31 March 2011

The Chronicles of Landon Wicked Awesome

Maybe this isn't your type of thing, but maybe this is. My good friend Patrick (you have seen him on previous Chicago posts) wrote a young adult fiction novel. Me having approximately 0.43% skill in writing more than a thousand words, I couldn't believe he was taking this on. I will also be honest...I was skeptical. Not because he isn't creative or a great writer cause he is. No, I was skeptical because I have never known an author and the job sounds too daunting to me.

But he did it. What's more, I read it. The entire book. I loved it...and that is saying a lot because it is young adult fiction and I don't like that genre much. I haven't even read Harry Potter. But this was a great book with real human emotion being the driver for the fantastic things that happen on each page. It's called The Chronicles of Landon Wicker: the Search for Artemis.

Well, getting published is another story. Patrick entered it into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition and has progressed to the final rounds. I think he gets bonus points for getting people to review the book on Amazon. The first chapter is available to read for free online at http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Landon-Wicker-Artemis-ebook/dp/B004TEYRGG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1301597443&sr=8-1

If you like to read check it out and then give him a strong review on Amazon. I have to hand it to him...Patrick wrote a real book. Wow.

30 March 2011

The Descent of Mitch Mob

One minute Mitchell saw this:And then just a few hours later, he saw this:

Aren't planes amazing? One minute you are in Chicago driving to the airport and then a few arduous hours of bad customer service you are in Fort Lauderdale eating at the most authentic and delicious Mexican joint that the state has to offer - Taqueria Dona Raquel. Yes, Mitchell had decided to come down and visit his good friends the Mulcocks. To be more honest, he had come down to go to Ultra Music Festival and it was just simply convenient that we were there - kind of like a cherry on an already delicious Sundae.
Caitlin was so nervous about making sure that Mitchell had the best time of his life that she accidently peed herself. Or maybe she spilled her water all over her pants. Max's only concern was getting some veggie straws in his mouth.
Tacos al Pastor are one of a kind here - they get the official West Coast gang sign for their deliciousness.
In an effort to keep trends going, Mitchell decided to take part in the gang sign making and gave us his gang sign, which seems to be a sign for the "We Doin' A-Okay" gang. Kind of weak sauce, but its what he committed to. Also, he committed to wolfing down some delicious tacos, sopas and quesadillas for ridiculously low prices.
Let's not forget that delicious Jarritos were involved.
Even Max digs himself some refried beans at the Dona Raquel - and that's sayin' something. Max is choosy about his foods - and he chooses Dona.
This is me pissed and annoyed that I had to listen in to a conference call in Thailand at 9pm when really I wanted to be partying with my peeps. Plus, my Internet kept cutting out and the peeps on the phone didn't have their shiz together. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.
And this is Caitlin and Mitchell's reaction to the BYU basketball game against Florida. Depression and disbelief. They wanted to see someone get Jimmered and instead they saw BYU get Floridized.
Boooo. Oh well, does anyone really care about BYU sports? Its the education that matters.
SIDE NOTE OF AWESOMENESS!!! Have you people tried the new Diet Mountain Dew flavors that are available for a limited time as part of the 3rd Dewmocracy? I have tried two of them and they are seriously blowing my mind right now. I had Caitlin go and buy every single 12 pack at Publix today. I'm not kidding - the Diet Voltage is so good that I check the can every time to make sure it is really diet.
Mitchell got to see me do my nightly and morningly shoulder exercises. I basically look retarded the whole time...but its what will get me back to normal, so I do it.
Even Max laughs at me and thinks I look dumb. Thanks Max for putting a dad down.
Mitchell and Max are old-time buddies from Chicago. Mitchell brought Max some new books to enjoy at night, which Max immediately ate up. After only 5 hours in Florida, it was already clear that this was going to be a fantastic trip.


