Thursday, December 25, 2008

Whoa, cute!

Merry Christmas! I got my parents a webcam!











I die.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In the fast category

The snow doesn't seem to stop.

It snowed all day yesterday, so much so that you nearly could not distinguish the roads from the yards. That of course, did not hinder my mother and I from going to Meijer for some groceries and last minute Christmas gifts. That of course meant that I ran into people from high school, which was fine, but even though I know it will happen it still takes me off guard. I find myself wondering if my answers to questions sounded big enough, which of course is silly, but these are the things that go through my head.

In the evening we made our way to the church that my parents now call their church community. I can't say I was excited to go, for a number of reasons, but my father was singing in the church cantata and I wanted to support him in that. The sermon made me squiggle a few times as it mentioned Bill O'Reilly's war on those who are trying to use Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. It also involved a rapture invoking rendition of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." But you know, there were also tidbits of lovely and so I did my best to hang onto those and enjoy the place that my parents seem really excited to be a part of.

So, just in time for the snow I got my boots yesterday from Tretorn that I ordered. Here is something that amazes me about the USPS. How unbelievably fast things can arrive. What is equally amazing is how excrutiatingly sssslow other things can arrive. In the fast category would fall these boots:





Which really are a bit more like wool lined golashes, but they will be perfect for my travels amidst the wet and snowy city streets. I can't bring myself to clunk around in "real" boots as my feet just get to hot, but I think these will do the trick.

I'm going to do my best today to take some photos. I need to jump back on that horse before it rides away.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Beyond Train Travel

I come to you from the land of more and more snow.
The Today Show plays in the background as I sit by my parents gas fireplace which conveniently turns on by the flip of a switch. This is a far cry from last year where my father used to go out and chop wood in an effort to get the fire started, but this is in general a different year.
The fact that I am able to use the internet is a big change.
They have new cell phones too. I set them up for them last night.

I took off yesterday after running a fool for about a week. It was quite a lovely train ride as the sun shown upon us. I nearly missed my trip because I for some reason am in the habit of not paying close attention to my departure times. This is actually a habit that extends beyond train travel as I find myself showing up to the wrong airline for flights etc. I digress, but I made it and I got here and we've already been sitting around the tree and wrapping presents with coffee in hand.

Though, this very moment, right now, right here, is a classic experience with my mother. She sits down and just starts talking and talking and talking... and I do nothing more than grunt at her, but she keeps talking. It usually takes place while I am trying to watch a television show I am interested in, but currently she is just chattering mid blog composition.

Actually, she just left and came back spraying Lysol around the room. My father has a cold and her exact words were "I told dad I'm gonna spray Lysol to keep the bugs down!" That she did.

I'm glad to be here.
It is always a test of sorts when I return home. I feel simultaneously relieved and terrified when I make my way back... and I think it all eventually gives way to just eating and watching satellite television. I'm ok with that.

Anthony Bourdain's travel channel show marathon will keep me company today. I can't complain.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Still Full

I've had two days of nonstop eating, possibly in preparation for the next week of eating?
Wednesday evening, I took the ladies to Semiramis as a Christmas gift.
I think it was everything I had cracked it up to be. They really loved it and we all ate more than people should eat in a lifetime. I actually woke up during the night longing for a time when I would not be full. But then, last night, I made my way over to Karyn's Cooked and did the exact same thing. But, I must express that it was sooo worth it. Yum.

Last night we had snow storm number two of the season, resulting in my shoes sitting atop the vents right now as they are soaked. Chicago is somewhat of a slushy mess, with more snow this early on in December than I have seen before. I fear the Farmer's Almanac is right.

I completed some of my Christmas shopping yesterday, taking full advantage of the fact that everything is on clearance everywhere. It is a bit overwhelming to walk down State street and feel as though each store is calling your name with something cheaper than the previous. I stuck to my guns and purchased only things needed, but I'm curious to see what things will be like after Christmas.

This is me right this very minute.



Wearing plaid, and with a freshly shorn do. Zoran gave me the same haircut he always gives me and for that I thank him.

My coworker snapped it on her iPhone and sent it to me.
I question why I'm actually at work today, given the weather and the lack of bodies in the building but I suppose it is necessary that I wrap things up before two full weeks of vacation. When was the last time any of us had two weeks of vacation? It seems like it's not actually going to happen, but my calendar says it will.

Tonight I'm eating stuffed shells and having holiday beverages with my coworkers. The remainder of the weekend will be singing, holiday partying, getting ready to go... and then out the door and off to Michigan.

I'm ready!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wassreallygoin'onhere?

Here are two gems I came across yesterday on the internet:



Ha! Now I presume Miz B and Mizter J (ha!) are at a basketball game, so then one would ask what would provoke a reaction like this? It appears to be a look of disgust? And then if you look and think further you might wonder .. Is that Chloe Sevigny next to them? Does she go to basketball games? That's weird. But wait, look at that dude behind them all.. the one with the busted up face.

Wassreallygoin'onhere?

And then I came across RuPaul who managed to make the best Christmas Card of any of us.



Thanks, Ru. That made me lol.

We had a terrible snow storm yesterday. I mean, in the grand scheme of snow storms it wasn't that bad, but the first storm in the city is always bad because people have to relearn how to deal with it. I actually just got off my bus and walked home because the bus was simply not moving and it seemed more efficient if also a bit more cold. I love how the news always interviews people on the street and person after person is all "Get over it! This is Chicago. It snows."

After teaching a voice lesson, I managed to just stay in, take care of things around the house.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming time away.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Explain That

Ok, I mean, this has to make you giggle a little, right?



It did me.
There is a part of me that feels it inappropriate to giggle at such a thing, but then I think of all the lives lost in Iraq and I think Bush can handle a shoe to the head. Although, he managed to move quite quickly. I'm sure I would've taken the size 10.

This weekend was nonstop singing and I can't say I don't feel exhausted by it.
Friday evening I was in Oak Park at this beautiful Church Called St. Edmunds with the William Ferris Chorale. The concert was sort of a comedy of errors due to sickness and transportation issues but given the nature of the beast it all went off without much of a hitch. The inside of the church was so beautiful. I snapped it with my iPhone.



