oh boy, let's go to boston!
have a work meeting out there monday, so i'm taking the opportunity to fly out a day and a half early to hang with gabe and alexis. apparently there's a rumor that matt's coming up from NY too. as you can see from the birthday pictures still hanging out a few posts below, these are people i usually have a good time with. what good luck that my job is sending me out to get to see them again already. i've only been to boston once, for a few days back in college, so it'll be interesting to compare impressions.
speaking of work, it's been really busy and sorta stressful, but really interesting to be doing so much every day. the only real problem is later nights and less time for after-work exercise. it's tough to go to the gym when you don't get home until 7 or 8 and it's dinner time already, and no one wants to hop on a treadmill after dinner.
i have squeezed in the time to do some writing in the past month that i'm pretty proud of though, so if you're interested there are thoughts on fallout 3
, animal collective
, and chuck klosterman's latest book
over at under culture. a video game, an album, and a book. need a movie review to complete the round robin.
oh that's right, we're only two weeks from WATCHMEN. expect at least one article on that to come. otherwise i could write a whole love letter to all the special features on the Wall E disc, which blew me away. last weekend i spent a whole night drinking beers and watching all three hours or so of that shit, and it was great. you can't beat a nice nerd-buzz combo.
love me a good presidents' day weekend. and valentines to boot? what's not to love.
friday night was my birthday gift, tickets to the demetri martin show, which i was really excited about. as i told a few people already, his new show on comedy central which started this week was good. not quite as pure gold as his hour special from a while back, but definitely worth watching. the live show was really
good. hardly any old material, and a lot of winners. i told jessica afterward, there were so many great jokes i couldn't possibly remember any to try to repeat back to others. the guy is just really laid back and comfortable on stage and painfully witty. great time, even though they had set up chairs in the fonda which meant by the time we got there it was full and i had to sit in the balcony for the first time ever in that venue.
the only weird part was that he took 'requests' at the end, which is one thing for songs, but kinda bizarre for jokes. especially when the crowd cheers really loudly after the punchline. we didn't really understand the crowd's thought process at that moment. 'hey, that's that joke i know from before! WOOOOOOOOO!' yeah, strange, but at least peppered with new jokes as well so it wasn't just a weird close to an otherwise excellent show.
valentines day was just plain enjoyable, with an afternoon wine tasting at vino 100. if it weren't in the hollywood/highland mall, it would be a cute little neighborhood shop, so don't let that bias you against it. we had a yummy little cheese and chocolate and nut platter and a round of wines, throwing in an extra glass at the end and picking one to take home at the end. then we watched wall-E and got all cuted up watching robots fall in love before going to dinner around the block at campanile. it's funny that a nice restaurant you could probably hit with a slingshot from our apartment we'd still never been to. overall i'd say it was a solid B+, a little packed in for it to be too romantic, and some of the dishes in our 5 course menu were a little plain, but others were totally delicious and of course, the company was fantastic. we talked a little about how different valentines is now that we're fully committed versus the earlier years when we were still wooing eachother, and decided it's a lot easier to just have a good time now that the pressure's off. plus it's fun to chuckle at the other couples around us who are obviously still in the awkward early days instead of best buddies for life like we are. instead we can just drink a lot and enjoy the food and go home and pass out googly-eyed and happy.
then the rest of the weekend we did almost nothing and it was fantastic. i've been killing a ton of zombies in left 4 dead
which is possibly the most fun game since playing halo with the guys in college, doing plenty of reading, and staying indoors mostly from the february chill and rain. now i hope this week i get enough spare time to do all my work and still get some writing done for under culture, which i have slacked off on for a week much to my embarrassment. fingers crossed.
this stimulus stuff is just getting nuts, people. seriously, mccain
Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said the numbers being talked about show that each of the 3 million to 4 million jobs President Obama has said he wanted to create would cost more than $900,000 each. “The American people are figuring it out,” Mr. McCain said. “This is not a stimulus bill; it is a spending bill.”
that's some dumb, dumb math. yes, this package will go exclusively to 3 million americans at roughly a million dollars apiece, and the rest of us will sit back and watch those people save our country. and yes, let's strip out all the pieces that might improve quality of life in the long term like parks projects and health care initiatives. who needs that when we can subsidize pollution spewing factories. jesus. who are these people?
as a side note, how embarrassing is it that half of the democratic cabinet nominees had to drop out for not paying their taxes? the whole idea was that we were more upstanding than the crooks that came before. turns out we're just less imaginative in our wrongdoing and give up more easily when confronted. nice work team.
