Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: March 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Little Bit of Monica In My Life

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It is that time of year birthday.

Next week, I turn 39 (excuse me while I throw up a little in my mouth). My friend, Monica Samuels, is flying in to spend a few days with me in Chicago for my birthday extravaganza. I've written about Monica in the past. I was with Monica in Vegas for Sake Fever, and while we were out there, we had dinner at CarneVino.

Our wine is envy worthy

While Monica is in Chicago, we will be visiting multiple culinary destinations. Monica is a sake ambassador and we both have a soft spot in our hearts for food (my soft spot is a little softer than hers). Monica is also the only person I ever allow to order for me at dinner. In fact, when I am in her company, I rarely even have to look at a menu. She orders just the way I like it - sharing many dishes. I am not big on entrees, I like to try many things and get bored with a whole entree.

Leading up to my weekend of gluttony, I will be spending some Leyla Time primping and indulging in other ways. Leyla Time started over the weekend with a minor procedure, if you find me a little less expression-full over the next few months, just keep it between us. I've already been receiving comments like "You look good, did you do something different?" Well, yes, yes I did.

Tomorrow morning, Leyla Time continues with an 8:00 a.m. spa appointment at The Peninsula Spa for a manicure and a pedicure. Immediately followed by a full day of work. And, tomorrow evening, I have a cut and color scheduled with @ToddFisch. Then I have MeetUp for Affiliate Marketers (I hope I don't miss it).

Wednesday I work from a client's office (which will feel like a vacation in comparison to Monday and Tuesday). I have another Affiliate MeetUp on Wednesday night, this one is on PPC.

On Thursday, Miss Monica will be coming in at 5:00 p.m. I will be picking her up from the airport with the Escalade I will be driving for my birthday weekend. (I really hope it is a white Escalade, I like white with the gold package, like P. Diddy would drive. I have a weird obsession with P. Diddy).

Monica and I will be driving back from the airport and straight to dinner at Schwa with a very special (anonymous) friend who worked his magic and got us the reservation. Schwa has been on our list of must-visit spots in Chicago.

Friday night, Monica and I have dinner reservations at Girl and The Goat. I may be the only person in Chicago who has little desire to eat here, but Monica wanted to try it, so I agreed. I am certain the food will be great, I am just not into the whole "I was a TV Chef" thingy. I'm a throw-back foodie, I turn my nose up at the newbie foodie, and I have strong feeling Friday night will be crawling with newbies. I am doing my best to go in with an open mind (and also hoping that someone at the restaurant doesn't read this and cancel my reservation).

Saturday night Kevin (Monica's boyfriend) comes into town and they have plans with other Chicago friends while I attend an engagement party. We may all meet up at Three Aces later that night.

Monica and Kevin both leave on Sunday. Before I drive them back to the airport, in my Escalade, we will have an early dinner at Avec. Avec was where Monica and I used to go every Tuesday night when she lived in Chicago - and Avec is also where she would consistently trick me into eat pork. Oh, the times we had!

Other awesome dinners I've written about:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Flight Home, Carla Bruni, SXSW and Houston, Texas

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(This was written on the plane Saturday night, March 19th)

My Flight.

The turbulence is rough and I cannot concentrate on my work while I am swinging about in thin air. I am listening to my go-to flight music, Leonard Cohen "Everybody Knows," I often feel as if this were my theme song. Due to my lack of ability to concentrate at my task at hand, I decide to write this blog post. Should the plane come down, perhaps this will be the last thing what people read of mine, but maybe not.

SXSW Interactive in Austin.

I was going over my video clippings from SXSW, one week later, it is all just a blur at this point. I vaguely recall being at SXSW and the videos of darkness do not help me decipher what exactly happened. I did enjoy myself and I made a handful of great connections.

SXSW Interactive 2011

The day I was leaving Austin for Houston, I received a text from an ex asking me about the convention and letting me know that he was proud of me. He went on to ask me how I looked during the convention– typical. Loosen your grip on the past - sings Leonard Cohen.

Carla Bruni, A feminist if you ask me.

I have a cover song on my playlist, Carla Bruni covers Leonard Cohen "In My Secret Life" and my mind wanders....I think more about Carla Bruni.

Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy
Dinner at Petit Palais - 1

How can I think Carla Bruni is a feminist? Well, she does what only men can do, only she does it better. To me, that is feminism. I wanted to write a blog post about Carla Bruni for a long time but I feared others would frown upon it. Tonight, when this song came on, I knew it was kismet. I knew I should write my true feelings for Carla Bruni.

Who is Carla Bruni? She is a former model, a musician (Quelqu'un m'a dit) and the wife of the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, that is maybe how you know her best. Carla Bruni is also the illegitimate daughter of a millionaire mother who was having an affair with her billionaire father. She was born in Italy and raised in France. She dated both Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, and to me, she is a bit of a hero.

Lerab Ling 19

Carla Bruni is fairly famous for having an affair with Raphael Enthoven (while allegedly living with his father) and bore an illegitimate son to Raphael (whom she wrote a song about called Rapha?l). His wife at the time, Justine Levy, did not take too kindly to this mishap, she wrote a book called "Rien De Grave about the incident. Translated to English, it means - “Nothing Serious.” Pretty serious, but I think she was being cheeky.

Probably my favorite part about Carla Bruni is, before she married the President of France, she dated the Prime Minister of France. Explain to me if you will, what woman gets to do this? Only men have a license to behave this way, men are consistently forgiven while women are condemned - but not Carla Bruni. For that reason, God bless Carla Bruni.


So why was I in Houston? My close friend Jen’s father passed away last week and instead of coming home from Austin, I hopped on a Greyhound and made my way to Houston for a few days to be with Jen and her family.

Greyhound Station in Austin, Texas

A quick sidetrack - The bus ride from Austin to Houston. I have never been on a bus in the United States, in Europe or Turkey, yes, they are more common, but in the U.S. never. My ONLY goal for this bus trip was to not sit next to someone who smelled like urine. That’s all I asked, I just wanted a urine-free trip. Success was mine!

I boarded the bus and there were several open rows. As my eyes panned the seats, a voice in my head said, “Always pick who you sit next to, don’t let them pick you.” I backpacked through Europe (alone) in the 90s and I read this valuable tip in a book geared for women traveling alone. So I did not take an open row, instead, I paused for one second and picked a seat with the boy with long hair that looked like Chris Robinson from The Black Crowes. Turned out he was a tattoo artists... with no tattoos of his own.

My three hour bus ride with the formerly homeless, young, tattoo artist was very pleasant. He was not annoyed with my stories, and what was better, he had plenty of his own stories to share. Stories about fighting and getting shot at by other homeless people, girl troubles, tattoos, making TV shows about being a tattoo artist, etc. I didn't believe all of his stories, he probably embellishes for effect, but who doesn't? His stories suited me just fine because he kept me plenty entertained on an otherwise dreadful trip.

Urine-free bus ride, perhaps, but not filth free.
This is the sink in the rest stop in-the-middle-of-no-where-Texas

Bus stop in the middle of no where Texas

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SXSW in Austin Texas -- Day 1 (for Leyla)

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My first day in Austin was a bit hectic...

I flew into Austin for SXSW on Saturday morning, a day behind everyone else. This created a situation where I had to scramble to pick up my badge, my press pass and get my lay of the land.

I wasn't able to attend a single session on Saturday because time simply ran out. I did run into about 10 people I knew in my first hour I was here; friends from other conferences, from my former life, and various other places. The highlight was running into John Geletka who moved to LA last year and I had no clue he was going to be here. SXSW is turning into some great reunion of sort; bumping into virtual friends for the first time and seeing old IRL friends I have not seen in months.

So start the SXSW parties

Nicole, Tony and I had dinner and headed out into the wild around 8pm. Unless you're on the "VIP" list for these parties it is almost impossible to get in. The lines are obscene and simply unacceptable for any self-respecting, bourbon loving, blog writing, wanna-be digital marketer. And particularly, for this former nightlife princess, waiting in line was not an option, so I started my own party. I called it a "snowball party".

We were standing on a corner looking at the grotesque line for the Frog Digital party when we met Scott, a mobile app developer and SXSW veteran. Scott informed us that another party was going to start in an hour and if we headed over in that direction now, we could get in line. As we started walking down 6th Street, we found a way better option - The Thirsty Nickle had an all girl cover band dressed as naughty nurses. This is where we lost Nicole but gained Gerrard, a digital marketer for a large, traditional publication company - the snowball is growing! The band was awesome!


