Friday, March 18, 2005


OK, this is going to be a really short post. Mostly because I am in the middle of moving and I don't have the energy to make much sense today. And partially because I am tired of being morally outraged by stuff.
CTA hikes and now THIS?
They seriously want to close down the greatest Punk Mecca of all time over a measley $91,000 owed in back rent? Boo on the Bowery Committee. If it weren't for that club The Bowery would never have gained capital letter status.

So here is my question:
Hello, Sting? Debbie Harry? Surviving members of The Ramones? Iggy Pop? Will ya give Hilly some freakin' cash already? Please don't tell me that not one of these rock idols hasn't thought about how easy it would be to raise the cash to save this joint. One concert is all it would take. People from all over the country would come. It would be the biggest party NYC has ever seen.
Now get on it already.

Granted, I've only been inside of CBGBs once but who cares? It's existance alone paved the way for shitty, punk rock dive bars all over the place - from DC to Milwaukee.
CBGBS is the place Disco died and was buried. What are we supposed to do without a place like this? The history. The mystery. The bathrooms.

I say Save CBGBs. Do it! Make a plan. Get it together. Have a concert. Sell some buttons. Make it known that we will not allow this historic venue to go quietly into the night. HELL NO!

That's it.
That's all I've got to say.
Next week ya'll. I'll tell you about my new apartment.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

New Digs

So, the boyfriend and I have officially moved in together. Sure, we were living together before but that was in my spidery, garden (read basement) studio. Now we have a proper pad with walls and rooms and actually 2 floors.
Two days after moving in we had heat too so I guess it's officially official.

Well, yay... I mean YAY! This close to 30 you don't just move in with people anymore. You have an agenda. I guess, 30 years ago we might have been married already. Or I would be a crazy cat lady by now...Or just crazy...Debateable. I know. Shut up.

Those of you who have known me for a while know that this isn't the first boyfriend I have cohabitated with. This one is different though...Well, they were all different in their own, "special," ways. But this one stands far apart from the rest. I have wiped my slate clean...ish and I'm trying something fresh. Something new. Something....conservative republican.
Shocking I realize.
He hides it fairly well for the most part. Just don't ask for his views on welfare reform.

And, before you ask he is not a Yuppie or a Yippie. He's not a Trader or a tie wearer in any way, shape or form. As a couple, we are the antithesis of the neighborhood we have moved into and I am sure we are somehow lowering property values by the second but screw 'em if they can't take the neighbors I say.
He's just a nice clean punk rocker from the Irish Channel of New Orleans.
Hrm, let's examine that statement and qualify some of those terms

Nice - a gentleman when he needs to be. Generally friendly and I haven't witnessed him toturing any small animals.
Clean - Well he's capable of it. And even the best among you know my penchant for dirt. I sort of like it. But he cleans up real nice. Becomes presentable in public with a shave and shower and looks rather dashing in a button-down shirt I must say.
Punk Rock - Need I? If you've met him you know. If you haven't...well I should hope you know Punk Rock when you see it and know I wouldn't settle for any second rate poser punk loser. No no no. He's the real deal yo.
The whole being from New Orleans part - It's sultry, it's smarmy, it's full of vampires...Uh so yeah, of course I love it.

In a nutshell, that's the guy I am living with. That's the guy who talks about marriage. And, you know, it's a puzzle to me why I am taking him seriously when I haven't ever really taken any of those other boys that seriously when they talk about marriage. Maybe it's because it seems to be in the air this year. Maybe it's because my mom is going to buy me a biological clock for my birthday if I don't hop on the damn bandwagon. Or maybe it's because when a guy like him starts talking about marriage you sort of HAVE to take him seriously. He's like the least likely candidate for the whole sheebang. Well, least likely behind probably me...Which I think, somehow, makes us the perfect couple.

I guess really the whole thing remains to be seen for now. If we don't kill each other in the process of buying our First Real New Couch I think we will be OK. What is it about furniture buying that turns you into a giant stress ball? It's just an upholstered chair for god's sakes. It's not the end of the world and if it's ugly, it's not even going to be the centerpiece of the living room. Whatever. Maybe I am making too big a deal out of buying "new." But, I am well known for my thrift store antics. I am not adverse to a used couch...I maybe just got a little over excited about being a grown up with some real furniture that doesn't come in a box from Sweden.

