Monday, August 28, 2006

Monkeys Anyone?

This past Saturday my BFF and I made the trek out to a fringe West Chicago suburb in order to attend an open house at a retirement home. No, I was not searching for some accommodations for my folks nor do I have some creepy affinity for the elderly and their whims.

Although, some of them are so damn cute wearing those newsboy caps or really huge jewelry, they are like those kids you see in those really lame black and white pictures/calendars that are all dressed old timey-like, but the aged members of society are not lame at all because they really wore those type of clothes and aren’t holding a bright red rose wherever they go (this picture doesn’t show a poor child holding a rose, but believe me folks, sometimes they do and all I can say is GROSS).

I decided to visit because the day before our other BFF called to say that there was going to be a monkey at the event.

A genuine monkey, alive and kicking, with an organ grinder to boot! He was scheduled to be in attendance from 1-2:30pm. At 1:10pm, other BFF called to tell us that she already held the monkey twice and that we had to hurry! I put the pedal to the metal.

Driving out there traffic was brutal and we had to take a major street, not a highway, all the way out there. It took us over an hour and while we were stopped at a light my BFF said, “I can’t believe that we are driving all the way out here just to see a monkey.” My response? “I can’t believe that we wouldn’t drive all the way out here to see a monkey!”

We accidentally turned the wrong way on a street and had to take a five-minute detour. Crucial monkey time lost! We finally arrived to a packed house and lo and behold the monkey was right at the front entrance to greet us. He was not in the traditional organ grinder monkey ensemble, which was a bit sad because who doesn’t want to see a monkey wearing a fez? Instead, he was sporting some dandy bumblebee pajamas!! Yes, they make those for monkeys. Although he was very cute, there was something about seeing him that made me a bit sad. He was an elderly monkey, which was fitting for a retirement home, but he had rheumatoid arthritis and I don’t know, it just made me somewhat melancholy.

I think I was expecting a monkey that would be jumping through flaming hoops and riding a dog around like a cowboy or something. He was a hit with everyone who was there, and I did get to hold him and he did make me chuckle, so in the end the monkey experience was Tropic World Asia AWESOME (for those not in the know, this is an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo outside of Chicago that is meant to simulate a genuine rainforest. Not sure if it sucks now, but when I was eight, boy did it ever rule!).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Please murder me if you ever see me riding a tandem bicycle, even if I am doing it ironically. There is NOTHING good or fun about riding one of those, not even looking at the person’s ass in front of you. What is the draw to them? With the amount of money you spend on one you can buy, get this, two bikes! And, wait for it . . . ride them at the same time without having to toe(w) the line for some lazy bones! (Yeah, I'm talking to you granny).
Maybe I am not taking into consideration the whole bonding experience that occurs while riding on a bike with someone because of painful memories of my youth that are associated with dual bike riding. The precise memories? When my older brother and I would ride on the same bike and he would make me pedal us both (mind you he is six years older than me), or even better, steer us into strangers’ driveways and pull us up to their front door, where he would then proceed to hop off the bike and leave me there to fend for myself. But, the best bike sharing experience with my brother? It would have to be when he would steer us over to the creepiest house in the neighborhood; every hood has one (well, maybe not every, I do come from humble beginnings, folks).

The house he would pull up to had overgrown shrubbery, non-operational cars in the driveway, peeling paint, and on the porch an open empty refrigerator (really, why?). We would never see anyone coming in or out but always heard barking dogs non-stop. Hmm, curious. My brother would inch the bike up slowly onto the home’s property and this inching action alone implied that there was a definite possibility that he would steer us directly into the pit of hell that was before us.

Back then I didn’t know what hell was exactly, but I knew that they sacrificed small animals and infants in that home and would probably cut off my Barbie’s hair, which is hell in any five year old girl’s life.

I have said all this just to say that I despise tandem bicycles and they lead to nothing good. They only generate ‘Nam like flashbacks of youth. That is all.

*A caveat: I do not think that my brother scarred me for life with his escapades, looking back, I believe that such experiences as those outlined above helped me to develop my twisted skew on life. Really, I know few that can recall such absurd memories of childhood that make them laugh out loud.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Voluntary Sabbatical . . .Was Fanatical!

