Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Royal Decree

Ok, so I'm not a royal -- but I am Princess Diana's cousin (or some such nonsense). Yesterday I did issue a royal decree though. Starting yesterday and going through at least October 31, 2008 it is summer. Winter has been vanquished. It is time to put away all those winter drinks and pull out the refreshments of summer (mojitos, daiquiris and margaritas). Winter coats will go deep into the closet. Sunglasses must be kept on your person at all times.

To kick off this new summer (even though it was only 50 degrees today and the forecast for Friday calls for snow) I went out and bought some new spring clothes. Let's hope it gets warm soon so I can wear them.

I went to the Bulls game last night with some friends last night. Got some acceptable tickets from a law firm we use for work. The Bulls won -- the game was interesting and the beers were flowing. Here is a picture of our crew after the game. No we weren't arrested -- Me, JN, PM, R(J)P. Very fun night. This picture is shit -- it was taken by some TMA (traffic management authority) idiot. It's blurry, but whatever...don't zoom in.
I also booked another flight today. From April 26 through May 26 I will fly a total of 11,966 miles. The trips are: ORD-SAN-LAX-PDX-ORD, then ORD-SFO-ORD, then ORD-PDX-ORD. I got a fantastic deal on flight to see JDE in SFO. About half price, flying United. It is her birthday weekend, so we'll do the Napa thing, the sushi thing, the exquisite dinner/dancing thing and then lounge around the house in a gluttonous coma thing (per usual). I will be in Chicago for one weekend in May. Sounds so exciting for me. I can't wait. I am such a fan of travel -- like a little kid on his first airplane ride. It's just so great!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

If you listen closely, you can hear Chicago Suck...

I was sent to Miami Beach for a few days for work. Well, technically I was there to present on "Administrative Risk Control Techniques". I presented the same topic in Chicago and Los Angeles over the past 6 weeks. In each city the other presentations run longer thus reducing my talking time. My original presentation was set to be 20 minutes. Chicago ran late, so I cut it down to 15 minutes. LA ran even later, I cut it down to 11 minutes (+/-). Miami ran even later. I cut it down to about 8 minutes. Now listen here -- I'm not complaining. I was in Miami for about 48 hours for what turned out to be an 8 minute presentation. I did blow through it, but people got what I was talking about -- and understood why I needed the information.
Miami is beautiful. I love it so much. The heat. The diversity. Mojito's on the beach -- if there is something better, I have not found it.

My flights were fine -- had to fly coach both ways, but at least I was Econ Plus. UAL switched service to MIA (from ORD) now. It's now part of the eXplus service. Love these little jets. They seat about 70 people, and board very quickly. Unfortunately cities like PDX can't support them with actual gates -- never a fan of walking out on the tarmac -- what am I, a hobo?? The gentleman sitting next to me was flying with two children (I'd reckon they were about 8 and 10 years old. We were sitting in the seats with slightly more leg room -- Economy Plus. His kiddos were sitting about 10 rows behind us. About 30 minutes into the flight, as I am trying to sleep he gets up, turns around in his seat and says "HEY YOU KIDS! Keep it down back there!!!" My slumber was disrupted by Father of the Year. Another 15 minutes goes by, and I am sleeping. I am roused from my fitful sleep by a small finger poking me. I look over and a boy about (~10 years old) says "Daddy?" Now, this little fuck was looking me in the eye when he said that. Waking from a poor nap to a child calling you Daddy is a bit unnerving, to say the least. The baby daddy sitting next to me was still reading "Us Weekly" (dirt bag). I turn to him and say "Is this yours..." pointing to the child. He didn't find me amusing. Some back and forth between poppa and child, and an idle threat from each finds the child returning to his seat.

We finally land. Miami is warm. Miami is sunny. Miami is full of energy. Miami is not Chicago. I meet my fellow travelers (different airlines) and we go back to the hotel -- it's a Courtyard Marriott -- thus it's not nice, but it is clean, and I get points (and slightly better service as I somehow acheived meaningless Silver Status at Marriott last year).

Anyway we go to the group dinner, then go out drinkin' with the Airport Folks. These yahoos are fun. Everytime we get together we are out late drinking, playing pool, tellin' dirty jokes, etc. Usually around 1am some dumbass says "HEY! Who wants a shot??" and I'm all over it.
The presentations go well the next day -- I'm tired as shit though. I go out for martini's with a couple folks from our Miami office. Then we decided to take some tours of the facilities we manage (ie -- i'm working -- no vacation day deduction the next day for me!!!). One of these folks (JP) I've dealt wtih via telephone and email very regularly over the past 2 years. She so sweet (usually not an endearing quality in my mind). She is cute and funny and a Lez (again, not all that endearing in my mind...) We had a fantastic time.

