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Wizard World or My First Comic Convention I Mean Graphic Novel Convention

My husband has been attending Wizard World, aka Chicago Comic Con since the beginning of his time. I usually drop him off at the Convention Center and head back home. This year we decided to go together. He was a little worried that I would slow him down but I have to say I think I was a delightful Companion. More of a Rose than a Martha Jones. (bonus points for those who got that joke!)
It was a little overwhelming at first. We got their just minutes after the doors opened (John was mad that I made us ten minutes late) and we hit the lobby. Hundreds of people, some in costumes, most in some form of geek culture t-shirt like “Joss Whedon is My Master Now”, various super hero’s and sci-fi television shows. I had planned my outfit carefully. My lady super hero “Anything boys can do girls can do better!” shirt. It was a big hit!

We stopped by the autograph area where the “famous” people are. Basically WWE Wrestlers. I got a little giddy over Mick “Mankind” Foley. You know how I love big hairy guys in tye dye. I was giddy, but not giddy enough to want to pay $20 to have my picture taken with him. But Kint and Vixen from the Amazing Race were free!

We walked around taking pictures of the costumes and checking out all the merchandise. I had my picture taken in front of the TARDIS.

I bought a ring with some pretty moon stone on it and and a Dr. Who Dalek shirt and a Battlestar Galactica shirt. And the crazy priced toy I couldn’t live without-an action figure of Stitch as Yoda! John bought two transformers. One was so ridiculously expensive that I feel a bit embarrassed to print it here. “But it’s a collectors item! It’s from Japan!”

But it makes him happy!
We stayed through the costume contest but that will be a second post. I have to take some time to upload the photos to flickr and that will take me awhile. Stay tuned!

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Matisyahu & the Wailers at Ravinia

You may ask yourself, “How on earth did Laurie end up at a reggae show staring a Hasidic Jewish rapper/reggae guy?” Let me tell you.

A few months ago Midwest Melissa invited John and I to join her and her husband along with two other couples for a concert at Ravinia. I barely knew the artist-Matisyahu– but looked forward to a night with some of my favorite people and a chance to experience Ravinia. That night was Thursday.

Ravinia is kind of like going to a concert in a really, really big backyard. If the yard had a stage, a Whole Foods and room for like 10,000 people that it is. The “lawn” tickets are cheap, like $20 because you can’t see the stage, but the music is broadcast all over. If you want to see you can walk up to the stage area and stand in the back behind the reserved seating. You can bring your own beer, wine, coolers, lawn chairs, blankets, candles, food, etc in with you or buys it there. Some people had really elaborate meals and set ups. I of course had glowy stuff.

The weather was perfect and by dark we were all happily full of beer, wine and snacks. I danced with some Dead Heads during the Wailers and floated around the park during Matisyahu. Who was really good.
And the smell of Ravinia is amazing. It was all citronella, candles, incense and because of the whole reggae thing-weed. But good weed. It could be the new Demeter fragrance-citronella candles incense and weed. $28 for a little bottle.

So many people asked about our glowy, color changing egg that I wished I would have brought Scott’s cards. I ended up selling mine to a woman at the end of the show. She offered to pay me double but I only accepted cost. That’s how I roll.

At the end of the show our six friends get in line for the Metra train back to town and John and I head to the big grassy parking lot to wait just over an hour to be able to leave. Then a very long ride home through construction. I was a bit drunk and very happy so I didn’t mind. John calls me Miss Daisy because he is always having to drive me around. Thanks John! We regretted not taking the Metra since we didn’t get home till almost 12:45am. Then we found out that our friends were still waiting for the train when we left the lot and ended up spending an hour crammed into the train with a bunch of high and drunk reggae fans. Hmmm. Hell on earth?

If you want to hear a little Matisyahu…

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Would You Like Rats With Your Dinner?

