I checked out this annual event for the first time on Saturday.

For those who don't know, IML is International Mr. Leather. A bunch of leather guys converge on Chicago and take over a hotel, the Palmer House Hilton, and there are tons of activities ( on stage, at the hotel, at bars and behind the scenes)

There are TONS of leather daddies and those who admire them at the hotel. You had to wait in a long line just to get into the market area where there is an endless line up of booths selling everything from porn to leather to sex toys to stained glass art that your grandmother might love.

I went there with a few friends and walked around. At first I was overwhelmed, but then it got old pretty fast for me. I am not at all into the leather scene, so all the guys started to look the same to me, and the seedy side of it that I hoped to see wasn't even there, because the lights in all the hotels conference rooms were so bright.

Anyway, glad I checked it out but I don't expect to be back there next year.

Grade: B

Memoirs of a Geisha

All of the stuff I heard about this movie was true. The gist of the reviews was that Geisha is a very beautiful movie, but not much other than that. The cinematography, costumes, scenery, people are all beautiful. But, the reviews said the acting wasn't much good and the story and pacing were duds. I wasn't as let down as I thought I would be. I loved the music, the story and the concept. But, the acting just ruined it for me.

Rob Marshall should have found some Japanese women, instead of Chinese women, and told this story in their native language to let their acting talents shine.

What is it with Marshall and his thing for stories of ladies feuding with each other?

Grade: C+




I visited Wakamono, the new sushi place on Broadway across from PingPong, a few nights ago. This photo has nothing to do with that, but this is one of the images that popped up when I googled Wakamono.

I was going to go there one other time, but when we popped in soon after they opened the place stank of fish, not a good sign for a sushi restaurant. But, after seeing long lines and hearing some good stuff, I figured I should give it a whirl.

It was really good. Some of the better sushi I have had in the sea of sushi choices here in Chicago. The Dragon roll was awesome and the chef's maki choice thing was really good, too, but they won't tell you what they are going to put on it, which makes it hard to share and pair with an extra roll or two.

And the music choice was really weird. They actually played a Christmas song at one point.

Grade: B


Eleanor Rigby

I love when I take a trip to find something to read that is set in the city I am headed to. Even better when it is my fav author of all time doing the writing. This book finally came out in paperback, but isn't being too widely distrubted, so could be tough to find.

I love Coupland (creator of the term Generation X) and his style. All very brief to the point prose, lots of culutral references and fun quirky characters. Plus some common themes: detachment, the end of the world, bizarre coincidences, religion or lack of...

This is the story of Liz, who has a very dull and lonely life in Vancouver. She lives alone, has no friends and has very little happen to her, other than having had a child in high school she gave away. The kid comes back in her life and she is forced to explore the trip to Italy that brought the child into existance, her lack of connection with anyone, and lots of other issues in her life. It sounds corny, but I promise, it is anything but.

Read anything by Coupland, and I promise you will be a better person. My personal favorite is Girlfriend in a Coma.

Grade: A


Harold on Top Chef

Harold won! I was nervous there for a while last night that Bitchani could win the whole thing.

Harold is such a nice sweet guy, everyone liked him and his food was consistantly good. And most diners out there care about good solid food, not risks and doing fancy shit. If a chef of a restaurant takes risks, they better know what the hell they are doing before they start messing around with food. And nobody on the show was at the point of being a well-known chef yet.

Anyway, the season is over. I hope they replace the zombie hostess next season, but can't wait. Chef's, I am convinced, can be some crazy mo-fo's, perfect for reality TV.

Oh, and did David and Stephen do it on their night on the town? They said they weren't going to talk about it. It was weird.

If they did, who do you think was the top? I would guess Stephen.

Grade: A


Taylor winning American Idol

The fact that this nasty man won the show makes me proud I am not a regular viewer. I watched bits of last nights episode. I knew they would pick this tool.

He can't sing. He looks gross and gives me the heebie jeebies.

This show officially sucks and so does America for voting for him.

Grade: F

Guu with Garlic

I was really excited about trying an Izakaya restaurant in Vancouver. This is a Japanese place that has drinks and small plates of food. There are none of these in most US cities, but it is a huge trend in Vancouver.

