A Memorial Day

So, Memorial Day was the day that reality came along with a big ol' dose of "she's leaving, on a jet plane".  Her flight wasn't until 3:20 pm, but with travel time and pre-loading time, we didn't have all that much time on Sunday.

More hanging out, making out, talking, breakfast, packing, Phish Food eating, next visit planning, etc.  But there was always a tinge of sadness at the pending departure.

We finally got Cora packed and the car loaded, and we went off for dinner.  Cora had never had a Chicago style hotdog.  Yeah, I know!

Wait, what's a Chicago style hotdog?  Drag it through the garden and ABSOLUTELY NO KETCHUP!

So we went to a local hotdog place, but it was closed.  So, that means no Chubby Wiener for Cora.If she didn't get a chubby wiener, why is she smiling?
So we went down the street to a little Chicago based chain called "Potbelly's".  It's a funky, quirky little sandwich shop that is spreading across the country, and will be the next "Starbucks" but without making the same over reaching mistakes.

Then came the witching hour, and tearfully, we headed to the airport, parked, and took her bag to the Skycaps.  And found out her flight was delayed for an hour!  Back to the car for a little more of this…
Caught on tape
We are SO giving credit to Sass, the Weather Goddess, for the delay.

But eventually the time came to head back in.  I stood at the end of the security lane, and watched, and waved, and blew kisses until I couldn't see her anymore.  Then, off to my car to sit in the cell phone lot until her flight took off.

Well, that was the plan.  Locking my keys in my car delayed those plans a little while.

But, the airport assistance, in half an hour, I was off to the cell phone lot (normally, where you park for free, and when the person you are picking up deplanes, they call you, and you meet at arrivals), where I promptly fell asleep.  I awoke and kept checking the BlackBerry until her flight status changed to departed.

And I drove home thru tears.


Cora in Chicago – Sunday Funday

After the jam packed Saturday, Sunday was a lot more relaxed of a day.  We lounged around the joint, having breakfast.  Talking.  Kissing.  Being a couple.  Despite how wonderful everything else was, I really think Sunday morning, just BEING WITH CORA (not in that sense) was my favorite part.  And that's one of the ways that I know that this relationship has legs and is the real thing.

The simple joy of being with her, and chatting over Cheerio's and yogurt.

Today, at lunch, I realized that I've been in a bit of a funk since Monday when she left.  That's why there was no post on Tuesday, and yesterday was a little short.  I miss her and I'm sad.

Eventually, we hit the shower and hit the road for a trip back to my  old neighborhood.  The rails more accurately.  Lincoln Park is oddly, not an easy place to park.  It also gave us the chance  to stroll through my current neighborhood a bit, and give Cora a better idea of where I live, and what my morning commute is really like.  Plus, being elevated, and the ground so flat here, it really gave her a good chance to "see" everything.

Our first stop was my favorite pasta joint in the old neighborhood, the Pasta Palazzo.  It's a cute little store front where they do the cooking right behind the bar.  We had the place mostly to ourselves (most folks on Sunday noon are still trying to get breakfast at Nookies Too or Toast) and we loved it.  We split an order of hand made monster sized ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach, in marinara sauce.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty...
And due to a combination of "Cora-struck" and seen it 100 times, I didn't end up taking a lot of pictures on Sunday, other than at the zoo.  I know, taking the nanny to the zoo on her day off?  But she really did love it, and I hope she posts the video she shot at the zoo.  She was laughing so hard, and her sweet laugh made me fall in lover with her all over again.  Aside from the fact that it's FREE, another thing I love about Lincoln Park Zoo is the view from the bridge right outside the south entrance.  Cora and I even saw some people getting their wedding pictures there.  And this is despite the fact that the pond has been drained, and there's hurricane fence with green tarps on it lining the mudhole.  That's how rockin' the place is!Cora isn't that short, see!  ;-) After the zoo, we walked along the lake front bike bath, wound thru the park, and ended up at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba for some Spanish Tapas.  (Ummm, Chicago IS a food town, with no dominant ethnic group, so they all come out to play.)  We had the pintxos platter (shrimp & egg salad on toast, serrano ham & caramelized pineapple, goat cheese croqueta, short rib-stuffed piquillo pepper, artisanal spanish cheese & quince, mushroom & rice croqueta) which are tiny bite sized foods, and my favorite, the baked goat's cheese in tomato sauce.  Some of the pintxos where just okay, some rocked, but the goat cheese was the star of the stop.  To add to the flavor, I had a nice glass of red sangria.  Cora tried a sip, but stuck with water.That she blows...It was getting late enough, so we headed back toward my neighborhood, and after hitting a few little shops, we went to Barba Yianni  for a little Greek food.  Once again, back to the appetizers!  Fried calamari and saganaki.  What's 'saganaki' you ask?  Flaming cheese.  Like huge fireball.

