Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The soundtrack to Magnolia.
Her (nearly) unsung, but pivotal role in The Big Lebowski.
Her cameo in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the series.)
The idea that she is related (even by marriage) to Sean Penn. (I'm extremely curious what that family holiday might be like.)
I could go on and on listing the many reasons I dig Aimee Mann.
Instead, I am telling you to sit your ass down and watch this:
I do not know how much farther out of my way you expect me to go for your crippled son, alright?
You tell Tim, from me, "Bah Fucking Humbug."
And when hubby Michael Penn gets in the act as Marley?
A: What what what what what what? Michael Penn? You've been dead for weeks. Oh. I know. It's a bad dream. I must have eaten like some bad yogurt or something.
M: Aimee, your yogurt did go bad, but that's just a coincidence. I'm really disappointed in you. Doing shows for yogurt and juice and deodorant. You're kind of becoming a whore.
The fog machine alone makes it worth watching.
Part 2 here. (the weakest section...keep watching anyway.)
Part 3 here. (it picks up speed again)
Part 4 here. (best ghost of xmas future ever...plus more fog machine)
I promise this is worth the 15 minute time commitment.
Merry Christmas! Now get offline and enjoy your holiday!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
As it has always been, day in and day out, since days of olde...my cynic's mind will once again battle with my optomistic heart.
There is a little chunk inside me that believes that no matter how crappy the economy gets or how shitty people can be towards one another be it in a war zone or mall parking lot, we all have the capacity for good and that the universe will unfold as it should.
And nothing reminds me more than a night's veiwing of my all time favorite movie.
One of my favorite lines is a throw away line that Uncle Billy says in his frantic rambling. I normally don't like when writers try to tie in the title with dialogue, but for me this is really what the entire message of the movie is about. Listen for it when he spills the basket of money.
Isn't it wonderful? So many friends!
I love this movie. I watch it all year long (not just at xmas.) I've probably seen it more than any other movie in my lifetime. I have so many memories of home and holidays tied to it - as I'm sure a lot of folks do.
One memory is a few years back at WNEP, when we had our theater space on Halsted. That year, we put up a tree and threw a big party with a potluck dinner. We had a grab bag and at the end of the night, we set up a big TV and all sat and watched It's A Wonderful Life.
Timed to perfection, just as the scene came up with everyone bringing in the money to give to the Bailey's, a friend of ours (who looked quite a bit like a young Jimmy Stewart) came running in, dressed as George Bailey, carrying a basket full of dollar bills yelling, "Merry Christmas Movie House! Merry Christmas WNEP! Merry Christmas you wonderful old Theater!"
He dumped the money (a donation of one hundred dollar bills) and ran back out.
We were all laughing and cheering and crying and it remains one of my favorite Christmas memories of all time.
So to all the sweet folk I know...for all the holiday annoyances and family drama and travel nightmares this season can bring...what I wish for you this Christmas is a memory that can fill you up with laughter and goodness.
Sooner or later all that other stuff falls away and it's the memories of a Jimmy Stewart look-a-like running in and yelling, "Merry Christmas Emporium!" that make it all worthwhile.
Have a safe and lovely holiday folks!
I love and adore you.
Note to Amy...please tell your hubby I continue to be thankful for witnessing that moment.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The seers are predicting another 2"-10" of snow over the next 24-36 hours, depending on who you listen to and where you live.
While the main arteries in Chicago may be clean as a whistle, the burbs can end up looking more like the side streets that get one plow per month.
And while there is a public transportation option to my office, it includes a bus, a train and yet another bus (which only runs 6 times a day. You heard me.) So, you can't run late, the bus can't run late and the train can't run late. Which is what happened on Friday. (No train.)
As I listen to some friends who rarely (if ever) leave the city proper claim, "it's not that bad," when the seers predict a few additional inches or back-to-back storms, I want to knock folks (who dismiss the weather) into a snowbank and give them an old fashioned winter swirly.
They haven't spent 2-3 hours quality time in an auto on icy slick, unsalted, unplowed roads, after which spend an additional 20-30 minutes (or more) trying to find a parking space.
To those who do not drive outside of city and/or do not own a car, I say, STFU about the snow.
And yes. It is my choice to own a car.
It is my choice to work outside of the city.
It is my choice not to take public trans (even if the freaking train is over an hour late.)
Yes. I screw myself with these choices.
You're absolutely correct.
Needed to purge. Apologies. We're already having one of the wettest years (rain/snow combined) and one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record. Which is great if you're 9 and get a snow day, but sucks if you're 39 and are working in a f'ed up economy.
What I started to write about was my drive in this morning.
I dug out my car back on Friday when the snow fell. Then the temp dropped to sub zero averages and everything froze (we're talking single degree temps with -33 wind chill.) As I tried to drive out of the now solid ruts of ice my car was trapped by, my wheels spun round and round. Much like the famous bus.
I tried rocking it. I tried to shovel additional snow/ice out of the way. I got the barest hint of traction and progress...and then got stuck ON the icy rut. Joy.
All the while, a car sat patiently behind me, like a vulture, waiting to pull into the space I was to vacate.
After about ten minutes of me in and out of the car...and perhaps coming to the conclusion that the girl with orange scarf was S-T-U-C-K....the waiting driver finally got out and offered to help.
Granted, it was equally for his benefit. The sooner I was gone, the sooner he could park...in the sweet, shoveled out (but icy) spot I had to offer.**
After pushing didn't work, he did try something with my shovel, which gave me just enough traction to rock myself out. It took another few minutes, but I finally got farther up on the rut to let physics work it's magic and I got out of the space.
I said "thank you very much" and "Merry Christmas" and tried not to think about finding a new spot when I get home tonight as I pulled away.
Please Baby Jesus, Let there be many people who are leaving/driving to a holiday destination and will leave plenty of parking spots for the rest of us jerks. Thank, ye.
So, yeah. The guy helped me, but only after getting tired of watching me muck around for a good 10 minutes or more. And yeah, there was NO WAY I was getting out of there without some kind of assistance.
I think it was 55% good deed, 45% selfish act.
So, part of me wants to be all, "The city is such a bastion of good will!" and the other part is like, "Hell, if I wanted the [bleeping] parking spot, I'd [bleeeping] get out and push [bleeping] too!"
*I just got a call from an office in Bolingbrook (about 45 min south of my office) that closed down due to the snow falling. I was told, "We can't even open our front door. We're sending everyone home now, before it gets worse."
**I'm one of those folks who is not a fan of the "crappy lawn chair marks my spot." I believe that if you own a car, and plan on moving it from Nov-Mar...and it snows? You should dig out the spot around your car. Not just drive away. Not half ass it. If everyone dug out, we'd all have parking.
Call me a commie, but that's what I believe. So, even if I'm the only one on my block who does it? Sure, maybe I'm a sucker. But I'm a sucker with a clear conscience.
I believe that, much like voting, if you don't shovel, you can't bitch.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
When people cheerily ask me "How are things, goin' with you?" I want to clock them. I know it's more out of habit to ask that, but really...look around! Things are freaking rough out there. I feel like I'm juggling and dancing and at any moments all the plates that I'm spinning will come crashing down on top of me.
And I've still got my job.
Good times. Good times.
