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Showing posts from April, 2004
MIMI SMARTYPANTS MAKES ME HOMESICK
I love reading Mimi Smartypants' blog. I found it like I find many things in life. By reading Eric Zorn's blog in the Chicago Tribune. She reminds me so much of myself and my former life in Chicago. As she blogs about commuting around town on buses and trains, I'm right there with her.

There was the period of time when I was commuting on the Red Line from Granville to the Washington station. I don't know if it was just the time of day, but we always had a lively crowd. First, most mornings I was on The Love Train. It looked the same as any other CTA train from the outside, but the conductor of The Love Train would make the announcement as soon as the door closed, "Welcome aboard The Love Train! Please give up your seat to any elderly or handicapped folks who've just come aboard. No smoking, no littering no radio playing and its not wise to lean against the doors. It's a lovely 40 degrees outside and we're just approac…
DUKING IT OUT WITH THE DEVIL? YOU COULDN'T PAY ME ENOUGH! Today I read an article in the LA Times by Tracy Wilkinson titled He Sends the Devil Packing. She explains an increase in exorcists, the rise in popularity in exorcisms (ten fold in the last decade to 300 or so a year), and the Vatican priest Father Gabriele Amorth who performs most of them. He has help though, one of Italy's "…largest archdiocese have formed a special task force to handle the growing demand for devil detox."

Dang! Poor Father Gabriele! I've had some really crap-ass jobs in my life, and yet, I haven't had to show up to work every day to do holy battle with the Prince of Darkness! I've often remarked to Joe that practicing law in a courtroom like he does is tough because while I experience a difference of opinion all the time at work, he actually has someone at the other table whose job it is to be sure he doesn't succeed in his case. But how bad must a daily adversarial interac…
BOX DESIGNERS RULE!
I've discovered yet another job I'd love to try. Besides trying my hand at forklift driving, zooming around, pushing big levers and moving heavy crates wherever I please - I want to be a box designer! Yesterday we had a company meeting about a product we're getting ready for market - and the discussion turned to the beautiful packaging we'd created.
"The color on the mock-ups is fab! Nice work art department!"
"Yeah, but the ball will have to ship in a separate box so we'll need artwork for that too."
"What?! No way! We can't ship the ball separately, that would suck!"
"No, we have to have 2 boxes and ship the ball separately, if you put everything together including the ball the box would be huge!"
"No way we can do 2 separate boxes. We'd double our fulfillment and shipping costs, it would blow our profit margins or our price point."
That is when the CEO declared, "Get a box des…
CAN YOU NOT SMELL WOMAN?! LINE UP FOR FUN WITH FLASHCARDS!
Yesterday, on my way home from work I climbed onto the elevator and was assaulted physically by the most cloying cloud of perfume imaginable. Cough! I looked at the perpetrator: a normal looking 30-something woman. Simply attired in a plain dress, unfortunately accessorized with a criminally noxious miasma of Youth Dew cologne.

Strangely, it didn't make me sneeze, but it went directly into my mouth causing me to make mlech-mlech-mlech mouth/tongue movements. Spit-ooee! Wow! Your olfactory glands are so closely connected to your taste buds that the incoming fragrance jumped from my nose into my mouth with all of the harshness of a Listerne tab. mlech-mlech-mlech.

Also strangely, I automatically started doing my multiplication tables in my head 2X2=4, 2X3=6, 2X4=8. Suddenly I was tumbling back to early grammar school when our teacher's aid, Miss Wolfe would come in during the afternoons and do flash cards with us. I hate …
NIGHTMARE CHEESECAKE = TURMOIL
I was just reading an article in the NY Times called "Peril of the Night, When Calories Come Calling" by Jane E. Brody. It addresses "night eating syndrome" which is a combination of disorders of eating, sleep and mood. The article mentions sufferers who would wake up with anxious or disturbing thoughts and compulsively eat (usually something sweet) to comfort themselves and fall asleep again. One woman who was way beyond the ability to control herself actually had her husband lock her in the bedroom and hide the key until morning to keep her from bingeing. My my my! He must really have loved her to put up with her waking him up and pleading for the key, chewing on her pillow, crying, threatening... I think that would cause me to commit my loved one. "Here you go dear, let me just sign you in and they'll figure out some way to stop the night binges. If not, you're on your own. I'm now going home to fix the gnawed area …
MOVIES AT HOLLYWOOD FOREVER & CAITLIN KEATS IN KILL BILL VOL 2
This weekend was planned around movies. Joe worked it out that way – he’d made plans for us to go see Polanski’s Chinatown at the Hollywood Forever cemetery on Saturday night and Sunday everything was planned around seeing Kill Bill Volume 2.

