Friday, April 27, 2007


Part two in the interview game comes from Johnny Yen. His questions required some serious thought.

1. You’ve been asked re-record your favorite album with whoever you want, living or dead. What album is it and who would you choose?
This was by far the hardest question. My favorite Album would have to be something so completely cohesive and wonderful that most of the newer albums wouldn’t do. I then had to think if I would want the album done by a band with a completely different style, which would be cool but could possibly suck or if I wanted to go with a similar artist that would potentially end up sounding too much like the original. I am still not sure if I have made the right decision. For the album I chose “Blonde on Blonde” because it’s pretty much perfect and although I love listening to Bob Dylan, many people don’t and therefore miss out on the wonderment. I thought about “Electric Ladyland” or “Abbey Road” but I don’t think anyone doesn’t like listening to Jimi or The Beatles. I was incredibly close to having Belle and Sebastian redo the album but then realized that, while I adore their music, I am not the hugest fan of their covers. I also thought very seriously about choosing Camera Obscura but I thought the female touch might be a little too strange for me I didn’t want to pick them just to be different. Therefore, Of Montreal will be covering Blonde on Blonde.

2. A scientist develops a machine that will allow you to be transported into the past and live for a year in any time you want. What timeframe do you choose and why?
This was by far the easiest question of the bunch, I’m going to be a total cheeseball and say 1969 because I want more than anything to go to Woodstock and roll around in the hippie filled love mud.

Chicago has built five new schools. You’ve been asked to name them. What five names do you choose and why?
I’m going to assume that they are going to be five themed charter schools because it makes my answers more fun.

The Robert Heinlein High School of Scientific Humanism- I probably chose this because I just finished rereading Stranger in a Strange Land. This school would have a science focus but also be concerned with philosophy and how to apply science to the betterment of humankind.

X Elementary- This school would be focused on radical social movements, not only African-American as the name may suggest, and would teach children the importance of speaking out for their communities.

You Are Different; So Are We High- The name comes from the brochure Sarah Lawrence sent out to prospective students. While the high school would have to have a few more required classes than Sarah Lawrence did, students would be able to plan their curriculums and classes would be taught in the conference style.

We Know Trades and Will Make Lots Of Money High School- This school will focus on getting people into the trades. It is hard to get the proper information on how to enter these lucrative fields and such a school would directly funnel low-income students who may not plan for college into high paying careers.

Natalie’s Elementary School of Stuff- I had to name one after me. This school would incorporate teaching styles from Open, Montessori, and traditional schools into one cohesive wonder of education and learning.

4. If you could have a dinner with five people, living or dead, who would it be and what dinner and drinks would you serve?
Being an incredible book nerd I’m going to go with five authors. So that I can contribute to the discussion I’ll have to pick people whose body of work I am pretty familiar with. I’ll take Dostoyevsky (and somehow he will magically speak English), Tom Robbins, Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison, and Ralph Ellison. I thought about inviting Kurt Vonnegut but since I couldn’t also invite Monica because I am selfish and that would mean one less author I figured it would be better not to include him than to ruin a great friendship. Obviously these people have very different writing styles but all of them write about the turmoil of being human. I think it would be a fantastic discussion. I would need to serve a large meal with many courses so that we can sit and talk. I find Mexican food delicious and easy to make in large amounts so that is what we will eat. We’ll have some fine Vodka to drink with various mixers. I know Vodka isn’t usually paired with Mexican food but we have to do something to make Dostoyevsky feel a little more at home.

Appetizer- Yucca Frita, I have never made it but man that stuff is delicious and it can’t be that hard to fry yucca.

Salad- (Here comes Foodie Friday) Nopalitos salad with cilantro lime vinaigrette (this recipe makes about four salads)
-Two hearts of romaine sliced in thin strips
-Two Scallions (the green part) sliced into .5 inch tubes
-Four thinly sliced radishes
-Two cups nopalitos (pickled prickly pear cactus)
-¼ cup crumbled queso fresco
-3tbsp lime juice
-3tbsp olive oil
-3tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1 clove garlic
-1 small jalapeno (chopped a little)
-2 tbsp cilantro
-Pinch of salt
-Grind of pepper
Place ingredients in food processor or blender and whir it up.

Soup- Gazpacho recipe from Mom

Main Course- Tacos (I made delicious and very rustic tortillas this week which was incredibly fun and easy and would be a great dinner party food) with homemade salsa and guacamole. I would cook some black beans and get Tony to prepare some meat

Dessert- Ben and Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream Ice Cream.

5. Like my wife, you grew up in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and now live in Chicago. What are the pros/cons of living in each place?
Minneapolis (I did NOT grow up in St. Paul) is a wonderful place to grow up. It has a small town feel although there is enough to do so that you aren’t relegated to the two small town young person entertainments, driving around and getting drunk (not that we didn’t do plenty of that). The lakes are beautiful and you can swim in them without feeling disgusting. Chicago has some parks and obviously a huge lake but nothing to compare with the looking for fossils along the banks of the Mississippi and the general greenery. Unfortunately, the people there think they live in a much bigger city than they actually live in and that can cause some inflated assumptions about how great and cosmopolitan Minneapolis actually is. As you get older, there isn’t as much to do and you need to stretch your legs. Chicago’s hyper-segregation is the hands down worst thing about this city. Minneapolis seems to be more segregated by class than race, although the two often go hand in hand. However, the museums, theater, and shopping in Chicago leave Minneapolis far behind (not that there aren’t great places to do those things in Minneapolis, don’t get all naming places Mom). Chicago is a true big city, and if you want that type of environment it is the place to be. If you want the attractions of a big city, albeit on a smaller scale, and the ease of small town granola crunching life, Minneapolis is the place to be.

I still have two slots open if anyone else is game.

Bucktown, Smif-N-Wessun- I have nothing to say good or bad about this. It is relatively standard sounding mid 90s decent rap.

The Chronic (Intro), Dr. Dre- THis always takes me back to the summer of 92 watching MTV videos with shoshana while the parents are at work. This wasn't on the TV but it just gets me ready for all the wonders of The Chronic to take me back.

You Shook Me All Night Long, Tori Amos- Tori is another one of those artists whose covers I am not particularly fond of. Purple Rain is pretty good though. I thought about having her cover a great album but iknow exactly what it would sound like so no. However, if anyone wants to buy me a present I hear she is about to come out with a new album.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Before lunch I had started two different blog posts but thought they were dull and boring. I was troubled. I have excellent interview questions from Johnny Yen but as I just posted an interview yesterday I wanted to wait until tomorrow and put it as a Foodie Friday accompaniment because it makes sense to do so, you’ll see. I decided to give up on thinking of a post and just go and enjoy my lunch with Monica and Lakeiya. By the end of lunch I had a blog post.

