29 September 2008

A time for change

So here is a picture of contemplative Jeff. Last Friday night we watched the presidential debates and apparently Jeff was so inspired by the talk of change that he decided to take that message to heart. It was time to change from his long flowing locks to a more groomed look. (It probably didn't hurt that I have been encouraging him to cut his hair for the last week.)

Now that we are far away from Michael and we are trying to live on the student budget, we decided that I should try to cut Jeff's hair. Pictured above is what I had to work with. I have to be honest people, I was kind of nervous. The last time I cut hair was when I was in junior high and I cut my sister Carley's hair so crooked, she had to go get it fixed that day by a Professional. (Jeff didn't know about that.) Luckily it turns out that it is much easier to cut guys hair. Pictured below is the final result. Not bad right?

I have to say, I am proud of my handiwork. I really enjoyed cutting his hair and I'll probably be doing more cuts in the future. By the look on Jeff's face, I'd say he is also proud of his new look.

When the debates and hair cut were over, we learned that change was a good thing.

25 September 2008

I Cha, Cha, Choose You

I don't think I am breaking any rules of online friendship propriety by sharing with you one of my innermost dark secrets, am I? Its just that this wild double life I have been living can no longer go on in secret. I have only shared this darkness with Caitlin...but now I believe I must come out fully to the public so they can see my horrid shame. Please don't judge me.

You see, I am addicted to ChaCha. I can't stop using this amazing and free service. If you are not familiar with ChaCha, it is a free messaging service that will answer your questions via text message to your phone. For some reason I don't think you are getting it. Here is an example: Let's say I am in New York and I need to take a dump. I know there are bathrooms in all Starbucks (plus, who doesn't like taking a dump surrounded by the sweet smell of mass produced coffee?), but I don't know where the nearest one is. So I text ChaCha (242242), "Nearest Starbucks to 108th and Columbus." Within a few moments I receive the answer!

Why is this better than texting Google? Because there are real people who are out there answering your questions. You can ask specific questions without an Internet ready phone and get a specific answer back by someone who is personally doing the research for you! Seriously - the applications are endless. The other day in church someone said a phrase I had never heard, so our friends asked ChaCha what it meant. BING...amazing. I seriously have no idea yet how these guys are making money, but I don't care. And if you want to make some extra cash, sign up to be one of their researchers from your personal computer.

So text 242242 right now and ask a question. Or text "joke" and they will send you a joke. So cute.

24 September 2008

A Severe Hunger For Antiques

Lest ye think that we are not getting any use out of my new birthday present, I wanted to report on Caitlin's and my trip to an antique fair on Saturday. We pulled the price tags off of our newly purchased Trek bikes and took them out for some maiden voyages on the streets of Evanston.
Riding along the beach of Lake Michigan and Sheridan road in the early fall...unreal.
After biking 8 or so miles we made it to the antique fair/Octoberfest. Although no brawts were consumed by us, we did consume (with our eyes) the goods on sale.
Chandeliers...Stephoins dream section.
We appreciated the Olde Good Things booth because we do in fact have some extremely large sections of our apartment that have walls with nothing on them. These guys go into old, abandoned factories and rip the metal out. Later, they create large art pieces and frames for mirrors with the rubbish.
Caitlin pondered long and hard the many colors, sizes and designs of their wares.
But after some hardcore deliberation, we decided that this would make an excellent piece for our dining room. If and WHEN you visit us, you can see it hanging there for yourself.
This was not all business though. We took time to relax. It was Saturday dudes.
We suckered Don and Liz into coming with their Accord to take our art home for us while we took a leisurely ride down the beach home. We paused on campus to snap the beauty. All in all, Caitlin probably biked about 28 miles that day, and I about 14. Something tells me that these bikes are going to get some use (if not just my mile commute to class every morning). Thanks Birthday Fairy.

23 September 2008

Everything Was At Steak That Day

Today classes begin. I know, I know. It seems like I have been on vacation forever. Well, I practically have. But all that dies tomorrow. We have been preparing for this moment by taking advantage of all our free time to enjoy our new surroundings. Last week we went downtown to take in some Chicago. Our first stop was Lincoln Park. I had to grab my 3rd pair of the exact same $4 sunglasses because they keep magically disappearing.
I appreciated that there was an entire store dedicated to helping rid children of lice...but I can't help but question, "are there that many children with lice and how can I keep them away from me?"

