Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hell's Kitchen

You all know I don't watch reality T.V.  Partly because I really like scripted shows, with writers that are thinking ahead and creating characters that I love and conflicts that make me think.  Or you know, they blow things up.  But mostly I don't like reality T.V. because it seems to reward people for behaving badly.

It is my understanding that the "better" reality T.V. shows are the ones that involve a professional competition of some kind.  Because then, at least, the contestants are required to demonstrate some skill other than getting attention.  So when I heard that Emily, a kid I used to know, was a contestant on Hell's Kitchen, I thought I should watch.  And last night was a double-header.  Here is a picture from their website:

Emily is in the top row, all the way on the left.  I don't know her well, but her sister was a good friend and I spent a lot of time at their parents' house back in the day.  As a child, Emily was rather...loud.  And a bit in-your-face.  (Weren't we all.)  She also has the soul of an artist.  I remember that she painted murals on her basement walls, and they were charming.  She went through a phase of shaving her head, which I thought was a riot.  She grew into a fine young lady and went to culinary school.  I have been to at least one party that she catered and it was lovely, but then I lost track of her.  I am happy to root for Emily.

All I knew about Gordon Ramsay was that he is a famous chef and he likes to yell at people.

In the first episode I saw, Emily had a bad night.  Something about burning bacon.  The girls on her team were screaming obscenities in her face.  I had to mute the show for awhile, it was so bad.  But as far as I can tell, she did not engage in the drama.  At the end of the show, she was one of the girls nominated for elimination.  Chef Ramsay said he didn't think she had enough "stamina", but in the end he sent someone else home.

In the second episode last night, we hardly saw Emily because the other girls were engaged in so much drama.  She created a ravioli dish that Ramsay seemed to like and won a point for her team.  But otherwise, she kept her head down and her mouth shut and cooked.  I was really proud of her.

Hell's Kitchen was even meaner and more cringe-worthy than I expected.  But I guess if Emily could stand living it, I can stand watching.  For awhile.

Monday, September 27, 2010

She Loves Me, at Writers' Theatre

I've had a rough time at Writers' Theatre lately, which is the absolute opposite of the way the critics felt and only a matter of my taste.  And getting sprayed by a half-naked Stanley Kowalski.  I was apprensive going into She Loves Me, another musical.

Remember that Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie - You've Got Mail?  It's based on that.  And did I mention it is a musical?

It opens with your standard cheery "What a beautiful morning" song.  And if you can live through that, it gets pretty good.  All the actors could sing and the characters are generally likeable.  The small orchestra was hidden behind a screen and they were great.

Inasmuch as the standard rom-com is not my favorite genre, I really got into the sub-plot involving the store owner, Mr. Maraczek (played by Writers Theatre veteran Ross Lehman.  I love that guy.).  He goes from friendly to cranky to outright mean..and secretive.  And then the P.I. comes to visit him.  Oh.  Damn.

Overall, it was light and fun and a fine start to the season.

More Girl Stuff

Yesterday, I was in Target and in need of nylons.  I grabbed Hanes Solutions Silky Sheer for $5.49 to wear to work today.

After work, I had a meeting at the Library.  Walking in, my heel caught on a cobblestone and I fell - scraping my ankle and banging my knee pretty badly.  I was fine, but there was a lot of blood.  Here's the thing:  the nylons didn't tear.  They snagged a bit at the ankle, but I have shoes that can snag nylons worse than that.  I couldn't believe it.  I would have taken a picture, but that' know..unattractive. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sip Your Slurpee and Think Happy Thoughts

When I was in college, I had a Slurpee-a-Day habit.  The 7-11 was about a mile from my dorm, and right by the Metro, and I walked over there all the time.  Sometimes I brought people with me but mostly I went by myself.  If I was having a bad day, a Slurpee made it better.  If I was having a good day, a Slurpee made it great.  And that was before I discovered putting vodka in my cup. 

Of course, it was not the Slurpee that made the world ok.  It was the getting off campus, putting on the headphones and clearing my head.  But by the time I graduated, I had convinced the entire sixth floor (and some of the seventh) that a Slurpee could fix anything. 

So I was driving home tonight, at the end of a really great weekend.  Even getting a flat tire yesterday didn't wreck it.  Because by the time help arrived, I had read my car manual and found the hidden tools and the spare and about convinced myself that I could handle it myself if it were really necessary. 

