Monday, December 29, 2008

Top Ten Stories of 2008

This time of year everyone does their big lists of the top books/movies/cocktails/evil clown stories of the year, so I figured I'd get in on it. My place of employment (Christianity Today) recently published their Top Ten Stories of 2008 so I thought I'd complement that with my own top ten stories of the year, taken directly from this blog. Also, I didn't feel like writing an actual blog post.

10. In the Ghettoooo. I've written quite a bit out the crazy people that live below us, but in April I decided to take pictures of their mess to prove that, as suspected, we are the Naperville ghetto.

9. Stevie at the Taste. I got to see Stevie Wonder at the Taste of Chicago and it was amazing!! I couldn't see much of the stage, but it was still great. I even got some video.

8. Sheer Silence. After being forced to make awkward small talk with my hair stylist, I unveiled my brilliant business model for a anti-small talk salon.

7. McDonald's Miracle. God uses McDonald's to provide me with the perfect camera bag. Truly a miracle!

6. Kim vs. McDonald's. Another McDonald's story, is that bad? I'm not obsessed. Anyway, after I called McDonald's out last year on their poor choices regarding Happy Meal toys, they conceded this year and gave me exactly what I asked for.

5. Walgreens Weirdness. Last January I encountered a very strange young man at the Walgreens who was disturbingly interested in my scarf. Needless to say, I haven't been back to that Walgreens in some time.

4. Monitor Controversy. While waiting for my new monitor at work, I find that the empty cube next to me got one before I did. Fortunately, I have my monitor now, but I haven't forgotten this incident!!

3. New York, New York. I went to NY and took too many photos. It was amazing!!

2. BAT! 2 a.m., bats, toilets; the makings of a perfect story. I relive this story every time I enter my bathroom. But despite the fact that it was called the "best post ever" by some (Marc), it came in a close second to ...

1. Saturday Surprise. My wonderful boyfriend treated me to a fun surprise for our 6 month anniversary involving chocolate, manicures, Santa, and Chuck-E-Cheese. A pretty perfect day!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fabulous Saturday!

So I have this great boyfriend, Scott, who's a big fan of surprises. I'm not so good at coming up with them, but he's very creative. So Saturday was our 6 month anniversary and I think he may have outdone himself on the surprise front.

The surprise involved me receiving clues about where to go to get the next clue. Each one had some meaning—either a place we'd been or something we'd talked about. I was scheuffered around downtown Naperville to each destination by our friend Matthew who took it very seriously, dressing in all black with a hat.

At first I was a little concerned about the whole scavenger hunt thing—it seemed like an awful lot of work. Plus I was going to have to talk to the people at each store and I don't really like talking to people. But it turned out to be incredibly fun.

My first stop was a chocolate shop where I got a gift certificate (woo hoo!). My next stop was Barns & Noble where I got a DVD of The Birds, one I've been wanting for awhile.

Then I went to Starbucks where Santa happened to be visiting. I went up to the counter and they told me I had a hot chocolate coming, but Santa had the envelope with my clue in it. Fabulous. I've always been slightly terrified of people in costume ever since I had a few bad experiences at Chuck E Cheese. But I sucked it up and went to talk to Santa. He handed me a candy cane and asked if I had been good. I said of course I've been good, what kind of skank do you think I am?? Actually, I didn't say that. I just played along and exchanged pleasantries and then told him that I was Kim and he was very excited to give me my envelope. Then I got the heck out of there. (I found out later that the Santa thing was not Scott's idea as the Santa was not even there when he went there earlier that morning. The girls at the counter had the brilliant idea of getting Santa involved.)

I had some trouble figuring out the next clue, but I finally realized that it meant a manicure/pedicure for me. Woo hoo!! So we headed over to the nail place where I very much enjoyed having my nails done while Matthew and I chatted. Poor guy.

The next stop was Chuck E Cheese where Matthew gave me a cup of tokens and we played Skee ball obsessively. One of the machines was broken and wasn't giving us tickets so we got a lady to fix it. She opened it up, piddled around in there and then closed it and walked away while it started spewing a massive amount of tickets out. Sweet! I bought Scott some great pirate gear with those tickets.

I couldn't figure out my final clue so Matthew finally just had to take me there and I met up with Scott at the Riverwalk. He had some lovely roses for me.

So overall it was an amazing morning. We followed it up with a delicious dinner at Wildfire and a trip downtown to see Wicked. At Wildfire, we had this middle-aged woman as our waitress who thought she was real cool with her short spikey hair. She asked us if this was our first time there and we said yes and then she asked where we were from. I must have had a "huh" look on my face and I somewhat reluctantly told her Naperville. She addressed my look of confusion by explaining that if it's someone's first time to this restaurant, she assumes they're from out of state because pretty much everyone from the Chicagoland area has been there, it's just that popular. Good heavens, woman! I'm sorry that I'm poor and haven't been able to eat at your fancy pants expensive restaurant until now. I think she got the picture when we paid with our Lettuce Entertain You gift card.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yes, Barbie IS Realistic

I visited my local Target today to purchase a gift for our toy drive at work. I decided I wanted to buy a Barbie because I just love buying Barbies and I really have no one to buy Barbies for.

I picked up a very nice Vet Barbie and then realized that I should grab a Ken doll too, because as a child I was always short on Kens. It seems most girls run into this problem. We get lots of Barbies with their cute outfits and accessories, but somewhere in there forget to get some Kens. Who are your Barbies going to marry if you don't have enough Kens??

Anyway, as I scanned the aisle for a Ken, I was dismayed to find only 2 Ken options: Beach Fun Ken with real hair and Beach Fun Ken with plastic hair. So, out of the approximately ten thousand Barbie dolls in this aisle, there were two Kens. I was disturbed.

