Archive for April, 2010

A Day in the Life of….


2010
04.29
6:00am – The day began with my cell phone alarm clock going off waking me up from four hours of sleep. I didn’t get to bed until past 2:00am since I was up working on a slide deck for a group project, writing a review of literature on the relationship between government expenditure and high school student achievement and catching up to episodes of The Pacific, The Tudors, and Mayweather-Mosley 24/7 since I was gone all weekend at a wedding in Baltimore. I promptly fell back asleep for another half hour before succumbing to my better senses and got ready for the grueling day.

7:10am – Leaving the house for a commute to the office, I noticed the trains at the Kimball were much more emptier an hour before my usual arrival and quickly sent myself to light mode nap mode. I made sure to check in to defend my mayorships at Kimball Brown Line CTA and Belmont Red/Brown/Purple Line CTA when it was time to swap trains. The trains were so empty at Belmont that I was able to grab a seat to continue my express napping session.

8:00am – I arrived to the office and caught up with everyone and chitchatted about my trip to Baltimore over the weekend for a friend’s wedding and how there are new hotel-style super dorms over my alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. I found out about the new changes at my first college, Drake University and was reminded of Paul Revere’s Pizza’s breadsticks in Des Moines and recalled to a colleague how we once snuck a keg through a window into the dorms when I was a freshman. I then began working on research projects and archiving some of the latest publications in the field of family business.
9:00am – The Loyola University Annual Block Party gave us all a subtle reminder of its presence by sneaking the scent of charcoal into our nostrils in our third floor office. The grills were on and food would be coming right up!

11:00am – The Loyola University Annual Block Party announced itself ready as the band broke out in a wave of guitars, beating drums, and loud unintelligible singing. Two workers went to grab eats as I lamented that of all days, I left my ID at home! No ID would mean no access to the goodies of char-grilled burgers, chicken, brats, ribs, and Diet Cokes! DOH!!!
11:15am – My coworkers returned with a surprise and brought me a bag of chips, a char-grilled cheeseburger and a brat laced with grilled onion!!! Score! I was going to be able to benefit due to their more sensible eating habits! Having been denied barbecued food since winter melted away, I quickly wolfed down my eats and couldn’t help but smile.
12:15pm – I was originally due to hit up the Cubs game since a friend had free tickets to the game courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Unfortunately, he got to the office too late and all of the tickets were gone. Yesterday, another friend asked me what I was doing today and let me know he had not one, but two free bleacher seats! Working on a project and having work the next day, it made much more sense for a friend to come grab them then drop me off a ticket so I could get in the game when I was done with work at 1:00pm.

1:00pm – Backpack packed, it was time to jet and off I went to Wrigley Field all the while tweeting to pass away the minutes and defended my Chicago Ave. Red Line CTA mayorship on the way from the notorious Fakesquare former mayor.

1:30pm – After going through a longer than usual security line and getting my backpack more thoroughly checked than by TSA agents at Midway and BWI Airports combined, I reached the top of the center field bleachers and found the birthday boy waiting. The sun was blazing down finely with a negligible 5mph wind blowing in from the north. I postulated that it would be a low scoring affair with few home runs but was proven wrong when I was told that Adam Kennedy (Adam Kennedy!) went yard in the top of the first and then watched Adam Dunn dump a ball into the left field bleachers. For every run the Cubs would score, the Nationals (The Nationals!) stayed ahead. My friend @greenmind0428 was heavily immersed and baffled why he checked into Wrigley Field with 4 others while @OldStyleRedLine checked in with 40 other people. He decided that the @foursquare entries were duplicates and I noticed I couldn’t check in via dumb phone since there was more than one Wrigley Field!

3:45pm – Nine innings later, my fantasy baseball pitcher Ryan Dempster fired 8 innings of 3-run baseball while the Cubs managed to flop after receiving a leadoff double from Marlon Byrd, also leaving the bases loaded and stranding two more runners after man on first and second with one out. The Cubs outhit the Nationals but still, the L flag would fly over Wrigley and there would be no singing of “Go, Cubs, GO!” The Cubs were 0-2 in games this year with me in attendance and I was hoping Friday’s game wouldn’t leave it at 0-3.
5:00pm – Back at Loyola, I prepared more of the slide deck researching various data on high school graduation rates, governmental expenditures on education and the national debt picture. Group team members arrived at 5:30 and we shuffled into a study room and shut the door.