That led to the thought that tomorrow morning I will have to get out the door early so as to drop my car off with my real mechanic so he can patch my real tire and put it back on.  And I will take my mother's car and drop her off at her office, which will definitely make me late getting in to my own on a day that I don't have a minute to spare because the seminar starts Wednesday.  And I'll have to leave early in order to pick her up and get my car and then head to the Library meeting and ohmygod will I even make it home in time for kickoff.

Right that second I came up on the local 7-11.  It used to be a White Hen Pantry and by the time it started carrying Slurpees, I had long since dropped the habit.  I hit the brakes and swerved in.

Which you are not supposed to do while driving on a spare tire.  But it was fine.

And there they were, on the back wall.  I was tentative at first - I didn't even remember which size cup was right.  I remembered that The Big One is too big.  Then I remembered that you put the lid on first.  Then I remembered to go slow because if the consistency is wrong, it will erupt.  I didn't get the perfect fill of the dome, but I didn't spill either. 

I was smiling before I even got up to the counter.

It.  Still.  Works.

I had a great weekend.  And I am going to rock this week.

Public Service Announcement - For the Ladies

Not long ago, I read an article that said 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra.  So I went to the Nordstrom Lingerie department for a measurement.  I was one of those women.

At dinner with some girlfriends last night, I found that a non-zero number of my friends had also gone in to be measured recently.  (I wish I could cite that article.  We all must have read it.)  In one case, a lady who thought herself a B-cup all her life measured out to a DD. 

The right bra will make you look better and feel better and your clothes will fit better.  I can recommend Nordstrom.  Another friend that went there for a fitting said that she had previously thought Nordstrom an expensive "old lady" store, but she was very happy with the service and will be going back.  Another friend went to Tina's Closet in Lisle and was very happy.  (Tina also does Girls Night parties on Wednesdays, if you make a reservation.  The calendar on her website suggests they are booked regularly.)

So go now.  Get a professional fitting.  You will be glad that you did.

Friday, September 24, 2010

E and I

Weekend Assignment #337: Lone Wolf, or Part of the Pack?

Some people are happiest when they're part of a group. They may be leader of the pack, or actively contribute to the group's efforts, or simply hang out with the others for companionship, and any scraps they may get. Other people are more the lone wolf type: the explorers, the loners, given to solitary effort and independent thought. Where do you prefer to function in human society: as part of a group, or your own, or in some combination of the two?

Extra Credit: Is there a group with which you're currently affiliated that is especially important to you? What is your relationship with that group?

Myers and Briggs will tell you that I am an extrovert.  I talk with people all day long and you can't shut me up.  I think out loud and sometimes I say too much.  My mother will tell you that I become more introverted every year.  I go to lunch by myself and want the world to shut up and let me read my book.  The last two vacations I have taken were by myself (which the Canadian at Customs refused to believe).

I am probably just moody.

I have more than one pack.  My work community is totally separate from the Library community, which is separate from the Rescue community, which is separate from my high school friends and even they barely mixed with my college friends.

I wouldn't say that one group is more special to me that the others.  I have long felt my identity closely associated with my work.  On the other hand, our new Library is opening in two weeks and that is pretty special.  And the Rescue is adopting out three birds in the next couple of weeks, which is huge.  And I have Girls Night Out with some high school friends tomorrow, which is awesome.

So which is the wolf that wanders from pack to pack?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Unpleasant Subject

USA Today ran an unpleasant, but useful article on pet necropsies.   Most of the time, there is no reason to have one performed.  But the article lists some reasons that you might, and noted something that I didn't know:

Sometimes, when you sign off on euthanizing a pet, you might be authorizing the vet to perform one.

I have lost count of all of the animals that have come and gone from my house, and I only had one performed.  It was on my late, great cockatoo, Hawk.  Molluccan Cockatoos live 50ish years and Hawk was only 25ish when he died rather suddenly.  Because I was/am volunteering at a parrot rescue, it was important to me to confirm that he didn't die of a contagious disease.  The results gave me some comfort and some trauma: he had heart disease.  This makes sense because we fed him the same terrible seed-based diet that everyone fed their parrots back in the day.

The article notes that necropsies are helpful to the doctors that care for our pets.  Every case they can learn from makes for better care for all of our other pets.  I'm thinking Hawk would be good with that, too.

The New TV Season

I'm not watching any new TV shows. 