When I first moved to Hollywood, the Hollywood Forever grounds were really run down. There was trash everywhere and many of the graves were dirty and grown over. Then new owners arrived and cleaned the place up. It is now a nice park to hang out, bring a book or just wander the grounds and see the final resting places of so many famous people. Last year they started showing movies every other Saturday night for $10 and I’m sure they’re making good money on the venture.

We were picked up by our pal Nick & his buddy Remo – the prolific screen writer – and the plan was to lay out our blankets, food & meet up with other Nick/Remo pals. We were one of a steady stream of cars a…
All that being said, I went into the Tools section of Word and un-checked all of the auto correction boxes. Much better, but still it trys to help in unwanted ways!

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MIA'S STRUGGLE WITH MSWORD MAKES HER EVEN MORE MY SISTER
The fabulous Mia writes:
Hey - I just read your blog about MS word, and boy can I relate! About a year and a half ago, I wrote up a beautiful email document that described in flowing detail (if I do say so), how one goes about creating an "at counter" beauty event. Well, one of my points of inclusion was to: "Put a placemat on the counter and place the products on top, for a lovely presentation to the customer to view when her makeover is complete". Well, spell check decided that the word PLACEMAT should really be PLACENTA instead! Much better, don't you think? "Put a placenta on the counter and place the products on top, for a lovely presentation..." Well - I didn't notice what spell check had done until a day or so after I had proudly sent said email to my beauty advisors and several departmental and store managers. I decided to go back and read the email, because I was so proud …
WHEN MS WORD GOES WRONG, NOTHING GOES RIGHT!
What's up with the newest versions of Word? It has gotten to the point where just about everything you do, it attempts to interfere... no, not attempts, it actully interferes with your creation of a simple document. I was busy typing a little agenda and here is what happened:

I type the name, time and place of the meeting. It changes what I've capitalized and fixes the name of my client which it decides that I've misspelled. I struggle to overcome its opinions.

I indent the first agenda item and hit "enter" to go the next line. It changes the type of text I'm typing to a "header" and automatically indents the second line which I don't want to indent. I struggle to get back to the original text type and far left alignment.

I type the next agenda item "1 Way contract negotiations" and hit "Enter". It assumes that I want a list of numbers so it indents the line I've just written wh…
DON'T SHOP WHILE HUNGRY!
Oh my god! I waited to go down to the deli to order my lunch until I was starving today and while standing in line became mentally unhinged with hunger. My better judgment was nowhere to be seen when I decided that I had to have two giant items! I toted back up to my office a massive Cobb salad with a side of pepproncinis and a giant grilled chicken, avocado, cucumber, tomato and hummus wrap with a side Caesar salad.

My only saving grace is that I forced myself to keep working at my desk and eat very slowly! Whew! I'm satisfied and have put the entire Cobb and 1/2 the wrap in the fridge for Joe & my dinner tonight.

Hunger is really dangerous. It takes a person over. I'm so ashamed to say that if I hadn't had enough money for the 2nd entrée, hunger insanity probably would have seen me offering the ancient hunched old deli guy sexual favors for that grilled chicken wrap.

Whew! Feeling much better now that I've got fuel in my tummy. I'm…
TRIBES AND WELL-BEING
In this morning's Chicago Tribune there is an article by Devin Rose titled Who's in Your Tribe? that says in part:
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"The world of "Friends," which leaves NBC in May, is enviable. Sure, the show has a surreal ratio of beautiful-to-average people, and the New York digs are incredible (and unaffordable). But what probably draws many viewers is, well, the friends. How many people have such true blues, such a great support system, in real life?

According to a husband-and-wife team of authors, Bob Murray and Alicia Fortinberry, that's precisely what we all need.
In their new book, "Creating Optimism: A Proven, Seven-Step Program for Overcoming Depression" (McGraw-Hill, $22.95), the two say a strong social network--a tribe, as they call it--can save us from depression. They have been teaching their healing method, as part of their Uplift Program, worldwide for 20 years.