Earlier in the day I told Monica that I would not be going to lunch with her if it was raining. She assured me that it would not be raining. It wasn’t. We had a wonderful lunch of burgers and sides and then Lakeiya and I left Monica at her office door and proceeded to walk back to our office.

As we were walking I heard someone to the left of me say “you sure are gorgeous,” in an old and grizzled voice. Being a gracious person, I turned to the person and said thank you. The person asked my name and, not being able to think of anything other than the truth, I told him. “Nice to meet you, Natalie, I’m Jeremiah,” we shake hands. I notice that he is missing some bottom teeth. He then introduces himself to Lakeiya and asks her name. He told her it was an African name “like from Kenya or “Zambobwo” or what’s another African country,” and Lakeiya told him it was a West Side of Chicago name. He then informed us that Jeremiah was a Hebrew name and that his last name was Rudolph. “That’s a reindeer name,” I replied.

I thought that would kind of give him the hint that I was done talking to him, it didn’t. He proceeded to tell me that my name was easy to remember because it was like Natalie Cole (like I’ve never heard that before) and hoe she is Nat King Cole’s daughter. “You’d make me a nice wife,” he came up with out of nowhere. “You never know, anything can happen”. “Uh, I guess,” I said. “You’re friend really is beautiful,” he reminds Lakeiya “I have to go to State and Washington” (oh no that’s where we are going). We then had to stop so that Lakeiya could put a scarf on her head because it was starting to sprinkle. Jeremiah Rudolph figured it out kept walking and gave a nice wave.

Why I am so attractive to old men who are missing teeth? Not that I should complain. I am very content with my current relationship and I shouldn’t really care who else finds me attractive. Then again, it’s always nice to be told you are looking good.

The sprinkle that caused Lakeiya’s scarf to go up turned into a full on downpour. I have been back from lunch for almost two hours and my hair is still slightly damp. I had told Monica earlier in the day that I would not be meeting her for lunch if it was raining hard. She assured me it would not be raining. Because I believed her I did not bring an umbrella. Bad bad Monica. Poor little Lakeiya’s pants were so wet in the front that it looked as if she was wearing chaps. Only the top of her pants that were covered by her jacket remained dry. I had a longer coat on but a triangle of wetness on my skirt was created by what my coat didn’t cover. It kind of looked like I had an accident. My hair looked as if I had just stepped out of the shower. As we walked in the building someone saw us and said “Oh Shit,” not a good reaction. Luckily my hair air dries well so I now look normal. Lakeiya changed her pants with something from out client closet and all was relatively ok.

If this is what happens when we go to lunch with Monica I don’t think we will ever go again. That is, of course, a lie. I’ll probably see her tomorrow.

Signs, Tesla- Any and every version of this song makes me smile. Any tune that contains the words “long haired freaky people” is easily a classic.

Where It’s At, Beck- Could things possible get any more high school than this song? I don’t think so. At the same time I still find myself enjoying it.

Hot Fun in the Summertime, Sly and The Family Stone
- This is one of my least favorite Sly and The Family Stone songs. I think the music is a little too cabaret and not at all funky enough. However, the vocals are inherently funky making this song incongruous and a little annoying.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


An interview meme as been making the rounds. People volunteer to be interviewed by various bloggers and then are emailed a set of fun questions to answer and post on their blog. Monica has interviewed me. I will interview the first five people that tell me they would like to be interviewed, and Monica because she asked.

1. What is the best thing about you? Would others agree?
The best thing about me? That is not an easy question at all. I would have to say that it is that I can be an incredibly good friend and really try to make my friends as happy as I can. Of course I have had arguments with friends before, that is part of friendship, but even when I am upset with someone I think that I still love them and want the best for them. i help them out when I can in whatever ways they need and truly enjoy doing it. Would others agree? I would like to think that they would. Since I tend to keep truly good friends for a while I would assume that they do.

2. If you could be great at one instrument, what would it be?
I would love to be great at the kalimba. The first time that I remember seeing one was at my Uncle Jimmy’s and he played it. Uncle Jimmy was always the epitome of cool and I thought that it was an incredibly cool instrument. It would also be something highly unusual to be truly awesome at. I would enjoy that. I bet you could use a kalimba player in your fake ass band. Ok that was mean, sorry. I know you guys are real.

3. If you had to pick between saving Cho Cho or your mix tapes from a fire, what would the choice be?
That is an easy choice. I would quickly forget all about how much I loved mix tapes in a fire. The first things I would grab would be Cho Cho, my college photo album, and my diaries. The mix tapes would be way down on the list.

4. What do you get out of making a blog?
I get a lot out of making a blog. Sometimes I get headaches from thinking about things to write and that reminds me of a time when I actually had to think produce things. I like that feeling and had missed it. I also really enjoy the greater blog community. I enjoy the voyeuristic aspect of peeking in on peoples lives. I have always been fascinated by people and what makes them work and blogs are a great way to enjoy that fascination without being totally intrusive and creepy. With a blog people put themselves out there and you don’t have to pull information from them. I also enjoy writing. Blogging gives me an excise to write about nothing and everything and I get some sort of validation from having people comment on and seem to enjoy the random things that are in my brain. Initially, I thought it would be a good way to waste time. It has become more than that.

5. What movie or book is the most like your life? Why?
I have been thinking of an answer to this question for a long long time (well the three hours since i read it). The most valid answer would be Bonnie’s Book of Beliefs (once it’s finished) because it is loosely based on my life. However, that is a total copout of an answer. To be absolutely accurate I would have to say Naive Super by Erlend Loe. One of the things that really struck me was the main character’s obsession with time and if it really matters or not. I have a strong obsession with, as well as an aversion to, the concept of time. Our main character couldn’t find any meaning in his life and was desperate for direction. Although I can find meaning here and there in my life, anyone reading this blog will see that I too am desperate for direction. He finds solace in childish games like the hammer and pegs and a rubber ball, I find solace in children’s books. I flipped through the book to see if I could find something that really explained how it summed me up; luckily I had taken a pen to it so that made finding good stuff easier. I found this, “And while dawn breaks, I sit there thinking that I’m a really good guy and never mind space and time and all the rest of it.” The thing is, he can’t help but mind space and time and all the rest of it. Neither can I.

The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice, Jimi Hendrix- I love how Jimi Hendirx has all this music that comes out periodically. He is like 2 Pac. He wrote this song a long time ago. It was released a fairly decent time ago as well but some people will get the joke.

