Thursday, May 28, 2009

Asia Adventures - Post 10 (Koh Phangan Island, Thailand)

The group signed up for an all-day adventure that took us to all the island notable spots. We started the morning with elephant riding. I’ve seen elephants in the zoo, but I’ve always been far away because of all the protective moats and fencing. To see one up close I thought “my God this beast has a HUGE MELON HEAD”! The skull was enormous. Riding on an elephant was like being in a rocking boat. You would shift and slide to the right, pause, then back to the left. The guide even let us get out of the safety seat and ride on the elephant’s neck. Yeah one thing I noticed about traveling outside of the USA is that safety standards are completely lax (sure touch the tiger, he is a good kitty, we haven’t had an incident in over seven months). Afterwards, we fed bananas to the elephants that slimed our hands.

Next stop was a Chinese temple on a Thai island. Nothing much to mention except that all the statues had super scary eyes. Seriously, they were possessed and watched me as I walked around.

We went hiking in the Phaeng Waterfall Park. Well it was more rugged than we anticipated and basically had to make our own path through trees and sharp pointy rocks. Evan only wore flip-flop sandals which kept sliding off his feet so he had to eventually trek in his bare-feet. Ouch! We got to play in some waterfall pools and eventually made it to the high point of the island (Mt. Khao Ra) for a fantastic view.

Next was a gourmet lunch at a restaurant situated on a cliff that overlooked two white beaches. The fish was served whole (head, scales, fins, etc) which was a first for me. It looked to be still alive, and I was waiting for it to look at me and offer some garlic bread.

We spent the next few hours snorkeling and sunbathing on Ao Mae Haad Beach. The coral reef was cool and again there were absolutely no safety standards. Basically it was “sure touch the reef, chase the fish, you know how to swim right so I don’t need to get out the life jackets right”. I gathered a ton of coral on the beach that was bleached stark white. I figured it would look pretty in a bowl for my coffee table.

The last stop on the tour was a visit to the King’s waterfalls. Usually every King of Thailand travels to these particular waterfalls and carves his name (or symbol) in the rocks. I guess the tradition goes back some 200 years. Our guide took us to a pool at the base of the waterfall and told us to jump off the cliff…into a narrow ravine…and hit a 3 foot x 3 foot spot in the pool. The water was only about knee deep but that small spot was about 10 feet deep. If we missed, then we would be jumping into essentially a baby pool and probably would fracture our ankle or leg. Yaaay, who wants to go first! Don’t worry, we all jumped and survived without injury (although Gabby and I managed to wipe out on the same rocks).

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Taken from the Chicago Redeye newspaper:
Pittsburgh police say a high school student is facing charges for using a biology class snake as a jump rope. The boy will be charged with theft and cruelty to animals. The animal survived the ordeal and was being examined by a veterinarian. Pittsburgh Public School officials on Tuesday were not immediately able to say what kind of snake it was, although RedEye would venture to guess it was an angry one.

Ah ha ha ha! I love whomever wrote the last line.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday night frights

Sit down and buckle up, here goes my Friday night (well last Friday night). I met up with my friends Big Mike, Guido, Nina, and Sammie for a night at Aberdeen down in Wicker Park. This bar is right across the street from their apartment, so we usually go there once a week. The bartenders (Erin and Eric) know our names and always save us a seat at the bar.

The night started out with some Harpoon beers from the local distributer guy. He was promoting the IPA and got us all a few complementary drinks. I talked to the guy and asked him questions about the beer to be nice. Well, I should trust my instincts and just be the bitch that I am because the guy asked me out. Errror! I then turned to the bartender and asked for a Magic Hat instead.

That night they had absinthe bombs on special. Basically it was absinthe mixed with red bull. Only a few states allow the sale of absinthe, but it still isn’t the real stuff with wormwood (which is supposed to be a big hallucinogenic). Big Mike convinced us all to have one, and immediately afterwards we all were left gasping with our tongues wagging. Mike then declared that it was a very terrible idea! Erin, the bartender, then changed the specials board to read “Mikes lucid absinthe bombs…terrible idea!!”

Fast forward two hours and one more absinthe bomb later. The specials board was yet again changed to represent the present state of Mike.

