Thursday, May 31, 2007

Joy Behar

She must be getting a pretty penny to have to sit every day and listen to stuff like this (if you haven't heard it yet, prepare yourself):




Why does Joy stay on the show? She's funny, she's made a name for herself, she's talented. This show is wasting her time. It's gone completely downhill. It's not even credible anymore. Does Barbara Walters even show up these days? Meredith Viera must be laughing all the way to the bank by now. And Elizabeth Hasselbeck???

Don't EVEN get me started.
.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Hours

Ok, I tried again. I saw it first back in 2002 in the theater. And at the end of the movie, I basically summed it up as a movie about three selfish, whiny women - and that the reason it was called The Hours is because it suggests the time of your life you will never get back again after sitting through the schmaltz.

But so many people have loved and raved about the book and the movie. So I figured I would give it another chance. This time, I thought I would watch it with The BF - maybe this way it might mean more to me, somehow.

Needless to say, history repeated itself. All my same complaints about the film held true 5 years later: Meryl Streep played her first character I didn't like; Julianne Moore seemed to sleepwalk through her performance; I seriously just wanted Nicole Kidman to throw herself on the train tracks at the station (she certainly did NOT deserve to win Best Actress for this role). The whole movie just seemed to drag on and on and on. If it was meant to convey how each person was strangling in her hum drum life, then I guess I get it. But I doubt that was the intention.

There were two bright spots: Toni Collette can do no wrong, and Ed Harris was haunting. Other than that, I just fail to see the attraction to this film. It's depressing and long and the characters are no better off at the end of the film than they were at the beginning. The only time I enjoyed myself was when The BF clicked to the Special Features section in hopes of a Bloopers section. Just the idea of a gag reel for The Hours cracked my ass up. But then he can always make me laugh just when I need it most.
.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

10 Things

Ten Things You Don't Think About Until AFTER the Move.

1) The shower pressure in the new place is really bad.

2) How to re-hook up your cable/tv/dvd/vcr/internet combo?

3) Your roommate had to reconfigure his wireless air port and forgot the password.

4) You realize there's no storage in the bathroom.

5) Where are all the boxes going to go?

6) Elfa is expensive when you don't buy it on sale.

7) Wiring in older buildings makes it impossible to put in ceiling fans.

8) Third floor is a lot hotter than second.

9) Lugging your bike up and down three flights gets really old, really fast.

10) Living this close to your boyfriend is amazing!
.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Moving

Yesterday, Ashley and I moved from our 3 bedroom apartment in Andersonville to a smaller 2 bedroom apartment in Lakeview. And by Lakeview, I mean Boystown. We decided to make this move a few months ago for a few reasons:

1) We've been living in Andersonville since we moved to Chicago 18 months ago. And while A'ville is quaint, quiet and certainly less expensive, it is also a bit far removed from the social scene of Boystown. So in an effort to improve our social circles, we thought we should relocate.

2) Again, because of the distance, it takes about an hour on the trains to get to downtown from A'ville. With the added delays due to construction on the "L", it sometimes took me 90 minutes to get home after work. The move allows me at least 30 extra minutes in the morning and evening, as well as the opportunity to use buses instead of relying solely on the train.

3) And the most important reason, for me anyway, was that it was getting increasingly annoying for The BF and I to have to schedule when to see each other. After a year and a half of planning dates and sleepovers, this will be a much nicer set up seeing as how we are now only about 3 blocks away from each other (I hope he doesn't get sick of me now).

So now we are embarking on another new adventure. We might love it, or we might hate it. But either way, its fun to be living in a more bustling neighborhood. I didn't move to the city to live in a suburb. But I have a hunch this is just going to make everything better.
.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chicago Weather

60 above (16C)
Floridians wear coats, gloves and woolly hats.
Chicagoans sunbathe.

50 above (10C)
New Yorkers try to turn on the heat.
Chicagoans plant gardens.

40 above (5C)
Italian cars won't start.
Chicagoans drive with the windows down.