Master of Puppets, Metallica- UUHHHH UUHHHH this didn’t just happen. Please strike this from your memory

The Gambler, Kenny Rogers- The Muppet Show with Kenny Rogers as the guest contains a skit to the music of this song. It is relatively terrifying. There is an eerily human Muppet as the Gambler and he of course dies and then gets all ghostly and sings songs. Creepy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


There are things that I find funny that I probably shouldn’t. I have always been this way. However, my taste in what is funny has changed. Kicking random people nonchalantly to see what hilarity will ensue is no longer funny. People failing at their dreams is no longer funny. Throwing pennies out the window at people and watching them be confused is no longer funny. These things are, and have always been, mean. Unfortunately, I used to think mean was funny. It still can be from a distance. I just don’t like to perpetrate mean anymore. People tripping over nothing is still, and will always be, funny.

What got me thinking about this? Well this afternoon I decided to purposely not dry my hands after washing them, thus leaving the bathroom door handle totally wet. I thought this was hilarious. I don’t know why I thought it was funny. It wasn’t a very nice thing to do. I wondered who would get a wet handful and if they would freak out at the thought that it could possibly be a hand full of urine. Now, why anyone would have a hand full of urine and put it all over the door handle is a good question. Not wanting to mess with the paper towel dispenser that always either rips the towel or gives you the entire dispenser full is more likely. Yet, for some reason, I couldn’t help but hope that someone had a momentary shock in regard to pee hand moment.

I wondered if this was my inner evil trying to get out. I wondered if something inside me snapped and was sick of being a nice and caring individual. I wondered if I have been lying to myself the past few years telling myself that I am outgrowing my evil desires and that instead I am simply suppressing them. I wondered if I am a big ass phony nice person. Maybe I am. I just asked Lakeiya and she said that I am a nice person with evil tendencies. I can agree with that. I can even be ok with that. I can even enjoy that. I think there is something wonderful about slight evil tendencies. I think that they keep me from being sucked into the mundane and expected. Then again, I don’t want to be as hurtful as I used to be. That was just mean.

What it comes down to is that maybe evil and mean aren’t the same. Evil has an impish quality to it. There is some type of jest involved. Mean is just cruel and awful. I know this may not be the typical definition of evil and mean but that is what makes sense to me. My evil tendencies swing toward a casual prankster that wants to cause mischief but not really to hurt someone. I hate hurting people. It makes me feel bad. I like causing mischief, it makes me laugh. If my mischief ends up hurts someone I get upset. Luckily, that hasn’t happened too much lately. I suppose the people I can be evil to know that I love them and am just poking casual fun. I guess that is ok. They are always allowed to be evil back. It’s expected. However, if someone decides to get mean with me, they better watch out. I can be seriously mean.

I really am a nice person though. Don’t get the wrong idea.

Johnny Yumah, Johnny Cash- Everything Johnny Cash remind me of Jamie and Belmont apartment. I am still a little amazed that I grew to enjoy Johnny Cash. I spent so much time convincing myself that all things that seemed remotely country were crappy and off limits. I have decided that only relatively new and poppy country is crappy and off limits. I might secretly like it, I wouldn't know because I don't even give it a try.

Overlap. Ani DiFranco- This song takes me back to serious teenage angst. The number of incredibly lame boys that I thought about when I listened to this song is virtually endless. Me being all lame and only looking at boys and not talking to them was the theme of my life for a long long long long time.

Don't Play Cards With Satan, Daniel Johnston- All I can say is good advice.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Yesterday’s post has me thinking about mix tapes. I miss mix tapes something awful. There was magic made at the old boom box upstairs in my dark purple, turquoise, and black sponge paint over a lavender wall bedroom. Cuing up tapes, making sure one song led into the next in a proper fashion, making sure your transition songs were not only mere transitions but excellent in their own right. The mix tape was an art. Sadly, it is a lost art.

After a while the mix CD was born. The biggest tragedy, and most excellent feature, when it comes to the CD is the ability to skip tracks. Although Mom’s van had that ams feature so you could fast forward just one song on a tape, it wasn’t as easy as the skip feature on a CD player. If you made or got a mix CD you could listen to it once and then decide which songs to skip. This way, some of the flow and continuity was lost. When you really think about it there are always some songs on any album that end up growing on you. With the CD age, they have less and less of a chance to do so. I try to make myself listen to entire albums as much as possible but I often succumb to the ease of skipping songs that don’t hold my attention.

When I think of mix tapes past I know there were some fantastic compilations that, although I still have, I will most likely never listen to. I also know that some of the greats have been lost a long long time ago. I think I still have “Radio Coolness” (tapes made from songs on the radio) both volumes I and II. I think I have a good number of the “Best of Natalie” series (I believe there were 8 of them). I am certain I still have “Songs For The Hopeless Romantic” the greatest mix tape ever made. I wonder how hard it will be to recreate some of these compilations.

My plan had been to work on this Herculean task this weekend, but that didn’t end up happening. The only tape player that I could think of that was plugged in was the bathroom and I didn’t feel like hanging out in there while there was such wonderful weather outside. Just now, I realized that the record player in the living room also has a dual tape deck on it. My mix tape project just got a lot more comfortable. I don’t know how long it will take me, I fear a great while. However, I know that it will bring me much nostalgia and great joy. Here is to the songs I grew up with. Cheers.

For my songs today I’ll reach out with some strange gems on the mix tapes.

Skydiver, artist unknown- If anyone out there knows a song called skydiver that has lyrics that go “I’m gonna jump right off the face of it I think I’m gonna jump right off the face of it, like a skydiver” please let me know because this song is one Radio Coolness One and I really enjoy it although I have no idea who sings it. My compilation can’t be complete without it.

White Bird, It’s A Beautiful Day
- This song is embedded deep within side two of Songs For The Hopeless Romantic. I don’t know if I will be able to find it out there in downloadable world but I am going to try. The one thing I will miss about putting the songs in mp3 format is the crackly vinyl to tape noises that I have grown to love. Oh well, at least I know the artist.

Glycerin, Bush- I am a little scared of some of the Best Of Natalie series. I think this song is on Volume VI or so. I made some fairly poor choices when it came to music in my high school years and I don’t know if I can listen to Bush and Offspring. I might shoot myself. Back in the day, as I got a new CD I had to make a new mix tape to incorporate some of the songs into my "Best Of Natalie" collection. This is why I will soon be listening to Spoonman. Maybe some of the mix tapes will have to be left out.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Johnny Yen had a music meme where you are supposed to talk about seven songs that you have been into lately. I thought this would not only be incredibly fun but also incredibly easy since I love to talk about music, obviously. However, I have found that it is rather difficult. I listen to so much music that it is very hard to choose seven songs that properly represent me at this point in time. No matter, I will give it a try.