Well, today, we had our annual end-of-the-year team lunch. It was decidedly dressed down compared to prior years, and to be honest, I was stunned that my boss gave the green light to even a cheapie lunch out on the company dime.
One of the youngsters I work with brought up the plan for a $20 grab bag. I've been watching most of the nickels I have left, so I figured that I would skip it this year. I mean, I really wasn't all that interested in exchanging a bottle of good tequila for a gift certificate to Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts/whathaveyou.
Last night, as we prepare ourselves for the onslaught of nature kicking our frozen asses yet again, I stopped at the grocery store to stock up on provisions. Milk, soup, tomatoes and a box of Little Debbies. I can't survive the storm without that little brat making good with the swiss rolls.
As I careened through the aisles, my brain started to tick about the grab bag and the next thing you know, I'm blowing good money after bad and putting together a holiday survival kit.
Rebar's Holiday Survival Kit:
Candy Canes. Check.
Nestle's Hot Chocolate Mix. Check.
Breast Cancer Awareness Mug. Check. (Only mug I could find at the Jewel)
Hiram Walker's Peppermint Schnapps. Check it.
DVD of the 1969 made-for-TV holiday special, The Littlest Angel. Check.
As they say in merry olde England, "How's that for a slice of fried gold?"
If you've yet to swim in the delights that a hot mug of chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps, stirred to perfection with your candy cane swizzle stick can offer?
Baby, get on board, because the joy of the season is passing your ass by.
Swimming in that mug, while watching Fred Gwynne, Cab Calloway and Tony Randall kick out the heavenly jams? This is the blessing you have prayed your whole life to receive.
Back at lunch....we did that version of "grab bag" where people can "snatch" your present. I was, er...the snatchee. At the end of the game, I ended up with a gift wrapped in newspaper - which, while a very green choice - gave me a bit of deja vu for a christmas some years back where I got stuck with a gift wrapped in some paper towels.
But that's a story for another day.
To my delight, I opened the giant box and after much digging, found a sheet of paper to serve as my gift certificate...to Amazon. For $25 large, yo. The giver, feeling somewhat shamed for not having bought an actual gift, threw in an extra fiver. Sweet.
I've been pining for The Thin Man Collection. All SIX of the Thin Man films! Every now and then, I check over at DeepDiscount.com to see if they put it on sale. I know $40-50 isn't much, but when you're trying to pay down your bills...I just could never pull the trigger.
And that's when the Baby Jesus showed up.
Amazon had the DVD set for a mere $26.99.
With free shipping, yo!
I was more than happy to pony up the extra $1.99!
And now the guilt sets in.
While I know I couldn't pay my bills with an gift certificate...
...money's tight with my sister, maybe I should have gotten my nephew an extra gift.
...or given it to someone who just got laid off, who could use it more than myself.
...perhaps bought a toy for a sick kid who's laid up with a bald head in the hospital.
I'm sure I'll get over it, but all of a sudden, spending that $25 on myself makes me feel like a grade-A heel.
Ho. Ho. Ho.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
About his cavalier attitude about this presidency and the ravaged state he is leaving this country in - the economy, the wars, the continued non-response to Katrina (and other disasters), and his lack of concern for the body count he has accrued both in American and Iraqi lives.
About how offensive and repugnant his behavior, attitude and "leadership" continues to be to me.
How each minute he has left in office is yet another opportunity for him to open his mouth and damage this country. It literally will not end until January 20th.
But, then I read this on Crooks and Liars.
JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell and Adolf Hitler Campbell.
Good names for a trio of toddlers? Heath and Deborah Campbell think so. The Holland Township couple has picked those names and the oldest child, Adolf Hitler Campbell, turns 3 today.
This has given rise to a problem, because the ShopRite supermarket in Greenwich Township has refused to make a cake for young Adolf's birthday.
[Jaw hits floor. Picks up jaw. Repeat.]
Here's a photo gallery of the family domicile.
It's very Early Colonial White Trash.
Christ on a stick! It's one thing to make the decision to be a complete hate-mongering douchebag. Putting swastikas on your home, your body, your car? All your choice.
But to name your kid Adolph Hitler? Or Aryan Nation?
Game over, Shithead.
That is completely off-the-charts Bullshit.
(And I pronounce "bullshit" like I would imagine Matthew McConaughey would do it in Dazed and Confused. Just so these folks can grasp my complete meaning.)
The Campbell's have swastikas in each room of their home,
the rented half of a one-story duplex just outside Milford, a borough in Hunterdon County. They say they aren't racists but believe races shouldn't mix.
. . .
The Campbell's said they wanted their children to have
unique names and didn't expect the names to cause problems. Despite the cake refusal, the Campbell's said they don't expect the names to cause problems later, such as when the children start school.
I'm trying to imagine the delivery room, when the baby boy arrived and the father turned to the doctor and nurses and proclaimed that this infant shall be named after the biggest mass murder of all time. Would it be wrong to call child protective services even before they left the hospital?
I mean, those kids are in for a world full of hurt.
Especially when they go to school.
Hey there, Heath, is it? Why don't you, the "adult" who seems to be so in love with your cause, legally change YOUR NAME? Why don't you go to the grocery store and sign your checks, head over to the DMV for a new license, drop by the bank to deposit your paycheck and show up for jury duty with that name? You know, the name you seem to be so in love with?
Heath Campbell said some people like the names but others are shocked to hear them. "They say, 'He (Hitler) killed all those people.' I say, 'You're living in the wrong decade. That Hitler's gone,'" he said.
"They're just names, you know," he said. "Yeah, they (Nazis) were bad people back then. But my kids are little. They're not going to grow up like that."
. . .
Robert M. Gordon, a clinical psychologist in Allentown, said the names would hurt the children.
"Certainly society is going to be hostile towards those kids, especially when they go to school," Gordon said. "By the time they get to school, they will already have been damaged," Gordon said.
"Any parent that would impose such horrific names on their children is mentally ill, and they would be affecting their children from the day they were born.
Only a crazy person would do that."
Just leave the toddlers out of it.
The most insane part is that they feel so wronged, so slighted by ShopRite having the balls to say, "Uh. NO."
This next bit might ratchet up the insane quotient a wee bit.
Young Adolf Hitler Campbell will be getting a cake from Wal-Mart this year.
Hold. The. Muthascrathin' Phone.
Does that mean that Wal-Mart is willing to personalize the cake?
The Campbell's say Wal-Mart made cakes for Adolf's first two birthdays. A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart said the store won't put anything illegal or profane on a cake but thinks it's important to respect the views of customers and employees.I have a lot of reasons why I don't shop at Wal-Mart, but I do believe that this might shoot to number one with a bullet.
"Our No. 1 priority in decorating cakes is to serve the customer to the best of our ability," Anna Taylor, the spokeswoman, said from Bentonville, Ark.
To sum up...
Even Jesus is rolling his eyes at this bullshit.
(click to enlarge Jesus' annoyance.)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Also, knitting, drinking and avoiding the icy embrace of winter.
Speaking of priorities in frigid weather...who'd like to get in line to stone this idiot?
On a day when temperatures hovered near single digits, a
suburban mother left her toddler in a cold van while she
went shopping Monday, police say.
Pamela J. Weberski left her 20-month-old son in her car
with the heat and ignition off while she shopped at the
Target store, at 300 S. Randall Rd., in Elgin, authorities said.
