Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolutions

The only resolution I've really been able to keep is to not make any more resolutions. I started this a couple of years ago -- not because I intentionally don't keep them, I simply just forget them. When asked in February what my resolution was, I'd had no idea. The only real resolution I've ever kept was to join a gym, and that was back in 2001 when I found myself newly single.

By "newly single" I mean it had not even been 24 hours yet. By sheer coincidence, two of my Exes broke up with me on New Year's Eve: Ex#1 in 1988/89 while we were out with friends at Lost & Found in DC. At 11:50 he looks at me and says, "I can't do this anymore." I thought he meant he couldn't stand the crowd and wanted to go home so I offered to get our coats. He said, "No, this. I can't do this anymore. You and me."

"You're breaking up with me now?? Ten minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve!?"

"Yeah I guess so. Hey this way we can start the year fresh with no baggage." And with that he walked away from me, leaving me in a stupor. And then the countdown came and I stood there alone while the whole world partied around me.

It happened again with Ex#3 in 1999/2000 - probably the biggest New Year's Eve of our lives, when the world ushered in a new millienium. I rented a tux and sat at home waiting for Ex#3 to show up so we could go out together. He never did. We'd had an argument a few days before and he stormed off, projecting his guilt onto me (I'd caught him cheating). But I was willing to overlook it and deal with it later if we could just get through this big night. He never showed up. So I popped the cork on the champagne bottle we had purchased together on our second anniversary, took a large gulp from the bottle and poured the rest out onto the ground. And stood and watched all the fireworks down on the Mall. The next day, I joined a gym.

But I digress. So . . . anyway . . . yeah, I don't make resolutions anymore. But anyway -

Happy New Year!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas (Un)Wrap Up

Christmas was nice.

Traveled home last Thursday night to spend several days with The Family. As expected, my parents' house is overdecorated, overcrowded, and over, uh, junk . . . food . . . ed. And I can't think of another place I'd rather be. Back home is a place full of food, love, and laughs.

Mom had an open house on the Saturday before Christmas, and I think at one point, there were 50 people in her house. She said there were more there that day than on Thanksgiving - the main reason I don't go home for that holiday. When you're used to living practically alone and your social life revolves around just a few people, it's difficult to suddenly be surrounded by a large group of people, even if they are family: it never gets quiet, even for a split second, and everyone is just a tad bit more hyper than usual.

On Sunday, my brother, sister and I went to my Aunt & Uncle's house - the ones who've been hosting Christmas Day dinner for the past 40+ years. They celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary on Christmas Eve - 60 years! I can't even imagine being alive that long, let alone being married to someone that long. Since they are both in their 80s now, prepping for a houseful of people is taking its toll on them, so a few of us showed up to help clean the house, cut up vegetables, basically anything they needed help doing. Mostly they just liked the company, and its good to spend time with them.

Christmas Eve I had dinner with my BFF, Jeff. Even though his house looks like Hallmark threw up on his lawn and Macy's had diarrhea in his dining room, he's still good company after all these years. We've been best friends for the past 20 years, and even though we now live in different time zones, we are still close enough to discuss his sexual escapades over a Cobb salad. Nothing says Christmas like a discussion about sex gas. Oh yeah, then I went to church.

On Christmas Day, my folks and I went to my youngest brother's house to watch his daughters open presents. He then ended up cooking a pretty kickass breakfast for everyone: homemade waffles, sausage, bacon, biscuits, and an egg dish that is a tradition in my family. I'm not even sure how to spell it - phonetically it sounds like "ash-maa". The recipe was passed down through German ancestors. Basically, it's egg gravy with bacon and sausage pieces poured over toast. Its probably more like "clogged arteries on toast" but it sure is good. And we only eat it on special occasions. After breakfast, my nieces taught me to play Guitar Hero II on their Xbox 360. Once I put on my youngest niece's new Hannah Montana wig - I was a hit.

The rest of the day was spent at my Aunt & Uncle's house. One of their grandsons had taken all of my Aunt's old home movies that she's been chronicling for the past 50 years and put them on DVD. So we sat and watched ourselves during the summer of '66, Christmas '88, Thanksgiving '59, relatives visiting from California in '72, loved ones who have long since passed, grandmothers who were children. There was an unspoken knowledge that this was the last Christmas we would be doing this - all gathering together in one place. With my Aunt and Uncle getting older and preparation getting harder for them, there's been a realization that a day like today probably won't continue. My parents host Thanksgiving, so I doubt they would take this day on too, even if they wanted to.

Christmas night is when my family trades gifts. My parents have a history of getting me the most bizarre presents and this year was no exception. My dad gave me a coin counter. The only coins I ever use are quarters for laundry, so not too sure what I will be doing with this contraption. Mom gave me handkerchiefs because she said, "No man should ever leave the house without a handkerchief in his pocket" -- perhaps, I think, if the man was 70 or this was 1940. However I did actually get what I asked for: the deluxe George Foreman Grill. It was too big to bring back on the plane so the folks are going to mail it to me next week. Aces!

Even though I had been home for about 6 days, I felt like I wasn't really ready to leave when the time came. It was nice to be around everyone, but I felt like I didn't really get a chance to visit with my parents because there was always something going on around us. I really like the one on two time I spend with them when no one else is around and I didn't get that this time. But all my feelings of homesickness faded when I met up with The BF at the airport so we could fly home together. We managed to score a row just for ourselves on an otherwise crowded flight (and the Exit Row to boot). It was good being with him after a week. After all, he is my home now.

Merry Christmas, everyone. And Happy New Year!
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20th

To understand what this blog entry is all about, click here:

2006 - Watch "The Devil Wears Prada" at my house with The BF and Jessica.

2005 - Get Christmas present from Mom in the mail; dinner at The BF's.

2004 - Christmas shopping at Pentagon City Mall; out to Remington's with Ex#5.

2003 - Office Holiday Party at my house.

2002 - Office closes at noon; dinner at Lauriol Plaza with Bruce, David, Greg and Aaron; drinks at JR's.

2001 - Ex#3 visits (4 months after breakup, mind you).

2000 - Holiday lunch at Cafe Asia with office staff.

1999 - Chi-Cha Bar with friend Rob C.

1998 - Dinner at Scotty's with Scotty, Ray, and Ex#3.

1997 - Christmas shop at Annapolis Mall.

1995 - Dinner at Il Radicchio with friend David P.

1994 - Paint stockings for Mom.

1993 - Christmas party at work; pick up car from garage at 6:00.

1990 - Office Christmas party.

1986 - Work from 4-12 (Braddock Motor Inn).

1985 - Work 4-10:30 (Camelot).

1984 - Speech final exam 7:00.

1983 - Audition for spring play; practice after school for Christmas game.