Then it hit me: this Barbie aisle is a painfully accurate reflection of real life. There are millions of beautiful, successful, bikini wearing women in this world all chasing after the same two hot guys in swimming trunks.

When I discussed this with my boyfriend, he, as usual, had a solution:
"Well the problem is all the Barbies want a Ken. They should learn that there are plenty of good GI Joes and Batmans and guys like that if they'd just look past their own isle and into the next one."

I'm not sure if that's exactly profound our not, but it sounds good.

So the next time someone lectures you about how unrealistic Barbies are, don't believe them! What better way to teach your daughters the harsh realities of life and love? There aren't many things more realistic than a bunch of large breasted, skanky women who can't find husbands.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Baskin Robbins: It's 30 Degrees Out, Give It Up Already!

This evening as I drove along 63rd St, I noticed a suspicious figure on the sidewalk up ahead. I was a little concerned that it might be some sort of axe murderer or alien. But lucky for me it was just some poor Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts employee dressed as a giant ice cream cone in 30 degree weather. Since there was a bit of a backup at that spot on the road, I had ample time to watch this poor sap wave and hop up and down incessantly. As I sat in the car watching this scene, it became increasingly hilarious to me.

First of all, why the heck is Baskin Robbins trying to sell ice cream when it's freezing out? If they're so desperate to make their employees dress up in idiotic costumes, I'd think that a life size cup of coffee would be much more effective.

Secondly, it was approximately 6pm and in these parts at this time of the year, it's basically pitch black at 6pm. Forcing your giant ice cream cone wearing employees to stand outside isn't exactly effective when no one can see them!

The most comical part was that this poor person would not stop bouncing around and waving. At first I thought it was so they'd look super happy and excited about their ice cream cones, but then I realized it was probably because they were freezing cold and couldn't stop moving for fear of freezing to death.

So after watching in astonishment, the humor of the situation overtook me and I laughed until I cried. I was disappointed that I didn't get a picture, so I drove back maybe 15 minutes later to find the poor girl inside packing up her ice cream cone costume with absolutely no customers in the store.

Don't give up ice cream cone girl! Maybe you'll have better luck tomorrow.

Feet!

I really like feet pictures. I like them because they're different and fun. Also, it's a good way for me to be in a picture without actually having to be in the picture. Also, I heard that my mother once made a movie about feet, so maybe it's genetic.

Anyway, today I'm going to showcase my feet pictures. I'm sure there are more out there, but these are the ones I found on Facebook. They're mostly from the last 6 months and I think they do a fine job of chronicling the good times I had over the summer/fall.

Scott and I at a beach in Michigan on July 3rd. I think this is my favorite feet picture.

At the bonfire on the beach the same day.

In New York's Fashion District in August. I don't think this was meant to be a feet picture, it just happened.

Me, Scott, and Matthew during a shopping trip to the Outlets.

Scott and I hiking in September I think.

In Kouts, IN

At the bonfire in Kouts.

Halloween!

Scott and I at our church's Young Adult retreat.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Creeeepy

So last night I made the mistake of watching The Ring on TV. I had already seen it once and it basically terrified me, so I'm not sure why I thought I could watch it again. But I was stupid and sure enough, it totally freaked me out for the second time.

Since I was pretty disturbed, I was looking forward to reading my Bible before bed, figuring it would calm me a bit.

First, I read a couple chapters from Zechariah and I came across this in chapter 12 verse 4:

"On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness," declares the LORD.

Creepy!! If you haven't seen The Ring, part of the story involves a stable of horses that go nuts and jump into the ocean. This did not help to calm my nerves! I sat there for a minute, quite weirded out and then moved on with my devos.

My next stop was Luke 14. I was happily reading about Jesus healing people when I came to verse 5:

Then he asked them, "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?"

Heavens to Betsy! Basically the entire movie revolves around people falling (or being thrown) down wells.

So that was basically disturbing. What is God trying to tell me?? Probably to stop watching scary movies.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Inside A Hayfight

In case you were wondering, this is what it looks inside a hayfight:



We had a lovely fall weekend in Kouts, IN. It involved apples, pumpkins, bonfires, and hayrides. Pretty much perfect.





Friday, October 10, 2008

Fifties Facebook

The other day my bf (I don't like the word boyfriend. What else can I use?? That's a whole other blog post. We'll just call him Scott for now.) and I were discussing the intricacies of the Facebook relationship status. (Good news, we're in a relationship.) But really, it's pretty intense. It can easily cause an unnecessary amount of awkwardness, especially when you go from pretty much anything to "single." Or from "in a relationship" to "it's complicated." Or when you request to be "in a relationship" with someone who was not aware you were anywhere close to being in a relationship. Awkward!

But it can also be a blessing, seeing as you don't have to bother getting the word out about your new (or terminated) relationship yourself. Just let Facebook do it! So convenient. This led me to wonder what in the world people did before Facebook. How was this information released and passed along? Then it hit me ... this is the Facebook of the fifties:



Up next in the "Facebook and Relationships" series: Friending your significant other's family members: Do or Don't?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dick Cavett Confusion

This isn't really that funny but I'm posting it anyway.

Last week I stopped by my favorite library (Downers Grove) and picked up a few audio/video items. One of them was The Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons, featuring Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about this find.

Tragedy struck, however, when I popped the DVD in and was devastated to find that it was actually Dick Cavett: Comedy Legends Disc 4. NOOOOOOO! I've already seen that one and I was so looking forward to some Paul Simon.

So yesterday I headed back to the library intending to make a quick switch and be on with it. I first headed over to the DVD section to see if I could find the case for the DVD I had. Tragedy! It was checked out. I knew this wasn't going to help my chances of seeing some Paul Simon in the near future.

