Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Mayfest in Lincoln Square this weekend, which is a little festival full of music, the maypole, and giant steins of beers. It officially started this evening, so I walked through on my way back from my jog to check it out. I'm going again and spending time on Saturday, and I am excited. The first excellent thing about it is that it's FREE.

The second excellent thing about it is that there's music all weekend. When I walked through tonight, it was pretty empty since it just recently finished pouring. A class from the Old Town School of Music (which has a building in the Square) was up on the stage playing. They were a Beatles cover class, so it was an assortment of like 12 people of all ages and all sizes playing various instruments and singing. They were pretty good actually. I stood around and watched them for awhile enjoying the cooler weather post-rain.

There was one dude sitting alone at one table listening and nursing one of the aforementioned giant steins of beer. At one point when the group wrapped up a song, he yelled out: "Play some real classics! Crosby Stills and Nash! Crosby Stills and Nash!"

A lady turned around and informed him that they were strictly Beatles (which the group had announced two minutes ago) and he sheepishly mumbled: "oh."

His sheepishness must have lit a fire under his appreciation, because after that when they wrapped up another song, he was all: "Yeah! YEAH! YEAH!" It was pretty awesome, since the tent was pretty empty still and all you could hear was this guy's verbal support. Then one of the group mentioned that they were going to do another "psychedelic number." The dude got *pumped*!

This was him:
" YEAH!"

I really, really sincerely wish that there was someone there with me to observe this because there was something about the whole thing that was beyond great.

I hope that he's there on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wolf! Wolf!
I know that I say this every time I try a new place, but it's for real this time.

I have a new favorite restaurant in the city. It's Puerto Rican food and it's called Papas Cache Sabroso. We went there for our fourth supper club at the suggestion of a friend of Jenny's in the know, and...bliss. And cheap! And a mom and pop owned place that was busting with character! My favorite.

We ordered tostones and yuca for starters and then I personally ordered the jibarito sandwich, which is a steak sandwich with large plantain in place of bread. And the plantain was deliciously crisp rather than soggy and greasy. The sandwich along with rice and beans cost about $6.

This restaurant is also on the stretch of Division by the Puerto Rican flags and still has flavor. Jenny and Dave on their way there told us that they:
1.) saw a guy riding a bike in a starter cap while an enormous yellow snake was coiled around his body.
2) Jenny had a skateboarder catch a ride by grabbing onto the trunk of her car.

Hot chick.
"Papa" and his baby.
Chick! Freshly sated with lint that he gobbled off of the carpet.
Nicole and Dave, best tablemates ever at the wedding.
Joe and Pam at their sweetheart table with a loving family member. I kept on trying to take a picture of them all night and this was the least crappy, if you can believe it.
Jenny and Brooke--sorority sistahs forever.
Me and my man, kicking it wedding-guest style.
Weddings and Chicks
We got back from a Memorial Day weekend in DC, and it was a whirlwind weekend. Got into town on Saturday afternoon, had dim sum with the family, and then met up with Anne for dinner that night. Sunday we had pho and got to see Des and Bryan for a bit, and then set off to Vienna (a skip from my parents' place) to see Pam and Joe wed. It was quite a lovely wedding, and while not large, virtually teeming with William and Mary folks.

The most hilarious part of the weekend to me is the new addition to our family: Erik's baby chick. It's a science assignment that the people in his class were assigned one newly hatched baby chick a few weeks before the end of school. I suppose it's a lesson in caring for other living things and not being an asshole. Part of the "test," apparently, is whether your baby chick follows you when you walk. And the other part of the test is whether your baby chick is still breathing after the few weeks, since if your baby chick kicks the bucket there goes a fifth of your entire grade. But the kicker is that it's very, very easy for your baby chick to bite the bullet. It can toddle off of tables. It can drown in its own water dish (hence the need to purchase beautifully colored marbles to fill said dish). It is astonishingly easy to step on when it runs under feet. We watched the baby chick eat lint off the carpet (Erik: "It loves eating lint.")--that can't be good for it. It demands 90 degree temperatures to thrive.

(side note: luckily for the baby chick the 90 degree temperature was in full bloom since the upstairs air conditioner broke before it arrived. Don't worry, Erik was comfortable since he sleeps in the icy cool basement. Todd and I got to sleep upstairs in the moist, warm baby-chick inducive temperatures, though. It was awesome).

The baby chick is damn cute (refer to pictures), but it is also loud. It chirps endlessly, but the chirp is so plaintive and never-ending that it more resembles a bleat. And the bleat is all the more strident when it realizes that it has been left alone in the room. You can seriously hear this pathetic, constant cry ring throughout the whole of my parents' house. I was housed next door to the baby chick, so I was awoken by its cries at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning. Awesome!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I can recognize any road sign you send my way
I ventured to the Northside Chicago DMV today to get my license changed from VA to IL. It was a successful venture, and not as painful as I thought it would be. I had to take the written test which I studied for the night before. Good thing, too, because it might have been touch and go if I hadn't. The grizzled character who scored my test harrumphed with satisfaction when he wrote "-0" on my test (believe it!). I confessed that I spent the previous evening studying for it, and he was like: "That's all we ask." That grizzled guy and me? We shared a moment right then.

It was a little bittersweet to give up my VA license, but so it must be.

Next on my list is to change my plates. I didn't have the forms nor the fortitude to do it today.