1982 - Rollerskating at Moon-Glo with friends.
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Monday, December 17, 2007

Shovel Your Sidewalks

As you might have noticed, my blogging has been much more sparse lately. This time of year always finds me particularly busy with business functions, social gatherings, seeing friends and traveling. As I said before, I'll be slowing my blogging down after the first of the year, but I will try to be better at posting until then.

Suffice is to say that all in life is good. If the janitor of my building would just shovel the damn sidewalk I might not have anything to complain . . . I mean . . . point out. Admittedly though, it is a slight embarrassment when the rest of the sidewalk on the street is cleared and your section isn't. It's nice to know I am not the only one who is bothered by this.

When I lived in a house, I took full responsibility of keeping the sidewalks cleared. Not sure of the laws in Chicago, but in DC a homeowner could get fined for not clearing the sidewalk in front of his home. Perhaps out here its not a law, but it would be the neighborly thing to do. But since the building janitor has been historically lazy, I'm not surprised that my building looks more like a home for transients than tenants.

But hey, it's supposed to be in the 40's this week too, right? So I guess the lazy get saved yet again, and the rest of us get slightly warm(er) weather. Everyone wins.


Meet Knut

Knut is a captive-born polar bear who was born at the Zoologischer Garten Berlin one year ago on December 5th. Rejected by his mother at birth, he was subsequently raised by zoo keepers. He was the first polar bear cub to survive past infancy at the Berlin Zoo in over thirty years. At one time the subject of international controversy, he became a popular tourist attraction and commercial success. After the German tabloid magazine Bild ran a quote from an animal rights activist that seemingly called for the death of the young cub, a worldwide public outrage was caused as fans rallied in support of his being hand-raised by humans.

Knut became the center of a mass media phenomenon dubbed "Knutmania" that spanned the globe and quickly spawned numerous toys, media specials, DVDs, and books. Because of this, the polar bear was largely responsible for a significant increase in revenue at the Berlin Zoo in 2007. Zoo attendance figures for the year increased by an estimated 30 percent, making the zoo the most profitable it has been in its 163 year history.


Monday, December 10, 2007

In Any Other Language

Now you can greet your international friends with a warm Christmas wish in their own native language:

(Albanian) - Gezur Krislinjden
(Argentine) - Feliz Navidad Y Un Prospero Ano Nuevo
(Armenian) - Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
(Bohemian) - Vesele Vanoce
(Brazilian) - Feliz Natal e Prospero Ano Novo
(China - Cantonese) - Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Sing Dan Fai Lok
(China - Mandarin) - Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Sheng Dan Kuai Le
(Croatian) - Sretan Bozic
Èestit Boiæ i sretna Nova godina
(Czech) - Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
(Danish) - Gledlig jul og godt Nytt Aar
(Dutch) - Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
Dutch (Netherlands) - Prettig Kerstfeest
(Filipinos) - Maligayang Pasko
(Finnish) - Hauskaa Joulua
Hyvää joulua ja Onnellista uutta vuotta
(French) - Joyeux Noël et heureuse année
(Gaelic-Irish) - Nolag mhaith Dhuit Agus Bliain Nua Fe Mhaise
(Gaelic-Scot) - Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur
(German) - Frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr
(Greek) - Kala Khristougena kai Eftikhes to Neon Ethos
(Hawaiian) - Mele Kalikimake me ka Hauloi Makahiki hou
(Hebrew) - Mo'adim Lesimkha
(Hindi) - Shubh Christmas
(Hungarian) - Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Boldog Karacsonyl es Ujevl Unnepeket
Kellemes Karacsonyt Es Boldog Uj Evet
(Icelandic) - Gledileg jol og farsaelt komandi ar
Gledlig jol og Nyar
(Indonesia) - Selamat Hari Natal
Selamah Tahun Baru
(Iraqi) - Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
(Irish) - Nollaig Shona Duit
(Irish) - Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
(Italian) - Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo
Buone Feste Natalizie
Buon Natale e felice Capodanno
(Japanese) - Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
(Korean) - Chuk Sung Tan
Sung Tan Chuk Ha.
(Lithuanian) - Linksmu Kaledu
linksmu sventu Kaledu ir Laimingu Nauju Metu
(Norwegian) - God Jul Og Godt Nytt Aar
(Peru) - Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
(Philippines) - Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon
(Polish) - Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia i szczesliwego Nowego Roku
(Portuguese) - Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Feliz Natal e propero Ano Novo
(Romanian) - Sarbatori Fericite. La Multi Ani
(Russian) - S prazdnikom Rozdestva Hristova i s Novim Godom
(Serbian) - Hristos se rodi
(Serb-Croatian) - Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
(Spanish) - Feliz Navidad y prospero Año Nuevo
(Swedish) - God Jul Och Gott Nytt År
(Turkish) - Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Yeni Yilnizi Kutar, saadetler dilerim
(Ukrainian) - Srozhdestvom Kristovym
(Vietnamese) - Mung Le Giang Sinh. Cung Chuc Tan Nien
(Welsh) - Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
(Yugoslavian) - Cestitamo Bozic

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
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Thursday, December 06, 2007

First Memory

The first memory I can recall was a Christmas memory. Or rather a Christmas Eve memory.

My family was at my Aunt Jeannie's house for Christmas Eve. I was sitting on her mother-in-law's lap. I remember Nanny asking me if I was ready for Santa Claus to come tonight and I said yes. Then I asked Nanny if she would come to my house the next morning to see my toys and she said yes. She was wearing a black dress and pearls.

The year was 1969. I was 3.

But there's more to the story. I have to piece it together because I don't recall all of it. But the next thing I actually remember is feeling disappointment over the fact that Nanny had not come to my house like she said she would. She was neither my grandmother nor even related to me. She was my mother's sister's mother-in-law. But I invited her and she said she would come, then she didn't.

And that's my first memory ever.

I guess it left a great impression on me, because to this day I still take people at their word, albeit naively. In college, I lectured my friends once on the importance of following up on what they said they would do. If they told me they would call me later, I'd wait in my room for a call. Or if they asked me to come by their room later, I expected them to be there.

I'm a literal person and adhere to "words are deeds". I try very hard to follow through with whatever I say I will do. And I expect the same in return. I think I always harboured some resentment to Nanny for never showing up to my 3rd Christmas morning. But on the flip side, she ended up making me a man of my word.
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How High The Moon

Some of you might remember this song from the opening scene of Biloxi Blues that starred Matthew Broderick, Corey Parker (whatever happened to him?), Penelope Miller and Chris Walken (he's my uncle so I can call him Chris).

Okay, just kidding.