I think I've said this before but one of the weirdest and cool thing about my singing jobs is the fact that I end up in all these beautiful churches all over the city that I think most people never enter. They are really quite wonderful. After the concert, Linsey, Christina, Ryan, and I enjoyed some hoity toity mexican food that tasted quite yummy.

Oh, I forgot about the fact that I woke up Saturday morning with some sort of weird allergic reaction that caused my eyes to swell up. I didn't even realize this until I put my first contact in and realized how weird I looked.



I honestly don't know what the cause was. By the end of the day they had gone down and I was back to normal, but I've never had anything like that happen to me before. I looked pretty crazy.

Yesterday I did our Lessons and Carols service at Grace Chicago Church, to which many people came! Even some of my coworkers made their way out on the windy morning. It was great to have so many familiar faces there. Afterward we enjoyed a nice brunch at Kitsch'n.

Today the temperature is 40 degrees less than it was last night at about 10pm. It was 46 degrees then and now it is 6. Explain that.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Whoa, Frustration

Nothing works!
Ever.
Argh.
Blargh.
Blam.

As of last night my external hard drive isn't working properly which begs the question why do I back up on an external hard drive?? Is it not to protect my stuff? So technically should I be backing up twice? Ugh.

So I call the manufacturer and they tell me I have the wrong number and to call another number. That number gets me to an answering machine which tells me to call the original number! So I call back and they finally get me to another number where I wait on hold only to be transferred to an answering machine where I have to leave a message.

Has this become the story of my life? Is all I do deal with the nightmare of being a small consumer in the midst of these poorly run manufacturers and internet providers. grrrrr. I feel greatly frustrated with the impermanence of things.

In other news, I've stopped reading Perez Hilton.
Maybe I shouldn't admit to having been a reader in the first place, but I figure it is common knowledge when one sits at a desk for most of the day it is easy to get into reading things that update so often... its a bit addictive, but the truth of the matter is I think he is not a good person and it occurs to me that I shouldn't support that kind of behavior. Besides, Michael K over at DListed is actually funny. :D

It was 13 degrees farenheit this morning.

I have a weekend of holiday shtuff ahead of me, and I'm thankful for that.

I can't get enough of this song today.







Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Whoa, Mr. Governor

Sooo, you know how the windy city isn't really called the windy city because of the wind? It's actually the politics? Well, it seems appropriate that for some reason today the fans are blowing so loudly in my office that I can barely hear myself think. For this, and everything else right now, I blame Rod Blagojevich.

Or, "Blowjobavich" as my coworker calls him. What a fool I say? And I suppose what irritates me most about his arrest has little to do with the specifics of what he has done as even in its most shocking form it doesn't shock most Illinois residents, but rather with the ways in which is tinges a beautiful period of possibility for the city of Chicago and the future of its politics. Lately, if one were to mention this city one could almost feel the glow coming from our hometown kid, President Elect Obama. They would probably then bring up the Olympic bid and give an opinion on that, whether it be good or bad I bet you they have one. And then, how about the fact that we had already put one other Governor in jail, two years ago because of his behavior and that seemed to send a message? maybe? but no. This man lives in some sort of state of delusion and I hope he is now surrounded with "no" people rather than the "yes" people that I'm sure have filled his ranks for the last 5 years.

I did a focus group last night. I still can't tell you what it was for, but possibly something to do with beer and text messaging? That seemed to be what the questions kept getting at, but it was never clear and somehow ended up feeling more like group therapy? Asking us why we do what we do over and over again. But, I walked away with some cash in my hand and I can't complain about that now, can I?

I'm wearing quite the purple sweater today.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Success!

My office party games were a success.

I say that as though I'm conveying the message from others because I was told immediately following the dinner that the games were a good idea and they worked wonderfully, so I hold my office party head high.

The weekend was terribly busy.
One office party.
Three WFC concerts with three wears of my tuxedo.
One trip to the South Side and one trip to the far reaching suburbs.
About 15 pastries with amazing Italians.
One brunch and movie with Ryan.
One trip to the grocery store ($120 worth of groceries).
One Christmas tree purchase with Linsey.
...and not much sleep.

But here I am, and no worse for the wear, really.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I don't get it

Wow, Thursday afternoon at 2:30pm already.

I've completed my first grant application. It is for a City of Chicago Arts Partnership grant and it is to fund portfolio development. The grant is for "new and emerging" artists, so hopefully I fall into that category on some level and they'll give me the money I've asked for. It was an extensive application and I worry I didn't handle it with enough care as I realized it was due at the last minute, but having completed this makes me realize I need to be doing more of these things as $ is available to me and I need to take advantage of that.

This morning was a killer as far as cold goes. Something like 13 degrees Fahrenheit as I walked to the bus, and it sure felt colder. Winter is here and I already feel a bit ready for some warmth... a beach or a warm field or something.

I've been tirelessly thinking of games that would be entertaining for my office Christmas party which will be happening tomorrow. Ok, maybe tirelessly is a bit of an exaggeration, but I've been trying hard to come up with something out of the ordinary, entertaining, maybe slightly embarrassing and able to be played at a table in an Italian restaurant after a glass of wine... oh and with coworkers. This idea for a game is not mine though, it is the Dean's. He believes we need some sort of activity and so I took on the responsibility in an effort to spice things up from the usual, but I'm reminded that the unusual is sometimes hard to think up. I'll let you know if my chosen ideas succeed, but I'm too embarrassed to put them out there now.

Otherwise, I'm spending this week in music. Rehearsals and teaching and intermittent online christmas shopping. Speaking of which, this is my nieces christmas list:

A blue butterfly chair that is very squishy
The High School Musical 3 sound track
The High School Musical 3 DVD

Awesome.
ha.
You know, when I was home and we were playing the wii (me, (err mii) for the first time) we played the High School Music Karaoke game. Yea, that exists, and my nieces and nephews know every word to every tune and all I could think was how High School Musical is a direct help in understanding how old I actually am now as I can say with assurance "I don't get it."