1. Absolutely Cuckoo, Magnetic Fields
69 Love Songs Vol. 1 has been my best friend this week. Much of that is because of this, the first song. It is an adorable ditty about the dangers of falling for someone before they have the chance to see you go completely loony. One of my favorite lines is “I’m easy to get rid of but not if you fall in love” truer words have never been spoken. It also reminded me of my insane mix tape making days when I made one for my best friend Jenna called “the relationship” I chose songs that chronicled two people meeting, falling in love, breaking up and eventually getting back together (I think). My favorite inclusion on the mix was “One More Minute” by Weird Al. This song would have fit in well with that mix.

2. If I Ever Fall In Love, Shai
I have an unnatural obsession with this song. I don’t know why. Something about the insane harmonies and fantastic 90s feel really gets me going. At the same time I really don’t understand the story within the song. He said she was more than just a friend but is all set on falling in love with a friend if he ever falls in love again. Does he want only a friend and nothing more? I don’t get it. Or is is that she wasn't enough of a friend to begin with? Help.

3. Brick, Ben Folds Five
So I am completely aware that this song was overplayed and grew into some kind of Ben Folds Five monster that you couldn’t get away from. When I saw him in concert he played it but said that he hadn’t in ages because he grew so tired of it. That being said, I never tire of it. I don’t know why but I find it so tragically beautiful and there is something about the loneliness in the words that pull me in. “For the moment we’re alone. She’s alone, and I’m alone, and now I know it”

4. Let’s Get Out Of This Country, Camera Obscura
While this is not the best song on the album it does have the same title as the album and has just stuck to me like glue. Maybe because it has a nice escapist theme to it. I really need a nice long vacation away from anywhere familiar. One of the sad things about having friends all over is that when you take vacation it often ends up being so that you can see them. Not that seeing them is bad but sometimes you need to take vacation just for you. However, I would like to take Tony and get out of the country. “Let’s get out of this country, I’ll admit I’m bored of me”

5. Passing Afternoon, Iron & Wine
Even though I have only heard one album of this band (I need to download more stat) they have become one of my favorites. This album (Our Endless Numbered Days) reminds me of an updated version of something that would have been birthed if you married the Harold and Maude Soundtrack by Cat Stevens with Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. Every song on this album is pretty great but this song has the ability to wrap its arms around me, squeeze tight and rock me like a baby.

6. Way To Your Heart, Persephone’s Bees
I don’t know how to describe this song. It is just wonderful. It makes me tap my feet and bop my head and it is perfect walking home music. It’s nothing particularly groundbreaking. It just works perfectly and, since there are few words you can learn them very quickly and sing along. I can’t be mad when I can sing along to a peppy tune.

7. Regulators, Warren G and Nate Dogg
Ok, this is a bit embarrassing but in all honestly I have been rocking out to Regulators lately. Don’t laugh; you know you love it too. I don’t have anything great to say about this song because it isn’t great. I just know that it makes me think of hanging out on summer vacation with Shoshana and watching MTV and The Box all day long. Remember when MTV had legitimate videos on it? I don’t think even MTV2 still shows videos all day. Boo. “The next stop is the East Side Motel”

To redeem myself after admitting I have been really excited to listen to not only Shai but also Warren G and Nate Dogg I want to share a few awesome searches that have brought people to my page. “The Insult Sit By Me Train,” is a place that I would never want to go. However, someone seemed to want to ride it all night long. Someone else has some kind of fascination with Mandingos and was looking for “confessions of interracial affairs,” they will find none of that smut here. Another individual seemed to be making a statement but apparently “I went to a fundraiser black tie,” is a legitimate thing to google. My personal favorite, however, comes from some poor parent who has “black strings in my baby’s poop”. Maybe one of the parent blogs would be a better place for them to look. Who knows.

1. Let me tell ya’ll what it’s like/ Being male middle class and white/ It’s a bitch if you don’t believe/ Listen up to my new Cd/ Shamon. Deadspot said "The first song in your list at the bottom is that song by Ben Folds where he rips on musicians that he thinks he's cooler than. You know... that one with the title. " He is right, the title is Rockin The Suburbs.

2. She set your goldfish free/ And now she's sighing/ Blew out your pilot light/ And made a wish. This one happens to be Twisting By They Might Be Giants.

3. Last night it was so good/ I felt like crying/ I felt crying/ Last night though you looked so cold/ I felt like smiling/ smiling while I'm dying. Needles In My Eyes, The Beta Band. Identified by Jaclyn

4. I’m a little pea/ I love the sky and the trees/ I’m a teeny tiny little ant/ checking out this and that. Monica said "4 Is that song by Flea from One Hot Minute... I can't remember what it is called. He goes "I'm a pacifist and I will fuck your shit up"" she is right, it is called Pea.

5. Summertime/ and the livin’s easy/ Bradley’s on the microphone with Ras M.G/ All the people in the dance will agree that we’re/ well qualified to represent the LB C D me and Louie/ Run to the party dance to the rhythm it gets harder. Doin' Time, Sublime. Identified by Ern.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Today has been pretty busy. I hadn’t even had time to think of something to blog about let alone to blog. It has also been a productive day. I went to a meeting and got a sandwich. There was leftover food so I got another free sandwich for dinner as well as one for Tony so I don’t have to cook. I organized things so I can go to a function after work and have a free sandwich and free liquor. As you can see I measure my productivity in free food and drinks. Really though, who doesn’t?

The meeting was actually very productive. It was with our Employer Advisory Council, a group of hiring managers we talk to and pick their brains about how to best serve the employment community. The topic was retention, a biggie in our industry. For my contract I have to get 90 day retention benchmarks to count my placements as successful. You would think that 90 days isn’t a really long time as far as employment goes but with 17-24 yr old low income youth it isn’t as common that they make 90days as you would think. If they don’t make 90days then they have to instead get another job (or two) and work for a combined total of 150 days.

One of the people on our Council said their hourly employees have a 105% turnover rate within the first year. That doesn’t even make sense to me. How can it be? Maybe it means that some people accept the job and don’t even start. I don’t know. Their management has a 40% retention rate. Granted it is a high turnover industry but wow. However, those people who stay a full year are overwhelmingly promoted to management and those managers have about a 98% retention rate. That is very impressive.

One thing we need to work on is how to better prepare our clients for the other things that com with work. While we wouldn’t send someone who is in school at all different hours every day out to apply for a 9-5 position, that doesn’t mean they don’t do it on their own and some of them actually get hired. They then quit because it doesn’t work with their school schedule, duh. We have to find a way to ingrain the idea that keeping a job is important to their future success even if it s a job that isn’t as high paying as another one they may be less likely to keep. I don’t know how we will do this but it has to be done.