Other battles on the depression front often…
SINGING IN THE SHOWER AT 40,000 FEET
Reading an article titled: Inventors Offer Ideas for a Second Century of Travel by Jane L. Levere and Sabra Chartrand in the New York Times today, I perused the list of inventions that brilliant people have patented for the air travel industry and started to crack up when I came to this beauty designed to:
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'… combine a lavatory and shower (patent No. 6,604,709, owned by the Boeing Company). The lavatory, which would expand on a track into "unused space, such as an aircraft's main entry cross-aisleway," would provide wheelchair access and have a floor that could be removed "to reveal a modular shower pan for bathing." "A miracle of packaging," declared Mr. Norris, who liked the fact that it would make life easier for disabled travelers. He gave it four stars.
Mr. Nulty pointed out a drawback - the weight of the water would shorten the plane's range - but confessed he would love to take a h…
HOW DOES SHE KEEP A JOB?
In my office building there is a young woman who can be found any time of the day in the women's restroom peering at her face in the mirror over the sink. She looks to be around 20 years old, beautiful brown hair that falls to her mid-back and very pretty facial features. She grips the sink, leaning about 10 inches away from the mirror and examines her face. When anyone walks into the restroom, she darts a quick glance away from her reflection (what? Like she can make it appear that she is doing something other than staring at herself?) and then her eyes slide back to her own face and she's gone into her own world. My instinct is that her world is made up of a labyrinth called Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Drinking as much water as I do, I'm in and out of the restroom all the time and now she seems not even to notice me. Where does she work? What kind of responsibility or function can she have here in the building that can tolerate her 8+ hours a day in…
DON'T HOG THE ELEVATOR
On my way out of the house this morning I stuck my head in Joe's shower and received a wet kiss good-bye, then I grabbed all my crap, and headed out to the office a few minutes late. I really cut it close now that I just have to zip down the street to get to work (not a day goes by that I don't thank the heavens for my new convenient work location!) - I have dangerously started leaving only the slightest margin for error. I have an 8:30 meeting.

I run to the elevator and it takes for-freakin-ever to arrive on my floor. I hop on and press the lobby button. One floor down the elevator stops and opens. A man dressed in a weird looking Nehru jacket partially steps into the elevator and continues a conversation with a man who apparently isn't getting on with us. Mr Nehru hangs onto the door which tries to close and it makes a high pitched alarm sound alerting people to the fact that you're not supposed to prevent the door from closing.

While he'…
CHICAGO ART INSTITUTE RAISES ADMISSION PRICES - AND OCASIONALLY MESSES WITH MY HEAD
OK, $12 isn't too much to pay to enjoy and be enriched by everything that superlative building offers. I approve. They'll still allow visitors to pay what they wish because they have a policy of suggested admission. I recall a time when I was working in the loop at a shitty and stressful job. At the end of every day I'd walk to the Art Institute and give them a quarter. Then I'd wander the galleries and find a painting to sit in front of and relax until closing time. It really brought my body and mind back into harmony. I figure in that one year alone they got approximately $60 from me - and I was quite broke at the time…
Good thing the founding father of the Institute had the strong conviction that it should be open to everyone who wished to enter. A strict admission policy would have robbed me of one of my favorite places in life.

A couple of years ago, when back visiting Mia in Chicag…
E-BAD-nae IS HOME!
Finally the vet let us have our cat back today. He is completely flipped out from yet another trip into his carrier - but is sleeping quietly under the bed in our study. Nice to have him back. The vet's assistant who handed him over to me remarked: "You have one cool cat here, take good care of him". Yes, we plan to… and never hope to engage in armed feline combat again.


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QUADRIPELEGICS TODAY - TOMORROW JUST LAZY PEOPLE
Just read an article in the New York Times titled "With Tiny Brain Implants, Just Thinking May Make It So" by Andrew Pollack - It begins:

"Can a machine read a person's mind? A medical device company is about to find out.
The company, Cyberkinetics Inc., plans to implant a tiny chip in the brains of five paralyzed people in an effort to enable them to operate a computer by thought alone.
The Food and Drug Administration has given approval for a clinical trial of the implants, according to the company.
The implants, part of what Cyberkinetics calls its BrainGate system, could eventually help people with spinal cord injuries, strokes, Lou Gehrig's disease or other ailments to communicate better or even to operate lights and other devices through a kind of neural remote control.
"You can substitute brain control for hand control, basically," said Dr. John P. Donoghue, chairman of the neuroscience department…
TURN LIKE YOU MEAN IT
I've got to admit that I have little to rant about when it comes to traffic these past few weeks. In fact, the other morning I had the blissful experience of leaving my apartment parking space on my way to work, and not hitting one red light (I have 4 counting the one at my apartment gate) and thus not having to brake the entire way into the office. Just smoothly rolling along.

