July 2012 Archives

Gerdes Accomplishment Week: Day 1

Fuzzy and I are taking this week off to get some things done!

Day 1:
1 load of laundry washed
4 loads of laundry put away
Apes stuff written and prepared
Dishes washed and put away
Dining room cleanup started: Table and Floor
Living room cleanup started: Floor under coffee table cleaned; Living room floor swept, including under the couch
Triathlon bags unpacked and put away
Some things Blogged
(and this just what I can think of. I know Fuzzy did more things, too.)


Six Years!

Six years ago, on July 29, 2006, Fuzzy and I crammed a couple hundred of our favorite people into a hot un-airconditioned loft apartment and pledged our vows of love to each other. I had no idea how much our love could grow over the years, and how much I would continue to learn from, laugh with and be inspired by this amazing man. I am so blessed to have Fuzzy, and I am blessed that he loves me back. We've been through so many adventures together, and really, the adventures are just beginning.

Here's an awesome highlight reel from the wedding that Fuzzy made this week. It's so bittersweet seeing all the amazing people, and my sweet little daddy and memaw, who are no longer with us.

To celebrate this weekend, we got an awesome hotel downtown, went out for a nice steak dinner, drank champagne, had a couple's massage (VERY welcome, post triathlon) and had an awesome staycation exploring places we'd never been and eating delicious food. It was a dream come true!

This couple has been married for six years

True love!

On our wedding day, we had 2 wedding cakes from CostCo--one was white with white frosting, and one had a cartoon boy on a skateboard that said EXTREME WEDDING. We didn't want to do a cake cutting, and as a result neither of us had any cake. On Saturday night, my sweet husband surprised me with a tiny wedding cake, complete with a cake topper!

' Anniversary Cake

It was delicious! Such a sweet gift.

Thank you, Fuzzy for 6 amazing years of marriage. I love you so much!

Tri, Tri Again!

South Shore Tri Finishers

Yesterday was the South Shore Sprint Triathlon, hosted by RAM Racing, on the SouthSide of Chicago. This was triathlon #2 for the summer, and #3 for me overall (now that I have a few more triathlons under my belt, I am reclaiming the Super Sprint I did last year) and it felt great! After the Big Foot Tri, I had mondo knee pain for a week after, but so far so good on it now. We'll see how it holds up after the Apes dance tomorrow and throughout the week. I'm super proud of myself, yet again!

Fuzzy, Shaun and I headed down at 4:30am to get body marked and set everything up. I had a start time of 7:15am. The water was really choppy, and the race officials were allowing people to skip the swim if they were feeling unsafe. I was feeling a little sick to my stomach--I don't know if it was nerves or something else, but luckily it all went away once I got in the water. The swim was pretty tough--HUGE waves pushed us all around and made it tough to breathe sometimes, but it was still my favorite leg of the race. Shaun was in the wave behind me, and we finished at the same time, so that was cool to check in with him and chat at the transition area. I shaved a lot of time off my first transition time, as I decided to not wear my knee braces (yay!) and I skipped a couple of other things and just got on the bike and went. Biking remains the hardest leg for me, it just wears me out for some reason, but I saw Fuzzy early on in the bike (in different lanes) and that was a super fun boost. He caught up to me at about the turnaround, we checked in with each other, and then he zoomed on past.

PS--Fuzzy is so good! He just gets better and better every event. He's my inspiration to keep going and pushing myself.

At one point during the bike, I heard a woman call out "I like your tri-suit!" as she passed, and I saw that she had the same one! So post-race, we took a Tri-suit Twins photo. (Looking up her number, she finished in 1:33! Wow, nice work, Masumi!)

Erica and her Tri Suit Twin

The run was better than my last one, but there were still pockets of walking that I had to do. But I was also running without knee braces, so small victories! There were a pair of ladies that I kept up with throughout the event, and when we got to the last half mile, the three of us got to talking and encouraging each other and I made fast friends. When we got to the last bit before the finish, one of them said "Shall we sprint, ladies?!" and they took off! We took our post-race photos together, so I can't wait to see them. They are also doing the Chicago Triathlon in August, so I will cheer for them there!

