Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bike fashion visited thrice

I've shown you this pic before, and I'll show it to you again. The picture of me, after I finished my first-ever century (that's riding 100 miles on a bike in one day, FYI):
I was hot, sweaty, smelly, and immensly proud of myself. I should probably take a moment and explain the headband. It bears the name of my former Physical Therapist, the miracle worker who not only got me back in shape after my 2004 surgery, but managed to get me to be able to touch my toes for the first time ever.

To me, that's pretty miraculous.

One day, I was mentioning that the vigorous workouts were making me sweat into my eyes. She suggested that I start wearing a headband, to which I replied "I don't want to come in here looking like Jim McMahon or anything." So, I went out and bought one and put her name on it. She loved the joke. Some of the other patients thought, initially, that that was how the staff kept track of their patients, until the joke was explained.

Without futher ado, here are pictures of two members of my MS Ride team, mopundow, sporting the new, wonderful jersey for 2006! First up, the lovely and talented, not to mention the designer of said jersey, the faboo Jen!

Not only is she the creator of this masterpiece of design, she is one of my assistant captains and fellow riders. We debuted the jerseys at Bike the Drive this weekend, and there was already buzz about it, literally, when someone asked me about one of my sponsors as I was pulled over checking myself out after the bee sting incident. That's just how good of a job she did.

Our next model is Chief's Defenseman Bosco, who did a similar non-cropped pose for us:
Where's the picture of me, you ask? Not ready yet. I don't have one. You, unless you're in to that kind of thing, probably don't want to see my tan lines anyway, right?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Bloggiversary

plus seven

I have managed, in the three years that I have been writing this blog, to never actually acknowledge my blogiversary on my blogiversary. Then again, I'm about 6 weeks late on birthdays, too, so I guess this is par for the course.

So, happy blogiversary to me. We'll have punch and pie later.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bike the Drive

Today was my favorite bike ride in the City of Chicago, Bike the Drive. I have so much fun doing this ride that I look forward to it each and every year with a giddy, child-like exuberance. Then again, who wouldn't want to ride a bike right down the middle of Lake Shore Drive, car-free*?

I was about 10 miles into the ride itself (18 overall, as I rode downtown from home), heading north from the Museum of Science and Industry, going about 23 miles an hour when I heard a pop and felt pain. Fortunately for me, the pop I heard was not either of my knees, and the newfound pain was not from one of them, but from my head. It was a very acute pain and I knew I had to pull over.

Thinking that I had been hit by a rock or a piece of glass or some other kind of road debris, I took off my helmet, then my bandana. Stuck, by his stinger, to my bandana, was a bee. Which, in turn, of course, meant that he had stung your humble, and at the time, sweaty narrator.

I had pulled off the road next to a guy mowing the grass who happened to walk up to me, having seen me stop in apparent pain. I asked him if I was bleeding, or if there was some mark on my head. "There's a big red mark, but not blood." That was a relief. I explained to him what I had deduced had happened. "You should be more careful."

Wait. I should be more careful? How in the world could I have anticipated a bee flying along Lake Shore Drive while I was riding up it? This was just plain dumb luck, for both myself and the bee who got stuck with a bald, bandanaed head covered with a helmet, and just got stuck in one of the many air vents. Basically the equivalent of a bird being sucked into a jet engine, just without all the rotors.

I will post pictures sometime this week, as there were numerous snipers out there, some even set up camp in between lanes. I'm sure that I had my picture taken at least 5-6 times, so if I can find those shots, I will post them.

In the meantime, I'm going back to trying to rid myself of this headache and find a way for my cat to be comfortable on this rather hot day.

*NOTE: I definitely do not mean carefree. I mean without cars.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I know cool people.

Last night was my friends' band, the Emerald Lizards big night at Metro, where they rocked the pants of everyone in the audience, or shorts, depending on your wardrobe choice.

Mine, of course, was shorts.

They were limited to a 40 minute set during which they serious rocked the place. It was impressive, not only to see my friends on stage doing what they do so well, but to see them on the Metro's stage, where I have seen so many of my favorite artists perform, from Wesley Willis to Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros.

To add to all the fun, there's yet another vote, the winner of which gets a slot at MOBfest next month!