An off duty firefighter who happened to park next to the vehicle spotted
the infant in the car.
Weberski's husband, Dan, said the family made a horrible
mistake and now they are paying for it. He said the child had
fallen asleep and his mother didn't want to wake him.
One police officer said the air temperature was 8 degrees, with
-11 degree windchill, at the time.
Authorities said Weberski was Christmas shopping and had
been in the store for about 25 minutes. Weberski, 43, was
charged by Elgin Police, accused of endangering the life of a
child. She was released after posting a bail of $100.
Listen, I grew up in a childhood void of: seatbelts, helmets, car seats, bike lanes, baby monitors, safety gates, outlet covers, faucet covers, child-safe aspirin bottles, cabinet/toilet seat locks, sun shades, table corner cushions and the like.
We had night lights and Bactine, people. That's it.
Leaving a toddler asleep in a car with temperatures in the single digits? It was 9 out when I was leaving for work yesterday and got to a high around 15 (but not until 3pm.) I COULD NOT GET MY CAR DOOR OPEN yesterday due to the icy temps.
I wouldn't leave my dog alone in my car for 20 minutes in this kind of weather...and she's got a fur coat!
And yes, I do leave Olive alone in the car sometimes.
But, not when it's 90 degrees in July or 9 degrees in December. WTF!
You know, I could ALMOST be understanding, if this was some young, inexperienced mom...but this was a 43 yr old woman. At that age, if you don't have the common sense to figure the equation:
Baby + Below freezing temps + 25 minutes = Poor Parenting Choice
If you can't add that much up, then you really should consider sterilization.
Besides....Blago Baby is the only one we should be leaving out in the cold.
Note: I do not approve the "Obama link" on this doll.
That's 100% bullshit.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The City of Big Shoulders.
Former Hog Butcher to the World.
And on days like today...we are the Stinky Onion.
Some wise ass updated the Wikipedia page for Chicago.
Stating, in bold:
Chicago (pronounced shi-KAH-goh or shi-KAW-goh) is the largest and most corrupt city in the United States city by population in the state of Illinois and the American Midwest of the United States.
Har-dee-har, asshole. That said. Turns out it's pretty spot-on. Every time we look to be moving past the "political machine" that this city was built on, a new beetle crawls out from under the rock.
Our current governor, Rod Blagojevich (D) has completely outdone our former governor George Ryan (R) - who is currently serving time for corruption, mind you - by the breadth of his illegal "pay for play" machinations.
Hell, they gave him his own page on Huffington Post!
Which goes to show you, greed is not about party affiliation. It's just about you being an arrogant bastard who thinks he can pull one over on an entire state and get paid while doing it.
I'm thrilled he got arrested. Our state needs an governmental enema. Now, if my secret boyfriend US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who arrested Blago at the crack of dawn Tuesday AM, (and who also convicted Ryan) would do me a favor and turn his laser focus on our Olympic-obsessed Mayor Richard Daley (D) and our County Board President Todd Stroger (D)?
If we could cut the corrupt heads off our hydra in a domino-like fashion, the underlings might take notice that the times, they are a'changin.
These arrests come too few and far between. But, if they [bleeping] started to start slicing and dicing the big guns, I think that this [bleeping] city (and [bleeping] state) might have a chance to clean out it's [bleeping] gutters.
And while our Congress never had the balls to impeach Bush, I'm hoping that Illinois can show them how to show a corrupt official the [bleeping] door.
And God Bless Stephen Colbert and his writing staff. If you haven't seen their response to Blago, it's a must. (And it has one of the best interviews of Charlie Kaufman I've seen.) Rock on.
Hey! Turns out that today is Blago's 52nd birthday!
Don't forget to wish that mother[bleeper] a happy [bleeping] birthday!!
Quote of the day: (Atlantic Monthly) "Incredible. Blagojevich was already under investigation. And then he tries to sell Obama's Senate seat? I don't think I've ever seen anything like this. This dude tried to auction the Senate seat of the President-Elect of the United States. Wow. They haven't even invented a machine that can calculate the Fail Factor here. I do believe we have gone to Interstellar Fail. Intergalactic, perhaps."
FACT: You can see his arrogance from space.
Monday, December 8, 2008
If you're a regular viewer, you know that I spent most of November toe up. While I showered (most days) and brushed my teeth, I misplaced my tweezers and my eyebrows ran wild.
Wild, I say!
After two weeks of saying, "I'm sure they'll turn up, today," and then tossing my place, I finally broke down and bought my 24th pair of tweezers.
Some people lose socks.
I lose tweezers.
It's my fatal flaw.
I must have at least 7 pairs squirreled away in my tiny home. Of course, I can't find any of those, either.
Much to my delight, after said purchase, I came home after work and went to town on my unruly brows. Mmmm...and to my horror...in my lust to "clear the brush,"...I went a bit...overboard.
I went from a full-on Frida (and I looked waaay more unkempt than Kahlo.)
To a pencil-thin Gloria Swanson in a matter of minutes.
Actually, Gloria looks pretty adorable there.
If I'm really honest, I think I went 6 miles beyond overboard and crossed over into the land of Sunset Boulevard.
Someday, I'm going to let the Seether out and she will pluck my brows bare. Someday. [shiver]
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
[For you out of town folks, I worry that you'll miss many of the spot-on local references...just to clue you in, Walter E. Smithe Furniture has been a Chicago staple for decades.
That's Smithe with an E, is as ingrained in our psyche as 588-2300...Empire! or Rockabye your BABY, Hi, I'm Harry Schmerler your singing Ford Dealer. All of which...again, likely lost on you.]
Schadenfreude is a fantastic sketch comedy group in town who have more than earned their due (get off your ass Comedy Central...or better yet, HBO.)
This makes me laugh every time I watch it.
Fantastic delivery by all.
Emmy...with an E from Schadenfreude Media, LLC on Vimeo.
For more Schadenfreude goodness, head here.
Nod to D-Ray. I can't keep up with all the websites I should be paying attention to.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I feel like I should sew a letter on my chest to proclaim my shame.
I feel prey to the oldest of taunts*....and I opened a Facebook account.
Admittedly, I am one of those folks who squints her one good eye in technology's direction and marvels at its possibilities to transform, while at the same time holds it at arm's length, knowing that one false move could set you on a course where it's 5am and you just spent the night staying up playing [insert popular gaming system...because in my case, it's just PC games and I'm still working on GTA: Vice City because I can't get the fucking helicopter to drop the freaking bombs when I tell it to, so I yelled at the screen for a while and haven't played since. Like 9 months ago.]
Here's the thing...Facebook feels rather creepy to me.
I mean, I have friends. The people you call at 10pm when your dog turns up missing and help you spend the next several hours hunting every farm house, out house and dog house looking for her. The ones you call at 5am to help jump your car. In -17 temps. The people who, as a bridesmaid, you are willing to go toe-to-toe with a self-obsessed in-law just to give the bride/groom a barrier from "the crazy." The people who save your bacon on numerous occasions and you happily return the favor. The people who have seen you at your best and your worst and still stick around because it turns out more often than not to be pretty entertaining.