There are a lot of waiters in Greek restaurants missing eyebrows.

Our fireball was something like that.  And I like the cheese after the show, too.

Dessert?  We shared some Phish Food ice cream back at my joint, and burned off some calories by knitting and doing crossword puzzles.  (**whistling**)  Actually, I think we snuggled up on the couch for a two hour nap.

And then sadness started to creep in that this would be our last night together for a month.  But we fought it back by doing a whole lot more of that kissing stuff.

Tomorrow, a reprieve from Gov'nor Sass!


Cora in Chicago – Things Getting Harry

Sorry, don't have a lot of time to write today's blog post, so I better get right to it.  After a little bit of housekeeping.

Yesterday, I told the absolute truth.  I did wake up in the guest room.  Did I wake up in there alone?  I'm not telling.  (Some parts of this VERY public relationship shall remain up to your filthy little imaginations)  But you're bright people, I'm sure you're clued in.

Anyway, after breakfast and a shower, Cora and I cruised down Lake Shore Drive down to the Museum of Science and Industry.  There were a couple of purposes for this specific trip.

The Harry Potter Exhibition – When dating a woman who is a serious Harry Potter fan, and your city is one of the 4 North American stops it will be taking (I don't know what the other 3 are), you get tickets.  And let me just say, I have probably seen about 15 minutes of the first movie.  And that's it.

And I totally enjoyed the heck out of it.  And not just because Cora was giddy as a school girl, and her excitement is contagious.  I've seen movie props and costumes before.  Most were somewhat disappointing.  Not so here.  These were the hero props, the high quality, "where's my close-up" props.  Wands.  Costumes. Set pieces.  Really cool.  If there's a Potter fan in your house, this is a must.

Cora's BIG in SeattleThe Great Train Story – When you are dating a woman from Seattle, and her father is into model trains, and you are at a museum with a model train that runs from Chicago to Seattle… 'duh?

There are other really cool bits in the museum, like the whisper chamber and the freaky eyed frog in the genetics lab, but this isn't an "Oh The Places You'll See" post.  This is about hanging out with Cora.  And that's more fun and educational that any museum!
This is what happens when men play GOD!!!!But I think the thing that really surprised her was when I said, "We've got a WWII German sub.  Wanna go see it?" I'm not sure what she was expecting, but I know the size of it left her stunned and a little awestruck. (oh be-HAVE)
What's long and hard and full of seamen?
After years of sitting outside being exposed to the elements, the sub is now restored and enclosed.Even the sub is happy to see her!After (eventually) leaving the museum, (Scope + Cora + Car = Kissing) we head downtown for more sightseeing in Millennium Park, Grant Park, the Loop, Michigan Ave, etc.  We had dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant, The Star of Siam.

Oh, speaking of movies earlier, totally forgot that I took her to some of the Dark Knight sights, like where Gordon's funeral parade was, where they flipped the truck (same place), Lower Wacker Drive where the chase scene was filmed, and to the train station with the blue floors where he rides the 'Bat-Pod'.

I am a tour guide.

And Cora did such a spot on job covering the rest of Saturday in detail over HERE, I'm jumping ahead to Sunday tomorrow.



'Post-CC' as in '200th Blog Post' or 'After Cora in Chicago'?  You decide.