So, please, pretty please, click on the vote link and vote for my friends, the Emerald Lizards!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A little ditty, about....

my former roommate and a girl from Japan. As I told you here, they are very, very happy when they're together. I can't blame them. They're good for each other.

Well, after she went back to Japan a few weeks ago, he asked his boss if he could work remotely from the Tokyo office for the month of July. Apparently, at his job, this is not that outlandish of a request. I'm sure if I did the same thing, I'd get looked at funny. Even if I just wanted to work in Toronto for a month.

His boss was receptive, but offered something else. Seems there was a job opening in the Tokyo office, and it required someone who spoke English (the posting, as he is pointing out, mentions nothing about whether or not applicants need to speak Japanese) and a two year committment.

After receiving this news, he e-mailed me and asked my advice. It didn't take me long to see this for the golden and incredible opportunity it is. I gave him what I saw as the best- and the worst-case scenarios. I reminded him of the similar quagmire I went through when I was deciding whether or not to move to NYC, of how the woman I was seeing at the time told me, to my face, that if I didn't do it, she would think me a coward. I told him he should go and be with her and to be happy and damn the torpedos and all that.

Last night I got a text that all he needed was a visa, and he was all set. I called him to congratulate him and find out what he needed me to do to make this possible. He was understandably excited and receptive to my help. A few hours later, I got another text message from him, freaking out about moving to Japan and telling me that we should do a Schlitz tour of Chicago before he leaves, just in case.

Allow me to explain the Schlitz tour- way, way, way back in the day, in the crazy days of 1999-2000, both of us started to cohabitate with our girlfriends at about the same time. There is an unwritten rule out there somewheres that when you start the cohabitation dance, you're pretty much starting a countdown to the big question and the big m-word. At the time, neither of us were particularly interested in marriage. Maybe not so much uninterested, but definitely unready. We made a bet- and I forget who came up with the conditions- that the first one of us to get engaged would have to take the other out on a Schlitz Tour of Chicago, and go to every bar we could find in the city that serves Schlitz, and have one in each.

There are thousands upon thousands of bars in Chicago. Even within a few blocks of my house, I have at least 2 dozen or so options, some of which are on this map. Not all of them have Schlitz, but I'd say at least a third of them do.

Chicago, friends and neighbors, is big. These are the bars and I consider to be stumbling distance from my house- say about a 6 or 7 block radius. We'll probably have to make a weekend of it.

Image the amount of liver damamge we would do, too.

Is there a statute of limitations on bets made in your 20's?

Monday, May 22, 2006

It depends on your point of view.

I spent this weekend biking and thinking about biking. It was the first nice weather we've had in Chicago on a weekend for what feels like an eternity, and I took fully advantage of it.

Spending this much time on a bike tends to cut into one's social schedule, though. Both Friday and Saturday nights I cut out on my friends early so I could get some sleep. Last night, however, I didn't cut out early. I had a meeting with one of my pub quizzers at 6, as she is co-hosting to benefit her cancer 5K run she's doing. She was running late, so I ordered dinner at Resi's and had a couple Schneider Weiss before she got there. Schneider Weiss has the fortunate effect of rendering me less than sober in a hurry.

Here, friends and neighbors, is a list of things I know for certain I did last night:

Ate dinner.
Came up with some pub quiz rounds.
Had a shot of Underberg.
Refused a bite of her pretzel.
Said yes when someone said "let go do karaoke!"
Suggested the place to go sing karaoke.
Took out $100.
Went to the Hidden Cove.
Sang 2 Johnny Cash songs, Every Rose has its Thorn, and Faith by George Michael.
Drank far too many Blue Moons.
Lost my bag with my jump drive, sunglasses, and notebook in it.
Passed out on the couch.

And, a list of things that I'm pretty sure I did, but I'm not sure sure I did:

Did a full-on George Michael imitation, including ass-shaking goodness while perfoming Faith.
Begged to go to the taqueria.