I have friendly folk. The people who you know to be quality humans...and when you spend time with them, you think, "Why don't I spend more time with [insert name] because they are awesome and my life would be truly the better for it." And then six months goes by and you run into them on the el. So, instead you have a beer with them on rare occasions when the moon is full. The ones, while delightful, you would never consider waking up at 2am because you lost your keys and need to crash on a sofa. But, they are delightful all the same.
I have the friendly associate types. Folks you've worked with and think are rather keen, but have rarely shared more than witty remarks and maybe a drink. Ten years ago. The ones that leave a lovely impression upon you, and you might set them up with that guy you know from that thing. But, you're not standing up in the wedding. And they are on they're entirely on their own with "the crazy."
Basically, Facebook makes me feel like I'm stalking my friends (of all strata) and the last thing I want is another nickname. My Collector days are long past.
I made the preemptive decision to leave my High School/College/Work info off (at least for now.) I figure, the folks from those arenas, who I want to keep in contact with (or try to keep in contact with) I already keep in contact with - even if I only see them every 3-4 yrs.
While I might be curious on some level to find out where Molly G. (my BF and locker mate freshman year) ended up in life, I've already heard too many tales of "Uh...everything was aces until [insert crazy HS enemy/friend/date] called. So, maybe that wasn't the best idea."
Hey. I'm all about connecting up with folks and meeting new friends of friends. But, I'd rather initiate it the old fashioned way.
At a bbq where I'm half in the tank.
Is it wrong to think that at 39 I shouldn't be wasting my time wondering if anyone will write on my wall today? What the fuck is the whole "wall" thing about anyway?
Damn you, Facebook creators!
I curse you and the html you rode in on.
Dude. I'm so old and rusty, I need an oil can.
*As I mentioned this icy morn in the courtyard, "You'll get yours, B. You'll get yours."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I have no other choice, but to think about goals.
On the personal front of "what everyone is supposed to want", I'm rather complacent.
Marriage? While I do have several friends who have what I consider to be really good marriages (a healthy work-in-progress relationship), I could probably name more that haven't. Like all things in life, you take your chances on the roller coaster.
Some folks love it. Some folks throw up. Some folks throw up and still love it.
I was never the little girl who fantasized about her wedding day. Thought about it? Sure, on occasion. But, I've probably spent more time fantasizing about working at a Vermont post office while solving murders with my boyfriend, the town sheriff, than I ever spent thinking about a wedding day or the man I might marry.
I'd like to think that on a planet of 6 billion, there might be someone I could be down for the long haul with, but he's yet to cross my path. But, I'm not pining away for whatever his name is.
Although, part of me hopes to meet him in line for an actual roller coaster some day...because I dig metaphors.
Children? I remember at the age of 8 deciding that if I ever had kids, I would adopt. That it made little sense to me to bring a child into this crazy world, when there were so many out there that needed a home and folks to care for them. And that I would adopt an older kid, because everyone wants babies. And babies? What a freaking nightmare! They can't talk and you have to change their diaper.
Dude. I would not want to change my own diaper, much less a squirmy kid who might pee on me in retaliation.
Sure, there was about 5 minutes in my mid-20's when I was extremely curious what having a baby growing inside me and giving birth would be like. But that moment has long passed.
Don't get me wrong. I adore children. Honest. In small regimented doses. But, I do enjoy them. They are honest and extreme reflections of their environments. Watching my nephew interact with the world he is presented with (when he's not attached to his X-box) is pretty entertaining. I strive to make an impact on keeping him interested and interactive with the non-gaming world around him.
Nuts to donuts, I tend to agree with my 8 year old self.
If I ever decide to become a parent, I'll be adopting. And none of that Murphy Brown single mother crap for me yo. I'd like a partner in crime if I'm signing up for the parent trap.
Career? I really wish I could figure this one out. Besides my fixation with being a psychiatrist (again at age 8) for a short time, I never really had a compelling plan for a career. (Which explains the ever-growing heinousness of my current job.) Doctor, Lawyer, whatever. I've read that most people have 3 (or more) "careers" in their lifetime. I figure I've still got time to figure that one out.
Truly, my goals have been pretty low brow.
1) Keep a roof over my head. Check.
2) Feed the dog. Check.
3) Surround yourself with friends who are smarter than you. Check.
4) Create a lasting slang word or phrase. (crickets chirping in the breeze.)
I'm not making this up. I've always wanted to be one of those folks who creates a word/phrase that becomes part of our modern lexicon. It's not something I talk about much...when I'm sober.
Several years back, I made a run at trying to get folks to embrace "My karate is for real." Ha. And you thought it was just some idiot blog title.
Some of my other past attempts include "I veto Ralph Macchio." and "Lady Pocket." One is just a fancy way of saying, "Shut it, sucka! No way!" and the other is a term for a vagina.
I want to create the next woot, necker's knob or "Keep on truckin'."
It has been a goal of mine for many years.
I shit you not.
Yesterday, on an email thread, I coined the term, "Lady Court."
A "Lady Court" is basically, an updated, more posh version of "fag hag."
It is, specifically, the group of women who have a central gay male figure in their group.
Ex: Dennis will be meeting up with his lady court at the bbq.
Personally, I've always hated the term "FH." First, the word "fag" - pretty offensive to many folks. I can take it or leave it. I mostly leave it. My bigger pill is with the word "hag."
It conjurs up a MacBeth style witch in my mind.
Old, grotesque, with facial boils and bad hair.
Cackling and shrill.
Now I may cackle and I have more than my share of bad hair days, but I've yet to awaken to a boil and I'm not that shrill.
Loud, absolutely. Shrill, never.
I am not a hag.
I don't know any hags.
And I don't hang with hags. (Finger Snap sfx. Neck rolling optional.)
Anyway, I guess there was a bit of a back and forth about it on Facebook (I wouldn't know, I never hang there) which resulted in my friend Dennis (of who's court I belong to) submitting Lady Court to the Urban Dictionary folks.
Now, just getting published is one thing. The goal is to get it to be a commonly (I'd even settle for rarely) used term that is understood by the majority of the populace. To become part of the cultural lexicon.
Now, I'm not sure if lady court is that word, but, I can't wait to find out.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Can I just say, how much better my heart and head feel listening to our next President...talk like a President. And not just him. As he announces his National Security Team, and each steps to the podium to accept their new role, each sounds poised, articulate, intelligent and comprehending the massive task at hand.
They sound like a team. A smart and able muthascratchin' team.
That they are preparing to take on the leadership and direction of this country with the weight and attention deserved.
While I'm still not thrilled about the selection of Hillary for Sec of State, I get it. And I will strive to have the faith in her that Obama has placed in her.
They shall lead by example. With thought and purpose.
January 20th, you can't get here fast enough.
It's been snowing a bit in Chicago.
I got up this morning.
I bundled up.
I dragged Olive out for a walk.
We didn't even make it halfway down the sidewalk when she made the turn back for home.
I scrapped the ice off my car while the engine warmed.
I strapped myself in and began the slow crawl out to the burbs.
I turned the radio on and the Fleet Foxes began to play.
It put me in the best possible mood one could be for what would be a long ride in and a long ride home later today.
And then I looked down.
My dashboard was lit up like Xmas.
I wasn't even at the expressway yet.
I immediately turned home, realising that I didn't have much more than $20 on me.
I parked outside my building.