Maybe we can start threatening our clients in regard to them leaving their jobs before they should. The whole suspension from the program thing is fine but is nothing like going to their homes and posting signs like “Quitter Ass Loser” in front of their house and electrifying them so they can’t be easily removed. Maybe we can kidnap their pets and hold them hostage for the first 90 days of employment? There has to be something that is a better motivator than you need to keep your job to create a stable work history so you will be more likely to get hired in the future. That doesn’t work.

Any other ideas?

1. Let me tell ya’ll what it’s like/ Being male middle class and white/ It’s a bitch if you don’t believe/ Listen up to my new Cd/ Shamon

2. She set your goldfish free/ And now she's sighing/ Blew out your pilot light/ And made a wish

3. Last night it was so good/ I felt like crying/ I felt crying/ Last night though you looked so cold/ I felt like smiling/ smiling while I'm dying

4. This is the end/ Beautiful friend/ This is the end/ My only friend/ The end. The End, The Doors. Identified by Danielle

5. I want a nasty little Jewish princess/ With long phony nails and hairdo that rinses/ A horny little Jewish princess/ with a garlic aroma that could level Tacoma. Jewish Princess, Frank Zappa. Identified by Johnny Yen. and a little shout out to Mom for knowing it was probably Zappa.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I am starving. I want to eat anything and everything. I don’t know the last time I have been this hungry at 11:06am, unless suffering from extreme drunk-all-night-and-need-cheesy-potatoes- stat sickness. Speaking of, why do I love a cheesy potato so much? Not to mention, why am I starving at 11:06am. Maybe it is because I stayed up crazy late last night finishing "Stranger In a Strange Land" with Tony (I think it was the first time I didn't cry although I was plenty choked up) and haven’t eaten anything in a long time. I missed breakfast for some stupid reason.

I have been craving ice cream. Surprisingly, it is free cone day at Ben and Jerry’s. I am thinking of the fact that the nearest Ben and Jerry’s as at 500W and I am at 50E. While not incredibly far, it is far enough that I don’t know if it is worth a free scoop. If you happen to be closer to a Ben and Jerry’s than I am please grab some Americone Dream (or other suitably delicious flavor) for me. Then again, I really am itching to try Willie Nelson’s Peach Cobbler now that I have had a taste of Stephen.

What am I going to eat? I want something delicious, with cheese. When don’t I want something with cheese? Never. If I didn’t like cheese I think I would instantly reduce my size by half. This is a lie but it effectively illustrates the amount that I like cheese. The question is what kind of cheese do I want? Do I want a melted cheese? A solid cheese? A slightly melty but still firm cheese? Do I want a mild cheese or a sharp cheese? Do I want the cheese to dominate my meal or should it be a mere accent? I just don’t know. I do know that I am starving.

My tummy is so hungry. I just realized that the Volunteer Services Director isn’t here today because the receptionist called and asked me if I was handling volunteers. I am always her back-up. However, she is very specific about calling me to make sure I am available if she is going to be out. She calls me on sick days; she even comes in on days off to handle certain things. I am really surprised that she didn’t call and it is an Interview Day for the clients, which means we have more volunteers than usual. I hope she is ok. I just realize that I have five volunteers scheduled to show at 12:30. This means that I have a lot to get ready in the next hour. I have to set up rooms for them, greet them, and make sure they have pens. I can’t go to lunch now! There is no way.

One of my favorite things about my job is that, except for the days that I teach, I can set my schedule. I can take lunch at 10am or at 4pm. It doesn’t make any difference. As long as I get done what needs to be done I am fine. The lack of that freedom is the biggest thing that I hated about working the Volunteer Director position when they were in-between directors. Not only did I have to be all nice to the volunteers all the time, not that I don't like them I just can be cranky, I had to make sure lunch didn’t happen between 11:15 and 1:30. I know, lunchtime. However, since the volunteers come in on their lunch hours it follows. Typically, that is no problem. A 1:30 lunch is generally right on the money for me. Not today. Today I want to go get something cheesy and delicious right this second. My tummy is rumbling and my head may very well start to ache. This is no good.

I think I have decided to go to Caffe Baci. Why there are two “F’s in the name is a mystery to me. I just wanted you to know I know how to spell café. I am torn between a pesto pizza, ravioli salad, a Caprese sandwich with veggie chili, and numerous other cheesy dishes. Unfortunately it is not Thursday because on Thursday they have some fantastic looking goat cheese pasta that I really want to eat right now. I think this post is getting pretty long and it is all about how much I want to eat cheese. This is totally embarrassing. I should probably stop. The unfortunate thing is that writing about cheese is the only thing keeping me content that I am not eating cheese. The volunteers will be here in ten minutes. Remember at the beginning of this post when I was starving and it was 11:06? It’s now 12:20. I wonder if the Vegetarian Chili comes with cheddar cheese. I really need cheese with my chili. I am sick and have a problem.

If anyone is still reading this post I am sorry. I know that I occasionally come up with interesting things to say and maybe you were reading on in hopes that that time would come. Unfortunately, in this post, it will not. It is now 1:38pm. The interviews are done and technically I could go to lunch. However, Tony is coming downtown and I would love to eat with him. Not to mention that I waited so long to eat that I‘m not even all that hungry anymore. Bugger.

1. Let me tell ya’ll what it’s like/ Being male middle class and white/ It’s a bitch if you don’t believe/ Listen up to my new Cd/ Shamon

2. She set your goldfish free/ And now she's sighing/ Blew out your pilot light/ And made a wish

3. Last night it was so good/ I felt like crying/ I felt crying/ Last night though you looked so cold/ I felt like smiling/ smiling while I'm dying

4. She was hungry so hungry/ she was trying to think clear/ she kept opening the fridge door/ Looking at the mustard and the beer. Slide, Ani DiFranco. Identified by Brooke.

5. People talking but they just don’t know/ what’s in my heart and why I love you so/ I love you baby like a miner loves gold/ Come on suger let the good times roll. Come On (Let The Good Times Roll), Jimi Hendrix. Identified by Mom.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Welcome to this week's edition of Manic Monday. The word of the day is TAX. To view other Manic Monday participants check out Morgen at It's a Blog eat Blog World.

Having someone stay at your house is taxing. Even when you don’t deal with them very often it is taxing. Don’t get me wrong, if I was having some serious housing issues I would hope one of my friends would step up and let me crash for a while. However, I would realize that it wouldn’t be easy for them.

I have basically lived in my bedroom for the last five days. It isn’t that I don’t like our guest, he is a fine person, it’s just that someone being in the house is totally disruptive to our normal living arrangement. Tony and I like our privacy. We like things quiet and peaceful. We want to play our games and watch our movies and cooks meals and just relax. Our houseguest likes to listen to loud music, drink beer, and stay up late.

