Category Archives: Chicago Tribune’s RedEye

Read Furby’s Lips: Bring Back the ’90s

The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye November 29, 2012

Brace yourselves: Furbies are back.

Just in time for Christmas, the owl/Mogwai/demon hybrid toy sensation of the ’90s has been resurrected and given a makeover. Your new Furby will have an app that translates his native Furbish language to English and LCD eyes (though looking into them is to stare into the face of madness).

It will also cost you $60 which, if you ask me, seems like an absurd amount to pay for a terrifying toy. I still remember the time my Furby “died” and then, years later, came back to life when I was cleaning out my closet. Why would they make a children’s toy do that?!

The rebirth of Furbies got me thinking about all the much, much cooler (and less traumatizing) ’90s relics that deserve a comeback. Here’s my list:

Continue reading Read Furby’s Lips: Bring Back the ’90s

Glue Gunnin’ for a Fight

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye September 14, 2012

I have painstakingly crafted Pinterest boards to decorate imaginary houses, fill make-believe closets and plan fictional vacations. I have stacks of well-intentioned exercises that are supposed to give me Wonder Woman’s butt and bottomless recipe boxes full of meals I’ve never attempted.

Like pretty much every other Pinterest user out there, I’ve lost hours to the mental masturbation that is Pinterest. Well, it’s time I stop pin-crastinating and start doing! (Cue “Eye of the Tiger.”) I decided to try a new craft project from my DIY board every day for a month. I recorded my progress below. Some details may be greatly exaggerated.

Day 1: Success! Spray-painted a bunch of pine cones silver and stuck them in a glass jar. A confused silver spider wandered out but other than that, this was a win. One pin down.

Continue reading Glue Gunnin’ for a Fight

Miss Curfew, Go to Prison

RedEye June 18, 2012

It’s been a difficult month if you enjoy Fanta or hate watching the Cubs lose.

Last month in New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces in restaurants and other select outlets.

Meanwhile, the small town of Middleborough, Mass., earlier this month overwhelmingly passed a ban on cursing. Pending (unlikely) approval from the state’s attorney general’s office, police will be required to hand out $20 citations to people who say naughty words in public.

Besides the icky Orwellian undertones of being ticketed for language, the swearing ban raises a whole lot of questions. First and foremost: Can I say “ass” if I’m referring to a bro in Wrigleyville, or if I just mean an actual donkey?

In all seriousness, the world is crumbling all around us and we’re worried about being offended? Continue reading Miss Curfew, Go to Prison

Katniss Everdeen is My New BFF

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye March 23, 2012

When I say “young adult literature,” what comes to mind? I bet it’s angst-ridden teenage girls and sparkly vampires who have nothing better to do with their immortality than to take high school chem over and over again.

The “Twilight” juggernaut has ruined YA lit’s reputation. It has come to stand as a symbol of everything eye-rollingly terrible about the genre. Almost all the blame can be laid on its fictional narrator, Bella Swan. Even a decent percentage of Twi-hards who swear their allegiance to Stephenie Meyer admit they can’t stand the passive (at her best), asinine (at her worst) Bella Swan.

Forget about “Twilight.” Please. A beacon of fabulous hope for revitalizing the YA genre has appeared in the form of Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” trilogy and its heroine, Katniss Everdeen. The first “Hunger Games” movie drops Friday, and it will serve as a satisfying antidote to the “Twilight” books and movies. This is especially true when comparing narrators: Bella vs. Katniss. Continue reading Katniss Everdeen is My New BFF

Time to Reclaim Our Lunch Breaks

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye November 3, 2011

Lunch has always been my favorite part of the work day. I know that isn’t a very controversial stand to take—I might as well declare that the Chicago winters get pretty bad or Hugh Jackman should have taken his shirt off more in “Real Steel”—but, nonetheless, I stand by it. Lunch is awesome.

Lunch is the breath that breaks up my day. It’s a chance to escape my desk and clear my head. Just when my eyeballs feel like they’re going to melt from overexposure to spreadsheets and Google Docs, in swoops my lunch break, like Batman after a call from Commissioner Gordon, here to save the day. I grab my lunchbox, stride into the sun-drenched kitchen, and take a seat … alone. Most days, I’m one of only a few people in my office who takes an actual lunch break.

Continue reading Time to Reclaim Our Lunch Breaks

The NFL Season Stole My Man

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye September 7, 2011

I view the up-coming autumn with an increasing sense of dread. The air grows ominously cooler, Starbucks has pumpkin flavored coffee, and annoyingly cute couples make plans to go apple picking. Why does my dread grow as crunchy, multi-colored leaves start to pile up? Because it’s the time of year when my husband disappears.

Yes, I am an NFL widow.

Continue reading The NFL Season Stole My Man

Pimp My Ride

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye September 3, 2011

Roberto Izquierdo spends hours at a time scouring eBay, but he’s not collecting vinyl or out-of-print books. The graphic designer is looking for parts for his bicycle. Make that his third bicycle.

“At first, I didn’t want to own a custom bike—I just wanted a simple road bike,” he said.

But Izquierdo, 25, of Bridgeport, soon realized he wanted more than an off-the-rack model.

Continue reading Pimp My Ride

Nerd-stalgia at Wizard World

RedEye August 11, 2011

Don’t ask Gareb Shamus what he thinks is the biggest attraction at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con.

“Oh God, that’s so hard to say,” said Shamus, CEO of the pop-culture extravaganza that begins Thursday night at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
With dozens of celebrities and more than 500 comic book artists signing autographs, speaking and showing off their work at the convention, it’s hard to single out any guest or event. Continue reading Nerd-stalgia at Wizard World

Those Nipples Better Be Real

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye August 4, 2011

My world has, for the most part, only gotten better as CGI has improved. It’s let me visit Jurassic Park, follow shifty-eyed Gollum to Mordor and witness Spider-Man swing through the New York skyline in a way the comic books never could capture. But with great power comes great responsibility.

There is a strange and disturbing trend creeping up in my digitally altered movie world: CGI nudity. Continue reading Those Nipples Better Be Real

I’m Taking Off the Invisibility Cloak

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye July 13, 2011

I have a confession to make: I have pop culture shame.

It’s not something I like about myself. I’m deeply torn between my desire to appear cool and my absolute, ocean-spanning, climb-every-mountain love for all things nerdy. It’s a delicate balance—my will to delve into comic books and my fear of getting shunned for talking about them.

Continue reading I’m Taking Off the Invisibility Cloak