However, I've got to say this: If you're going to turn, TURN! God! Is there nothing more annoying than driving behind someone who starts losing speed and then begins to half heartedly drift partially into a possible turn-type move. They're still totally in your lane, but kind of acting like they could possibly be contemplating a turn. Then they lose all momentum and begin braking. No turn signal (don't get me started on that! See my Turn Signal Rant on September 25, 2003) and they are still in your lane as they come to a complete stop before making their turn.

Streets in…
GREAT EASTER WEEKEND
Yup, I did buy a coat at Banana Republic on Good Friday - but it wasn't the black trench I'd been eyeing. I tried it on and it just didn't work on me. However, a kicky coral/peach coat did work on me -- and with much of my newly purchased spring wardrobe… it was on SALE. Cha-ching! She scores!

I went to The Whisper Lounge to have drinks with my pal Steve and catch up. I'd been dying to hang out at the ultra cool looking Whisper even before it was open. I'd peer in the windows while they were building it. When getting my hair done across the sidewalk at Amadeus I admired the hip Whisper crowd lounging all over the patio & darker recesses inside.

I found a seat at the bar, and promptly stuck my arms and hands to the bar. Eeew. Tearing my appendages off the tacky surface, I realized that the entire bar was coated with various sticky liqueurs. The bar tender handed me a fun drink list which I accepted and it too was gooey. Eeew! I ordered a vodk…
GOOD FRIDAY SHOPPING DANGERS LURKING
The boss announced that we're closing our office at 1:00 today in observance of Good Friday. Woo PEE! Here is what I'm gunna do with the free time: Quick funky workout to Yoga Booty Ballet, quick shower and then over to the Grove to purchase new underwear that fits my now smaller butt. Joe helpfully mentioned that it might be a good idea to invest in some undies that don't sag in the butt like I "have a load in my pants". Nice helpful comment.

So, it's off to Victoria's Secret and then I'll go take a second look at the very chic little black trench coat I've been eyeing at Banana Republic. Perhaps I'll swing by Morel's for a Salad Nicoise and demi-canter of house white…

My boss can't possibly imagine the harm he has potentially done to my wallet just by giving me the afternoon off. My God! If I'm not careful I might come home with an i-pod for myself since Joe seems to be having such a blast wi…
3rd UPDATE
Just called, Evadnae is out of surgery and the assistant said, "Oh he's doing fine, he's all wrapped up in a blanket and looks like a little burrito. He's alert and looks very comfortable. He's charming everyone here!". Whew!

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2nd UPDATE
I just called the vet to see how my poor crying pet is faring. The assistant said, "oh, Evadnae? Did I get his name right? He's just adorable, and sweet! We took his blood test and are ready to start his declawing procedure soon. You can call in a couple of hours to see how he is."

Hmmm, adorable? Yes, he certainly is that. Sweet? You betcha! But after the terrors of this morning I can't fathom the switch. I thought he'd be a wreck for days. Doesn't he need more time to get a grip and calm down? Certainly his father and I are still upset.

Maybe he just had a complete nervous collapse this morning and now he's gone to his quiet place - can you tell if a cat is cute or catatonic?

God I hope he's OK.


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Update
Joe called to check up on me and see how I was feeling after this morning's ordeal. He told me that the dress shirt he's wearing with his suit today is ruined. Blood from his wounds keeps seeping and oozing through his t-shirt. My poor man!

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THE MORNING FROM HELL
This morning Evadnae had his appointment with the vet to get his vaccinations, de-wormed (yeah, we discovered that Mr. Shelter-boy has worms… gag) and claws removed. I'd spent last night petting him and massaging him and soothing him. We've gotten to a level of trust with him so that he doesn't always shrink away from us when we approach him. I've been puzzling with the problem of how to pick up a cat who hates to be picked up and put him into a cat carrier. Although I knew instinctively that it was a problem, it was a much bigger problem that I could possibly imagine.