Sure, this is allll my fault.
Wait, how did this turn into an entry about a couch? I don't know but I am sure you all get the point. Happiness is a new couch. Bang Bang Shoop Shoop or something along those lines. But doesn't there come a time in all of our lives when we feel the need to start buying "new." I have so many hand-me-downs, used, vintage items in my closets and cabinets that eventually I was going to get tired of it. Most of my kitchenware is the same kitchenware I grew up with.

Does anyone remember the yellow drinking cups we used to use? Yep, still got 'em.

I've been sitting on the same Klippan love seat for 2 1/2 years now. I am so tired of staring at the, admitedly poorly thought out, purple slip cover I could cry. And this is overlooking the cat damage done to it - which is almost a whole other entry all to itself.

So yeah OK - long and short of this, for those of you I have lost now, is the new apartment is RAD. We're across the street from a dangerously low-key bar. There are more windows than I could look out of in an entire life time and so far we haven't broken each other.


Friday, March 11, 2005

This post has nothing to do with my top secret government job whatsoever...

Somehow I have been living in Chicago for almost seven years.
How the hell did that happen?I remember being in New Paltz, NY for a while…and then I vaguely remember moving a bunch of shit out of a tiny little apartment…I remember a truck…I remember really scary, pink, lobster bisque somewhere in the middle of the country….and then I remember driving into town along the lake.

Somewhere, seven years have gone bye-bye. And I turn 30 this year…which means I’ve been here since I was 23 and that just doesn’t seem possible. Because I moved right after graduating college…1998….hrm..well I guess maybe the math DOES add up. It’s never been my strong suit after all.

So seven years. In one place. In one of the few places I ever thought I would end up…EVER. I think I swore on a stack of bibles once a year until I was 23 that I would never leave New York. Then, though, something happened and New York became too much for me to handle. Maybe it was the crowds. Maybe it was Disney taking over Time Square. Oh, wait…I REMEMBER what it was. It was the cost of living! That’s right.

Believe it or not, people who graduate with B.A.s in English don’t make a lot of money straight out of college. In fact, we tend to starve, or seek employment in unrelated fields.
And sure, maybe if I had found a job right out of college and stuck with it, instead of floating aimlessly across the Midwest wind currents I might be making more money right now but, boooo, how dull.

So, here I am, avoiding the expense of NY, trying to eek out a living and a nice apartment here in The Second City and what do they do? They raise the cost of living! Right here! In Chicago!

To be fair, it’s not the cost of living so much as it is the cost of getting from one place to another. It’s a fare hike. A cruel, poorly thought out, detrimental to all walks of society, fare hike. (Ooh, see now the beginning of this sentence seems like it might be a funny pun. Let’s go with that shall we?) Apparently it’s not enough that we pay $1.75 to get on a train that doesn’t even have straps to hang onto. It’s not enough that in the dead of winter (which is most of the year around here) you have to stand outside and wait for busses that sometimes take an hour to show up.

*My favorite part of trying to catch a bus is when you’ve been standing at the stop for about 40 minutes and way in the distance you think you maybe see a bus. But, you are wrong. Not because there is no bus. In fact, there are 4 buses…an armada of buses if you will. Where have they all been? Where are they all coming from? Were they having tea and crumpets somewhere?*

Now they are talking about either cutting service that already sucks or raising fares…on service that already sucks. Any day now it’s going to be cheaper to own a car and deal with all of those hassles than it will be to be a conscientious commuter trying to do my part against global warming trends and exhaust pollution.

Also, have they even thought about what this is going to mean when all of the amateur drinkers are out on weekend nights? This city already sort of indulges the drink and drive set. Too many bars have parking lots and valets. One would think they would host more cab stands than valets but…whatever. I am just a mortal pedestrian fearing for her own safety and the safety of those around her. See how conscientious I am?

OK so we’ve got the possible fare hikes. We’ve got the possible service cuts. We’ve got a busload of angry commuters and all of the drunk drivers.

Sick, but New York is beginning to look appealing in comparison.

And no, this had nothing to do with weddings whatsoever. So sue me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I Swear This Will All Relate To My Year Of Weddings Somehow

Why does it cost so much to be healthy in this country?