8:25pm – My sections of the slide deck finished and review of literature complete with additional citations, I was good to go to a goodbye dinner at Maggiano’s on Clark for some fellow school chums who would be done and graduated

9:00pm – Dinner consisted of Parmesan Garlic Bread, Tomato Caprese, Fettuccine Alfredo, Four Cheese Ravioli, Chopped Salad, Maggiano’s House Salad, Herb Roasted Chicken, Veal Marsala, New York Style Cheesecake, and Tiramisu. Dinner conversations included upcoming graduation, moving, decay infrastructure in the United States, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and mind control, business school and law school, group project dynamics, the MBA Cup, good bubble tea places, life philosophy, web site redesign, blogging, Twitter, marathon training, and commuting.
11:30pm – Dinner concluded with an exchange of handshakes and the inevitable walk to the train. I sat in my customary front car of the train and began to fall into nap mode but waking up whenever my phone vibrated with the inevitable Twitter updates.

12:20am – Returned home and snapped a quick picture of the full moon from my back yard. Caught up on baseball box scores, updated my fantasy baseball teams, played Mafia Wars, and caught up on updates from Facebook. Uploaded more pictures from the past week onto Facebook, leaving out duplicate pictures / very similar pictures.
2:02am – Wondering how the day passed by so quickly and what time I will have to wake up tomorrow…..

@Brandi_w60’s List


2010
04.27

Searching far and wide for ideas and spreading word that I have started this blog while I was away in Baltimore, it was great to get home and see that more ideas were submitted. Here are the latest ideas, from @brandi_w60!!

1) Overnight stay at the Field Museum
2) Dance at the Sears Tower in the cubes
3) Dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab
4) Camping and hiking at Starve Rock
5) Speed down Lakeshore drive at 3am
6) Bike the Drive and not pay for it
7) Egg Daley’s house at 4am
8) Pull the biggest prank by calling in an awning company and replacing all the Macy crap and returning it to Marshall Field’s
9) Have an actual bar hop, make all the ladies dress in poodle skirts and all the men to dress like greasers and then go from bar to bar
10) BBQ at the beach in the middle of winter with a heated tent to serve all my friends
11) Join the Polar Bear Club of Chicago and jump in the lake at least once during the winter
12) Ride in the express elevator at the Sears Tower and jump when it got to the right floor
13) Run around Northwestern Hospital in a hospital bed race
14) Chiditerod! Need I say more?
15) Skydive onto Wrigley Field during a Cubs Game at night
16) Prank call the Presidents Chicago home
17) Tour the Goose Island Brewery
18) Have pizza from every Chicago pizzeria
19) Give more crap back to the servers at Dick’s Last Resort that they hire me as a server and I refuse
20) Wine and dine at the most expensive place in Chicago and then whine and cry about the bill
21) Ride the short bus of Chicago’s CTA fleet
22) Do my duty as a civil servant as a juror of a murder trial and be the last man to hold out and then say I was just kidding lets hang’em
23) Paint a mural on the basketball court at Foster beach that is so beautiful the people stop playing basketball there
24) Watch the Cubs win the world series at home
25) Watch the Bears lose to the Packers again
26) Watch the Sox get sold to an owner that moves them to Alaska
27) Watch the Hawks win the Stanley Cup (This might be the year!)
28) And in closing of my bucket list, I would pull the same pranks that the Blues brothers did in Chicago and feel proud of myself!

Now this is a serious list! Perhaps I will write a longer blog about my experience in the Chiditarod, it was grueling and hilarious all at once!

#1 – Eat at Wings Around the World, Crisp, and Great Seas Chinese Restaurant


2010
04.22

There are always thousands of Yelp reviews to dig through from all of the different places my friends have gone ranging from the mundane, such as 7-Eleven or Starbucks to the divine, such as Crisp, Zed451, or Wings Around the World.  The first trek of my wing odyssey took me to 75th and King Drive out in the middle of the deep south side to Wings Around the World, where I had the pleasure to take a bite of Sweet Plum BBQ, Cheesy Buffalo, and Honey Teriyaki wings.  Rounding up the weekly lunch crew, we decided last week on swarming at Crisp to let them show us what they had. It was going to be an interesting experiment to say the least, as none of us had ever stepped foot into Crisp.

