little too late. Where were these people when the old school retail experience started to die a long time ago? Like when politicians decided to destroy the unions and started hopping into a $78.67 bed with Wal-Mart? Check out a post from last year on this topic. And I hate shopping.

I was watching a Gilmore Girl rerun on Tuesday and it hit me that maybe I’m missing out on something because I didn’t have a kid at 16 who would now be a Yale freshman running the school paper? Shit. I could have this BFF, we could share clothes, gossip about boys, and engage in witty, rapid fire discourse about the issues of the day. Instead I was just a 34-year-old weary gal just glad to be home on her couch after a long day and a long sales meeting.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

This post is 10 years in the making

Ten years ago this month I moved to Chicago after spending a post-college year in my hometown temping and drinking and temping and then drinking some more and then ... Well, to mark this auspicious occasion, I offer this timeline:

Summer 1996 About two days after accepting a job offer at a publishing company in my hometown, I ask for a transfer to their Chicago office. There is a job opening on their bulletin board. They are launching a new kid’s magazine with the Smithsonian, and well, they could have been launching a spaceship to Saturn, I just want to get the hell out of Dodge. Oddly enough, saying "uh all my friends live there" is sufficient to get out of the job I now no longer want. The general manager says about my soon-to-be ex-boss, "Goddamnit, Karen is going to be pissed!" then looks at my face and relents, "Oh, alright, I’ll make a few calls." And with that I’m on a train to Chicago to work for an art director who keeps a bottle of Jameson whiskey in his desk, and two of the smartest and funniest editors in the world. I rent a $375 a month studio on Kimball, and the fun begins.

Summer 1997 I move into a two bedroom, first floor rear (read: no natural light) apartment with my long time chum Kim in Little Italy. The landlord is an insane Italian woman whose belligerent, good for nothing children yell and scream at each other all day. Oh, and the woman is going through a divorce from her cop husband who left her for his goomad and you can hear her on the phone late night (gangways are like megaphones, fyi) detailing the situation to various relatives. It isn’t unusual for me to come home to them running up and down the stairs yelling "Fuck you! No Fuck YOU MA!" And then they turn to me, stop, smile and say, "Oh hi Ang, how’s your day?" Also of note, a fateful afternoon in a neighborhood park that summer involving me, my friend Jennifer (who lived just a block over), some piss warm vodka and lemonade, and a bike cop would prove to haunt me for some time to come.

Spring 1998 Kim leaves Chicago to become Mayor of our hometown and I move down the street into a cheap garden apartment with yet another unusual landlord. I love my little apartment, especially the laundry right out the back door, and spend the summer with Jennifer drinking in her coach house, holding two man dance contests, and then stumbling down the street to see the creepiest bar owner in Chicago, Ed, proprietor of what was at that time, the place to be on Taylor (this is written, dripping with sarcasm mind you).We also make plans for our future. We’ll raise cat and dog hybrids called either dats or cogs (we couldn’t agree) or marry guys and have houses with adjoining backyards.

1999 begins Michele, my friend from way back in the day calls me from Arizona over the holidays and says her younger sister Janel has just graduated college and suggests we could be roomates while she gets her shit together in the big city. I agree (thinking she’d only be around for a few months–little did I know that we’d nearly become common law wife and wife) and this wide-eyed, fresh face youngster comes into mine and Jennifer’s life during one of the biggest snowstorms in Chicago’s history. The three of us become fixtures at Dugan’s–so much in fact, one night a bartender tells me to deal with a drunk and disorderly girl who was throwing up in the men’s bathroom (not Janel or Jennifer). "You basically work here," she says. I shrug my shoulders and do as I’m told. Janel and I spend many Sundays on opposite couches essentially on a conference call with Jennifer trying to help each other piece together the evening and/or console someone on a bad choice for the Make Out Corner. This year also marks the weddings of three friends–Michele, Cassy, and Cathy–cutting the squad in half between the married and the single. Jennifer and I joke about that being our Y2K crisis.

2000 The new millenium dawns. And I think it was more of the same until that fall when I bail on my publishing job to go back to school. I hadn’t finished my B.A. and I get this insane idea that not only will I finish my degree, but I’ll hang around at Columbia for a while and become amazing journalist woman. Why not, right? I ended up having a cute copyediting teacher, so it was worth the bajillion dollars. Obviously 2000 sucked, because I can’t remember much beyond this. Maybe the election of George Bush has completely destroyed this year for me? Janel and I have fun watching the GOP convention that summer playing a game where you have to drink everytime someone says "children"or "America." And Janel discovers she really doesn’t like Lynne Cheney.

2001 I’m still in school full-time, and start working at the public radio station in town answering phones. I see a few famous people like Salman Rushdie and Gary Sinise, rub elbows with the hotshot producers like this guy, and secretly get drunk at some of their membership functions. Graduate school starts that fall, and of course we all know about that other memorable event 2001. I think it’s at this point when I decide that I really don’t want to be a reporter after all. I did start a journal–like a real one, not online–chronicling the last year of my 20s. It’s in a purple book and I have it under my bed so if I die or whatever friends, that’s where you’ll find it. The funniest things in there are these sketches I drew of guys I dated and or "dated" that year. I’d scan them and post them, but some of them read this blog and well, I’d hate to have to endure another one of these.

2002 This is the year I turn 30. I’m working for a neighborhood business, the owners of which said they’d hunt me down and kill me if I’d ever decide to write about them, and doing some writing and reporting for a community paper. I’m still taking classes and start to figure out what plan b might be. Or maybe it was plan c or d. . . whatever, I had no fucking clue. And Janel and I are still living together.

2003 A total blur

2004 Our landlord decides he wants to sell the building, Janel and I get separate apartments and I finally get a real job, again. As an urban pioneer, I move a mile south to Pilsen (not the super gentrified east part) but the real deal, and have a fleeting "I-can’t-fucking-believe-I-just-moved-to-Pilsen" freak out the day after I move in, but all my shit was in and I really like my place and there you have it, I live in Pilsen. In the spring I get a promotion at work after I give them my notice (I had been there for like five months) because the supervisor lady was a BEAST of a woman and said that I was a Miss Know it All (I was and I AM). The bosses fire her, I get a raise and her job. I rock.

2005 Two comrades fall this year as Kim and Jennifer take husbands. Kim has a lovely wedding in our hometown, that I think I was at, and Jennifer spares us all the pain and torture of yet another bridesmaid experience by shipping off to some island. This leaves me, Janel, and Nikki to continue to canoodle with potential Mr. Rights, Mr. Tonights, Mr. Right Nows, Mr. Oh Alrights, or Mr. Alright Alreadys! And I start blogging, so I can stop right now and you can just click away at the archives, lazy ass.

2006 Well, we’ve got exactly four months left of this year. A lot can happen.

And as always, I’ll keep you posted.