Since then, I have showered and shaved (thankfully), called the Cove to find that my bag never left there, even though I did, and received, via mail, my bike team's jerseys for this year (I'll post a picture as soon as I can). So, despite the rocky Memento-style start to my day, things are going well.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Strangers in the night.... part II

One of the many things L and I spoke about was dating and sex. She and I have a lot of the same attitudes towards both, and sadly, a lot of the same luck. At some point during the conversation we got to talking about our sluttiest moments. Mine came a few years ago, after a particularly horrible breakup with a woman I was absolutely mad for. I was so forlorn that I spent a weekend basically just fucking whoever I could. It was quite impressive.

Well, if you condone that kind of thing.

I was telling her about my previous weekend, when I was being followed around by this girl at the bar- she kept flirting, or trying to, and I was completely uninterested. L asked me what the problem was, obviously the girl just wanted to get laid. That's when I dropped a bomb on her- a big bomb.

"Yes, but I didn't want to have sex with her."

Now, L is a younger woman, quite a bit younger than I, in fact, but she does have a certain maturity that I recognize and appreciate. But she had never, ever, in her short and beautiful life, ever heard a man say that before. Her next question has been bouncing around in my head for the last couple days: "What, exactly, makes a girl unfuckable?"

I am an equal opportunity sex partner. Tall, short, skinny, not-skinny, girls with blonde, blue, brunette, pink and red hair. Girls who like girls, girls who like boys, girls who like girls and boys. I have been with all shapes and sizes, but what makes me not want to sleep with someone?

One thing is desperation. While I do like an aggressive woman (what man doesn't), there is a fine line between desperate and aggressive, which is why I didn't like this girl (scroll down towards the end of the post for the story), and why I don't like the girl from Saturday night. Both of them are attractive, but I just didn't like the situation- grasping at me like that. Plus, the girl from Saturday had hair I didn't like.

Personality goes a long way, too, sometimes I just get rubbed the wrong way, and there's no going back. After all, I once broke up with a girl over the radio station she listened to. Well, that, and she wanted kids by the time she was 30, was 4 years older than me, and I was 22. Not a good speech to give to me at that stage in my life. I don't want to even mention what was wrong with my last serious relationship, not that it isn't already widely known amongst my friends.

Perhaps Sass is right. I might be Jerry Seinfeld. Personally, I always thought of myself as more of a Rob Gordon. The truth is probably somewhere in between. At least, I hope so.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Strangers in the night....

After a particularly unhappy and long shift yesterday, I walked out the door of my office building at 9:25, exhausted and knowing full well that I would have to be back in less than 9 hours. Almost instinctively, my arm went up as a cab came up.

I don't really like taking cabs, especially with the ever rising gas prices raising fares. It now costs me a minimum of $14 to get to or from work. If we set the way-back machine to 2004, it was $12.50 with tip. But out of necessity comes expenditures. My need was to get home, have a glass of the bad Spanish wine I opened the other night, and get to bed early so I could wake up and complete the circle of insanity that is my job.

I got out of the cab about a block and a half from my house, mostly because I didn't want the fare to actually surpass $16. This is my usual M.O., actually. I enjoy the walk, even if it is short. Last night's walk was a treat.

As I walked down Irving Park Road, I saw someone wave at me. It was my friend L, who I haven't seen in at least a month or so, and then only in passing as I was heading home, she was coming in the Globe. She turned off her iPod and gave me a hug. We chatted for a few seconds, we had both just left work and were tired of all the overtime, and all the bullshit that comes from working too much. Oddly enough, this conversation was taking place 8 feet from the door to the Globe.

We discussed, for less than 5 seconds, whether or not we should go in and have a drink. Myself being the indecisive libra that I am, made the shockingly quick decision to go in and buy my friend, who I hadn't seen in a month, a belated birthday drink before I went to bed. Besides, one of the bartenders I like was working, and I don't get to see her that often either, so it was win-win-win for me, two girls I like to spend time with, and alcohol!


We ponied up to the bar, ordered our drinks, and talked about, well, everything. She's got hauntingly beautiful blue-green eyes that I get lost in very easily. At about 11, we both threw in the towel. She hadn't eaten since lunch and my alarm clock was due to shake me awake just after 4, so it was time. She walked me home, and we said goodnight.

I have to say it was really good to hang out with her again- it had been far too long.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Service with a smile?

