Thursday, January 29, 2009


Just when I start to get really fed up with advertising, and I want to quit and go dig holes for a living, I see this commercial. I don't think it's running in Chicago, so I needed to spread the message as quickly as possible to our loved ones, so that they know how to best protect themselves in these uncertain times. The logic is so airtight it’s impossible to argue with. But just in case you’re the argumentative type, here are a couple of (what I like to call) bulletproof bulletpoints:

• The reason my identity was stolen and I received a two thousand dollar credit card charge from an Aggressive Hobbies in Louisiana was because I failed to use the exclusive Uni-Superink formula.

• The whole Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco could have been avoided had they used the exclusive Uni-superink formula, which "gets inside the paper fibers, and won't come off, ever."

• S. Epatha Merkerson has a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, an Emmy, and two Tony Awards.

Can someone please get Obama the god damn exclusive uni-superink formula before he signs our country away to the Chinese?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I have been in Los Angeles for almost a week now for work. Due to bad weather we've had to adjust the shoot schedule, and because of the shuffling we've had quite a bit of free time. During said free time I've been hanging out with my writer who just happens to be about 6'3" and weigh 160 pounds. I have never EVER seen someone eat the way he does and still be so thin. And of course I have temporarily forgotten that I do not share in his accelerated metabolic rate and so have been eating like it's my last week on planet earth.

Today was our first of two days shooting our commercials. We had a great day - we stayed on schedule, had some laughs and kept the client very calm and happy. But in the midst of all the calm I kept myself occupied by eating every. single. thing. that the craft services and catering folks were shoving in our faces. I started the morning with a little bit of french toast and a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast Next were some fresh veggies (carrots, tomatoes, edamame), pita chips and some dried fruit. Oh and I almost forgot the pesto and prosciutto panini slice. Then I somehow managed to stuff down a Babybel cheddar cheese round. Next up was lunch -- ribs (!?!), roasted brussel sprouts, a heaping pile of mac n' cheese, a big mixed salad, an israeli couscous salad and a touch of blueberry pie. If that isn't enough to throw you into a diabetic coma just by reading this, I just had to carry out the afternoon with a mini twix, jellybeans and a steaming hot cinnamon sugar churro.

I am sincerly and legitimately gagging in my mouth recapping all of this. And I have to go back again all day tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


OK, I give up.

What the hell are these things? These orange candy-cane chimneys are everywhere in this city. So what gives? Is it from the subway? Is it from underground construction? Is it from the sewage system? And if so, shouldn’t I be concerned about breathing the vaporized poo-particles of millions of inhabitants of New York City?

Well, not really. Thanks to a thoroughly half-assed search of the web, I discovered that New York City has by far the most massive steam system in the world, which provides heat and energy for roughly 100,000 buildings, since it’s very efficient and cost effective for high-rises.

Steam? Really?

Apparently, on any given cold winter day, 10 million (!) pounds of steam course through 105 snaking miles of underground steam pipes per HOUR. That’s 30 billion pounds of steam pumping underneath the streets of Manhattan every year.

Not surprisingly, those pipe valves sometimes get damaged, and they need fixing. Whenever ConEd is doing any work on a broken valve, I guess they use these things to re-route the gushing steam.

Now if you’re anything like me, those numbers don’t really mean anything. They're just too big and crazy and science fiction-y to comprehend. But I guess all you really need to know is this:

Those orange chimney-stacks are a good thing. Cause if they don’t fix those valves in time? This happens.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

cold chocolate

Sorry we’re a week behind. Ok I’ll stop saying sorry about posts.

Sorry about that.

Anyway, last weekend Crissy and I took a chocolate tour of New York City. Oh, that sounds completely queer and horrible you say? Well, that’s because it was. But it was sort of ok, too.

Mostly I say it was ok because it was a gift to the missus…from me. I got the first clue that it might not be the strongest idea when I called to sign up for the class, and the woman on the phone said, “Listen, this class is a walking tour in January, got it? You sign up, you walk. You don’t wanna walk, you still pay. No refunds.” That caught me off guard.

So I laughed a little too hard and scoffed a little too much and said, “Where I come from, we can take it! I come from Chicago, if you know what I’m talkin’ about! And I’m talkin’ about it being colder than it is here.”