As students, we are on the lookout for free activities. Lincoln Park Zoo? Check...definitely free. Caitlin and I were quite impressed by the zoo. It had nearly every animal that I would expect in a respectable zoo. Some actually moved! Not this rhino though. He was staying put no matter what I threw at him.
Under water Caitlin. Mermaid shot, really. All that's missing is the sea shell bra. We forgot it at home.
This picture is for Pam R. This is a puma. Your cat is a puma...but black.
Statue and monkey mockery. I am proud to say that not one monkey picked its own butt in front of me, which is a first for me in a visit to the zoo.
If you can't tell, I'm mimicking the flamingos behind me.
Most awesome part of the zoo was the plethora of birds.
Then we walked to north of the Loop where Michigan Ave begins and had ourselves some desserts. Lemon cookies, fruit bars...
...and chocolate cookies. That is not a face of disgust, but one of disbelief that I was about to partake in such sweet goodness.
We walked around Michigan Ave for a few moments while we waited for Mike Matthews to join us for dinner. Caitlin looked very saintly checking out this church, so I tried to capture the moment.
Mike had flown in from NYC on business and offered to take us to dinner at Tavern on Rush. The fillet mignon was fantibblitastic. I have been having some serious withdrawals from my free meals at my job. Mike flew in and saved the day by providing us this amazing meal. Appetizers, steak, and dessert - OH MY!

22 September 2008

Encouraging Bad Behavior

So Jeff is watching Jerry Springer right now and I am all for it. Why you may ask? Because I found out last night that Jerry Springer is a local in our little town of Evanston! Apparently he is really nice and very friendly with the locals. I'm encouraging Jeff to watch his show so that he'll be able to recognize Jerry when we see him cruising around the town. Oh and Jeff also loved watching the show about a one legged priest who was the uncle of a gay youth preach about how his nephew Nick and his lover Justin should no longer be gay. We'll keep you posted with any Jerry sightings.

Birthday Cake Can ONLY Be German Chocolate

This post goes out in loving devotion to each and ever person that contributed to me having one of the most wicked 30th birthdays a person can possibly have. I'm going to get sentimental here before I start wise crackin', but you people blow me away...absolutely blow me away with your goodness. Here I was expecting to have a very low key birthday (considering I was new to the area and away from my close friends and family). Here I was thinking I could slip into my 4th decade with little notice.

I was wrong...dead wrong. This ended up being one of the best birthdays I've ever had, particularly due to all of those that either wrote, commented, called, visited and (to which I will now report) GAVE to the cause of my aging. Let us start with the party:

Caitlin and I threw a little Dance Dance Revolution competition party at our new pad. It started with dinner at the seedy Greek restaurant down the street called Cross Rhodes. The food = amazing. The portions were to size at the Mediterranean is to seas (aka humongous). Then we headed back for the competition. Here were the teams:

1. Scott & Ellen
2. Jeff & Caitlin
3. Matt & Alissa
4. Don & Liz
5. Kathy & Joe
6. Jim/James (I haven't decided which I will be calling him yet) & Kelly

Kathy & Joe started off. Kathy helped us find the apartment in which we are living. They are both awesome and of course were the first to volunteer to take on a game they have never tried. Joe was smoking with his moves.

I was really surprised to see everyone so willing to play all 4 rounds. We started with a practice round since everyone was new to the game. In the actual 3 rounds of competition, teams got points for how they placed in each round, style points, as well as extra points for increasing the difficulty of the steps. Head and armbands were passed out for the hardcore sweating that was to take place. While Caitlin and I smoked the crew (hey its my birthday!!!), J/J & Kelly (above) got second place.Scott & Ellen got 3rd. Scott was really intense and is bound to be a pro. Sometimes I swear he is Japanese and this was just another example of why I think that.
Food was clearly a part of the celebration as demonstrated here by JJ & Kelly. Caitlin made me one of the best German Chocolate Cakes of my life... and lets just say I was psyched about it.I successfully blew out the candles (no, there were not 30...but they were long candles. Extra long). The teams show off their prizes. Kathy & Joe got "bling" necklaces for shining in this new skill. JJ & Kelly got tootsies for their foot moves, Don & Liz got armor for charging ahead and having the most improvement, and Matt & Alissa got blow pops because technically they blew and got last place...but really, everyone rocked for the first time.