On Tuesday, Robin and I had the best soup in the city of Chicago at the Soup Box. It honestly is the best. I want some right now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Mix



I made a mix that you are welcome to download if you like. It has a bunch of tunes people have shared with me or what I've been listening to lately.

Download here: Up All Night

Digital Love

The highlights!

It is snow central here in Chicago. The first of the year, and although I find it to be a bit discouraging given the fact that a bad winter is being forecast, I think this first snow is pretty pretty. I quite enjoyed making my way through it to the bus this morning, but not standing and waiting for the bus in it.

Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State, which I think has a lot of really amazing implications. I can't help but be excited for the next (8!) years.

I am wearing this amazing sweater that mother pulled out of a closet while I was home. It was my grandfather's. He received it when he graduated from High School in 1924! It is wool, navy blue, and has an incredible shawl collar which buttons shut. I am pretty crazy about it and can't believe it fits so well.

I had a wonderful time at home, with a big ole Thanksgiving dinner that I'm still full from and some time with the parents helping with errands and such.

I took/made this video while I was home.




I am also in this book that is coming out, umm, today I think!

Lines and Shapes Connect Us

If you don't hear much from me for the next while there may be a couple reasons. One is that I have a ton-o-performances coming up. Three this weekend with the William Ferris Chorale and then some other various holiday shtuff. Tis the season! But, the other reason may be because I have a NEW TV. It is amazing and life changing. 22" of digital beauty. Perfect for me. Now even without cable I get about 50 more channels of high definition love and it is addictive I tell you. Who knew that PBS had so many channels? I imagine it will consume me...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dear Scarf Thief



Eat it.

I bought another one.

So, I sent my sister an email the other day asking if she wanted me to bring the Tofurkey as her daughter and I wont be indulging in the actual turkey and it is fun to have a fake so that people talk less about the fact that I'm not eating turkey. She just emailed me last night to tell me, yes, I should bring one. Therefore, I'm plotting my getaway from work so I can make it to whole foods to get a fancy overpriced fake turkey to take along with me on the train home in about two hours.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. I am really looking forward to this getaway and actually catching up with some of you that I don't see regularly. My goal is to just make sure my jeans still fit by the end of the weekend, because lord knows they cost too much for me to eat myself out of them.

Bye!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Working Relationship

I just got mah hurr did at the local burbur.
I guess I haven't established that I now have a working relationship with my barber? In that, I'm satisfied with the barber and he gives me the same haircut over and over and that is the best for both of us. Mary seemed to be somewhat shocked by this, but I thought it was common knowledge now?

It just occurred to me how funny his name.

Wait for it...


Zoran.


Yes, Zoran. He is Serbian (*nudges Milan*) and he gives a terrific haircut, in that he can give the same old style barbershop haircut in his sleep. I swear he doesn't pay a lick of attention while he chops away, but as far as I'm concerned it always comes out good.

But the reason I even bring him up is that we were discussing thanksgiving, which led to discussing food, which led to him talking about Serbian food which made me bring up my new crush... you know, the restaurant I was gushing about.

I was all "I just went to this amazing Lebanese restaurant on Saturday." and he was all "Semiramis." and then I'm like "OMG. How did you know that?" and the he was like (in Serbian accent) "It is the closest thing to real Lebanese food you can get."

And then I sighed.

Things are slow.
I'm so ready to get outta town.
One rehearsal, one half day of work, a train ride to Indiana, a care ride to Michigan and then it's time for a break!

Monday, November 24, 2008

What else is there?

This post will be dedicated primarily to food, because really, in the season of thanks what else is there?

This Saturday I had the most delicious Lebanese food I've ever had. Really, I couldn't stop raving through the entire meal and then two the waitress who said "Oh, you haven't been here before? This is the best Lebanese food in the city." And, she is right.

Semiramis

Now, you might take a look at the menu and think it looks basic, and let me affirm that it is. There is nothing off kilter or necessarily special about this restaurant, other than the nearly perfect execution of the food. Basically I found this restaurant by doing some Yelp research for a place that was BYOB, off the browline, vegetarian friendly and nice, but inexpensive.

Ryan and I got to the restaurant at about 8pm on Saturday evening only to find quite a wait... which I wasn't thrilled with, but willing to endure after all that research. While we waited, the host opened our bottle of wine, gave us some glasses and poured us a glass. They also brought out a generous amount of complimentary sumac fries, which were a sign of the delicious things to come. After about a 45 minute wait, we were seated and waited on right away. The waitress immediately brought out more fries with the garlic mousse. Then shortly followed our entrees, the Vegetarian Platter as well as the Lentils and Rice with Carmelize Onions and House Salad. This all seems very basic, but I have to tell you that not a single bite of it was. Each part of the dish was better than the previous, with dolmas that literally melted in your mouth. The hummus was fresh, the tabbouleh flavorfully moist, and the falafel was perfectly crunchy on the outside while soft and tasty on the inside.

This was all followed by a dessert of arabic coffees and baklava, one of my favorite desserts.

And by far and away the best part, was the bill... which was not at all reflective of how pleasently stuffed I was.

Two thumbs up!

Friday, November 21, 2008

!

WE HAVE LIFTOFF!

I just dealt with some gentleman in India and we got it to work, finally.

Oh, finally.

I feel the weight of the interweb being lifted from my shoulders.

Still no Internet and Why people steal from me

Still no internet. I received a phone call from my new friend Mark in San Diego yesterday that went something like this.

"Davin, It's Mark from at&t and well I need you to give us one more day. I spoke with (name of manager) in our central office and he is understaffed and we can't get through to someone who is able to complete what we need them to, so just give us one more day and then if you don't have internet by tomorrow night I understand if you don't want service with us, but just give us one more day."

The thing is, I'm this far into the experience that I have to see it through, ya know? It gives me some sort of sick satisfaction to have this gentleman do a little bit of begging, but that still does not turn my internet on. But! at this point, I'll wait. It has been 18 days, so...

