Archive for March 2008

31 March 2008

Am I hallucinating? Heidi a "feminist hero?"

By: Jessica B.

I thought that I would have nothing to report on tonight – until I read on Us Weekly’s site that someone at the New York Times called Heidi from the Hills a feminist hero. I thought I was drunk or hallucinating when I read that. That has to be a misprint but sadly it’s not.

Heidi is many things, such as a poster-child for boob jobs, too much mascara, bee-stung lips and slutty clothing. All of those things come to mind when I think of her. But feminist hero, somehow that seems like a stretch…by a long shot.

The paper applauds Heidi for kicking Spencer to the curb (of course we know is not true because they’re back together) and for climbing to a bigger position at work (which she is absolutely not qualified for and likely got because of the MTV cameras). And for anyone who watches the show regularly, you’re not really “moving on” from the guy if you keep talking about him to anyone who will listen. But the real part of the article that caught my eye is that they applauds her for doing all this and “getting herself home on time.” Is that something that a 20-something year old woman needs to be commended for? I’m pretty sure anyone who is at least slightly responsible and coherent can handle that.

But this has gotten me to think that I’m a feminist hero too! I mean, according to this article, I’ve done the following things that they’ve called out “fake boobs” Montag for achieving: kicked a guy to the curb (yes it’s been awhile but I’ve done it), moved up at work and I get myself home on time every night. Phew, that last one is tough though, trust me. Getting on the CTA bus, scanning my card and watching for my stop while successfully exiting the bus – that is such a challenge day in and out. It’s hard to be me – superhero me.

30 March 2008

Party time!

By: Jessica B.

Last night the full Chicago Team Hamster group (Liz, Mike, Ryan and me) went out to celebrate Liz’s belated birthday at Tarascas on Wrightwood and Broadway.

First off, it took about an hour for me to decide what to wear and then when I was ready on time, my counterpart Ryan was pokey, thus making us 30 minutes late. We were the last to arrive and Liz was already halfway into her jumbo margarita with an umbrella. Ouch.

Tarascas boasts a certain charm, such as being crushed in the restaurant like sardines, sitting on cheap, plastic lawn chairs and viewing a wall-sized mural of a topless woman with six-pack abs. But with a pitcher of margaritas on the rocks between Ryan and me, it is all irrelevant.

As a note, when ordering your margarita pitcher, don’t ask for the house tequila – ours had a “gamey” taste that makes you wonder if you’re actually drinking rubbing alcohol. But after the first round, that is irrelevant too. Also, my chicken enchiladas were awesome and Liz’s birthday flan wasn’t bad either, although it did look a lot like cheesecake at first.

Once I crawled over the table to get out, rubbing my butt awkwardly against the people crushed next to us, we headed into the bitter cold to Mickey’s, who decided to “class” up their plastic tent with a $5 cover. No thanks. So after walking by a Starbucks, where the intoxicated version of me saw a woman working on a white Macbook (my baby) I yelled at the woman through the window that I loved her computer. She seemed scared, but then it was off to the Tin Lizzie.

There we were treated to another sign of spring – the first slutty summer top with tacky plastic bra straps! Three women came in for a champagne cocktail and preceded to begin gyrating their hips and swinging their arms in the air to Kayne and Justin Timberlake at the bar. They might have been confused that it’s a bar and not a dance club. Ryan and Mike were quite surprised yet hypnotized by this, but nothing tops Mike turning back to us while the girls were having a hip-swiveling seizure and saying, “wow those girls have to be so high on coke.” Love this guy.

Another night out in the city and another day of waking up with a “sock-like” tongue and a wicked headache. Unfortunately, during my margarita haze, I slipped to the group what my Macbook’s name is. So while they know, everyone else will have to wait until I see her next weekend.

28 March 2008

(Late) Top Chef recap

By: Jessica B.

Top Chef Week 3: Hangin’ in the Chicago ‘hoods

So the Lincoln Park Zoo ate Valerie alive last week. Time to kick the carcass to the side and put the group on the chopping block again.

Quickfire Challenge: Classing up the taco
First off, if I was at an upscale restaurant, I sure as hell would pick a fillet over taco. No matter what.

So Rick Bayless from Frontera Grill and Topolobampo (?) is the guest judge and his face appears to be pulled tighter than a sheet which I notice while watching him look visibly nervous on camera and while Andrew looks like he’s having a seizure with the other contestants. Rick is sounding like he’s going through puberty as he talks about serving “tacos with a twist!” in his fine dining restaurants. I thought your voice was supposed to drop when you’re in your teens. Plus he handles his silverware like a girl, no offense.

Manuel suddenly became very Latin with his inflection – but the cactus leaf was a great touch. Too bad Robert’s jicama shell (also genius) kicked his ass. Spike was keeping it “old school” with his food and K-Fed impression, rocking the fedora like a pimp while Mark is scratching his head like an ape thinking “what’s these crazy Americans up to now?” And yet again, Erik looks like he’s covered his food in poop (see week 1 and 2). If that plate came out to my table, I would send it back, even if it was free.

