Monday, April 30, 2007

Doored

On Saturday night around 6PM, I was riding my bike south on Broadway on my way to The BF's place. I was in a bike lane, passing between parked cars to my right and cars stopped in traffic at a light on my left.

Suddenly, without warning (as these things usually happen), I got - what those in the cycling world call - doored. That is, a passenger in a cab that was sitting in traffic at the light swung her door open without looking and I crashed right into it (The BF has written about this almost happening to him several times). After hitting the door, I then slammed into the car that was parked to the right of it. The guy sitting in the parked car (he had just finished parallel parking) said it sounded like a truck hit him (same weight class, I guess).

At first I was in shock I guess, because I couldn't feel anything. All I wanted to do was just yell "FUCK!!!!!" at the top of my lungs. The passenger (a trannie) said "I'm sorry" only twice. He/she could not have sounded less sincere. I told him/her to just go away. My only thought was, "Oh craphole, the bike!" But the bike ended up without injury.

I, on the other hand, sustained some fairly nice bruising. At first, I got a goose-egg on my left calf about the size of a tennis ball. And eventually the shock wore off and I started feeling the pains everyplace: my left forearm, the middle of my back, the back of my left knee, my left wrist, and especially my left thigh. The only saving grace was that I wasn't going any faster.

But when you fall off a horse, you have to get back on, right? So the next day, with bruises and all, The BF and I went on a 15-or-so-mile bike trip around the city just checking out places we wanted to see, like Oz Park, St. Michael's Church, the Midwest Buddhist Temple, and the Carl Street Studios. I will admit to feeling a little skittish the first few times I had to ride between automobiles, but it was a great day and it felt good to get out.

And I now feel part of an unofficial and unfortunate group of people who happen to be doing the right thing in the right place at the wrong time.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dear Cubs Fans

Open letter to Cubs Fans who ride the "L" to and from the game:

Dear Fan:

I know this is a big event for you - what with you coming into the city and all - so I'd just like to go over a few things with you to make this a more pleasant experience. But first a question:

Have you ever been anywhere before in your life?

I realize this is a giddy thing for you, but please keep in mind that, unlike you, I didn't get off work at noon and start drinking hours before the game. I've been at work until 5, 5:30, even 6. So pardon me if our levels of excitement don't seem to match. Tell you what though, one night when you are traveling home after a long day of work in the suburbs, a few of my friends and I will sit in your minivan or pickup truck and yell obscenities and belch the entire ride home just so you and I can truly share an experience.

Also, it would be nice if you knew where you were going. Wrigley Field is located at the Addison stop. My last name is not "L". It doesn't even start with "L". So therefore, I have no idea why the White Sox have a stop on the CTA named after them but the Cubs don't. Take it up with the mayor or your congressmen, please.

In contrast, if you do know where you're going, please don't feel the need to announce it to the entire train. Trust me - we ALL know where you are going. And we are counting the stops until you get there. Remember, the trains are ├╝ber-crowded right now while the "L" goes through some transformations. So the less anxiety, the better.

Also remember that if you are seeing a night game, you aren't experiencing true Cubs baseball anyhow. Lights weren't turned on at Wrigley until August 9, 1988 - 72 years after it became home of the Cubs. You're kind of cheating yourself out of the ultimate Cubs experience. So don't get so high and mighty beforehand.

I like baseball. I even like the Cubs. And hell, I love a good time. But just remember, dear Cub Commuter, that the party actually starts when you arrive, not while you're getting there. You have the option of whoopin' and hollerin' in your own vehicle. But since you've decided to booze it up, I beseech you to be more respectful to the other half of the train commuters who had to work all day and just want to get home, put up their feet, and watch the Cubs lose . . . um, I mean play on TV.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kuler

I recently impressed myself.

I am a regular reader of Apartment Therapy-Chicago and on a recent post about online colour tools, they introduced me to a site called Kuler. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the site, and the highest rated colour scheme:


is the one I have been using in my bedroom - a colour scheme I chose all by myself, without the aid of any online colour tools. The only exception is that I use dark brown in place of the dark blue shade on the right.

Yeah, I'm good.
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Monday, April 23, 2007

Sunkist Infiniti

My office is one floor above a swanky car dealership. Infiniti, to be exact. The showroom is glossy and stylish, with perfect lighting to accent the lines and curves of the automobiles. I walk passed the large windows of the showroom every day and realized how well the lighting plays to marketing the cars: its just dim enough to barely see the cars, yet not bright enough to show much detail, which makes you want to go inside and get a closer look. And then the salesmen approach.