Illinois DMV isn't open on the weekends, btw, which is downright odd to me. VA DMV at least pretended to be accommodating by opening for like 45 minutes on Saturday mornings.
Change is good.
I know.
But I changed my blog template on a whim, and I am a little bit rattled! I think I may have lost all of my comments!

Now to figure out how to add comments to this current template.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This is a very sad first hand account of a visiting professor at a small, historically Black university in Alabama. The apathy he describes in many of the students he encounters I believe is a result of the family and social situations in which the students were raised, but sadly I think that some readers of this article will quickly attribute it to race (just read the comments--hooee). It's an interesting read, though, and I recommend that you also link back and read his article about his first year there (I'm linking to the second year's reprisal).

We always talk about the culture of literacy on the job and how it affects academic performance. I was very lucky to be brought up in a family where books are treasured and abounded, newspapers were strewn about, and magazines were stacked up against one another. The world is your oyster, kid. One of my nostalgic favorites is Little Women, which my parents gave me in 1984 (the year I turned 8) in a beautiful hardcover version which I still have somewhere. One of my dad's friends regularly gifted us with Penguin classics he found in the bookstores of Pakistan, where we were at the time. One of them was My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell, and that book remains one of my beloved classics which I never would have discovered on my own. I constantly realize how lucky I was to have stumbled into a family that reads, when I see so many of my sweet and curious kids have homes starved of books and reading.

The article touches a lot on intellectual curiosity and how it is lacking in so many college students. I admit that I was guilty of phoning it in during some of my classes, and imagine that my professors were...less than impressed. Maybe things felt less pressing or something. I regret that I didn't suck the marrow out of the opportunity more then, but so much of college also revolved around one's social life. With some relief I can say that my intellectual curiosity has been fired up again working in my current field. I find myself reading research in my downtime on child language. I guess because it's interesting, but also because I can put it to USE now. Still not loving my geology course (that is almost over, praise the gods), but at least I'm trying to absorb some of it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Happy Birthday, Des!


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Put her in my pocket and run.
I adore one of my non-attending kids that I see who just turned three. She is outrageously, scandalously, knock-yourself-over-the-head cute. I see her every week for 45 minutes and we're totally in love with each other. She's such a good kid: if she gets a knock, she shakes it off and continues on good-naturedly and she always, always helps to clean up at the end. Her speech is pretty unintelligible and she drops final consonants, so when she says "let's clean up!" it comes out "leh klee uh!" It's terrible to say, but it adds to the cuteness.

Her latest thing is that she loves the fish tank in the hallways, but since she can't yet produce the f-sound, it comes out: "Shi-!" when we visit it.

One of her deals is that she substitutes 'sh' for lots of sounds (as seen in the example given above), and today we were playing with animal magnets. One of them was a cat, so when she saw it, she exclaimed... (wait for it)

I also see her brother on another day, and her mom told me that whenever this little one hears mention of him "going to speech" she puts her hands on her hips and says "No! It's L___'s turn for speech!" (she's L__, if it wasn't clear)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I've been lazy
That's why I haven't posted in a while. Nothing bad to report, though, and work is winding down with only five more weeks left to the school year! These months have certainly been zooming by.

What's new?
Well, I went to the best beer garden ever with Laura, Megan, and Lauren. Moody's Pub is nestled in the north-northside of the city and it boasted an absolutely enormous outside area that is overflowing with plants and even had a little waterfall in the corner. We dined on Moody burgers (which won a best-burgers award) and drank cheap beer out of the pitcher and weren't rushed by anyone, even though lines began forming for tables outside on a Monday night. As the evening fell, the little candles on the tables kept the ambiance romantic. Another place I'm taking you people to when you come and visit me in Chicago.

My new neighborhood continues to charm. It's busting with families with round and rosy cheeked toddlers being hauled around in red wagons. Today on my walk home from the grocery store, I had two separate fat bulldog sightings (that's a good thing). The other Saturday, Todd and I sat down and watched a little league game for about half an hour since there are billions going on at all times.

Happy belated Mothers Day, Mom! Since my mom is halfway across the country, I tagged along with Todd to Wilmington and helped celebrate with his family. His dad grilled delicious steaks and Todd and I made baked macaroni and cheese (with breadcrumbs and everything!) and apple cake with fresh cut apples. Afterward we walked around his parents' place in the country and it was pretty awe-inspiring with the afternoon sun warming the farming fields. We had to stay clear of some crazy barking dogs along the way, though. His mom said that she usually brings big stick for that purpose.

Lastly, we celebrated someone's birthday at Guthrie's with a rousing game of Family Feud with this large group of people the other weekend. It was like the game show, except in board game form. I don't know when this game was made or who made it, but it sucked. One of the questions was: "What's another word for nerd?" Now, in my book and in the world of what is right, a "nerd" is based on someone who is book smart but is more lacking in social graces. The answers that the stupid board game included were "idiot" and "moron" and the like. I was all pissed off about it, because that is just not right because nerds are smart. I'm still kind of pissed off about it because I had to use italics twice in that last sentence. I guess that if they surveyed Americans for the answers then I should be angry with my fellow countrymen. Stupid fellow countrymen. Clearly, you are not nerds.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One more notch in the dumpling belt
Kuai Dumpling and Soups gets a mention in a nation-wide article on restaurant news!