I knew if I wanted any chance of seeing Paul I'd have to do something drastic like ... asking the librarians. There are a number of reasons I wanted to avoid this scenario:

1. I didn't really want anyone to know that I actually checked out The Dick Cavett Show on DVD. Why am I admitting it on this blog then? Well, because now the librarians know. And if they know, everyone might as well know.

2. Librarians kind of scare me. Sometimes they're mean. And they're just so quiet. What am I supposed to do with that?

3. Librarians are old. Old people get confused. I knew I was going to confuse the old librarians and I did.

So back to the story. I marched up to the desk and explained the situation. I told the librarian that the set that went with the DVD I currently had was checked out, but she didn't really listen to me and rushed to grab all the Dick Cavett DVDs off the shelf.

I was still hoping at this point that there had been a mass mixup involving all of the Dick Cavett DVDs and maybe the one I was looking for was in some random case, instead of just being switched with the one I had. But alas, the librarian opened every single one with no luck. Rock Icons was safely tucked away in the Comic Legends Discs 3 & 4 case in someone's home.

This fact did not occur to old librarian, however. She couldn't figure out what was going on. I tried to explain to her many times that the case it was in was checked out, but since Comic Legends Discs 1 & 2 was still on the shelf she was very confused.

Finally after like a half hour and some assistance from a younger librarian, they figured out the issue, and I left empty handed and disappointed. Now I have to go back and find it sometime. In the meantime, I'll just have to be happy with low quality Paul Simon videos on YouTube.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

McDonald's Thinks I'm RIGHT!

So last year, McDonald's gave away these Wizard of Oz toys in the Happy Meals. They were cute and fun to collect and I was very pleased. I only had one complaint: They included the Wicked Witch of the East in the line up. I just didn't understand that decision, so I challenged it in this strange letter I wrote to them in a moment in insanity and silliness.

Fast forward to ... today. I'm perusing the McDonald's website (don't ask why) and I notice they're bringing back the Wizard of Oz dolls. Sweet! I was very excited just to see the new ones they came up with, and even more elated to find that they added a Flying Monkey to the set—the very character I suggested to replace the Wicked Witch of the East in my awesome letter.

This just proves the power of letter-writing. It gets things done! Also, it proves that I control McDonald's. I wonder what my next letter should be about ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Give Me My Monitor!!

Heavens to Betsy.

Many, many months ago, it was announced that we were going to have somewhat of a technology overhaul at work. All this really meant was that we were getting new computers and/or monitors. Seeing as I got a new computer fairly recently all I've been expecting was a new monitor which was very exciting to me since my current one is pretty ghetto.

So I've been waiting kind of patiently for my amazing new monitor, but today was the last straw!

In the past couple of days, it's been obvious that they've been really making the rounds with the new computer stuff, so I was beginning to get hopeful that it might happen soon. However, it's been nothing but disappointment as they've just passed over me.

Then, this morning I was walking out of my office and I see a new monitor in the EMPTY CUBE down the hall. EMPTY CUBE! Are you kidding me? So just minutes ago, I see one of our IT guys hooking up the new computer in the EMPTY CUBE and I asked him, "Is this EMPTY CUBE getting a new monitor before me?" He said yes, and then acted surprised that I hadn't gotten one yet and told me "it's coming." Whatever. Then I asked him if I could move into the EMPTY CUBE while I wait for a new monitor in my real cube and he just laughed awkwardly. It wasn't a joke.

Crazy Man

Part of our last day in NYC was spent exploring Central Park. There were a few main sites we wanted to visit in the park, one of them being Strawberry Fields, a memorial to John Lennon.


They had this fancy little spot on the ground where people left roses for John. It was actually quite lovely.


Surprisingly, we hadn't run into very many crazy people in New York. Things had been relatively normal. Until we started hanging around this memorial.

This pot-bellied fellow seemingly came out of nowhere and started babbling on about how the sun was shining directly down on the "Imagine" thing on the ground. It had been raining for most of the morning and this was the first appearance the sun had made in awhile. He was very excited that it was shining straight down on Imagine, as if it wasn't shining everywhere else too. Then he broke out into Dear Prudence. Then he started just quoting lyrics from Imagine.

I wasn't too shocked at this point. I mean, a little crazy talk and some random singing happens at basically all my family's gatherings. I can deal with that. But when he exclaimed that this spot was the center of the universe, we got a little freaked out. I think Marc's face in this picture says it all:


Yes, that's pot-bellied crazy man behind him.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BAT!

Holy Crap. Bat. Bathroom. Terror!

Friday night at approximately 2 a.m., I encountered a BAT in my bathroom. It was in the cabinet next to the toilet. The doors to the cabinet where slightly open, and I heard some commotion inside, so I peeked in and saw a small black figure struggling. I completely flipped out and ran out of the bathroom and into my bedroom. I just stood behind the door in my bedroom for a few seconds while I calmed down. The bathroom is right next to my room and I can see in a little bit from my room, so I cracked the door open and peeked out just in time to see a BAT flying out of the bathroom. HOLY CRAP!

I kept thinking of the Office episode where they have a bat in the Office and I could just hear Dwight yelling, "BAAAAAT." Hilarious.

Anyway, for the next few minutes, I periodically opened my door a crack to peek out and then closed it. Every time I looked out, I could see or hear some flapping. Then finally I heard it flapping around directly above my door and I vowed to stay in my room forever.

Meanwhile, I was really disturbed that I had left the light in the bathroom on, along with some other things unfinished, and I felt that I needed to alert my roommate to the situation. I cracked my door and yelled for her a couple times and then called her cell phone which turned out to be in the living room. No luck.

Then I called my mom. She was half asleep and didn't have a whole lot to say. Her main advice was to just go to bed. I asked her if it was ok that I left everything on in the bathroom and she said yes. I'm pretty sure she just wanted to go back to bed.