So, this is my 200th, and I think I will take this time to tell you all a little story about how once I shot an elephant in my pajamas.  What he was doing in my pajamas, I'll never know.

But then I figured that instead, you may want to join Cora and I on our adventures around Chicago.DSC00159
Friday – I took Friday off to freak out get ready for Cora's visit.  I cleaned.  I got groceries.  I straightened up.  I ran about with my hair on fire.  Bathrooms were cleaned.  Clothes were picked up.  Frozen blueberries and Cheerios where purchased.  Finally, it came time to head to Midway to meet my angel who was arriving upon silver wings.  Silver wings that were running just a tad late.

Eventually, she came into view walking faster and faster, and for about the last 5 yards, bounded down the security hallway into my arms.  A dizzying, knee buckling series of kisses later (50? 75? 100?) we manage to head down to baggage claim, where much hand holding and stolen kisses followed.  Luckily for everyone else, Cora's bag was one of the first ones off the plane, so we could zip off to my car where we could act like 16 year olds in (relative) privacy.

ERIC <3 CORAAfter a while, we decided to leave the airport and head downtown for dinner.  This was Cora's first trip to Chicago, so I was in full "Tour Guide" mode the whole time.  We did only a little sightseeing before hitting Gino's East (Wells/Ontario) in the old Planet Hollywood building.  Besides being really good Chicago Style Pizza, Gino's is famous for letting you write on the walls.  In permanent marker.  If you can find a spot.  Like the underside of a hand banister, or on the cushion next to you.  (I really hope the next person wasn't wearing white pants!SCOPE <3 CORA)

And for those of you keeping score, you are correct.  In one place I called myself 'Eric' and in the other, 'Scope', so don't feel bad if you sometimes use one or the other.  Even I do it.

After a dinner and a night time drive around the city, we finally made it to my place.  I carried Cora over the threshold into my condo as is only right and proper.  After the tour, we went to bed.

Oh, be-HAVE, I slept in the guest bedroom.


Sassy Birthday To You!

To those of you who were expecting me to be talking about my weekend already, BOY are you confused right now.  Today is "Sassday" around blogworld THE WORLD, and ya'll just better get used to it.

You all know that Sass is the Queen of all Media.

She Blogs. 
She Twitters.
She Facebooks.
She TXTs.
She's a radio star.
She's planning of writing a book. (Or she needs to smash big spiders.)

But we all know that's not what makes her special.  It's the woman (and the woman's heart) behind the blog that does that.  She's brave.  'Bravery' isn't the absence of fear.  'Bravery' is being afraid and doing it anyway.  One day, she opens up, with honesty that makes you just want to cry and hug her (and not even try to cop a little 'side boob' feel in the process), and the next day, she has milk shooting out your nose, and you weren't even drinking milk.

And so, it is with much love (ie – please don't hurt me) that I present you with:

6 Sassy Birthday Cards

(Oh, and I tried "hover text" on the pictures.  I tried "hoover text" earlier, but that really sucked.)
I'm too Sassy for my shirt...

Too Sassy for my shirt...

So Sassy it HURTS!

Don't get Sass angry... You wouldn't like her when she's angry.

Who said wine and cake didn't go together?
Okay, I didn't say the captions were funny…

Sass, I hope you have / had a great birthday out on the boat, takin' out a bottle of Bitch.  Or two.  Or three.  :-)


Cora The Explora Heads To Chicago

See, here's my problem.  I'm dating a totally amazing, totally artistically gifted wonderful woman, Cora.  She's coming to Chicago for the first time, EVER, and I want to do something special on my blog to honor that visit.

She made her own Jack Sparrow doll.

And this is what I come up with:

It's Cora! 
Yeah, that's the picture you see in the dictionary next to the word "Dude!"  Defined as "You just SO blew it."

Sigh…  It's going to be a FRIGID weekend in Chicago.

So, let's try this again, but try something more up my artistic avenue:

And the word of the day is "CORA"The "O" and the "R" are pictures we took in Seattle.  The "C' and the "A" are pictures from Chicago.  I think they blend nicely.

Just a few notes before I dash off:

1 – Come back tomorrow!  I will be doing something special for a certain birthday girl.