I'm always so amazed at the support and encouragement at events like this, both from spectators and other athletes. I received so many encouraging comments and cheers and I chatted with so many other runners during the last leg (everyone commiserated about about how hard the swim was). I love this so much. It shows that we're all in this together, and it doesn't matter how you did or if you finished, but that you TRIED.

(Good thing, too, cause I came in last in my age group again.)

BUT I shaved off TWENTY MINUTES from my last time AND finished in TWO HOURS!!!!!

Erica and a post-race Labatt Blue
Kicking back post event with a Labatt Blue. There were also hot dogs and grilled ears of corn post race--YUM!

My official times:
Swim: 16:18
T1: 5:19
Bike: 55:31
T2: 4:47
Run: 38:41
Total Time: 2:00:34
South Shore Tri Finishers

Now I have to really ramp up my training for the Olympic/International Distance Triathlon in August! EEK!

Random Round Up


1) Impress These Apes! got 3 stars in the Chicago Tribune today! The review is from Nina Metz, who had this particularly awesome pull quote about me:

"...and the only one to give actual (and needed) critiques, Erica Reid as April May (in her turban and ball gown, she has the look of Tallulah Bankhead and the kvetching voice of Joan Rivers)."

Yeah! Thanks, Nina! April May may be harsh, but she loves all the contestants.

2) Today is the one year anniversary of my bike crash, and I celebrated it today by running almost 3 miles WITHOUT MY KNEE BRACES. YEAH! My knees are doing ok with this week, so I might take a risk and go without them for the triathlon the weekend!

3) The what? Oh yeah, we have another triathlon this weekend. The South Shore Tri. I am less trained than before, but whatevs, it'll be fun and I'll be fine. I just hope it isn't one of our many 100 degree days we've been having.

4) Also this weekend is my 6 year wedding anniversary with the love of my life, the wonderful and amazing Fuzzy Gerdes! I am going to shut out the rest of the world this weekend, so good luck with everything, world.

5) This is really random, but lately, when I hear an awesome song while I'm driving, I've started taking after my dad and banging on the steering wheel in time with the music, which then makes me think about how my mom used to hate it when Dad did that and would always tell him to stop. So this happens in my head each time--I do it, then I tell myself to stop, then I keep doing it anyway. I got a little of both my parents in me.

6) My Bester Rebecca has been WAY better about blogging our fun summer adventures than I have. Read about them here: Tubing, Wilco/ Andrew Bird and Phish! Takk, Rebecca!

7) And on a more serious note, my brother and sister-in-law are having tough times this week in Tanzania. Their house was burglarized and all their computers/phones/wallety things, etc. were stolen. Their dog was poisoned (she is doing ok--slowly getting better) and they've been put into a difficult situation with their night guard. Katie blogged some about it here. I've been lucky to be able to talk with them and skype with them to check in on them this week, but it's also hard and emotional, and they are struggling a bit. Please send some good thoughts and prayers and vibes their way if you can.

Not to be cavlier, but the thing is, Christopher and Katie are amazing. They chose this difficult life to live where they live and get completely out of their comfort zone. I admire that SO MUCH. No way could I ever do it. We knew that this sort of thing was a risk, and it is really unfortunate that it happened, that it happened when it did and has rattled them in the way that it has. C&K just had a life-changing trip in the African bush (read about it on that link to Katie's blog above) and this came on the heels of that trip. But they are Missioners--they can handle this. It's just a test and a bump along in their journey--and they will be fine. They've been through harder things, and they will again. And they will get through this set-back. Yeah, it sucks, but they are safe, thank God.  They are just starting their journey and their mission in Africa, and this is one of those real life moments where you learn and strengthen,  harden a bit, and keep going. They have a long and amazing road ahead of them. And if anyone can do it and can not only persevere but also rise above it, it is Christopher and Katie. They are the strongest people I know, and I am damn sure honored and blessed to be related to them.