[sigh]... luckily tonight is coraline in 3D where i can be whisked away to a magical and spooky dream world. i have a feeling fantasy movies are going to make shitloads of money this year considering how depressing the real world is.
apologies for the delay, but i just had to wait for these pictures to accurately depict how fun the party was, as well as how ridiculous i got as the night went on. that's the beautiful thing about birthdays; everyone keeps buying you drinks, so you never look into your wallet and think, 'hey, where'd all my money go? guess i better slow down.'
there was plenty of regular standing around and talking, then eventually dancing once the crowd got loosened up a bit. then, of course, we decided to be stupid. or rather, did not decide not
to be stupid, and attempted a classic stunt from high school in which my very stout and strong friend gabe and i pull off a move from dirty dancing. makes sense, right?
as you can see on these three different attempts, the first was a warm up, the second we pulled it off, and then the third we got greedy and i landed on my head. pay extra attention the facial expressions of the strangers in the background. they're so good it's like we told them to pose.
overall the weekend was amazing. lots of eating and drinking and fun and not a lot of sleeping. plus the first time in forever that i stayed up until almost 5am just having beers and shooting the shit with a buddy, which is always really satisfying because you know there are only a few people in the world that can ever happen with. real friends can move away all they want but you know you'll always be able to sit down and talk about pretty much anything. so i'm extra grateful gabe and alexis were able to come visit, super happy ted was able to make it down to DJ and put our party over the edge, but equally grateful that the whole weekend was just such a good time.
who cares about getting old, shit is good!
so, yes, i've been really busy! i worked two out of three days of my three day weekend. it was really interesting and fulfilling but exhausting. i'm looking forward to a three day birthday weekend coming up, for which i made the invite above. don't you love my creepy photoshop skills? we almost didn't manage a bash on the level of past years of multi-person parties, but this one should be good. i'm excited. and hoping i can enjoy it without the spectre of work hanging over my head.
plus: still hard to believe george bush won't be on the news every day from now on. it's sort of a sad moment. for sadness, that is. as in, 'man, i'm gonna miss all that sadness i got used to the past few years.' but not really. i can't wait to see what this new guy can do now that he has power. i mean, he moved people so much when he was just talking, think of what he can do with ARMIES at his command.
um, not an exciting week. very busy. need to get a few things out of the way so i can carve out a slice for writing and playing video games like a proper young man.
you may or may not remember, however, that next weekend is my birthday. yes, party goers, there will be a big night out next saturday. this weekend my mission is to scope out a few locations and try to do some wheeling and dealing to maximize the level of fun. shit, i got friends from multiple cities on two coasts coming to this thing; it surely cannot be half-assed.
so stay tuned. hoping a glorious MLK weekend will give me some spare time to breathe. plus, obama takes the reigns the day after. once that happens, everyone's life automatically gets better, right?
welcome to 2009, blog!
before we get into minutia, it makes sense to describe the most important thing that happened in 2008, so that the details aren't lost in a haze later on. it may be long, but sometimes details matter.
so here's how it happened.
i tried not to let it show, but the afternoon was a little nerve-wracking. i spoke to the hotel twice. once to make arrangements for the best room with the best view i could manage as well as the little romantic touches, and again later to confirm everything was set. i had to steal these conversations when i could, because that half of the evening was a surprise, and when you're home for the holidays with your significant other, there aren't a whole lot of moments you're not in the same room. luckily, it takes most girls at least a little while to shower and get ready for a nice dinner date.
of course, my plan to stealthily collect a change of clothes and the necessary toiletries for a secret overnight bag was made more difficult, because getting ready to go out was put off until the last moments. that meant a bit of hovering without looking too suspicious until i was sure there would be no return trips to the suitcase before we left. as she went for a quick last check of makeup, hair, etcetera, i had to dash down to our basement quarters, collect the spare shoes, shirts, pajamas, and personal care products in less than a minute, stuff them into my backpack, and try to get them into the trunk without being caught.