22 March 2011

Sao Pimplo

I am in Sao Paulo on business (does anyone come here on vacation?) and we are staying in an area called Morumbi. That crazy yellow bridge thing is right outside our hotel. It seems to be a pretty nice area of town. I am surprised and not surprised by how much Sao Paolo reminds me of Buenos Aires. Here are some similarities:

1. The smell. It smells like BA. The second I stepped off the plane I was like wow. It got me thinking. Does America have a smell? Does it change by region?

2. They both want me to pee or crap my pants. As a missionary in BA, I was always trying to find a bathroom in time before I crapped myself, or I would have to pee in a field for need of a toilet. Yesterday I almost peed my pants in the ridiculous traffic from the airport to the hotel 2 1/2 hours to go 1/2 hours distance).

3. Grocery stores are exactly the same with the same crazy candies, sodas, yogurts, etc. The only difference is Brazil seems to have better fruits. Or at least a greater variety.

4. Slums right next to the rich. We in America like to segregate our poor from the rich by sticking our many middle class people in between them. But SP and BA, with a much smaller middle class, keeps the two groups close. Huge, beautiful high rise apartment buildings with a slum across the street.

Differences? Well, the language duh. Portuguese sounds a lot like a person speaking Spanish with a really annoying lisp. You can understand it, but you have to work harder cause they have that unfortunate lisp.

Okay, my iPad is dying so I must go. Oh yeah, both countries have that annoying change in plugs and I don't have a converter with me. Boo!

20 March 2011

Ride The Wave

To further celebrate St. Patrick's day, which to me really is nothing more than the celebration of the color green, we went on a date to the Green Wave Cafe. This is not only a vegan joint...but also RAW. This means nothing is cooked, including breads and vegetables.

We got the cheeseburger (yes, they found a way to make this possible) and the fajitas. I have to be honest, the food was dope. Not poop...dope. How do they do it? Who cares, it tasted awesome.

I almost made love to the "cheese" or whatever it was.

For dessert? Cheesecake with fresh blueberry paste. The cheesecake was made out of almonds. Unreal.

And maybe we stopped off at mcdonalds to get a Shamrock Shake on the way home, officially undoing all the healthiness we had just taken part in and officially spitting in the vegan's faces at Green Wave Cafe. Oh well. I like Shamrock Shakes. They are green and tasty.

18 March 2011

100% Naturally Awesome

The next morning in Miami we got up to a gorgeous day. After taking a nice swim in the hotel pool and watching skanky girls take pictures of themselves by the bay, we headed out to discover more about this mysterious island, Key Biscayne. This key is just south of South Beach but much less pretentious, crowded and touristy. As we drove through the small town, Caitlin saw the words that will always call to her. She saw "100% Natural Food" and that was that...we stopped to have lunch. All vegetarian, all awesome. The look of confusion in my face above is from trying to decide what of all the amazing dishes I should order, not trying to find something that looked good.
Caitlin was beautiful and in heaven - so I guess she was sort of like an angel?
Max spent most of the time flirting with anyone sitting by us. He always turns heads with his cute hats and shirts.

Max's main course was milk. Delicious, 100% whole milk. Our main course was vegetarian tacos and quesadillas. They were both very good.
Long story but Caitlin negotiated her way into us getting a free dessert - which was this organic cheese cake made without eggs. I can't really remember what was in it, but I know it had coconut and that it drove me into a frenzy of consumption.
Plus I had to compete with Max, who also went into a treat frenzy. He loves dessert.
Once out by the ocean we enjoyed seeing the city on stilts out in the water. These houses were build in the 1800s and inhabit the ocean on stilts. Pretty cool to see them out with the boats. I can't imagine being on one of these during a hurricane.
There is a beautiful park at the end of the key and it includes a great walk through the forest next to the beach.
Lots of boaters were out enjoying the weather. Caitlin and I both agreed that we are extremely intrigued by boat culture. How do they get their money and time? How can we get their money and time?
I basically think this chick is dope.
There also is a pretty classy lighthouse in the park that was striking as you walk down this row of palm trees standing gaurd.
1855...old for America, new for everywhere else.
More Caitlin hotty shots. We'd see more Max, but hims was a tired guy.
But he woke up just in time to take this sleepy time guy picture of the family. This closed our weekend vacation to Miami. Its amazing how a 40 minute drive can make you feel lightyears away from home and really set you up for a nice, short holiday.