I finished Season One of Mad Men the other day and have no more new TV on DVDs so I actually watched a movie.  A film.  A two-hour story.  I don't think I have seen a movie since the new Star Trek.  So I watched The Reader.  As in The Kate Winslet Oscar Movie.  Apparently, I recorded it last March when Showtime was having a free preview weekend.

I liked watching a movie.  And I think I have that book, too.

So I have decided (now that Lost and 24 are over) that there is no longer any such thing as Must See TV.  Not in real time, anyway.  (Except I accidentally watched Shit My Dad Says tonight.  Luckily, it wasn't all that great.)

I shall watch football.  And Diggnation.  And all of the DVDs in my house that I haven't seen yet.  And maybe I will buy some more.  So wake me up around mid-season if anything good is on.

This is very liberating.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dear Ted

I had lunch with some colleagues at your restaurant, Ted's Bulletin, in Washington DC last month.  The menu had plenty of things for picky people like me and I was most pleased with the grilled cheese and tomato soup.  (What is it with the grilled cheese lately?)  Unfortunately, I was too full to try the house-made twinkies or pop-tarts.  But I took your matches so I would be sure to remember to have dinner there sometime.  Seriously.  On 8th street.  In Eastern Market.

The matches were terrible.  I use matches on my candles every day and this soft-pack was extremely difficult to strike up.  And so sparky that I twice - twice - dropped the lit match and nearly burned my house down.

I know, I know.  Why would I continue to use a pack of matches that tried to burn my house down once?  I guess I just like danger.  Or I am terribly cheap.  Or I refuse to be defeated  by a pack of matches.

Anyway, the design of your website suggests to me that you are catering to the Rat Pack.  You might want to correct this problem before Mr. Sinatra comes to visit. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mad Men, Season One

I picked up season one of Mad Men on DVD because everyone and their Emmy said it was great.

The setting is Manhattan, 1960. An advertising agency and the people that are employed there. The men drink, sell stuff to the clients, harass their assistants, drink, cheat on their wives and drink. And smoke.

It messed with my head straight away because last year when our CEO (a lady not much older than I) was first promoted, a friend and colleague was nearly in tears. She said, “I am so proud of you girls. You and C – and J-- and (names a couple of other professional ladies in my age group) have all done so well. You don’t understand what it was like when I was young. Have you ever seen Mad Men?”

I hadn’t.

“Well, it was just like that. The drinking and the grabbing and the crying in the ladies room.”

So the first episode is introducing the characters, none of whom I find particularly sympathetic. The men are beyond insufferable and the women are dependant and powerless. The second episode is literally called, “Ladies Room”. With the crying. And I was ready to call it a night.

But not long after that, something started to spark. Perhaps it was Rachel, the young lady running her father’s department store. She appeared to have a brain. Or Betsy, the perfect suburban wife, beginning to show dimension. Or Peggy, who might be a real career girl, rocking the lipstick account. I started rooting for them. And then they would disappoint me. And then I’d root for them again.

Every character (even the men) had their moments. Sometimes, I wanted to slap them and sometimes I thought, “OK, then.” And sometimes I was pretty impressed. Seriously – Peggy explaining to a room full of the merits of the weight-loss tool (later named “Relaxiciser”) without imploding was pretty smooth.

This could all crash and burn pretty easily, but I think I am in for Season 2.

The Magic Housekeeper

Weekend Assignment #336: Magic Button

If you could have a magic button that would do one particular thing for you, up to once a day, what would that function be?

Extra Credit: Would your answer to the above change if it were a person doing the task (for free and without complaint, using ordinary human abilities) rather than a magic button?

I am sure there is an answer here involving world peace and saving the whales and feeding the homeless.  But I am feeling selfish today.

The easy answer is that I want a magic button to give me money. Every day. $1,000 should do it – don’t want to be greedy. I have a long, long list of things that I would do with an extra $1,000 each day.

But that is a boring answer. And I certainly wouldn’t want a person to have to give me $1,000 a day.  Well.  Maybe Oprah.  

I am sorry to say my next best answer is no less boring – I want my house to be magically cleaned every day. Including litter boxes. Since it would take one person an entire day to do that, that answer would have to change, too.

So. If I could magically get a person to do something in particular for me, up to once a day, I guess it would be..make dinner?

I know, I lack imagination.  I'm not in the habit of wishing for things.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Game Time Conversation

Bears Game.  The Cowboys are returning a punt.  The rookie has plenty of room.  He hits about the 30 and I knew he was taking it to the house.

