Friday, October 31, 2008


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


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!

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.


Indian Summer


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.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I almost forgot.

The Heeb 1o0 list came out and I had the pleasure of being able to photograph Kevin Coval here in Chicago.

He's a terrifically nice fella.



Where to even begin?

I don't have much to say about the debate that you can't read elsewhere. Overall, I found it underwhelming and negative. I thought the Town Hall aspect of it didn't make much difference in the overall scheme of words exchanged. At very best, I thought it prohibited McCain from bring up the tired issue of Bill Ayers. But overall... YAWN.

What I do find most disturbing about recent political happenings is the way in which some republican rallies have gotten a bit "out of control." Apparently eliciting shouts from the audience like "Terrorist!" and "Kill Him!" Can you imagine being a part of something like that? Really? I can't think of anything more shameful or wrong ... and frankly, disappointing.

Ok, so in more important news, I got these shoes resoled and picked them up yesterday.

This isn't a great picture of them but they are totally My Three Sons wingtips. Actually, it occurs to me that maybe I've blogged about them before and they have become my favorite work shoe. I remember my father wearing them (as well as penny loafers) when I was young. I found these at the Salvation Army for $12. They are perfect except the sole began to detach from the shoe so I took them to the cobbler down the street and got them half resoled, which I didn't even know they can do... but it is pretty impressive!

Mary and I joked that after I stopped at the Cobbler's I should make a stop at the Black Smith's and the Candle Stick Maker's.

I did neither.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did a half-assed workout. Seriously, it was pathetic. The only thing that kept me on the treadmill was the news, which I basically walked and watched, but they did a section on stress reduction. Studies now show that stress can be a direct cause of more and more illnesses. The recommendations for stress reduction were basic and of course things I already know, but I do find it fascinating that one of them is to simply breath. If you pay attention to your breath patterns right now, are you breathing normally or holding your breath? I often hold my breath, (subconsciously) and it is not a healthy thing to do. Maybe this makes me breath retentive. Anyway, today I'm planning to breathe.

Ps. How pathetic are those filing cabinets behind me?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chapter not written

Ugh. I totally have neck and back pain again.
Something about my neck and back is wrecked.
Back to the Chiro!

You know, this weird thing happens in Chicago that really throws me off. It comes from Cubs baseball and I'm sure people who are fans don't think twice about it, but in my mind it is a trigger that is quite regretful. See, people put these big blue "W" signs in their windows, on their cars, in their yards... and in my mind that immediately takes me back to the presidential election of 2004 when people were doing the same in support of George W Bush.

Which reminds me, have you seen the previews for the movie called "W" with Josh Brolan? I just have absolutely no interest in seeing that. Give me 4 years and maybe, but certainly not now.

Speaking of movies, I saw Religulous on Saturday night.
I think it is a rental.
My friends who I saw it with may disagree, but I felt like it was what I expected.
The editing was very similar to a Michael Moore movie and although I think Bill Maher is intelligent and an interesting character creating worthwhile discussion, I simply don't think he is always very nice to people... which I find off putting.
I do think he raises valid points and asks questions that are worth asking, so in that respect I think it worth watching.

This is followed by the fact that yesterday I went to see an amazing lecture by this gentleman named James Skillen. He basically spoke about the role of religion in politics. I really appreciated what he had to say and should you want to sit down to coffee with me, I would do my best to explain.

And to follow up on politics (entertainment?) Tina Fey killed it this week on SNL. This was far and away the funniest skit yet and Queen Latifah as Gwen Ifill? A-mazing. I actually saw Ms. Ifill on MSNBC and she was talking about how perfect the skit was, lifting actual text from the Vice Presidential debate. She also spoke about how she felt the political parties tried to use her as a distraction from the debate, bringing up this book she is writing, claiming it to be about Barack Obama when in fact is about African Americans in politics. She said she hadn't even written any of the the Obama chapter yet because his story hasn't finished.

Anyway... if you haven't, watch this skit. I really was laughing way to loud for being by myself:

Friday night I was somehow talked into dancing until 4 in the morning and I feel a bit like I'm paying the price today, having a difficult time waking up.
I'm going to go right for that third cup of coffee and get to work.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I guess I feel it my patriotic duty to blog, the day after, about the debate last night. I'll leave in depth analysis to those who actually know what they're talking about but for the record I'll just give a few simple impressions.

I thought it was a beautiful night of damage control. I think Joe Biden did what he needed to do and Sarah Palin did what she needed to do. This was my favorite quote I read this morning (From Newsweek:

"It really was the Tale of Two Debates," writes Andrew Romano. "In one ring was Sarah Palin battling Tina Fey's impression of Sarah Palin. In the other was Joe Biden battling John McCain."

I have two major criticisms what I will put out there. I don't understand in a debate how someone can simply say (I paraphrase) "I wont be answering the questions the way you want me to." As Brian Williams said "That is really the only rule of the game, that you answer the questions asked of you." That being said, I also fault Gwen Ifill for simply not calling her to task on that. There were also never any follow up questions, which I found to be terribly frustrating, but Ifill had something to prove to as she is in the midst of writing a book about Barack Obama.

Overall, Ms. Palin did a wonderful job at what she I assume was instructed to do and that was communicate with "the American people" even if it meant ignoring the moderator and Senator Biden. It reminded me uncannily of the ways in which President Bush has dealt with these situations in the past.

All this being said, you can't help but respect Joe Biden for the ways in which he conducted himself. He certainly took the high road, being the more experienced debator/politician, as he certainly could have eaten Ms. Palin. If he would have gone for blood, he could have done so, but he shot right above her to Senator McCain and that was the respectful thing to do. I don't think once he even addressed her record (maybe because it is nonexistant.) In fact, she seems to be the only person talking about it.

Will last night change the election? I think not! In fact, the most important part of the debate to me was when Senator Biden explained so clearly the role of the Vice President. The Vice President is not the President. Our vote is for commander-in-chief and it is important that we (me) keep that in perspective.


In more important news, I won a $25 gift card to Best Buy yesterday at a vendor fair here at work. Can I just tell you that it used to be I didn't win things. I never did. Since childhood I've never won games or contests or raffles or anything like that... but now! *knock on wood* I win! It is a very bizarre shift in my life and a welcome one at that. Maybe now is my time to finally go on Wheel of Fortune?

It is freezing outside this morning. While on my bike I even contemplated how I wish I had gloves on as my little fingers were quite cold, but I resist as I'm in no hurry to pull out the winter duds.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nothing of value

AAaaaggh. It is so tempting to just keep posting political videos, but I resist.

Remember life before YouTube? Yea, me neither.

I made my way to the gym last night only to again be reminded how much work it is to workout. Remember when I ran a race a while back? Yea, me neither.

It's a beautiful (it pains me to say) Autumn day today. I rode my bicycle to work today with my scarf and jacket thinking how incredible it is that I was on the beach just a few days ago. This is the way it works here in the midwest. Before you know it, we'll be in the midst of snow... but I suppose that is what keeps us entertained.

I'm proudly carrying my new Sigg lunchbox today that Linsey brought back from her travels in Switzerland.

It is filled with salad that contains pine nuts, feta, and raspberries. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to lunch.

Bjork remixes are keeping me company as I work today.

I have nothing of value to add to the blogosphere today.