Guu was full of local Japanese students, and was really busy. The idea is that you get all these quick small plates to share, and the servers yell at the guys behind the counter. Lots of yelling and hustling and bustling, and these quick and easy yet really delicious plates.

I loved the food and we sat at the counter right by where all the food came out, and it was awesome to watch the team making it and see all the unique dishes coming out.

We had some great cocktails.

And then we had a snapper carpaccio, a beef salad, this egg that was wrapped in pumpkin and fried, lightly seared tuna and a shrimp and avocado dish. All SO good. The bf wasn't loving it as much as me, but we had fun for sure.

It was so Guud!

Grade: B+

Liliget Feast House

Liliget was the opposite end of the specture. We paid too much for really bland boring food.

Our martinis that we stared with made with some berry I had never heard of was really wonderful, but that was about it.

We shared the feast platter which had salmon, mussels, cod, duck breast, venison and buffalo sausage with rice and vegetables. Nothing was seasoned and it was all overdone. Bland and boring with every single bite. And this platter cost 50 bucks.

The only redeeming factor was the dining room. It was one of the most unique and beautiful dining rooms I had been in. Very small, but you walked downstairs and the tables are all dipped into the groud and you have to lift up part of the table to take your seat after you walk on a small path with rocks around it and take the rock steps up to your seat. Very unique and very Canadian feeling.

Anyway, if you go to Canada, stay away.

Grade: D+


This was, by far, the best meal in Vancouver. We went in intending to do the 4 course menu, but could only get through the first three with no room for dessert.

It is on a residential street in Vancouver and a cute dining room, but it could be a little more intimate. And there was a cabinet in the middle of the room that bugged my bf and matched nothing.

Anyway, I had a duck appetizer with rhubarb stuff on the side, followed by a salmon ravioli in an asparagus sauce with salmon cavier and the tuna for my entree. The bf had the seafood bisque, followed by a quail and artichoke risotto with the lamb as his entree. They all were amazing dishes except for the ravioli which was sort of chewey and the inside texture was a little too finely blended for me. The meal was accompanied by a Pinot Grigio from British Columbia that rocked.

And we each started with these really delicious and not overpowring cocktails, mine made with a berry sorbet and the bf's with an apple sorbet. Devine!

Grade: A


My bf

So, you see me talk about my bf on this blog a lot. Here we are in our face masks in Vancouver. They were from Lush and made our faces look amazing that night. Aren't we SO cute! I would put up the picture I took of him sleeping in his undies, but he would probably be mad if I posted that.

He was an amazing travel companion. We had a ton of fun together, seemed to be reading each others minds, wanted to do the same stuff, almsot never disagreed on what we wanted to do, and I can honestly say I love him ever more after this trip.

He is so much fun. Whether we are out partying, having an amzing dinner, walking through the woods together, sitting on the beach, shopping or just laying around in our room, it was great to be with him. I can't say enough good things about this man that I love! I am happier than ever in my life with him and this trip just proved that to me even more. He is so funny, sexy, smart, sassy and challenging!

Sorry for the corny post, readers, but Jhun, I love you a ton! Thanks for an amazing time and being an amazing and beautiful boyfriend!

Grade: A+

Burberry colognes

The bf and I got a few colgnes at the duty free store on our way home. And two of them are other Burberry scents. You may remember I blogged about Burberry London, which I love, and I found out I love these ones, too.

And I had that blog entry about the Burberry polo I wanted (I still think about it sometimes before I fall asleep. Is that weird?) I guess I have a thing for Burberry. Who knew.

But these both smell so f'ing good on me. I am wearing the Touch today and plan to try the Burberry Brit out tomorrow.

Grade: A


I could probably do about 10 posts on here about Vancouver, but I am just going to give a quick rundown of my time there. If there is anything you want reviewed or discussed on here in more detail, just let me know, or shoot me an e-mail and I can giver you a personalized account.

Thursday - We couldn't get on the first flight we wanted to Vancouver and the airport was a mess, so we barely got on a plane to San Francisco and I had a mild panic attack trying to get to my seat and find a place for my luggage. But, thankfully, that was the most stressful part of the entire trip. We stayed in a hotel near the airport, and had a crappy dinner with a relaxing time in the hot tub there.

