Tuesday, April 29, 2008

San Diego...Continued

Yesterday was a good day. The weather was warm, the sessions I attended were great. I ran into an old friend from Near North Insurance Brokerage, BS. We had a couple beers at my hotel bar. We met a guy who use to work for Swiss Re -- he dealt with the litigation of the WTC loss. He was funny in a sad clown sort of way -- he said that the 30 months of litigation cost him his hair (he was bald), his wife, his girlfriend, his family, ultimately his job and made him an alcoholic. Yeah -- well you should balance your life, dumbass, but he did buy us a beer to sit and chat with him for a few more minutes.

I went to see Hootie and the Blowfish last night. I don't know any Hootie songs. They did do a Zeplin cover, as well as an REM cover. After the concert my boss (BAD), our forensic accountant (MS) and a broad from BP-Americas (CV) went out for Mexican food and then to a dance club for some bad dancing. It was fun-ish.

This morning I got up early and went to Petco Park for a behind the scenes tour. We met with the Risk Manager and the Workers Compensation guy for about 45 minutes, then took a great tour. We saw the dug out, the bull pen, the visitors locker room, the press box -- everything. It was really a great tour. It is such a great facility. They are really family friendly -- offering cheap tickets and really providing a great option for families.

Sat with CV (the broad from BP) and had some beers tonight. Going to dinner with Willis, then going to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (hosted by Young MC) afterwards. Should be interesting. I do feel like instead of being in San Diego this week, I am actually in 1996 -- but whatever.

I still don't want to leave this place. 36 hours until Oregon.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A whore in church...

It was so hot on Sunday. I just loved it. It was over 90 degrees, sunny and beautiful. I got my usual hair cut while traveling yesterday. The girl said she had too much coffee and had the shakes -- uh, don't tell me that. I still let her cut it though. After walking around for a while, I went to the USS Midway Museum. It was nice-- but if you really want to see a nice aircraft carrier museum, you should go to the Intrepid Museum. After that, we went on a cruise with an insurance broker. It was a fine cruise -- although we were stuck in the basement deck and didn't even get to see the city, we could hardly tell we were actually moving. Oh well. Then we hit the dessert reception at Petco Park, then a bar with karaoke for the final stop.

The conference starts today -- I'm working right now (well, I was) so I skipped the breakfast, but am going to the exhibit hall to chat with vendors, see if there is anything free that I want. I'm such a nerd, I'm looking forward to a 2.5 hours session today on insurance certificates. YAY!

Ok, better go get this day started...god I love the heat! I don't want to leave.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Perfectly Perfect

Why is it I have so much more fun when I'm in a new city exploring things by myself? Does that mean I'm a hermit at heart? Will I turn into "Old Ben Kenobi", living past the dune sea, and creepy townies calling me a hermit? Screw the townies, Uncle Owen is a dick and he'll get what's coming to him. But I digress.

I went out for Sushi last night. Visions, was a sleek modern looking facility. The food was acceptable. No spice, not even in the spicy items. The fish itself was ok--and that's all I can say about it. Venus, my server was very friendly -- I was the ONLY person in the large restaurant for 2.5 hours. We talked about the city, talked about life in the Midwest (she's from Minneapolis). After dinner, I walked back and enjoyed a nice small gelato and was back in the hotel by 11:30pm. It was perfectly wonderful. I should do some more soul searching to see why I thoroughly enjoy days like yesterday more than most days of my life.

It is going to be 90 degrees in San Diego today (triple digits inland -- although I'm not familiar enough with the geography, so I don't know what/where "inland" is -- I just know it's not me, as my hotel is right on the water).