Elimination Challenge: Catering a block party (what neighborhood were they in?)
So it’s a pantry-raid this time, where two teams have to cater a block party with food only from the neighbors kitchens.

Blue team mutters like they’re challenged and Andrew is confused because he’s acting like Borat.
Erik’s corn dogs still have a poop-like presentation (on a stick!) but the smore bites on a stick and the kabobs looked really good. At the block party, Rick Bayless is back and he looks like he’s enjoying his opportunity to “slum” it outside of River North or the Gold Coast to mix with “real people” but with a very cosmopolitan shirt.

In the end, the blue team won, by a narrow margin and Andrew, who still appears to still be having a seizure, is sassy at Judges Table, along with Spike (K-Fed). But Erik went home because of his limp corn dogs and I have to agree that he should go because he works with corn dogs at his restaurant and he should have known better.

Next week, Ryan is still hot, Richard Roeper is on and Andrew thinks he’s Toulouse Lautrec this time.

No I don’t want to see the label:
So in this season the blatant branding is driving me insane. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it because I work in communications but if I have to see the GE Monogram logo ONE MORE TIME as they’re cooking or the Hill Valley Ranch dressing that “magically” is in the fridge and gets a flavor mention on camera or the Barilla pasta, Velveeta (which looked horribly unappetizing) and Kingsford charcoal – I might scream. Hey during Judges Panel the contestants were relaxing with Michelob, I hope they remembered to name-drop it or get a good shot of the label so Anheuser-Busch gets it’s full ad value.

27 March 2008

Big scary me

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: apartment

Tonight an older woman who emigrated from the Soviet Union (during the “not-so-fun” time) told me that she is afraid of me. And it made me feel like a total bitch.

Since I’ve moved in to the condo that I rent, I’ve had an issue with the woman who lives above me, specifically the television on at all hours of the day and night – loudly. So after some complaints to the condo board we end up at a noise complaint hearing, which I was not looking forward to. While I can present a good case, I’m not the best at confrontation.

The meeting started out fine until Natasha (who I will refer to this woman as) came down with her Russian sister-in-law and started in on me and the board. Rambling on…and on…and on…and on. And while I was trying to pay attention and our audience started gathering, I somehow ended up with three old women ganging up on me, telling me that this was my fault and I didn’t know what I was talking about. After a lot of chasing around and me wishing that I could have a cigarette (I don’t smoke) or drink, we came to some kind of a negotiation, even though I still felt like I got the short-end of the stick.

So when the head of the condo board asked Natasha a question about me, she said that she is afraid of me – a petite girl from Wisconsin. Apparently I’m worse than the Cold War and communist Russia. That actually scares me a bit.

26 March 2008

Update: Bridesmaid invite done by mass e-mail

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends, wedding

In February, I posted that a friend of mine was invited to take part in her close friend’s wedding by mass e-mail. The e-mail also informed the five potential bridesmaids that one of them would be selected at a later date to be the maid of honor. Since many of you shared in my horror about this story, I’m pleased to say that I have an update.

My friend informed me tonight that she, unfortunately, did not make the “maid of honor – Survivor” cut. This did not surprise or disappoint her, but apparently the bride-to-be did not get a good reaction from the way she asked these women to be part of her wedding, so she recently made the “I’m sorry I asked you to be in my wedding by mass e-mail” tour around the city to personally ask each of them to take part. Apparently though, for the bridesmaid who was chosen to be the maid of honor, it was too late. She turned the “role” down, and honestly, I don’t blame her. So now one of these remaining girls will be asked as a sloppy second.

It appears as though the wedding, which will be held next year, is going with a 50s Hollywood theme, including satin, pearls, French twists and Audrey Hepburn glamour. From the few times I’ve met this woman, I’m sure there will be a good amount of “50s Hollywood gawdy” that will be thrown in too.

My poor friend also received, with her verbal bridesmaid invite, a list of what she will be required to wear and get for the wedding, including the following:

  • #2 MAC faux eyelashes
  • Her hair in a Breakfast at Tiffany’s twist, with bump on the crown of the head
  • A “delicate” pale pink dress that is knee-length and with a huge bow in the back
  • White satin shoes and matching purse

She had more to add but I couldn’t write it all down fast enough because I was laughing too hard.

Another portion of this story consisted of the bride-to-be refusing to speak with her divorced parents because they informed her that they cannot pay for part of her “deal” wedding. When they told her that their financial situation didn’t allow them to help pay for it, she became enraged with them because “they’ve had 30 years to save for this.” While it doesn’t surprise me that she reacted this way, it did irritate me that she was so selfish about this.

Trust me, when you grow up with not a lot of money, you learn not to expect anything and to be grateful for what you are offered. I think the issue really is that she expected them to pay for this and found out that wouldn’t be the case. And we all know what happens when you ass-u-me things.

If I get married, I have no expectations that my parents will help pay for it. Of course, if they could offer some help, that would be great, but honestly I won’t hold my breath.