As I prepared to run in and grab my CTA card and a credit card, I stopped.
I realised that I can't afford to deal with the car today.
And now I am working from home.
Annoyed at this economy and my part in crapping it up.
Bemused with the beast alseep at the other end of the sofa.
And since I have a roof over my head,
And believe that this (bullshit) too shall pass,
And know that the marble with continue to spin.
I will listen to White Winter Hymnal again and find my happy place
You win this round
But I shall win the war
I was following the pack
All swallowed in their coats
With scarves of red tied 'round their throats
To keep their little heads
From fallin' in the snow
And I turned 'round and there you go
And, Michael, you would fall
And turn the white snow red as strawberries
In the summertime...
Friday, November 21, 2008
Fortunately, it's been diagnosed as merely a "fainting spell" - he was released from the hospital today. Allegedly, tests have ruled out both stroke and heart attack and he's been listed as "very fit."
That said, the entire incident seems almost poetic...
WASHINGTON (AP) ― Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed during a speech Thursday night and lost consciousness, a Justice Department official
The 67-year-old Mukasey was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, where his condition was not immediately known.
Mukasey was delivering a speech to the Federalist Society at a Washington hotel when "he just started shaking and he collapsed," said Associate Attorney General Kevin O'Connor. "They're very concerned."
Mukasey was 15 to 20 minutes into his speech about the Bush administration's successes in combating terrorism when he began slurring his words.
He collapsed and lost consciousness, said O'Connor, the department's No. 3 official.
Mukasey's was noticeably shaking during his speech before he collapsed shortly before 10:20 p.m. EST. His security detail called 911.
Mukasey was on the stage for 10 minutes being attended to by his FBI detail before medics arrived, according to a Justice Department official who was there.
Now, I'm not one to believe in a higher power, but man! To be talking about the success of Bush Administration? Regarding terrorism?
It's like the proverbial lightening bolt reached out of the sky and smacked him upside the head.
I do feel for the guy's family. Watching that video and just imagining my Pop slurring his words and collapsing made me a bit queasy. But as he's been released and deemed healthy, I'm more than happy to turn the spotlight on the Attorney General.
You see, this is your current AG and former federal judge (appointed back in the Reagan era) who, in 2004, constantly defended the Patriot Act and doubted that the FBI would ever engage in racial profiling? Who's down with waterboarding? And unauthorized wiretapping? Who actually said the words (as a lawyer and retired federal judge), that, "...not every wrong, or even every violation of the law is a crime," when referring to the tenure of his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales?
Maybe it wasn't a stroke.
Maybe it was just his conscience rebooting.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
He decked out his entryway - check out the spinning pumpkin and the scary hands on the window. Makes me wish I was about 8 and trick or treating in his hood. He put together a compilation vid on the evening's exploits. The good times kick in around 1:10.
Kid 1 : Trick or Treat!
HallowPete: Trick or Treat!
Kid 1 : **Tonally screams for 5 seconds **
How Pete kept his shit together, I have no idea.
I can't stop laughing at that kid's response!
Kid 2: Are you real or pretend?
HallowPete: I'm pretend. You're pretending this entire thing.
Mad Props Pete.
Watching those kids reminds me of the first year I trick or treated in Wayne. We had just moved to into the area that summer, I was 9. I still felt like the new kid in town.
I don't recall too many of the parents dressing up to greet the kids at the door, but at this one dimly lit house that had a long scary tree-lined driveway (we were out in the boonies), the owner opened the door wearing a hugh latex mask...of Abe Lincoln.
It made the other kids scream (admittedly, Latex Abe was rather gruesome looking), but I was a huge fan of Lincoln (still am) and I remember that the sight of this tall hulking man with Abe's rubbery face put me at total ease...and made me crack up.
I distinctly remember that moment as the first time I felt like I might fit into that town.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Such beautiful words.
So gracefully and clearly stated.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Seriously, when I read this stuff it makes my heart flutter.
It makes me straighten my posture.
It makes me want to read thicker books.
The non-fiction kind.
I wish I knew why I react like a schoolgirl reading a note she found in her locker. It honestly makes me all weak-kneed and loopy. Usually when I come across fantastic writing, I get slightly distraught at the thought that I'll never write a sentence that good. Never craft a phrase that reaches in and yanks at the heart of the reader.
But when I read these words, I'm filled with something near bliss.
Simple, delightful bliss.
Now, don't get me wrong. I know our history. We have destroyed more personal freedom than we have granted. Slavery. Oppression of indigent tribes. Burning witches and interning our own citizens. Blacklists. Segreation. Hate crimes. Suffrage. On and on.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
At the core of this Republic remains a pledge to one another.
A promise that this country carries an opportunity to seek a more perfect union.
It's my happy thought on this Thursday, the 20th day of November in the year 2008.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Spaced: The Complete Series - from the Shaun of the Dead folks. I'm still in the midst of these, but Season 1 was pretty good. You can see the birth of SOTD happening in front of you. They just released this on DVD in the States, and this is a fun series with some enjoyable characters.
The Wire: Season 3 - While I'm less interested in the politico machinations this season focused on, I did enjoy the conclusion of the Barksdale saga. Even though you saw it coming like a semi bearing down on you and blaring on the horn, there was a sense of satisfaction all the same. S4 is already queued up.
Battlestar Galactica: Razor - Not my favorite of the BG series, but it was cool to get the backstory on Pegasus. I just think it had too many irons in the fire for its length. Still, living without cable (and Season 4, it's a nice placebo.)
Mad Men: Season 1 - SO FREAKING GOOD. I can't believe I have to wait FOREVER until S2 comes out! The number #1 reason I would get cable, if I had the dough.
Sex And The City: The Movie - Enjoyable. Better transition to the big screen than I had thought. While Jennifer Hudson did fine with her part, I think that whole "Carrie needs an assistant" thing was kinda a waste. Why introduce new characters instead of letting us enjoy seeing some of our favorite second bananas like Stafford and Anthony or hell? Who wouldn't want to run into Skipper 10 years later? Seemed like a missed opportunity.
Transsiberian - It took me a while to figure out that this movie was written/directed by the same guy who did Happy Accidents with Vincent D'Onofrio. Oddly, I had the exact same reaction to both movies. I wanted to like the movie more than I did. The acting was good, but there was just something that disconnected me with either the writing or the direction. It didn't impact me the way a really good story usually does. Utterly "close, but no cigar."
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army - Guillermo del Toro is so deft at making a fantasy world look so amazingly lush and full. But, after Pan's Labyrinth, the storyline is just too one-dimensional for me. Worth watching, though. It's so pretty and crazy imaginative. It's like if you cracked his brain open, all the characters in Grimm's Fairy Tales would fall out.
Watch them. Don't watch them. It's all the same to me and my unfocused brain.
Let's hope my cranium steps it up for Quizzo tonight.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Just two doses in and I feel better than I have in over a week. I'm finally getting rid of the gunk that's been sitting in my chest since the election. I was shocked to notice an actual pep in my step earlier today. I think it's worth noting. Especially since I started my morning by walking to the car....and realising it was only Tuesday.
I had convinced myself it was Wednesday. Convinced.
After two weeks of convalescing, there's lots of stuff on the radar:
1) Headed back for another round of Quizzo tomorrow night...which makes me extra happy I'm feeling better
2) Poker fundraiser from WNEP on Saturday - more info soon.
