Thursday, October 30, 2008

I've had the time of my life...

Backing up a week or two, my Mother came to visit me in Chicago. Granted she is sorely disappointed that I moved back to Chicago because she liked the shopping better in NYC (when I say shopping, I mean buy fake purses on Canal Street). While here, we got tickets to see ‘Dirty Dancing’ the musical before it ships off to Broadway. My first instinct was “wow, that guy looks just like Patrick Swayze….that girl looks just like Jennifer Grey”. If you liked the movie, then you would love the musical since it was basically a scene for scene, line for line reproduction of the movie (granted they added one or two scenes and a few lines here and there to add depth or a greater meaning). Honestly, I don’t know why they would want to add a deeper meaning to “dirty dancing”. Ummm, the title basically says it all. We came to see racy magnificent dancing. I guess it is the equivalent to adding bacon to your salad.

Speaking of dancing, it was FUCKING AWESOME! They had a dozen or so dancers on the stage and they were all so good that I didn’t know who to watch. The leading contender was the girl who played “Penny”. She was tall and very lean (basically the exact same body as Penny from the movie) and the most amazing dancer I have ever seen. After the show, I looked up her bio to see that she was the principal dance for a famous ballet company for the last 8 years. Figures, that skinny bitch.

Now that you have heard the good, here is the bad. Patrick sounded funny…..really funny. He is an Aussie, so you could tell the producers were like “alright pal, lets try to lose that accent during these previews”. The end result was like a breathless Sylvester Stallone.

Sitting directly in front of us were the most immature middle-aged women ever. During the “Penny is in trouble” scene, in an utterly quiet captivated theater, the pair suddenly burst out in a giggle fit….that lasted five minutes. Before it was over, we had the entire audience glaring at us and I was ready to start pointing fingers to indicate it WASN’T ME cracking up during an abortion.

I don’t know if you could classify the show as a “musical” since practically no on sings. Two or three token actors/actresses sang one or two songs, but the majority of the music was straight off of the soundtrack. I’d like that job, wait for que….insert Dirty Dancing soundtrack CD, press play. When the token players did sing, they would stay off to the side to let the dancers take the stage (and our attention). Kind of like in Cirq-de-Sole where the acrobats entertain and the singers just creep around in the background.

Since the production was practically line-for-line from the movie, the crowd was highly anticipating some choice phrases. The place erupted when Baby said “I carried a watermelon….I CARRIED a watermelon”. Everyone practically tore their seat cushions out when Patrick/Johnny busted into the dance hall and said “nobody puts baby in the corner”. I admit, I screamed and clapped my hands like a school girl. Go ahead, judge me. At least I didn’t run out and purchase the baby pink hot shots with that same catch phase across the rear. Try to explain that without utter embarrassment a month later when the sugar high has worn off.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can I touch them?

One of my most favorite things in life is live music. Preferably rock, but any ole kind will do. A friend’s band is trying to get some momentum. Well they are a heavy-thrash-death-metal band and surprise, there are not many venues to play their music at. Granted if they played top 40 music or looked like 98degrees, then they would have more options. Not to be deterred, the boys decided to hold court in my friend’s backyard. They invited three other start-up metal bands to make it more of an outdoor festival or something. Kegs of beer, live music, BBQ…..count me in.

When I got off the bus about four blocks from the house, I could hear the music. Oh dear, the neighbors will not be happy. He invited all of his neighbors and fortunately they enjoyed really loud heavy metal music. One family even brought their two little girls (maybe between the ages of 7 and 10) along. Just like little groupies in training, the girls stood next to the stage and watched the guys thrash about. Okay it is one thing to keep the girls out past their bedtime (11pm) but another to subject them to the song material. I don’t know which song they enjoyed more, ‘Gouge out your eyes with blood’ or ‘Hell is full of whores’.

I was enjoying the shows just fine until some douche bag decided to stand directly in front of me thus blocking my entire view. I was sitting so that his but was exactly at eye level. How annoying right. After staring at his posterior and contemplating shoving something up there, I realized he was wearing black velvet jeans! Ah ha ha ha! There is a God.

Since we are on the subject of bands, my old running friend Demian formed a cover band in Japan. No, he is not Japanese, he is actually a Mexican who looks Polish. Anyway, he is learning to play the bass and had all of three lessons before they played live at some Japanese bar. Hilarious. Go Demian!!!! (here is his blog about living and working in Japan....and being the tallest person there).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Super star!

I made the video! Yep, out of the 300 people who showed up at the Improv Everywhere event in Chicago, I got caught on camera. Granted it was pouring rain most of the time, so everyone was hiding under umbrellas. My cameo is about 1:08 minutes into the video (I have a green shirt, white cap, and a giant purse with a plus sign on it). or (mp3 experiment Chicago).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In marathon time...