The salesmen are all extremely well-groomed. Each one is dressed in what looks to be an expensive suit, perfectly polished shoes, slick hair and manicured nails. And through the windows, into the dim room, they all look impressively active and tan.

Until they all walk outside for a smoke break.

In the unforgiving light of day, each one of these neatly groomed men appears to be the colour of rust. I'm not really sure if it's spray tan, tanning bed, or tan from a bottle, but all of them could double for the orange in a Tropicana commercial.

The thing is, I don't think these guys ever see themselves in normal daylight. They check their looks in the mirrors at home, and in the men's room at work, and possibly their reflections in the mirrored sunglasses of their co-workers. But if they actually saw what colour they are in normal daylight, they might lay off the tanning just a bit.

Unless of course this is the look they are actually going for. If so, then they look fabulous.
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Electric Company

The Electric Company was developed by the Children's Television Workshop as a slightly-older-skewing partner to Sesame Street, focusing on reading skills. The show ran for six seasons (1971-77), racking up 780 episodes. The last two seasons were kept in rotation until the mid-80s. Like Sesame Street, skits were repeated across seasons, mixed into other episodes.

How's this for a children's show cast: Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno (one of only 12 people in history to have won a Tony, Emmy, Grammy & Oscar) and the voices of Joan Rivers, Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel and Mel Brooks

That's Freeman on the left as Easy Reader, The Electric Company's version of Sesame Street's The Count (if The Count had stumbled into a blaxploitation flick). His song tells you all you need to know. It's kind of difficult to imagine the Oscar winning actor as characters such as this. But we are talking 30 or more years ago. Other hard-to-associate with Freeman characters included a long-haired mad scientist, ultra-hip DJ Mel Mounds and Dracula.

Here is Easy Reader's Theme Music.

Other Characters

  • Fargo North, Decoder: A detective with various contraptions to find the missing words in sentences brought in by desperate clients.

  • J. Arthur Crank: Cross Oscar the Grouch with Spider-Man's J. Jonah Jameson and you've got Crank. Character who tells jokes with double entendres for adults and kids. Began as a voice on a phone (get it? Crank call.).

  • Paul the Gorilla: All-purpose mayhem-maker, meant to represent kids who refused to learn. Usually paired off with Jennifer of the Jungle.

  • Otto the Director: Ill-tempered, yelled the show's opening line (Hey you guys!!!)

  • Letterman: Not the late-night talk show host, but an animated mini-reunion of the leads of the original version of The Producers. Our hero (voice of Gene Wilder) battles the evil Spellbinder (Zero Mostel), who uses his magic wand to cause havoc by transforming objects when he switches a key letter ("car" into "jar"). Breathlessly narrated by Joan Rivers.

  • A new DVD came out about a year ago supposedly full of skits and cartoons from The Electric Company. I will have to get it one day soon, and take myself back to the 2nd and 3rd Grades. We used to watch it in place of spelling class at ol' Eckhart Elementary.
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    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Thank God That's Over With

    I've never been so eager to see a television series come to an end. I tried to love BRAVO-TV's Top Design, but I just couldn't. I was faithful every Wednesday night, stuck by it, made excuses for it, stroked it lovingly. But last Wednesday night the show came to an anticlimactic end, and I, for one, am glad to have my Hump Nights back again (cause there ain't no way in hell I'm gonna be watching its replacement, Shear Genius). I can't imagine BRAVO will renew Top Design for another season. It was lackluster and unrealistic. I mean how many rooms are actually shaped like a hexagon?

    BRAVO, just bring back Tim Gunn and Project Runway soon and no one will get hurt.

    But back to Top Design (since I brought it up), the show offered few surprises. The winner of the show was Matt, who was actually my choice from the very beginning (The BF had chosen Goil). OF COURSE he was going to win over Carisa, because there was no way the posture-palsied Margaret Russell was going to give a photo spread in ELLE Decor to an F.I.T. student over a Chief Designer at an established design studio in Chicago.

    I will, however, miss seeing what outfit judge Kelly Wearstler will wear every week. I had a bet that she would come dressed as George Washington in the last episode, but she actually dressed just like a real person. And I used to think that Jonathan Adler was a big deal until mid-season when I realized that it was actually Grace Adler I had heard of and I just got them confused (all in all, his facial contortions and windsor knots were amusing). And does Todd Oldham really speak like Kermit the Frog all the time? Is that his normal voice?

