Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pardon me, I have to go wash my bat-dog.

Well, there she blows: this year’s Halloween invitation for what is - I’m sure - to be an incredibly spooky/horrifying party. Spooky cause Andrew and I now live across the street from a cemetery, and scary cause we’re in Uptown (brava Alderlady Schiller). And although the invitation doesn’t feature a scantily-clad Elvira straddling a pumpkin, I’m awfully pleased with how she turned out thanks to spending far too much time trying to decide which image to use and Andrew’s photoshop prowess.

After all was said and done, we decided that our little bat-friend here actually looks a lot like Oskar when he’s thrown into the air in an attempt to get action shots dressed up as a bat. We’ve already had requests to dress him as the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz and Pete Campbell from Mad Men, but I think he would make a perfect little vampire bat.

And speaking of Oskar, I thought that adopting him would spur on my worst instincts and that I’d become some sort of mommy-blogger or doggie-blogger or whatever they’re calling it, but that’s simply not the case. In fact – as I’m sure my dearth of posts can attest – I’ve next to no time to write about Oskar’s every move. Owning a dog in the age of social networking/blogs/whathaveyou has made me realize one simple truth: Parents who blog are horrible parents. Although I suppose most mommy and daddy-bloggers don't actually hold down 9 to 5s. So congratulations… I’ll still be taking the El to work and looking for a dog-walker.

No wonder people are always preaching about the importance of a two parent household. Last weekend when Andrew was out of town I decided to take my civic-minded self to the first meeting of our street’s block club, and although I had reservations, I ended up having a good time and meeting some great people (vote for James Capplemen in 2011!).

The meeting was held outdoors and so I figured I’d bring Oskar since he’s much nicer than myself and he doesn’t bite strangers like I do. All was well until I was asked to sign a petition. Oskar is exuberant to say the least and so a kindly woman from down the block offered to hold his leash while I signed. I am possessive of Oskar’s personal space and he is completely unaware of it, but neighbor-lady seemed sane enough so I relented. JUST as a handed him over, the only kid at the meeting comes running up and asks if he can hold the leash. I was ready to drop everything and smash his childish dreams, but kind neighbor-lady intervened and told him that he had to be super-careful because Oskar is stronger than he looks and, oh yeah, the kid was only about twice as big as our nine-pound puppy.

To his credit, little neighbor-boy did a good job until he took Oskar away from the crowd and sat down on a curb with him. You see it’s Autumn, Oskar loves leaves, there were a bunch of them on the ground, and so he started rolling around. But then he REALLY started rolling around… like, rolling on his back and writhing on the concrete. I walked over and asked neighbor-boy what was up and was met with a painfully innocent, “I don’t know,” but when I turned Oskar over his entire backside, collar and leash were covered in shit. Upon realizing what happened neighbor-boy unceremoniously screamed, “EEWWW, that’s poopy!”

When I said my hasty goodbyes, our - hopefully - soon to be Alderman’s partner attempted to shake my hand, but I explained that I had to go home an wash my dog. So Oskar and I made our exit, both covered in shit at this point, and vowed never to let children or those with questionable bowel control near each other. I know the little boy didn’t actually take a dump on my puppy but this is, of course, the story I’ll be telling everyone.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Das Puppy

What did I do this weekend, you ask? Well let me tell you...

Bought a ridiculously under-priced terrarium with a pewter base at the Andersonville sidewalk sale... check.

Attended Market Days and managed not to see En Vogue or Jodi Watley perform... check.

Finished painting the new dining room... check.

Adopted a puppy from a crazy lady in Indiana? Oh yes... check.

So please, meet Oskar:

Oskar hails from an Amish puppy mill breeder who apparently was unable to unload all the dogs he had, so aforementioned crazy adoption lady took him in. Oskar's parents are a Beagle and a King Charles Cavalier (Elizabeth Taylor I'm guessing). He enjoys sleeping, chewing on my ear, eating Andrews jeans, and playing with miniature tennis balls.

Although Oskar's only eight weeks old, he's already keeping some fantastic company:

Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Werner & Julie Christie

Oskar Schindler

Oskar loves nice people and their assorted animals, so if you've like to set up a play date, Oskar would be happy to oblige.