Last night I went over to a local speak easy style bar that has opened not so long ago called The Whistler. I was meeting up with my friend Abby to do some catching up after too long of not seeing each other. We get there and it is a bit crowded so we saddle up to a ledge along the wall only to discover there are coat hooks underneath where we decide to hang our coats. A few minutes later a couple spots open up at the bar, so we decide to get more comfortable and enjoy conversation. Abby takes her coat with her to the bar, I leave mine on the hook. Fast forward a couple hours, a couple drinks, and piles of good conversation later to me pushing my way through the hipsters the coat hook to pick up my coat and my new scarf I had just purchased on Tuesday. I find my coat, but no scarf. The scarf was gone and I remembered that I hadn't actually tucked the scarf in the coat but rather hung it on the hook with the coat, easily accessible to hipster petty thieves.

The second thing I do is check the pocket for my iphone and thankfully it was there... but mother of pearl! Where is my scarf!?

But see, this is like standard fair for me. People take my things. They just do! And, I can't seem to catch much of a break with regards to this sort of thing... sure I could have tucked the scarf in the coat, but must I always be on guard? I suppose so, but as you remember, even in the midst of locking up my bicycle that too was stolen, for the second time...

Then to add insult to injury, take a look at this post on Sartorialist today.

On the Street....Scarf Homme, Milan & Paris

Whatever, Milan and Paris!

I had a late night discussion with Mary about my stolen goods and we tried to decide if I was still being taught some lesson? Because, in all seriousness, everything has been stolen from me at one time or another... except possibly my home? She asked me if my shoes has been taken and I recalled the story of being a boy at Michigan's Adventure and having my new Reebok pumps stolen while I was in the water park. I was held in the park because I was not able to exit without shoes on. A sign of things to come?

I write this not to complain, but rather to inquire - Why?

On a lighter note, how do we feel about the new gmail themes? I've chosen "Tree."

I'm relying on the sun today because it was 19 degrees when I woke up.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Best Friends Forever

I just made my way into work because I spent the morning with at&t. We're practically bffs now. I called Mark this morning and told him things still weren't working and another repair man had come to my house and it was the same story. Mark asked me if I knew what this experience was and I told him "hell" and he said no, it was " at&t torture, which got Mary thinking that maybe one of the t's in at&t actually stands for torture? I think I shall propose that for their next marketing campaign.

While waiting around this morning I did some morning talk show watching and I caught a few minutes of The View where they were discussing Thanksgiving day preparations. This got me thinking about Thanksgiving's quick arrival and as I made my way to the bus stop in the snow, I actually felt excited about the quickly approaching holidays. I don't particularly care for the way in which this season seems to come more quickly each year, but the truth of the matter is that it serves as a fantastic excuse to spend time with people I care about and to that I look forward.

I watched the movie Control last night as I am now the proud recipient of netflix. This is a really stunning film, all in black and white and telling the story of Joy Division. The plot is predictable (as it is a story you've probably already heard) but the cinemtography was just gorgeous leaving so many film stills possible. I recommend it if you have the chance.

I read in the RedEye this morning that travel costs are expected to be at quite a low as globally financial times are rough. Apparently many hotels/resorts etc. have been building and now they have excess capacity yet fewer travelers to fill the space. This furthered my itch to get on the move. I've been sitting still now since Septemeber and I feel like travel is calling me. It might have to wait until after the first of the year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why blog?

You know, if a blogs stop being posted regularly they die and I fear that mine is near death. All those I've resuscitated it a few times before so I shouldn't assume it has stopped breathing just yet but when ever I get a bit removed from it I think to myself "well, why in the world does anyone care what I did this weekend?" But, then I think how lame it is when people write about how they haven't blogged and blah blah... and to that I say BORING. So, I think it better to be directly boring than boring about being boring, you know what I'm saying?

So!

The truth of the matter is, I had a fairly eventful weekend with Robin and I taking a quick as the wind trip to Michigan for an "Alumni Benefit Concert" at Otsego High School. Let's just say this experience was "something else" as I think it not the smartest of me to write some opinions publicly. Regardless, it was good to see my folks for a short bit, especially as they settle in their new home and I always have a giggling good time with Robin... so that was a treat. As quickly as we left on Friday evening after work, we returned on Saturday evening after the concert as both of us are obligated on Sunday mornings.

Sunday afternoon I spent some time writing a paper for a my class and contemplated why I subject myself to such painful circumstances. I mean, I value education... or one could say that I even live to be educated, but I find this class situation to be something I'm not crazy about. But regardless, I try to make smart decisions and finish my work and yada yada... and then reward myself with a trip to the movies. That evening, Ryan and I went to see the James Bond flick and I have to say that it rocked my world. I think I could have watched another two hours of it. It really was stylish and terrific and although the opening sequence seemed like a ripoff the Sebastian Tellier record cover, I was all over it.

-----

I originally began to compose this post at 10am. It has sense been interrupted by a staff meeting, lunch and 80 minutes on the phone with the deterioration of my very will to exist: at&t. My current situation with trying to get dry loop internet setup with at&t is a textbook case of davin "luck." It can be traced to such situations as "the never ending car troubles of Davin's Plymouth Breeze" or "Davin's apartment being robbed" or "The ceiling caving in while Davin lives with Linsey" or most recently "Davin's bike gets taken while locked up at his place of work." It is the way in which my life goes and I just deal, but I can't say I don't do so begrudglingly.

I don't know that I will ever have internet at home again. The beaurocracy and their inability to get through the red tape and get my problem fixed seems bigger than something I could master and my hope or will is deflating. So, now, with a phone warmed ear I leave it in the hands of my latest "help desk friend" Mark. Please, Mark. If you read this blog, make it happen! Honestly! Help me! Please! Don't give me another number to call, don't put me on hold, don't tell me you'll call me and then don't, just don't! Ok!? Just fix it.

This is all I can muster today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sicky sick sick

Hi friends.

I've had a cold the last few days and haven't felt very able to do anything, mostly staying home except for my one venture out to do my final presentation in class yesterday. I've made it to work today, but I think I will head right back home in a little bit as I'm not much service to anyone in this state... and frankly, I think it is silly to put others at risk of getting sick.