3) SOIREE DADA opens it's first ever Christmas show Friday!
In other news...I am 100% against Hilliary as Secretary of State.
Don't get me wrong. I'm completely for her being part of the Cabinet, just not in that role. Mr. Silverstein over at Harper's put it quite concisely.
1) Hillary Clinton will have her own agenda (as will her husband). She’s not a team player and will bring in a crew of cronies whose chief aim will be to promote the boss, not the administration. Obama may wake up one day and discover that Hillary has decreed a new “Clinton Doctrine” of foreign policy.
2) It would be impossible, politically, to fire Hillary. No matter what she says or does, or how insubordinate, Obama will be stuck with her as long as she wants to stay.
3) Her husband is a walking conflict of interest. Bill helps a Canadian businessman land a uranium contract in Kazakhstan, and soon afterwards the businessman contributes to the Clinton Foundation. Bill’s personal and business dealings are embarrassing enough without Hillary heading the State Department.4) The Clinton style of management–for example, pitting one faction of staff against another–would be a disaster at the State Department. Just look at how well it worked on the campaign trail.
5) And the strongest strike of all against Hillary as secretary of state… look at who endorses her. (Kissinger)
But, I really think Hilliary in that specific role is a mistake.
Hillary opposed every significant peace initiative he put forward during the campaign (including the withdrawal timetable for Iraq.)
She called his policies "naive" and "dangerous"...and now she's going to be the face of those policies?
As here in the states, Obama seems to inspire a sense of change and enthusiasm across the globe. I just don't see Hilliary stoking that sense of diplomacy.
There are better uses for her skill set and better positions in an Obama Cabinet she would be suited for.
I just hope he gets it right and doesn't rush to this decision without fully weighing the consequences. The Clintons are a complex pandora's box. That's all I'm saying.
Monday, November 17, 2008
When he was a wee tot, we succumbed to his cuteness and would repeated ask him, "How big is AJ?" To our delight, he'd fall for it and raise his arms as far as he could reach. Why this is a delightful pastime is still a puzzle to me, but it never got old.
Pete, who witnessed much cuteness recently forwarded this video to me.
If only we could all enjoy such power...even for 22 seconds...while diapered.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
FACT: Afghanistan has the best pomegranates in the world especially Kandahar.
Cut to 2007. His goal is to persuade farmers in Afghanistan - which produces 93 per cent of the world’s opiates - to stop growing poppies and grow pomegranates instead. By cultivating pomegranate fields, he insists their profits will more than double. He set up a charity called Pom354. He started with land owned/shared by 16 families in Kandahar.
According to UN and Afghan government figures, a typical poppy farmer makes approximately $2,000 per acre. James insists that pomegranate farmers will more than double that at around $5,000 per acre - a big incentive with a huge payoff - helping to rid the world of a drug that approximately 11 million people worldwide are addicted to.
Cut to 2008. More and more farmers wanted to make the switch to Pom354. A tribal meeting covering the entire Nangarhar Province was called, and 200 Tribal elders invited. The tribal elders agreed to finish poppy cultivation and switch to growing pomegranates throughout the entire Nangarhar Province by next year..
Poppy cultivation in the province of Nangarhar will cease from 2009, making it poppy-free for the first time in 100 years.
In the meantime, James’s company will help subsidise the farmers for the three years it takes for the region’s first pomegranate trees to mature.
The elders told Brett that their decision was based not only on a desire to maintain a level of stability, but because he was the first person who had ever come to them as just an ordinary man rather than a member of a foreign government or a military advisor, someone who simply wanted to see positive change.
The tribal elders and Brett then conducted the official opening ceremony in that first farmer's field, now cleared of poppies, and planted the first pomegranate tree sapling. A national meeting is now being planned to expand the pomegranate industry throughout Afghanistan, with the broad support of the Afghani tribal elders as well as the government.
This is the change I want to be.
Smart, bold change that benefits more than one person/company/country.
Economically grounded so that it is easier for the people who live there to make a choice that improves their quality of life, while working towards a global solution.
I'm sure there will be bumps in this road. I'm sure the opium dealers will fight this change. I hope our governments back this program and help these farmers move towards an independence from poppies.
It was just an idea...and then it was an action.
Now, I'm not sure that Pomegreat is available in the US...although, I'm a'lookin'.
With the economy still sucking the life out of folks' wallets, my family has decided (aside from my nephew) that we will not be exchanging presents for the holidays. But, I think that maybe, I might just have one gift that I'll give them all to share.
Adopting a pomogrante tree might just be the ticket.
That's less than 3 full hours.
Wish me luck making it through this day with the ability to form full sentences.
In other news...back in October, Goose tagged me with one of those meme thingamabobs. It's been on my "to do" list for a while now, so might as well kick out the jams while I'm thinking about it.
List seven random and/or weird facts about myself.
1. I have twice the number of platelets in my system than the average human. This has been verified by the fine folks at LifeSource, where I am a registered blood (and sometime platelet) donor. My veins aren't what they used to be and you need hard core veins for apheresis donation, so I don't get to donate those as much as I'd like.
2. I can only knit rectangles. I've tried to learn how to read patterns and I'm ridiculously inept. I have made about 7 different scarves...so far. If you want a scarf, I'm your Huckleberry.
3. I have lived in my condo for over 4 years...and I've yet to hang anything on the walls. Sufficed to say, I have major nesting issues. I have lots of artwork to hang, but I just can't pull the trigger. Good news...I did finally get those blinds up last month. (Thanks to my big sister visiting.) And that only took a year. So, hope springs. Sorta.
4. When I finally met one of my personal heroes, Studs Terkel, the only thing I could think of to ask to have him write as he autographed my book was, "Happy Birthday, Rebecca!" It was no where near my birthday. Admittedly, I should have thought that one out a bit more.
5. In my 8th grade yearbook, nearly all the messages are made out to my nickname from that year..."E.T." I can't remember how it started, but kids would literally address me as E.T. in the hallways. And it was completely without menace or irony. They weren't making fun of me, it was just...a nickname. I was a huge fan of the movie (and Spielberg in general.) I even had a t-shirt that had an iron-on decal on the front and "E.T." in a velvety monogram on the back. My yearbook is full of, "E.T., Stay Sweet!" and "Have a great summer, E.T!" and "Let's hang out this summer, E.T.!" For reals.
6. I have a practical joke that I literally plan on revealing at my funeral. For the record, I don't do practical jokes. I think they are petty, juvenille and 99% of the time, not funny enough to match the effort. I kind of stumbled into this, but it's been in the works for nearly 15 years already and only one other person is in on it. I just hope I can pull it off...from beyond the grave. Of course, with my luck, everyone will just look around at each other incredously and say, "WTF? Are you kidding me with that shit?" And then storm out. I soooo want people to knock my casket over and then storm out.
7. I once stalked a local band from Chicago to a gig in Michigan. No. You've never heard of them. And it was definitely more under the "stalker" umbrella than the "overly zealous fan." I convinced another friend on the fly to drive to Michigan (and stay at some fleabag motel) just to hear them do the same set we saw a few days earlier, in a teeny tiny club with about 30 folks present...and I still didn't have the nerve to go up to the band and say, "What up, yo!" I'm shaking my head right now as I type this. Chicken Shit 20-something. Nowadays, I'd at least have the temerity to send them a round.
