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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Overheard in Chicago

Ridiculously thin gay man talking on a cell phone coming out of a bar in Boystown at 9:30:

"No, I SAID I'm going home...I mean it, I am so going home...Why? Because I'm too fat to go out tonight. There, that's my final answer bitch."

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Confession

About once a week my roommate makes a heaping plate of bacon to go with breakfast. When he's finished eating and has cleaned up the kitchen, I always say, "Thanks for being a good roommate." I'm pretty sure he thinks I say that because of his mad crazy cleaning skillz, but I'm really thanking him for making bacon in the first place since it makes our house smell fantastic all day long and working from home makes me feel like I'm being hugged by the most delicious meat on earth. I'm not sure what heaven's like, but if it doesn't involve frequent meaty bacon hugs*, I want no part of it.




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* Meaty Bacon Hug also a good band name, bar name, urban dictionary entry, vagina euphemism.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

And Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Snark




Link stolen from My Pet Virus.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Project Badass or How I Met My Sister

I'm back from Virginia, I'm officially settled in Chicago, and after a monstrously good three days* with a friend from the other side of the globe, I feel strong enough to destroy an entire city with my fists, but jovial enough to have a hearty laugh instead. Feeling awesome has become a crucial part of my life plan for the next, I don't know, bunch of years ahead. In fact, it's become so crucial that last month I decided to launch a new initiative:

PROJECT BADASS**


Project Badass basically goes like this - I've spent a disproportionate amount of brooding in the past two years which really isn't cool. What is cool is becoming a Badass. Capital B. I'm just going to spend the next calendar year doing badassey stuff. Since any good initiative needs to start with flow chart or Venn diagram or some visual aid, I made a list of everything I think a Badass would do and slowly throughout the next calendar year, I'm going to cross them out and write about them. So far, it's going pretty well.

Project Badass Step One:
Hike Up Your Skirt, Grab Your Balls, and Do the Thing You're Most Terrified Of

Since I don't live anywhere near a gator-wrestling farm or Neverland Ranch,*** conquering the top 2 things I'm afraid of were out. That left number three - track down that secret sister I didn't know existed until about eight years ago. Basically the story goes like this - my father had a child about ten years before I was born but didn't really bother to tell anyone about it. I say that he didn't tell anyone, but the truth is that somehow word got out to basically everyone in my family knew except for me. I found out she existed when I was 18 and my father drunken/haphazardly mentioned "I've had five beautiful children by three beautiful ladies" and I could only count four beautiful children by two beautiful ladies.

At the time, I didn't really think anything of it since my father sort of tossed out that information in the same way that one might casually throw out "you know only ten percent of all birds mate for life?"****, as if news of my newfound sibling carried the same level of importance as the Illinois state motto or the secret ingredient in Arbecue sauce. In fact, I had dismissed the comment almost entirely until I casually mentioned it to my mother and watched her face flash from shock to devastation to hatred to concern in 0.2 seconds and thus kicked off a very long series of talks about a sibling I never knew existed.

Let me take pause here to say that finding out you have a secret sister is a strange feeling, mainly because of how little it affects your everyday life. I had never met this woman, never heard her name mentioned, never seen a picture, wasn't even sure if she was living or not, and frankly didn't really think any of that until one day 7 years later when I found her name and phone number lying around my father's retirement condo. (I wrote about it a bit here.) Knowing that someone somewhere on earth happens to share your bloodline is one thing. Knowing that a living, breathing human being...one that comes with a name and a job and ideas and apparently a phone number she's written in purple pen on a post-it note...lives 3 hours from your house makes it all eerily real. In April, I took the number, but didn't do anything about it believing, at the time, that I would warm up to the idea of a secret sister and then one day when I was good and ready make the phone call.