Friday - Got up at 4:00 am to get on a flight at 6:30 to Vancouver. Got on the plane no problem and got to Vancouver around 8:30. The descent into the city was beautiful and so was the city right away. Mountains with snow on them still in the background, water everywhere, the sun was shining when we got there, clean streets. Checked into the hotel, which was OK, but nothing special other than the great view from our 23rd floor balcony of the mountains, the city and the bay. Georgeous!

We quickly changed and went to the Granville Island Public Market to walk around. So much amazing food there. We got a couple of new fruits there that I had never tried (one was like a lychee, but wasn't that, and one was like a kiwi, but wasn't that exactly either). Some pate, some smoked salmon, some dungeness crab, some British Columbia brie, and beer from the brewery there and sat by the water and had a little picnic lunch.

We went back to the hotel on the ferry and rested for a while and walked down Robson street, the shopping area, where we tried on some clothes, but bought nothing and went to Lush (see previous post) and bought face stuff, shampoo bars, and a mask that seriously was amazing and made both of us have flawless amazing skin that night.

Dinner was at the Parkside, the best meal of the trip, and I will probably review it some time this week in a seperate post. Then to the gay bars. We were not feeling at first, but then our night suddenly changed and we met some great people and had an amazing time. Vancouver nightlife isn't too varied for the gays, but Celebrities is a great spot, and that's where we ended up that night and the next.

Saturday - Woke up late and had a greasy burger at the Denman Street Freehouse. Decent burger. Then we walked up the seawall of Stanley Park, great views, and walked into the forest and took a hike on a trail. Felt like we were hiking in the middle of nowhere. Then we headed down from the park to Gastown and Chinatown. Saw a really sketchy area of town with people doing drugs left and right on broad daylight. I didn't feel endangered at all, but for sure the sketchiest area of a city I have ever seen. So many druggies left and right.

Got back to the the hotel and rested again, followed by dinner at Guu, which I want to review later as well. Then back to Celebrities for another crazy night out together.

Sunday - Woke up late, yet again, and went to some greasy diner on Davie street for lunch. Then we caught a bus to Wreck Beach. The weather wasn't great and it was an adventure figuring out how to get there, but worth it. Lots of old hippies on the beach and we walked down to the far end where we saw some other fags and just layed around there. Cold weather, but a really cool environment. It is a clothing optional beach and some naked people but the weather was cold, so not too many. A few people walked around selling beer and pot on the beach.

Back to the hotel for a really shitty dinner at Lilliget Feast House, review to follow also. Do not go to this place. It sucked. Then a cocktail at Delilah's, where we should have had dinner, I think, and an early night back at the hotel.

Monday - Up early and had breakfast at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Empire Landmark, our hotel. The breakfast sucked, but the view of the city from 45 floors up was wonderful and a nice way to end our time there. Got to the airport and got to fly back home first class!

Thanks for an amazing time Vancouver! I loved it!

Grade: A+


Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone

So, I am too angry to blog about ANTM or Top Chef right now.

But, I am off to Vancouver. Lots to talk about when I return on Tuesday.


Root Beer Floats

When was the last time you had a root beer float? It had been a while for me, but then a week or two ago I had a dinner party and ended it with root beer floats. It was so good and brought back some childhood memories!

I had another one last night during the Grey's Anatomy finale (which, by the way, was amazing!)

This time aroud though, I realized I had made these wrong my whole life. You do root beer than ice cream, not the other way around....oops...

Grade: B+


Updating my links

So, there are a bunch of blogs I have been reading lately that I haven't managed to add to my list of links just yet. I just have been lazy and haven't updated my links in a while.

So, to make it easier on me, if you are a blogger who reads my site often, please post a comment here and I will know to add you.

Grade: C for me not doing this sooner
A for you if you give me your link

Strippers who smile - revisted...

Those long-time Chargenda readers may remember me blogging about this stripper before.

Well, I went to a party this weekend, and he was working at it.

I still think he is hot, but I have become a bit less excited about this stripper.

To start, I told him I have a blog and wrote about him. His response: "What's a blog?"

And that is just the start, I won't go into any more details.