17 March 2011

I'm the Gold at the End of the Rainbow

Drink: Shamrock Shake of spinach, soy milk, strawberries, and other healthy shiz we leprechauns love
Shirt: Old Navy ridiculously affordable polo with green stripes
Belt: Penguin green/brown reversible belt
Attitude: You're in luck...I'm your pot of gold sucka

Don't you freaking dare try to pinch me today.

15 March 2011

Pon De Miami

Miami - where you at fool? Oh, there you are. Right outside my window. So Caitlin, Max and I went outside, grabbed a Subway breakfast sandwich and then hit the streets. We decided to have zero plan and to just walk around some parks and relax.
We gradually found our way over to Brickell Island right across the water from the financial district. It seemed pretty swanky. In the couple of hours we were on this tiny island, we saw three Ferrari's, a Bentley (I wish Tracy, but the car), and a million BMWs. The island is also home to luxury condos and the Mandarin Oriental.
But for us we really just cared about the park and eating a picnic. We had a great time with perfect weather for just lounging around.
You like my camera Mittoo? You bet you do.
Open wide.
Crazy kid.
Apparently there are a ton of kids on this island and a great little playground park. Max took advantage of that to party it up with all the toys.
And climb through every available tunnel. After Brickell we headed back toward American Airlines Arena to take part in what currently is the most popular show in Miami. No, not Blue Man Group.
The Miami Heat! The Lebron, Wade and Bosh show against the Grizzlies! We got tickets for $19 (and you can see that we are way up...but still a great view).
And it was quite a show.
At half time the Heat had a solid 18 point lead, a respectable lead indeed.
Max was diggin' all the people and noise and lights and movement and fun! How lucky is this kid, seriously? Oh, and Caitlin had a freakin' good time too. She loves a good sports game.
And the Grizzlies were no match. With 3 minutes left in the game, the Heat were up 35 points and it was time for us to go and claim our stroller before the masses squashed us flat.
We ate some flat bread white pizza at an Italian diner close by and man it was good. You know when cheese is really salty and amazing? Well, if you don't...you best live a little. As we headed back to the hotel I suddenly heard some familiar music playing across the street from the hotel. No way. Could it be? Pon de Flor??? It WAS PON DE FLOR! MAJOR LAZER!!!! I stood and looked over the fence for 5-6 songs and danced to Hold the Line with Max. Who knew? What a perfect end to the perfect day.
But we still had Sunday ahead of us.

14 March 2011

The Gift of Miami (Thanks Merrills!)

Yo! Huge shout out to my dee o double dizzoggies Adam and Cindy back in Chi Town for hooking me and Caitlin up phat with two free nights in the poshtastic Intercontinental Hotel in the one and only home of crazy skanks Miami! We spent the past weekend downtown Miami checking out the sites and sounds and taking a vacation from Fort Lauderdale. Remarkably, these two towns are extremely different from each other. The first thing we noticed about Miami is some pretty impressive and colorful architecture. It felt a lot like Chicago - clean and white...but with more splashes of color.
Not just color, but also cool design. This building was a favorite. While I didn't get a picture of the front side that had a very rad "Q-bert" style design, I did get the connector between the two buildings. Traingularific!
See what I'm saying? Circles...some yellow. All nice touches.
This apartment building has a nice way of capturing the sunny side of Miami - a huge gaping hole in its structure to reflect the sun off the building.
Not your basic columns.
Not your basic wall...I think I am making myself crystal clear here.
I also liked the mixture of old versus new, like this church sitting in the financial district of Miami. Striking old Spanish architecture amidst colorful modern lines.
So, if anything, Miami is visually attractive and interesting to look at. But is there anything fun to do? I will report on that later...but here's a clue. Yes. Yes it is. (Okay, that gives it away...but you'll still have to wait for pictures)