That day did not come. What did come, months later, was a day when I fell to pieces over the ex boyfriend so hard that a 20 minute drive from a friend's house turned into a multi-hour, crying on the side of the road, dry heaving kind of affair...the sexiest kind of affair. That's when I decided, covered in snot and sweat and tears and dirt and maybe even some vomit, that I needed to make radical changes, so I did the most radical thing I could think of at the time. I'm honestly ashamed of that last paragraph. I'm pretty sure if I was not me, I would read that and think all of the following:

A) Quit bitchsquealing over a dumb boy and do something with your life.
B) The most radical thing you can think of is making a phone call? Get this lady a Nobel Prize.
C) This post is way too long for a blog. I've got a lot of Spider Solitaire to play this afternoon dude.

So I picked up the phone, dialed the numbers, and in a mousey voice mumbled, "Hi, my name is Chris. I think you might be my sister." I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't the line "I was hoping you'd call." After a couple of phone conversations, I drove to meet my secret sister at a restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland where we poured over creepily identical baby pictures, exchanged stories, and basically caught each other up on our entire respective existences. I told her about growing up with my father, the night I learned she existed, the circumstances surrounding why I made contact, and how much awkwardness I had anticipated. She told me about meeting my father for the first time (she was 21), introducing him to her daughter (who's now 13), and how it feels to know that you're being kept a secret from your father's "real family."

Through the whole experience, what surprised me the most was how very normal this woman is, you know, for having been the family secret for 28 years. Going in, I expected her to be a wreck, the kind of person that's so rightfully consumed with bitterness that the phrase "she's been through a lot" inevitably pops up when she enters a room. But she's not that girl at all. My secret sister is confident and genuinely forgiving. She's got a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and this distinctive laugh that fills up a room. After three full hours of splattering our hearts out on the table, this woman who shares my nose and cheekbones hugged me for what seemed like a full half-hour and I felt this surreal mixture of relief and deep, deep gratitude and unexpected serenity. Those things are much better alternatives to bellyaching and dry heaving. Maybe the Badasses had it right all along.





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* How good was the weekend? We spent a full day seeing sharks and then rolling on our backs down the grassy hills in front of the largest indoor aquarium in the world. THAT is how good it was.

** I just learned the command that makes letters blink. Please bear with me until the novelty is out of my system.

*** Ba-zing.

**** That's totally true.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Highlight of the Day

Today I found an article entitled:

UGANDA: SHOULD WE SACRIFICE BABIES ON THE ALTAR OF CAREER?

Clearly we should if for no other reason than, really, how often are you asked about baby sacrifice? That has got to be the most overly dramatic headline ever written. I've also decided that the sacrifice/altar of motif should be used more in conversation. Just now I asked my roommate if she would sacrifice getting up early tomorrow to the altar of rockin out tonight. I have a feeling this is the first in a long, long line of blank stares to come.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Conversations From Yesterday

Friend: What are you going as for Halloween?

Me: I'm probably going to go as Babraham Lincoln. I love the idea of taking something as unsexy as a dead president and slutting it right up.

Friend: Are you going to go beard and everything?

Me: I have to. There's nothing sexier than a tiny bearded woman in a pre-Civil War jacket and sorority boots. What are you going as?

Friend: I love the idea of things dressed as other things, so I think I'm going as a squirrel dressed as Zorro. Anyone can be just Zorro.

Me: But it takes a real man to dress as a woodland creature dressed as a fictitious hero?

Friend: That's right.

Me: I can see this will be a high concept holiday for both of us.

Friend: Indeed.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Things That Have Made Me Smile Today

1. Listening to Voxtrot. I caught their tsunami of rock last Thursday at the Metro and I cannot stop listening to their EP. Oh man I dig this band as well as the accompanying blog. In my version of heaven, the lead singer thinks I'm totally cute even when I wear my glasses and we hold hands a lot. Also in my version of heaven, robot servants do my bidding, lightning tastes like candy, and I ride a dinosaur to work everyday. If you're going to dream, dream big.

2. This guy's tie

3. This drawing a friend made and sent earlier today:



4. Receiving an e-mail that contained the following:

"I just found out from my mother that when I was little, I saw my dad pee standing up. Since I didn't have the right 'equipment,' my mother found me peeing, standing up, with a toilet paper tube attached to my lady parts. Hope that brought a smile onto your face."