Off to get some breakfast and get a haircut. I always get a hair cut while traveling. I started this tradition a year ago in New Orleans. I just pick a barber shop, or salon and try it. It's just hair, it'll grow back (hopefully), and you can learn so much about the people and the city just sitting and listening. Gotta get the day started before it's too late.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vacation Day -- SAN DIEGO

So, my standard last minute airport run nearly but me in the ass today. My flight was at 945am and I left my house at 730, 15 minutes later than I originally intended. I cab to the train...wait for 20 minutes for the train, it goes one stop and ends. We have to board a shuttle bus to go three stops, the reboard the train. I get off the train, and at ord at 855a. I quickly walk -no, I didn't run- up to ticketing and security. The first class line is packed, one TSA rep, and 500 kids trying to figure out what to do. The old man in front on me was causing problems because he couldn't walk without a cane, but they would let him take the cane through the metal detector. Damn incompetent TSA folks. So I finally get through, and as I get to my gate at 920 when we are boarding, there is no plane... A gate change. I get to the plane just in time to hear my name being called... Final warning. This is only the second time I have been on final warning... Last time was going to Miami, and I was in the bar.

I had a great flight crew on the flight from ORD-SAN. I had 6 or 7 screwdrivers...I lost count. I landed an noon, got to the hotel by 1pm, checked in and hit the town. I'm staying right next to the convention center, and less than a 10 minute walk to the Gaslamp district. Lunch at a brewery, al fresco. I abso-goddamn-lutely love dining al fresco, as you can see.

I came back to the hotel to sober up, and take a little nap before going out tonight. I think I'm going to find a sushi place and have a relaxing dinner. No one from the office is in town yet -- but we have a couple other friends in town -- I am not going to call them though...if they call, great, if not, I'll see them later.

So far, I love this city.

Oh, and my cab had shit in it, and some greasy sticky mess got on my se7ens. I hope it can get cleaned...these are my favorite jeans.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

32 Shot, 6 Dead...

What is this, you ask. Is it a slow day in Baghdad? No, this was the weekend in the City. Chicago had a very tough weekend when it comes to violence. Friday night alone 20 people were shot. These were mostly unrelated, and were all over the city. The most interesting piece of information is that one of the shootings occurred one block from my house. The guy who was shot in my neighborhood is not cooperating with the police -- obviously it was some sort of gun, drug, or gang activity. Funny part (can there be a funny part??) is that the city had a news conference earlier in the week saying that violent crimes were down. Looks like the thugs got the news and wanted to change that.

I am not worried. My neighborhood is a little gritty, but my apartment is safe. Unlike other neighborhoods in Chicago, my neighborhood doesn't have a ton of gang activity (we do have gangs and gun violence, but it is relatively contained), our big issue is crazy crimes (my term). My neighborhood has an inordinate number of homeless and psychologically damaged people. I am not afraid of the group of 8 African American teens hanging out on the corner -- I'm more concerned about the homeless woman covered in her own feces walking down the street with a big gulp cup and a plastic knife. As I walk past her she could turn and quickly insert that partner to the spork in my jugular before I even knew what happened. I don't really concern myself with it though. When it is my time to go, it is my time-- although I don't go around putting myself in tough situations. I don't go to the ATM on Lawrence and Broadway at 3:15am and get $200 in cash -- I'll take cabs around the neighborhood if it is super late, I keep an eye open for people standing around, I look out for 24 hour businesses, or buildings with cameras, doormen or emergency call buzzers.

The sad part is I bet the crime rate will continue to increase. As the economy continues to tumble, people will feel more and more pressure. The haves will continue to have (maybe a little less than normal, but still...) and the have nots will start to have less and less -- the disparity between the two will increase and violent crimes and crimes against property will increase. What can be done? Increased police presence should at least allow the rational criminals to think before they act (this will do nothing for the crazies). I sat on my balcony (gorgeous day today) and I saw police cars doing a pretty frequent loop around the neighborhood. This won't get to the root of the problem though -- there needs to be a fundamental change and we each need to do something. What do we need to do? I don't know. Maybe being more involved in our communities? Maybe mentoring kids? Showing them that just because there family is poor and uneducated doesn't mean they have to be the same way -- they can break the cycle. Or maybe the police should just shoot people who look like criminals -- I'm no fuckin genius. Just go do something positive.