Monday, July 13, 2009

On Moving

Via Undercity

August 2 will mark my four year anniversary in Chicago. As of this date I will have lived in a studio that I paid too much for and loved, moved to a one-bedroom that I did not love and susequently left two and a half months later, and currently live in a dirt-cheap two-bedroom in the heart of East Lakeview. Two roommates and one rasterbated horse later, I still love my neighborhood and my rent, but I'm ready for a change. Said change involves moving to Uptown - home to the Green Mill Lounge, Big Chicks, and an acre of abandoned seats.

Andrew and I have already begun work on what's quickly becoming known as the crumbling manse, a lovingly cared for two-bedroom apartment in a six-flat just off Lawrence Ave. All kidding and crumbling lathe aside, this place had way too much charm to pass up. Whether it's the built-in bookcase flanking the fireplace, the built-in hutch in the dining room, the picture molding throughout, or the scary closet that LOCKS FROM THE OUTSIDE... there was just something about this place that had us written all over it.

So far we've got a painted and somewhat appointed bathroom completed, but we hope to document our ongoing efforts at leaving a space better than we found it right here.

Oh yes, I must have forgotten to mention that we've opened up for business with STUDY. Right now there's the website in lieu of brick and mortar, but there you can learn all about our adventures in staging houses, doing color consultations, improving our own space and - hopefully - turning you on to great ideas, people and places.

But fret not my loyal band of 20 or so readers, I'll still maintain this blog as an outlet for all things NSFS (not safe for STUDY). Since I'm so good at keeping things up to date here, it's only natural I attempt writing for two sites. At least now you'll know that if you don't see me around these parts, there's a place you can find me writing... or posting pictures of a $12,000 bathtub I can't afford.

Either way, I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Man In Love

About that dearth of good music in 2009? Oh yeah... problem solved.

Monday, June 29, 2009

What the World Needs Now

Pride '09 has come and gone, but before you go back to your regular routine of self-loathing and pity, let's recap what we're thankful for:

4. Rainbow pinwheels.

3. Reckless barbecuing.

2. Lucite heels!

1. A beautiful boyfriend/Having friends who take pictures of you whilst you're licking your chops.

But most of all I'm thankful for Cheryl Burton. You see, the guy standing next to us on the parade route was wearing a tank top that read, "Fuck me, I'm famous," and when Chicago's sexiest television news anchor passed by on the Channel 7 float, she pointed to him and mouthed, "ME TOO!"

God bless you Cheryl Burton! You and your french-tip manicure are exactly what the world needs now.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Lula's Baby Sister

(via Yelp!)

When I first moved here almost four years ago I had all these grand culinary plans of scouring the city to sample some of the best dishes Chicago had to offer. That lasted about four months when I realized traveling on public transportation in the dead of winter wasn't all that pleasant, especially since I had a plethora of affordable Thai places in my neighborhood that let you bring in your own booze without a corkage fee. Sold and sold.

And although my wallet still doesn't allow me to go hog wild with my gastronomic choices, the coming of summer and a trip last night to the new Pilsen restaurant Nightwood has really reinvigorated my desire to seek out venues that have menu options not including "drunken" or "crazy" noodles.

As with any restaurant I got to, I'm there for the food sure, but what really gets me excited are the surroundings. The interior here is, in a word, gorgeous, and mixes modern pieces (the patio will no doubt be featured in Dwell shortly) with classic elements that, if not revolutionary, are executed perfectly. Andrew was immediately taken with the vintage orange leather swivel chairs seen above that were apparently purchased from a now defunct hotel - I need to know which one! - and I had a near-ecstatic experience when I got up to go to the bathroom post-meal where I found a copious use of chunky tone on tone picture molding, a black basin and commode, and hand-painted Mediterranean tile. Bravo Kevin Heisner (Nightwood's designer)... you've achieved perfection in the potty and I say this without a hint of irony.

In a nod to Big and Little Edie (isn't everything in life though?), Andrew and I shared the chicken liver pâté with garlic potato chips as an appetizer. I'd never really considered pâté as a dining option - it just doesn't come to mind on my list of wants - much less pâté and potato chips, but I was not disappointed. If you were to take a look inside my refrigerator, you'd realize my two main food groups consist of chicken and hummus, so anything that essentially combines them into one dish is perfection.