I decided my only option was to write a note to explain the situation to my roommate and slide it underneath my door. It would be directly in front of the bathroom so when she got up in the morning she'd see it. Brilliant plan, I thought. The note went something like this:

Dear Grace,

The light in the bathroom is on because there was a BAT in the cabinet next the toilet and I had to run to my room for cover. BEWARE!! Also, sorry I didn't flush the toilet, I had to get out quick.


So I slipped it under the door and tried to go to sleep. My dreams where overtaken with bats, but I think I got a little sleep.

In the morning, I heard Grace walking around the living room. While I was laying in bed wondering if she got my note or not, I heard her walk out the front door. CRAP! ALONE WITH THE BAT! I took some comfort in the fact that she seemed to just be out for a jog and would be back shortly.

Seeing as she had been going about her business all morning with no running or screaming, I figured the bat was safely tucked away somewhere. I poked my head out the bedroom door and looked up since I'd heard it fly up there. Sure enough, it was there, perched right above my door. I freaked out again and hid in my room where I started looking up bat info on the internet. That turned out to be a terrible idea when I started reading about rabies and toxic poo.

Grace finally got back and I cracked my door open and asked her if she got my note. She said yes and that it was all clear and then she went on to completely ignore me. All clear? Did she think I just made up this bat stuff?? I finally had to emerge from my room and run to the kitchen where I explained to her that it was not "all clear" and showed her the bat was sleeping above my door.

After freaking out for a little while, we decided to call our friend Brian who lives down the street. We figured he might enjoy removing a bat from our apartment. Alas, he was out somewhere, but he did suggest calling Animal Control. Oh yeah ... Animal Control.

So we called Naperville Animal Control and they came out in like 15 minutes and removed the bat. It was great. Then I cleaned out the cabinet in the bathroom and found the hole it came through.

Now I think there are bats everywhere. In fact, right now I'm eyeing a very suspicious looking hole in my ceiling at work. I think I need to plug that up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Best Conversation Ever

This is why I love my mom:

Moe: i saw the perffect man at whole foods
Me: really??
Moe: well he was just some race i'm not sure what. he reminded me of the kid in the jungle book all grown up.
Me: ah
Moe: i couldn't stop staring at him
Me: was he waring a loin cloth
Me: LOL
Moe: but i always loved that movie
Moe: that would have been better
Me: so grown up Mowgli is your ideal man?
Moe: yes
Me: good to know

She's weird.

For more New York trip stuff, Todd posted quotes from our trip which I think are completely hilarious, but probably aren't actually that funny if you weren't there. Also Marc's been posting daily accounts of the trip with pictures that are significantly better than mine. I'm even in some of them!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Adventures in Chinatown

Possibly my favorite part of the New York trip was the search for fabulous knock-off bags in Chinatown. I didn't necessarily go the with the intention of looking for a purse—we were really just going for dinner. But once I saw all the wonderful counterfeit products out on the sidewalk, I started to get the itch. Lucky for me, Kate also wanted to shop a bit, so off we went.

I'd never experienced the underground counterfeit world, so I really had no idea what the protocol was, but I was ready for an adventure!

The first couple of stores we went to weren't anything special—mostly just touristy junk. Then we ran into this little gem.


There was no way I could resist that, so we headed down the extremely shady stairwell and took a look inside. Unfortunately there wasn't as much pink as I'd hoped. The walls were pink and covered with an array of "designer" sunglasses and random ipod accessories. Kind of boring. Then the young Asian clerk asked if we wanted to see their selection of "Tiffany" jewelry. Finally, something interesting, but no purses.

Todd, Kate, and I continued on our journey while the others wandered a bit behind us. While we were passing one store, a young Asian man started waving us in. He looked very excited and we couldn't help but check it out. We were assuming he just wanted to show us something in the store until he made his way to the very back of the store, opened up a slightly hidden door in the back wall, and insisted we go in.

It was while I was passing through this door that I thought I might never see the outside world again. Nevertheless, I had to see what in the world was back there. So we traveled through a very small room, then through another door and into knock-off purse heaven.

I'm not really up on designer purses, so I was really just planning on going for a Coach purse. Classic. Sure enough, hanging on the wall were dozens of Coach purses. There was one I really loved but it was a little bigger than I like and it was $50 which is more than I wanted to spend on a fake Coach purse. So made our exit and set out to find more shady back rooms.

We stopped at a few more stores where Kate and Sara both found purses (not from the back room!) so I was starting to feel a little bad making everyone walk around more. Finally, we came to one more store that seemed to have a good selection of purses. I went in to look around a bit and finally they invited me to their back room. This one wasn't quite as big as the first one, but it had pretty much the perfect Coach purse for me; a very happy ending to our first day in New York.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New York in A Nutshell

I went to New York last week and it was amazing!! I have some individual stories that I'll post later, but I wanted to start with a run down of our week. I went with two coworkers, Emily and Todd and his wife, Kate and a former coworker, Marc and his wife Sara. Marc grew up on Long Island and we stayed with his parents who still live there. They were wonderful and took good care of us.

Marc did an exceptional job of organizing the trip. I think he should do it professionally. There was a website involved where we could give each possible site a star rating. It worked very well, and I think we got to see just about everything we wanted.

We spent 3 days in New York City, broken up into lower Manhattan, upper Manhattan, and midtown Manhattan. On our first city day (lower Manhattan) we hopped onto the Staten Island Ferry where we passed by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was kind of surreal actually seeing the Statue of Liberty in real life for the first time. Very cool!