There's a whole lotta shakin' going on

While living in Oregon I remember several earthquakes. None of which were major -- but all of them excited me. At 4:30m on Thursday morning I woke up. I thought someone was breaking into my apartment. Unlike the Oregon quakes, I didn't hear a rumble (freight train sound), I didn't feel the rolling of the ground -- I just heard my front door rattling back and forth. Lilly was sound asleep until I bounded out of bed. Once she was awake she freaking out. She ran around the house YELLING at the top of her little pussy lungs. No one was breaking in so I go back to bed. Once I get up I hear on the news that we had an earthquake -- it still didn't register. What does this mean -- it means I am not a morning person. It wasn't until I got to work at the girl next to me was talking about waking up during the quake. Ugh...what a retard I can be.

We had a couple aftershocks -- none of which I really felt. Of course when people were talking about the aftershocks, I had to correct them and say "Perhaps these are all foreshocks, and the big one is coming". It's fun to mess with people who are not from a quake active area. Granted, it could be a foreshock and this is my last blog, because I'll be crushed in the ruble of my cement filing cabinet. But that's life, right?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tim Lately...

Spring has sprung. It was 70 degrees this week. It felt great. The warm air from the south blowing -- actually blowing like a fucking gale. Every spring when the wind picks up all the trash that has been collecting in the gutters, alleys and gangways all seems to blow up into my eyes. I'm spending more time flushing my eyes with water than I am drinking water.

I've had a busy week. We took our travel agent out for dinner in Schaumburg (yeah, the burbs). We when to Wildfire -- which as my loyal readers know, is my favorite restaurant in the city. It was shit...again. My steak was bland, the services we sub par (fat ugly suburban girl with a pus filled pimple on her cheek...ew). It was nice to actually meet AH (travel agent). She has been so good to me and my family over the past year -- she is moving to D.C. (ish) next week and she is very nervous about it.

I had dinner with and old boss yesterday (CMc) at a fab place in Ravenswood -- Cafe 28 is a Cuban/Mexican Fusion place. Since it was so fantastic outside I had a Mojito (we didn't sit outside because it was evening and it would have gotten too cool for us). The food was fantastic! I give it four (out of 5) stars.

Tomorrow I have dinner/drinks with a friend KS at Nacional 27, I sense another mojito in my future. I haven't been to the gym in a week. I finally downloaded the previous BSG episodes, so I can watch them while on the bike at the gym. I've got 8 days until San Diego, and I've got too much gut to get rid of (I shouldn't have had that big bowl of gnocchi at Carmines today -- we did sit outside today though).

Oh -- I've updated some play lists on my iPod and found myself listening to 1990's Rock (ish) music a lot lately (It's on shuffle, so this isn't the order I chose). Here's my play list. What do you think? Time for me to take off the flannel shirt and cut my hair (and put down that grande cup of coffee)...

Party, My House, Be There-MXPX
Straight No Chaser-Bush
High-Fiving MF-Local H
Santa Monica-Everclear
Come As You Are-Nirvana
I'm Ok, You're Ok-MXPX
Bound for the Floor-Local H
Open road song-Eve 6
Losing My religion-R.E.M.
Zero-Smashing Pumpkins
You Make Me Feel Like a Whore-Everclear
On A Plain-Nirvana
Sex and Candy-Marcy Playground
Today-Smashing Pumpkins
Mother Mother-Tracy Bonham
Pepper-Butt Hole Surfers
Rape Me-Nirvana
My Hero-Foo Fighters
1979-Smashing Pumpkins
Nice Guys Finish Last-Green Day
Greedy Fly-Bush
Track 07-The Refreshments
Sick & Beautiful-Artificial Joy Club
Leech-Eve 6
Track 03-The Refreshments
Californication-Red Hot Chili Peppers
Bullet With Butterfly Wings-Smashing Pumpkins
Heroin Girl-Everclear
Small Town Trap-Eve 6
Drain You-Nirvana
Basket Case-Green Day
Tonight, Tonight-Smashing Pumpkins
Showerhead-Eve 6
Scar Tissue-Red Hot Chili Peppers
Redundant-Green Day
Superhero Girl-Eve 6
Everything Zen-Bush
Inside Out-Eve 6
Thrity-Three-Smashing Pumpkins
Heart Shaped Box-Nirvana
Superman's Dead-Our Lady Peace
Jesus Nitelite-Eve 6
Heartspark Dollarsign-Everclear
Blue Monday-Orgy
Walking Contradiction-Green Day
When I Come Around-Green Day
Smells Like Teen Spirit-Nirvana
All Apologies-Nirvana
Black Hole Sun-Soundgarden

