Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hall & Oates Christmas Concert

Tonight, The BF, Jessica and I head to UIC Pavilion to see the Hall & Oates Home for Christmas Tour - yes, THAT Hall & Oates. From their first smash in 1974, “She’s Gone” and those that followed including “Rich Girl,” “Kiss On My List,” “Maneater,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” “Sara Smile,” and “One On One,” right on through to their most recent Holiday recording, “Home For Christmas,” Daryl Hall & John Oates have enjoyed a career jam-packed with hits.

At their UIC stop, they’ll be playing all the favorites along with selections from their newest Christmas recording. I pretty much grew up with these guys, remembering their songs from the 70's as clearly as music today.

It's going to be a fun-filled night. The "Week 'O Fun" continues . . .
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jessica of the Opera

And so begins "Dop & Jessica's Week 'O Fun".

Last night, Jess and I attended Phantom of the Opera currently running at the Palace. When Jessica first approached me about seeing Phantom, I was a bit reserved. The musical has been around 20-some years, and even though I have not actually seen it I kinda feel like I have because I've been hearing the music for at least that long. But Jess found some great prices on seats and I thought it would be a nice bonding experience, so I got excited about going.

The musical was everything I'd heard about and more than I expected. It's just amazing what some people are capable of doing with their voices. I mean, I have a voice and it doesn't sound ANYTHING like those people. How can I have the same thing someone else does and it doesn't work the same way?

Curses.

I'm still not sure how candles come out of the floor or how a river is created on a stage, but somehow Phantom does it. The whole production was powerful with bits of flash thrown in. And surprisingly, the "cheap seats" turned out to be pretty damn good. And as expected, it was a nice bonding experience for Jess and me.

The "Week 'O Fun" continues on Friday with something even MORE riveting. Stay tuned . . .
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Project Runway Predictions Come True

So, at the start of the 4th Season of Project Runway two weeks ago (actually it was really at the start of the 3rd Season almost a year ago), I predicted the show would contain certain "types" that have basically become Runway's staple personality batch.

And this season has once again held true to the formula - so much so that it's now beyond predictable to me. After watching the first two shows, I believe my predictions were spot-on:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Supermodel

The other day, I'm watching TV - some kind of celebrities-in-a-group-house kinda thing - and one of the contestants was a self-declared "supermodel". Thing is, I've never heard of her before. And actually, I can't even remember her name. So I ask you, isn't that basically the definition of a supermodel: a person who has name recognition only by modeling.

Cindy Crawford. Naomi Campbell. Joel West. Linda Evangelista. Paulina Porizkova. Marcus Schenkenberg. Gisele Bundchen. Michael Bergin. Heidi Klum. THESE people are supermodels; so famous I don't even have to post their pictures because you know who they are. And they all first became worldwide famous for modeling, and then branched into other endeavors, using their powers for good and not evil (well, maybe not Naomi).

So I don't think someone can call herself a supermodel if I've never heard of her. You need to have a popular name too, a name SO popular in fact that you only need to use 1 name to be recognizable: Twiggy, Brinkley, Tiegs, Janice, Lauren, Elle, Tyson, Claudia, Niki, Christy, Tyra, and even (as much as I hate to admit it) Fabio.

It must be a hard existence being beautiful and fighting crime. But these special people are the famous, recognizable, household names who have earned the title of SUPERMODEL. So if I don't know who you are, you may as well have just jumped from the pages of the JCPenney catalog.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I Give Thanks

I give thanks for my health: it has been holding steady these last two years. My doctor appointments have dwindled to just 2 a year now and all things seem good.

I give thanks for my parents: they have loved and unquestionably supported me even when they didn't understand me. They are simple people with a rosey disposition on the world, yet they have accepted me and my life without a blip in the radar. As my mother once said to me, "You can tell me anything. I might not understand it right away, but that's my problem to deal with, not yours." For 40 years I've gone into battle knowing they both have my back.

I give thanks for my siblings: the three people with whom I will share my life the longest have always kept me laughing; challenging my intellect; stirring my passions; keeping me present in their children's lives. They make me feel special every time I see them.