Then we took a nice walking tour where we learned quite a bit of history. Our tour guide was a young fellow in grad school I believe. You could tell he wasn't completely confident, but he had a lot of good information and interesting history. Then there was the "sidekick," a small middle aged New York man who felt the need to interject his own knowledge throughout the tour. It was a little annoying and our poor tour guide was definitely annoyed. But at least it gave us something to laugh at.


We took a nice little stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge and then headed into Chinatown. Turns out Chinatown is amazing. We had quite an adventure looking for knock-off designer purses which I will write about in a separate blog post. It was great, that's all I can say.

On our second city day, we walked around through Central Park a bit, passed by some famous museums, and then headed to a Mets game. Central Park was fascinating to me ... it's basically a woods inside the city. It's pretty much brilliant.


Our third city day was my favorite. We started out in Times Square which is basically madness. We visited a fun M&M store and took a tour of NBC studios and Grand Central Terminal. We also went back to Central Park to see the rest of the sites there. Then the main event: Mary Poppins on Broadway! This was my first Broadway show ever and it was everything I could have wanted. They changed the story quite a bit from the movie which was a little disappointing, but as an overall production it was incredible.


We ended the day with a fun trip to the top of the Empire State Building.


The rest of our time was spent running around Long Island. We visited the Hamptons, Teddy Roosevelt's home and grave site, and a couple lighthouses. It was beautiful and relaxing.


We were also treated to a true-blue seafood dinner by Marc's parents. It was lots of fun, but I felt a little sad about eating my lobster which I named Buster. Poor guy. He was delicious.



I took way too many photos, but if you want to see them all they're here:
NYC Day 1
NYC Day 2
NYC Day 3 Part 1, Part 2
Long Island Part 1, Part 2

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer Fun

I had a fabulous 4th of July weekend and I neglected to write about it. So here we go …

On the 3rd me, my BF, and some friends went to see the Fireworks on the lakefront. I’m not sure what possessed me to make another appearance at the Taste of Chicago. It’s ridiculously crowded and a huge pain and the fireworks were pathetically short. Plus, they left the lights in the park on during the fireworks. And we had a group of drunk people in front of us. And I had to use the port-a-potty! It was rough. I did enjoy the walk back to the train station with thousands of other people walking right down the middle of the street. I thought there might be a riot, but luckily things stayed calm.


At one point before the firewords, the drunk girl in front of us turned around and very drunkenly asked what setting she needed to put her camera on to take pictures of the fireworks. We didn’t really bother helping her because I don’t think she would have been able to hold the camera still enough to get a decent picture no matter what setting it was on. Shortly after that, one of her drunk male friends stumbled through the crowd to get back to their spot and then announced that it was impossible to get through and he, “stepped on like 18 people’s feet” in the process.

Moving on … on Friday (the 4th) we went up to Michigan with some other friends. They rent a pretty fancy house with a private beach. It was a lovely day of just hanging out on the beach. A good chunk of our time was spent staging this photo:


I’m not sure I want to explain. In the evening we had a fabulous bonfire on the beach and shot off some fireworks.




The next day we headed down to scenic Kouts, IN, my roommate’s home town, for a service project. We painted her parents’ neighbors’ house. When I say neighbors, I mean the house half a mile down the road, past the cornfield. It took forever to paint the house and I wasn’t sure we were going to get it done, but we finally finished just as the sun was going down. Afterwards we enjoyed a hayride which involved my roommate’s dad on a four-wheeler pulling a group of us on a trailer which, incidentally, had no hay. It’s just not that time of year. Nevertheless, it was excellent.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Stevie Wonder

I saw Stevie Wonder in concert on Saturday at the Taste of Chicago. Stevie was amazing. The Taste was kind of like hell.

We got there early to get a decent spot on the lawn in Grant Park. We put our blanket down and hung out in the sun most of the day. An hour or so before the show started, I walked over to the food area to get some dinner and I almost didn't make it back. The street was packed and people could hardly move. About a half hour before the show, approximately 2 million people showed up in Grant Park and it didn't really matter where we were at on the lawn anymore. There were people everywhere.

Stevie sang for almost 3 hours which was awesome. I didn't know many of the songs he sang in the first half and then Jesse Jackson showed up and we got a short sermon. We really couldn't understand much of what he was saying anyway. Then Stevie started singing his big hits and things really took off. Everyone was singing and dancing and it was way fun. I'm ready to see him again! Here are some photos ... and a video:

video

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Weekend in the Country

Last weekend I visited a good friend in North Carolina. It was a very pleasant trip, and I got a little dose of some country living. Actually it wasn’t much different than life in the Chicago suburbs except there were hills, and you have to drive at least a half hour to get anywhere good. My final evening was spent at a true blue country farm located in the middle of nowhere, complete with goats and barn cats and crops and even a scarecrow! It was fabulous.

Anyway, there were a couple of enjoyable observations from my time there. First, the accents weren’t too bad, though they were definitely pretty strong. Incidentally, the most hilarious accents belonged to two young girls I spent some time with; ages 3 and 6 I think. They managed to turn most one syllable words into two syllable words with ease. For example, “off” was “ow-off,” “dog” was “dow-og,” “where” was “way-ere,” etc … It was quite impressive really—I’ve never heard such interesting speech come out of such small people.

The other very important thing I learned is that a barbecue in Chicago is different than a barbecue in NC. Actually, it’s not “a barbecue” there, it’s just “barbecue.” Barbecue consists of barbecue pork only, topped with this weird tomato-based coleslaw on a bun. It was quite delicious except for the coleslaw which I’m never a fan of.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

McDonald's Miracle!

So last night in bed, sometime between asleep and awake, I started thinking about upcoming trips to the beach and how I'll want to bring my camera. I brought my old camera to the beach a number of times and just threw it in my beach bag so it ended up getting a bunch of sand in it. I decided I did not want this to happen to my new camera so I resolved to get a case for it; nothing special, just something to protect it a little. I'm pretty sure I contemplated for quite some time on exactly what kind of case I wanted, but I don't remember any of the specifics now. I just remember really hoping that when I actually woke up, I'd remember that I had this thought.