Oddly this version wasn't recorded until 1953 or so, long after the world war WWII. It's my favourite version of the song, as so many other singers give it a nice rollicking beat. Not here. This is one of the laziest musical rolls that could be given this song. It's slow, and that's how it should be. All other versions of this song somehow sound wrong after Pat Suzuki's approach.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Holiday Tips

Now that holiday shopping is in full force, here are a few tips to make your shopping experience - and mine - a bit more pleasant:

1. Don't stop at the top of an escalator - people just keep coming behind you, so keep on moving. Don't stop to survey the land, take in the scenery, get your bearings, etc. Just keep moving!

2. Don't stop at the bottom of an escalator - see #1.

3. Don't stop at the top of a staircase - see #1.

4. Don't stop at the bottom of a staircase - see #1.

5. Look up and see where you are walking - it's not my job to get out of your way when I am walking on the right side of the aisle/sidewalk/hallway. Pick your head up and pay attention.

6. When you exit a building, keep in mind you are entering the flow of traffic. It's like an on-ramp for a highway. You need to pick up the pace and get with the flow. And no crossing traffic without looking both ways.

There's probably more stuff, and when I think of it, I'll be sure to remind you.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hall & Oates Christmas Concert

Tonight, The BF, Jessica and I head to UIC Pavilion to see the Hall & Oates Home for Christmas Tour - yes, THAT Hall & Oates. From their first smash in 1974, “She’s Gone” and those that followed including “Rich Girl,” “Kiss On My List,” “Maneater,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” “Sara Smile,” and “One On One,” right on through to their most recent Holiday recording, “Home For Christmas,” Daryl Hall & John Oates have enjoyed a career jam-packed with hits.

At their UIC stop, they’ll be playing all the favorites along with selections from their newest Christmas recording. I pretty much grew up with these guys, remembering their songs from the 70's as clearly as music today.

It's going to be a fun-filled night. The "Week 'O Fun" continues . . .
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jessica of the Opera

And so begins "Dop & Jessica's Week 'O Fun".

Last night, Jess and I attended Phantom of the Opera currently running at the Palace. When Jessica first approached me about seeing Phantom, I was a bit reserved. The musical has been around 20-some years, and even though I have not actually seen it I kinda feel like I have because I've been hearing the music for at least that long. But Jess found some great prices on seats and I thought it would be a nice bonding experience, so I got excited about going.

The musical was everything I'd heard about and more than I expected. It's just amazing what some people are capable of doing with their voices. I mean, I have a voice and it doesn't sound ANYTHING like those people. How can I have the same thing someone else does and it doesn't work the same way?

Curses.

I'm still not sure how candles come out of the floor or how a river is created on a stage, but somehow Phantom does it. The whole production was powerful with bits of flash thrown in. And surprisingly, the "cheap seats" turned out to be pretty damn good. And as expected, it was a nice bonding experience for Jess and me.

The "Week 'O Fun" continues on Friday with something even MORE riveting. Stay tuned . . .
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Project Runway Predictions Come True

So, at the start of the 4th Season of Project Runway two weeks ago (actually it was really at the start of the 3rd Season almost a year ago), I predicted the show would contain certain "types" that have basically become Runway's staple personality batch.

And this season has once again held true to the formula - so much so that it's now beyond predictable to me. After watching the first two shows, I believe my predictions were spot-on:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Supermodel

The other day, I'm watching TV - some kind of celebrities-in-a-group-house kinda thing - and one of the contestants was a self-declared "supermodel". Thing is, I've never heard of her before. And actually, I can't even remember her name. So I ask you, isn't that basically the definition of a supermodel: a person who has name recognition only by modeling.

Cindy Crawford. Naomi Campbell. Joel West. Linda Evangelista. Paulina Porizkova. Marcus Schenkenberg. Gisele Bundchen. Michael Bergin. Heidi Klum. THESE people are supermodels; so famous I don't even have to post their pictures because you know who they are. And they all first became worldwide famous for modeling, and then branched into other endeavors, using their powers for good and not evil (well, maybe not Naomi).

So I don't think someone can call herself a supermodel if I've never heard of her. You need to have a popular name too, a name SO popular in fact that you only need to use 1 name to be recognizable: Twiggy, Brinkley, Tiegs, Janice, Lauren, Elle, Tyson, Claudia, Niki, Christy, Tyra, and even (as much as I hate to admit it) Fabio.

It must be a hard existence being beautiful and fighting crime. But these special people are the famous, recognizable, household names who have earned the title of SUPERMODEL. So if I don't know who you are, you may as well have just jumped from the pages of the JCPenney catalog.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I Give Thanks

I give thanks for my health: it has been holding steady these last two years. My doctor appointments have dwindled to just 2 a year now and all things seem good.

I give thanks for my parents: they have loved and unquestionably supported me even when they didn't understand me. They are simple people with a rosey disposition on the world, yet they have accepted me and my life without a blip in the radar. As my mother once said to me, "You can tell me anything. I might not understand it right away, but that's my problem to deal with, not yours." For 40 years I've gone into battle knowing they both have my back.

I give thanks for my siblings: the three people with whom I will share my life the longest have always kept me laughing; challenging my intellect; stirring my passions; keeping me present in their children's lives. They make me feel special every time I see them.

I give thanks for my friends: a collection of longtime friends and recent acquaintances. Their perspectives and opinions have been invaluable in helping me shape my character and beliefs. They've been the family I've chosen when I could not be near my own.

I give thanks for Ashley: the roommate from hell who I can't imagine never knowing. Seven years, two time zones, and four houses later, we are still roommates. It seems like he's always been in my life, sometimes my deepest confidante.

I give thanks for Jeff: for being my own personal Horatio for all these years. He was instantly my best friend when we met in 1989 and he's remained so ever since. He keeps me humble and is not afraid to call me out when I deserve his honest opinion.

I give thanks for The BF: and if you have to ask why, you haven't been reading my blog for very long.

So at this Thanksgiving, I find myself incredibly fortunate and grateful for my happy, healthy and fulfilled life. I selfishly pray that it continues, and I humbly ask for calm to be restored to the world. Above all, I pray that more people understand the concept of "loving thy neighbor" -- because if that one thing came true, everything else would be okay.

Amen.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just Because YOU Love Your Dog

I'm a dog lover; I have a natural ability with them. My family had dogs while I was growing up, and back in DC, I used to dog-sit for several friends now and then. It was fun and allowed me to have a dog for brief amounts of time without too much commitment. But I don't own a dog and I have my reasons for that.

You don't have to be a dog owner to be a dog lover. But when you own a dog, you have to understand that many people are NOT dog lovers. There are some people (one of my brothers included) who have a fear of dogs, regardless of the size of the animal. Just because you love your dog, doesn't mean that everyone else does too.

Your dog should never get near another person on a sidewalk; it should be walking beside and close to you on a short leash. Allowing your dog to come up and smell me or even walk in my direction is not acceptable.