Rest assured it did.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Overheard in Chicago

[Setting: Walking through a friend's neighborhood Saturday night]

Girl at Some Backyard Party: "...yeah and he was almost EXACTLY like that guy Huckleberry Finn except I'd fuck him."

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Open Letter

Dear Internet:

Six weeks or so ago I got a new camera phone which is great because all the pictures I take on my real camera look like they were shot in a someone's torture basement. The new camera phone is fanflippintastic news because I can now take pictures of all the wonderfully eccentric things I see all the time, like this:



and this custom-painted spare tire holder I spotted in Virginia:



and this:



The above picture is a skull sculpture I happened to stumble upon one day when I was trying to go to a gameboy rock concert and accidentally walked into a tango orchestra show instead. That last sentence is the exact reason why I live in Chicago. Without a mobile camera, I'd never be able to capture a guy reading P.G. Wodehouse to his girlfriend in an English accent on the subway at 2AM on a Friday:



or my dog kind of looking like a supermodel filled with sex glow after doing it with a rockstar on perfectly white high thread count sheets:



or really nice things some benevolent stranger has scrawled on the street:



or how beautiful the skyline near my house is:



or the exact moment months ago when I realize I'm not actually on a date and am instead on a platonic hang-out session:



Those moments are exactly what give life texture and as silly as it is, I'm thankful to have the technology to document it. Hey internet, I hope your day leaves you feeling like this:



Take care and take pictures.

Your pal,

Chris

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Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm Back!

I'm back in Chicago and boy howdy, this place is just as fantastically ridiculous as when I left. Here's a confession internet - I was a bit apprehensive about returning to Chicago since Virginia was filled with a disproportionate number of adventures. When I actually permanently lived in "the big V-A" as Timbaland* calls it, I had an adventure once every six or so months, but in my short 3 week trip, I had probably 10 adventures, all of which are worth blogging about. I'm saving those for another time though, mainly because I need a few days to turn over said adventures in my head and make some sense of them first.

After saying goodbye to my family, the drive back to Chicago was boring. I got lost in Tennessee** and wound up missing what would have been a perfect first date with Bunny McIntosh and her husband at a tattoo parlor in Louisville, Kentucky. I pulled into Chicago at 3AM, driving through a fog so thick I sincerely wondered if I had died and just not noticed it. I was beginning to wonder if Chicago was as awesome as I remembered it, then a couple of things happened:

1) I had dinner with some ridiculously fun kids.
2) I saw the pilot episode to Bionic Woman. That deserves a blog entry in and of itself, but I will let you know this - it changed my life, even more than the Shins.
3) My roommate looked at me and said "Hey, it's Wednesday. Want to party?"

By that she meant "Hey, it's Wednesday. Do you want to put on an En Vogue's greatest hits album then I'll teach you how to lasso things like a cowboy and then maybe we can eat dreamsicles and watch a documentary on air guitar?" Roomie, that's the ONLY way I like to party. So we did...and when I think about my life 20 years from now, I hope I think about standing in my living room in a 1950's-style sundress, giggling uncontrollably while trying desperately to lasso an armchair as Hold On plays in the background. I am very happy here and very thankful to be back.



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* Note: That is literally the only picture I could find of Timbaland where he doesn't look like he's ready to cut a bitch. Most of his pictures look like this. I'm making it my new goal to look harder on a daily basis.

** The geographically gifted types will note that there is no reason to be driving through the Volunteer State*** when traveling from Virginia to Chicago at all. I beg those geographically gifted types not to judge my directional ineptitude and instead focus on my wicked slant rhyming skillz.

*** The exceptionally gifted will note that The Volunteer State is a pretty lame state motto. You may as well call it "Tennessee: It Could Be Worse?" or "Tennessee: Hey, It's Not Idaho!" or "Tennessee: Even Lamer Than the Arrested Development Song of the Same Name."