32 above (0C)
Distilled water freezes.
Lake Michigan's water gets thicker.

20 above (-7C)
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
Chicagoans have the last cook-out before it gets cold.

15 above (-9C)
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
Chicagoans throw on a sweatshirt.

0 (-18C)
Californians fly away to Mexico.
Chicagoans lick the flagpole.

20 below (-29C)
People in Miami cease to exist.
Chicagoans get out their winter coats.

40 below (-40C)
Hollywood disintegrates.
Chicago's Girl Scouts begin selling cookies door to door.

60 below (-51C)
Polar bears begin to evacuate Antarctica.
Chicago's Boy Scouts postpone "Winter Survival" classes until it gets
cold enough.

80 below (-62C)
Mt. St. Helen's freezes.
Chicagoans rent some videos.

100 below (-73C)
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Chicagoans get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg.

297 below (-183C)
Microbial life survives on dairy products.
Illinois cows complain of farmers with cold hands.

460 below (-273C)
ALL atomic motion stops.
Chicagoans start saying...."Cold 'nuff for ya?"

500 below (-296C)
Hell freezes over.
The Chicago Cubs win the World Series


-- Author unknown. Poem found here.

.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to The BF!!

Today is The BF's birthday; send him some good wishes. And since he loves the circus so much, here's a little "Where's Kevin" to honour the day.

Happy Birthday, Hon!

click image to enlarge
.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Immigration Reform

I consider myself a liberal, but the one thing I just cannot seem to wrap myself around is the immigration reform issue. If you want to live in this country, or any country for that matter, you should have to follow the correct procedures to do so.

I understand their desire for a better life for themselves and their families. And I appreciate their work ethic, but they should have to go through the proper, legal channels just like everyone else. Likewise, I don't understand where they have the right to demand anything - you can't be a guest at a dinner party and then demand the host change the menu.

What confuses me is that they are referred to as illegal immigrants. So to paraphrase an hackneyed expression: what part of illegal don't you understand? Breaking the law is breaking the law. If you are a US citizen and you break a US law, you should have to pay the price, be it a fine or imprisonment. If you are not a US citizen and you break a US law, you should be sent back to your country. It should be that simple.

And it's hard, being a gay man, knowing that your government will give rights to people who are not US citizens, but won't let every person who is a US citizen marry whomever they love. It's a real bitch that I don't have the same rights as someone who is illegally living in my country.

I know the country is made up of immigrants; every newly settled property is. At one point or another, every country in the world was begun by people who were not native to the land on which they settled. Australia was a penal colony. All of Europe was part of the Roman Empire. But at some point, after several generations, those countries no longer were comprised of immigrants, but citizens.

The huge number of people who came to America from Europe in the beginning of the 20th century, who survived weeks at sea on crowded boats full of disease, famine and rodents, who gave up everything they owned and left all the people they knew for an uncertain future in a country they couldn't see on television or in movies, who couldn't speak the English language at first but had to learn the just to survive - they all had to be filtered through the process in order to be considered American citizens. I think it would be a slap in the faces of our ancestors to grant amnesty to this new breed of immigrants just because of proximity or duration. I've had student loans for the past 20 years - it'd be nice if the government said I could just forget about it, but they won't. And I am a taxpayer.

I welcome any and everyone who wants to be a US citizen to be one. But they should only be made a citizen of the US after they go through what all of our ancestors went through, just like the billions and billions of people before them.
.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pet Peeve #1137

I hate it when someone else's hair touches me.

What I mean here is, if I am standing on the train holding onto a rail on top of a seat and the seated person constantly flips her hair so it touches my hand. Or if I am at a sporting event or movie - or any other place with stadium seating - and the person sitting in front of me whisks her hair so that it touches my knees. These people are more than likely unaware that they are intruding on my personal space, but even so I don't like the feeling.

By and large, I am not really a fan of long hair anyway. Long hair seems like it holds dirt. It certainly collects more of it. And when someone with long hair decides not to wash it, and just pull it back into a ponytail or bun, they are just admitting to the world that their hair is dirty and so, by association, is the rest of them.