I'm doing my best to get better because I have to sing in my home town on Saturday (thanks to Robin) for an "Otsego High School Alumni" concert of sorts. I don't know. I was originally hesitant, but now it has been in the news paper and I called my mother last night to tell her I was sick and her only response was "Well, you better get better because people are planning on you. Everyone at church came up to us and told us how excited they were." How does one respond to this? "Oh, ok. I'll get better right now, then." Grar.

So, I will just sleep as much as I can, I suppose.

In other quick familial news, I thought you may appreciate this little tidbit of a paragraph from an essay my niece wrote about her brother. It is entitled "The Hero of My Life":

"Keegan is the coolest brother/hero because he gives me advice and helps me with homework. Like I said in the last paragraph we talk a lot, so every time we talk he is usually giving me advice about something that is I need it. Sometimes he doesn’t give the best advice but it is usually very good advice. Like the time he told me to just go up to my old boyfriend and just say it’s over really loud and walk away and don’t look back. Can you imagine what would have happened if I did that? Just to let you know I didn’t do that. I broke the news to him nicely. If I need help on homework he’ll help. Just the other day/yesterday he helped me with my science homework. He basically gave me the answer but that not the point. My brother is an amazing person and is my hero because he gives me advice and helps me with my home work."

Amazing.

I think this is all I can muster for now.

Oh, and I've updated my website. http://www.thesearemypictures.com - take a look if you like.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Whoa.
Total election hangover for the last week.
I wasn't able to even bring myself to blog for the remainder of the week, but now after a weekend of rejuvenation all feels right in the blogosphere, well, as it relates to me.

The weekend was generally good although it ushered in what feels like real winter weather, include actual snow flakes yesterday.
Yuck, I say.
I put on my winter coat for the first time and thought how I needed to purchase another as I get sick of wearing the same coat for what seems like the eternity of a Chicago winter.
Look at me, complaining about the weather already after we've had such a beautiful spring/summer/fall.
You can tell me to cry you a river. I will.

Friday night I was able to celebrate a couple of birthdays with friends and then Saturday Ryan and I made our way out to the suburbs to Ikea, which seemed somehow underwhelming. Although, I must confess (as I have done before) that I have a fascination with the suburbs as and escape. Being there is somehow exotic, if I only stay for an afternoon. Saturday evening I went with the ladies to do a late celebration of Jessica's birthday. Her only desire? A night with Girl Talk, so that is what we did. It was quite the scene of day glo clad hipsters. It was a lot of fun to watch and to participate in. The climax of the evening, the moment I had been waiting for patiently was the release of the balloons, which thanks to the magic of the iphone you can see with me below.







Fuuuuuunnnn.

Sunday involved singing, more singing, Trader Joe's (which I believe to be the best place on the planet for frozen meals... but maybe I shouldn't be proclaiming that as it says something about my eating habits) and what has become my favorite Sunday night activity, Brothers and Sisters (also, maybe not the best thing to admit.)

I'm patiently waiting this week for at&t dry loop service at my house. I had a moment last week of ultimate frustation. One of those moments you realize how small and helpless you are in the midst of a beaurocratic commercial structure. Ugh.
But, I have no choice but to wait and in an effort to use time and money more wisely, I've cancelled Comcast and upped my Netflix!

I just got off the phone with Mary.
She called me "sanctimonious."
I'm looking down on her as I type.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I don't know how one even writes about a night like last night. It was really a defining moment in American History, but in my life.

I left rehearsal at 9:30 and ran to the train to head downtown with Ryan. When we got off at the Harrison redline stop, we began to run toward the park as it was nearly 10pm. I got three text messages saying "He Won!!" and at the same time the streets erupted. Literally. People began running almost aimlessly, jumping up and down, high fiving, hugging and cheering. I've never seen anything quite like it.

Not wanting to miss a thing we sprinted toward Grant Park to make our way with the masses toward the jumbotron, just trying to get some idea of it. We pushed our way in and made our way pass security and slid as deep into the crowd as was possible. This was just a few moments before John McCain gave his incredibly gracious concession speech, which actually gave me a glimpse of the man people had said that he was or used to be. After the fact, I think I finally had some insight.

We then waited for a bit before President Obama came to the stage and spoke what was an incredibly somber, yet moving speech. You could see tears in so many people's eyes and the visual of it all just seemed like something I couldn't have imagined, if only for the sheer magnitude and diversity of the crowd, all collectively feeling like we had a say in making this happen. We were a part of it, for real this time.







When all was said and done, we just sort of lingered.
I don't know what else there was to wait for, but it felt like we needed to take it in as much as we could. When we finally made our way out to the streets they were filled with people and celebration.







And then we all (in an AMAZINGLY orderly fashion) made our way down the streets to head home... all the while chanting and celebrating.

video

It was incredible.
I feel so tired today. Emotionally and physically exhausted and I have to make it through this day of work and night of class.

Umm, Yes I Can?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The ticket!



I can't help but be thrilled.

A buzz



I barely slept last night. I honestly tossed and turned with a number of unfortunate dreams in the mix. I was thankful when morning arrived and I started receiving text messages from friends telling me they had voted.

Regardless of outcome, today is a historic day. I honestly felt it in the air as soon as I left my house. I think the energy is especially strong in Chicago as one of her son's is in the mix.

There are no saviors here, but I'm thankful for representation that things can be different and better.

Now, we just vote and wait.
Having done the former, I'm left with the latter.

*twiddles thumbs*

Monday, November 3, 2008

General Optimism

Hi Friends.

I have to tell you, I think the weather is reflective and also a contributor of/to my mood. It is a truly lovely day out and is supposed to continue to be so for the next couple days. Low 70's and sunny.

My weekend was the right amount of leisure, lazy, and productivity. Friday evening I enjoyed Halloween festivities with the bulk of the 20 somethings in Chicago. It really is quite a scene to just walk around on the evening of and see the young urban professionals dressed up in the various and sundry costumes. I remember when I first moved to the city who surprised I was at the serious nature in which adults treated Halloween, but now I'm right there with 'em. Bring on the costumes and bring on the party.

My costume, you ask? Well, here I am with my friend Ana. She was "bloody mary" and I was...