For our main courses we ordered Nightwood's spit-roasted half chicken with a bread, mustard and white bean salad - boring but delicious - and a vegetable and white bean panini on brioche with soft poached farm egg. I know... this is highly specific/bougie language. Each dish was relatively straightforward and unsurprising. That's not to say they were mediocre by any means, just not the pinnacle-pounding dishes you get at, say, Lula. I'm chalking this up, however, to the fact that Nightwood's still in its soft-opening first week and kinks will be worked out.

Oh, and did I mention the free wine? Not that that swayed my opinion whatsoever, but it was a nice touch. Apparently Thursday was Nightwood's final night without a liquor license so they were getting rid of their casks of amontillado or something. Gracious, yes, but will it ever happen again... highly unlikely.

In toto, Nightwood is not to be missed and a welcome addition to Pilsen. I say that as a non-resident who has probably spent a total of less than ten hours there in my life... and I stand by it completely.

Full menu below (changes daily):

Mixed lettuces with radish and croutons, dressed with olive oil and vinegar 8
Spinach and parmesan salad with cucumber, hard-cooked egg, and aged balsamic 10
Chicken liver pate with potato chips 10
Marinated beets with aged Sardinian goats cheese, pesto, and pinenuts 6
Beef carpaccio with sorrel, aioli, and ash-roasted beets 12
Deep-fried Mississippi prawns with bacon-sardine vinaigrette 13
Handcut pasta with morels and stewed beef 10
Green garlic and cream soup 8

Wood-grilled cheeseburger with fries and a dill pickle 13
Spit-roasted half chicken with a bread, mustard, and white bean salad 20
Wood-grilled trout with lentils, ham hock, and cream 19
Roast beef sandwich with blue cheese, slaw, and fries 12
Vegetable and white bean Panini on brioche with a soft poached farm egg 12
Suckling pig and morel ravioli with spinach and green olives 20

Strawberry sorbet with macerated berries 2.50 per scoop
Almond tart with creme caramel ice cream 8
pretzles and chocolate 7

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Keep My Girls Kinky and a Hole in the Sheet

Good God, life can really catch up with you. What started innocently enough on Friday with a Peaches concert at the Metro, progressed to perusing the wares at IML's Leather Mart on Sunday, and ended with me getting all kumbaya with a bunch of lesbians on Monday at a barbecue. I know I should be most ashamed of looking at porn and ass-less chaps with a bunch of strangers on Sunday, but my real shame lies in singing along to an acoustic version of Wonderwall on Memorial Day.

And even though I'm most certainly feeling the effects of having drunk and eaten myself into oblivion over the weekend, as the receptionist at work said, "Those really are the fun ones." I've now seen Peaches four or five times, which makes me either a stalker or a groupie - is there a difference - and she did not disappoint by any means. The lyrics, the costumes, the dance moves... everything was more refined and really showed the mark of an artist who, frankly, realizes she can't ride the shocking-sex-fiend card all the way into her golden years. Not that she still isn't being bawdy for the bawdy's sake, but now there's more than one song off the album that can be played on the radio without being edited. Not to mention that she's just produced my new favorite Halloween jam with Trick or Treat! So tasty.

Then there's IML. Oh God, IML. Well, suffice it to say that I was not really shocked by anything until I reached the booth where sounding was being performed on some dude who, I guess, was enjoying it. Oh wait, scratch that... I wasn't really shocked by anything until I passed by the booth that sold bestiality DVDs made in BERWYN! They were far and away the outcasts of the festivities since they'd been secluded to a corner near an exit and had virtually no one coming to look at their goods. Oh, and did I mention they sold knives and switchblades? No. Fucking. Joke.

But as my IML "ambassador" told us, "Leather's a dying art," which made me sad, but also made me feel I was paying my respects by taking part in a time-honored tradition of gay culture... even though I was wearing jeans and a v-neck... and left my leather cod-piece at home.

Although you might say the crowning event of the weekend came on Monday when I attended my former roommate's barbeque. Lesbians were in abundance, which I knew getting into it, but what I did not know was that there would be a lesbian in attendance who knew how to play the guitar and had a penchant for "jam" sessions on the back deck. Will someone tell me why I thought it was a good idea to smoke clove cigarettes and sing-along to acoustic approximations of Oasis songs? Oh right. There is no good answer.

So next time you find yourself on a back deck with a bunch of sing-song lesbians with questionable musical tastes, just ask yourself, "Would Peaches do this?"

And then refrain from joining in.