2 – Cora knew about the picture, and encouraged me to run it.  The wig was from what was going to be a Carrot Top Halloween costume, and it's got on my cheater reading specs which I've use 3 times ever.  The glass head?  What kind of weirdo has one of those?  Turns out both Cora and I own one.  Yeah, if that's not a sign from GOD I don't know what is.

And to steal from Gwen, who I will be seeing next weekend, "Have a great holiday* weekend, Monkeys!" 

*Holiday does not apply to those of you living in countries where Monday isn't a holiday, or you live in the South, where its bad form to 'The War of Northern Aggression Day',


This Post Intentionally Left Blank – Part II

[This post STILL intentionally left blank.]

This Post Intentionally Left Blank

[This post intentionally left blank.]


You Know You're a Blogger When…

You know you're a blogger when

You see this:

But your brain sees this:
[Soda & Candy]

Bricks were almost shat! Bricks would have bee shat.

You know you're a blogger when you see "Mo Stoneskin" but then turn it into "Mo's Tone Skin" and "Most Ones Kin" and "Kinsmen Soot" and "No Tokenisms" and "Nest Kimonos" and "Mike's on Snot" and "No Monks Site" (Thanks WordSmith).

The boots were serious ass kickin' boots, too. You know you're a blogger when you pull out your cell phone camera when you see boots sitting under a mailbox on your way to work Monday morning, because, well, why the HELL wouldn't you?  Those were some serious boots, too.

You know you're a blogger when you blog about someone else blogging about something they found on line.  In Monday's "Quick Hit" section I mentioned (NSFW) THIS POST by Laura @ Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy, that linked to THIS PICTURE.  Please note what the little girl is doing, and what she's equipped with. 

You will feel so, so much better about yourself and your family it will be like a baptismal cleansing. All the horrible, scarring things you think you may have done to your children? Washed clean.  You will feel like the parent of the year.

I don't even have kids, and this makes me feel like a good parent.

I'm just saying.  (A line I totally stole from Sass).

(Based on the comments the other day, some of you have already clicked through, but I know some people use Reader, so they don't see that section of the blog often, so I needed to rerun this.)

You know you're a blogger when you have good friends, who you laugh with most every day, but you don't know their real names, what they look like, where they live, or what they do for a living.


So, when did it dawn on you that you were actually a blogger, not just pretending?


Sass ~E Cora Carded Me

I have "recently" received some postcards in the mail from some very lovely and talented female bloggers.  I feel a bit ashamed that I haven't posted them before now.

In chronological order (by the cards, not their ages) we'll start off with Sass from Are You Sassified?  She went to New Orleans about a month ago, and sent me this card:
Why your post date the check for "wing man" services.  To keep you from waking up in that sandwhich.  I think Zibb's was down there and handing out my business cards again.
And honestly, I think I went to college with the person in the middle.

 Aaaaaaaaaaah..... I was having a bad "Outlook" on life.
The lovely and talented and ~E over @ ~E Deconstructed had a request for postcards and I sent her one you can see HERE.  She sent me the one is you see above.

And living in Washington state, she went over to Microsoft and helped me get an issue resolved by bashing a couple heads together being the first pretty girl to ever speak to the nerds.

Notice how both Sass & E put the little "" in front of their names?  That's how I know they me.

And that brings me to my favorite little overachiever, Ms. Cora.  She sent me not one.  Not two.  Or three.  Or four.  But FIVE postcards.  You can see them spinning below.I love a good annimated GIF in the morning.  Smells like victory. What did they say on the back?  You'll have to bribe my mail carrier to find out.


ATTENTION: London & France remain unseen!

(All misspellings are intentional, to avoid internet searches, thanks for the idea, Jan.)

I'm going to LINK to this story, but since you probably aren't going to read it, let me sum it up.

marilyn-monroeA 16-year old girl in Florida, who didn't want to have embarrassing panty lines in her high school yearbook.  Oops!  There's a picture of her cooochie instead!

Or maybe it's just a shadow.