I give thanks for my friends: a collection of longtime friends and recent acquaintances. Their perspectives and opinions have been invaluable in helping me shape my character and beliefs. They've been the family I've chosen when I could not be near my own.

I give thanks for Ashley: the roommate from hell who I can't imagine never knowing. Seven years, two time zones, and four houses later, we are still roommates. It seems like he's always been in my life, sometimes my deepest confidante.

I give thanks for Jeff: for being my own personal Horatio for all these years. He was instantly my best friend when we met in 1989 and he's remained so ever since. He keeps me humble and is not afraid to call me out when I deserve his honest opinion.

I give thanks for The BF: and if you have to ask why, you haven't been reading my blog for very long.

So at this Thanksgiving, I find myself incredibly fortunate and grateful for my happy, healthy and fulfilled life. I selfishly pray that it continues, and I humbly ask for calm to be restored to the world. Above all, I pray that more people understand the concept of "loving thy neighbor" -- because if that one thing came true, everything else would be okay.

Amen.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just Because YOU Love Your Dog

I'm a dog lover; I have a natural ability with them. My family had dogs while I was growing up, and back in DC, I used to dog-sit for several friends now and then. It was fun and allowed me to have a dog for brief amounts of time without too much commitment. But I don't own a dog and I have my reasons for that.

You don't have to be a dog owner to be a dog lover. But when you own a dog, you have to understand that many people are NOT dog lovers. There are some people (one of my brothers included) who have a fear of dogs, regardless of the size of the animal. Just because you love your dog, doesn't mean that everyone else does too.

Your dog should never get near another person on a sidewalk; it should be walking beside and close to you on a short leash. Allowing your dog to come up and smell me or even walk in my direction is not acceptable.

And while we are on the subject of leashes - those long retractable leashes have absolutely no place on a city sidewalk. In the park, sure, but not on a sidewalk where I have to get out of the way for it. People seem to forget that sidewalks are designed for single lane foot traffic going in two directions: no bikes, no runners, no groups shoulder-to-shoulder, and no retractable leashes.

Owning a dog takes alot of responsibility. And just as there are people out there who should not be parents, there are people out there who should not own dogs.
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Pajama Game

Dear Twentysomethings:

Pajama bottoms - or perhaps you refer to them as "loungewear" - are not to be worn in public. I shouldn't see you wearing them in Starbucks, the grocery store, the laundromat, or walking your dog. And I REALLY shouldn't see you wearing them on an airplane - especially while you are carrying a pillow. This is not a sleepover, its a flight. With other people. It's not nappy-nappy time. (I know this bothers my buddy at the [cherry] ride as well.)

Wearing pajama bottoms in public tells the public several things about you:

1) You're disrespectful. Clearly you don't give a shit. If you had any respect for yourself and/or others, you would properly dress before going outside your home. Even a Walk of Shame ranks higher on the ego scale than you.

2) You're irresponsible. If you have to wear pajama bottoms because everything else you have is dirty or at the dry cleaners, then you must have a time management problem. There are classes and lectures you can take to help alleviate that.

3) You're immature. The only time I've worn pajamas in public was . . . ok, I have never done it. Children can get away with it, but somewhere around the age of, oh I dunno, 4, it's just no longer acceptable.

4) You're lazy. If you don't care enough about what you look like, what kind of shape must your home be in? Your bathroom must be disgusting.

5) You're dirty. Chances are if you haven't bothered to change your clothes, then you also haven't bothered to shower or bathe. You may as well just wear a sign that says "My body parts stink so don't get too close".

Now if a fire broke out in your apartment and all of your clothes burned up, or maybe your ex cut them all up after an argument, or you were robbed and the only thing they took was your clothing, maybe possibly THEN it would be socially acceptable to see you walking around in pajamas. But even that is stretching it.
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pet Peeve #68

Potbelly is one of my favorite sandwich shops. However they get two huge thumbs down (and so do the other sandwich shops guilty of the following) for not cutting the sandwiches all the way through. This in turn ends up making me cause a complete mess by having to tear apart a sandwich at my desk that is not altogether constructed well in the first place. If they are going to cut the sandwich, why not just cut the things ALL THE WAY THROUGH??