Renowned for their Korean style fusion wings, my wing radar always detected good wings were in the neighborhood with every step in Boystown. Every time getting off the Belmont CTA stop, I lamented that I was so close yet so far. Parking around Crisp was a cinch at 2:30pm this Wednesday afternoon. We entered Crisp to find one other person outside of our group already waiting for wings and ample space all around to sit where we pleased.

Approaching the counter, there stood an impressive display of all the various sodas all for the price of $1 with Vitamin Water for $2 including fan favorites such as Coke Zero, A&W Root Beer. Alongside the pop cans were the various house bowls featuring Bulgolgi and Bi Bim Bap combinations with the Bi Bim Bap serving as the main vegetarian fare for any potential non-meating-eating friends. Without any vegetarians on hand, it was clear that we’d all dive into chicken seventh heaven from wings to fully glazed fried chickens to chunks of chicken in bi bim bap bowls.

Knowing that I would be getting a full order of 10 wings, I was surprised when they told me that they had more than one flavor for the wings. For some reason I thought Crisp relied only on the Korean sweet and sour recipe but saw they had BBQ and several kinds of Buffalo Sauce. I’ve had BBQ and Buffalo sauces from all over the place, so I decided to stick with the basics and go with the Seoul Sassy flavors and an order of fries. A can of Coke Zero accompanied my order, which is always a bonus because Coke Zero definitely doesn’t taste like Diet Coke.

My friends all ordered in lockstep various dishes and everyone had some wings on the way. I noticed the business card on crisp declared their head chef the house master of wings. Was it true? Could these wings be as magical as Wings Around the World? We sat down at one of the large tables and awaited our orders.

As my basket of wings and fries was the first dish ready, I had the uncomfortable ordeal of waiting for everyone’s else’s food to arrive. I could no longer adhere to the rules of conduct of good manners and picked off a few fries while waiting since it was pushing 3 o’clock and I hadn’t had a bite to eat all day! I saw some bowls of Bi Bim Bap materialize, a half of a fried chicken dropped in, and another full order of Crisp wings and then realized it was time to go to down!

As with most wing eating experiences, this one was no different, the obligatory wing exchange was facilitated and I traded in one of my Sweet Sassies for a Crisp BBQ-flavored wing. All of the wings were properly fried hard and I found the texture of the wings both majestic and comforting. The Crisp BBQ flavor was less than impressive, with a clumsy taste akin to kim chee. There was heat on thse wings, but there was not enough sweetness, but I didn’t mind trying one for the sake of trying.

After the exchange ritual, I happily dug into my own set of Seoul Sassy and got the rush of flavor that I expected. Sweet and tangy with a subtle hint of spice, the magic combination dazzled my taste buds and even the little pieces of green onion served to heighten the experience. There is something to be said about Korean wing recipes, and there’s no better food experience than tasting a recipe that tries to balance out the different taste sensations and savoring sweet success with every single bite.  The portions were massive and I found myself full after eating about five full-sized wings while another friend threw in the wet nap after four wings. In retrospect, taking pictures of all of the food before we all demolished all of it proved to be fortuitous timing.

In the end, we had way too much food for our own good and thus went our indoctrination into the wonderful world of Crisp. It was a pleasant experience to say the least, not having fight off crowds and being able to enjoy a meal with friends without having to feel like the walls were caving in. Were Crisp wings better than Wings Around the World? It’s a Tale of Two Wings and I don’t think that’s a fair comparison as they’re entirely different beasts. Are mashed potatoes better than french fries or roasted potatoes? The world may never know, but it’s best to try it all before it runs out!

Time Crunch


2010
04.20


One of the best ways to not get distracted by the inevitable downers of life is to constantly be moving, but keeping busy can be a drain of the ultimate resource: time. Working and going to school usually takes up the majority of my time, sometimes with little room for error. As group projects and finals come colliding head on at the end of the quarter, time moves subtly by. I will be in my old stomping grounds in Baltimore this weekend for a wedding which will be a relaxing change of pace and lots of handshaking. I am looking forward to some good seafood and some Yuenglings.