Two months later? It’s pretty cold in this mother. I wouldn’t say it’s jean-freezing cold, but it’s definitely underdressed-for-a-football-game-cold. Particularly when you’re walking around in a plodding tour group for five hours with a gut full of weapons-grade chocolate. By the end of the day, I couldn’t think of the color brown without getting dizzy.

The tour ended with a snowstorm, a mad dash for the restaurant where lunch was being served, and a croque monsieur (eh, ham and cheese, oui?) that was so brittle I hacked my way through it with a steak knife, grunting. The lunch was held at a place called Orsay, which sounded fancy and looked fancy, until the ceiling began bowing (not a joke) from a stomping Bar Mitzvah in the room above us.

On the way out, Crissy spotted a super famous chef by the name of _________, having lunch with his family, which made my gift feel temporarily non-crappy again. Then we went home and took the greatest naps of our lives.

Which should be considered part of the gift, right?


p.s. I caught this sign in the middle of the tour. Coffee sandwich anyone?

Monday, January 12, 2009


So, yeah. First New Years Eve in New York. I gotta start by saying I don’t love New Years Eve to begin with. Luckily, Crissy shares this sentiment with me. I always feel so pressured to have the TIME OF MY LIFE, but it always ends up being the night when every cousin Eddie and the hilarious guy from work dress up in rented bright orange and powder blue tuxedos, wear sunglasses in the dark, and do shots of Jaeger for 6 solid hours to prove who’s more party animal. It’s one of those holidays that falls under the category of Things That Seem Less Appealing the Older You Get. St Patty’s Day reigns supreme in this category.

So, we’ve discovered over the years that the best way to combat all of the annoyingness of New Years is to go to a concert. It’s perfect; it feels like a big event, we get entertained for roughly three hours, we all celebrate at midnight, and we have a guaranteed seat for when our knees start to creak. Then we go home.

This year we decided to go to My Morning Jacket, who were playing their first big arena show at Madison Square Garden. If you're not listening to this band yet, start paying attention. You have to respect anyone who’s exactly as good live as they are on their albums, regardless of your musical taste. Plus the lead singer is super talented yet unattractive, and since rock n roll was pretty much invented for dudes like that to get laid, you gotta support the cause.

The show started at 10, so we had plenty of time for Crissy to test out a delicious recipe for shrimp scampi for our New Years feast. It also gave us plenty of time to make preparations, which basically consisted of getting cash from the ATM, and buying booze to sneak into the show. Crissy and I thought it might be good to chill the booze in the freezer for a couple hours to make it go down more smoothly. When I stuffed it in my pants to sneak it into the concert, my genitals recoiled in horror for the 15 minutes it took to figure out the right gate to enter. My junk felt like an ice sculpture that was slowly being carved by a chainsaw. Lesson learned.

The first thing I noticed when we got to the venue were a lot of pale, round-faced, pudgy white dudes with scraggly, reddish Amish beards, kinda like Jim James. For the same reason you might find a lot of close-cropped, bleach blond white dudes in white t-shirts at an Eminem concert. Or a lot of douche bags at a Nickelback concert.

We’d gotten our tickets through a loose ad connection of Crissy’s, who seemed to have a friend who’s sister’s best friend’s cousin works at Madison Square Garden, and got us pretty much the best seats in the house. They were just left of the stage, first row above the floor, putting us right around eye level of the band. Unfortunately, they also put us right in front of the security guard catwalk, and we managed to attract the attention of one overly chatty guard named Johnny D, and a none-too-friendly, overly zealous female security guard who spent three hours giving us the stinkeye.

The band itself was fantastic, starting with a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s Move on Up. As the night went on, we were pretty happy to have snuck in the booze (at the expense of my ability to procreate), considering that A. we didn’t want to leave our seats and miss a second of the spectacular show, and B. beers were nine freakin bucks.

Around three quarters of the way through the encore, we decided to avoid the crowds and bail. We zipped out the door, jumped on the subway, hopped into bed, dipped our dentures into glasses of water, and thanked our lucky stars to have been as fortunate as we were in 2008.

Happy late New Year, everyone.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

a long one to catch up

Boy oh boy, it seems that vacations are particularly tough on the Green Apples. They seem to lull our brains to sleep with lack of work, mountains of food, geysers of booze, and plenty of contagious laziness. Sorry for the delay. Here’s a recap of our holiday merriment:

Wednesday, December 24th
I wasn’t too pumped about flying home on Christmas Eve. Then I watched the news. The night before, O’Hare had canceled 500 flights before completely shutting down the airport until 7 a.m. Our flight was scheduled to leave less than two hours later. Sure, we were still delayed a couple hours, but I guess they canceled another huge number of flights soon after we took off, so we squeezed through a tiny little travel window right before the lousy weather slammed it shut. It’s a good thing Crissy has so much compassion for the gave us just enough good Karma to get us home for the Holidays.