Anyway, the girl hasn't been back to school.  The girl's mom wants the school to collect the yearbooks, and reprint them without picture.  The school is saying, "It's a shadow, get over it." and continues to hand out the yearbooks.

My thoughts?  I'm not a parent, and I'm not going to get into the legal dispute over whether this constitutes chyld pourn, and I feel bad for the girl.  She's going to get teased about this for years.  Kind of deserves it though.  At 16, you SHOULD know to wear underwear when you go out in public.  And if you CHOOSE not to, then are CHOOSING the consequences, too.  Hope you like the new high school you'll be attending in the fall.  Because, I have a feeling, if you're not forced to go back right now, you're not going back.

But she's a dumb kid who made a stupid mistake,  It's not like she was drunk driving and killed someone.  She'll recover from this.  If this permanently scars her, then the real tragedies that the big bad world has in store for her will leave her shattered.

Now for the mom.  Seriously?  Are you volunteering to pay for the reprinting of yearbooks?  Or should that come out of tax dollars, so the whole community pays for your daughter's mistake?  And I've got some bad news, there are these things called SCANNERS that exist these days.  The picture is out there, and will stay out there.  Forever.  Sure you can collect them and black marker the picture, but there's a saying, "you can't un-ring a bell."  Concentrate on the future.  Use this as a teaching opportunity, and send her back to school.  Say something about, "building character."

And the school distract?  Collect all the yearbooks & black marker them.  (Yes, I know what I said about un-ringing bells.)  Any person who doesn't bring it in doesn't go up a grade / graduate.  Pretend to act responsible.  And make reasonable accommodations for her to finish her class work and take her finals, but let her know that failure is clearly an option, if she chooses it.

So, where do you stand?  What's your opinion?

And aren't thongs supposed to help with this problem?


Chicagoing Out – Cora, Zibbs, & LSD

Zibbs, totally channeling you for this post.  Consider it an homage, not a rip-off.

Yesterday, while avoiding housework, I called Cora to talk about our plans for her visit next weekend.  Somewhere during the conversation, I dropped the phrase, "taking LSD." 

LSD = Lake Shore Drive, of course.  One of the prettiest stretches of concrete you will ever have the pleasure of being on, within the confines of a major metropolitan area.  (I rarely refer to it as 'LSD' it is more commonly 'Lake Shore' or 'The Drive'.)  And then I started singing, "There ain't no road just like it, anywhere I've found.  Running south on Lake Shore Drive, heading into town.  Just slipping on by on LSD, Friday night trouble bound."


Yeah, we tend to forget that the song Lake Sore Drive by Aliotta, Haynes, & Jeremiah isn't really all that well known outside of the area.

While you think about what songs might be regionally famous in your area, you can take a little LSD trip this Sunday.

Have a good weekend, all-ya'll.  And I hope your mind is feeling fine.


Chicagoing Out - Sports

In a previous installment Candy mentioned that she may come to Chicago if it involved a trip to Wrigley Field.  I knew I was going to write about our sports scene, but I didn't think it would be this soon in the series.

According to Wiki, we have a ton of pro sports teams, but to be honest, most people in town wouldn't know that we even had 2 pro rugby teams (Lions & Griffins) let alone an outdoor lacrosse team(Machine).  I'm going to hit the biggies.  As a side note, I'm not really a diehard fan of ANY of the Chicago teams, and this is really more about the venues and the event-iness of it, rather than really about the teams themselves.

Chicago Cubs / Wrigley Field:  Sorry Sox fans, but they own the It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood summer.  True, some treat it as nothing more that a beer garden with a hefty cover charge.  And the LPT's in their pink Cubs hats asking what down is it (so not you MelO, if you're out there) can be annoying.  But the grass, the brick, the ivy, the neighborhood on game day.  It simply cannot be beat.  It's old, and shows it's age.  But with dignity and grace.  With Boston's Fenway Park it is a baseball shrine that every true fan of the game should visit.

And yes, "Wrigley" is an extremely popular dog's name.

Extra curricular:  I saw Jimmy Buffett here one Labor Day.  It ruled.

