Archive for September, 2004

People are creepy

I went thrift shopping at the Unique Thrift Store on Wilson and Sheridan today over my lunch break. When I left to drive back to the office, someone had put this underneath my windshield (facing in the car, so I could read it when I sat in the driver’s seat)


It is a nasty old cross-stitch that is all faded and dirty. There are many conspiracy theories floating around the office as to who placed it there. Care to add your own?

Not voting is for losers

The deadline for voter registration in Illinois is October 5th, which means you should really get your registration in the mail TODAY to ensure that it gets to the state on time. Hurry up and go download a registration application. It takes 2 minutes to fill out and feels better than eating a whole cake by yourself.

The Chicago Board of Elections also has a handy little tool to help you find your polling place.

Also, if you need to get some more information on registration and voting in this election, Kottke has put together a Voters Information Guide for the 2004 US Election that has just about everything you could ever need.

I get bored in the winter

Does anybody know of some good places in Chicago to take recreational classes? Like pottery, stained glass, metal working? And by “good” I mean “inexpensive”. And by “inexpensive” I mean not $500 for a 5 week course. Classes don’t start through the park district until December, and I will go nuts before then.

Be a pretend farmer

I went over to the Lincoln Square Farmer’s Market this morning and realized that it is the beginning of apple season. Mmmmm. So head out to an orchard and pick your own. I am going to head up to Mukwonago to The Elegant Farmer (warning – horrendous 1995 page transitions) and get some Golden Delicious apples to make a pie and my grandma’s special cinnamon apple recipe

Grandma’s Special Cinnamon Apples

Peel, core and quarter a whole bunch of apples.
Get a bag of Red Hots from Walgreens and dump them in a saute pan.
Add water and bring to a simmer.
Let it cook BUT NOT BOIL until the water turns a vibrant red.
Strain out any leftover Red Hots that didn’t melt.
Put the apple quarters in an airtight mason jar and pour the cinnamon water over them to fill.
When the apples have turned super bright magenta, the apples are ready to go. Yum.

These will keep for about a week or two. If you aren’t familiar with preserving and canning, I suggest you read up on it so you don’t sue me for getting botulism when you seal the apples wrong.

And if you are too lazy to drive all the way up to Mukwonago, check out PickYourOwn for the mother of all orchard listings.

Holy Space Station, Batman!

If you look up to the northwest tomorrow night at 7:09, you should be able to see the Space Station for a whopping 4 minutes. It should be visible in the sky at different times through the 2nd. Check out the whole list of sighting times at NASA. I am well aware of the fact that this makes me a giant dork, but at least I am not hosting a “Star Party

See Christopher Walken FOR REALS!

The 40th Annual Chicago International Film Festival is just over a week away and promises to be awesome simply due to the fact that there will be “An Evening with Christopher Walken“. Even his bad movies are good.

If Christopher Walken is not your cup of tea (as in – you have no soul), there will be a ton of other worthwhile going-ons

  • Finding Neverland screening – yet another Peter Pan movie. But with Johnny Depp. And Dustin Hoffman (again?!?!??!?)
  • Primer screening – um, I don’t know much about this except the fact that it has the ability to be awesome.
  • The Polar Express screening + Tom Hanks FOR REALS! – real people in the flesh are just so exciting.

    And about 1,000,000,000,000 other things to see and do. Hurry up and get out of the house while it is still warm out.

  • Bears 101: Because we think women are stupid

    I get periodic Bears newletters because I have bought tickets and gone to games in the past (what?!? a girl who actually BUYS tickets to a football game and doesn’t just get dragged along??!?). This just goes to show how highly the Bears think of their female fan base:

    Dear Valued Bears Direct Subscriber,

    NFL 101 Workshop for Women
    Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 5-9p.m.

    Does your man tune you out on Sundays? Do you wish phrases like “Quarterback Sneak”, “End-around” and “Safety Blitz” made sense? Tune in to NFL 101 for WOMEN!

    OMG! Are they serious? I am so offended by this. Boo this man.

    Oh, and I almost forgot. They will enlighten you to this sport they call football (isn’t that the one with the bat?) for the low low bargain basement price of $50 a head.

    I wish this was a joke. I really do.

    I :heart: Lincoln Square

    My mom came down to hang out in the big city last night, so I took her out to a movie and dinner. She wanted to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and it was playing at both City North and the Davis. I opted for the Davis because it is in one of the best neighborhoods in the city. There are about 300 gazillion restaurants on Lincoln between Montrose and Lawrence. Besides, the Davis is an awesome theatre because they don’t charge $50 for a movie and it reminds me of the great days before every theatre had a bare minimum of 30 screens.

    They had temporarily halted showing Sky Captain (broken reel?) so we decided to see The Forgotten. Stupid. It started out really well but went downhill quickly. Which sucks because they could have gone a million different directions with the movie, all of which would have been better. And it is most definitely not the best twist since the Sixth Sense as the previews say. It might be the most anti-climactic twist EVER.

    But the night got a whole lot better when we went over to La Bocca della Verita next door after the movie. Because the name doesn’t totally give it away, it is a nice little Italian place. We just got 3 appetizers and split them: Carpaccio, Sea Scallops, & Buffalo Mozzerella. The mozz was amazingly fresh and served with arugula and apples. It was awesome. For desset we ordered the tiramisu which was like eating creamy clouds. I was incredibly light and rich at the same time.