I don't know what it is today, but I am Mr. Customer Service around here. I'm being nice (scary!), being extra patient (frightening!), and most importantly, not losing my temper with anyone (run for the hills!).

No, I didn't get laid last night, neither did I wile away the hours flirting with anyone. No, I didn't wake up on the right side of the bed- I actually woke up in extreme pain (I screwed up my back the other day, and every morning is a new level of pain). I haven't done anything out of the ordinary routine, well, except for not shaving today, and I spent part of my commute thinking about my walk from the train to my office as a mini-Battan march.

So, what's my deal? I just don't get it.

On a completely unrelated topic, I'm trying to spread the use of the word commurfer. This is my word for riding the train while standing without actually holding onto anything.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm your swig dancer, dance not for money...

Even though I am fairly notorious my misspellings, I still take such great pride in finding someone else's mistakes, especially when they're publicly displayed:
This was outside a restaurant two doors down from where I dined last night- I'm so glad one of us had a camera phone!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

life through lyrics, again.

Well, the time's are gettin' hard for you little girl...

How's your day?

Here's how mine is (and this is just the e-mails):

Never mind that I was here until 10 last night. Never mind that I came back at 6:40 this morning. Never mind all that. Just get me the hell out of here. Pretty please. With sugar.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thanks, pop!

My father sent this over to me, I'd like to think of it as the epilogue to Star Wars IV: A New Hope.

I mean, do you think your average stormtrooper knows how to install a toilet main?

Oh, and thanks to everyone who voted!

My friend Ayman's Band, the Emerald Lizards were one of the four finalists in Metromix's "They Rock, You Vote" and can be seen in today's Red Eye in the Metromix section.
Most importantly, they can be seen May 24th at Metro! Go see them and prepare to be RAWKED!

These dreams go on when I close my eyes...

Yesterday morning, after a rather hard time falling asleep, I had a dream where Kim Deal and I were hanging out in a private library, drinking scotch, smoking cigarettes and talking. The odd thing was that she, who I have never seen not smoking, wouldn't touch a cigarette, and I, a non-smoker, was smoking like a chimney. This was a rather strange role-reversal, but a fun dream.

We were talking about music, art, and philosophy. I don't know shit about art, except for the few paintings I really like, so that, too, was an interesting aspect of my dream. At the end of the dream, we said goodnight to each other with a kiss on the cheek.

As I walked home from the train yesterday, I was on the phone with my friend L, who was also having a not-very-bright-and-happy day. I opened the door to my building and lo and behold, my new toy had arrived. What new toy? This:

I finally did it. I finally broke down and bought a bass guitar for myself, something I've been wanting to do for years. This also means that perhaps the band some friends of mine and I have envisioned might actually have a chance at happeneing. My suggestion for the band's name? Twenty Dollar Banjo.


My mother and I aren't exactly on the best of terms due to a long-standing feud that I don't want to explain right now, or, frankly, ever. There's just too much there. So on Friday when my cell phone rang while I was away from my desk, I hurried back only to see, on the final ring, that my caller ID said "Mom." My mother and I don't speak that often, and she would never call me during the day, unless it was my birthday, which it wasn't. She left a message and asked me to call her back later on that night.

I knew that my plans of bike riding and then dinner and drinks with friends was going to make calling her back that evening not so easy. I called her back to see what was what. After the hi, how are you's she told me my grandfather was sick and started to cry. I calmed her down and got the information- he went to the doctor (something my family isn't that good at doing) and they found reason to believe that he has cancer of the liver and colon. They used the one word that I think makes cancer sound really, really bad: inoperable.

We talked about it for a couple minutes, I told her to be strong and to have hope, that the future isn't set and that we really didn't know anything yet. She told me that if I talk to my brother to not tell him anything, then decided that was how the "chain of command" gets broken, so that if I did talk to him, to tell him everything. That's when I decided that my job as his big brother was to call and tell him the news. There was no answer on his cell phone, and because he has a relatively new job and house, I didn't have his home or work numbers, so I had to call my dad, and, subsequently, I had to tell him the news, too.

My parents were married for almost 20 years, and that's just not something you can turn off. He still cares about my grandparents, and they still care about him, so he was feeling almost exactly what I was feeling- shock, frustration, anger and helpless. I got my brother's contact numbers and told him what was up. He was in the same boat as my father and I. We talked for a few minutes after that, shared our concerns, and went our separate ways.