Bagel shops are notorious for this as well, predominantly Einstein Brothers and Chesapeake Bagel Shops. Yes - I happen to be a neat freak. No - I don't want lettuce and breadcrumbs strewn all over my lap/desk/keyboard/lunch partner.

It's gotten to a point now where I have to actually request the sandwich makers to please cut the sandwich all the way through, and they look at me like they have no idea what I am talking about. I know their little game; I can smell it. I don't want to have to remake a sandwich I just paid someone $6 to make for me. 'Cause I can do that at home for nothing.

Hey, there's an idea!
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Peterson

So what you might be saying is, it's probably not a good idea to marry a man with the last name of Peterson?

In 2005, Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn child, Conner, in 2002. And on Christmas Eve. Scott is currently sitting on death row waiting to die, all the while maintaining his innocence.

Currently in the news, Drew Peterson is under suspicion of the October 28th disappearance of his wife, Stacey. And now, officials want to exhume the body of his third wife based on the suspicion of foul play. And Stacey has a small daughter. Her name? Lacey Peterson.

I dated someone with the last name of Peterson once - Kim Peterson. She was my girlfriend in 5th and 6th grades (even back then I was pretty committed). Her family ended up moving away the summer between 6th and 7th grades. I found out on the first day of school when the school bus stopped at her house and no one came out. She slinked out of town without saying a word.

Those Petersons are sneaky people. So if you're out and someone introduces himself and the last name is Peterson - run like hell.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's Baaa-aack!

Tonight, Project Runway returns! And once again, The BF and Jessica will be my PR Partners every Wednesday as we count down to the Fashion Show Week next Spring.


Here are the archetypes that have been prevalent so far on all the Runway cycles so far:

The Ice Princess.
The amusing and lovable gay uncle.

The pompous, overbearing Know-it-all.

The mousy quiet talented one who secretly has a killer bod.

The Club Kid/Pachuco/Street Hustler.

The sassy black diva.
The Geek.

The crazy aunt.

The snotty foreigner.
The Insecure Older Sister.

The grungey girl who needs a shower.

The one who slips under the radar.
The Over-achiever.
The ???????????
The Bumpkin.

So before this season even starts, it will be interesting to see who - if anyone - fits into the established mold. And click here for all the details about Project Runway 4.
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Safety Last

Late one night last week, I was walking home from being out - it was around 12:30 AM or so.

I tend to be pretty aware of my surroundings at night. For years I merely accepted the fact that I am a big man, so my personal safety seemed somewhat assured. But in these days where the economy is tougher and you never know who's packing a glock, I think it's better to err on the side of caution and be aware of what's around me - especially later at night when foot traffic is more sparse.

Anyway, on my walk home, I ended up passing two different women, both walking with earphones in. And I became so distracted by them I almost couldn't think of anything else. How could any woman, walking alone on a dimly lit street after midnight, think she is in complete safety given the fact that she is blocking out all the sounds around her?

When the sun goes down, the earphones should be put away. Sure, music helps make time pass more quickly, but only in situations where you may want to dim out the crowd. At 12:30 AM, there is no crowd -- there's barely a group. And even if the volume is on low, an attacker can be pretty stealthy before he's on you.

Several weeks ago, a man was traveling through my Lakeview neighborhood assaulting women, possibly women who were walking at night listening to their iPods with earphones. I hope that's not the case, and I hope women take more responsibility for their safety.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lars And The Real Girl

Went to see Lars & The Real Girl last Friday night. At first I had some reservations because it looked a little too kooky in the previews and commercials. But I like Ryan Gosling and, without reading anything about it, I thought I would just give the movie a chance. And it was a chance well taken.

Having lived in large cities for the last 20 years or so, I was skeptical, at first, that a small community could wrap itself around one individual who needed help. But it does happen, and this was the underlying theme of the film - at least one of them. The culture of the town unfolds through brief conversations and small vignettes that reminded me what being from a small, close-knit town (where everybody knows everybody and their business) is all about.

It reminded me that we all have our skeletons, and that one isn't really any more significant than the other; whatever our secrets or problems, they affect us all the same way. This film was about being open-minded, helping your neighbor, loving your family, healing from loss, and being accepted.