Chris and some friends at our campsite

Me and Lucia

Chris playing with kids

By our campsite

Hang in there, Christopher and Katie. You can do it. And you are doing great. Keep going, and don't ever question your strength or capacity to handle things. You'll be back on your feet soon, I know it. I am your biggest fan and supporter, and I wouldn't be who I am or as strong as I am without you. You're my biggest motivator to keep going, to take risks, to help others, and to embrace my full potential, because I see you doing it each and every day. I love you. 

Impress These Apes July 23, 2012

April May rocking some hot Skrillex opening dance action.  Photo by the lovely Elizabeth McQuern

We opened Season 7 of Impress These Apes! last night! The contestants are all amazing, and their songs about their best friends were so touching and sweet.

It's so funny how easily slipping into this show can be. Sure, it takes a LOT of work on the production side of things, and takes a LOT of staff to run smoothly (8 contestants, 4 apes, 2 hosts, 2 camera people, 2 tech people, 2 liasons, and 1 photographer), but we've gotten everything down to a science over the years, so it just feels RIGHT. I love that.

One of my favorite moments of the show last night, is my favorite every season. The entire audience sang along to Apes for the Memories (our closing song), knowing every word, while the 8 new contestants sat there looking confused. Classic.

7 more weeks to go! 


Here's a brand new video for Natalie Kossar's song Stereotype, directed by the always charming and  awesome to work with Steve Delahoyde and featuring some choreography by yours truly. I'm also in some hot flannel action on the softball field and at the end dance--I think I make a pretty hot lesbian, if I do say so myself.

Screen Test with Robert Buscemi

This is my favorite video of the week. It features my friends Robert Buscemi and Kristen Studard and is directed by my friend Adam Witt. I have to specify that they are my friends so you can know that I am friends with awesome, talented, and hilarious people. Cause it's awesome.

More More Fun

Impress These Apes is the #1 Critics Pick for this week in TimeOut Chicago!

Apes is also nicely featured in this trailer for an upcoming documentary, Commediennes (which looks amazing!) The Apes clips are from our epic callback show.

Meredith is in this season's cast!!

COMEDIENNES from Fruit Bonus on Vimeo.

More Fun!


Press! RedEye!

NewCity! I was quoted yet again! Hey everyone, quote me in your articles! I'm quotable! Quote this!

My amazing bro and sis-in-law are doing even more amazing things in Tanzania. Read about some of them here!

Also, look how cool my friends are!

Kate and Dan's new Episode of The AV Club's Stand Down is here, featuring Maria Bamford!

My friend Tim Ryder is in a series for The Onion called Tech Trends. Videos here, here and here!

Fun things abounding!


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Oh Lawsy, things are busy. I've been having a BLAST with my creative and social and athletic lives these days, but have been letting the part of adulthood known as "chores" and "being responsible" go by the wayside. Here are some things I should be doing instead of posting this blog post: changing the cat boxes, doing laundry, putting away laundry, cleaning the bathtub, cleaning the bathroom floors that are all goopy cause of spray sunscreen,  cleaning the office, cleaning off the table, cooking, cleaning cleaning cleaning.

Here's what I have been doing instead:
Producing season 7 of Impress These Apes!, including a live callback show, a Tournament of Champions show and live casting special, and the regular run. Also, handling all press for the show, and choreographing and teaching the new opening number.

Impress These Apes Live Callbacks July 9, 2012
Photo by Elizabeth McQuern

Today I had the most fun working on a film written and directed by the amazing Elizabeth McQuern, alongside 6 other hilarious women in the Chicago comedy scene. We laughed for hours (and got a little sunburned). I'm honored to have filmed 4 shorts with Elizabeth lately!