Grade: B-

Light Before Day

Before I come down too hard on this book, I have to admit that I have read the first two novels written by Christopher Rice, and I didn't love them either, but I still am reading everything of his that comes out.

Rice, the son of Ann Rice, wrote this third novel and this time has grown up a bit. The characters are older and more mature, and it is a whole new gay world he writes about. It is a murder mystery set in West Hollywood (and other more rural parts of California).

I won't get into the crazy convoluted plot too much (it gets complicated) but it deals with meth, gay men, huslters, child pornography, and lots of other stuff that is the "underbelly" of gay culture.

And just like his first two books, the writing is a bit obvious and over the top. Rice is not going to be winning the pulitizer any time soon, but it is a good guilty pleasure. I am embarassed for him at times, but then again, I know I couldn't produce much better if I tried to write a novel. I keep hoping for each book to get bettter, but they don't and you can be sure you will see me buying his next novel again.

Grade: C+

This is Christopher - maybe he gets a B, just for being cute.



Grand Ecole

This move is tres gay....

No, really, I mean it both ways. It is a some frenchy movie about some college kids who don't know if they are gay or straight, and it is gay as in like, dumb.

I rented it because I like to see movies with lots of naked boys in them that aren't porn. And it has some of that, but it was SO not sexy at all. The one middle eastern guy in it was hot, and the other guys were pretty, too. But the story sucked.

Why is it so fun for me to see movies where guys show their man bizness when I could just rent porn and see it all? Who knows, but if you know of movies with crotch shots, let me know!

Grade: D+ (but rent it just to see some nekkie men)


In Good Company

This movie just popped up on one of the movie channels last night, and I hadn't ever really thought to watch it. Even though I really love Scarlett and Dennis.

I loved it. A really great story, great script, great acting. Just all around good.

It is the story of a guy who is in his mid-twenties and his marriage has fallen apart, but his career is going great. He ends up heading up an advertising department for a national sports magazine and most of the people he is overseeing are twice his age. He develops a love/hate relationhip with Dennis Quad's character and then falls in love with his daughter, Scarlett.

Check it out.

Grade: A-



Top Chef Reunion

Last night was the reunion episode of Top Chef. I usually think these episodes where they all get together and chat are lame. But they let them get a few drinks in them and they were on fire. I mean, half the cast is totally kee-razy and it made me love this show even more.

Some highlights:
  • Tiffani and Dave got into a bunch of times and they both bugged me a lot.
  • Everyone ripped on Tiffani and she had to leave the set and was off to the side crying and bent over saying something about how she didn't want to be their monkey.
  • Ken went nuts like three times. He told Harold he was gay. Said the judges were stupid and mocked everyone.
  • Stephen came off looking somewhat normal and apologized to Candice for how he treated her in their 35 minute argument on the show. But then Ken jumped in and they had to hold him back when Stephen called him white trash.

Some other stuff happened that was sort of nuts. But, God, I love this show. Why don't you?!

Grade: A


Sara on ANTM

Finally they got rid of Sara. I was scared they were going to kick out Danielle last night, but they kept her. All the other girls looked SO slammin' in their swimsuits last night, especially Joanie.

So, Jade did good thise epsidoe. She is still totally bat-shit crazy, but her pictures looked great. I am so scared that she could win somehow. That would blow.

But, not a bad choice for final three at all, despite Tyra's crazy way of getting there.

Grade: B




Pesto is an amazing thing. I made a fresh batch of it last night for some pasta that the bf and I cooked up and served with chicken breasts. A very basic dinner, but I am always blown away by how yummy fresh pesto takes, and how easy it is to prepare at home.

You just take a ton of basil (roughly 3 cups packed), pine nuts (maybe half a cup), parmesean cheese (1/4 cup), oil (1/2 cup), and salt to taste. Blend it in a food processor and play with the ingredients til you get it to a point that tastes good. I like to use a bit less oil and a bit more garlic for a super garlicky, less oily version. And it isn't just good for pasta, make pizza, serve it with eggs, on meat or wherever you feel like having some pesto!

My next endeavor will be to do some variations. I saw a recipe for an avocado pesto that I really want to try. And you can make it with cilantro instead.

Grade: A


40 Year Old Virgin

I haven't been feelin' the urge to blog the past few days. Not sure what it is, but thought I should post something to keep my legions of fans happy.