My defense mechanism was going out on a bender, his was to plant a new apple tree in his backyard. My little brother has always been a bit more Zen than his big brother.

So, we waited the weekend, found out the CT scan which was supposed to be Monday was actually going to be Tuesday. I spent all day yesterday jumping whenever my phone rang, and it did a lot, so I spent a lot of time jumping.

Fast forward to this morning- I had worried all through pub quiz about this, but as they say, the show must go on, and it did. I couldn't sleep at all last night, though, and I woke up early for a quick bike ride, for which I was getting ready when I heard my phone ring. I dashed out of the bathroom ostensibly naked and picked up the phone. It was my brother. The results were in.

The CT scan revealed a growth on my grandfather's colon, but they no longer believe he has liver cancer. They're doing a colonoscopy today and getting a biopsy to find out what the next move is. Essentially, the news is much better than the original outlook was, and I can breathe a little easier, at least for now.

no news is...

...well, no news.

I have yet to receive news about the as yet unmentioned topic. This is not a juicy piece of information. This is a non-juicy, bad, unhappy bit of information that I'm not happy to be dealing with in the first place.

Let's face it, am I ever happy to deal with bad news?


I've been jumping all day when my cell phone rang. Even when my brother called. Even when you called. Even when L texted. Even when the karaoke machine we use as a PA system at pub quiz made the familiar sound of my cell phone receiving a call.

I think I can manage another 16 or so hours of this before I go crazy.

You have been warned.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

circle the wagons

I don't want to give away too much, because I don't know much yet and the stuff I do know carries with it some seriously bad mojo.

I will say that I am in the midst of a family crisis.

I will also say that the worse feeling I can ever have is helplessness. I can't stand it if someone I know and love needs help and I can't help. Nothing makes me crazier. Nothing makes me angrier. Nothing frustrates me quite like that feeling. Seriously- I could take a million calls from customers who don't know how to highlight text on a computer and still not be as frustrated as I am when I feel helpless.

My defense mechanisms weren't exactly helpful, either. Friday, after I got home, I tried to calm down a bit. Things weren't working, so I decided to play around with my PS2 and see if that relaxed me. Strike two. I was hungry, and I was thirsty, so I went to the Globe. My first order? Ketel One martini, extra dirty. And damn was that martini ever dirty.

My second order? A Ketel One martini, not quite as dirty as the previous one. Very nice. My third order? I don't want to repeat myself. Finally, after 3 martini's, I ordered food, realizing that going out on a piss meant that I had to pace myself, otherwise I'd be in bed by 9, and subsequently awake at 3:30 or so. I also switched to Guinness, because that's my beer. A couple other friends showed up, then they headed home. I got a call to come to Laschett's, so stumbling down the street I went.

I bounded into Laschett's with at least 2 of 3 sheets definitely to the wind. I knew I was there to meet my former roommate's new whatever-their-relationship-status-is. They met when she was here on business and made quite the impression on each other- about 9 days ago he got back from visiting her in Japan.

And I think 550 miles is a pain in the ass.

After he visited her, she flew here, less than a week later. From Japan. I mean, I'm all for flying, but Japan to Chicago? That's what, 14 hours? 15? That's a long way to go. She's incredible, though, smart, sweet, funny, and just damn cute. At one point she looked at me, apparently sensing my depression/unhappiness/frustration and asked if she could give me a hug.

There's a million ways to comfort a person. One of the nicest things you can do is not to ask if they need a hug, but just to offer it as though it really isn't for them, but for you, that's a way to make me happy. I put down my Aventinus and opened my arms and got what I really needed at that particular time.

A really, really good hug.

I promise to write more about this situation when I know more. Tuesday is the day I'll get more information and I should finally be willing to expand on all this.

Until then, my friends and loyal readers.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thirty days in the hole

Well, 32, actually.

That's how many days until 6/6/6, the day I'd like to get married. While it was a good idea, and I still like the concept, well, the practice just hasn't become feasible. Yet.