I get an SMS from JO -- he left for the airport 5 hours prior -- he was en route back to the hotel -- with our New Orleans office folks -- flights were cancelled. The NO folks were fucking hilarious! I love the cajun accents. The down home racism is interesting -- but people shouldn't use the "N" word to describe an area of town. We laughed so hard we nearly cried multiple times. The girl with us was texting her husband around 3 am. I grab her phone and respond to his message (which said "I miss you") reply (on her phone) was "I miss you too sweetie -- I can't wait until you fuck me tomorrow night"). Evidently he was SO into this. Too bad it was a 12 hour drive or he would have been all over her like a North Avenue hooker on Welfare Check Day.

The final day I get up and work for a while -- then I hit the beach (see below). One thing that I hadn't enjoyed yet -- a Mojito. I hit the trashy bar out our CYM pool and get a mojito (or 4, I lose track). I also order the Jumbo Shrimp (Skrimp) cocktail. Why would I think that is a good idea? Luckily I didn't get sick. Flights were on time. I returned to Chicago to the news that on Friday we are expecting 6-9 inches of snow. FUCK THIS. I FUCKING HATE WINTER. NO MORE. STOP IT NOW. I feel like one of those kids on Law & Order: SVU -- when they yell "I need an adult!!!" I need someone to stop winter now. Do something. I can't ask Al Gore -- he'll say we should be happy for a cold spell -- in 10 years we won't have snow any more.
I am going to take at least two vacations this year. I want to go back to New Orleans and I want to go back to Las Vegas. Come with me. I'll be sure we have good local connections to take us out in each location. Come on!

Oh yeah -- if it snows one more time this year, I might just go to the 10th floor of our office's parking garage and jump.

Isn't Miami pretty?

DMH. Chicago Virgin. St. Patty's Day.

Yes -- I'm doing 3 weeks of bloggin' in one day. Don't worry, the sun is baking in through my lanai window, so it almost feels like spring -- and to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I am drinking ill gotten British Airways Champagne.

Ok -- I met DMH---hmmm, I don't know when. My first real memory of him was in 5th grade, but I don't think that was the first time we hung out. In 5th grade there were for of us in Mrs. Scott's (bitch) classs - JWP, B?J, DMH and me. We were the smart guys in that class. We sat together and we hung out together. The next year I moved to the other side of town and started hanging out a lot with DMH. We were very close friends through high school. We went to different colleges, clear across the state. I went to visit him (and JWP) once, and DMH came up a ton (as I went to school near our home town). I was honored to stand up in DMH's wedding, but after that we didn't really chat much. I don't think it was anything deliberate -- I guess it's just one of those things that happen if you don't take care to stop it from happening.

So DMH was in the neighborhood (Cleveland -- from Anchorage, that is the neighborhood). He was in town from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. Less than 48 hours to show the City and hang out... Day one -- Bulls. Fuckin' Bulls! Managed to get us some pretty decent seats (not without a hiccup, but that's life). The Bulls were doing great! They were ahead the first three quarters (yah, you know where this is going). They were up by 18 points. In the 4th quarter the sucked balls. The lost by 4 points. Welcome to Chicago, DMH. Luckily he grow up outside of PDX, so he was use to the home town team fucking up when it counted most.

As you all know --- my days revolve around food, drink and friends. The friend was already here -- so we just had to work on the first two. We decided to hit Giordano's for pizza (first visit to Chicago does require true deep dish pizza, I'll give you that). Unfortunately, I'm a total fucking retard -- it was the Downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade. 500,000 drunken pseudo Irish wanting pizza downtown. We over order, as always. It was good though. Thank god JDE didn't want pizza when she was here the week prior or I would have had to veto this.

I give a crappy version of a historical/architectural walking tour and show DMH all the major sites (Millennium Park, Sears Tower, Board of Trade, etc. etc. etc.). Then we sit at the W City Center Bar for a while. We had dinner reservations at Wildfire (favorite) at 8:45. We wander around playing around in all the electronic stores (Garmin, Nokia, Apple). Wildfire treated us well -- although I was getting exhausted -- I walk everywhere, but 6-7 solid hours of walking is too damn much!

Get home and chatted, then sleep. Got up the next morning and went to Brunch at Tweet. Had to leave for ORD at 12N, so Sunday was a wash. I had a nice time. Until about 5 months ago, DMH and I haven't chatted for several years. There were a couple odd silences, but nothing like some of the conversations I had at the High School Reunion. I hope we don't wait another 7 years to hang out. I think it's my turn to make the trip. I've always wanted to see Alaska. I want to do some sort of outdoorsy thing -- like from OutsideGO (with premium hotel/food and guides), but still. I've got a couple friends in AK -- although they are all over the place...I figure if I fly to Anchorage the Fairbanks folks can get their asses down, right???