The official time is 2-hours 18-minutes. No, that is not the wining time for the Chicago Marathon, it is how long it took me to travel out to Ikea….one way! I had to take a bus to a train to another bus to a trolley. So in total, I spent about 4-1/2 hours riding on eight different vehicles just so I could buy discount Swedish crap. I did indulge in a Swedish meatball lunch.

Although spending half your day riding on public transportation would dampen the spirits, I did come away with some priceless stories. On the first crowded bus, I noticed there was an open seat next to an older Chinese woman. I was too late to grab it, but then I realized why it was vacant before. The old Chinese woman would randomly start yelling and gesturing with her hands. Over a 30 minute bus ride, I saw four different people sit next to her only to move after one or two stops.

The story of the day happened on the Trolley. I stepped on the trolley to find it packed with 20-30 Hispanic women all wearing red turtlenecks. It was a tad creepy with dozens of eyes on me thinking “where is your red turtleneck huh….we all wore ours”. Additionally, the women were all speaking Spanish. Well actually, I know some Spanish and I didn’t recognize anything, so it was probably a funky dialect or just not Spanish. I sounded like every other word was “guacamole”. Seriously it was like “blah mole blah guacamole blah blah mole mole”. Unlike the bus or train, the trolley didn’t have individual seats. Instead it had long polished wood benches. When the trolley driver took a sharp turn too fast, half of us slid right off the benches onto the floor. The women all started yelling “GUACAMOLE GUACAMOLE GUACAMOLE!!!!”

In unrelated news, the following weekend was the Chicago Marathon. I only mention it because I just finished a book that references it in a hilarious way. My friend Dana turned me on to the Jen Lancaster books. She and Dana went to the same Big 10 school, both were in a sorority, both worked in Chicago, etc. Well this woman’s writing is hilarious and so snarky. As a favor to a friend, she agreed to pick up their racing packet for the Chicago marathon. Well she noticed that everyone at the packet pick up were actually running the marathon and therefore really in shape, skinny, etc. She had put on 50 pounds recently because she was unemployed and all the skinny people were giving her dirty looks for being there. Since she refused to be insulted she started to overdo the fat person among toned bodies scenario.
Here is the excerpt from her book Bitter is the new Black:
[she eats a candy bar in front of the masses]
“I announce, ‘damn, them twixes aahh tasty!’ to the new balance clad Ally Mcbeal behind me. ‘Hey, I need me a smoke wicked bad. You got a light?’ I ask her.
She’s beyond appalled. ‘smoking is not allowed in the convention center. And furthermore, it’s very bad for you.’
‘So’s Jack Daniel’s shooters and my boyfriend Snake, but that don’t mean it ain’t fun!’ I reply, punctuating the statement with a resounding smack on my own butt and a quick pelvic thrust.”

Monday, October 13, 2008

Asia Adventure - Post 3 (Hong Kong)

On Monday, we rode the subway to Lantau Island (aka the very end of the line) to visit the big ass Buddha. Well the proper name is “Tien Tan Buddha Statue”, but the thing is enormous and could possibly be seen from space. The island is a variable wilderness, so we took the “Ngong Ping” cable car to get a very scenic trip. Granted the cable car was suspended 700+ feet in the air and held aloft by tiny cables and the wind would swing our car and make the most disturbing creaking noises…..and I’m having a panic attack. My fear of heights kicked in again and I had to spend a good portion of the ride curled up in the fetal position on the cable car floor.

On a sweltering hot and humid day (oh wait that is EVERYDAY in Hong Kong) we thought it would be a great idea to climb the bazillion steps up to the giant Buddha. 30 minutes later, we reached the top and lost about half our body weight in sweat. Now if only they would install a giant slip-n-slide to get back down to the base.

Next to the big Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery where we had a huge vegetarian lunch. Well Chinese vegetarian meals are just like regular Chinese meals (smells like fish and something rank), just without the fish. At the monastery, I had my first encounter with massive amounts of overpowering incense. I mean every once in a while during college, you would walk into the “stoner’s” room and be overwhelmed with some burning incenses, so in comparison, the monastery was going for the high times hall of fame status. All the worshipers would carry three or more giant burning sticks (think Roman candle size) of incense that they would wave around and pray with. Personally, I think it was just a clever way for the monastery to cover up that awful fishy food smell.