Since most of the folks who I know who have a blog have already been tagged, I'll invite my loyal readers (all 4 of you) to list 7 random things about themselves in the comments.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It's Veteran's Day. For the past week, since the election, I've been wondering...What has been going on in Iraq? Yes. Our economy is doing a tailspin around us...but there really hasn't been any comprehensive reporting (or reporting at all) on Iraq for a few weeks now.
I'm sure some folks haven't wanted to talk about Iraq since it would seem to benefit McCain...but Obama has now been president elect for a week...and still, nothing. Hey, I don't want to pile on with all that Obama has to gear up to tackle, but it's not like Iraq is a Chevy under a tarp on blocks in the driveway. You can't ignore it for weeks or months at a time. You can't ignore it at all.
We as a country have so many problems right now. So many houses on fire, we don't seem to have time to look elsewhere.
This afternoon on the news, I saw Cheney for the first time in weeks. He was lying a wreath at Arlington. It made me want to throw a brick at the television. There are few people I hate in the world. I hate Cheney. There is a difference between those who are misguided and those who are corrupt.
Today...like so many other days, I'm thinking of the soliders. Those that serve today, those that have served and those that will.
Please let them all find some peace in this world.
I was looking for another video to complement this. To lessen the injury and let folks know that there will be an end to this war. I want to say thank you, but I don't have it in me to post some video with eagles and flags and smoke filled skies.
Every day you make it out of bed and into the world...and make it back home to bed...
It's a good day.
I hope everyone makes it home to bed tonight.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
It's a nasty ass head cold, too. I think. (Unless I'm throwing up or literally have to crawl from my bed to the bathroom, I usually think it's just a cold and not the flu.) Yesterday, I was running a fever or something, because I was so cold I went to turn on the heat. Except that it was 72 degrees in my unit! Instead, I made myself some tea, threw on some extra socks, wrapped myself up like a burrito in a couple blankets and rode out my chills.
Lucky me. I plan a vacation day on what turns out to be one of the warmest, sunniest November days we've had in like 40 yrs and I'm stuck in bed sucking back Nyquil. Bah.
From the time I got home on Tuesday night, until this morning (Thurs) - I hadn't seen a soul. No one to high five or hug or dance around with. I turned the phone off to get some rest yesterday, so I haven't even chatted up anyone (except my mom briefly) about the election.
I wish I had the energy to go to the rally that night, but just walking the few blocks home knocked me out, so the idea of traveling downtown and herding my way through the mass of humanity was more that I could conceive.
Fortunately, my friends went and here's the vid.
I wish I could have been there to share the moment with you guys, but I really do feel like my time as an election judge was really a positive thing. Watching people vote and being part of the process was very cathartic.
*(Don't worry Dave, hell or high water I'm working the event on Friday.)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
This is just the beginning. This is the start of journey.
We've voted to move our country towards opportunity and prosperity.
We've made it know that we want to heal this nation.
Now. We've all got to do it. He can't do it alone.
We got him elected.
Now we have to commit to helping him and each other make it all happen.
I'll give a full report of my election judge experience soon, but last night, while there was no long line out the door as the polls closed at 7pm, our district had 76% voter turnout overall.
When you think that an average turnout is normally less than 30%, you could feel that people really wanted to be heard this year.
I live 2 blocks from my polling place and I was home by 8:30pm. After starting my day at 3:50am, I was exhausted. Too tired to cook dinner or even wait to order take-out, I was watching some of the returns, but my signal was being scrambled. Someone with a ham radio or something was screwing up my analog reception.
When I finally shut off the TV at 9:30pm, Obama was at 200, McCain at 124.
The pundits were saying "too close to call" in more states than I was ready to think about, so, I crawled into bed and tried to sleep.
I tossed and turned and think I finally fell asleep about 11:30. I thought about turning on the tv a few times, but I guess I was too nervous of a 2000 repeat - that they wouldn't be able to call it. I just pulled the covers over my head and tried to rest.
So, it's 4:3o in the morning, and I woke up. My knee and back are killing me. Probably from a lack of getting more than 4 hours sleep at a go the last few days, along with sitting in a craptastic chair for nearly 14 hours straight.
So I thought...hell with it. It's time to see.
Pennslyvania. Ohio. Virginia and omg...Florida.
And I just started bawling. I'm so relieved, so happy, so proud of the millions who turned out to vote. So thrilled that the majority of them seek to embrace new leadership. Amazed at folks like Geo who drove to Indiana to get out the vote. Still so stunned that 55 million folks still thought the other party was worthy of their vote. But, mostly, just relieved and grateful that a new page in the history of our country is turning.
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."
Monday, November 3, 2008
Someone asked me why I'd sign up in the first place...
Tomorrow, there will be Republicans and Democrats and Independents and Libertarians and Greenies. I want them all to vote. The one idea that they emphasized at my training is that my job as an Election Judge was not to try to impede people from voting, but to make sure that everyone has a voice and all registered voters get their votes counted.
No matter how you vote, I want to make sure your vote counts.
Is the world free from corruption? No. I doubt it ever will be. But if enough of us stand together and say NO and play a part, maybe we can shake some of it loose and...hell, I'll say it...
Let freedom ring.
Now if I can get my lazy, out of shape ass to my polling place at 5am to prepare for you, YOU can get your ass over there and VOTE. (Maybe even unplug your earbuds and actually talk to your fellow line holders. They might be happy to see you too.)
While I will be impartial tomorrow, today I can say, I want Obama to win by a wide margin. A WIDE MARGIN. Only way that will happen is if everyone who is committed to voting gets out and VOTES.
It's going to be a beautiful Indian Summer day.
Don't phone it in. Get yer ass out and VOTE.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Excuse #1: The Job
Yes. The economic "slow down" (because god forbid, people actually use the word "recession" out loud) is killing jobs and business all over the place. The level of tension at our office is so rank it actually has a distinct odor. Smells a lot like combination of mildew, curry and burning tires.
I am one of the lucky few that still has a job. I know way too many people looking for paychecks right now. So, I apologise for my extremely crappy attitude about still being employed. I should be happy. I should be relaxed. Instead I'm a ball of nerves...that has to withstand the smell of burning tires and curry. Did I mention the mildew?
Currently, my work life has turned into a not-as-amusing rendition of "Office Space." Wherein, our hero has to continually create Powerpoint slides reflecting what work she is doing and what value she brings the to business. (You know...instead of spending that time...doing her work...that brings value to the business.)
If my bank account wasn't bone dry, I would tell them where to stick it, but alas, like a whore hooked on the junk, I continue to suck a dick.
Ergo, my desire to post witty or wry comments has been...limited. At best.
Excuse #2: The Election
This is good and bad.
The "bad" is any conversation with my McCain (and suddenly Palin) supporting father turns into a bloody corpse ridden car wreck. Even when we try to leave politics or the candidates off topic, we somehow find our way back to the charred and festering remains. And then stomp on them.
I'm pretty sure we need to not talk until Nov 5th. Or maybe Nov 6th even.
Watching all the fear-mongering at the McCain rallies would get filed under bad as well. Watching folks that look like my grandmother or my cousin say ignorant racist epitaphs and repeating lies and disproved rumors - it breaks a peice inside me every time.