We like to do these things too, just not all the time. I don’t think our guest necessarily wants to do them all the time either, but that is what we always do when we hang out so it seems strange to do anything else. It is funny because there will be times when we won’t leave the bedroom for days anyway. However, because we have the option it isn’t a problem. Not that we don’t have the option to leave now. Only if we do, we have to talk to our guest.

I kind of feel we are being bad hosts. We spend a lot of time together while our guest hangs out in the living room and watches TV. Unfortunately, doing much else is too much of a tax on our comfortable living style. We can’t just sit around and watch TV in peace like we enjoy doing, we have to interact with our guest. He is a taxing person, we just can't do it. Our guest also likes to argue and isn’t always right, at all. So to avoid that mess we just stay sequestered away in our room, only emerging to handle little things here and there.

I think he is supposed to be out of our place on Friday. I really hope so. While I am handling it ok, I think Tony may lose his mind. He is having trouble sleeping while company is there and, therefore, is really tired during the day and half asleep when I get home. I think it is taxing his nerves. I just hope he can keep it together and get some rest. I can sleep through anything but he isn’t as lucky. Wish us luck.

1. I want to run/ I want to hide/ I want to tear down the walls/ That hold me inside. Jeff Roberts

2. And the moment will come/ When composure returns/ Put a face on the world/ Turn your back to the wall. Monica

3. Let me tell ya’ll what it’s like/ Being male middle class and white/ It’s a bitch if you don’t believe/ Listen up to my new Cd/ Shamon

4. She set your goldfish free/ And now she's sighing/ Blew out your pilot light/ And made a wish

5. Last night it was so good/ I felt like crying/ I felt crying/ Last night though you looked so cold/ I felt like smiling/ smiling while I'm dying

Friday, April 13, 2007


Mama never cooks breakfast with hog and she is in NY with Sisterhead anyway. So is Dad, by the way, which makes me very jealous because he did not come to visit me last time mom came because he was “too busy,” whatever. Regardless, I am still having a good day. What is good about me having a good day at 10am is that it seems as if the day will get better and better as the hours pass. This is making me rather excited.

Yesterday was not a particularly good day. It was also not a particularly bad day although it threatened to be as we were scheduled to have two overnight guests. Now our couch is big, two people can easily sleep on it comfortably. However, it helps if those two people don’t mind getting a little cozy. Our guests were not the cozy type. Not that they have any problems with each other but they weren’t going to snuggle.

Tony and I were a little concerned about how it was all going to play out but we really couldn’t tell either person they couldn’t stay with us. Both are good friends. Tony tried to go to sleep to avoid the situation but I told him I was not answering the door for his friends and that he had to deal with it. Our first guest went to sleep pretty quickly after he came by. He didn’t take up to much space on the couch, which is amazing as he is one big dude (over 6ft over 300lbs big). When the other showed, he Tony and I gathered in the sunroom, the greatest and most underutilized room in the apartment, and commenced to drink and play games.

We started with rummy, and then moved to a game and a half of scrabble. We would have finished but I thought I had to go to bed and went to lie down but then realized I couldn’t sleep and in the two minutes it took me to get back to the game room they no longer wanted to play. I must say that I got an incredibly high scoring word “absolute” and it went over two triple word scores and I used all my letters and I felt really special (we're talking 131pts here people). The game we stopped playing was actually really close and the guys had a chance to really give me a run for it. The best word I couldn’t put anywhere was “ovulate”. I was a little sad about that but “absolute” fixed it.

We then started talking about Monopoly, which would usually get me really excited but as it was well past 2am at that point and I did have to get up for work I knew a three player game was not something I should get into. Instead I acted as banker, real estate agent, and payment reminder to the guys as they played. I wonder how they did after I went to bed. As I often needed to remind them about properties they owned and to pay each other I have a feeling it was a silly game. Although this fun stuff happened yesterday, it was late enough at night that we can technically call it today.

I was terrified of getting up and coming to work this morning. I knew it had been a late and ruckus night and I am not as young as I used to be. When the alarm went off the first time I was not happy. I didn’t think I could possibly get enough sleep in the next 30min to compensate for how I felt. I was wrong. 30min later I woke up to an abnormally sunny sky, a wide awake happy feeling, and a warm bathroom. It was so sunny I thought I woke up at the wrong time. But I didn’t.

When I got to work, things were still happy and I was ready to rework my contract. I just learned yesterday that some of the income guidelines I had been using were incorrect so I may be able to add a few people to my contract thus bolstering my retention numbers, which would be awesome. When I got here, Lakeiya came to my office with her hands behind her back and asked me to pick a hand. I chose correctly and she produced a brown paper bag with a small cylindrical container inside. I felt it, “could it be,” it was. A pint of Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream was inside. We have been talking about eating this ice cream since Tues March 6th and, although we have both looked, we haven’t been able to secure a pint. I can’t wait until lunchtime. *It is now after lunch and I am happy to say that the ice cream did not dissapoint. It truly was an Americone Dream. *

After work, I have a dinner party to attend at Dave E. Wo’s house. How fun is that going to be. Dave always has great food. Speaking of food, I just realized it is Foodie Friday. Having been especially poor this week I ate nothing particularly exciting. Well I did have enchiladas but I already posted about how to make those. The other meals were so lame there isn’t much to pull from. Alas, Foodie Friday will have to wait.

Another Sunny Day, Belle and Sebastian- This is a perfect theme song for today. Belle and Sebastian I actually pretty good theme music for most days, as long as you find the right song.

I Am Somebody (Part 2), Johnnie Taylor- I don’t think I have ever heard part one of this song. If it is as funky as part two it promises to be awesome.

Que Onda Guero, Beck- I never really “got” the Guero album. This song sounds a lot like Cypress Hill but more “alternative” I don’t not like this album it’s actually pretty groovy at times. If it were by another artist I may have been more impressed. However, I know that Beck has much better to offer.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


This wasn’t a particularly good morning. I had a stuffy nose, lethargic movements, and had to walk to the train in the kind of rain that doesn’t quite deserve an umbrella, until massive droplets fall in your sleeve as you reach up to adjust your headphones. Other than that, it was an inconsequential morning.

On the train, I got the nice seat in back by myself and set upon reading the “paper” to pass my commute. The headlines seemed drab. As much as I love to talk racism, I haven’t been inspired by the “nappy-headed ho’s” comment. I guess I prefer more hilarious racism. That comment was just stupid and mean. I can’t even laugh about it. I like my racism creative, like Michael Richards talking about people hanging from trees with forks in their asses, or completely off base and wrong, like Barack Obama not being “really black”. Mean racism like this just makes me mad. At least the guy is halfway fired at this point.