We spent early Christmas Eve, as we always do, at my Uncle Artie’s. The highlight of the party every year is the adult grab bag competition, where the best (worst) $20 gift wins. I brought a crappily-wrapped, fake Rolex from Canal Street that I was sure would bring me grab-bag glory. Crissy brought some canary-yellow ceramic wear from TJ Maxx. Both were blown out of the water by an ugly, wooden Egyptian bust and a gift certificate to a department store brought by my Mom’s sister, Gloria. Lame.

Later that night, we returned home to my parents’ house for our own gift giving ceremony, which consists of a not-so-secret Santa (“I dunno, just get me an iPod”) and the far more popular and highly competitive grab bag competition. The rules are the following:

1. $15 dollar gift, PROOF OF PURCHASE REQUIRED
2. $20 dollar entry fee
3. Most ridiculous/stupidest $15 gift wins the pot, based on a secret ballot.

Seeing as how this was late in the night, and we were all in a wine-induced frenzy, the screaming went on for hours, finally ending a tie between Crissy’s obsessive compulsive action figure (with hypo-allergenic moist towelette), and Heather’s Say-a-Blessing Jewish Talking Keychain. I thought my Yodeling Pickle got robbed.

Thursday, December 25th
We woke up Christmas morning and headed down to Indiana for lunch at Crissy’s dad’s house, where we ate until we were crying tears of Nonna’s world famous mostaccioli, and we lay splay-legged on the couch in front of the Yule log roasting on the 60-inch flatscreen. Somehow we managed to shuffle out to the driveway a few hours later, ram our lard into the car, axles groaning under the weight as we shifted in our seats, and began the slow drive back to my parents.

Luckily, we arrived back at my parents just in time for dinner. After eating, we changed into bed sheets and watched Man on Wire (go rent this now), which was a little hard to hear, what with all the meat and whipped potatoes pouring out of our ears.

Friday, December 26th
We decided to get up a little early to do breakfast with my brother, who generously offered to make us chilaquiles at his house, before we all headed to the mall for a little gift exchanging/shopping. Our patience for the mall wore off soon after pulling into the parking lot, when I shook my fist at an 80-year old woman pulling into the handicapped spot too slowly.

From there we headed out to Crissy’s mom’s place, where we, uh…let’s see…what did we do? Oh yeah, ate food. Also, I wrestled the Guitar Hero away from Crissy’s nine-year old niece, Grace, and played until sweat beads formed on my upper lip. “Hang on, let me see if I can do medium. Won’t that be fun for you, Grace? Watching me do medium?” When Grace tore the wrapping off Rock Band as a Christmas gift, my eyes rolled back into my head.

That night we drove into the city to hang out with Christine and Alex for the night, who’s silver, rotating Christmas tree was so shiny and technotronic I thought Crissy might have a seizure. I don’t remember much else from that night thanks to the diabetic shock.

Saturday, December 27th
Unfortunately, Christine was leaving for Florida that afternoon, so we said our goodbyes, and drove to…Portillo’s? Wow. We ate hot dogs and cheesefries? I kinda wanna barf just typing that.

That night, Crissy and I checked out The Curious case of Forest Gump. I mean, the Gumpy case of Benjamin Button. Whatever. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great. It was…gumpy. Is that an adjective? Can it be one now?

Sunday, December 28th
Sunday was pretty low key. Crissy took my dad’s car downtown (it’s official, she’s in the family) for dinner with the girls, and I hung out with my brother and a buddy in a cheesy Glenview sports bar called “Touchdowns!” or “Third Base!” or “He Shoots, He Scores!” or something like that. The wings were unexpectedly bad, but the company was great.

Whew. That pretty much wraps it up. I know we owe a New Year’s Eve post, too. Not to worry, loyal readers. It’s coming.

And we’ll be better about the posting in the future. We sort of definitely promise.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts - We decided to take the vacation thing seriously and didn't even write. But - we have a couple of posts rumblin' so stop by in the next day or two for some new material!

Happy 2009.