And while we are on the subject of leashes - those long retractable leashes have absolutely no place on a city sidewalk. In the park, sure, but not on a sidewalk where I have to get out of the way for it. People seem to forget that sidewalks are designed for single lane foot traffic going in two directions: no bikes, no runners, no groups shoulder-to-shoulder, and no retractable leashes.

Owning a dog takes alot of responsibility. And just as there are people out there who should not be parents, there are people out there who should not own dogs.
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Pajama Game

Dear Twentysomethings:

Pajama bottoms - or perhaps you refer to them as "loungewear" - are not to be worn in public. I shouldn't see you wearing them in Starbucks, the grocery store, the laundromat, or walking your dog. And I REALLY shouldn't see you wearing them on an airplane - especially while you are carrying a pillow. This is not a sleepover, its a flight. With other people. It's not nappy-nappy time. (I know this bothers my buddy at the [cherry] ride as well.)

Wearing pajama bottoms in public tells the public several things about you:

1) You're disrespectful. Clearly you don't give a shit. If you had any respect for yourself and/or others, you would properly dress before going outside your home. Even a Walk of Shame ranks higher on the ego scale than you.

2) You're irresponsible. If you have to wear pajama bottoms because everything else you have is dirty or at the dry cleaners, then you must have a time management problem. There are classes and lectures you can take to help alleviate that.

3) You're immature. The only time I've worn pajamas in public was . . . ok, I have never done it. Children can get away with it, but somewhere around the age of, oh I dunno, 4, it's just no longer acceptable.

4) You're lazy. If you don't care enough about what you look like, what kind of shape must your home be in? Your bathroom must be disgusting.

5) You're dirty. Chances are if you haven't bothered to change your clothes, then you also haven't bothered to shower or bathe. You may as well just wear a sign that says "My body parts stink so don't get too close".

Now if a fire broke out in your apartment and all of your clothes burned up, or maybe your ex cut them all up after an argument, or you were robbed and the only thing they took was your clothing, maybe possibly THEN it would be socially acceptable to see you walking around in pajamas. But even that is stretching it.
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pet Peeve #68

Potbelly is one of my favorite sandwich shops. However they get two huge thumbs down (and so do the other sandwich shops guilty of the following) for not cutting the sandwiches all the way through. This in turn ends up making me cause a complete mess by having to tear apart a sandwich at my desk that is not altogether constructed well in the first place. If they are going to cut the sandwich, why not just cut the things ALL THE WAY THROUGH??

Bagel shops are notorious for this as well, predominantly Einstein Brothers and Chesapeake Bagel Shops. Yes - I happen to be a neat freak. No - I don't want lettuce and breadcrumbs strewn all over my lap/desk/keyboard/lunch partner.

It's gotten to a point now where I have to actually request the sandwich makers to please cut the sandwich all the way through, and they look at me like they have no idea what I am talking about. I know their little game; I can smell it. I don't want to have to remake a sandwich I just paid someone $6 to make for me. 'Cause I can do that at home for nothing.

Hey, there's an idea!
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Peterson

So what you might be saying is, it's probably not a good idea to marry a man with the last name of Peterson?

In 2005, Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn child, Conner, in 2002. And on Christmas Eve. Scott is currently sitting on death row waiting to die, all the while maintaining his innocence.

Currently in the news, Drew Peterson is under suspicion of the October 28th disappearance of his wife, Stacey. And now, officials want to exhume the body of his third wife based on the suspicion of foul play. And Stacey has a small daughter. Her name? Lacey Peterson.

I dated someone with the last name of Peterson once - Kim Peterson. She was my girlfriend in 5th and 6th grades (even back then I was pretty committed). Her family ended up moving away the summer between 6th and 7th grades. I found out on the first day of school when the school bus stopped at her house and no one came out. She slinked out of town without saying a word.

Those Petersons are sneaky people. So if you're out and someone introduces himself and the last name is Peterson - run like hell.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's Baaa-aack!

Tonight, Project Runway returns! And once again, The BF and Jessica will be my PR Partners every Wednesday as we count down to the Fashion Show Week next Spring.


Here are the archetypes that have been prevalent so far on all the Runway cycles so far:

The Ice Princess.
The amusing and lovable gay uncle.

The pompous, overbearing Know-it-all.

The mousy quiet talented one who secretly has a killer bod.

The Club Kid/Pachuco/Street Hustler.

The sassy black diva.
The Geek.

The crazy aunt.

The snotty foreigner.
The Insecure Older Sister.

The grungey girl who needs a shower.

The one who slips under the radar.
The Over-achiever.
The ???????????
The Bumpkin.

So before this season even starts, it will be interesting to see who - if anyone - fits into the established mold. And click here for all the details about Project Runway 4.
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Safety Last

Late one night last week, I was walking home from being out - it was around 12:30 AM or so.

I tend to be pretty aware of my surroundings at night. For years I merely accepted the fact that I am a big man, so my personal safety seemed somewhat assured. But in these days where the economy is tougher and you never know who's packing a glock, I think it's better to err on the side of caution and be aware of what's around me - especially later at night when foot traffic is more sparse.

Anyway, on my walk home, I ended up passing two different women, both walking with earphones in. And I became so distracted by them I almost couldn't think of anything else. How could any woman, walking alone on a dimly lit street after midnight, think she is in complete safety given the fact that she is blocking out all the sounds around her?

When the sun goes down, the earphones should be put away. Sure, music helps make time pass more quickly, but only in situations where you may want to dim out the crowd. At 12:30 AM, there is no crowd -- there's barely a group. And even if the volume is on low, an attacker can be pretty stealthy before he's on you.

Several weeks ago, a man was traveling through my Lakeview neighborhood assaulting women, possibly women who were walking at night listening to their iPods with earphones. I hope that's not the case, and I hope women take more responsibility for their safety.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lars And The Real Girl

Went to see Lars & The Real Girl last Friday night. At first I had some reservations because it looked a little too kooky in the previews and commercials. But I like Ryan Gosling and, without reading anything about it, I thought I would just give the movie a chance. And it was a chance well taken.

Having lived in large cities for the last 20 years or so, I was skeptical, at first, that a small community could wrap itself around one individual who needed help. But it does happen, and this was the underlying theme of the film - at least one of them. The culture of the town unfolds through brief conversations and small vignettes that reminded me what being from a small, close-knit town (where everybody knows everybody and their business) is all about.

It reminded me that we all have our skeletons, and that one isn't really any more significant than the other; whatever our secrets or problems, they affect us all the same way. This film was about being open-minded, helping your neighbor, loving your family, healing from loss, and being accepted.

This film is on the caliber of Little Miss Sunshine. And of all the movies I've seen this year (and there have been many), this would be my pick for Best Picture Oscar.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

50 Things I Hate About Public Transportation

As a follow up to yesterday's backpack issue, behold the 50 things I hate most about public transportation:

1. Constant threat of line closures and fare increases.

2. Not enough seats.

3. Annoying cellphone ringtones.

4. Annoying cellphone users.

5. Cyclists who bring their muddy bikes onto the bus/subway and drip all over you.

6. Buses that zoom past you because the driver is just not paying attention.

7. Traffic jams where you can see all the buses from the same route you are taking that left your stop in last three hours are stuck in traffic in front of you.