    And don't get me started on the guest judges. Who chooses these people?? The guest judge for the finale was Trudie Styler. Who the hell is that, you ask? Me too! Trudy is actually Mrs. Sting. And she is highly qualified to judge the outcome of this finale because she has redecorated her homes - which should qualify just about everyone else on planet Earth:

    "And today, our guest judge is Smitty, the homeless guy from the corner of Palisades and Grant. He has converted his small toaster oven-size box hovel into a large three-room refrigerator/office chair box condo."

    {rolling my eyes}

    Mostly, The BF and I will miss hanging out every Wednesday with Will and Richard. But we now have this event to bond us together forever. Sorry guys.

    And with that, I have only one thing to say: See you later, decorators.
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    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    The Departed

    The BF and I finally watched The Departed the other night. Good movie - kept me on my seat. Lots of twists and turns. Some things were predictable, but all in all I loved it a little.

    I did not, however, think that Mark Wahlberg deserved an Oscar nomination. He's played that part a million times already. What was the role again - a smart-mouth from South Boston who knows it all and is homophobic? So now they give out awards for playing yourself? C'mon!!!

    I do think Leonardo DiCaprio was amazing. I mean I have no idea what it is to be a crazy dictator who slowly drowns in dementia, but I do know what it is to be so very afraid of something that you don't know what your next move should be. I could relate to that; I think many people can. And DiCaprio played the part well - I could feel his terror.

    Was this movie Martin Scorsese's best work? Not in my opinion. I think that honour goes to Goodfellas. But The Departed was a good movie and it finally brought Scorsese the recognition he'd so longingly deserved.

    The Extras Section on the DVD sucked though.
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    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    2nd Blogiversary

    Today marks two years since I started this here blog. Including college, weightlifting, and dating, this is one of the most consistent activities I have undertaken as an adult. It's fun and challenging, cathartic and therapeutic.

    For those who have been reading this here blog for the last 730 days, you've seen me through exactly 435 posts, including:


    among many other things. So thanks for hanging in there with me and coming along for the ride. Because a trip is always better when you have someone to share it with. You keep on reading, and I'll keep on typing - 'cause I always have an opinion.
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    Monday, April 09, 2007

    Birthday Wrap Up

    My birthday weekend was delightful (which is a word I think should be used more often).

    On Friday, I left work at 3, headed to the gym, then was treated to dinner by The BF at Le Creperie, a charming restaurant that serves - you guessed it - crepes. And they are delicious (I had the broccoli and goat cheese crepe). You initially don't think one of those things can fill you up, but they do. At least they do for me. For dessert, we split a caramel crepe which was heavenly! The restaurant has a very old world feel and it's not a stretch to get the feeling that the Tower down the street is the Eiffel instead of the Hancock.

    Knowing my penchant for the culture and how badly I want to attend an Indian wedding, The BF then treated me to the movie The Namesake. I highly recommend it. It's a coming of age movie for a mother and the husband who challenged her to strive for more, and a son's need to fit in to America despite his parents' unwillingness to let go of traditional Indian ways. And there were two weddings in the movie. Score!!

    A "care package" from home filled with homemade cookies and Chex Mix, and tulips from The BF topped my weekend. This was a graceful entrance into the next year of my life.
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    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    41st Birthday

    As Sunday, April 8th is my 41st Birthday (as well as Easter), I thought I would reminisce about some of my more memorable birthdays from years past. I was born during a snowstorm on Good Friday, April 8th, 1966. Since Easter is a transient holiday, my birthday has yet to fall on Good Friday again (and only twice has it fallen on Easter).

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    4oth Birthday - The BF and I had dinner at Joy's and then he threw a party of about 20 people for me at his condo. Afterwards, we all headed to Sidetrack.

    39th Birthday - Ex #5 threw a birthday dinner for me and 8 other friends at my favourite DC restaurant, Grillfish. Afterwards we all went to Tom-Tom's where I opened presents and got drunk.

    38th Birthday - Ex #4 took me to dinner at Rice in DC along with friends Ashley, Aaron and Marc (who shares my birthday). Afterwards, we went to 30 Degrees and Cobalt.

    34th Birthday - Took a trip to Boston, had dinner with friend Dan the night before. Spent my birthday walking around Harvard, then going to dance at Buzz.

    33rd Birthday - Ex #3 took me to dinner at Cheesecake Factory, but didn't bring any money so I had to buy it myself. Then he cheated on me the following night.

    32nd Birthday - Ex#3 wanted to take me to dinner, but was low on funds. So we went out for a birthday dinner at IHOP, then rented Primary Colors and watched it at his house.