    So if you find yourself looking for something to do, I highly recommend headin up to this neck of the woods. I want to eat my way through the entire block. There isn’t a restaurant on the street that doesn’t look good. Make it like a modified pub crawl. But with less inebriation and chance for barfing.


    It’s 2 am and I just got back from a waaaaay south side police station.

    A month ago Shaun’s motorcycle was stolen from out in front of his girlfriend’s place down in Wrigleyville. Just this last week he had finally purchased a replacement and had gotten a check from his insurance company on Friday and then today a cop called him to tell him that his bike had been recovered along with a number of other motorcycles. (When Shaun returned the cop’s voice mail they went through a laundry list of motorcycle makes — “So you had a Honda?” No. “A Suzuki?” No. “A Yamaha?” Yes. “Black?” No. “Blue?” Yes. “OK, it’s right here.”)

    They told him if he didn’t pick it up right away it’d be transferred to a lot where they’d charge him a daily storage fee. So after I got done with my show tonight and he got back from speaking to senior business students at Purdue (yeah, Shaun was talking to the future leaders of America — that’s a whole ‘nother story) we were driving his pickup truck down to the 5th District Police Station to get his motorcycle.

    When we finally got there (Chicago’s a long city — it’s a 25 mile drive from our house to the 5th District) I was surprised to discover that the courtyard of the police station was a homeless enclave. Seven or eight people were sleeping in the courtyard and one woman wearing a bright blue blouse and lots of jewelry was zooming around with manic energy. As we approached the door of the station, she made a beeline for Shaun and started trying to sell him (or give him — it was unclear) her earring. “No thanks,” Shaun said, “but he [pointing at me] sure would like a hug.” Bastard. We provided some chuckles for the watching police inside the station as I tried to avoid the outstretched arms of CrazyLady without actually breaking into a run.

    Getting the bike was surprisingly simple. Shaun produced his police report from the original theft, identified the bike (“Yup — that’s my bike. Hey, it’s clean!”) signed one piece of paper, and the officer left us behind the station with the bike. Shaun pointed out that he hadn’t even had to show any ID.

    At first glance, the bike seemed OK — it was cleaner than it had been when it was stolen and the rims were shiny. But when Shaun went to see if he could start the bike to drive it away, we began to realize the bike was a mess. The ignition was smashed in, the bike had been laid down on both sides, a mirror was snapped off, the front brake lever was snapped in half and the rear brake pedal was torn off completely. And when we had given up on getting the bike started and started to push it, we noticed that the steering was crooked and the frame was probably bent. (Look for this bike on eBay, soon!)

    If it was surprising that Shaun didn’t have to show his ID to get the bike, it is not surprising that two guys in t-shirts pushing a motorcycle out of a police station back parking lot at 2 am will draw some questions. We had made it 20 feet when we were stopped by two officers who had just driven in.

    “Hey. Hey! I assume you two are police officers?”

    “No, sir.”

    “Then what are you doing?”

    “My motorcycle was stolen and I just recovered it…”

    You recovered it?”

    “I mean, you guys recovered it…”

    They let him get the rest of his story out and he showed them an excess of ID (Shaun often carries his passport around just in case) and they let us go. We made it another 30 feet before another cop car drove into the lot and stopped us again. After Shaun told his story again, these cops shared that they had to watch out because impounded cars were often taken to this lot before they were towed to the real impound lot and that people would steal back their own cars.

    When we made it back around to the front of the building where we had parked the truck, CrazyLady zoomed over to us. “My daddy had one of these. It was red. And a truck. And a boat. Would you like this mumble-mumble-dibble-bop.” Shaun said he thought she was trying to sell him a piece of plastic.

    One way to turn an errand into an adventure is to bring inadequate tools. Staring at the back of the truck, trying to ignore CrazyLady’s attempts to bring us up to speed on the Sox game, we realized that we had forgotten to bring any sort of ramp. We tugged at the bike a bit (and noticed more things that had been damaged) and tried to think.

    There’s some sort of scent given off by a mechanical problem that draws guys and unsolicited advice. A guy drove up in a car with spinning rims, parked, and started offering suggestions.

    “Maybe you could take the tailgate off and then get the front wheel up onto the bumper and take a rest and then get it the rest of the way up.”

    Sure, that’s an idea.

    “You guys from Lakeview?”

    Yeah. More or less. Up north.

    “My uncle was the guy that was shot in Wrigleyville. He had a concession stand up there. I know all about that neighborhood.”


    “I have to go visit some people inside but I’ll help you get it up if you’re still here when I come back.”


    More thinking and tugging and thinking and eek! CrazyLady is sitting on the motorcycle!

    Please get off my motorcycle!”

    “All right. OK. Mumble-Dibble-Stimple.”

    Finally I had a brain flash. If we took the tailgate off, it could be the ramp. After that it was almost too easy. RimsGuy came out at just the right time and helped us push the cycle up the tailgate/ramp. We wedged the bike in diagonally and lashed it down with the one winch-strap we had remembered to bring (inadequate tools, people, that’s the key) and then it was just an easy half-hour drive back north. CrazyLady waved goodbye to us with a Dunkin’ Donuts cup and a piece of wax paper and bid the south side a fond adieu.


    Anyone know where all the celebrities hang out in Chicago?
    I saw Mel Gibson on the street, but he was shooting a movie. I saw David Schwimmer at Metro, and I think I saw John Cusack driving past me in the other direction. That’s it.

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