... a deviled egg! Yes, yes. I told this girl I know that I was a deviled egg and she responded "Oh, I was a deviled egg last year." so, I mean, I know it is not original, but it felt just punny enough to get me through the night. Oh, and I wore white sweat pants. Enough said.

Saturday was mostly just laying low as the weather was grey and the mood was "day after." The only activity of note was watching The Diving Bell and The Butterfly with Ryan and Linsey, which I have to admit I was resistant to do as the premise seemed somewhat boring, but I was fully engaged and recommend it whole heartedly as a result.

Sunday I did the usual church singing and had a lovely little lunch with Tina. This was followed by the kind of cleaning I usually reserve for spring, but given the spring like weather it seemed all too appropriate to move all the furniture and mop the floors. The truth is I'm not necessarily a clean freak, but I am certainly a happier person when all is in order, smells good, and lacks any sort of dust. That is the state of my home currently.

Now, most importantly, I am feeling all sorts of anxious optimism about tomorrow. I received my confirmation email so I do actually have a ticket to the rally tomorrow evening. Regardless of outcome, I feel so strongly about the sheer magnitude of this point in history and so pleased to be a part of it. I do believe in my heart that things are getting better. I feel sick about the blatant bigotry that a race like this has so clearly pushed to the surface but I think about the history of our country and the fact that it was created on a foundation of opression. This is now less the case more than it ever has been (thank you jesus!), and if you don't believe it, look to the fact that one ticket is headed by a black man and the other includes a woman. Now, this has been a long time coming, but it is here and with regards to these matters I do not believe there is a true reverse. Possible steps backwards? Maybe, but reverse, no. Most of all, I believe that with progress comes optimism and optimism is something I am happy to be a part of even as it relates to dreaded politics. This is why I feel so strongly about encouraging everyone I know to be a part of something big. Something new and different and progressive and forward leaning and inclusive and and and... American?! How exciting!

Friday, October 31, 2008

DANCE OFF!

Oh man, this is classic.

Frightful Prospects

Happy Halloween my friends.

I have to tell you, I'm never big on Halloween until it gets to be the day of and I'm irritated that I didn't spend more time planning the evening out. In someways Halloween feels a bit like new years to me, in that it is better if it happens organically, the only problem with that is that a proper costume needs planning.

But alas, today is the day and on the street this morning I already saw many a costume walking down the sidewalk acting as though nothing was weird or strange, requiring me to do the same?



This is my best Halloween contribution thus far. My carved pumpkin. I always have intention to do an amazing job of carving my pumpkin, but then I realize it is not an easy task so I go for the old faithful jackolantern look.

Turns out they expecting as many as a million people downtown next Tuesday. I think this could be a possibility, but maybe a bit of a stretch. Besides, I've decided there will be no celebrating a won election until the election is indeed won. Most of us have been here before, where we thought our candidate would win and they just didn't, so let that be a lesson learned. The election aint ovah until it is ovah.

This all for now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Voted!

I waited for nearly two hours for a process that took under ten minutes, but it felt so good!



Tomorrow is the last day to vote early in Illinois, but I recommend you do it if you are able to brave the crowds. It can only help things run more smoothly on the 4th.

In other GOOD political news, I got tickets to the Obama rally in Grant Park on the 4th. Well, I'm assuming I got tickets cause I got a confirmation saying I would, which really is something I feel like I want to be a part of.

But, don't get too excited for me as there is also BAD NEWS.

I have rehearsal on the evening of the 4th. Something I cannot get out of and it makes me want to throw a little temper tantrum and scream about patriotism, but rather I will just hop in a cab immediately following my rehearsal and make my way to stand amidst the masses.

We can't have everything I suppose.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Seeds!

Baking pumpkin seeds, the smell, the taste, all of it makes me Mr. Nostalgia.





They are so delicious and nearly gone already.

I have many things to say, but not the time to say them.

Quickly though, we are a week out and as I scan the political news I've seen two things that have stood out to me today. The first looks like this:

Dozens Of Call Center Workers Walk Off Job In Protest

And the second looks like this:



Now, if this is kool-aid... I want to drink it and drink it and drink it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cuh Cuh Cooooold

So, I slept in the cold last night.
Something is broken on my furnace and my landlady was not able to get it fixed yesterday, so I piled on the sweat pants and sweat shirt and multiple blankets and went to bed early. I woke up with a cold nose and ears, but for the most part it was OK.
The worst part was touching the cold floor as I stepped out of bed this morning, but the hot water still works so I made my way immediate to a hot shower.
The funny part about this is that it was nearly below freezing here in Chicago last night, so the first night of almost winter weather and I have no heat.
The other bit of irony is that I don't control the heat in my apartment and often find myself complaining about how ridiculously hot it is... but, not last night.
It reminded me of that fact that all three of my siblings actually grew up with no heat in the upstairs of our farm house. They tell stories of using electric blankets and waking up with boogers turned to icicles. I was fortunate enough to grow up during the fully heated era, and I'm thankful for that.

I'm wearing a tie today to impress the accreditors.
I'm not sure it is working.

I had really quite a nice weekend.
In terms of productivity, I finally removed my air conditioner from the window, which caused a firestorm of sorting and throwing things out as I had to do so to fit said AC into my "Monica Closet." It actually felt really amazing and I threw away heaps of stuff that I don't use. This general tossing is keeping with my policy that if most things are not used within the last year they are not necessary to keep. Most clothes, I give the six month rule to, but there were silly things in the back of my closet that have been sitting there since I moved into this apartment and that is simply too long.
Out to the dumpster it all went and my closet is now the picture of organization.

In the realm of leisure, I saw Rachel Getting Married on Friday, which I have to say I recommend. The only way I can explain it is that you feel like a voyeur on a bit of a surreal circumstance. It was kind of like an Altman movie, but it was heightened. Anne Hathaway was really fantastic, but I think maybe the Oscar buzz is a little stretch.