A quick digress….we decided to drink some and just chill at Evan’s apartment before hitting the town the previous two nights. While sending status update emails to the family, we used his internet to watch various You-Tube videos. The highlights were the “what what in the butt” music video and Jim Gaffigan’s “hot pockets” standup routine. They were such hits, they became running inside jokes for the entire SE Asia trip. All we would have to do is whisper “caliente pocket” or “what what” before the group would bust up in juvenile giggle fits. Another favorite was a Mad TV sketch that we couldn’t find online but I described to them. Basically a guy is acting in front of a green screen and the director is yelling at him “now someone is attacking you over your shoulder….so you are stabbing him….stabbing him ferociously….now the other shoulder….now they are bleeding and you want to drink the magical dragon blood…”. Basically it looked like the guy was giving dual handjobs while drinking jiz. Graphic, I know.

Back to the story. The cable car has a “snapshot moment” at the end of the run where you can crowd to the front and get a group shot in the cable car. Think the kind of tourist trap picture that roller coasters have. The funny thing is that they Photoshop in the landscape since they take the picture in a warehouse. Well we were in the mood to create a different kind of picture just to fuck with the staff. We posed like rock star strippers slapping our asses or grunting like monkeys (and in my case….drinking magic dragon blood). I almost peed my pants looking at the resulting picture and therefore had to get a copy for Christmas cards.

That night we headed to the island of Kowloon for Indian food and shopping. The restaurant (and that is a stretch) was in the dodgiest building in SE Asia. As soon as we stopped in front, we were assaulted by a dozen Indian men shoving their menus in our face (insert dirty comment here). We followed the hawker through a back door, around a storage room, and up a service staircase full of more garbage and questionable looking puddles (50-50 shot it was urine). At one point, Dana clung to my arm and said “I bet this is where they deal drugs”. Surprisingly, the food was good and did not taste like it was cooked in used syringes.

After dinner we stopped first at the night market to haggle for cheap crap. I browsed through the requisite faux silk traditional Chinese dresses, faux silk slutty Chinese dresses, faux silk slutty he-she dresses, etc. They had everything from tea pots, embroidered slippers, knock off purses and art, painted fans….you know, the crap you would normally never buy. The next stop was the Ladies market which was full of the same crap but with new people to haggle prices with. Our cab driver was most definitely drunk (and possibly high) and molested Evan’s thigh. Talk about the most uncomfortable five minutes of your life. At least he didn’t ask Evan to drink his dragon blood.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

So hurts.

My best friend from High School was in Chicago for a few days due to dual medical conferences. I decided to treat her to some Chicago entertainment to escape from constant seminars and lectures. We headed out to Wicker Park to watch game 2 of the Cub-Dodgers playoff game. We met up with my gregariously fun Chicago friends (my boys) where they were already in the seventh inning of the game “let’s get drunk on a Thursday night”. Basically that is a given when you have $1 can of beer specials. I don’t remember who is responsible for the original idea, but someone introduced a new drink called “bear trap” (or possibly bear attack….I was tipsy). The drink consist of chugging a jaggier-bomb and chasing that with an Irish car bomb (or Belfast bomber). The waitress came out with a jammed tray full of various liquors. I sat back in amazement as the boys were literally consuming a pint worth of liquor in seconds. Immediately afterwards, they would growl, which I think was just a natural reaction from all the alcohol zinging to the brain.

As I mentioned before my friend was in town for some medical conferences. The first was leadership training for chief residents. They had to take personality tests to determine the best managing style suited for them. The speaker then arranged everyone from most anal retentive (type J) to most laid back (type F). He then examined the wallet from each side. The anal retentive/perfectionist type wallet had three cards lined up exactly and all the bills neatly arranged (facing one direction and in order from smallest to largest denomination) in one pocket. The anal retentive person was able to closely guess how much was in his wallet. The laid back wallet was eight inches thick and jammed full of random items. The speaker would pull out expired coupons, ATM receipts over a year old, etc. At one point, he found a pass for some safari adventure park and asked the girl “do you really intend to use this” to which she replied “oh….I meant to use that last week…when I actually did go to the safari thing….oops.” When asked where she kept her money, she said “oh usually here, here or here (essentially any open pocket would do”. And of course, she had no idea how much money she was carrying.

The second conference was for Psychiatrists. Doctors there presented some of their most unusual cases and diagnosis. One girl had a female patient who showed up to the ER after masturbating for 10 days straight. She had not eaten, slept, bathed, etc during this time period, masturbated in the car ride over and apparently also in the ER while waiting. My first question was “can you really do that….I mean, wouldn’t it get sore down there after a while….if I were to rub my arm for 10 days straight, I am sure my arm would become raw”.