So, as I am absentmindedly flipping through the pages skimming over most articles, I turned the page and saw something that truly threw me for a loop. We have lost one of our literary giants. Kurt Vonnegut died last night. There isn’t much I can say about Vonnegut that hasn’t either already been said or could be said better by someone else. All I really can say is that I have genuinely enjoyed everything I read by him, even Timequake which was not one of his best works. Given that, it was still better than a lot of the crap out there. His writing touched all different emotions in his readers, from comedy to tragedy and everything in-between. He was truly one of the greats. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Thanks for everything, Kurt.

When You Sleep, My Bloody Valentine- I find myself strangely drawn to this band’s music. It isn’t typically something that I would find myself liking because a lot of it borders on noise. However, it is really soothing and nice noise.

Something’s Coming, West Side Story- I love all things musical. West Side Story is one where I can listen to most of the songs out of context. Even some of my favorites typically need to be in context. This is just great fun to listen to.

Big Eyed Beans From Venus, Captain Beefheart- All I can say to this is Venus on the Half-Shell and some people will understand. Others won’t.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


As you readers know, Tony and I love us some TV. We like all types of things on TV. However, Tony recently decided that it was an overload of media and that he was sick of it. I don’t blame him. I was kind of sick of it too. We now have to find other things to do. As this has only really been going on for a few days we have been ok. As the week progresses we may run out ofother things to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Keep in mind that all things have to be completely free.

The first night we painted. Our first x-mas together one of Tony’s presents was a painting I did. I promised that it was the first in a series of three and that he would get the next one either for his birthday or Christmas the next year. Two Birthdays and two Christmases later, he still only has one painting. The beginning of the second has been done for close to 7 months but I haven't ever finished it. Now it is 95% done. To finish I need masking tape, I don’t have any. I’m broke. The soonest it can be finished is Friday. My sister got me a nice set of paints for Christmas and there was a small matboard included so Tony used it to paint a picture of Mr. Snodgrass, our plecostomus. It is a very nice picture.

Yesterday we played a game of scrabble. Usually I can get Tony to play two in a row but yesterday was not one of those days. We also played a fair amount of Bully, our current video game. We realize a video game is a lot like TV but it isn’t the same. Bully is funny and fun. Tony also suggested that we write a children’s book. We started. It was tons of fun. We work very well together and aren’t offended when the other doesn’t agree with where the story is going.

We undoubtedly have a lot more we can do with our story, we can probably play a few more games of scrabble and are only 43% finished with Bully. However, I don’t know how long this aversion to television will last. It is getting nice outside so we can go for walks more often. Tonight he is planning to go buy a bike (thanks Mom) so he can ride around all day. I hate biking so I won’t be joining him in that activity.

I can’t help but think we will need a few more things to do. We are creative people but can only clean the house, play with artistic expression, and beat up those who try to control us so much before we run out of things to do. So what do you do? I know there are some non TV addicts out there. Let’s hear some ideas.

Sweet Leaf, Black Sabbath- So here is the thing. This song is freaking awesome. I feel bad about how opposed I was to Black Sabbath because I associated them with metal and associated metal with hair metal. I’m glad I got over that.

Black Sunshine, Me Phi Me- Some people will see this and laugh hysterically. Others will say, Me Phi Me, what the hell is that? Both are totally valid responses. The invalid response would probably be to say “Me Phi Me, I totally dig them too.”

Swing, Ani DiFranco- The easiest way to ruin a great song is to put a really bad rap at the end of it. The fastest way to ruin anything is, in fact, bad rap. However, if you are at the Radio-Television Correspondents' Association Dinner this rule does not apply. In that case, bad rap is exactly the thing to get the party started.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I was about to snap while thinking of a post using the word snap. Then it hit me. I have snapped, maybe this would be a good time to talk about that a little bit. The most recent total snap I had was at old roommate Eric. It was a snap for the ages. He had been on my nerves for ages and, one day, I lost it.

I was planning to take a shower and had got in my nice cozy green bathrobe and went to the bathroom. When I looked in the shower, there was a carpet of shaved hair of some sort all over the floor. CARPET people, no joke. I was already upset with Eric. He had done some bogus things, the least of which was to tape unknown men’s drawers on my bedroom door. He assumed they were Tony’s since he was over a lot and they were in the dryer. However, they were briefs and therefore not Tony’s. To this day I have no clue whose unknown drawers those were but they were someone’s and I did not appreciate them taped up on my door with an evil note to keep my mans underwear away from his laundry.

So I went and pounded on Eric’s door and asked that he clean up the bathroom so that I could take a shower. The argument of the century ensued. Now, to make sure everyone understands how hilarious some of this is remember that I am a 5ft tall person in a green bathrobe. Eric is an enormous over 6ft person, although I don’t remember what he was wearing. I am standing in his doorway so he can’t close the door (although he tried to slam it on me a few times) up in his face pointing screaming and all kinds of other things. Monica is sitting at the computer not sure if she should be terrified or laughing in hysterics. Tony is in my bedroom hoping I don’t get myself in too much trouble because he doesn’t want to have to come and protect me because Eric is huge and mean.

After a good half hour or so of yelling, slamming doors, swearing, etc. things are done. Nothing was resolved at all. I ended up washing the foul hair down the drain so that I could take a shower. I also ended up moving out before the lease was over (for a variety of reasons, none of which were Monica). I had been trying to deal with Eric for some time, but finally snapped. There was nothing to be done about it.

The unguessed songs are:

1. What happened to/ The world we knew/ When we were dreaming, scheming/ Whiling the time away. Yester Me, Yester You, Stevie Wonder.

2. Megan/ She don’t eat bacon/ She never killed a sweet innocent little piggy to get bacon. Megan the Vegan, Propagandhi.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I am stealing this Foodie Friday right from the Food Network. Unfortunately, I don’t know what show I was watching when I saw this recipe so I can’t give it proper credit, although the spinach in both the pasta and the salad was my idea. All I know is that it was a white lady with short brown hair that got the ball rolling. The feta sauce is great because it has the taste and feel of an alfredo without the heavy cream and all the fattier cheeses.