Me:     OH MY GAAWWWWD!!!!  (In a bad way)
Kiwi:   WHAT?!
Me:  Bad.
Kiwi:   Are you OK?
Me:     No.  Not OK.
Kiwi:   Do you want your apple?

This is what I am talking about.  She doesn't have a ton of vocab.  But she understands context.  And conversation!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Downside and the Upside

Today was the official Take the Kids Apple Picking Day.  My brother and I took Alex and Ainslie to Oriole Springs - for the pick-your-own apples - and their neighbor, Harvest Time, to snag some cider doughnuts.  Last year, I stood in line for nearly half an hour to place an order, only to find the wait would be another hour.  We had to skip it.

So.  We got the kids in the car.  It started to rain.  As we arrive, we see the long, long line of cars trying to get in the orchard.  We decided to skip it, and went straight to Harvest Time.  And then the downpour began.  We took refuge in the cider barn, which Alex seemed to enjoy.  We bought some already picked apples from the store.  And I beat the crowd to the doughnut line, thank you very much.

My brother was happy with the thought that we would get back to his house in time for the NIU kickoff.  They played the Fighting Illini today.  We turned on the TV to find that it wasn't televised.  Network TV had Ohio State and the Big Ten network had Michigan.  I preferred watching Michigan, anyway.  However, that is entirely backwards.

Now I am home.  My laundry is done.  Grocery shopping done.  Applesauce made.  I could potentially take a nap!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Transition

Annette from Catnip and Coffee asked:

"How do you retrain a cat to indoor only after being outdoors in the daytime for years?"

I was going to comment a response, but realized I probably had enough to blog mine. 

Spooky was 8 1/2 years old when he came to live in my house - he belonged to my then-roommate, Geoffrey.  Spooky had come and gone as he pleased his entire life (G came from a big family and there was always someone around to let him in or out), but I knew I couldn't take not knowing where the cat was, particularly after dark.  This was a dealbreaker for me, so Spooky became an indoor cat.

Mostly, we re-trained him by not letting him out.  This sounds ridiculous, but really, I didn't have a better plan.  And it was a poor plan, because we also had two dogs in the house and Spooky could plot a mean jailbreak.

They happened, those jailbreaks.  He would watch us let the dogs out, and slooowwly position himself somewhere out of sight such that when the door was opened to let the dogs in..he was gone.  There were at least two occassions when he was gone all night.

We got smarter.

He would sit at the door and let out these pathetic yowls until the dogs started whining.  I would go upstairs.  Then he would sit outside my bedroom door and yowl.  I would turn on football.  Then he would wait until five o'clock in the morning, climb on the bed and sit on my kidneys and yowl.   

Then.  I got him a tiny dog leash.  I hooked him up to the dog leash and walked him in the backyard.  He said, "You have got.  To be kidding."  And I told him that this was it.  He could walk on the leash or he could go inside.  I totally stared him down.  He glared, and started walking away.  I followed him.  He glared out of the corner of his eye.  A few times, he tried to dart under the fence and nearly choked himself.  Eventually, he settled down.  But it took years before he really gave up the fight.

Eleven years later - he is nineteen! - he is mostly content with sitting in windowsills.  I still take him in the backyard sometimes, but now he mostly rolls around in the dirt and then plops down on the blanket where I'm reading.  Really?  You just wanted to roll in the dirt?  You know you are just going to spend all afternoon cleaning that off your fur...

Obviously, I am a dog person.

Side Note:  Spooky gained some weight in those first couple of years being indoor-only.  The vet was not concerned and the weight eventually came off, but I think we went from 11 pounds to 13 pounds during that transition. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Locker Room

This story annoys me – the female reporter in the locker room that tweeted about “dying of embarrassment” from the attention she was getting from the players. I couldn’t even watch the entire story, but here it is:

Everyone and his dog has weighed in – Jason Whitlock, Christine Brennan – and Lance Briggs was the player in Chicago that spoke up. He says that women should not be allowed in the locker rooms. From the Chicago Tribune:

"The locker room is the place where us guys, us football players, we dress, we shower, we're naked, we're walking around and we're bombarded by media. A lot of times I'm asking the media to wait until I'm dressed."

Here is what I say: The solution is very simple.

No one should be in the locker room. Not from the media. No one. The locker room is for players and team staff. And maybe someone’s mom if he really has a booboo.

This is not a gender issue.