I actually haven't heard from DMH since he left -- I assume he made it back ok. I would post some pictures, but I don't have any of his trip here -- he took all the photos. I'll update later on.

JDE. Class. Gala. Limin'.

Ao I have a ton of blogging to catch up on. I'm going to do separate posts, as if I actually kept this thing up and running normally.

The CAF gala was Saturday March 8th. JDE comes in each year and we make a full weekend of it. Wednesday night (one day before her flight arrived) I become violently ill. I hadn't been this sick since I was a senior in High School (DMH and A?L were with me). I will spare you the graphic details, but Jesus H. Christ, I was sick. At least this time I was home. I didn't sleep at all on Wednesday night. I slept in the hallway floor, and the bathroom floor for the 10 minutes I did sleep. JDE arrived around 5pm on Thursday. I managed to make it to the airport. It was a rough trip out there, I tell you what. It was so god to see here at ORD at baggage claim. It hasn't been all that long since I had hung out with her, but it is always good to see her.

The first night we make it back to my place, and decide to go out to dinner in my neighborhood -- a little Italian place called Pizza Rustica. I was actually able to keep some food down -- WHOO HOO. We go to bed pretty early. I get up around 8:30 on Friday and feel good as new. You wouldn't even know I had been sick. On the plus side, not being able to keep any food down for 20 hours allowed me to fit into my gala gown (er, tux) without a problem at all. Thank you for the 24 hour bug!

Our Mission for Friday -- find me some shoes, and go for sushi. We left the house and went to my office (to get my expense check -- pobre Timoteo). We had lunch at Bloomingdale's -- a great lunch place -- sort of like the trashier version of breakfast at Tiffany's, right?. Then we went to the office and JDE met BAD (Boss, who was joining us the following evening for the gala). I forgot that JDE had met JO in LA...luckily she left us in LA before we got too insane. Anyway...we hit every fucking store from Oak Street to the River -- and finally settle at Kenneth Cole (trash). The shoes are fine -- not all that great, but they will do. Get a call from our office folks (BAD and JO) -- they are out drinking -- free drinks until Sushi. We go. We drink.
Go to Sushi - AI - it was fine. The last thing we ate (sea scallops) had a bizarre sauce, that nearly spoiled the whole experience for me. After that we went the Peninsula for dessert, champagne and jazz-- always a fab time.

The next day we get up early and go to our cooking class -- this year we took a demonstration class (Crepes). It was so good. Mimosas and two savory crepes and one sweet crepe. So wonderful. We spend a couple hours walking around the Merchandise Mart checking out the high end kitchens and bathrooms. Then we run home to eat, and get ready for the benefit. We are to meet BAD and JED at 6pm at their hotel for cocktails. We make it. Our 4 some looks great. We head down to the Field Museum for the benefit -- it smells like a moth ball factory. We drink. Volunteers are rude to us. We Drink. We go down to dinner. George does a fantastic job, as always. We drink. Our table had MMcM and GG (per usual-PU), and CP (also PU) and a staffer and her husband -- love them. We go schmooze for a while, then hit the dance floor. The band is really great. REALLY GREAT. I love Stanley Paul, but this band sounded fantastic. We dance (and drink for hours). BAD/JED go home around 11:15. We stay until they kick us out, then go out to the old Gentry in Boistown, then when that closes at 2, we go dancing at Berlin (PU).

I love daylight savings day, except when it falls on Gala weekend. We decide to go get breakfast. I have known MMcM for years, and usually I am the super drunk one. He was quite intoxicated (it was refreshing). After breakfast we get home....the fucking morning news is on! We get back to my apartment at 6:40am! FUCK ME! we quickly fall asleep.

I get up at noon and obviously have an inner ear problem (not the 19 hours of non-stop boozing), as I make a racket and nearly fall over. We get up, watch TV and then go to the airport. I miss JDE before she has even gone through security at ORD.

It is unclear when I will see her again...even if it was later that week it is too long.

Oh yes -- when we were out and about after the gala, many people asked if we had just gotten married (they didn't know which of the two of the three of us had just gotten hitched JDE, MMcM or me....)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday night...seriously?

It is Sunday night. How is this possible? It seems like only 30 seconds ago I was leaving the office on Friday. I had to work late on Friday too. Stayed at the office until about 6pm -- which frustrates the hell out of me. Basically our key vendor was being problematic. Saturday I ran a few errands and prepared for supper club. Got a SMS from SO. She was in town for a play opening and a job interview. We met up at 2pm for lunch and beers. We ended up drinking for 12 hours. Supper club was thrown in there too. I slept until 1:30 pm today -- I haven't slept that late in the in at least 3 years.

It was 54 degrees today. I think winter is coming to an end. It's about damn time.

I finished watching the first season of Sleeper Cell today. It ended up being a pretty good show. Not sure how season two will work out -- most of the main characters are either dead or in jail. I need more sleep.