I don't have animosity about hair. I actually like that I am bald - or balding. I embraced it years ago and actually look better without hair than I did with it. It certainly makes life - and my morning routine - alot easier.

I also don't like it when someone sitting in front of me constantly brushes, combs or runs her fingers through her hair so that strays fly out and land on me. It's gross. Next time it happens, I will collect the strays and hand them back to her, saying something like, "Here, you dropped these" or perhaps, "Wow, you just lost alot of hair - have you heard of alopecia?"

Hee hee.
.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tammy Faye

According to her website, Tammy Faye Bakker Messier, a longtime supporter of gays and gay rights, is no longer receiving medical treatment for her cancer. As she writes, it's now "up to God and my faith. And that's enough!"

In 1996, Tammy Faye was diagnosed with colon cancer. Then just three years ago, she found out it had returned, this time in her lungs. Now, apparently, prolonged treatment won't do any good.

If a miracle can happen to anyone, I believe it can happen to her. In an opinion I share with many others, she is a good, decent God-fearing person who was surrounded by greedy crooks. Maybe she was ignorant of everything that revolved around the PTL scandal and the conviction of her ex-husband, Jim Bakker -- or maybe she wasn't. But I used to watch the show when I was younger (it was usually the only thing on television at midnight before the days of cable), and Tammy Faye seemed genuinely full of love and God. Outwardly, I would snicker when she turned on the waterworks and her spider-like eyelashes would coagulate. But inside, I felt like she actually cared about what she was saying. She seemed, even back then, to be altruistic and deeply faithful.

So take a moment and think of her, even pray for her if you will. Because I believe at one time or another, she prayed for all of us. And she probably continues to do so.
.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Taxes

Tax his land, tax his bed,
Tax the table at which he's fed.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes are the rule.

Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat.
Tax his ties, tax his shirt,
Tax his work, tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco, tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his cigars, tax his beers,
If he cries, then tax his tears.

Tax his car, tax his gas,
Find other ways to tax his ass.
Tax all he has then let him know
That you won't be done 'til he has no dough.

When he hollers, tax him some more,
Tax him till he's good and sore.
Then tax his coffin, tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he's laid.

Put these words upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me to my doom."
When he's gone, do not relax,
It's time to apply The Inheritance Tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Interest expense
Inventory tax
IRS Interest Charges
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road usage taxes
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
Telephone state and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

COMMENT: Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago,and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?

SOURCE: Unknown
.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Helmet? Priceless.

On Saturday, a week after someone doored me, The BF took me to Sports Authority to buy me a bike helmet. This was actually something he wanted to buy me a month ago on my birthday - the accident just seemed to make it more prevalent. So we took a trip to our local store and I chose the Slant helmet by Bell in blue and silver (left). It's a sharp looking helmet, and because it looks more like a ballcap, I don't feel so dorky wearing it (vanity is a horrible thing).

The helmet was priced at $54.99, and while I wasn't crazy about The BF spending that on a helmet for me, it was something he really wanted to do. I noticed that the first one we chose didn't have a UPC tag on it, so to keep them from having to go through all the motions of looking it up and getting a price check, I selected another one.

We got to the counter and the SA clerk dude scanned it. He then made a curious face. He looked at the register display, then looked at the price tag. Then he scanned it again. Then again. At this point, I was getting ready for a fight of some kind, like him telling us it was scanning at $80 and we'd have to pay that. But instead, he almost giggled, and said:
I'm sorry guys. I've scanned this three times and every time it comes up 47 cents. And since that's basically our mistake and I don't want to get a whole bunch of people involved in this, the cost is 47 cents - or, well ... 51 cents with tax.
We couldn't believe it. Obviously, the item had been mismarked (I'm not sure what a "Scuffle Light" is but that's what comes up on the receipt). But if we had walked to the counter with the first one I had in-hand that did NOT have a tag on it, they would have looked it up and charged us the correct price - not that we knew any of this. But since the clerk seemed very comfortable to sell the helmet to us at less than 1% of its actual price, The BF was very comfortable paying as much for it. We gave the clerk 55 cents and in all the giddyness, he closed the register drawer before he could give us our 4 cents change - and he apologized for it. We donated the amount as a tip.

