Kick off your high-heeled sneakers, it's party time!

Friday, March 19, 2010
So, some of you are aware that I am purchasing a new house downtown.

And if you're not aware of it ... well, you are now.

I'll make a separate post in the upcoming weeks once I'm moved in and can take some pictures so you can see what the hell I'm talking about.

But ... something I can work on planning now is the housewarming party!

Being as strange as I am, I have a very diverse group of friends, and I don't know how well they would mesh.

So I'm considering throwing two housewarming parties in different styles, and you can attend the one (or both) that suits your taste. Maybe I'll even throw a third one for my more-religious friends who would like to avoid hearing my Dennis Hopper impressions.

Maybe I can come up with a witty name for the parties. "Class and Trash"? "High Life and Miller High Life"?

To help you decide which party you would rather attend, base your choice on the following information:

#1 - Agour Ossau-Iraty with Rosemary and Sea Salt Crackers
#2 - Chili Cheese-Flavored Fritos
#3 - Green jello with carrot shavings

#1 - 2003 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon
#2 - Pabst Blue Ribbon
#3 - Caffeine-free Dr. Pepper

#1 - Thievery Corporation
#2 - Motley Crue
#3 - U2

#1 - Trivial Pursuit: 80s Edition
#2 - Rock Band: 80s Edition
#3 - Jots and Tittles: 80 A.D. Edition

#1 - Gallery Stroll and Dine O'Round
#2 - Who shaves their junk?
#3 - Infants, toddlers, kids, children, rug rats, crotchfruit

Hot Tub Attire
#1 - Au natural
#2 - None
#3 - Full body suit

If you think I should just throw one big party and let everybody deal with each other, say so. Perhaps I can be convinced!

Thank you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Today I decided to de-link my blog from Facebook.

I previous had Facebook set to automatically import my blog posts as a note. I decided I didn't want to do that any more because reading a blog requires a marginal bit more effort. If you're reading this, you've actually found the link posted somewhere or received it from me, and cared enough to actually read. Facebook notes are just broadcast to all your contacts, whether they care or not.

Either way, the people reading this actually care to some degree about my life, or at least find me funny or something.

I was going to rant and rave about the last year, how it's kicked my ass, but how I've learned from it at the same time. But frankly, that's boring and a bit depressing.

I do, however, want to say that I finally feel like I'm starting to shed the last year, and my depression over it is dissipating. This last month I've felt more confident in myself than I have for quite a while.

Which brings us to you, the person reading this. Obviously if you've made it this far in this weird post, you do have some odd interest in my life for some reason. I want all of you to know that you have each brightened my life or taught me in some way.

Since I'm not entirely sure who reads this, I know I will miss people. Feel free to make yourself known if you ever want. All are welcome here.

Thank you to:

- The hippie who makes my work days tolerable by indulging each other in our quirkiness. I hope we never have a long uncomfortable silence again.

- The pastry chef who prevented me from batting 1.00 on insane girls. I wish our timing had been different, but I cherish the weeks we had and am excited for you and your new passion, even if I never get to share it with you.

- The girl who sounds like she's singing in her native language. I know your life has suddenly become more busy and I don't expect to see or hear as much from you. But don't fall off the earth. I still hope to visit at least every few years, here or there!

- The really short girl. I really enjoy chatting with you and wish we talked more often. Your cheery disposition always brightens my day, and your nickname for me ... well ... probably makes me a bit more cocky than I should be. But I'm not complaining. ;)

- The girl who I met on an LDS dating site - although you'd never guess it from our history. Thanks for letting me vent my troubles on IM. You're a very patient listener, and I appreciate that.

- My best friend's wife. We don't talk or see each other very often now that you're married and have kids, but I still enjoy the times we do stuff together.

- The former neighbor and classmate who seems as bright and cheery now as they were 20 years ago. Your attitude always makes me smile. It's contagious!

- The blog stalker whose blog I was stalking too. It's a bit more comfortable (although maybe not quite as fun) now that I've been outed. I think you are hilarious and could have quite the following if you ever chose to go public.

- The blog stalker who was quite proud of her stalking. I'm not sure what brought it on, but it amused me then and still amuses me now.

- The symphony friend who I am always very awkward with for some reason. Thanks for still talking to me despite my screw-ups. You're very forgiving, and it means a lot to me.

- The semi-famous blogger and columnist. We don't talk often, but hearing you rant and rave about the same things I do reassures me that I'm not crazy. Either that, or there are at least two crazy people in the world.

- The friend of a friend whose laptop I fixed and had working for all of a few hours. Thanks for listening to my radio show and making fun of how young I am and inviting me to bingo. I promise to make it some time.

- The ex that I am on speaking terms with. We chat every few months and it feels casual and comfortable. Thanks for not being bitter.

- The ex(s?) that I am not on speaking terms with. I don't know if you read this or not, although I suspect you may pop in on occasion. I know you're not happy with me and may never be. I hope you see it in your heart at some point to forgive my imperfections and at least become at peace with each other.

Hey, I can see the Cubs losing from here!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A little while ago I decided to take a quick weekend trip to Chicago. I've been to oddball places that nobody has ever heard of, but for some reason I've never been to the third largest city in the country.

I was scheduled to get in early evening on Friday, but due to flight troubles I got in around 9 pm. I had tickets to see some improv at Second City, so I was a bit bummed I missed most of the show. Second City is one of the premiere improv clubs in the US, and numerous big names are alums of it, including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Eugene Levy, Andy Dick, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Stephen Colbert ... the list goes on and on! Despite missing the entire first half, I got my money's worth when they did a bit about Hall and Oates. Always appropriate!

Saturday was sunny and chilly, but I braved the cold to explore the Grant Park and other downtown areas.

Lake Michigan was still frozen over in a few places. These guys were throwing rocks onto the ice and trying to make it break through. DAMN HOODLUMS GET A JOB

If you have never seen the Cloud Gate, it's definitely worth checking out sometime in your life. I could have spent hours photographing all the different reflections and such.

That night I went to catch a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert, featuring the Shostakovich 11th Symphony. While the Shostakovich is one of my favorite works, the deal-clencher for me was the fact that Charles Dutoit was conducting. The very first classical CD I bought was conducted by Charles Dutoit, and I've amassed quite a collection of his work. I've always wanted to see him perform live, and now I can finally check that off my "to do" list.

A rainy Sunday was spent exploring and shopping in Wicker Park. The weather was unpleasant so I didn't bother taking any photos. I did, however, stop into Reckless Records, on which the book/movie High Fidelity is supposedly based.

The evening wrapped up by visiting an old classmate whom I hadn't seen in almost 20 years. I attended her Oscar party, where I received accolades for choosing the fewest number of Oscar winners correctly. The winner chose 16 correctly, with most people getting around 12-14 correct. I brought up the rear with a total of six correct guesses. Perhaps there's a reason I'm not on the Academy Board.

All in all, Chicago is a pretty decent city. I don't think it has as much charm as New York City, but it has plenty to offer. I would also suggest staying for longer than a weekend - I didn't have enough time to see and do everything I wanted.

The rest of the pics can be seen here.

(I really need to spring for a 10-22mm - look at those building lean! That's beyond Photoshop-able.)