8. People looking or reading over my shoulder.

9. Unknown puddles of liquid on the seats.

10. Garbage on the floor, particularly items that roll.

11. Drunk people who insist on sitting next to you and telling you what a bitch/asshole their woman/man is.

12. Scratches on the windows, that obstructs my view of the outside.

13. Idiots who refuse to let elderly people have a seat, or just outright ignore them.

14. Racist morons talking loudly about how certain groups are nothing but trouble.

15. Anyone ignorant enough to use foul language in front of children.

16. People who leave their bags on seats as though the bag is a paying customer.

17. Backpackers who do not care about whose faces their packs are mashing.

18. Rude bus drivers.

19. Sitting next to someone who is listening to music full blast through cheap earphones that let all the sound leak out.

20. Chewing gum on the seats, floor, walls, poles, etc.

21. People who fart on the bus/train.

22. People who fart just before they get OFF the bus/train.

23. People who stare.

24. People who jam out to their 30 second cell phone songs. Then do it again. And again. And again...

25. Strikes

26. People who refuse to move all the way into the train or bus when it gets crowded.

27. People who are waiting for the train and crowd infront of the entrance so as to completely block everyone from getting out of the train .

28. People who pour on a bottle of cheap perfume or cologne just because it is easier than taking a shower.

29. People who crowd by the entrance thus not allowing more people to get in.

30. Body odor.

31. Bad breath.

32. Loud conversations especially in a language I cannot understand.

33. Unruly teenagers.

34. People who constantly play with their hair.

35. People who eat.

36. Same people who don't close their mouths when they eat .

37. Same people who leave the leftovers all over the seat and floor.

38. Perverts.

39. Sleepers.

40. Snorers.

41. People who use you for body support.

42. People who make out in public.

43. People who take pictures of you on buses or trains.

44. Ticket booth workers who don't say "you're welcome" when I say "please" and "thank you"

45. People who pick their nose and wipe their finger on the seat.

46. Anonymous ass-grabbers and other gropers.

47. The sick bastards who are so blatant about getting behind an attractive lady when the train/bus is packed, so that they can rub their crotches on the woman.

48. Pickpockets

49. Waiting 45 minutes for a bus only to see three in a row approaching.

50. Bad air flow

Monday, November 05, 2007

Backpacks Off

How is it that a person wearing a backpack on public transportation does not realize that he/she is taking up twice the room of one person?

It's bad enough in the summer, but now that winter is upon us, and everyone has added at least 4 inches of girth to him/herself thanks to wool coats, parkas, etc., space on the train and bus is at a premium. Especially considering the monthly threats CTA makes about cutting bus routes and service.

There needs to be a public service announcement asking passengers to remove shoulder bags and backpacks and place them at their sides while riding on a bus or train. This not only will increase space, but will cut down on the number of facial lacerations I get from zippers and keys being clipped to the outside of backpacks when I am sitting and someone is standing too close. There needs to be more responsibility taken by passengers who are unaware of their surroundings -- both where they are and what's around them.

And just like on airplanes, passengers should only be allowed one carry-on and one personal item. These women who get on with three shoulder bags, newspaper, pilates mat, coffee cup and phone cause more mishaps than anything else. Remember folks, this is called public transportation; it's not your own private idaho.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hallowe'en Night



As I said before - we take Hallowe'en very seriously. Great time was had by all: cool costumes, corn flakes, firm pizza, peeling skin, smelly latex, glamazombie, beers & margaritas, moss, leaves, blood and scars.

See you again next year!
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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Phat And Not So Fabulous

Hallowe'en last night was incredibly fun. And of course, our costumes were cuh-razy great! Pics and details will follow tomorrow! Happy All Saints Day!

One night last week, I caught an episode of Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, which centers around the life of Kimora Lee Simmons, a self-professed model, mom and mogul as the head designer of the Baby Phat clothing label.

I wanted to like the show. I wanted to like Kimora. I wanted to like her "fabulous" life. But I can't. There's not much likable about it. Or her. Or it. I'm sure that we, as viewers, never really get the true picture of someone's personality during any form of documentary. We are at the mercy of the editors and producers as to how they choose to portray a person. But regardless of how the footage is cut and sliced, Kimora still says the things she says and I haven't been able to like her based on that.

I've heard her contradict herself a few too many times. In one episode, she embarassed an assistant by stating that the assistant's toenail colour didn't match the open-toe shoes the assistant was wearing. In the next episode, Kimora was commenting on a reporter's fingernail polish and how anyone should be able to wear any colour they want, because the colour is for yourself and no one else. Just this example makes me think that Kimora is either being dishonest in her opinions or she's just being mean. Either way, it doesn't attract me to her.

The age old story of a woman overcompensating and trying to "have it all" is hackneyed. We've been seeing it played out on TV, in movies, and even in songs for the past 50 years. No man has ever gotten to where he is by himself, so I'm not really sure why women are trying to prove they can do it all alone. Of course men get help along the way; they just don't talk about it. And the Kimora's of the world - and there are many - need to realize that.

Kimora is not likable. And I find myself rooting more for her failure than for her success.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en

We take Hallowe'en very seriously in my neck of the woods, mostly because my partner is no slouch when it comes to creative costuming. Here is a pic from 2006 - again all completely handmade by The BF:

(click image to enlarge)

Like I said, we take it seriously. So stay tuned for pics of his limitless creativity for this year. All I can say is - it's a a thriller!

And have a safe, happy and most of all fun Hallowe'en!!
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Olay Definity

A wondrous product that reduces the look of fine lines and dark spots on the skin . . . or so they claim. Do women really buy this? Both literally and figuratively, I mean.



Surely women understand that the final look on this model is not achieved without great lighting, good photography, and tons of makeup. Surely they do.

They do. Right?
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ninja Warriors

While I was home visiting the folks, I sat up late one night watching TV and caught several episodes of Ninja Warrior. I've never found this on Chicago cable, but if I ever do, I'll be addicted.

It’s a physical challenge so grueling, requiring such extremes of strength, speed, balance and agility, that while more than 1,400 have attempted it, only one human has ever completed the entire course: Kazuhiko Akiyama, a crab fisherman turned medical clinic superintendent.

The competitors in Ninja Warrior (also known as Sasuke) hail from three continents and represent a surprising variety of disciplines. They include U.S. Olympic gymnasts Paul and Morgan Hamm, who took home gold and silver medals at the 2004 Athens games; Bulgarian gymnast Jordan Jovtchev, who won silver and bronze medals at the Athens games; and several Japanese competitors whose day jobs range from fireman to steel worker to gas station supervisor to comedian. One competitor is billed as the world's toughest transexual.