On my way back from the restroom I got pulled aside by a group of big burly men. They had muscles on top of muscles. In my intoxicated (yet surprisingly recollective) state I blurted out “so are you guys body builders or something”. They then tell me they are circus performers. Seriously, they were members of cirque du soleil! One was from New Guinea, one from Columbia, and one from Greece. They were in town for shows on Friday and Saturday out in Rosemont. I had actually wanted to go the show but the tickets were like $80. Tonight was their cast party and sure enough the place wasn’t short of beefy men. I was all “oh my god, I’m taking trapeze lessons…here feel my hands, they are covered in blisters and calluses”. We shared stories about different silks and trapeze moves, and then they offered me tickets to Saturday’s show. Sweet! As I went back to my crew to share the good news, a group of hot chicks came in and totally out foxed me for the circus folk’s attention.

The night did turn out well. The bartenders asked the DJ to play 80’s music for us. I probably danced more that night than I have all year combined. Around midnight, I was exhausted and decided to call it a night. It was like New Years Eve because every cab along North Ave. was taken. I walked up and down the street for ten minutes trying to find an open cab. I even waited at the bus stop just in case that showed up. Frustrated, I saw a motorcyclist waiting at the intersection and I figured why not. I called out “hey you going North?” and he replied “I could be”. I hopped on the back and we drove off north. Okay I know, save the speech about riding on motorcycles…with a stranger, but hey I made him drive slow and even gave him a fake address (you know, one that was a few blocks away from my actual place so he couldn’t stalk me or anything).

In all, just a typical Friday night for me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hunting season

Prepare yourself for some pretty demeaning blog posts. I decided to try out an online dating system. Judge me if you must, but I am tired of hitting on much younger men at bars. You ask how I know they are much younger…well here is a simple test, if they own a visor and don’t know about Desert Storm (hello, the Iraq invasion is not a new thing). I do realize that online dating may be a slippery slope towards owning ten cats, but I am willing to take the risk. Plus it makes for fantastic blog posts that everyone gets to enjoy (well except for the poor chums that I will anonymously humiliate).

Where to start. Ah, the do’s and don’ts of first dates.
DO – show up on time. I don’t enjoy waiting at a bar for 15 minutes. I shouldn’t be on my second beer by the time you show up.
DO – suggest a good icebreaker activity. DON’T pick an activity that you suck at. Although batting cages sound really fun, it will leave you sweaty (like nasty V-line down your shirt sweaty), give you no chance to talk to your date (hello, focus on the ball), and prove just how old you are when you pull a back muscle (you are 35, not 80!). I do give the guy credit because it was a lot of fun. Too bad we both were too tired to talk and had open blisters all over our hands. Oh and I was a sooo much better hitter than him.
DON’T – be gay. Seriously, you are interested in women right?
DON’T – try to touch me if I have only known you 20 minutes. One guy tried to put his arm around me as we were strolling down the street. I almost tripped over my feet darting out of the way of the incoming arm. I then punished him by going “oh look at that” while pointing at some old lady’s giant wrinkled asscrack (she was bending over gardening and had a good 4 inches sticking out). He took the bait and then lamented about why I pointed that out in the first place. Ah ha ha ha jerk.
DO - offer to pay for the drinks even though I fully intend on splitting the bill.
DON’T – offer to buy me something. I am not one of those girls that gives head for a new pair of shoes. Seriously true story…after a cup of coffee, a guy suggested we go shopping. I agreed thinking “oh we are going to window shop and make interesting comments about the wares”. Nope, he took me to a store and told me to pick something out as a gift. I said I really didn’t shop here, but he insisted that I was bound to find something. I blurted out that I needed a rug for my living room and sure enough, he started to hold up all the various rugs to see if I liked them. Okay, just because you say you run a hedge fund doesn’t mean you should flaunt it on a first date. Don’t worry, I feigned disinterest in all the products and he didn’t give me anything…except a good story.

I have decided to embark on a special dating assignment. I have arranged for a different date every night for two straight weeks. Admittingly, I am not really attracted to any of them, but hey why not. Single men of Chicago, you have been warned.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Girlz in da hood

Here is a classic store from my hood. Last Thursday night I was meeting up with some people to watch game 6 of the Bulls playoff. My “L” stop is super ghetto and was dubbed by the paper as the station that smells most like urine and fried chicken. We have only two turnstiles. When I approached the station, I noticed a whole group of large angry black women were gathered in front of the turnstiles. They were having a heated argument when all of a sudden one shouted out “Bitch, I’ll CUT YOU!” and then lunged at a girl. The two started to kick, punch, scratch, pull, etc and did the other girls try to separate them…hell no! They circled around wagging their fingers cat calling with “uuummm huuummm, I said that bitch gonna fuck you up”. Of course they are fighting in and around both turnstiles preventing the growing number of us from entering the station. Also a train had just arrived, so there was a whole flock of people who wanted to exit but couldn’t. We kept doing a little tippy toe dance with our fare cards out in the chance they decided to move out of the way.