Of course, I'm a Cubs fan. I'm used to repairing internal and consistant damage.
The good comes from how FREAKING EXCITED I am to be an Election Judge. For reals. My letter came about two weeks back and this past week I had my training downtown. There is something about this candidate that inspired me to not only get out and vote early, but to contribute to my community by serving in what's gearing up to be one of the biggest attended elections in decades.
Now, if you know me, you know how I feel about low voter turnout. The idea that people - either out of fear or hope or belief in one's candidate - are headed to the polls in numbers not seen in years, can't be anything but something to celebrate.
It's gonna be a long day. I start at 5am and don't get to leave until the last person in line votes and we've broken down the equipment. In fact, I'm taking the 6th off to sleep and hopefully celebrate.
If you voted early - AWESOME! I hope your line wasn't too long.
If you are voting on Tuesday, be patient and be pleased that so many of your neighbors are doing their civic duty and voting. Be nice.
And unless your Election Judges (the folks that check you in and hand you your ballots and give you your "I voted!" sticker) are completely assy to you...Thank Them. (Or at the very least, pretend it's me and Thank me.)
I'm going to do my best to be thrilled at everyone who walks through the door. Hopefully, not in an annoying way, but in a, "Voting is So Awesome and You're Awesome for waiting in line to do it!" way. Which is probably annoying after 4 hours, much less 12 or more.
Excuse #3: Halloween
Last week was all about getting a costume together for a friend of a friend's Old West costume party which was held last weekend. (every year they have a different theme.)
I went as a shot of whiskey.
K went as a shot of tequila.
M went as a beer chaser.
Ultimately, while fun to collaborate on (and easy to wear for the most part), most folks didn't "get it." We'd even hand out little pics of ourselves, as in..."Here! Take a shot of Whiskey!" And then folks would be like, "...oh....OH! I GET IT."
So, as an acheiveable costume, I believe this year goes down as a FAIL.
The best costumes need no such gaggery or explanation. But that's ok. We enjoyed ourselves, drinking Coronas by the firepit. And M got to have fun trying to hit me with the beer can he was "chasing" all night. Good times. Good times.
Also. There were giant cupcakes of death (and deliciousness.)
After all...not every year can hit the bar set by "Polygamist Zombies."
Big Zombie Love (click for awesome details)
Something for the mantle.
Little works of Zombie Art.
At least two still walk the earth...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
- - -
The play is memory .Being a memory play, it is dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic.
- A Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams.
A few thoughts on two current Chicago productions of The Glass Menagerie and Our Town that I've recently seen...
If you are a product of the public school system, you've probably seen or read these highly regarded American standards back when you were in junior high or high school. Or, maybe your brother/sister/cousin was in a college production. Perhaps your weird aunt dragged you to see it when you were a kid, trying to instill some sense of culture into the clay that is your brain.
I've seen them. I've seen both plays so many times and performed so awfully (so many times) and approached so similarly that, at some point back, I took a silent oath to avoid them. Been there. Done that. Me likely new works, thanks and there's the door.
But, I recently broke my vow and saw both in a matter of weeks.
Thanks to the talents of the directors, actors and technicians involved ...and the writers long past caring...I am eating a big bowl of crow. I'm choking on my fixed stance, "Never again shall I suffer through that." A big lesson to learn. (For the 427th time, I'm sure.)
I read somewhere that OT is the "most performed American play." In my experience, most productions of OT fall prey to one of two fatalities. They either:
A) embrace (in a Lenny-esque grip) the historical and turn-of-the-century-ness of the play. Spending more time on costumes and regional dialects and the search to find "the perfect ladder", or...
B) they overreach with an effort to "modernize" the text and it becomes the caricature equivalent of "rapping" Shakespearean verse.
Both roads lead to a focus on the style rather than on the substance of Wilder's greater truth. Wide swings in the wrong directions.
The Hypocrites production of Our Town - directed by David Cromer - feels balanced in a way so simple and deft in the unfolding - it places you beautifully off-balance. The actors wield such light touches...it erased every overly nostalgic and overproduced performance that I've suffered previously. My heart, oof...she is grateful.
In trying to describe the loveliness of the third act (without giving anything away), I believe that the best reference I can give is this: It gave me the same powerful sensation as watching Dorothy open the door of her house and seeing Oz for the first time in technicolor, as a kid. I literally held my breath as I watched that moment unfold.
I think Thorton would be proud.
This is a remount of an earlier run (that was a sell-out.) It closes this Sunday. I have no idea if there are any tickets left, but if there are, I highly recommend you scrambling ass over teakettle to get yer paws on one.
The Glass Menagerie
Last Sunday, I went and saw our good friend Mr. Dastmalchian in Shattered Globe's production of The Glass Menagerie. (You may know Mr. Dastmalchian as "the guy who played [my] son in Metaluna" or as "that guy in the Wendy's commercial who played [my] son in Metaluna.")
It had been about a month since I had seen OT. I was still wary - Tennessee Williams is one of those playwrights that can so easily be over saturated with the southern charm of the downtrodden aging belle. It's a slippery slope into caricature, but, when his plays are performed truthfully, it's really a thing of beauty to behold.
I had a lot of confidence in our friend Mr. D. and had heard some good word of mouth. It was really well done. Once again, as I stuffed my craw with crow, I was surprised and delighted with the performances and the direction!
That is, with the sole notable exception of the actress who played Laura. She stunk. Her performance was cartoonish in comparison with the grounded loveliness of the other three solid actors. I'm not sure if she's just one of those folks who thinks acting = making faces, or if this is just a poor casting choice. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and say maybe, she'd done stronger work in other roles, but as a frail, disconnected, overly sensitive girl? I didn't believe her for a minute.
(Post show, my friend B who also saw the show called me and read the TimeOut Review. I disagree with one thing...as much as the role of Laura falls flat, I think it's still worth checking out based on the quality of the rest of the actors.)
That said, the three other actors were so very strong, that they buoyed the lead weight that was Laura. The mother - played with just the right amount of sugar-laced overbearance - had more than one moment where you really saw the love for her children and not just the frightening attempts at control. The gentleman caller was a cold (refreshing) bucket of reality and was played with a likable naturalism that I honestly hadn't seen before. (Normally, the GC is an overplayed construct caught between the "football hero" and the over-enthusiastic moron.) It was so fantastic to see him grounded in such a perfect counter to the family's dreamy dysfunction.
Of course, Mr. D...was just fine. (Well, I don't want to give him a fat head so please don't tell him I thought he was disgruntled perfection in a rumpled suit)
Ah, screw it. Dave has such a wonderful way of embodying his characters that jolts me into remembering why I love going and watching live theater. Then again, I'm biased. I sat in a wheelchair and listened to him read me Dickens for a couple months and got hair gel in my mouth most nights.
You'd think he was the bees knees if he made you cry every night and then forced you to inhale his Dep covered cranium, too.
SG's production only has two weeks left. If you're a value shopper, like me you'll check out HotTix and cut $10 off the $35 ticket price. GO SEE IT.
Both of these productions are beautiful to watch and cracked my brain open. Which is what good theater should do. Three cheers for good theater. We need you, baby. Now more than ever.