Now that I am officially halfway through week two of my job, I believe I must face the truth that my voluntary sabbatical is over. It was only for two weeks, but geesh it was good times and shall be missed. Here is my list of the top things I will shed a single tear for now that I am back to the daily grind:

1) Listening to my Itunes library pretty much 24/7. My work computer and its speakers are not conducive to such
activities. My computer is straight out of 1995 & the network is not Mac compliant. Blows.
2) Downloading music during a significant portion of my day. Can’t really do that anymore on the computer that takes up
half a room.
3) Riding my bike everyday. Not very professional to come to work everyday a sweaty mess, so I must opt for riding my
bike only a few days a week.
4) Dancing outside at 3pm or at 2am. They say a well-rested employee is a good employee. I say who needs sleep when
you have Diet Coke & Lemonheads!
5) Carrying around a sweat towel (see #2 & #3, respectively). The sweat towel came into to good use, especially when
used in a swinging motion above my head over a crowd of people.
6) Not setting an alarm clock. I hate the buzzer on mine. The clock is from 1973 so there are no other options except
maybe for that McDonald’s wake up call.
7) Daily wear of a wife beater. Damn, they sure are getting creative with those things. Lots of embellishments and
bedazzlements, doesn’t make me want to beat my wife at all when I wear one. Makes me feel fancy.

8) Casual Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday. Flip-flops? Don’t mind if I do.
9) Weeknight sleepovers with my nieces. Oh, kids just say the darndest things! Like requesting that someone pass a law
that requires everyone to dance their pants off!
10) Watching afternoon White Sox games. Nothing like an afternoon fix of the South Side Hit Men. Winning Ugly indeed.
11) Swallowing a hornet. Now, while this doesn’t sound like too much fun, it makes for a great story. Anaphylactic shock? Maybe.
Missing a concert? Never.
12) Passions clips. Now that show is really screwed up. I can’t watch a whole episode, but the segments I’ve seen recently
include multiple boughts of amnesia, fake engagements, a shirts and skins softball game
(the men were skins, of course), and amnesia murder. I was even told that there was an episode recently where a girl
was thrown into the water and turned into a mermaid. When she was pulled out of the water she had a fin which looked
like someone had just gone to the clearance table at the fabric store and made a clingy, shiny, blue sparkly sack for her
to wear (thanks BFF for that one). Too bad that the midget that played the doll that was turned into a little boy by the
witch died in real life. If he was still around, I would TIVO that show everyday just to see his “My Buddy” face and

Thanks Passions for raising your glasses to the end of my early retirement! Cheers!

Monday, August 14, 2006

"Dearest Anderson, how I pine for thee . . . "

I have had a crush on Anderson Cooper since the late nineties early naughty aughties. During my lack of sleep stupor he would always read me the news at 3am on ABC World News Now. What drew me to him? Was it the beady eyes or the salt and pepper hair? Was it the accordion player? Was I confusing love with a need for companionship while I wasted away an early morning hour gazing at the tube? I would have to say none of the above. Anderson Cooper is hilarious, smart, and although has taken great criticism for this recently, very debonair and stylish. Yes, I know that he wore Armani down in New Orleans during his coverage of Katrina. He’s frickin’ Gloria Vanderbilt’s son for Mother Jonah’s sake! Yes, I know that while he was down there he started crying during his report and that people feel that “real” journalists simply cannot allow themselves to display such moments of weakness. But, really wouldn’t you rather watch someone who has really emotions and isn’t just a puppet for a news network?

Here is a snippet of Anderson at his best: Regarding his appearance on Celebrity Jeopardy:
"It was called the Power Players edition, though I'm not sure why I was in it because I'm neither a "playa" nor a person of power. The experience really made me realize how much of a loser I am, because of how much I got into it.” I love how he uses the word playa and that he admits to getting obsessed with being on Jeopardy. I love the self-deprecation. I am a sucker for it.

What has most recently contributed to my unending fascination with Mr. Cooper is his itunes celebrity playlist. Yo La Tengo! The Clash! Pavement! Elliot Smith! Blur! Curtis Mayfield! Are you kidding me? Did you read my mind while I was watching you during an impressionable post teen period of my life? He says the following about Pavement, “Some bands get a bit full of themselves, thinking they are poets rather than rock stars . . . Pavement were poets who were convinced they were rock stars.” This is a genius statement from someone I will continue to watch until I get glaucoma, and even then I will use my Medicare funds for some new eyeballs or steal a set from Gertrude, my arch nemesis at the retirement home.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"My New Favorite Word/Product: Ointment"

I am currently using a homeopathic ointment from a company named Boiron which attests that the ointment aids in the alleviation of muscle aches, stiffness, and bruises. Well, sign me up because I frequently have ALL three of those symptoms in concert with one another, especially after too many nights dancing like a monkey who everyone thinks is on a combination of speed, acid, and ecstasy. I don't think that I am anemic or anything, I've actually been tested for it and failed with flying colors, but boy do I ever bruise easily.

I am not talking small little bruises, I am talking about massive, "Oh, I just fell down the stairs" kind of bruises that serve as a constant reminder of how frequently I run into walls, people, animals, beer bottles, telephoto lenses, etc. My lovely display of dancing prowess happened to occur recently whilst I partook in three days of Lollapaloozaing in addition to staying out throwing it down on the dance floor until 4 and 5 am consecutively. I woke up on Sunday and the first thought that came into my mind was, "I need Advil and ointment, stat."