Saturday night, Ryan and I saw the Friendly Fires and Lykke Li, which I thought was a pretty fantastic show. I hadn't heard the Friendly Fires, but they were a great British pop/rock/dance band that had a great set. Lykke followed them with a pop set that had a bit of a goth vibe. I was loving it. She also had the sweetest Swedish accent and danced like and African tribal dancer. Two more things I'm fond of.

People keep giving me baked goods, which of course is AWESOME, but I hope they're prepared for there to be more of me to love if they keep doing so.

I'm off.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Important Bits

I've attempted to begin this blog each day since I last blogged, but my attempts have proved not fruitful as the days seem to get away from me and there also may be nothing of value to write. At work we are currently preparing for a group of white men to come tell us whether we can continue being a music school or not. They call themselves accreditation, but I just call them more work. I think what frustrates me most about spending time working on things like this is that I know how this stuff goes and so much of the material we are asked to prepare simply will not be looked at, so it make the process of preparing it a bit of a begrudged one.

You know, I got an automated call from my credit card last night telling me that I could 0% APR on any purchases until the end of September. I wanted to call them right back and say "Listen, Jerk. That is how you got me into that mess in the first place." Or maybe I simply should have handled it like Charlotte and said "I CURSE THE DAY YOU WERE BORN!"

That message was actually followed by a gentleman from the Obama campaign asking me to go to Indiana and do some work there... and I have to say I was almost tempted. I wish my life allowed me more flexibility with that sort of thing, but I guess the best I am able to do is be an annoying political blogger.

I have to tell you all that it is tempting to me to send forwards and videos all day long. I could create a whole blog around them creating a political case for my belief system. I refrain (as much as I can) because I don't want to be that dude, but it is tempting at times. I was thinking yesterday of how I am the ultimate consumer of information, as I spend my days at a desk with the internet at my disposal. I am connected to multiple news sources and probably even more bogus sources of information, but I am voraciously consuming information. It is what gets me through these days in an office, but I realize that might not be the case for everyone else so I try to share only the important bits.

I picked up some photos from the visit to the orchard this weekend and I thought I'd share.



























As you can see, it was really a lovely Autumn day.

Finally, I want to leave you with a new band I'm been listening to. Benoit Pioulard
They are the perfect aural for a rainy day like to day. They've also made a lovely video which you should take a look at if you have the chance.

Bon weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2008

iGo uGo

Today I feel a low grade annoyance with everything.
It all started with the annoyance of simply having to wake up and now my annoyance continues with the fact that my eyes feel heavy and it is grey outside and it is Monday and my motivation is lacking and my fingers are cold and...

What a way to start a week, eh?
The problem is that I had a wonderful weekend and it was almost too wonderful so I didn't really get any time to sleep or do lazy things so I come from the weekend tired.

Today I placed these gourds on my desk.



The warty gourd.



The sea creature gourd.

It is my attempt at seeming fall like and festive, and hoping the warty gourd will actually deter people from touching my desk. I feel it will be the reverse.

The gourds are a souvenir from a lovely Saturday trip to Wisconsin friends. We wandered through an apple orchard, enjoyed the sun, purchased pumpkins and gourds and tasted nasty apple and pear wine. Overall it was the perfect fall activity for the perfect fall day. I brought back and pumpkin that begs to be carved, these gourds and some apples that are absolutely the sweetest apples I have ever tasted, validating driving such a long distance away.

Friday evening I enjoyed quite a random time out of art openings and some delicious Moroccan food. The art reminded me that I need to keep pushing myself.

Sunday morning I got up to sing and then I made my way home to gather my things to head to an afternoon birthday party. The afternoon began with softball and ended with loads of Mexican food. I only partook in the latter.

This morning as I was forcing myself to keep moving and get ready I begrudgingly listened to the pledge drive on NPR which was only made more enjoyable because it was being hosted by Ira Glass. I laughed to myself as he actually called a friend of a donor who said that he wouldn't be giving because he didn't feel he needed to. He was so dumbstruck to hear Ira's voice on the phone that he nearly immediately exclaimed that he would be making a donation. This got me thinking that I had recently made a personal committment to be more generous with my donations now that I am in my debtless state. Once at work I made my way over to the WBEZ website to consider my donation options and realized that at a certain level I would receive a complimentary year as an iGo car member. This is a perfect reward for donation as I have been considering joining iGo for a simple car option... especially post bike thievery.

So now, not only am I supporting the radio station I listen to every morning but I also can go to Ikea, because well, that is what people with cars do.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I can't resist

I simply cannot resist my two favorite discoveries from the day after debate news.

What about Joe the Plumber you ask? Well, turns out he isn't a licensed plumber... and, well he owes a bit in back taxes, so he would in fact be worried about taxes.

To vet?

But perhaps of more relevance than Joe could ever have, we turn to Tyra Banks who seems to be able to bestow true wisdom that can benefit the likes of Senator McCain.




Which brings me to my third and final point: (SPOILER)Leanne won Project Runway, WHICH I was pleased with... but overall, it feels anticlimactic, no? I feel like she did well, but the season/show as a whole lost some oomph for me. Don't get me wrong, I simply cannot stop watching, but I feel rather indifferent about the whole thing. So, I'll just go back to practicing my eye smile.

I feel that if I wait long enough

Since my grand win of a $25 Best Buy gift card, I've decided to start entering contests. Maybe my "luck" has changed for the better (read: ignore recent bike loss)? So, I've entered two contests thus far. The first is for a fantastic photographic print and the second is for a trip to Paris. I am planning on winning both. I think now I should begin searching for contests with the prize of a new bicycle. I feel like it is the least I can do because I simply don't have the funds to buy any of these things right now and the only real way for me to take an active role in obtaining them is to hope someone else gives them to me.

Which, reminds me of this cartoon from the New Yorker that Mary sent me a while back.



That is officially me.

So, I honestly didn't watch the debate in its entirety as I was sitting through my terrible (ouch) class. But what I did watch pretty much looked like this:



Ahhh. Hahaha. That is a brilliant capture and really is just a reflection of John McCain almost going to the wrong chair, but how funny. Honestly, I'm ready to early vote and get this over with. I'm simply waiting to figure out how I will vote in the local elections, particularly with regards to judges, but once I do that I'll just leave the rest up to "Joe Plumber." God help 'im.