I think The BF and I are still both in shock that it all happened this way. First of all, it was a helmet that I actually liked, given that I was originally against the idea of even wearing one. Also, it's odd that something stopped us from just taking the first one and getting another instead. And third, the salesman was so absolutely cool about the whole thing.

And I really like the helmet.

Oh, and thanks to all who sent emails of concern about my accident. My leg is healing nicely (the picture at left was taken one week after the accident). The bruising ended up getting out of control as it began to heal. I'm also bruised around my left ankle, heel, and over the top of my left foot. I also have a large hematoma on my left calf that is about the size of a golf ball and is pretty painful. But after a trip to my doctor, I found out that is will be slow in healing and will eventually be reabsorbed into my system, which could take another week or two.

And hey, let's be careful out there.
.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Glasses Off The Table

I think wearing sunglasses while playing poker is cheating. The art of the game is not only in how to play the cards, but also how to read other player's without giving away your own emotions. Wearing a low ball cap, a cowboy hat or sunglasses to mask your facial expressions is a cop out. And I wish more professional players would take a stand against the use of "disguise". It's like giving a baseball player a larger glove.

Just my two cents.
.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ad Hominem = Justin

Last week, I received this comment to this blog entry:
Is there anything in life that you like? You sure complain an awful lot. Instead of being so negative, you could look at this a whole other way. You live in an amazing city filled with excitement. Cubs season is a small part of the year - when all of the clowns do come out. But, other riders on the trains are laughing at the harmless clowns. Their vibrancy and excitement should make you smile - it's infectious. It seems you believe you have one of the world's most difficult jobs and that you SLAVE away all day and should be bowed to and praised quietly while on your Royal Commute home, but if other people bother you and your quest for solitude so much, then maybe Chicago is not the city for you. And, if you were smart, and didn't just want to complain, like a big old Eyeore, maybe you would buy yourself a Cubs schedule and ride the bus instead of the train on Cubs game nights. Just a suggestion. But. I guess it is easier to just complain and be a big negative baby.
This comment was from someone calling himself Justin. He's someone who doesn't know me personally, has never met me, and only has this blog on which to base his opinion of me. Let me say from the outset, that I don't mind people disagreeing with me; I welcome open and healthy debating. What I DO mind is someone judging me, attacking me and insulting me, specifically someone who does not know anything about me or my life, or even, for that matter, if what I write is the truth.

Simply writing something like, "Oh the fans amuse me on the train, I don't seem to mind them" would be totally acceptable. However saying "you seem (to) believe you ... should be bowed to and praised" and "Chicago is not the city for you" has absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote about.

I admit that there is sometimes more sarcasm than giddiness on my blog. I write about my observations in the world. If a thing strikes me as funny, hell yeah I'll write about it. But if something bothers me, like ad hominems committed against me, then I will write about that too.

For those of you who do NOT know me, you don't know that I am mostly a goofball; that I am silly and usually say the wrong thing; that I trip over my tongue seemingly more often than other people; that I walk too slow and react too fast; that I am absent-minded and laugh at myself; that the only place I attempt to take myself seriously is on this blog; and that those I am lucky to call my friends consider me charming and lovable.

This was not the first time Justin has left comments such as this (he's left them on The BF's blog as well), so I had to take additional measures. A few months ago I had to begin monitoring comments to decide if I want to publish or reject them. And since then, I have always rejected Justin's. He must never go back to read if I have responded to his comments, otherwise he would see his comments are never published and would, hopefully, cease commenting altogether.

I will continue to reject Justin's comments. So, Justin, I suggest starting your own blog where you can post your own rants and complaints, just like I do here. Only please do so without personally attacking someone you'll never meet.
.