Saturday, June 23, 2007

Stephen Colbert

Just a quick note to say Stephen Colbert is quickly becoming my favorite person. I ran into some videos of his show and they're hilarious. This one is my favorite. haha! He was always my favorite person on The Daily Show. Apparently he's Catholic. You gotta love a funny Catholic.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Cicadas

Ok, I finally got the chance to experience the attacking cicadas first hand yesterday. I had been told by a few people that they literally fly right into you but I didn't believe it until it happened to me. There still are very few by my house, mind you. However, there are a couple suburbs that have been hit rather hard and I had the misfortune of having to walk through one of them.

I was taking the train into the great city of Chicago from Westmont where cicadas have successfully taken over the town. Walking to the train station, at least 5 cicadas ran directly into me. Due to some scheduling problems, we had to wait longer than expected for the train, all the while trying to fight off cicadas. It was treacherous. One landed on my nose. They fly around as if they're drunk; crashing directly into just about anything (buildings, cars, me) and often bouncing off and landing on the ground. As a result, there are tons of dead cicadas all over the ground. So not only are they flying around like they've had a few too many, they're also strewn about the ground, crunching as you step on them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I have some pretty great friends. Last Sunday, a nice little surprise birthday was thrown in honor of two of my friends and myself. It was very sweet, but then I realized that I had been lied to non stop all weekend, and that I'm possibly the most gullible person ever. Here's how it went down:

Last week, my roommate informed me that her parents were going to come in and spend the day on Sunday and she was going to make some barbeque pork for them. This is not unusual as her parents do visit once in awhile and she's basically always making food. So I said fine and went on my merry way. The next day, I get an email from our other friend, Janelle, telling me her husband is having a guys night at their house on Sunday night and she's going to be kicked out so she wanted to go shopping. That sounded good to me, so I went with it. On Saturday, I found out that the roommate's parents decided not to come in, but she'd already started making her barbeque pork, so she was just going to make it and have it for the week. This didn't seem strange to me, she often makes food in large quantities so that she can have it throughout the week. Saturday night, I came home and a pleasant aroma filled the house. I told my roommate it smelled like food, assuming she had made something, but she denied it and told me that she'd gotten a new vanilla scented plug in thing. I'm sorry to say, this satisfied my curiosity, and I went to bed. On Sunday, the roommate informed me that she was going over to Janelle's to do some laundry since our dryer isn't working, and as payment for using their dryer, she was going to bring her pork over there for guys night. I'm pretty sure this should have seemed a little strange to me, but still, I suspected nothing. She does some weird things sometimes, so I just don't ask questions.

Sunday night, I made my way over to Janelle's to start our dinner and shopping night. This is when things got a little odd. The guys hadn't arrived at their house yet, so Janelle and I sat on her porch swing for a bit before they got there. I asked her if the roommate was there doing her laundry or if she'd left. I got a rather blank stare from Janelle followed by a slightly confused look and an answer of, "no, she wasn't here." I will admit that this seemed odd to me, I had watched the roommate walk out of the house with her laundry and pork. Nevertheless, I didn't bother thinking about it too much. Note: If you're going to throw a surprise party for someone, make sure everyone involved has the story straight. Not that it really mattered in this case.

Soon the guys arrived for their guys night and Janelle said she had to run into the house to get some things before we left. It was a lovely day, so I decided to just stay on the porch swing and wait for Janelle to come back. A few seconds later, Janelle popped her head out and told me I could come in, it was going to take her a minute to find what she needed. Still, I didn't suspect anything fishy so I got up and walked inside. As I walked towards the back of the house I caught a glimpse my roommate's head bobbing around in the back door window. She saw me and rather obviously attempted to hide. Also, she was wearing a party hat. I turned to Janelle and said, "Oh, there's Grace...and she's wearing a party hat." It wasn't until I said it out loud that I realized what was going on. I made my way to the back yard and the other two birthday guys followed. We were greeted by a few of our good friends, and yes, sitting on the table in front of us was the beloved barbeque pork I'd been hearing about all weekend.

More Google Madness

Well, everyone seems to be jumping on the "Google taking over the world" bandwagon these days. Probably because it's true. Here is a rather comprehensive list of ways in which you can effectively allow Google to take over your life. What's up with the "Almighty Google" heading at the top. Feels sacrilegious.

Friday, June 8, 2007

McDonald's Thinks I'm Crazy

I really like McDonald's Happy Meals. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I love them because they contain just the right amount of food, but more importantly, I love them for the toys. Yes, often times the toys are really lame, but every once in awhile they come out with something fabulous.

Anyway, last week some coworkers and I were contemplating a trip to McDonald's for lunch and we quickly began to discuss the current Happy Meal toys. They're an important factor when deciding whether or not to visit. If you're going to risk your life by eating some McDonald's "food", the toy better at least be good. This led to a conversation about how silly some of their toys have been and how upset I was that the Queen was left out of the Shrek toys this month. There were three baby Shreks, but no Queen. Who the heck wants three baby Shreks??