So back into the great big dating pool I go, at least for a while... Did you know that July 7th 2007 is a Saturday? Talk about the perfect day for a Vegas wedding!

Whip-Smart Track 8

Cinco de mayo, blowout, denial
It wasn't fun this time, letting you go
What if I never, a bullet forever,
Held out my hand to you?
We wouldn't have known beautiful flow

Absolute measure, I ain't no pleasure hound
Bus out of control, ploughing the road
Out on a bender
Just Alice falling down a deepening hole

I'd never been to Rome until you smiled
You're about as old and piled

Used to pray for snow
Now I just wonder
What spell I was under
Thinking you thought of me as something to hold

I'd never been to Rome until you smiled
You're about as old and piled

Cinco de mayo, burn-out Ohio
It wasn't me this time letting you go

I wrote a round of pub quiz, all Mexican trivia, with a similar title this week. I'll get around to posting it when I get around to remembering to have my jump drive with me when I have some spare time to post it.

Frankly, I don't get why so many of us Americans embrace this holiday. In my experience, most Americans (probably including the ones that can't find Ohio on a map) think today is Mexico's Independence Day, well, you're not only wrong, but you have a lack of sense of history. Then again, I think most folks just need an excuse to drink.

Me, I don't need no stinking excuses.

Today is the day, friends and neighbors, that General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated a superior French invasion force including dragoons, with a rag-tag (quite literally rag-tag, too they were mostly Indians armed with little more than machetes) militia, about 4000 troops, and a well-timed cattle stampede through the battlefield that was incited by some local farmers.

So, if you're one of those people out hoisting Coronas and thinking you're celebrating something kids get the day off of school for, please remember that you're not. You're just hoisting Coronas. While it was a very important day in the history of the world, it just isn't much of a holiday.

Just spreading a little perspective.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Time's a-wastin'

and I am wasting it. I'm at work, I'm tired (shouldn't have ridden before work today, methinks, and I'm cruising through A new favorite (or should I say favourite) photoshop contest entry:The theme? Create movie posters for foreign knock-offs of American movies.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Shameless non-self promotion.

My very rockin' friend, Ayman, and his band have been nominated for a vote to play at Metro. This is a HUGE opportunity for my friend and his band, so please, please, please, click on this link and cast your vote for my very, very, very rockin' friend and his very, very, very rockin' band, the Emerald Lizards!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Scenes from a bar.

My friend Monts, whose birthday it was on Friday, who drank many a shot with me, showed me to his friend's picture site this morning, revealing several shots I don't remember being taken from my Friday night of general debauchery and super-big paycheck spending. The worst part of doing karaoke, of course, is long song intros:

Flashing metal because I am just that fucking hard-rock, yo:
And finally, the scary "do-you-know-where-I-can-get-some-stuff-lady" ponies up on yours truly, mid-Poison ballad no less.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Somebody call hell- have them check the thermostat.

In an amazing bit of news, I actually agree with something Rush Limbaugh said, in regards to the $100 tax rebate Republicans want to give all of us because of high gas prices:
“What kind of insult is this? Instead of buying us off and treating us like we’re a bunch of whores, just solve the problem.”

As much as I hate to admit it, we are in complete agreement. So, just for fun, here's some pictures from the International German Beard Championships:Oh, and thanks to Wonkette for the link.

Next time won't you sing with me?

I read an article this morning about a new porn movie called The Alphabet. The article isn't about the movie per se, but about how the neighbors felt about it being filmed on their street. The movie itself supposedly features two twin sisters performing sexual acts in alphabetical order.

Now, I've been around the block more than my fair share of times, and I'm making a mental list of sexual acts I've either performed, had performed on me, or have heard of. I just can't come up with an entire alphabet's worth of things to do. Perhaps things are named differently in other parts of the world* but I just can't fill it all in (no pun intended). The first few are easy, but after that even I get a little lost.

I put it to you, my loyal readers, to help me complete the list. I won't post the list I have yet, as it is a mental list, but once we've got 26, I'll post it.
*For instance, this weekend I learned that in Cincinnati, the game we call Bags in Chicago is called Cornhole. Brings a whole new meaning to the term for me, and next time I'm in Ohio I'll know what's what when someone asks me if I'm up for some cornhole.