Now let's move on to the super nice gifts that I received and fully did not expect:

Tamara and Doug send me balloons all the way from LA. This was a totally rad shout out from across the USA. Yeah, you guys rule.
Don & Liz are a married, Mormon couple that are both doing the same program as me here at Northwestern, so obviously we are becoming friends. They won my heart by buying me soda...delicious, amazing soda.They even got me a Diet Mountain Dew for the weekdays and regular Mountain Dew for the weekends. I think they must have noticed that I had like 5 sodas in the first 2 days of class.
They also got us skeleton glasses to consumer our beverages with.
I got a Red Mango gift certificate from JJ & Kelly and a lovely card from Alissa & Matt. Other friends also sent super rad cards to me, including a Valentines Day card from Smashtastic and pretty much the most precious card from my peeps Aves Smith. LOVES AVES!
Caitlin bought us bikes for my birthday. You will soon see that we have already gotten some serious use out of them. This is all about going green...and green stands for saved gas money in this case. Both Judes/Lynn and Pam/Dave contributed to us getting these bikes. We love them.

My mom gave me some really nice gifts, including my great grandpa's copy of Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith from his mission in 1924. It is wicked old and very awesome.

Finally - the best gift of all. This was the first gift I opened on my birthday morning. Caitlin figured I should start the day off with a gift so she grabbed a package sent from Stephen. Neither of us knew what was inside. When I saw what it was, I nearly lost my marbles. Stephen had given me a huge autograph book filled with autographs from horror movie stars. Many of the autographs were directed at my for my birthday. While there are some lesser known stars, he hit some really big ones as well. Below is a sample of some that he got.

Robert Goulet! While Beetle Juice is not the scariest movie ever, this autograph is amazing.Janet Leigh from Psycho - the shower scene!Johnny Depp! You may not know that one of Johnny's first movies was Nightmare on Elm Street. One of the best lines from that movie is his: "chastity sucks!" Also, he was in Sleepy Hollow and Edward Scissorhands. Corey Feldman. I was kind of obsessed with him from the movie Lost Boys (a vampire movie) as well as Goonies, obviously. The original Mike Myers from Halloween!! I love Halloween.
And this one was really special to me - John Carpenter. He directed Halloween and got the entire 80s slasher genre going, to which I am forever indebted. I love his style, and a personal autograph (plus this wicked photo) almost made me cry. You might think I'm joking...which must mean you don't know me very well.
Stephen - thanks. I still get giddy about this book and look at it almost daily. That was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. Thank you for spending all those months working on this. And all that time I thought you were just surfing for porn when really you were getting me autographs!

19 September 2008

Beans Give Me Gas For Way Less Than $4 a Gallon

New York City is one beautiful place when it comes to transportation. Subways, trains, buses galore at every turn, quickly zipping you from any one place to another at a fraction of a cost. Church - 7 block walk from our apartment. Grocery store - 1 block. Even the freakin' movie theater - across the street.

Now let us turn our sites upon Evanston. Imagine upper class whiteness on steroids. While walking, biking and roller blading are in full force, many of the basic necessities of life are not within a walking distance. So Caitlin and I were forced to get a car. We struggled with the hefty decision of buying or leasing, new or used, loans or cash. But as we were walking the parking lot of a Toyota dealership in Boise, Idaho, we stumbled upon a car that sparked something within us. It wasn't gas, nor was it indigestion. Methinks it was love.

We found ourselves a 4-door, black Toyota Yaris. Rocking about 40 miles to the gallon on the freeway, we were able to drive this bad boy back to Chicago on only 4 tanks (and the tank only holds 11 gallons). And I thought my body was the only thing efficient with gas. Below are the pictures of our new automobile.
Pam and Dave are perfect models for showing the sexy lines and curves of our new vehicle. Everyone - remember when my mom laid out on the hood in the picture above to make the car look sexy? That was awesome...she was in quite the mood that day. I couldn't convince her not to...despite my pleading for her to act normal in the picture.
But no one looks sexier than the new owners. With little inventiveness, we quickly named him YARI...it just flows so naturally from our mouths. He is such a tender little guy, but always feels great when he makes us proud.I've noticed many a female vehicle try to get up in Yari's business because his body is SLAMMIN - but fortunately we had Yari neutered before we took him off the lot. Now his whole life purpose is pleasing Caitlin and myself.Despite her past history, Caitlin is dedicated to not drink and drive with Yari. He is too good a friend to hurt like that. Come to Chicago and we'll give you a ride. (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

Before I close this post, let me tell all you people that I truly appreciate the love and adoration I received yesterday for my birthday. Some of you pulled out some amazing stops to make me feel especially 30 (I guess I mean "special at 30") with some amazing gifts and notes. Do not worry, I will be reporting on some of those soon. Man...we have Costa Rica, Boise, and more to report. OH MY!