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cold. Lazy. Nap Time.

Last night I went to the Bulls game with E?J. We had four club level seats. The Bulls played Cleveland. LeBron played. Funny thing is, LaBron score more points in the first quarter than the Bulls did...OY! I had a nice time. E?J hadn't been to a Bulls game before -- he's been in Chicago for about 4 years now. We drank lots of cheap beer. After the game we decided to go to the L & L on Clark for some more cheap beers. E?J had an upset stomach -- probably from eating a gallon of popcorn, some nachos, a cheese pizza and 6 gallons of beers. SO called while we were out and about -- it was good to talk to her. She needs to move back to Chicago. This is a perfectly awful photo of me -- but life is full of beauty and ugly, unfortunately the ugly in this picture is me.

Tonight I'm going to the burbs for dinner with P&TH and JM. Should be copious amounts of wine, and good food. The weather sucks today. It reminds me of Oregon in November. I haven't done anything today -- that's not right. I brushed Miss Lilly, and finally got my iPod to connect to my home wifi. Now I don't have to get off the couch to check my email or watch youtube (you are right, I can check my email on my blackberry...fine). One thing that frustrates me, is that I cannot watch streaming Netflix movies on the iPod. This is for obvious reasons, but still, it would have been a nice little treat, eh?

Monday, April 07, 2008

"That fucking bald head triflin' cunt teacher..."

I got off the bus one stop early today -- mostly because there was this old crippled lady trying to sit her ample ass in one of the seats, and I didn't want to have to talk to, or deal with her. So I get off 50 yards sooner than normal -- right in front of a middle school. This fat little girl, with a family size bag of Doritos's and 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew comes storming out of the school and yells the quote at the top. Evidently the teacher had reprimanded her for eating poorly. Hmm, what a bitch of a teacher -- attempting to stop this girl from getting her feet cut off in 10 years because of adult onset diabetes. The crossing guard who was standing there, just started laughing -- and encouraging this trashy little girl.

Hmmm-- I got home around 5pm, why the hell was this fat little troll of a child still at the school? Why was the crossing guard still standing around? Even though I lived this a few hours ago, this story seems to be falling apart -- If I were you, I'd be questioning this now -- but fuck it.

Maybe this girl had detention or something...but wait, how could this little angel have gotten in trouble at school...very unlikely.

God I hate modern Americans. Fat. Uneducated. Heightened Sense of Entitlement. Reduced Sense of Shame. Parents these days, what a wonderful breed.

I'm going to go eat some girl scout cookies.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Spring Time is here

The weather this weekend was fantastic. It was in the mid 60s on Saturday. I got up super early and was pretty damn productive. I walked down to Bloomingdale's to buy some pocket squares (for my tux)--it's a 4 mile walk. Just a beautiful day.

Last night was the Children's Place Benefit at Union Station. SR was my date. We had a nice time. I was bidding on a nice Burberry Medium Tote. I thought it would be a nice addition to my frequent traveling. Unfortunately the other guests at Children's Place were much more giving and decided to out bid me. If my fragmented memory serves, the final going price on this bag was over the retail price. I like the Children's Place, but I want a deal on silent auction things -- c'mon...I'm a cheap skate.