this was made difficult by the fact the chosen bathroom stood between me and the exit to the garage. hmm. i dropped the bag in the corner of the staircase and waited for an opportunity. she had to go down said stairs to get a piece of jewelry (panic!), so i walked halfway down with her to distract her attention (success!). i hastily moved the pack from the stairs to the kitchen (so close!), but she was already back up the stairs (more panic!). we had some photos taken with the backpack in what i thought was plain view, but luckily some hints that we were running late had her frazzled enough not to notice. as she double-checked her things, i crept out to the car and chucked in the bag, popping back inside thinking the jig had to be up. after all, i had darted right past her, thinking i'd have to use my cover story that it was just in case we wanted to crash with my brother at our cousin's place, heh heh, you know? but apparently people don't pay as close attention to your actions as you might think when preparing to leave for a fancy evening.
i drove the four of us (brother, sister-in-law, the two of us) into the city with the heat on too high for the large coats we were wearing, not being used to cold climates. this was probably a good thing, as it gave an excuse for my probable sheen of nervous sweat.
we dropped the other two off at the cousin's, had a quick drink, talked about what they'd be doing while we were at dinner, and i tried very hard to act casual. it may have worked, but a can of PBR has never been so welcome in my life. i said we would probably meet up with them later, she not knowing that this was a lie.
i don't lie much, and i don't like doing it, especially to her, and surprises sort of turn me into a wreck. a couple years ago, planning a surprise party, i had to have several drinks to calm my jitters, and couldn't stop pacing for the hour leading up to her arrival in my apartment. i had to put my hands in my pockets as i took her from the front door up to our place to not give myself away with visible shaking. fortunately, in chicago two days after christmas, this can be blamed on the cold.
we arrived at dinner, and it was marvelous. i calmed down significantly with its soft soothing lighting and significant help by the wine pairings with our 10 course meal. dining at moto is a whole story unto itself, but really requires the photos to do it justice, so those details can wait. we had a lovely time, the food was impressively prepared and highly delicious. we finished around 11:30, apparently the last people left in the restaurant.
to keep up appearances, i phoned my brother so we could 'meet up with them'. lucky for me he didn't answer, as no prior code had been established as to how that conversation would have gone, so i came up with a brilliant decoy. i punched in the name of the bar they had mentioned earlier on the handy iphone, then covertly switched it instead to the hotel's address and handed it to her to navigate. at this point, i'm thinking i wouldn't make a bad secret agent or con artist.
we pull up a few minutes later, and she remarks that this place is a lot fancier than she thought for a bar my relatives would go to (no offense, it was, and is fancier than any bar i would go to either), but that's mostly because it was a luxury hotel on the chicago river. as i gave the car to the valet and pulled the backpack out of the trunk, she began to look mildly confused and i told her to just follow me inside out of the cold. we checked in, got in the elevator, and i explained that this was just a bonus christmas present. why go on a big trip and not have at least one nice romantic night alone?
the room had, as requested, rose petals sprinkled all over the bed, and a bottle of champagne waiting. it had a nice effect (and you'd be surprised how economical such a 'romance package' is at a nice hotel like that). i unpacked a few things to show how well-prepared i was, and we giggled at my surreptitiousness. while she admired the view, i snuck the ring from the backpack to my pocket, careful to note which side of the box had the hinge for proper presentation.
in my head we would stand by the window for a few minutes basking in the skyline, i would say a few sweet things about how in love we were, how our years together had been so wonderful, and turn her around and go for it. it almost worked that way too. as we talked i feared she could feel my heart pounding through my chest and would ask if i needed to lie down. none of the sweet nothings seemed like quite the exact right one after which to make my move. honestly, the details were a little blurry even right after the fact. but at one point i did manage to take her hand in mine, turn her toward me, and get down on one knee to ask the question.and she said yes
. through a bit of emotional outpour and a hand which had risen to cover her mouth, but it came through. i almost stood up before realizing i should take the ring out and put it on her finger, but took care of that quickly before the several rounds of hugs and kisses and ring-admiring and 'i love you's took place.
we popped champagne, talked about how excited we were, how well i'd chosen the ring -- all on my own -- how i planned it all, how no one else knew but her yet and we couldn't wait to tell everyone, etcetera. ten days later and i still get excited thinking about it, but that night was the most invigorating. nothing essential changed that night, we're the same two people crazy about each other we were before and after, but now we know we both officially want it to stay that way.
so normally this week would be about new years resolutions, but as many others most of mine would be the same old things. get smarter, get fitter, get more ambitious. this year especially though, i realize all those things really just add up to one thing, which is my resolution for this and every year following: make sure she never regrets saying yes.