So we went to Chief O’Neil’s to celebrate my husband’s promotion and my new haircut and color. We live in the neighborhood and eat there fairly often, usually bringing friends. The food isn’t spectacular, but it’s good and we like the atmosphere.
It was a beautiful night so we went to be seated outside in the garden/patio. Our first table was on the paved area but after about ten minutes the hostess lady said we had to move because a party was there. (A party that in the hour and a half we were there never appeared.) OK. We asked for a cute little four top in the corner by the plants where we could see the whole patio. It was delightful until we saw our first rat. Then it was kind of gross, but also kind of funny. Now we are not easily offended and we know how hard it can be to control the rat population. We also know that other people are not as understanding and we thought the staff might want to scare it off before that mystery party appeared. So we flagged one guy down and let him know what was happening. “Oh snap!” was his response. We convinced him to stomp around a bit to shoo it away. He offered to let us move but the other seating options were not far enough away from Ratville to make a difference or else they were in the smoking area or finally, up against the windows of the dining room where a private party of old people were listening to some guitar player. We debated sitting there and just putting our faces up against the glass and looking longingly at the private event but decided to stay where we were.
Now our waitress was slammed in the front section of the bar and we were her only table outside which left us waiting for long periods of time for drinks, bread, food etc. She was nice when she was there but the waits were a bit ridiculous. So we entertained ourselves with naming the rats, Napoleon and Dynamite. Making Ratatouille jokes,. Singing songs where we replaced the real lyric with the word “rat.” “Blinded by the Rat” “Cold Hearted Rat”, Oops I Ratted Again”. When our server appeared again we told her about our urban wildlife and she was totally freaked out. We did it in a subtle way because we didn’t’t want to upset the other diners on a rather full night. She offered again for us to move but since the rats were a fair distance away we decided to stay. We saw her notify the manager lady and we expected her to come over and thank us for being cool, or apologize but nothing. Husband and I debated whether or not we would yelp this part of the experience because we weren’t sure if we wanted to “Rat them out”. Ha! There were several other rat jokes like “Rats off to you”, etc.
The food finally arrives and it was good, not great. The Bangers and Mash had a really flavorful onion gravy that we loved. The chips were good but the fish was kind of greasy. Then the rat peeked out at me about a foot away. I screamed. Loud. I didn’t mean to but it was right there. Then we started laughing. “Nothing to see here, folks!”

A table of four sees their first rat and the men casually point while the women pick up their hand bags from the ground and I can hear the one woman keep saying, “that’s a rat, a RAT!” Then they got up and leave for the smoking section.

We waited another round of forever for another item and then a new server comes up and apologizes that our original server was not coming back because it was too busy up front. We ask for our check and I sit back to finish my drink. Then the rat RAN ACROSS MY FOOT! Right. Across. My. Foot. I SCREAMED, yanking my feet up under me. So much for subtlety. My husband leaps up and was like, “that’s it we’re outta here.” I won’t put my feet down until he assures me the furry demon is gone. Now everyone is looking and I didn’t care.

We leave our half finished drinks and race for the door. A guy says, “OK what was it?” and I say, “RATS!” I explain what happened to the servers and the girl looks at me and says, “Oh. I saw a squirrel there earlier.” I am all like, “I know what a rat looks like. You have them all over the patio. Other tables have seen them and moved. You have RATS!” Then my husband paid the check, in full, and we left, , explaining to our earlier server what had happened as we passed.
Now I am sorry, but if a rat runs across a patron’s foot the patron deserves an apology and quite possibly, a free drink. Not to be told that it was a squirrel as you are handed the check. As we left my husband said, “Honey, you have some Yelping to do!”

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Return to Guyville

Exile in Guyville was released at an epic part of my life. I was 21, partying like crazy, doing my radio show and working on the railroad. I was a little wild. A little lost. And totally in love with that album. It was loaded with meaning for me and tons of other people. And last night we made a pilgrimage to the Vic Theatre in Chicago to live it all again. I noticed was that the men seemed to outnumber the women. Surprising? I can’t decide.