After the gala we went to the Zebra Lounge -- where else? After closing that place down . I get JM home and then head home myself. In my hurry to go to sleep, I leave my tux laying on the floor, and of course Miss Lilly things that a balled up tuxedo is the most comfortable thing to sleep on. Now, I have a white fur tuxedo. Lovely. OH! And one of my friends (a guy who is a member of my supper club) was robbed at gun point following the gala, he was outside of his home, and some thugs came up pulled out a gun and robbed him -- they then ran off. I'm not sure how I would respond to that situation. I can see myself running, or fighting back, perhaps I'd lay on the ground and cry...who knows.
Here is a pic of my date SR.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Gym--But of Course

So, after a 4 month hiatus I have made my return to the gym. God it's about damn time. I just rode the bike for 45 minutes and called it a night. My most recent excuse for not going to the gym was because I just wanted to watch something (not read something) while doing cardio. My gym doesn't have TVs, so I was waiting to get video iPod. It finally arrived today. I got the 8G Touch, and I freakin' love it! Am still working on filling it with appropriate play lists, tv shows, podcasts (audio and video). If you have any suggestions please let me know. Currently I just have Anderson Cooper 360 (enjoyable for multiple reasons), a Bloomberg update and VH1's Best Week Ever. That is just enough for me to get through my cardio work out. I feel 1M times better after going to the gym. I've only got 5 inches of belly fat to lose in 21 days. Gotta look hot for San Diego...not too hot though, I don't want BH to try and fuck me...sorry B.

I went to see my esthetician Jess today. I don't know her last name, so I won't use initials, plus I don't think folks at Mario use their real name, I know some go for pseudonyms, so I'm not too concerned. I like her. I'm not sure if she and I would ever be friendly outside of our professional relationship, but I think she's a good egg-- and does a great job. Plus I think she's doing something she really enjoys doing.

Speaking of doing things you like to do -- I had to present today at work. I taught a 60 minute course on the history of insurance and basics of insurance policies. I was teaching this to my team. Read my previous posts about my team. A couple are "interesting"....(read slow). My analogy to help them understand insurance policies was "insurance policies are like sandwiches -- you can have thousands of different sandwiches, but you can tell they are sandwiches. The different components/ingredients don't make it any more or less of a sandwich (policy)." I thought it was clever. Unfortunately I think it was lost on a couple of these people. The questions were asked were so far off from what I had just talked about. I couldn't be a teacher. The first time a student said something stupid or missed something on the test that I specifically told them, I'd just write the whole class off, and just coast through until I get my pension.

I hate people.

The weather is supposed to be fantastic this weekend. Should be around 60 degrees along the lake. It's about god damn time. I have to run a few errands tomorrow. I need to get some new formal wear accessories -- pocket square, bow tie, leather harness -- oh wait...strike that last one...it's not that kind of a benefit.

Ok -- one final thing. I can't get the wifi to work on my new ipod. WTF? I've followed every option I can find. It claims it is connected to my secure network (entered in the PW). I even restored and updated the software. I am retarded at times. A friend just started a new mac consulting firm MacHero. Maybe I'll have to call him and tell him how stupid I am at times. Any of you mac people out there, if you have problems with your stuff, call Gino. He's great at what he does. CALL HIM! Tell him I sent you -- you won't get a discount, just tell him I sent you...oh, and don't be a dick.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

What a Weak Week...

This week has flown by -- yet again. I have spent almost every night working. I have to give a presentation tomorrow to our team. I am teaching an Insurance 101 course -- History of Insurance and Basics of Insurance Policies. I know, it sounds so boring doesn't it? I'm looking forward to it. I need to improve my presentation skills.

Saturday is the Children's Place Association gala. I usually don't have all that much fun at the benefit, but I am looking forward to seeing the space and hanging out with a few friends. I'll be posting some photos of me and my date early next week.

Spring is starting to creep up on us here in the City. I can't wait for it to finally get here. I just want to sit out by the pool, or on the balcony, drinking a festive cocktail and enjoying the heat. San Diego trip is in 3 weeks-- I am so looking forward to that trip. I've got a ton of great meetings at the conference already set up -- not only the dinner/cocktail stuff, but the actual conference itself -- I'm a big nerd, I know it.