It's fun, it's tough, and it's Japanese TV. What's not to love?
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Monday, October 22, 2007

Recycling Reality

Watching the latest installment of VH1's I Love New York; Season 2 (I wonder how many seasons its actually gonna take her), I noticed a contestant that I knew I had seen somewhere before. It seems Buddha was also contestant Ezra on Gay, Straight or Taken? on LifetimeTV last year. And on that same GSorT? episode, contestant Yaacov was also a contestant on both BravoTV's Manhunt and NBC's Fear Factor. (Matt Lanter from Manhunt has gone on to create a nice little career for himself, but not on any other "reality" shows.)

Also on Manhunt was John, who was also Janice Dickinson's top model on her show, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency (at least he's sticking to what he knows). And seeing as how Gay, Straight or Taken? is the proverbial springboard to everything else, Episode #1 contestant Mike was also a contestant on CBS's Big Brother 6.

Another one of Janice's models, TJ, bears a striking resemblance to a contestant right now on America's Most Smartest Model, although he seems to have changed his first name from TJ to VJ and his last name from Wilk to Logan and has recreated his past. Ok, they might not be the same, but they sure do look a lot alike.

So back to Buddha. Clearly he is not on I Love New York; Season 2 to truly win New York's heart, if in fact she even wants it won. Buddha, or Ezra, is out to be famous - just like all the other contestants on all the other shows. It's not about getting a partner, winning a race, losing weight or anything else. It's all about the money and the exposure. Which, in and of itself, is perfectly fine.

But can't the people who cast these shows do a little research and at least give us new contestants so we aren't looking at the same fame-hungry, egocentric people all the time??

Maybe I just watch too much television.
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Broadway on TV

On Saturday, I caught "Legally Blonde, The Musical" on MTV. While it postponed everything I had already planned to do, it was a guilty pleasure. And while I felt like I was saving myself $100 by not buying a ticket, it reminded me how much I love live theatre and the experiences and feelings that go along with sitting in an audience and being taken on a fantasy trip.

I think Broadway and television should get together and do this more often. For many people, attending a Broadway show is completely beyond their grasp: the cost of the show ticket, plus the costs of a hotel stay and a flight to New York - well, that's about $1,000 right there.

Now and then "they" say Broadway is dying. But think of the billions of kids who are never exposed to it. Things like what MTV did this past weekend would introduce Broadway and the theatre arts to all those who believe its out of their reach, perhaps sparking interest and desire in pursuit of something that was thought unattainable.

I could have done without the commentary from the three vapid girls from the O.C. or whatever pointless show they are on, but hats off to MTV for a job well done.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October 18th

To understand what this blog entry is all about, click here.

2006 - Watch Part 2 of the Project Runway finale with The BF and Jessica.

2005 - Meet Lindsay at Blue Man Group. Have lunch with friend David C. at Joy's.

2004 - Rehoboth Beach Trip with Ex#5. Shop the Outlets. Have dinner at DIK's in DC. Drinks at Tom-Tom.

2003 - Flag football with friends. See "Kill Bill" with Ex#4.

2002 - See "Sweet Home Alabama" at Union Station in DC. Clean bedroom.

2000 - Pick up design package from Gallup. Dinner with friend Paul E.

1999 - Shop at Target.

1998 - Visit parents for the weekend. Buy new stove for parents at Sears.

1997 - Walk around Union Station with Ex#3. Go to Badlands with friend David F.

1996 - New Flow arrives in Gap store. Work 8-5. Date with Rick at 7:30.

1994 - Eye appointment at 4:30 at Hour Eyes.

1993 - Brunch with friend Micheal. Walk through downtown Winchester with classmate Colleen I.

1992 - On Fall Break at school with Ex#2, stay at Will O' The Wisp at Deep Creek Lake. Dinner at the Casselman. Play ping pong and swim.

1991 - Pizza Hut with Ex#2, Corey, Micheal, and BJ at school.

1990 - Visit corporate office in Beltsville, MD. Go out to Rascals in DC with friends Glenn and Jim.

1988 - Work at Ticor Realty Tax Service during the day in Annandale, then 6-9:30 at Accessory Lady at Tyson's II - The Galleria.

1986 - Work at Braddock Motor Inn from 5-10.

1985 - Work 2-9:45 at Camelot Music.

1982 - Babysit the 5 Sivic children.
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Monday, October 15, 2007

Cab Drivers May Not Use Cell Phones

Who the hell do taxicab drivers talk to all day long while they are driving their cabs? The other day, I took a cab ride from The Loop to Lakeview - ended up being a 20 minute cab ride thanks to traffic - and the driver never stopped talking, in a foreign language of course. At first I was thrown because I thought he was talking to me and I kept saying, "I'm sorry?" and "excuse me?" Then I realized he had his bluetooth hooked in.

I don't take taxicabs very often. Unless I am leaving the office after a 12-hour day, or it's really late at night and I just want to get home fast, I tend to use the bus and the "L" to get where I need to go. It's not because I am cheap and don't like paying the fare (ok, well that is part of it), but lately I don't like the fact that I have very little say in my personal safety when it comes to being at the mercy of someone who may or may not be an actual licensed driver.

I recently discovered that a passenger may ask a taxicab driver in the city of Chicago to hang up or stop using his cell phone while driving. Yellow Cab of Chicago has posted a Passenger Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for taxi or cab passengers in the city:
  • Your cab driver is licensed and trained to treat you with respect and courtesy.
  • You are to travel in a clean, comfortable and safe vehicle.
  • The most direct route or the route you request should be taken to your destination.
  • A receipt should be provided upon request.
  • Your driver must obey all traffic laws.
  • Heat or air conditioning should be turned on/off at your request.
  • You can travel without the radio being on.
  • Smoking in the vehicle is prohibited.
  • Please promptly pay your fare when reaching your destination.
  • For your safety please use the curbside door to exit the cab.
  • Please treat your driver with respect and courtesy.
  • Cell phone use by the driver while operating the cab is prohibited except in emergencies.
  • Please direct compliments or complaints to The Department of Consumer Services
  • For your safety please use your seat belt.
  • Please remember to take all your belongings.
Granted these are the rules for Yellow Cab (which also manages Wolley Cab and Checker), but not all taxicab companies in the city, including the other two big ones, Chicago Cab and American-United. But you better believe the next time I am in a taxicab and the driver is talking to someone who is not in the cab with me, I'm requesting he hang up and concentrate on the street, the traffic, the pedestrians, and the cyclists.