Morpheriod film shoot July 15, 2012 Morpheriod film shoot July 15, 2012 Morpheriod film shoot July 15, 2012
Above 3 photos by Elizabeth McQuern

 Morpheriod film shoot
Elizabeth working her magic with the hilarious Kelsie Huff.

My awesome black light number is running (for the 3rd time!) for the next month+ with the Kiss Kiss Cabaret. I am really proud of the number! I finished rehearsals with them a few weeks ago.

This week, I start working with Geek Girl Burlesque at Gorilla Tango Theatre on their upcoming new show Boobs of the Dead: A Walking Dead Burlesque. I am excited to get started with it!

And in a few weeks, I start working on another new project with a couple of awesome comedians that I admire and respect so much!

And the regular--dinner with friends, planning and performing some weddings, working a couple of part time jobs, and more triathlon training. And now, maybe I should go try to check ONE thing off that chore list...

Storming Bastilles

Last night, Fuzzy and I did the Bastille Day run for the 3rd year in a row. This year, we decided to do the 8K (4.9 miles), as it would have been on par with our current triathlon training. However, with my massive knee pain in my right knee, I've been off my running and biking, and even walking has been painful. I was nervous, but ok with the fact that I was going to have to walk some/most of it.  The race was in the evening, at 7:15, which I love, as I have more energy in the evening than I do in the morning. Fuzzy and I biked the 5 miles down to the start line, and made it just in time to do some packet pickup and bathroom pit stopping. As we took off, I knew it was going to be a long road ahead for me, so I told Fuzzy to run on without me. I put on my headphones, and due to a number of factors, I had my ipod on shuffle to guide my way. I NEVER listen to things on shuffle (especially not an album--my weird semi-photographic song memory freaks out when songs aren't in the proper order), but it turns out that it was a great motivator for this run. I listened to music that I normally wouldn't have listened to for a run, and let the BPM of the songs guide my running stride.  At about a mile in, I did an estimated ending time based on what I thought I could do, and so I could watch my clock during the run. I set a goal of finishing before an hour and 15 minutes. My knee did ok--something switches after about a mile, and the pain eases up a bit, so that is good. I think I ran about 3 miles of it, and walked the other 1.9. I finished in 1:07. Not too shabby! Then another 5 mile bike home makes for a brick day, with 10 miles on the bike and 5 running. I'm icing my knee today and taking it easy.

Fuzzy has started a review podcast about Chicago races, so my feelings about the logistics of the run will be posted online soon.

Speaking of...

RAM Racing quoted Fuzzy and I in their blog post about the Big Foot Tri, and posted a link our podcast about it!  They call me Fuzzy's "friend." I AM his friend! How neat--I am like the FURTHEST thing from any sort of quotable athlete, but yet they quote me and say I have a true competitor's spirit. YEAH!

Here is their video of the Big Foot Tri. This will give you a great idea of what it was like that day. Watching the video gave me chills! I definitely want to do that one again.


Stand Down!

My amazing and talented friends Dan Henrick and Kate O'Leary are the animators for this fun new web series for the AV Club, called Stand Down, in which stand-up comedians share tales of tough performances and gigs. The first episode is Patton Oswalt. Nice work Dan and Kate!

Part one here.

UPS Guy: (handing me a package) Here you go. Wait, those tattoos are real?

Me: Yep, sure are.

UPS Guy: No way, I thought you had like a kit or something.

Me: Nope, they are permanent. There were needles and ink involved and everything.

UPS Guy: Whoa. You are bad.

(end scene)


Before and After

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Before After

Farewell to Playboy

For the last 12 years, Fuzzy has worked for Playboy Enterprises. July 6th, 2012 was his last day there. He wrote a great post over on his blog about his days there.

Congrats, Fuzzy! I am so proud of you! On to new adventures!!!

A New Nerdes!

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Welcome the new member of the Gerdes family, Miles Nerdes! We named him Miles, cause he's "kind of blue."

We love you already, Miles!