Chicago White Sox / U.S. Cellular Field aka "The Cell" aka New Comiskey  Park:  I was just there, and A great place to watch a game, and rarely a CELL out.let me tell you, if you have a chance to watch from the Jim Beam Club, do it.  But only if you aren't paying for the ticket.  And dear GOD in heaven, do not sit in the upper deck.  I never made it to the old stadium, but this new one isn't as bad as everyone will tell you.  And tickets are MUCH easier to get.  And you can take the Red line L right there, just don't wander around the neighborhood.  But if you want to watch good baseball, not a bad place to go.

Extra curricular: I saw the Rolling Stones with the opening act of the Pretenders here.

Chicago Bears / Soldier Field:  No, there is no "s" or " 's".  Just "Soldier Field".  This place was a nasty OLD hole before the redid it a few years ago.  It is now a nasty NEW hole.  Butt ugly modernist stadium stuck in a classical shell.  You've seen the  pictures. ET - That's a no parking zone!

It's worse in person.  And stupid.

I ask you, if you're dreaming of hosting the Olympics, why would you spend a crap load of money remodeling your primary stadium, but make it TOO SMALL to host the opening and closing ceremonies?  Cluster fuck.  But ask me how I really feel.  :-)

And it is a MISERABLE place to watch a game in December.  That lake wind which can make a July baseball game feel like it's in November, can make a football game in December a special kind of hell where they tell the wind chill in Kelvin because it's easier.

Extra curricular:  I saw some exhibition soccer games here in the 90's.  Otherwise, I got nothin'.

Chicago Bull & Blackhawks / The United Center:  To be perfectly honest, I've never seen either team in this Bronze = Airvenue.  Not a huge fan of either team.  But I can tell you, this is an extremely soulless and sterile building.  The best features are the Jordan statue out front, and the very wide concourses, which are nice.  (At this moment, the Bulls just were defeated (not "lost" there's a difference) in the playoffs by Boston (Go Green!) but the 'hawks are still going strong.)

Extra curricular:  I saw the first event here, a Billy Joel concert on the 'River of Dreams' tour.  And later I've seen the Eagles and Rush here, too.

16" Softball: But you can't talk Chicago sports withoutChicago - We've got big balls mentioning 16" softball.  It's a dying game, but it's still big here.  You probably know it as 'mush-ball' from grade school PE with that huge ball.  There are jammed fingers and mangled knuckles all over the city.  It's being replaced by the much more common 12" variety.  Not that I play either.

Chicago Marathon: And there's also the Chicago A badge of honorMarathon.  It's an "open" marathon.  Unlike Boston, you don't need to qualify.  And also, unlike Boston, there are no hills.  When I ran it, I think there was about 42,000 people registered.  It's a thundering herd that passes fairly close to most of the venues listed above, but the crowd is amazing.  Usually 2 or 3 people deep.  Shoulder to shoulder.  For most of the 26.2 mile course.  All cheering for YOU.  There are spots (down by the Cell) where the crowd thins, but there's always people there cheering for you.

An amazing experience.  But I don't overly recommend starting a new job the day after your first marathon.


Who's The Master? Sho-Nuff!

Since Sass requested a story explaining the picture I ran this last week [LINK], and I saw him again on Tuesday, here's a little bit of fiction for ya.


My name is Mikhail. Are you looking at me?

In my home country, I was an engineer at a nuclear power plant. Here, I am an electrician / handyman for a small theatre company, Barrel of Monkeys.  My old friend, Anton, back in Kazakhstan thinks I should feel humiliated and humbled.  Actually, I love my job and I love my new country.  I feel like young boy.

The young people at the theatre company are very nice to work with, for the most part.  One or two are not so nice to me.  But they are not so nice to anyone except if they think they can use them to get ahead.  The others tell me I remind them of their grandfathers.  They are always happy and surprised when I can fix their broken electronics for them. 

I worked on nuclear reactors. 

A worn electric motor in a DVD player does not frighten me.

Their pet name for me is "The Master."  I like that.  When I was out shopping with my little Mischa last weekend at the second hand shops on Lincoln, he found this lunch box.  He jumped up and down and clapped.  "Grandpa, this is you.  The Master of the Universe."  So I bought the lunch box to use as my tool box at the theater.  I hope my other "grandchildren" think it's funny, too.