The fight was very much like a Jerry Springer show. You know, where the two would fight, the separate for a moment or two while they circled each other like lions while spouting out various obscenities only to lunge back together with fists flying. I wasn’t the only one who found this highly amusing. I saw a few people in the crowd stealthily take out their cell phone cameras and snap a few pictures.

Nearby was a CTA worker who obviously had only ten minutes left on his shift. He sighed and was all “girls…come on, really…do you need me to call the cops”. Meanwhile, I said in my head “wait, I know exactly where the cops are…they are right outside my apartment busting some dope deal”. Eventually the fight moved off to the side and all of us waiting to enter/exit the station all ran through the turnstiles in rapid succession. I am sad I didn’t snap any pictures because the girls looked hilarious. One’s weave was all sticking up on one side, the other was bleeding from a scratch on her forehead and her shirt neckline was all stretched out. I called some friends to relate the story while waiting on the train platform. Sure enough, while I was talking to one, the background was filled with police sirens.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Old skool, word (head nod)

I have a great story regarding my hood to tell. Well actually I have two (one will be in another post). Normally, I complain a lot about how ghetto my neighborhood is. Hey, the number one profession is dope dealer. I am always seeing cops busting someone outside my apartment for the standard drug deal, prostitution, or occasional knifing. No worries though because my neighbors may be thugs, but they are extremely polite to me. Seriously, I’ll be walking home and a whole gathering (well let’s be honest, a gang) will part and wish me a good evening. I mean you gotta respect!

Anyway, I was walking home at midnight last night after watching a friend’s band play (he is the drummer in a 90’s cover awesome is that!). I noticed there was a big group converged in the street park right outside my front door. A street park is like a regular park, just with concrete instead of grass. Basically it is a street that you can’t drive down with two benches..who hoo! It is not unusual to see a group at midnight in the park since it is the #1 place to deal dope in the tri-state area. As I got closer I started to hear a regular rubber ball bounce. You know the distinct ping sound of a gym class red dodge ball. Well I then realize it is actually my brand new neighbors (a bunch of emo/hipster art students…they singlehandedly doubled the white population in our block) and they were playing 4-square. Yes, 4-SQUARE! I ran up on them and started to gush about the game. Frankly that made my week. Maybe tomorrow they will break out freeze tag. I love my hood.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

When it all goes downhill

I received these two magazines in the mail yesterday. I have never heard of “Prevention” magazine, but apparently they think I really need their information since I got TWO in ONE DAY! I just turned 30 about two months ago, and now I am getting solicitors for hormones and adult diapers. WTF!

Here are snap shots of their cover stories…which made me laugh out loud when I first read them (hey I must be 30 going on 65).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Baseball, there is no crying in baseball...just drinking

Here is a photo dump from the Cubs – Cardinals game. The gang got choice seats in the bleachers thanks to Jensen. We decided that 2009 would be the year of the silly straw. They were a mega hit and everyone kept asking where we got them. Thankfully the straws acted as a pacer because we would have gone through a lot more beer (then again, we stopped counting after five). You can see in the pictures the stacks of cups. Speaking of cups, it seemed like everyone in the bleachers was playing cups (where you add or take dollars based on the batter outcome). I understand now when they talk about Cubs fans just there for the drinking.

One funny note is the flock of seagulls in the outfield. I don’t know if someone threw a pretzel or what, but a dozen birds swarmed in and started prowling the outfield. The center and right fielders tried to shoo the birds away, but they would just come back.

After the game, we headed over to Casey Moran’s and their weird laser light show. Seriously, being so close to Wrigley Field, you would think they would be more sports bar. Nope, it was all techno and flashing lights. Of course I did participate in a lot of Lady GaGa dancing. Damn her and the infectious songs!

Oh did I mention Peeps! Yep the Peeps made another appearance. Long live sugar coated marshmallows!