This past Saturday provided me with yet another opportunity for ointment phraseology usage. After doing it up at Lolla (see above) and creating our own afterparty (above again), my BFF and I decided to wake up, have breakfast, and then promenade on down to Walgreen's Drug Store for some provisions (do they even call them drug stores anymore?). While at Walgreen's, the two of us realized that we were still a little loopy from the evening before, and I then proceeded to point out some lube quite loudly in front of a stone cold sober individual. I then headed down to the first aid aisle to get, you guessed it, more ointment! Not the homeopathic stuff during this instance, but instead some generic neosporin because earlier in the week I was riding my bike like a madman which in turn caused the creation of some gnarly wounds (another great word and great phrase, "I will wound you.") on both of my thumbs.

I was in the first aid aisle and lube overhearer guy was there with his lady friend. She seemed confused about whether or not she was in the right aisle. He said, "It's the right aisle, it says ointment." Genius, you said the secret word! Pee Wee is going to start going ballistic and Chairry is going to start "dancing" around and singing. I began to laugh out loud and then said, "Ointment" and chuckled some more. The oh so lucid couple looked at me with eyes that said, "You are crazy, please shut up and go away. You are ruining our preparation for a nice morning run together." I see these eyes glaring at me and all I can think of is, "I need more ointment, can you please help me to get some more?"

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"I Never Met A Buffet I Didn't Like"

Best buffet experiences:
A) Having an eating contest at Old Country Buffet where I went plate to plate with a gentleman (?) nearly two times my size. Now, you may think that this was an impromptu competition, but you would be incorrect. It was something that we actually discussed and planned out beforehand. We even chose the most appropriate venue and time so we would be guaranteed immediate seating for not only ourselves, but also for the mandated judges. My opponent attempted to cheat by not mixing up the various delicacies available on one plate and decided to eat all corn or all rice on a single plate. Even with this strategy the competition ended up in a draw.

B) The Flamingo Breakfast Buffet in Vegas at 6ish AM. After a night of striphopping, my BFFs and I were told that the best afterhours club in Vegas was Drai's located in Barbary Coast Casino. Barbary Coast was most likely built in the 1960s and they have done nothing to renovate it or attempt upkeep.

Nonetheless, there was a ridiculous line to get into Drai's and equally ludicrous bouncers scanning the crowd and taking bribes for entrance. We chose not to take the bait on the bribery, but instead opted to wait in line and drink $1 vodka cranberries for almost two hours (mental note: VERY bad idea). We met a group of people that were from close to our hometown and proceeded to hang out with them until the wee hours of the morning, which included heading to the Flamingo Casino's Breakfast Buffet before it opened.

The buffet experience is somewhat hazy, but all of the recollections I have still bring a smile to my face. Is it acceptable to place a sublist within a list? Oh well, here goes the highlights & lowlights:

1) Making a guy take off his white socks because . . . well, just because.
2) Said gentleman being told that he must wear shoes at the buffet.
3) Grown men drinking chocolate milk.

4) Putting hot sauce in said chocolate milk on the sly.
5) Eating a mixture of pineapple and mashed potatoes.
6) The glares of the elderly who actually had a full night's rest and didn't understand what made eggs benedict so damn funny.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"Hugh 2 for $1 Biscuits"

I actually saw a sign on a McDonald's marquis that said this. Now, I know that when you place the plastic letters up on a sign that there is no magical spellcheck to save you from public embarrassment, but you would think that someone would let the fine establishment and purveyor of all that is delicious and supersized know that the word HUGH, while phonetically reasonable, is nowhere near to the word HUGE. I blame this debacle on senior marketing manager, Laura. She should have spent less time getting a caricature made and more time, I don't know, being a senior marketer!

Unless, McDonald's is trying to tap into a new market and they really do have Hugh Grant's or Hugh Laurie's or Hugh Jackman's biscuits on sale for a dollar. Now, that would be a steal and it makes me wonder which Hugh is up for the taking?

You can have your pick of the British one that is always typecast as the jerk that the ladies can't help to fall for and fawn over (Grant). BTW, I'm digging on the leather pants, geesh!

Or,choose the other British one that is the Black Adder chumming, live action 101 Dalmatian counting, Golden Globe winning, medical mystery solving invalid (Laurie).

Alas, to mix it up a little, how about the Australian Broadway showstopper, bezerka barager, see how my clothes conveniently disappear when I fight Magneto (Jackman)?

Ladies and gentlemen, this may prove to be a tough decision McDonald's is requiring us to make, or would you just rather have some real damn biscuits (although they pale in comparison to Popeye's chicken's biscuits, just look at those things)! The choice is up to you my friends.