Saturday night, we caught the late comedy show of Second City. Afterwards, they held an hour long improv session. My favorite was the “pepper” getting mad at the “salt” for fucking “oregano (that slutty Italian stallion”. Yeah, so guy yelled out “salt and pepper” when they asked for a relationship example and the resulting skit was hilarious. One sketch they were working on, one of the actors mock proposes to another actress only to have her decline and run away. My high school friend was convinced it was a real proposal. I figured it was all part of the sketch since the guy later went on to propose to the other two actresses.

The next day, I took part in a little improv myself. Now I am no actor, but I couldn’t resist joining up with this organized group Improv Everywhere. They are the prankster group responsible for ‘frozen at grand central station’. Check out their website ( to get an idea of their past pranks. My favorites are Grand Central Station, Look Up More, and Best Buy. They were hosting their first Chicago event. It was the MP3 experiment 4. All I had to do was show up at this field with a certain colored shirt (I picked green), an umbrella, and a balloon. You played a certain downloaded track and followed the instructions of the ominous sounding Steve. We tried to play a game of people tetris but I don’t think everyone’s special relations were that great. One highlight was playing color twister because they would shout out “hand to green elbow” “foot to blue foot” “hand to red head”. The best was any yellow command because there was only one little yellow girl around us and she kept shrieking because we would all close in around her (at one point she had 15 people touching her back because she was the only yellow in the surrounding area). We finished it off by battling the other colors (blue green vs red yellow) with balloons. Hopefully they post the video soon, but then again ours won’t be as vivid because it was pouring at the time. Look for the yellowish Dali umbrella….that is ME!

I've looked at the pictures they have posted sofar and found myself in a few (granted hard to see). Try to play where's Waldo-Lindsay in this first picture and try to spot me. Hint - I'm in the lower left corner wearing a white cap, green shirt, and carrying a purse with a black plus sign on it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

One of my final walks in the city

I returned to NYC for a quick weekend visit with Marathon Man. I used the visit to cram in more sightseeing. We started off at Gracie Mansion and Carl Schurzt park which is gorgeous! Seriously, the five or six blocks along the East River are so peaceful. At one point (Hell's Gate) you can see three bodies of water/rivers converge in a great pool of water turmoil. I could stare at the churning water for hours. Yeah, I have a thing for water. If I got a fish tank, all productivity would be lost.

We walked the 40 blocks south (past Sotheby's and Rockefeller University) to Bed Bath & Beyond so he could buy more coffe k-cups that were on sale. We walked back up on 5th Ave with a guide book that pointed out all the Old Money mansions (Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, other Manhattan elite of yesterday’s lore). Passing by Central Park, we heard what sounded to be a huge party. We went in to find the endings of a German-fest party complete with Lederhosen, tubas, and massively intoxicated people. The band actually martched out of the park with a throng of drunk pilgrims following behind singing and dancing wildly. We saw one guy attempt to jump a low rail and face plant in the grass. M-Man turned to me and said "don't you wish you were drunk too". I was at first sad that I was a stone sober spectator, but then I remembered the last time I drank in Central Park and how I later peed on a brownstone on 5th Ave.

The scaffolding is finally down from the Guggenheim. They were projecting prose on the building I guess.

Later that evening, I met my old roommate Bree out for a drink. She spilled the big news that she got married. No, she is not pregnant, just in love. When she asked about my day, I said I went to Bed Bath & Beyond. For a moment it felt like a really lame wasted day (like from Old School, we may go to Home Depot...if there is time you know), but then I realized it was so much more than a simple walk, it was like I am slowly saying goodbye to New York. Amazing how a city can make such a lasting impression on you.

Umm...reality check

I spotted this sight on the way to Yoga class. Yes, I signed up for a two-week membership to a yoga studio only because it was free and a co-worker's wife worked there. I don't like yoga. In fact, I despise it. I consider myself athletic, but all self esteem crumbles when you cannot reach your foot behind your head. I know I'm not flexible, I just don't want an hour dedicated to rubbing that fact in my face.

Anyway, I found this vanity plate funny. Usually they say men with flashy cars are making up for something. Well this guy just came out and said it. That or his ex-wife registered the car for him.

Play ball!

I'm not an avid baseball fan, in fact I usually spend the ball game getting drunk. Anyway, both the Cubs and the White Sox are in the playoff, and I can't help but feel some city pride. I think I will support the Cubs only because they haven't won in forever and I used to live in the neighborhood. Yep, I lived two blocks from Wrigley Field during that ill-fated 2003 year (year of the Bartman). It was a blast. Here are pictures from the Cubs ralley. I'm sure Picasso would be delighted that they put a baseball cap on his sculpture.