This film is on the caliber of Little Miss Sunshine. And of all the movies I've seen this year (and there have been many), this would be my pick for Best Picture Oscar.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

50 Things I Hate About Public Transportation

As a follow up to yesterday's backpack issue, behold the 50 things I hate most about public transportation:

1. Constant threat of line closures and fare increases.

2. Not enough seats.

3. Annoying cellphone ringtones.

4. Annoying cellphone users.

5. Cyclists who bring their muddy bikes onto the bus/subway and drip all over you.

6. Buses that zoom past you because the driver is just not paying attention.

7. Traffic jams where you can see all the buses from the same route you are taking that left your stop in last three hours are stuck in traffic in front of you.

8. People looking or reading over my shoulder.

9. Unknown puddles of liquid on the seats.

10. Garbage on the floor, particularly items that roll.

11. Drunk people who insist on sitting next to you and telling you what a bitch/asshole their woman/man is.

12. Scratches on the windows, that obstructs my view of the outside.

13. Idiots who refuse to let elderly people have a seat, or just outright ignore them.

14. Racist morons talking loudly about how certain groups are nothing but trouble.

15. Anyone ignorant enough to use foul language in front of children.

16. People who leave their bags on seats as though the bag is a paying customer.

17. Backpackers who do not care about whose faces their packs are mashing.

18. Rude bus drivers.

19. Sitting next to someone who is listening to music full blast through cheap earphones that let all the sound leak out.

20. Chewing gum on the seats, floor, walls, poles, etc.

21. People who fart on the bus/train.

22. People who fart just before they get OFF the bus/train.

23. People who stare.

24. People who jam out to their 30 second cell phone songs. Then do it again. And again. And again...

25. Strikes

26. People who refuse to move all the way into the train or bus when it gets crowded.

27. People who are waiting for the train and crowd infront of the entrance so as to completely block everyone from getting out of the train .

28. People who pour on a bottle of cheap perfume or cologne just because it is easier than taking a shower.

29. People who crowd by the entrance thus not allowing more people to get in.

30. Body odor.

31. Bad breath.

32. Loud conversations especially in a language I cannot understand.

33. Unruly teenagers.

34. People who constantly play with their hair.

35. People who eat.

36. Same people who don't close their mouths when they eat .

37. Same people who leave the leftovers all over the seat and floor.

38. Perverts.

39. Sleepers.

40. Snorers.

41. People who use you for body support.

42. People who make out in public.

43. People who take pictures of you on buses or trains.

44. Ticket booth workers who don't say "you're welcome" when I say "please" and "thank you"

45. People who pick their nose and wipe their finger on the seat.

46. Anonymous ass-grabbers and other gropers.

47. The sick bastards who are so blatant about getting behind an attractive lady when the train/bus is packed, so that they can rub their crotches on the woman.

48. Pickpockets

49. Waiting 45 minutes for a bus only to see three in a row approaching.

50. Bad air flow

Monday, November 05, 2007

Backpacks Off

How is it that a person wearing a backpack on public transportation does not realize that he/she is taking up twice the room of one person?

It's bad enough in the summer, but now that winter is upon us, and everyone has added at least 4 inches of girth to him/herself thanks to wool coats, parkas, etc., space on the train and bus is at a premium. Especially considering the monthly threats CTA makes about cutting bus routes and service.

There needs to be a public service announcement asking passengers to remove shoulder bags and backpacks and place them at their sides while riding on a bus or train. This not only will increase space, but will cut down on the number of facial lacerations I get from zippers and keys being clipped to the outside of backpacks when I am sitting and someone is standing too close. There needs to be more responsibility taken by passengers who are unaware of their surroundings -- both where they are and what's around them.

And just like on airplanes, passengers should only be allowed one carry-on and one personal item. These women who get on with three shoulder bags, newspaper, pilates mat, coffee cup and phone cause more mishaps than anything else. Remember folks, this is called public transportation; it's not your own private idaho.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hallowe'en Night



As I said before - we take Hallowe'en very seriously. Great time was had by all: cool costumes, corn flakes, firm pizza, peeling skin, smelly latex, glamazombie, beers & margaritas, moss, leaves, blood and scars.

See you again next year!
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