It's so freegin' amazingly fall outside it is just about killing me to be under these flourescent lights. I'm finding myself increasingly antsy these days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Preach!



Once again, thank you, Campbell!

A lost cause

So, earlier this morning I made my way over to the Office of Security to watch the security footage from yesterday hoping to at least view someone steal my bike... not that anything could be done with that visual, but ya know. Turns out the security camera doesn't aim as far as my bike was parked and so I watch three hours of pixelated students come in and out only to not be able to really see who took it. So, I mean, I've done what I can. I posted signs all over the school and I am keeping my eye open with the hope that some student is dumb enough to actually ride it around so I can truly push them off of it and scold them for making such poor decisions.

The problem with all of this is that in some bizarre twist of fate, as of today I am officially out of credit card debt. My goal was to be out of debt by the end of the year and here it is October and I'm done. Officially done. It feels so magical. It honestly feels as though now I can plan ahead save money for things that will be what I want. Imagine that! A savings. I have not had one of those since... well... um.

I have heard the suggestions of buying a new bicycle with my newly emptied credit card and my answer to that is "nuh uh!" I will only be making purchases in cash from here on out. If I can't afford it, I'm not going to buy it. Now granted, this may mean I can only buy a bike like this, but these are the sacrifices I am willing to make. For now, anyway.

This morning on NPR there was a piece about a woman who uses coupons to essentially get most things for free. She estimates that she has saved her family $6k this year on groceries alone. I found myself inspired, but then remembered I'm simply not that motivated... so, good for her.

I just got my hair snipped by Mario's Barbershop down the street. I have to say I have finally found a reliable haircut. It's nothing special really. It is just a regular barbershop clip, but it is always the same and that feels nice given my hair woes of the past. Thanks, Mario!

Ok.
I'm going to search craigslist for another bike.

Monday, October 13, 2008

If you see a thief

Somehow, between 9am and 1pm today my bike was stolen from a bike rack outside my office.
I mean honestly, in my lifetime I have had enough things stolen from me that this simply is not shocking or surprising.
The suckage of having my primary form of transportation taken away from me is pretty massive.



If you see someone riding this bike, please push them off and take it back. I would appreciate that.

Thanks.

Indian Summer

Hiiii.

What a lovely weekend, eh?
Yesterday reached 80 degrees and the sun shown itself throughout each day.
I did my best to take advantage of it as did most everyone I know, saying repeatedly "this is probably our last chance." which is true, I mean, it is October.
This was our Indian Summer, which my politically correct mind fears is an offensive term, but after reading the Wikipedia definition, I think it not.
Such a silly boy, I am.

Friday, I had a lovely night with my dear friend Ana as we enjoyed a lovely meal at the HopLeaf, and then did our best to enjoy Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, which was a lot funnier when I saw it two years ago. Now it just seemed kinda far out and not very funny. It was a good time, regardless. Saturday I spent the morning enjoying my home with what seemed to be summer sun shining in the windows. I love cleaning on Saturday mornings and listening to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me." It reminds me of Saturdays at the Youngs home in Michigan. I spent the afternoon in the park with Tim, literally soaking up what sun we could and catching up on the events from the past week. Saturday evening, Ryan, Christina, Linsey and I attempted to see "Rachel Getting Married" but it was sold out, so instead we made our way over to the Logan Theatre to see "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" which, I loved. I had been wanting to see it for quite some time and am glad I finally did because I honestly loved every minute of the movie. I thought it was classic Woody Allen and it I loved the fantasy of it all. I was sucked in. Penelope Cruz was certainly the standout... which, by the way, I think in general she is an underrated actress. I definitely think she gets the short end of the acting stick because she is as beautiful as she is.

Sunday morning I sang and then did some much needed grocery shopping with Christina. The remainder of the afternoon was spent around Logan Square with my friend Julian who was viseting from New York. Overall, a stellar weekend.

In voting news, I'm considering voting early. I received a piece of mail on Saturday telling me where I could do so and originally I thought I wanted to vote on November 4th like the bulk of the country, but I think I might as well get it over with since I am decided and I feel like anything I can do to simplify or streamline the voting process, I should. Any input on this would be helpful.

And finally, I have one question: Why is no one talking about this!?

Alaska Inquiry Concludes Palin Abused Powers


I don't understand.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You can read now

Ok, so I love Campbell Brown.
I just do.
At times I find her lisp distracting, but I think she is all sorts of brills.



I hate that Pundits are the only people that can say this stuff and really be heard... and essentially I think they have little influence, but I applaud her for saying it.

I have to tell you though, my affection for Campbell Brown brings up a bigger issue of my new found fascination/interest in many pundits (RACHEL MADDOW!). This makes me worry, that I am turning into one of those people... you know.. those people that run CNN at all times? The good news is, I don't have cable (well, only pilfered cable) so I have an inability to watch anything other than MSNBC (which has taken a surprisingly liberal turn as of late.)

If you don't want to read about results from last night's Project Runway, stop reading now.

Yesterday, after an antsy day at work I decided I just wasn't feeling like I was able to sit through three hours of class. Call me lazy, call my foolish, but I took the plunge and headed home rather than making my way downtown. The good news is that I was able to watch Project Runway at decent hour rather than the usual late viewing I force my friends to do. The bad news is, Jerrell was eliminated from the competition and that terrible terrible TERRIBLE Kenley was allowed to continue.

(Sidenote: It occurs to me that I haven't blogged about my love for Project Runway in quite some time and this whole post may come out of no where because all I seem to talk about is politics because I have turned into THAT PERSON but my love for the show is boundless even as it slowly becomes less interesting. That is all.)

So here is the thing. Kenley copied this Alexander McQueen Dress:



Or, Maybe this one?



Check hers out:



I mean, honestly, I don't think she is smart enough to copy it and I wouldn't be surprised if she was out of touch enough to not know that she copied it, but it is a bit uncanny, no?

You can read now.

It's a stunning day today, promising mid 70's and October sun. I'm hoping to take some advantage of it... if only during my lunch.