Fast forward to approximately 12:30pm today. I was eating at McDonald's with Emily and another coworker. Emily and I had both purchased Happy Meals and I was bitter because she got a new, cool Kung Foo Panda toy, while I as stuck with a left over Speed Racer toy. This isn't the first time I've been bitter over McDonald's toys. Anyway, my toy was this stupid pouch thing that I really didn't want. I've already gotten several Speed Racer pouches in various sizes. But upon closer inspection of my new one I had an epiphany: my camera would fit perfectly in this pouch. So I got my camera and sure enough, it fit just right. It's like this Speed Racer pouch was made for my camera. You can't tell me that God was not involved in this. I'm not sure what the lesson was. Maybe he, too is concerned about my camera staying sand-free.

Meanwhile the rest of my evening was not such a success. My shopping endeavor this evening was a complete disaster. Then on the way home, I was desperate for a Frosty Float from Wendy's, but when I pulled into the Wendy's by my house it was closed because of a power outage. Seriously? I guess God is not so keen on the Frosty Floats. He clearly hasn't tried one.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Summer!

It's finally kind of summer and I'm excited.

I almost died this weekend jumping into the freezing cold pool. My roommate and I stopped by my mom's to try out the pool, but alas, the heater is not working. So it's freezing cold. Nevertheless, my roommate jumped in. There's this crazy lady there (this is my mother's description. She's not really crazy, just super friendly, but in my family, friendly=crazy.) who swims all the time and she went on and ON about how proud she was of my roommate for jumping in and how excited she was. I thought she may post a photo of Grace on the front door of the clubhouse. Anyway, she got out quickly and that was that. But later as I sat in the sun on the edge of the pool I became very hot and decided it would be funny if I just rolled into the water. This was bad idea as I believe the hypothermia set in instantly. I was in the water for approximately 2 seconds. And that was my first swim of the summer.

Luckily, I made it to Centennial Beach on Sunday. My friend and I jumped in with the goal of at least swimming a short distance to the nearest wall. By the time we got to the wall we weren't too freezing cold so we continued around the pool and had a nice swim.

In other completely unrelated news, I recently read this amazing book called Mama for President: Good Lord, Why not? That's right, Mama from Mama's Family. It was on the free book shelf at work and, I ask you, how can one pass up such a fascinating book. So, Mama came up with an entire campaign plan, with slogans such as "An Old Broad for A New Day." Also, she wants Martha Stewart to be her secretary of defense. Brilliant. I'd vote for her.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hush, Hush Sweet Stylist

This morning I went to Cost Cutters to get my hair cut. I like Cost Cutters because it doesn't feel quite as ghetto and some other cheap places and it's literally two minutes away from my house. It was a pretty busy morning and there was this one rather friendly middle-aged man (definitely the type that would be offended that I just called him middle-aged) who was rather smitten with the one super friendly, too dolled up for her mediocre job at Cost Cutters stylist. He insisted that she cut his and his teenage son's hair instead of having the overweight goth girl or the super casual, just got out of bed blond girl cut it, even if it meant waiting longer. Now I know it's not uncommon to ask for the same person if you like them, but when you're going to Cost Cutters and you have basically no hair, it's a little funny.

Anyway, I had the super casual blond girl cutting my hair and she was pleasant and did a good job, but as usual, she awkwardly attempted to make small talk even though it was clear I wasn't really interested. This has always been a pet peeve of mine. Frankly, I really don't care to engage in pointless conversation with the person cutting my hair. I have a hard enough time making conversation with my own friends! This annoyed me so much that, many years back, I came up with what is possibly my most brilliant business idea ever: a salon with no awkward small talk. The only questions the stylists will be allowed to ask are concerning one's hair. If the customer wants to start a conversation they're welcome to, but they can rest assured that their stylist won't ask them thoughtless questions about where they work, where they live, and if they have a boyfriend.

It even has a name: Sheer Silence.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Really, Google is the Antichrist

I've said it before, but I really mean it this time. Google has officially come out with Google TV Ads. This is really disturbing to me for some reason. But also totally cool and I kind of want to make one.

Meanwhile, I know I haven't written on here in quite some time, but nothing interesting has happened. Right now I'm watching Neil Diamond on American Idol. I'm pretty sure I can't possibly get any lamer than that.

The good news is our crazy neighbors downstairs are getting kicked out. We finally called our landlord to complain about their insane fighting and plethora of crap strewn about, and he agreed and actually called them "the devil." Excellent. They should be out this month.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mem'ries, Light the Corners of My Mind ...

This weekend was a bit of a trip down memory lane, and it got me thinking about some of the things I was obsessed with as a child. I figured you all might enjoy some insights into my early years. They may help explain why I am the way I am today. Maybe.

1. The Great Muppet Caper. This was my first memory lane trip this weekend. I was hanging out with my cousins and they happened to have this film, so we watched some of it. I was a little surprised that I remembered every moment like it was yesterday. I was intensely obsessed with this movie as a child, I’m not sure why. It's actually the only Muppets movie I’ve ever seen which is a crime, I realize.

2. Only a Boy Named David. There was this guy that I was in love with when I was approximately 4 years of age. He was probably in his 20’s. His name was David. I loved him dearly. In Sunday school we sang a nice little song about David and Goliath, but I thought it was about my David. Incidentally, I ran into him this weekend and my feelings for him have not changed in 20 years.

3. My Fair Lady. Possibly my most influential obsession and certainly one of the main reasons for my current love of old movies.