FYI – While my story of "Mikhail" comes from my fevered brain, the Barrel of Monkeys is a theater group in Chicago that takes creative writing of kids and turns them into plays and skits and songs.  And one of my co-workers is marrying a cast member at the end of the month, so I thought I'd give them a shout out.


Wordless? Speechless!

The Insultatron is literally God's messenger at the Other Side of Normal.


Playing The Trump Card – River North

Chicago is a a city of neighborhoods.  Not that anyone knows all of them, and the real estate agents keep inventing new designations all the time.  But since I spent a decent amount of time in River North last week, I thought I'd cover this neighborhood that is very tourist friendly, and definitely a place you should hit on your visit.

Since it is north of the river, the Trump is in River North neighborhood, just across the river from "the Loop."  A very tourist friendly neighborhood with tons of shopping (the Magnificent Mile runs through it), tons of theme restaurants (Ed Debevick's, Hard Rock, P.F. Chang's, etc.), and lots of bars.

This week, I hit the following establishments:

The House of Blues:  As part of the TruIf it's "the blues" why are these dudes red?mp weekend, we had a reservation at HOB.  I've eaten lunch here a few times, and always had good food.  I'd never been there for dinner.  When a blues band was playing on the stage.  I know there are other HOB's around the country, and no one is going to confuse it with Kingston Mines, but it is probably a lot easier on the casual blues listener.  My group had a good time, the food was very good, and the music was just right.  And while it may be called "the blues" these guys were really rocking the joint.That pissed me off.

Rossi's:  A dive bar that we hit after HOB.  No.  Serious.  A fucking DIVE.  How much of a dive?  When I went to the washroom, there was a condom hanging from the urinal handle.  (That's the ACTUAL picture, not something I lifted from the webs.) I opted against flushing.  Later in the evening, a rough looking version of Owen Wilson pass out on the bar, and then get to be the middle man in a struggle between a rough, short, round bleached blond thinking she was a 1980's Madonna and an androgynous  emo kid.

Rock Bottom Brewery:  Thursday after work, a professional organization that I'm in was supposed to meet at Rock Bottom for a presentation and free beer and food.  Very few people showed, and the panel discussion was lame and ill-prepared.  But the beer and food were pretty good.  But, the group was a dud, and not worth staying for that 6th free beer.  Let me stress, this had nothing to do with Rock Bottom, I like the place, especially their rooftop in the summer, but with the dud of the event.

Crimson Lounge:  So, after the Rock BottomHooking up at Hotel Sex bottomed out, I met up with some co-workers who went the the Crimson Lounge.  Located in  the Hotel Sex Hotel Sax, the former House of Blues hotel, the Crimson Lounge is a pretty posh hotel bar.  It offers $3 draft beer, wine, and champagne on Thursday.  Which is why people had picked it for their after work frosty beverages.  The bar staff didn't seem that good.  And one of the "surgically enhanced" cocktail waitresses in a short black dress must have put on high heels for the first time that day.  She walked a little more like a lumber jack clomping through the woods vs. a new born giraffe, but either way, totally destroying the look she was going for.

So, if you're looking for a good place to hang while you're visiting, skip Division St.  Skip Rush St.  And if you are more than a few years out of college, you may even want to skip Lincoln Ave.  Make River North your play ground.

Oh, and during the day, you may want to hit up the highest concentration of art galleries outside of Manhattan.


Playing The Trump Card

Continuing my occasional series on my city, Chicago.

Last Saturday (not Mother's Day, the week before that) was a busy day.  Very busy.  Very fun.  Good food.  Better people.

It started out with T-Bone and Mrs. IVy swinging through town.  They live near Houston, but have been over in the SB/M area of Indiana because of a loss in the family, and had a free day, so they drove over.  They had yet to see my place, so I was eager to show it off to them.  They loved it.  (Mrs. IVY said that the detail of the crown molding just doesn't come thru on the videos.)