I watched this movie last night. And it was pretty funny, liked it more than I thought I would.

The one thing I noticed is that it worked the pacing the opposite way that lots of slapstick gross-out movies have worked. They tend to keep it really funny and try to maintain that humour the entire time. And by the end you are burned out and the schticks get old. But, this has a nice pacing and eazes you into the really stupid jokes.

And I love me some Catherine Keener. You go girl!

Grade: B+


Lee Ann on Top Chef

I am really loving this show more and more as it gets closer to the end, so I was pleased to see that they have renewed the show and it will come back for another season.

But, please, please, please, get rid of Billy Joel's boring wife and get a new host. She sucks so hard.

I was shocked to see them kick off Lee Ann. At first I thought I would see Dave, the neurotic gay guy, get the boot. He did the worst on the first challenge and hasn't had too much to rave about all season. But when they told Harold (my choice for the winner) and Dave they were safe, then I was sure that bi-bitch Tiffany would be "packing her kives." These reality shows love to mess with my head!

But the challenge for this one was really fun. They went to Napa and had to make a dish for a table full of excellent chefs, using black truffles in the dish. And the dish had to be a good pairing with a truly amazing and rare bottle of wine. Yum!

Grade: A-


Case Histories

As I have said before, I have this aversion to British novels, and I have this sexist aversion to female authors. It is totally wrong of me, but I like my authors male and not British. I know this is SO wrong of me, and the rules about the lady writers has been proven wrong a bunch, but more often than not I am able to relate to a male voice better.

So, I was surprised that I liked this book. It wasn't a fav of mine, but it was still a damn good read.

It is the story of three mysteries that happened years ago and are resurfaced again when a detective is called in to help, but it is so much more than a mystery novel. Great character development, great story, and interesting conclusions. The actual mysteries take a back seat to the great writing and story.

Grade: B+


Breakfast on Pluto

I wrote this long post about this movie earlier in the week, and then my computer f'd up and got rid of it before it posted. So, you get a quickie.

Cillian is awesome. So attractive and talented. Decent movie. Accents were hard to grasp for a bit. Thick Irish accents. Good, but not too memorable.

Grade: B-


Being surrounded by love!

Awww..... This is my fav photo from the night that we went out for my roomates birthday and met Daniel V. I am in the middle with RJ, my best friend and roomate who I have known for 9 years now, and my amazing, cute and wonderful boyfriend, Jhun!

Grade: A+

Furonda on ANTM

I wasn't a Furonda fan in the beginning of the show, but her personality grew on me. But, on screen she looked a little fugly to me. Take this photo above for example.

But, when she got up for judging her photos were really amazing. She looked good.

Joanie and Danielle are shaping up to be the final two. I would say look for Sara to go next week and for them to keep Jade for the final three. Yuck.

Grade: C



Daniel V revisited

Oh, look, here is the photo I mentioned. Do you like how my boyfriend just like totally blocked my head at the last minute? Those are my eyes.

I don't know who that trixie is, she was with Daniel.



Bad photos

I love photos of friends, especially ones where they look as bad as Brady does in this photo. This is my friend Brady on the right who sent me the Oscar book. He was my first real boyfriend (until he cheated on me, which I covered in a previous post).

Anyway, that is him and my friend Jen and Kara. Jen and Brady are coming for a visit this summer!

Anyway....I giggle whenever I see Brady's face in the photo.

Grade: A


Vancouver Wins!

Just wanted to update you all. Vancouver won the blog post about where we should go, with seven votes. Savannah was in second with five votes and Seattle had just three.

So, May 18-22 we will be heading to Vancouver. If you have been there or are from there and check out this blog, please give me some comments and feedback on what I should do there. I intend to wander around and do Stanley Park, Granville Public Market, Canada Place and hitting bars and stuff on Davie St. I love input on restaurants that are "can't miss" and other insider tips.

Feel free to comment on here or to e-mail or IM me. baasecha1@hotmail.com


I ate this over the weekend.

For those who don't know, it is grilled brains. It was pretty nast to me, but something I always wanted to try.

It isn't bread and it isn't sweet.

Grade: D+ (a higher grade cuz I am glad I tried it)