Seriously, are there not enough places to interview the players? The sidelines? The parking lot? The bloody press room? I understand that every once in awhile some awesome copy probably comes from the locker room. But usually not. And anyway -

I don’t care. I’m not defending the behavior of the players that think it is funny to catcall a pretty girl. But I am decidedly unimpressed with the media. If the players are feeling “bombarded” while they are undressed, the media is hardly any more civilized. Get them out of the locker room.

P.S. Dear Ms. Sainz - If you are going to call yourself “the hottest sports reporter in Mexico”, you are not going to be taken seriously as a journalist. I hope your 15 minutes are up now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dear United Airlines

This has gone too far.

I was at the airport early and two- count them two - flights were boarding to O'Hare.  With room.  I had no bags to check.  Ready, willing and able to hop on standby.

Except for the $50 fee.  I don't think so.

So I sat in the airport for another hour.  Checked my e-mail.  And my work e-mail.  And Facebook.  And introduced myself to those pretzal M&Ms.  Then my flight boards.  It is packed full and you are turning people away.  You could have made me extra special happy and used my seat to help out someone else and you declined the opportunity with a stupid fee.

Really?  This is how you want to do business?

We all know those hourly flights between O'Hare and Reagan are being cancelled on a regular basis.  Not every day, but I would say 50% of the time that I am on that route, one flight or another is being cancelled.  Once or twice this year, it has been mine.  It is in your best interest to get people out the door when you have the chance.

As I was grumbling about this on the airplane, my seatmate said:  "I heard it was because people were taking advantage.  A couple of jerks working the system ruined it for us all."

Yes.  That happens.  But what was the "taking advantage"?  People booked on the less expensive 9pm flight and then hopped standby on the expensive 5pm flight?  So what?

If someone wants so badly to save money that they are willing to get to the airport four hours early for an opportunity to catch the flight they really want, I say give it to him.  If the seat is available, he should have it.  If it is not - I hope his iPod is charged.  That is the risk/reward for being cheap.

O'Hare and Reagan are notorious for delays and cancellations.  O'Hare because of the weather and Reagan because of the operating rules.  And we all know the problems get worse as the day progresses.  Not moving people when you have the opportunity is just short-sighted.

I hope you will reconsider this lame policy. 

Love, Anne

P.S.  I'll see you in a few weeks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Being Grateful Again

I don't really think I am going to be able to keep up this theme, but I had two today:

First, I am grateful that I don't really need an alarm clock.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have required the alarm to wake me up to go to work (and not to talk about gaming again, but a non-zero number of those times were due to mid-week solo sessions with Noah).  But I woke up at 5:33 this morning when the alarm was set for 5:30.  How long has it been broken?  I haven't the slightest idea.  But someone, please remind me to buy a new one when I get home.  Just in case.

Second, I had dinner with RetiredBoss and his lovely wife tonight.  That was the only thing that made me remotely want to get on an airplane this morning.  So I walked over to Gallery Place after work to meet them at the ChopHouse.  First time since last spring that it wasn't so hot and humid that one couldn't reasonably walk that far.  We had a great meal and caught up.  (Retirees love to hear the old workplace gossip and I can always use a fresh audience.)  Walking back, it was all DC at Night - like the postcards.  I only snapped this one little pic, in the spirit of Things I Never Really Noticed Before: a memorial for the Army of the Republic founded in 1866 in Decatur, IL.  It is in Indiana Plaza.

So while crossing the Mall I catch a look at the Air and Space Museum.  It was closed, but the lights were on so you can see inside.  You can't really see inside during the day with the dark glass.  It is pretty damn cool.  Right that second, I saw a flash of light behind me.  Camera flash.  Tourist taking a picture of the Capitol.  And I had a little moment.  I do still love this city.  People, I could have cried. 

So thanks, Dave.  For driving an hour in DC traffic (two round trip) so that I could have the best night I've had in DC in I don't know how long.

Public Transportation

Last night, while I was packing, I remembered to grab my Metro pass and toss it in my bag. 

Metro would be the DC subway system.  I had $12.00 on it from several months ago and kept forgetting to pack it again.

It landed on my El pass from Saturday.   The El being the train in Chicago.  It has about 25 cents left on it, I think.  That was on top of the MARTA pass.  MARTA being the subway in Atlanta.  I thought I paid for a one way, so it probably isn't funded at all, but I can't make myself throw it away, because I'm not sure and I'm going to be back there in January, anyway.