4. Red-headed Comedians. I have hundreds of I Love Lucy episodes taped from the marathons they did every New Year’s Day. I’m not sure I love it as much now, mostly because Ricky is such a huge disgusting jerk. I also loved The Carol Burnett Show, and basically wanted to be her. My favorite part was when she came out and talked to the audience. Lucy and Carol are the reason I told my 5th grade teacher that I wanted to be a comedian when I grew up.

5. Tom and Jerry. Wow, I loved Tom and Jerry. Still do. I’m not sure what I love so much about it seeing as basically every episode is the same. Tom chases Jerry, Jerry outsmarts him, Tom looks stupid. Pretty simple. But I spent countless hours enthralled by it. I think I liked that there was no talking; I could just listen to the music and watch the action. That’s really all I need in life. Ironically, since the cartoon was produced by MGM in the 40’s, I’ve come to find that many of songs they used in the show came straight out of some of my favorite MGM musicals! Amazing.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Crazy Neighbors: In Pictures

I decided to take some pictures of the various items that our crazy neighbors leave all over the place.


This is the newest addition to our garage; a collection of outdated political signs. These were never placed anywhere near our home during the actual elections, so I can only assume that they went around and stole them from other people's yards.


This is just a collection of various items.


That carpet cleaner in back is the only thing in the garage that belongs to us.


This is the side of the garage, featuring some ghetto old bikes, a motorcycle, some tires, and a garage motor.

I live in the Naperville ghetto.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

I had a very nice St. Patrick's Day, despite the fact that I had no corned beef :(

It started on Sunday with Old Movie Night: St. Patrick's Day Edition featuring one of my favorite movies, The Quiet Man. We enjoyed some festive goodies, drank Green River, and (most of us) dressed up all green. We looked very festive, I'd say:


Monday afternoon CTI took over the McDonald's across the street where we enjoyed some free Shamrock Shakes. This was my first Shamrock Shake and it was good, but I couldn't finish it because it made me a little nauseous. But it was fun to crash the McDonald's with like 50 of my coworkers. We really confused the regulars.

This evening I paid a visit to my mother and came across the remnants of her St. Patrick's Day celebration:


Yep, that's a beer bottle in her treadmill cup holder.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

I figured that I should post something today since this is the last time in four years I'll be able to post an entry on February 29th. Seeing as I don't actually have anything of value to say, this will probably be a little random.

So what does Leap Day mean to me? Basically nothing. In fact, I probably would have ignored the whole thing if it weren't for our "Leap Day Party" at work, complete with refreshments and about 50 people trying to cram into a conference room that typically seats 20 comfortably. I stayed in the hallway with the cool kids.

I've been reading a lot of memoir type books lately thanks to the "free book" shelf at work, which is quickly becoming my favorite workplace destination. As a result, I often summarize things in my head the way I would if I was recording them in my very own memoir. It's weird and a little bit annoying.

In other news, I'm pretty sure I offended my roommate last night when I chose to go in my bedroom and watch the New York Philharmonic playing in North Korea on PBS instead of hanging out with her and watching Food Network or some such channel. She seemed taken aback when I announced I'd go watch my orchestra show in my room. I was surprised that she's not yet realized that in my world, music often trumps socializing. Not to mention, I'd heard about this performance on the news earlier that day—it was rather momentous for a U.S. ensemble to play in North Korea—and I knew they'd be playing one of my all time favorite songs, An American in Paris.

They played splendidly and watching it made me long even more for Ravinia season (a.k.a. summer). I can't wait to catch some fabulous concerts this summer; hopefully they'll have a Gershwin night! It also further cemented An American in Paris as a front runner for my favorite song ever. I listened to it again on my way home from work. I think I blew out my speaker. Unfortunately, It wouldn't be the first time I blew out a car speaker listening to classical music. What can't I blow out my speakers with something cool?

That's all I got.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

U23D



I went to see this U23D movie last night with some coworkers at the Imax. Yeah, it's a U2 concert in 3D. Having never been to an actual U2 concert, I figured this would be a fun, and it was. I'm not sure there was a huge need for it to be in 3D, but that made it a little more realistic than just looking at a flat image. You get very close to the band and you get to see every little detail ... I'm not sure I ever wanted to see Bono that close up, but it was cool. They're pretty amazing in concert! And we got to wear those fabulous glasses. It would have been even more fabulous if they had made Bono style 3D glasses, but I guess they're just not as clever as me.

The only disappointment was that they didn't sing a few of my favorite songs such as "Mysterious Ways" and "Desire." They basically sang all their songs about how terrible the world is. They're good songs, but it takes some of the fun away when Bono is telling you how evil everyone is. Bono, we get it, you hate America and everyone is lying and evil, bla bla. Then they sang "The Fly," which I love, but they threw in all these 3D words flying (haha!) toward the audience telling us that everyone's lying to us and our lives are basically a sham. It was very distracting I thought. I just wanted to see them perform the song. But everyone I was with thought the words were fabulous, probably because they were just about the only fancy 3D effect in the movie.

Despite all this, it was still way fun! I really wanted to clap at the end of the songs, but nobody else was except a few weird people in the front. So I refrained.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

If You're Bored ...

I was introduced to a fabulous site, Blogger Play. It just runs a slideshow of all the photos that are currently being uploaded to Blogger. If you find one that piques your interest, you can click on it to be taken to the blog it's posted on. The only problem I've had is basically every picture I've clicked on has been from a non-english site. Doesn't really do much for me. Apparently we english speaking folks don't have any interesting pictures to share.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Give Me a Head with Hair

I was a little disturbed yesterday while watching Millionaire Matchmaker (yes, it’s slightly disturbing that I was even watching that show in the first place, but it’s not the most disturbing part). On the show, the matchmaker chick gets a group of women together, talks to them, tells them everything that’s wrong with them, and then picks one to go out on a date with one of her millionaire clients. She was right about most of the things she criticized about the women; they dressed slutty, wore too much makeup, ect… But then she crossed the line. She told all the girls with curly hair to straighten it. The reasoning behind this is that a man wants to be able to run his hand through her hair.