    30th Birthday - Returned to DC from a weekend at my parents' place. Dating Mike, who took me to dinner at Trumpets, and then for a long walk among the Cherry Blossoms at the Jefferson Memorial.

    29th Birthday - Out to Talons in Frederick, MD with best friend Jeff and friend Natalie.

    28th Birthday - Called off work, went shopping with Caroline. Had dinner with Tom and Jason, then visited friend Lee with friends Mark and Micheal.

    27th Birthday - On a week-long trip to Orlando and Disney with best friends Jeff and Matt. Spent the day by the pool, had dinner at Western Steer, then went dancing at Parliament House.

    26th Birthday - Ex#2 and I break up the day before. Didn't really celebrate this year.

    25th Birthday - Took the day off work. Went apartment shopping then had dinner with friend Akili.

    22nd Birthday - Ex#1 and I go to Great Falls for the day, then rent Platoon and Lost Boys. He bakes me a cake in the shape of a penis.

    21st Birthday - Go out drinking with friends Todd and Jamie to the Repub Club in Frostburg. Burn my lip on a shot that's lit on fire.

    20th Birthday - Spent at Ocean City with friend Paul. We have dinner at Phillip's and see The Money Pit at the theater.

    19th Birthday - Fiance Crystal takes me to dinner at Gehauf's and then we drive to the lake.

    18th Birthday - Coincides with Senior High Dance - all my friends are there.

    Before this, my birthday was never really celebrated greatly. Just family dinners, a cake and some gifts: simple and sweet, the way I think birthdays should be.
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    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Reading

    Lately, I have discovered reading. And I say discovered rather than rediscovered because I never really got into it in the first place. I'd never been much of a book reader. Imagine being an English major and not liking to read novels. Well, it wasn't really that I didn't like to read, I just lacked the focus to read anything for a sustained amount of time. I'd either get bored or distracted and never finish what I was reading. All through school, including college, I never read one single book all the way through. Call it short attention span, lack of interest, ADD, whatever. It's not something I'm proud of - it's just a fact.

    But recently I have become a voracious reader. It all started with the book Manhunt by James L. Swanson, which I read in about three weeks last summer - highly uncommon for me. But it happened to be on one of my favourite subject matters, John Wilkes Booth. The whole thing fascinated me.

    As soon as I finished reading Manhunt, I read American Brutus by Michael W. Kauffman and Blood on the Moon by Edward Steers, Jr., also both about Booth. And then I read Founding Brothers and His Excellency: George Washington, both by Joseph J. Ellis. Then The BF recommended Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo. Then came A Sister's Memoir by Asia Booth Clark, another book about Booth, then Running With Scissors and Magical Thinking, both by Augusten Burroughs, then The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom (the only book I've ever read in one sitting).

    Right now I am reading The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander, a fictional story about the last days of Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian Romanov Dynasty. That's 11 novels in about 9 months. I am not sure what has stoked this desire in me to be such an avid reader, but I love it. I guess the difference is reading something you want to read, rather than reading something you have to read.

    I think this summer, I am going to undertake a challenge and read all those books I was assigned in school and never finished, much less retained. I'll probably be surprised and no doubt realize just why they are all considered classics. And it's a shame I let myself wait so long to find out.
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    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Nancy Grace Is Insane

    I don't really have anything else to say on this - I just wanted to put it out there. CNN's "justice" "reporter" is loud, abrasive, and unfair. I don’t understand why and how she is on the air, much less on a respected cable channel. Mean and vicious in face and tone, she is on the attack, and that’s how she has made her name as a commentator. Maybe she is tolerable in a sound bite, but for a half hour one just feels dirty after watching her.

    Besides that, whoever dresses her has horrible fashion sense. Have you seen her yet in the Native American skin top with the turquoise jewelry? Ghastly!

    My favourite part of Grace's show (I will catch it only as I flip through channels) is when she goes from brow-beating a mother, who's child has been kidnapped, for not being a better parent, to then instantly shifting to being docile and almost sweet. All the while, her fangs are still showing. And when she throws her "Thank you, fray-und" to her sycophantic callers, I want to throw my shoe at the television.

    Amy Poehler does an imitation of Grace on Saturday Night Live that is dead on. She nails Nancy "Without" Grace to the wall. The smug baiting of interviewees, the preconceived verdicts, the self-righteousness – Poehler has it all. But then, Poehler is a genius.

    And Nancy Grace is insane.
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