The band was made up of two of my friends, Dan and Nick and a third, former friend, Greg. I say former because when he left Chicago for LA about 9.5 years ago, my on again, off again boyfriend and I were going to take over the lease on his apartment. The day we were going to sign the deal the guy called me from Minneapolis to say he wasn’t coming. Ever. Turns out that he had been living with another girl (and she was a girl) for some time and lying to her about his trips to Chicago-calling them business. I was a mistress and didn’t even know it! So Greg was PISSED. I assume he is over it by now. (Sorry, Greg.) I was so proud of them. Every time Nick would harmonize on vocals Tam and I would clap and cheer with glee. And drummer Dan was so good-at one point Liz lost track for what was next, Divorce Song, and was waiting for Dan to kick it off. He did this cool move with his sticks letting her know that it was a guitar start. Yay, genuine moment! It can’t be easy to learn 18 songs that people have such a strong, emotional connection to, note for note. But they did it! Great job guys!

I saw Liz on her first tour for the album. I actually was reminded of this fact by the now ex-boyfriend mentioned above. He called out of the blue on Friday and when I told him about the show he was all like, “remember how awful it was at First Ave?” Totally forgot! Because it was awful! We had driven down to the Cities for the show but she had such horrible stage fright that it was a terrible show. She talked about that tour last night and how she didn’t want to perform live but the label threatened to sue her. Obviously she has grown since then because last night she was a skinny little powerhouse in satin short shorts, matching top and a saucy red bra peeking through. She told funny stories about Chicago and seemed genuinely thrilled to be back in her hometown.

They played the album start to finish-for some songs this four show tour is the first time they were played live. When she came out for the encore she confessed that she had planned on doing the 18 songs and didn’t think people would want/expect/need an encore. Then she played San Francisco the night before and had to make something up but with the quick turnaround to our show she hadn’t had anytime to practice so she was kind of winging it. Worked for me! She played the keyboards and did “Chopsticks”, a new song that was pretty cool and finally “Polyester Bride”. Now I kinda can’t stand that song so I knew it was coming. She forgot the lyrics and the crowd had to sing the second verse for her, which made me like it better. I like it when the crowd sings along. I like the feeling of unity.

The show was awesome on it’s own and the memories it brought back of 1993-1996 made it even more poignant. We’ve all come along way in 15 years.

Greg Kot wrote a great article about the album, the aftermath, the tour and the documentary that she made about it. I particularly like how he calls out that the people interviewed are nearly all male. Interesting.

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That Mr. Rogers Was Dirty!

I like how Barbara always wanted to “Beep” people and own a restaurant.

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R.I.P. George Carlin

I have loved George Carlin since I was a little kid, staying up too late on a Sunday night to listen to Dr. Demento on KQDS. I would have my little tape player ready to record my favorite songs and bits. Kinko the Clown, Bounce Your Boobies, Yoda, Marvin the Paranoid Android. This list brings me back and will give me a nice download project for today. But my ultimate favorite was Carlin doing Icebox Man. I use to know it by heart and would act it out for friends and family. Nothing like a twelve year old little girl doing Carlin.
Here’s an appropriate bit for today:

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Sunday In The Park With Lilo

It was a busy day. We met with the paver guy. We ran errands. We read the labels on around twenty bottles of BBQ sauce to assess the sugar content. BBQ sauce has a lot of sugar in it. We moved everything out of their yard to make way for the new pavers which go in tomorrow. Finally we took Lilo to Gomper’s Park for some frolicking. We followed a trail through the brush to a little clearing under a willow tree. It was pretty. It was also a giant mosquito pit. Lilo didn’t seem to mind.

We ate dinner in the yard which was also a mosquito party. Now I am itchy. Stupid mosquitos.

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Crafty Beaver

It makes me giggle everytime.

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