Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To discuss a Weekend Update, Chicago style

I'm still recovering from an action-packed weekend trip to Chicago. I was attending a journalism conference, but, as I've written before, these weekends tend to be fairly eventful. Here, with photo evidence, is a Weekend Update.

  • On the flight out, United reminded all passengers that in case of a water landing, the inflatable slides out the doors can be used as flotation devices. Because after your plane hits the water at 200 mph, you better find a flotation device and fast. You saw what happened to Jack after the Titanic sank. Rose let that bitch freeze in the water.
  • United also had in-flight television, including a re-run of "Two and a Half Men," and a show about wildlife ... that included a guy with a rifle shooting deer. And they say the airline industry is out of touch with consumer needs.
  • Trying to kill some time, I took a walk to the nearby beach (!?!?). People strolled by, dressed in winter coats, scarves and gloves. Except for the guy you'll notice to the top right of the couple. He was shirtless. In short shorts.
  • After a few seminars at the hotel, the conference was moved to a nearby restaurant for cocktails and dinner, followed by a speech by an elderly college president. She took the opportunity to talk about the future of college education, reading from her lengthy article on the subject. I turned it into a wine drinking game. By the 18th page, she was brilliant. And sexy.
  • I met up with my friend Steve Urkel and his friend, Eddie Winslow.* Steve and I have known each other our whole lives, although not at the point of conception (that I'm aware of). They took me on a little Chicago bar hopping tour.
    * Both names changed to protect the innocent. And to get an awesome "Family Matters" reference in while talking about Chicago.
  • We ended up taking a train packed full of slutty teens, 20-something alcoholics and 70-something creepers, to Wrigleyville, home of the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field, which has been home for disappointment for more than a century. Steve explained to me Chicagoans drink before games, during games and after games, thus making the losing tolerable. Even though it was November, people were drowning their sorrows all over the place. They are really dedicated fans!
  • Random encounter of the night: One of the guys in the Sonic commercials (he's the guy on the left in the car). Random encounter on Sunday at O'Hare: I am sure I saw the UPS commercial guy who draws the eerily straight lines on the whiteboard.
  • I saw more stretch limos in one night than I had seen in the past five years. And they were outside of dive bars. You stay classy, Chicago drunks.
  • We got back around 2 a.m., riding on a train now chock full of regrets and Planned Parenthood customers. When I was about to part ways with Steve for the walk back to my hotel, he was kind enough to remind me Chicago is one of the tops in the country for murder. "If someone approaches you, shiv them," he advised. Unfortunately, I left my shiv in my room, along with my vampire stake and my crossbow.
  • There's something about being out of town that lets you get up early even after being up way past your bedtime. I need to trick my body into thinking my apartment is in Jamaica. On a side note, I need to trick my body into looking like Gerard Butler's in "300."
  • After a full day of seminars (see, I did actually learn something ... for example, tuition is never going to stop rising and we're all screwed), it was time for another night on the town. This time, I took a cab with a bunch of reporters to Wicker Park, across town. We eventually found a trendy-looking Mexican restaurant, trendy because the word "Bell" wasn't in the name, and you couldn't order a personal pan pizza along with your taco.
  • Half the group split off, and the hardcore people eventually went back to a bar that had a combination of waitresses struggling to make ends meet (otherwise, they would have been able to afford the rest of their shirts), Ultimate Fighting (Subtitled: Homoerotica for Dudes Who Experimented Once and Liked It A Little), and, by 11:30, karaoke.
  • One of the reporters started off the night with "Slave 4 U." Another reporter and I busted out Spin Doctors' "Two Princes," in what critics called the finest song selection of a random 90s song at a Chicago karaoke bar this side of "Wonderwall."
  • At one point, a very, very large man with a voice similar to what I imagine Snuffleupagus would sound like after an all-night bender in Mexico, asked my "Two Princes" partner and I to sing "I Want It That Way" with him. (Can't recall "I Want It That Way"? Try this.)
  • Being that we didn't want to get eaten, we agreed. By the end of the song, two things were certain: 1) Once journalism fails me, I will go on to become a 90s-only karaoke DJ, and 2) Everybody is a closet boy band lover. That everybody included the DJ, who, at one point, sang a song of his own. That song was LFO "Summer Girls." I don't think he looked at the lyrics once.
  • The conference wrapped up by noon, so a group of us decided it would be smart to walk from the hotel to Millenium Park, a mere 4,536 mile 30-minute walk. It turned out to be well worth it. We got to see the shiny bean thing, which is basically one giant metallic funhouse mirror. Who knows how many countless marriage proposals, first dates and late-night cocaine binges have been done there?
  • Next, some of us stopped at a giant indoor mall, where I found a man made of Legos. Is that a building block in his pocket or is he just happy to see me?
  • Finally, I got the shuttle bus to O'Hare, and got on my flight home, losing an hour in the process due to Eastern Standard Time. That's exactly when you realize how ridiculously arbitrary time zones are. At exactly this moment, you are one hour further ahead in life, they say ... Well, readers, then I declare after reading this blog post, it's actually Christmas Day 2093. Merry Christmas. You're dead.


Soda and Candy said...

2 Princes!!!! Yes!

I dare you to go back to that Lego man with a handful of blue bricks and make obscene things happen.

; )

Kellie said...

Dang I LOVE Chicago. I would move there in a heartbeat. It's always way too much fun.

And why are you copping a feel w/ Lego Man? Dirty dirty.

P said...

Hahaha, LOVING the pic of you and Mr Legoman!!!

alexis said...

That picture of you and the mirror freaked my eyes and brain out!

Sam_I_am said...

I'm still in awe over Snuffy's wiki page...

Glad you didn't get murdered. I wouldn't want to have to read about it on Facebook.

Andy said...

Soda- Wow, Soda. Wow.
Kellie- I quickly grew to love it. Except for the cost of living, it's great. Whenever I start to actually have money, I'll move there.
P- Mr. Legoman is slightly obese. They couldn't make a physically fit Legoman?
Alexis- Are you tripping on acid?
Sam- I can't believe Snuffy has a wiki page.

Anonymous said...
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LiLu said...

"And to get an awesome "Family Matters" reference in..."


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