The band wrapped up just as we received a text from Kim Redd, she was at the Foursquare party. Tony and I headed out with our new friends, Scott and Gerrard, to see if we could get into the Foursquare party. Snowball party in full force.

We get to Cedar Court, where the very exclusive Foursquare / American Express party was taking place. There was a mob of people out front, hundreds of people trying to get into this party where there was full open bar (top shelf). I try my luck at the door and security is tight. Gerrard points out that there is a tall guy walking around the crowd in a Foursquare t-shirt and that perhaps I should try my luck at begging our way in the door. Being the only girl in the group, I reluctantly oblige. To my surprise, I sweet talk my way in the door - a big thanks to @SkipAroundTown

The Foursquare party was great!

It was like watching my Twitter stream come to life at that party. @Scobelizer @TristanWalker @Naveen just walking around - not just their avatars floating past my stream. The party was mostly filled with Amex executives, social media gurus and tons of mobile developers. That was the cool party, I met REALLY GEEKY developers. But nothing could top what happened next.

As I was walking to washroom, I walked past one-lone Asian man standing on the dance floor, so of course, I approached him. He was wearing a custom-made button from Foursquare. I asked what that was, and in very broken English, he explained to me that Foursquare had made him the button because he was the biggest user in South Korea.

Foursquare flew @Edit_King into the U.S. for this party! He was so happy to be in the United States and he was so happy to be in Austin but he was alone...until he became part of our snowball party!! I asked @Edit_King to explain further. Apparently, with over 60K check-ins, he was the biggest Foursquare user in South Korea. To put this in perspective, I am a Foursquare user (power-user IMO) and I have about 1200 check-ins.

Tony Ham - Edit_King - Me (@leyla_a)

Mayor of South Korea... on Foursquare

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tiger Blood Radio - Capitlizing on "Charlie Sheen Winning" by Sirius XM

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All of my wildest dreams are almost coming true - Tiger Blood Radio is here! On SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio

Starting tomorrow morning at 6AM, there is a new station on SIRIUS XM- Tiger Blood Radio. That's right folks, if you do not have SIRIUS XM, this could be a good time! I have SIRIUS XM app on my Android phone so I am ready to roll.

What is Tiger Blood Radio?

Initially, I thought it was a station starring to Charlie Sheen but after reading further I find it is a 24-hour limited-run channel that will explore the breaking news, facts, fallout and career implications of the Charlie Sheen controversy. The station claims that it will take listeners behind the headlines, exploring the media frenzy and the media reaction. It also claims to analyze the medical, psychological, psychiatric and pop culture and celebrity angles. Additionally, there will be a recap of news coverage, it will offer a timeline of recent events.

Hopefully something crazy will happen and we can hear some breaking news on Tiger Blood radio, but I am thinking that the best is behind us folks.

Tiger Blood Radio will also offer the following:

  • SIRIUS XM listeners will hear archival Playboy Radio clips featuring "Goddess"/current live-in girlfriend Bree Olson
  • Sheen's ex-fiancĂ©e/Spice Radio host Ginger Lynn shares stories of her relationship with him on Tiffany Granath's Playboy Radio show
  • And adult film star Kacey Jordan talks to Playboy Radio's Night Calls about her times with Sheen. This will probably be Kacey Jordan's final 15 minutes so I am sure she's planning to make it good.

When (Howard Stern) had Charlie Sheen on the show earlier this week, he told Sheen that he would be happy to mic up Sheen's home and let him come on the air whenever he felt the urge. Being completely enthralled by the Sheen debacle, I found this to be a brilliant idea! Brilliant. But, as you likely already know, I find all of Stern's ideas to be brilliant.

Although Tiger Blood Radio is not quite like having the real Sheen on the air, actually, not even close, it is a great marketing angle, and hopefully SIRIUS XM can sell some radios and Android apps from it. And then, maybe, just maybe, we can get Sheen to do a real 24 hour radio show from his own SIRIUS XM Satellite Radiochannel!

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why Do we LOVE @CharlieSheen ? Uh.. Bi-Winning, That's Why!

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I thought I was the only one...but reading everyone's Twitter stream tonight, clearly, I am not alone! People LIKE Charlie Sheen!