Yelp Elites Pitch Their Bucket List Ideas 2


2010
04.17

Continuing from the last post, I was in the middle of a Yelp Elite party surrounded by some of Chicago’s most knowledgeable foodies. Finding it irresistible to pick their brains, I whipped out a stack of blank paper and a pen and quickly made my way around the room to pick up good ideas.

@CandiceAdeline’s (Naperville) List

1. Visit the HH Holmes and Richard Speck’s house

2. Stop by Ethel’s Party, the old funeral home converted into a bar (Max Creep Factor 10 out of 10!!!)

3. Go to Croatian Fest (August 15th) on the south side and rock the lamb and sausage stuffed with meat

4. Drink at Ida Noyes the basement bar of University of Chicago

5. Shop at Horribles, a monster shop and horror movie theater

6. Go to Neo On Thursdays for New Age Night (the freaks come out)

7. Take a picture of Shit Fountain

@CandiceAdeline has unique ideas ideas that no one has suggests and has a strong sense for oddities. Drinking in a converted funeral home? Dangerous, scary and could be right up my alley. While I have heard Neo is interesting I guess I can always stop by @ChicagoCostume if I need to borrow some kind of crazy outfit for the evening.

Jaik’s List

1. See the Ulysses Grant statue in Lincoln Park and the Abraham Lincoln Statue in Grant Park. The statues were switched in shipping when they were to be unveiled.

An interesting piece of Chicago history trivia and I don’t know where the Lincoln Statue in Grant Park might be. This mixup reminds me of Jose Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo being mixed up in their graves from One Hundred Years of Solitude

Arlene’s List

1. Fly in a helicopter over Chicago

Not a terrible idea, particularly with the recent Groupon offered out, but may be a bit too expensive to charter!

@yelpchicago’s List

1. Get shaved ice at Mario’s in Little Italy by UIC

2. Go to the Garfield Park Observatory in the summer to view the sculpture and garden mazes

@yelpchicago loves his sweets and and I’m going to have to check out Mario’s next time I am by UIC. I think @yelpchicago is the first person to explain to me what the heck is in Garfield Park Observatory. This certainly makes the list and I am starting to get some idea of what I should be looking for when I head out over there.

Lauren H

1. Kayak down the Chicago River

2. Get up and do improv at any of Chicago’s improv shows

Chicago is one of the improv centers of the country and there are always improv classes at Second City designed to get you thinking on your feet. Lauren H has an even better idea: skip all of those improv classes and just hop in right into the show!

Ebs (Texas)

1. Segway Tour

2. Go to a lesbian bar for the night, T’s in Andersonville

3. Go to a Chicago Fire game

4. Take the worst bus line from the beginning to the end

5. Walk the Pedway the entire way (Lower Wacker Drive)

Ebs suggests like other people taking the worst bus line from beginning to end, but what would be considered the worst bus line? I guess if I want to find out, I’m going to have to try late at night and I suspect I will find it out on the south side. Walking Lower Wacker is not a bad idea, I have seen some articles covering interesting, lost landmarks in downtown’s underbelly. My only fear is the great homeless colony by 400 E. Wacker and the City Impound Lot.

Emily N’s List

1. Go to Valas and get Polish food, especially the perogis

2. Hit up the Boom Boom Room at the Green Dolphin

Carol’s (Lansing) List

1. Kayak down the Chicago River

2. Bowl at Fireside Bowl (they no longer have shows!)

@misscurly12’s (Broadview / Brookfield) List

1. Start on Route 66

2. Visit the Graceland Cemetery and find all of the famous Chicagoans

3. Visit the Pink Hotel in Edgewater

4. Go to Volvek’s (sic) on the south side or Sausage King on Archer

5. Go to Excalibur to watch the popped collars

Diana R’s (Chicago) List

1. Take a tour of the Gonella Bread Factory

2. Sneak to the roof of a Ravenswood industrial or commercial loft and watch sunrise

3. Play guitar on the subway

4. Ride a horse carriage downtown by Water Tower

5. Take a picture with the Tamale Guy