I’m sorry, but there is just no way I’m going to straighten my hair for a man. If he doesn’t like it, he can go find himself a boring straight haired girl.

Plus,

1. I’ve tried straightening my hair and it doesn’t work out. I just have too much hair.

2. I regularly get compliments on my beautiful curly hair. They generally come from 80 year old ladies at church, but I say a compliment’s a compliment, and they make me happy.

This is not to say that my hair hasn’t been a huge pain for basically my entire life. As a child I pretty much hated it. I remember one time when my mother got a brush stuck in it. It was painful and it took forever to get it out. I remember another time when I was in my bedroom trying to make my hair look presentable and I got so mad, I chucked my brush across the room and nicked off a corner of the wall.

Also, when I would go to get my hair cut, my mom would always try to pay the people the adult rate even though I was like 6, because I had an abnormal amount of hair. I’m pretty sure I had more hair than my mom at that age and she didn’t know how to deal with it. This led to a number of painfully ugly hair styles from about age 4 to 23.

But, finally, I’ve come to (kind of) love my hair. I’ve figured out how to keep it in line (sometimes). Plus, a little while back it suddenly became popular to have curly hair so they came out with a million new curly hair products. It was great. For a short while I was so completely in style and there were endless numbers of products to suit all my curly hair needs. But then everyone realized what a huge pain curly hair is, and straight hair came back in. Even still, I know that in another 20 years curly hair will make a comeback. And I’ll be cool once more.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Facebook: Seriously?

Ok, I admit it, I’m basically addicted to Facebook. I’m mostly addicted to updating my status with clever little messages that I’m sure nobody thinks are funny except me. It’s fun. But that’s not the point of my post today.

Every day when you sign into Facebook, on your little news feed page in the right-hand column there’s a new gift of the day. It’s a cyber gift that you have to pay $1 to send to a friend on Facebook. I can’t imagine why anyone would do such a thing, but people must buy them or they wouldn’t keep making new ones. If I wanted to give a friend a gift worth $1, I’d go to the dollar store and buy them a noah action figure or some socks. Not a tiny picture of a teddy bear to put on their Facebook page.

I don’t usually pay attention to the gift of the day, but today I saw something most disturbing when I signed into Facebook. Typically these “gifts” resemble real life gifts such as flowers or balloons, etc. But today, I’m not kidding, the gift of the day was a turkey baster. Who, in their right mind, would spend $1 to send someone a Facebook turkey baster? I’m pretty sure I can go to the dollar store and buy a real turkey baster for the same price, and whoever I give it to will be much happier to get a tangible turkey baster rather than a picture of one that can only be viewed on their Facebook profile. Facebook really went off the deep end with this one.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Walgreens Guy

Tonight I went to Walgreens to purchase some milk and chocolates. I stepped up to the register to be greeted by a rather jolly young man. I'm not the real friendly type so I just said a simple hi as he rang up my items.

As I was fiddling with my credit card, I got the feeling he was staring at me as he bagged my chocolates. It kind of creeped me out and I didn't dare look up for fear of making eye contact and having to start some awkward small talk. So I fiddled with my credit card until he was done bagging my items at which point I figured I could grab the bag and leave without more than a "have a nice night."

I was sadly mistaken. As I grabbed my bag and was about to leave, he spoke. The conversation went something like this (Note: I was wearing a fluffy pink scarf from Gap):

Walgreens guy: Is that scarf all wool, or a mix?
Me: ... ... Uh ... I'm not really sure. It's probably a mix.
Walgreens guy: Yeah, I bet it's like 90% wool and 10% cotton. Then you get the warmth without the irritation.
Me: Yeah, it's not too itchy. (Trying desperately to walk away)
Walgreens Guy: Yeah, then it's probably not all wool.
Me: Yeah.

Then I left.

P.S. This is not Walgreens related, but my roommate walked in while I was writing this and said, "I was a little worried about you, there were some huge footprints going up the stairs with manly looking shoe prints. I thought maybe someone broke in!" Nope, those were my huge feet and manly shoe prints. Thanks.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Updates

I haven't written anything in quite some time, mostly because I have nothing to say. But here's some stuff ...

I think my downstairs neighbors are selling printers on the black market. Today, when I pulled into the garage, I was a little surprsied to see a large Xerox copier shoved against the back wall. Who keeps a copier in the garage? Then I realized they've been accumulating a number of electronics as of late. Their ghetto car in the garage is filled to the brim with inkjet printers. There must be at least 15 in there. Plus, there are like 5 or 6 printers sitting around on the floor. Who needs all those printers? On top of that, there are maybe 10 brand new, still in the plastic car batteries stacked on the floor. At least that makes sense with their whole used car dealership thing. And there still are a number of cars parked in the driveway, but luckily, no more on the front lawn. Also, the other day, I stepped in their dog's poo in our yard. I was not happy about that.



I saw two movies last week: Sweeney Todd and Juno. Sweeney Todd was disturbing, but kind of interesting. There's lots of fake looking blood squirting everywhere. And I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Johnny Depp singing. It was a little weird. Juno was pretty fabulous, I thought. The humor in it was just my style. I'll probably see it again.



As a result of the stupid writers strike and a sale on Amazon.com, I purchased The Office Season 3 on DVD. It's great. I'm getting a little obsessed. They have so many deleted scenes for each episode that they basically make up an entire new episode. They also have some excellent extras. My favorite is called "Kevin Cooks in the Office." I love Kevin.