Monday, July 31, 2006

Chicago in TV and Film

Yesterday, I was laying on my couch, recovering from a late night in Wrigleyville with my cousin, and got caught up in an ABC Family marathon of movies. One of my favorites came on, "While You Were Sleeping". It is fun to watch that movie these days because I can pick out a lot of the filming locations, as it was shot in Chicago. It got me thinking about all the shows and movies that are shot in Chicago. Here is a list of some favorites and comments on their filming locations...

(1) E.R. - The eL stop they always feature is Quincy, in the heart of the Loop. There is no hospital nearby however. The exterior shots are shot at UIC's hospital, which is about 15 minutes southwest of downtown. Also there was a scene last season where an ambulance are driving down Wacker Drive and went right past my work building.
(2) While You Were Sleeping - Sandra Bullock's character, Lucy, works as a toll taker for the CTA. This is back in the day where you had to give your token to someone to enter. These days, you put money on a card and there is an automated machine that you run your card through. Her eL stop that she works at is Randolph/Wabash. I didn't realize this until yesterday while watching. "Lucy" also lives in a courtyard building that is pretty typical of Chicago, so it was hard to place. The coma guy (Peter Gallagher's character) lives in a high rise. By the look of his view, it looks like he lives in the Gold Coast as he faces south towards the Hancock Building.
(3) Batman Begins - Chicago stood in for Gotham in the latest installment of the Black Knight's adventures. There are several scenes where the camera pans over Wacker Drive. There is also an awesome car chase scene on Lower Wacker Drive. If you don't already know, there is a whole underground road system that is closer to river level. There is also a scene where Batman is perches on a building and that building is close to my work as well.
(4) High Fidelity - You have got to put High Fidelity on this list as John Cusack is a hometown boy. The record store he owned is in Wicker Park, on Milwaukee Ave. I happened to walk by it one day and had a flashback to the movie. Also there is a scene where John Cusack (can't remember his character's name) is on a college campus with Catherine Zeta-Jones. That campus is actually the campus of Lane Technical High School. I use to walk by it on my way to the bowling alley (I used to be part of a league - don't laugh!). It is a massive and beautiful high school.

Of course, you can reference any John Hughes movie to see suburban Chicago life. I personally loved Weird Science!

Happy Monday :)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Fake Beach

As a Florida girl, the beach was a pretty normal part of my existance. The smell of the ocean, the feeling of sand between your toes, and the taste of saltiness from the Atlantic--this was my reality when I chose to cross "the ditch" (otherwise knows as the Intracoastal Waterway).

Now that I live in Chicago (at least for the time being), I accepted that skyscrapers replace lifeguard stations. However, Chicagoians believe they can have both city and sand with their own beaches outlining the east side of the city. Beaches? I asked myself, how could this be. Beach=Ocean. There is no ocean nearby. Well lo and behold, North Avenue and Oak Street Beaches. I like to call it the Fake Beach. I feel like someone shipped the sand here and put it on the banks of Lake Michigan. I'm sure I'm totally wrong, but honestly, this is not natural.

But I've decided to dismiss my moronic thinking and actually try going to this beach. Yes, I'm ragging on a beach I haven't even been to. It is supposed to be in the 90's all weekend, which is quite scorching for Chicago and as good a weekend as any to try this beach out!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

ComEd is kinda dumb

When I moved from LSD (Lake Shore Dr., not the drug!!) to Wrigleyville, I had to switch the utilities over to the new digs. In this day and age, you can do all of this online. So I went to the ComEd site back in the middle of May and completed the necessary information. I even got an email confirming that they received everything. Electric was working just fine.

Now we are at the end of July and I had not received an electric bill from ComEd yet. When I checked my mail yesterday, I got a letter from ComEd saying "We know someone is using electricity at your apartment, but we do not have any information on the tenant." I'm thinking, well, guess my info never was received. So I call ComEd and they in fact do have me in the system and know that I live where I live. They just never linked my USAGE of electricity to my actual account. Yeah, they are kinda dumb. So I'm not going to get my 1st bill until the middle of AUGUST and it will be backdated to May. Yikes, I'm kinda scared to see how much it is!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Exploring Chicago Neighborhoods: Andersonville

I've decided that it would be fun to do a write-up of the different neighborhoods on Chicago. Chicago is a city of diverse neighborhoods. Each one of them has their own flavor and deserves to be recognized. For my first neighborhood write-up, I'm going to feature Andersonville.

Andersonville is located around the 5000 block of N. Clark. The best eL stops to take to the neighborhood include Berwyn and Bryn Mawr Red Line stops. My friend and I went there this weekend primarily to see my hairdresser's friend host a Drag Show at @mosphere. However, I had heard about this bar called Hopleaf that was known for having a terrific selection of Belgian beers. It was also featured on a local tv show called "Check, Please" where local Chicagoians review their favorite restaurants. So we had a plan--dinner at Hopleaf and Drag show at @mosphere.