Back: T-Bone, Mrs. Ivy, Steve S.  Front:  Scope, The BlondWe then headed up to Bob Chinn's Crab House in Wheeling to meet two more folks from college ("the Blond" and Steve S.), and Chicago radio reporter Bernie Trafoya.  The Blond lives out in the 'burbs, Bernie's a Southsider, and Steve S. lives in San Francisco, but grew up in the area.  We laughed, told stories, ate king crab legs,  and drank Mai Tais.  After about 2 hours at the table, we all needed to head off in different directions.  It's one of those lunches that you wish could last forever. 

WOW, was that a great lunch, and would have been a great day all be itself.  But I had more plans for later in the evening.

It sticks out like his hair... Someone from college had scored a FREE suite at Trump's new hotel downtown.  I know, I live and work in "the City" and in fact used to work right across the street from where the hotel was eventually built.  But the gang was going and staying the night, so why not spend the night instead of taking a cab home (which I did the next day anyway.)

I got down to the hotel via the L, because it's just easier that way.  Turned the corner on Grand looking south on Wabash, and must admit, the tower does look pretty freak'n spectacular.  Most of the rest of the group was already us in the suite (we are now officially "consultants" for a major university, thank-you-very-much.)

The suite was very, very nice, as you can see from the pictures below.  We drank some skinny margaritas, watched the Kentucky Derby, snacked and talked.

Pre-Derby snack time.Johnny B., Jeanine J. and Laura B. – Be careful not to eat any of the Donald's food.  That stuff is EXPENSIVE to replace.Hard to trump this living room.This is the view of the living room, dining room, kitchen area of the suite.  The windows on the right wrap all the way around to offer an incredible view of the Chicago River.Suck it Donald.  I like my bathroom better. 

I'm not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing, but when I went into the mater bath, I was a fairly nonplused.  Oh, it was beautiful, but I think my bathroom compares pretty well to it.  I like the stone up the side of the tub, and the wand type showerhead, but the TV in the mirror?  I guess it could be seen from the tub or shower, but not from where one would think of sitting and watching the game.  (And speaking of bathroom electronics, why put a phone next to the toilet?  PEOPLE, NEVER CALL ME WHEN NATURE IS CALING YOU!)  Also, the shower stall is a little small, and so is the tub.
The Wrigley Building and the Chicago RiverOh, did I say something about the view?  It was breathtaking.  Seriously.

So, my final grade?  Well, it met expectations for lavishness and luxury, the views exceeded expectations, and for the grand price of FREE, you couldn't beat it.  Now, I'm not sure how much the joint runs normally, but I would really see only doing that for a big anniversary or birthday or something like that.  But that's me.  And, honestly, I live a $20 - $25 cab ride away.  Now, if I were coming to your town…  I lie.  The place I stayed when visiting Cora was a perfectly fine chain motel.  I'm not this fancy of a person IRL.

And what did we do for dinner and a night out on the town you ask?

To be continued…


Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers, step mothers, caretakers, and pet mothers out there, we just want to say,


From: someecards


WTF - Friday

Last weekend I spent the night down at Trump's new hotel.  It was beautiful.  Had a great time.  And I really meant to post that story yesterday and today.  But then Gwen issued a challenge, and I did two posts on that, and then I went to Rock Bottom Brewery for free beer after work tonight, and somehow the thought of editing up those picks is just beyond me at the moment.

Don't lie and tell me you haven't stared at a blog post that you really wanted to craft, and just so didn't have the damn energy and thought, "Well, on the way home, I did see a pair of jeans lying on the sidewalk in front of my building…"Pants
I really do wonder.  Seriously.  How?  Can you be that drunk?  Did you just forget to put your parts on after the sex was done?  Because there's a belt (I so didn't check for a wallet), so it didn't fall out of somebody's laundry basket.

And my street isn't some sleepy little side street.  It's a fairly decent street that has name recognition through out the city.  There's car traffic, and foot traffic all hours of the day and night.

Seriously.  How do you loose your pants?

I going to think it was some superhero who had to do a quick change into costume, and just goofed up.  First day jitters, or something.

So people, I present to you, Spiderman's pants.