While I don't really care that much about this toy issue, I thought it would be funny to pretend that I did. As a result of reading this website too much and apparently having nothing better to do, I shot this email off to McDonald's:

Dear McDonalds,

As of late, I have been perplexed by your choice of characters for your Happy Meal Toys. I was thrilled when you offered the Wizard of Oz toys, but I was rather confused as to why the Wicked Witch of the East was part of it. Have you seen the movie? She's hardly in it except for her feet sticking out from under a house! There are a number of other characters that would have made much more sense, namely, a flying monkey! They are much more recognizable than the Wicked Witch of the East considering that no one has ever actually seen what she looks like above her knees.

Then came the Shrek toys. While they are well done, I cannot get over the fact that The Queen was left out of the lineup. She's Julie Andrews for heaven's sake! I for one, would love to have a Happy Meal toy that talks like Julie Andrews. I'm confident that she would have been the most popular toy.

One more thing, when I went into my local McDonald's today for lunch, I was greeted with a sign for the new Swamp Sludge McFlurry. It looked so amazing I had to have one, but when I went to order it I was told they didn't have the stuff to make it. What is that about?! If you're not going to have the ingredients to make a Swamp Sludge McFlurry then quit slapping me in the face with advertising for it every time I turn around. I was disappointed.

The McFlurry thing is true. I couldn't believe they didn't have the "stuff" to make it. And it gave me a reason to write the email...I was really hoping for a free McFlurry out of it. But apparently McDonald's is not as generous as I'd hoped. After about a week of waiting I finally heard back from the McDonald's people:

Hello Kim:

Thank you for contacting McDonald's to share your comments about our recent Happy Meal toys. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the theme of this Happy Meal. I hope you will accept our apology for our delay in responding to you.

You may be interested to know that our Marketing staff reviews several different criteria when designing toys -- playability, durability, safety, quality and popularity with children just to name a few. The latter is always a challenge given the number of Happy Meal toys we offer every year. We often offer toys from kids' favorite television shows, retail toy lines and movie or television characters.

Please know that we would never intentionally upset our customers. Your comments are important and have been shared with our Marketing staff for their review. They've assured me they will consider your feedback when planning future Happy Meal offers.

Once again, thank you for letting us know how you feel. We hope you'll enjoy our future Happy Meal promotions.

McDonald's Customer Response Center

Seriously? Nothing free? I'm more than a little disappointed. Certainly they could have spared a McFlurry for my trouble. On the bright side, I'm highly amused that someone named Elvin wrote to me. I'm considering replying and beginning friendly correspondence with this Elvin. He sounds like fun.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cicada Mania

I was starting to think this whole cicada thing was just a big hoax until this weekend. I still think it's a hoax, just not such a big one.

If you don't know the story, this is the year that the Chicagoland area is going to experience a cicada invasion of biblical proportions. These are the cicadas that live underground for 17 years and then come out, have sex and die. They leave their nasty brown shells all over the place, then fly up in the trees, make a lot of noise and just cause chaos in general.

The newspapers and T.V. have been all over the story; it's getting almost as much coverage as Lindsay Lohan going to jail. They all agreed that May 22 was going to be the big day; the cicadas were going to emerge from the dirt and have their way with our beautiful suburban ecosystem. Well, May 22 came and went, and I didn't see one stupid cicada. I got all riled up for nothing. I'm not sure whose fault it was really; do the news people have no idea what they're talking about (likely), or are the cicadas just taking their sweet time? As time passed I started hearing a few stories of cicada sightings, but nothing monumental and all rather disappointing.

Finally, on Friday night, I saw my first live cicada during a bonfire in a friend's backyard. It was crawling up a little tree stump. I made the mistake of calling attention to it which set the guys off into a frenzy of cicada hunting in the backyard. They found maybe 8. I was led to believe we'd be scraping them off the sides of the trees, hundreds at a time. On Sunday, we saw approximately 10 cicada skins and a whopping one alive cicada near my mom's. She was rather excited and got some "amazing footage" with her video camera. Then I drove through Westmont which for some reason does seem to be ridden with them. The noise was quite impressive, but I'm not satisfied with the fact that downtown Westmont is the only place they seem to be. Where is the invasion I was promised??

So far the press is rather slow to admit what a huge disappointment this is. Probably because they're the ones that made it such a big deal in the first place and Lord knows they're not going to admit they may have exaggerated just a bit. I've only found one legitimate article (if an article from a DeKalb newspaper can be called legitimate) admitting that the "invasion" is not all it was cracked up to be.

Meanwhile, the Brookfield Zoo got their hands on some cicadas and is now feeding them to the animals. They're also providing video to make sure we are sufficiently grossed out.