We jumped on the 22 Clark Bus and took it to Clark and Foster. I immediately noticed the charming strip that the normally uninteresting Clark St. had become. The streets were lined with lightposts. The businesses were a mix of local cafes, bars, bakeries, stores, art galleries, and the Swedish-American Museum. I saw roughly 8 restaurants that I added to my "Must Dine" list. We had the opportunity to browse through a local art gallery. The art was tasteful and interesting. It definitely would provoke discussion but not for being completely vulgar.The stores ranged from boutique type establishments to local groceries where you could stock up on your Swedish delicacies. It did not feel like I was in Chicago, but rather in a charming small town.

Hopleaf was easy to find, with the lively crowd leading us to the modest storefront. Hopleaf offers a large variety of not just Belgian beers, but other beers, wines and a full service var (no Red Bull though!). Their menu, while small offered some tasty choices. Among the dishes tried were the Goat Cheese Macaroni and the Rainbow Trout with a Summer Veggie Pancake, Peas, and Corn. Both dishes were extremely tasty, although we had to ask for a new Pancake as the first one that came out was burnt. The staff remedied the situation quickly and did so with a smile. I highly recommend the trek up to Andersonville, even if all you do is go to Hopleaf.

@mosphere was a lot of fun. It was definitely a lot more welcoming than the other gay bars I've visited in Boystown. I always felt like people went to Andersonville did so when they outgrew Boystown. The Drag show was small but fun :)

I cannot wait to revisit Andersonville and explore more of the local neighborhood flavor. For my next review, I will go east of Andersonville to Uptown!

If there is something specific you would like for me to review, please let me know by leaving a comment!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thank you Craig!

One of the first "friends" I made when moving to Chicago was Craigslist. This fantastic website has helped me with so much. Whether the results were short or long term, Craig was always there for me. Here is a rundown of how Craig has worked to enhance my life:

(1) My then-roommate and I found out wonderful apartment on Lake Shore Drive.
(2) I found many activity groups including 2 bookclubs and 1 trivia team. From those groups, I have made wonderful friends, even though the groups themselves may not be in existance anymore.
(3) Tickets galore- I saw Death Cab, Wicked and a Cubs game--all courtesy of the awesome tickets section.
(4) I went on a handful of CL dates. Albeit, they were more comical than anything else, it did allow me to brush up on my dating skills. Plus, they provided me with some great bar stories :)
(5) Selling off my junk - I was able to get rid of electronics I didn't use and make some cash.
(6) Pure entertainment! I still read the M4W, Rants and Raves, and Missed Connections to get my giggles in. Plus, my friends have me check out the M4W ads to let them know who I've gone out with.

So, Craigslist, cheers to you!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trixie and Chad

When I moved to Chicago, I had to learn some new slang vocabulary. You know, the Loop, the eL, etc. The two most entertaining words I learned were "Trixie" and "Chad". After studying this websites, you too will be able to pick out a Trixie or Chad in a crowd. I believe studying creatures in their natural habitat is always the most fun, so get thee to Tilli's on Halsted. Happy Hunting!

Hot Fun at the World's Largest Block Party

I spent Friday and Saturday night at what is un-officially known as the World's Largest Single's Party. Otherwise known as the Old St. Pat's Annual Block Party, this event has been the scene where over 70 now-married couples have met. Since I am involved with the World's Best Boyfriend (hee hee), I didn't have a need to meet anyone. So why did I go? Well...the answer is CAKE. No...not the tasty dessert, but the band. The awesome, catchy tune creating band. They performed on Friday and they were everything I expected! In order to see CAKE for a reduced price, I volunteered on Saturday night. Honestly, volunteering allowed me to do some of the best people watching this city has to offer! I hope that people who were searching for that connection found it, whether it was for the long haul or for the night;-)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ode to the Puppet Bike

The Puppet Bike is my favorite street performer in Chicago. While I typically see the Puppet Bike on Michigan Ave, around Erie..I have heard he/she wanders around the city. Please...if you see the Puppet Bike, take a few moments and watch. Last spring, even when I was unemployed and with a horrid boyfriend, the Puppet Bike always made me giggle and smile.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sunshine + Crossword Puzzle = Perfect Lunch

I've been going to the park on my lunch breaks for the past few weeks when time permits. I bring my crossword puzzle and my lunch and bask in the sunshine. If I'm in luck, the orchestra is having an open rehersal and I'll have free music to set the scene for me. Simple but ever so lovely...