I should be all impressed with myself for my proficient use of public transportation.  But somehow, it just ticks me off.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Historic Landmarks - The Grove

Weekend Assignment #335: History
We don't all live near the site of a battlefield or other world-famous event, but any place has its own history: political, cultural, even natural history. How aware are you of the past of the town, city or state where you live now? Share with us a story of local history.

Extra Credit: Have you ever participated personally in an historic event? (This doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering.)

Off the top of my head..I can tell you that Glenview was founded in 1890, but our landmark dates back a bit further.  Our park district still maintains the estate of "one of its most famous sons" Robert Kennicott.  He was a (oh, hell.  Now I have to go look this up) naturalist and explorer.  The Grove is part history museum and part nature preserve and our school classes would visit about once a year for one reason or another.  Sometimes it was about pioneer history - churning the butter and that kind of thing.  Sometimes it was about the nature trails and native plants and insects.

The Grove also has events around the holidays.  I seem to recall a craft fair/fundraiser.  And maybe sleigh rides?  Geez, I should really pay more attention.

I can't think of a "historic event" in which I have participated.  You know, other than voting. 

Oh.  I was at recess, across the street at the middle school, when a scene from Ferris Bueller was being filmed.  Where Ferris is picking up Sloane at school in Cameron's dad's car.  Watched the whole thing.

That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play, at The Charnel House

My fabulous friend Jodi and my new friend Kayla came down from Milwaukee to see this show at The Charnel House.  (I can't actually make myself type the title.  I had to use copy and paste just to get it in my title bar.) 

Before I talk about the production, though (you can read the professionals' reviews here and here), I must say that The Charnel House is absolutely charming.  I love small, independent theatres that try new things and this experience reminded me a bit of the old days at The Writers' Theatre - complete with the personal staff welcome asking us to turn off our cell phones and spread the word about the show.  Also, the seating was set up old school with straight rows going all the way to the back.  While I am not usually a fan of General Admission, in this case, it allowed me to sit far enough away that I wasn't worried about being hit by the inevitable blood sprays. 

The actors were great. My standard is whether I buy the characters and whether anything they do knocks me out of Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The only time I remember my brain being actively disengaged from the characters was in the first 10 seconds that John was on stage wearing an Incredible Hulk tie and I thought, "Dude totally took that out of his own closet."

That does't count.

So yeah.  The script rattled my little cage, pushed my sensitive little boundries and warped my fragile little mind.  And here's what's worse.  I didn't get out of it what most people (or those reviews, anyway) were getting out of it.

It is a non-linear piece, so I was doing more thinking than I normally do.  For me, the raunchy, unnerving, edgy - fill in your own adjective for making the audience uncomfortable on purpose - was beside the point.  The point was the writing process.  What goes on in a writer's head as he imagines a story?

Side Note (SPOILER):  Sheila Callaghan, the playwright, has the characters conversing with/ voicing the thoughts of the writer.  I am not a real writer, but I have done enough gaming to know this happens.  Your characters just talk to you.  They tell you what they want and how they feel and what they are going to do next.  (They talk all week long until you want to scream, "Is it Friday yet?!  Because I can't stand to listen to her for one more minute!"  My GM would continually remind me that I was only writing one character in the story.  He had a dozen characters in his head trying to get out.) 

Thus, I was all over this concept.

Anyway, there is raunchy, there is edgy, there is uncomfortable and then there is rape.  Allowing for the fact that my comfort zone is closer to the side of the Puritans, I still think you'd better have a pretty good reason to use it as a storytelling tool.   So I'm sitting there thinking, "Is this seriously what goes on in the imaginations of men?"  Well, not necessarily.  It is what one female writer determined went on in the imagination of one male writer.  But does she know something I don't know?  And this is when my head exploded.  Right there, in the theatre.

It's a comedy.  Mostly.  And my head is exploding. 

The next thing I know, we are walking to the car and I am talking five miles a minute and Jodi says, "I don't need to figure it out.  Just accept."  Just accept?  Someone could do a doctoral dissertation on the merits of Jane Fonda as a muse!  (English, Political Science, Gender Studies, Theatre Arts....)  It is 24 hours later and this is still messing with my head.  To which Jodi will say, "It's not that serious."  And she will be correct.

Should you see this play?  Yes!  Then give me a call so we can argue about Jane Fonda.  Victim?  Sex object?  Feminist?  Masochist?