I didn't put quotation marks around the word healthy either. It's not subjective, your doctor can tell you (I know mine does.) You are either healthy or un. Or on your way to one or the other.

Let us examine, shall we?

Gym memberships. In a country where the obesity rate is so high we are calling it an epidemic why does it cost so much to join a gym? I know it's free to run where you want to. But, outside isn't weather controlled, doesn't have a stairmaster or the nifty little shelf to hold your magazine while you jog. Why doesn't my health insurance cover gym memberships? It covers the doctor visits when my doctor tells me to join a gym. It will pay for the prescriptions he writes on paper...why wont my health insurance help me drop 20 pounds by swimming laps? I don't know. Maybe I should give them a call.

Healthy Eating. Have you ordered a salad recently? And I am not talking about one of those salads that takes all the healthy out of vegatables. I am talking about "yeah, hi I'll just have a salad please." For a bowl of lettuce and some sad looking tomatoes you are paying a lot these days. It's cheaper to eat at McDonalds all week than it is to go to Cosi and just get a damn salad. I have no desire to be fat and full of french fries but I don't have $7 a day to spend on wholesome food. Plus, I live in the midwest, America's "heartland" (see, that goes in quotes.) All this farm land as far as the eye can see between me and New York and I am still paying all this money for rabbit food.
And, it's not really that much cheaper to go to the grocery store and buy bags of lettuce. At least, not if you factor in the time it spends hiding in my "crisper," rotting into a smelly bag of green mush. My bags of carrots go soft, cucumbers are doomed from day two and who eats raw broccoli? Apparently not me, or my boyfriend. Let's not even start in on those "healthy" (ooh look more quotes!) food markets....Whole Foods, Trader Joe's...who the hell is Joe anyway and why can't I trade in my box of Girl Scout Cookies for some flash frozen strawberries. Not much of a trader that Joe.
If you start buying your groceries at these stores where they promote organic foods and things grown without the aid of pesticides, free range chickens raised on whole grains and fairy dust, do you know what you are buying? Food that is going to go bad a lot faster than the crap you buy at Pathmark.

Which, odd note, there are no Pathmarks in Chicago. But there also aren't any Jewel Food Stores in New York.

Anyway, it's all the same. It's all food and it's all too expensive. I can buy frozen meals for a dollar each. They will keep me fed. But, they are also pretty much the equivilant of a salt lick. Ew sodium.

So now you are asking, "Jen how does this relate to weddings? You've gone and run off on a tangent haven't you?"

And the answer is NO, I HAVE NOT! So there.

Since my doctor has been telling me for the past 2 years that I should drop some weight. And since I have, hello 8 weddings to look hot for over the next year, I joined a gym and decided to try and start eating healthier.

Now you ask "Oh, that's great. How is it going?"

And I tell you. It isn't. I am still 23 pounds overweight and now I am broke too.

So tell me, where is the justice in all of this? I pay a buttload of money to a international gym chain, which shall remain nameless (cough cough Ballys). I buy salads, I eat salads... I cut down on my beloved bagels and pizza. I even started thinking skinnier in hopes that some cosmic force might take pity on me while I am sleeping. None of it works. I am about a ramen packet away from being back on the "Starving Artist Diet." Which, while it sounds good on paper, isn't really fun at all and mostly just means you are hungry and eating peanut butter sandwiches all of the time.

It probably doesn't help my plight that my boyfriend seems to have a tape worm. Seriously, I don't know where he puts it all. It's either a tape worm or a hollow leg. But, worse than him eating me out of cupboard and fridge is the fact that all he wants to eat are frozen burritos, potato chips and prepackaged andouille sausage! Of course, all of this is pretty cheap because all it is mostly is salt in one form or another.

So, while my veggies are rotting because I am, I admit, a little lazy about preping and cooking sometimes, this guy is chowing down on garbage and maintaining his boyish figure.

On top of all this, I read an online article today claiming that some wacky German scientists have discovered a gene that causes people to dislike cabbage and spinach. AND...AND this same gene often protects people from obesity.
Where can I get this gene and does it come in a size 12?

Sigh, maybe I should make The Boyfriend wear the hot red dress to the weddings and I can wear a suit to hide the love handles. Screw the gym, Trader Joe and the Germans.