Oh, and there should also be another rule that reads something like:
  • A driver may only use the horn when necessary to warn of danger.
Then I'll be happy. For now.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kindertransport

Last weekend, I watched Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport

Kindertransport is the name given to the rescue mission that took place nine months prior to the outbreak of World War II. The United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi Germany, and the occupied territories of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the Free City of Danzig. The children were placed in British foster homes, hostels, and farms.

People taking in refugee children and feeding, clothing and providing shelter for them with no retribution and little reimbursement. Do you think something like that is happening in the Middle East? Some saintly person is risking his reputation and possibly his life, thinking only of the children and the possible hope for the future of his country and the sanctity of family? Someone who hopes beyond hope that the next generation will learn lessons from this generation, just as they did in 1940?

I doubt it. The world is not as kind as it was.

Even during a Holocaust.
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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Female Sportscasters

Call me sexist, but I just don't like listening to female sportscasters. The latest trend, specifically in college and pro football, is to have two guys calling the plays in the booth, with a woman down on the field for colour commentary and all the "how do you feel?" questions. (The only exception to all this is Gayle Gardner, and merely because she reported the scores and didn't yell them or try to be one of the boys. I miss her on ESPN.)

Sportscasters as a group are the most inane people in media with incessant banalities being passed off as "insightful commentary." But toss a woman into the mix and no matter how enthused or spontaneous she might sound, she still comes off as though she's reading from a teleprompter. And, in a way, women broadcasting sports sorta pisses me off.

Somehow, they seem like they are horning in on someone else's territory. I don't think it's absolutely necessary for both sexes to share everything. I mean, I'll never know what it feels like to give birth, so women shouldn't know what it feels like to tell me about a trap play or a sweep. Men and women should be allowed to have different clubs without fear of the other one wanting a piece of it.
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Monday, October 08, 2007

The Game Plan

When is this theme ever going to die? Confirmed bachelor(ette)'s life gets turned upside down by the sudden addition of precocious 7 year-old child who teaches about love and responsibility.

Gag me.

This theme dates back to the days of Shirley Temple, and probably even further than that. I personally don't know any single person who's life was changed for the better with the sudden responsibility of taking care of child. Seriously. None.

If those kids wound up on my doorstep, I would farm them out faster than you can say "Santa Claus ain't real," and go back to watching TV in my underwear.

I'm just saying.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Those Crazy Fugongians

Nearly 500 school children in Fugong, Yunnan Province, China have to cross the often raging Nujiang River each day to get to school. The only problem is that there is no bridge.

In order to cross the river, the children have to take the journey via a single steel cable stretched across the canyon. Children as young as 4 years old have to transverse the river by themselves each day.

The children fasten themselves to the cable with a carabiner and a rope to slide over the 200 meter wide canyon. Occasionally children get stuck in the middle of the cable and have to wait up to half an hour in order to be rescued.

Officials finally agreed to spend the $35,000 to build a bridge after a TV program drew attention to the dangerous situation.

Example of how it is to cross this river on a steel cable:



Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Children's Health Insurance Veto??

For the past 4 years, he's been killing our adults. But why stop there? Get them while they're young, W!

How can you take an expanded health insurance program away from children? It's apparently not enough that he's been sending young men and women to their deaths in a war that doesn't mean anything; now he wants to stop a bill that would expand healthcare for US children. And he did it in his usual sneaky fashion: behind closed doors at the White House with no press coverage, which should have been huge considering this was only the 4th Veto of his entire appointment presidency.

What where the other three vetoes?
  1. expanding federal research using embryonic stem cells
  2. spending that would have required troop withdrawals from Iraq
  3. easing restraints on federally funded stem cell research
Yes, yes. This is the compassionate conservative YOU people elected, and then re-elected. Be proud of yourselves, America.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Deodorant Wars

Well, it's happened again - my deodorant has stopped working. Almost like clockwork, every 18 months or so, I have to go shopping for a new deodorant because mine suddenly stops working. It apparently takes my body a year and a half to figure out the code in each deodorant just enough to render it useless. And that time has come again.

I've used Speed Stick, Dry Idea, Arrid, Degree, Sure, Ban, Gillette and Right Guard (I prefer gels over sprays and solids). For the past 18 months, I've been using Mitchum. What attracted me most to it is the fact that it is unscented. I prefer not smelling too perfumey - not because I am all into the "man smell" (quite the contrary - I love the smell of soap on clean skin), but I just don't want too many smells on my body at once. It's the main reason I never wear cologne or after shave (but that's a whole other blog).

So now it looks like it's on to Tom's, Arm & Hammer or perhaps (sigh) Old Spice. At least for the next 18 months.
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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Creepy Bus People

There is a mother/son combo that gets on the 156 with me sometimes in the morning. Their relationship bothers me a little. The son is about 6 or so, old enough to be in school; the mother seems to be an older first-time mom. They hold hands at the bus stop (sure, that's normal), and hold hands while walking on the bus - him in front of her (awkward, but ok), and then hold hands the entire time they are sitting on the bus together (which seems weird). Each time, they deboard at the zoo.

The really strange thing is the way she talks to him. I can't capture the tone, and it might not translate how I want it to, but she speaks to him the way you talk to a child you don't know, like your boss' kids. Today, for example:

Son: We rode the 151 yesterday and had to jump a puddle.
Mom: You did?!
Son: Yeah.
Mom: When you were with Daddy?
Son: Yeah.
Mom: Did you like that?
Son: Yeah.
Mom: I'll bet you did. I bet Daddy liked it too.
Son: Yeah.
Mom: You're such a good boy.

Mom says that last line constantly. There's just something about the way she talks to him that tells me the kid is going to grow up to either sing Judy Garland medleys in piano bars, or cover Asian women in Wesson oil before killing them, leaving the 7 of Clubs behind as a calling card.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And Speaking Of Side-By-Side Comparisons . . .

He's baaaaack!


Here's a side by side comparison of OJ Simpson's mugshot from 1994 after being booked on double homicide charges (left), and his mugshot from 2007 after being booked on multiple felony robbery charges (right).

I'm a firm believer that you can't do a bad deed and truly get away with it. Let's see how this plays out. With any luck, he won't have R. Kelly's judge.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Don't Let America Fool You

When I first saw this month's cover of Glamour while standing in line at the Jewel (really, I swear that's how it happened), I noticed covergirl America Ferrera, the otherwise ugly ducking star of Ugly Betty, and thought, "hey now, America has dropped some major pounds. Good for her, but how will that affect her character?"

And then I saw her on last week's Emmy Awards and noticed the weight loss was not so prominent.


Pasting photos side by side (Vogue, left/Emmy, right) will show that Glamour, just like GQ did to Kate Winslet, has taken the heroine of the everyday normal girl and airbrushed her to hell and back. Here is a person who, along with the character she plays, stands up against what fashion has long dictated is the "right look". And now she is its latest victims.