The plan I'd formulated was this: I'd don a leather jacket to protect my arms and a leather glove on my left hand. I'd casually wander into the living room where Evadnae likes to lounge in the morning and ignore him. Joe would then casually walk past the cat into the kitchen and wait silently. I would then casually walk up to the cat, pet him gently with my right hand and…
I just did an experiment where I decided to write with my left hand, even though I'm right-handed. Just looking at the pencil, knowing I was going to pick it up with my left hand made me feel anxious. Curious. Then I picked up the pencil and didn't know how to comfortably hold it, so I gripped it awkwardly and wrote a simple sentence. Bizarre! My entire body was focused on the fragile scribbles and I couldn't relax my hand even a little bit or the tip of the pencil just hovered unable to form a letter.

What part of my brain is being used to write with the opposite hand? What a serious problem I'd have if something happened to my right hand! I take that hand for granted. I shall now continue to scribble with my left hand while appreciating my right.

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THE STRANGE LIFE OF RADIOMAN - COULD I BE RADIOWOMAN?
Just read an article in the NY Times about a chap named Radioman (born Craig Schwartz) who for years has mooched around movie sets in New York and is now an accepted part of basically every movie set in the greater tri-state area. He bicycles to every set he hears about - just shows up. He wears a boom box around his neck and got his name because years ago a cop was trying to get him to move out of a shot and yelled, "Hey Radioman, move!"

He waits patiently, speaking to the directors and actors when he can, and has now been in over 30 movies as an extra or what-not. He gets autographs and sells them, he knows everyone by name and they all call him "Radio" or "Radioman". All the crew members and teamsters know him. It has come to a point where it is considered a good omen sort of, or blessing for him to be sitting patiently for hours around your street lined with trailers and generators during filming.

A…
I'M MORALLY OUTRAGED AND SICK TO MY STOMACH
I just read an article in the New York Times that begins:

"CAP-AUX-MEULES, Quebec, March 30 — Commercial hunting of baby seals is back and even bigger than when it stirred a global outcry two decades ago.

Horrified by the clubbing of infant harp seals, animal rights advocates swayed public opinion against the hunt. Environmentalists joined the campaign, fearing that the species was being depleted. World sales collapsed. Even Canada reacted with revulsion and began stiffening regulations on the kill.

Now, Canada has lifted the quota to a rate unheard of in a half century, buoyed by new markets in Russia and Poland, and changing environmental calculations. A recovering market has turned into a quiet boom.

Here on ice patches of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the hunt looks nearly as brutal as ever. For as far as the eye can see, dozens of burly men bearing clubs roam the ice in snowmobiles and spiked boots in search of silvery young harp se…
THE SIGN SAYS 30-MINUTE PARKING
Yesss, that is what the sign says on 3 little parking spots in front of my apartment building. We're supposed to use them for loading or unloading our cars, picking someone up, quick stops, what-not. Then move it or get ticketed & towed. I occasionally need to use one of the spots and get angry at the hogs who stay parked there for what seems like hours. I'll wedge my car along side the loading spots and unload my car, then go park in a normal spot. I seethe and point out cars that have been there longer than 30 minutes to Joe as we walk over to the market on weekends. Selfish hogs! Unload your shit and get out of the way! Those spots are for everyone!

Weeeellll, yesterday morning I swung into the first 30 minute spot and unloaded my groceries. Quite a shopping haul and it took me several trips up and down the elevator. Then I excitedly showed Joe the amazing fruit & veggies I'd found, started putting things away and making breakfast.…
WHY DO PEOPLE MOVE?
I read an interesting article called "Our Sprawling, Supersize Utopia" in the New York Times Magazine today. It mentioned that 14.2% of Americans relocated in 2002 compared with 4% of Dutch and Germans who relocated. My my my we're on the move! And for most of my life I was one of them. I have often wondered what it would have been like living my entire life in Roseland on the deep south side of Chicago.

As a kid we moved around Chicago, but mercifully, orbited relatively close to my school so I didn't have to deal with the "new kid in class" horrors. Then we moved to Colorado and I had 3 schools in 3 years. No wonder I fell into smoking & drugs. I was hanging out with a different stratum of teenagers. My old St. Peter's group wouldn't have handed me a joint… but I digress.

Then I moved out of the house before my high school graduation. I wanted out of the mountains and back to a city. My pal Jean & I spent the last quarte…