Friday, September 10, 2010

One More of These Posts and I Shall Have to Create a Tag

Things I Forgot Before Leaving for Atlanta:
  1. Go to the ATM.  So thank you, Harris Bank for your many, many airport machines.  You are welcome to my $1.50 as my own bank has neglected me.  Henceforth, this $1.50 shall be known as the Dumbass Fee.
  2. Not to test out new lingerie when going through airport security.  After setting off the metal detector, I was never so thoroughly molested in my entire life. 
  3. Dental floss.
  4. Free Wi fi in your hotel room means nothing if you can't connect to it.  Should've left the laptop at home.
  5. To turn off my alarm clock.  The cat is still not speaking to me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Don't Feel Like Packing

So I am procrastinating.  While I debate whether to take the laptop with me.

I forgot the other lame thing I did this weekend: I went through all the back pages of my going-green-page-a-day calendar.  The Book a Day one was soooo much better.  But August 16 had an interesting message.  It asserted that cotton is not all that environmentally friendly because the plants are treated with so many chemicals.

Huh.  Good to know.  So what should we do about that?  Buy organic cotton products.  (rolls eyes)

I don't think so.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What I Accomplished This Weekend

On Saturday, I cleaned out my closet.  To this, my snarky mother said, "All of them?"  No.  The main clothes closet.  This was the donated pile:

That white shirt on the top was purchased from the Gap my freshman year of high school.  How was it still in my closet?  I also did my laundry.

On Sunday, I took said pile over to the WINGS store in Niles.  Then I did more laundry. 

Today, I did the grocery shopping.  Then the reading for the first assignment in my new class. 

I only went to the Half Price Books sale once.  And each morning, I walked two laps around the lake instead of one.  I am off work tomorrow, so I think I shall do that again.  Before going to the vet to pick up meds for both cat and dog.  And going to the dry cleaner's to pick up another skirt I had hemmed.  And going to a meeting at the library.  Then coming home to pack because I leave for..where was it again..Atlanta Wednesday morning.

I don't know whether I feel all accomplished or entirely lame.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Joys of the Season

Weekend Assignment #334: What Are You Looking Forward To?

We are about to begin the last quarter of 2010, tell me what you are looking forward to. Will it be the coming holiday season? The cooler days of autumn? The kids going back to school? Family gatherings. Tell us all about it!

Extra Credit: Tell us what you are least looking forward to in the upcoming months.

I am looking forward to lots of things, thank you very much. Let’s see:

1. September Apple picking with Alex. My brother and I have taken the nephew to Oriole Springs Orchard to pick apples every year.

2. The re-opening of the Library. Operations officially shut down last night to begin the big move to the new building. The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for October 9 at 1pm.

3. In November, I will finish paying for the TV we bought for the last holiday season. At which point, I will be free to buy a new laptop.

4. My niece, Ainslie, will be two years old by Christmas. Christmas is way more fun with a two year old than a one year old.

And for my first world complaint about what I look forward to the least:

I work across the street from the biggest shopping mall in Chicagoland. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, the traffic is nerve-wracking when I leave the office. Not looking forward to that.

Being Thankful

This morning, my friend Maile was posting on Facebook about being grateful.  Then, the Trib linked to this blog on Chicago Now that has the same daily theme.   The author, Jennifer Fernicola Ronay, just wrote about 8 Reasons to Look Forward to Fall.

I agree with every one of them.  But just to be participating, I'd better find three reasons to be grateful, too.

I have said before that except for those few horrible weeks in late winter, I don't actively wish for seasons to change.  I generally appreciate them all.  I can be grateful for that.

The bright side of the latest library delay is that now, those three weeks that I was going to miss for work-related reasons don't matter.  Grateful.

It is only Sunday and I am not working again until Wednesday.

Mr. Pip, by Lloyd Jones

Book 37

That article the other day used a term I'd never heard before.  "Lit-lit."

"...lit-lit novels name-drop dead authors obsessively and are built around an epiphany in which one or another character recognizes the transformative power of literature"

Mr. Pip, by Lloyd Jones, is one of those.  And I am a sucker for this genre.

Tropical island in the South Pacific, middle of a civil war, point of view of a thirteen year old girl.

All of the teachers left the island before it was blockaded, so school was shut down until Mr. Watts offered to start classes.  Mr. Watts was the only white man in the village, and he wasn't teaching in the traditional sense.  He would invite the parents to speak to the children of anything they might know that might be useful.  And he read to them from Great Expectations.

There are several themes swirling around here, and they are all really effective.  The power of transforming oneself, the power of imagination, the power of faith and the different definitions of faith.  Finding solace in a criminally insane world.