Young girls who see America and Betty as role models will pick up Glamour or Vogue or Mademoiselle and be barfing in the toilet within minutes. And no one is held accountable.
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Monday, September 24, 2007

2 : 1

Today marks my 2-year anniversary of moving to Chicago. Since then:

2 jobs
2 cardiologists
2 apartments
2 Super Bowls
2 gyms
2 volleyball championship tee shirts
2 games of putt-putt golf
2 Wright Brothers
2 holiday parties at Neil & Bob's
2 Oscar Nights
2 watch batteries
2 dinners at Ole Ole
2 gluhwein parties
2 seasons of Project Runway
2 blog designs
2 Vegas hotels
2 farewell parties for Matt
2 trips to southern Illinois
2 birthdays
2 IMLs
2 Blue Man Group New Year's Eves
2 Cirque du Soleil shows
2 vacation trips
2 Volley Follies
2 Hallowe'en contests
2 weddings
2 "Dave's birthday parties for himself"

. . . and through it all,
1 BF

I'm glad I moved.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stop, Hey, What's That Sound?

If this dude put as much energy into redecorating his place, he might not be living in such a dump. But, enjoy.


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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

R. Kelly Is Still Out There - Guard Your Children

Five years after being charged with child pornography, the R. Kelly Chicago trial had been set to start on September 17th. But a Cook County judge has postponed it because the lead prosecutor had a baby recently.

Kelly was charged in 2002 and is accused of engaging in videotaped sex acts with an underage girl. Since his arrest, the case has been hit with numerous delays. A new date hasn't been set and the trial has been delayed "indefinitely". Since being charged, Kelly has had six best-selling albums and three nationwide tours.

This man will never go to trial. R. Kelly has been arrested and accused enough times for us all to accept the basic idea that he has deep, ingrained pedophilic tendencies. Where's Chris Hansen when you need him??
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

That Tuesday

I was living in DC at the time, working for a graphic design firm. I was walking to the office and stopped in the little corner store to get my usual quart of milk that I was drinking every morning at the time. The news was on a small TV but the sound was off. So I wasn't really sure what I was watching. I watched for a few minutes, as the building was burning and smoke was filling the sky.

I entered the office and sat down at my desk. Nancy, the Production Manager came in and asked, "Have you heard?" We started receiving phone calls as rumors began to fly around DC. At first we heard that a plane had landed on the steps of the Capitol Building. And then we heard it had landed on the Mall. And then we heard another was headed towards the White House.

My boss, the principal designer, brought a small television from her home upstairs (the business was in the combined basement apartments of two townhouses). We watched as the first building collapsed, and then the second. And we were told a plane had crashed in rural Pennsylvania (40 miles from my parents' house) and another had crashed into the Pentagon.

The TV news was telling America that the Pentagon was located in DC. My parents, not knowing exactly where I was working in relation to the Pentagon (which is actually in Virginia), called me at work, frantic. The phone lines had been jammed, and it took them a few hours to get through to me. I can't imagine how panicked they must have felt.

Outside the window, people in suits were walking home. Some seemed to be strolling casually,; others were running. This was about 11:00AM. All of us at the design studio wanted to go home as well. No one knew if it was over, if it was just the first wave, if there was more to come. I lived and worked 11 blocks from the White House. Anything seemed possible.

I wanted to go home, pack a bag, and drive to my parents' house. We heard rumors of streets being blocked, so that no one could get out of the city. Was it worth the effort? Was it even safe to go outside r travel? Were there gases or poisons in the air? Would I get stuck if I tried to drive anywhere?

My boss wouldn't let us leave. "Nancy's husband is out of town, Dop and Chris both live alone. I don't see the point". So we stayed at work all day, but didn't actually do any work. I think my boss - an unmarried woman in her 40's - just didn't want to be alone either.

I left work at 6:00 and walked home. I turned on the television and watched the same scenes over and over and over and over. Each time, it sunk in a little deeper, made me a little sadder.

That night, a group of friends and I all sat outside on the sidewalk in a big circle with candles. We held hands, we cried, and we prayed. The world as we had come to know it was now changed forever. We figured nothing would ever be like it was.

And it still isn't.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fight Club

Sorry, folks. I just don't understand how this can be classified as a sport: two men, locked in a cage, beating each other until one either bleeds excessively, passes out, or - at worst - dies. All while a crowd is cheering them on. How does this differ from a mob, hate crime attack or gangland beating?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cheetah Gym

My old gym closed last week without warning. And not just that one location - but all three Cheetah Gym locations in Chicago. The owner cited "employee theft and graft" as the reason. And it begs the question - how much loss does it take through employee theft to close a small business.

The owner, David Wilshire, had posted an harangue on his company's website last week (thanks, Jim!) that was nothing more than a "poor me" essay on how he has nothing left in life and that he's lost everything. However, miraculously, all three locations - as well as a new location in Logan Square - will reopen this week. Wonders never cease.

Sounds more like a case of a drama queen overreacting. If you have a chain of stores, and one or more employees steal, that's no cause to close everything down - especially when you've just taken every member's money for their monthly memberships. It doesn't sounds like the public is getting the true story, or at least all the details, about whatever happened at Cheetah Gyms last week.

But I, for one, am glad I don't go there anymore.
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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Symphony In Black

I have long been a fan of art deco. Back before I really understood what art deco was, I fell in love with its long, sleek lines, chrome accents, and punches of black and purple. When I was a kid, I remember wanting to buy an old silver bus and convert it into an apartment. Perhaps it was art deco's association with jazz, perhaps its association with Chicago, perhaps it was the thoroughly modern fashions of high society puttin' on the ritz - whatever it was, I loved it (you can imagine my glee when black lacquer and chrome was all the rage in the 80's).

And then one day flipping through a book, I saw Erte's Symphony in Black, arguably his most famous artwork. And I fell in love with her. The sassy fur hat, the daring bare shoulder, the glorified muff, the Morticia Adams train! I shuddered. I think it was my first awake wet dream. Tall and slender with killer purple eyeshadow - she was the epitome of garish style, taking her black greyhound out for a walk on its diamond collar and leash.

I wanted to be her.

Several years ago, I was at a drag show and when the curtain parted, there stood my favourite piece of art in the flesh. I was overcome by the strange feeling you get when you realize there are others out there who think like you do. Granted, no one with me knew what we were witnessing. But I was about to see my heroine come to life - albeit through the body of a drag queen. The music started, and without moving, SIB sang, "How Lucky Can You Get" from Funny Lady. I went all giddy. I don't remember the drag queen's name, but I thanked her afterwards for doing great justice to something I had long admired.

When art deco makes another revival about 20 years from now, Symphony In Black will be hanging back up on my wall for me to admire, envy and adore. Some little boys want to grow up to be firemen, policemen, even ballet dancers. I just wanted to walk a dog.
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