Here are some Charlie Sheen related T-shirts you can purchase:

Let's talk Charlie Sheen today. Back a year, or so, ago, when Charlie first attacked his third wife, I thought he was in despair and I was disgusted by his spousal abuse. A few months later when he attacked a prostitute / porn star in his hotel room, I knew he was in severe trouble. Then, more recently, when he was hospitalized with a handful of hookers at his home, and suitcase of cocaine, my exact words were, "Nothing *FUN* is happening at 6AM, when you're still there at 6AM, it is because you have to be.

Even at the same time, I knew that there had to be two sides to the story. When I learned that his wife (ex-wife) was intoxicated at 8:00 a.m. on Christmas Morning when the police arrived, that made me wonder. I like to drink, but I cannot recall the last time I was drunk at 8:00 AM, let alone on Christmas Day. I suddenly realized that they, Brooke and Charlie, were cut from the same cloth. This does not excuse abuse, it just makes me wonder more what exactly happened in that house.

With the porn / prostitute, I truly wonder what happened there too. No doubt that Charlie went mental, on a drug fueled rant or rage, but was she really afraid for her life? I mean, the guy was so messed up that he opened the hotel door naked for the NY City police. His lack of self-awareness is so weird.

For months and months, Charlie Sheen has not spoken up about the endless press about his addiction and his antics, he has bottled it up and refused to defend himself. Now, Charlie Sheen is speaking as much as he possibly can and I don't blame him, I'd likely do the same if everyone was passing judgment and diagnosing me as bi-polar because of a television interview. Yesterday, I watched a video with Bill Maher and I could not agree more with Bill Maher. Watch the video...

A 50+ year old man who chooses to live his life in this fashion, should absolutely have the right to do so. Perez Hilton asked his Twitter stream tonight, and I will paraphrase, Why was everyone so freaked out about Brittany Spears but they're OK with Charlie Sheen. I thought I would bullet point my thoughts on why we're OK With Charlie this for you.

Why We Love Charlie Sheen

  • He is Charlie Sheen
  • He is unapologetic
  • He has always been Charlie Sheen, and in the words of Howard Stern, "When you marry Charlie Sheen, you should know that you're going to get Charlie Sheen."
  • He is funny
  • He is witty
  • Although his delivery is "off", his message is not all wrong, in fact, I find myself agreeing with him more and more.
  • We love bad boys...especially when they're WINNING!
  • Many of us can relate. We see a part of ourselves in him, we are silently cheering him on for being able to tell "The Man" to "Go F himself" just like Charlie has to his boss, Chuck Lorre, the creator of the show. We wish we had the courage to stand up for ourselves the way he has in these past few days.
  • We all like a good train wreck and he's a train wreck that won't stop WINNING
  • He is successful. He has accomplished more than most of us could ever hope to accomplish in four lifetimes and that makes us believe in him a bit more
  • Did I mention that he is really funny?
  • Did I mention that he is a train wreck?
  • We are sick of the media, we are sick of the pseudo experts who chime in and give their opinions on something they know nothing about as they are not treating Charlie Sheen
  • Nostalgia. We've loved Charlie Sheen for decades

Mostly, we are OK with Charlie Sheen because of the way he has managed this excessively public meltdown. His candor, his transparency, his willingness to open his doors and take us inside his twisted home. We love that he has not backed down, we love that he has come out swinging and we love the raw emotion; that he is vulnerable, angry and real. And, maybe most of all, we can't help but feel a tinge "normal" in comparison. Charlie Sheen has helped us feel better about "Sitting in the smallest chair in our tiny homes"..."With our fat wives and ugly children."

We realize we don't want to be Charlie Sheen. We are relieved that he is he and we are here, at home, safely watching the unraveling of a man from our Pottery Barn couches.

I believe Charlie will be just fine. I've known a few highly successful addicts and the ONE thing we forget, or don't know, about this highly successful people is that, many of them, can do anything. As Charlie Sheen says, it's in their DNA, and I believe that (to an extent). I had a friend who was a raging alcoholic and drug addict for many years (he was also a highly successful person). I always believed my friend would die. A lot of the insane, witty and ridiculous comments spewing from Sheen's lips, feel all too familiar to me.

When my friend turned to sobriety, I never thought he would be able to do it. He did it, and seemingly with ease. I recall his 1st anniversary of sobriety and I said to him, "I don't know why I thought you'd fail, you can do anything else, why should this be any different." How did he do it you ask? He has Tiger Blood and Adonis DNA...and, he has one speed - GO! Oh, and rehab helped too.

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