If I had thought about it for five minutes, the climax of this book might not have come as such a shock.  But I was so engrossed that it snuck up on me.  And that is when you know you have a good one. 

Lloyd Jones is a novelist from New Zealand and I imagine the only reason this book crossed my path is that it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.  But I will be keeping a lookout for his name.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Something about Music

I noticed something.  Back in the day, before Out of Time and definitely before Green, the only radio station in Chicago that played R.E.M. was WXRT - 93.1.  It seems that we have come full circle, because it is pretty much the only station that is playing R.E.M. now.

Not that R.E.M. is anything to get excited about these days.

WXRT, however, has introduced me to several bands.  Concrete Blonde is a memorable one - that was back in high school.  Transiberian Orchestra.  And now The National.  I heard "Sorrow" on the radio and it reminded me a bit of Leonard Cohen, so I looked it up on iTunes when I got home.  I didn't like it enough to buy a whole album, so I paid my 99 cents for the single and went on with my happy day.  A couple of weeks later, I heard "Bloodbuzz Ohio" on WXRT.  I didn't catch the name of the song, but I liked it a lot and was pretty sure it was the same voice so I bought the whole album.

I don't normally buy entire albums on iTunes.  I still like CDs, mainly because I play them in the car.  (Yeah, yeah.  I should hook up the iPod to the car.  I'm having trouble with that.  Back off.)  You know how you kind of have to let a new album sort of sink in to your head?  I do that on my morning commute.  But this sucker - High Violet is the title - is sinking into my head just from randomly letting it play sometimes when I am online.  They are weird.  Lyrics like, "I was afraid I'd eat your brains.  'Cause I'm evil."  So I decided they required a plug.

And thanks to WXRT.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Good Citizens

Last night while Alex was at football practice, my brother was at the park with his daughters, age 21 months and 4 months.  He fell and badly sprained his ankle.  So badly that that after hobbling over to sit down on a bench, he passed out.  (Hm.  That's probably why he didn't want me blogging this.)  When I called him today to check in, he said the bright side was seeing how the other parents jumped right in and took care of his kids for him until their mom arrived.  It rather restored his faith in humanity.

Then this morning, the Chicago Tribune ran an article about a man that had a heart attack in his car at the Park Center.  The short story is a man's life was saved by the retired paramedic that spotted him, pulled him out of his car and performed CPR.  While another person walking by called 911.  While someone else ran into the Park Center building to find some help.  And came back with lifeguards from the pool that had a defibrillator.  By the time the paramedics got there, the guy had a sustained heart rhythm.

That happened in Glenview, people.  That's my town.  I am at that Park Center all the time.  And it does rather restore my faith in humanity.

Sigmund Update

Sigmund the Foster Bird is looking scraggly, as he picked a bunch of feathers again.  But he can share a tree with Kiwi for 15 minutes at a stretch.  And, he deigned to walk across the room so I would pick him up and pay attention to him.  Also, he is seriously playing with toys now.  That's progress.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Daria, The Complete Series

Daria was an MTV cartoon - a spin off of Beavis and Butthead, if you can believe it.

I've waited for-about-ever for the series to be released on DVD.  The problem was in getting the rights to all of the music on the show.  Unlike 90210, however, Daria's creators were able to pull out all of the problem material without negatively affecting the rest of the content.  Seriously, I wouldn't have noticed if they hadn't mentioned it.  Advantages of being a cartoon, I guess.

I am happy to say that so far, this show has held up.  It helps that isn't particularly old.  And to say that I have some things in common with this character is a bit of an understatement.  I particularly enjoy watching the evolution of Daria's crush on Trent Lane.  It goes from Can't Speak in His Presence to Getting the Navel Pierced Because He Thought it Would Be Cool to Oh, That's Why I Could Never Really Date Him to something resembling friendship.

I was annoyed that the two movies, Is it Fall Yet? and Is it College Yet? are "Extras" and thus pulled out of chronological order.  The former was a pretty important bridge between the last two seasons.  The latter was really the show's finale, so it was less of a problem. 

And speaking of the Extras, I don't normally bother with them.  Unless it is Star Wars or something.  But this had the Freakin' Friends video, which I always loved.  And Daria and Jane hosting MTV's Top Ten Animated Videos. 

So it was worth the wait.  Worth the forty bucks or whatever that I paid for it.  Worth letting Mad Men sit around gathering dust while I watched every last minute.