Salad- 1 serving
-2 cups fresh spinach
-3 artichoke hears, halved
-Few slices red onion
-½ tomato cut into wedges
-3 kalmata olives, halved and pitted
-Little bit of feta sprinkled on top

Salad Dressing- 3 servings
-2 tbsp store bought pesto (you can make your own if you are cool or allegic to pine nuts)
-2tbsp balsamic vinegar

Pasta- 4-6 servings
-1 package whole wheat rottini
-1 normal sized (yeah I suck at measuring and noting sizes remember) package feta cheese, feel free to use fat free cause it was delicious (less a little to sprinkle over the salad)
-4 roasted red peppers julienned (I buy the kind in water so they aren’t as oily)
-1 onion diced any kind you like. I like the sweet ones.
-2 cloves garlic minced
-3tbsp olive oil

-Heat the olive oil over medium heat
-Add onion and cook for two minutes
-Add garlic and cook for two more minutes
-Add roasted red pepper cook for about 3 minutes
-While things are cooking, put feta in a food processor or blender, blend
-Add pepper mixture to the food processor, blend
-Be shocked at how well this turns into a creamy sauce
-Saute about a cup of spinach in the already hot sauce, pan when limp (2-3 min) stir into the sauce
-Serve over whole wheat pasta (this sauce holds up really well to the thicker taste of whole wheat pasta so I thought it was perfect)

This meal was not only beautiful but was utterly delicious. Unlike most alfredo sauces this one reheats well. It was a most phenomenally quick meal to prepare and looked and tasted like some serious five star cooking. It didn’t even need seasoning, the feta is salty enough and, while pepper may have been fine it wasn’t necessary.

What happened to/ The world we knew/ When we were dreaming, scheming/ Whiling the time away.

Megan/ She don’t eat bacon/ She never killed a sweet innocent little piggy to get bacon.

Little salamander/ Where did you go/ Edge of the yard/ I found you, you know/ All brown and hard. Body, The Presidents of the United States of America. Identified by Katrina

I can’t disguise the pounding of me heart/ It beats so strong/ It’s in your eyes/ what can I say/ They turn me on. Take Me With You, Prince. Identified by Mom.

Well I heard there was a secret cord/ That David played and pleased the lord/ But you don’t really care for music do ya. Halleluja, Jeff Buckley (how was she to know what version). Identified by Mom.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


The other day I decided to begin rereading The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. This has to be one of my all time favorite books. Ayn Rand, as a person, mystifies me. Although I am no expert, her philosophy, Objectivism, is both highly reasonable and completely ludicrous. However, regardless of her ideology, this book is an absolute masterpiece.

While I have a great deal of admiration for Howard Roark, our hero, I find myself wondering how horrible it would be to be the kind of person that he is. I like being a person rules by emotion and instinct. I think it would be a cold, albeit noble, existence to exist solely for self-satisfaction and pursue that with rigorous logic. As someone said to him, while trying to add some columns to his building (funniest movie scene ever by the way), “in practical life, one can’t always be so flawlessly consistent. There is always the incalculable human element of emotion. We can’t fight that with cold logic”. Nor would most of us want to.

The other facet of Objectivism that I really have a hard time grasping is the idea that all in life should contribute to making the self as happy as possible, which is fine, but that in doing so all altruistic actions are seen as detrimental to the pursuit of happiness for the self. Maybe I am one of the few that get personal satisfaction helping others, but I don’t think I am by any means alone in this. I think altruism is something many people hold dear. However, since she also says there is no place for faith in a true Objectivists life, then maybe she would find more people open to this idea. Then again, I’m not big on faith but I sure am big on altruism. The whole Capitalist thing in Objectivism is also something that makes a lot of sense to me but also something that I can’t totally buy into. But it is to a lesser extent than the others so it isn’t as important to mention.

In fact, I think I lack a lot of necessary qualities to be a true Objectivist. Not that I really want to be, but I think it is interesting that I can look at a philosophy and see so much in it that I admire and yet want nothing to do with it. I do, however want to be like Howard Roark. This presents quite a problem for me because he is a character based on the Objectivist ideal. He has incredibly strong convictions and a sense of purity about him and his passions. He cannot compromise on his work because he loves it and it is an integral part of him. He exists to create and build that which is most important to him. He would rather toil endlessly an a job where his talents aren’t used at all then to compromise his integrity and do a job in a way that compromises his true love for his creations. I find this all incredibly beautiful.

I also find it incredibly depressing. I wonder how many people of conviction with a true passion for their work have decided to stop because I wasn’t well received. How often is a true genius overlooked by the establishment and resigned to their insignificant fate, unable to create what they know they can and unable to compromise to create anything less than ideal? Such immense tragedy lies in that thought. Sadly, much art needs to be commissioned. Much writing can’t be written because no one will publish it. How many times do we hear about great works of all genres that were almost never made, published, painted, etc. because of financial problems? Far too many. I hope we can find some of those pieces. I hope we find them in their purest and unadulterated states. I hope that they come to mean something to someone. That is the true purpose of art.

Then again, maybe we should be mourning the pieces that were compromised for the sake of being put in front of the public eye? Should we look at everything we are fed and wonder if it is the creator’s intention that it come cross that way. I guess it leaves us realizing we have to create for ourselves. I think that, in a way, is what blogs, podcasts, youtube videos, etc. have become. It’s a place for us to speak out, uncensored, about what we feel is important. It’s a place where anyone and everyone can create their ideals and share them with the world. I think Ayn Rand would have been proud of bloggers, well some of them at any rate. Which is kind of disturbing to me.

1. What happened to/ The world we knew/ When we were dreaming, scheming/ Whiling the time away.

2. Megan/ She don’t eat bacon/ She never killed a sweet innocent little piggy to get bacon.

3. Fuck the police/ coming straight from the underground/ a young nigga got it bad cause I’m brown/ and not the other color/ so police think/ they have the authority to kill a minority. Fuck THa Police, NWA. Identified by Johnny Yen

4. Something’s wrong cause my mind is fading/ and everywhere I look there’s a dead end waiting/ Temperatures dropping at the rotten oasis/ stealing kisses from the leprous faces. Devil's Haircut, Beck. Identified by Monica

5. Little salamander/ Where did you go/ Edge of the yard/ I found you, you know/ All brown and hard.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


This morning everybody and their mama decided to take the red line. Thankfully, the trains ran just as well as they have been since Monday and I was still earlier than normal to work. This brings the question, how was the train slower when all tracks were open? Maybe because the CTA knows they are under close watch they are actually trying to do their jobs well and get people to work on time. What a novel concept.

Apparently coyotes are a problem in Chicago. I didn’t know this was an issue at all but one walked into a Quizno’s about four blocks from my office during the lunch hour yeaterday. That suddenly becomes an issue. This seems like the last area a coyote would be. I mean I know Millennium Park is right there but a coyote? Apparently it didn’t bother anyone, just chilled until the animal control people came to pick it up. They said they get a lot of coyotes this time of year. Who knew?

I had nothing to say today and then, while reading blogs, noticed CSG had tagged me with an alphabet meme. Then I realized I did this meme in January and that maybe I should come up with something else. I did. While watching On Demand music videos the other day I noticed this gem. It is Go Go Gadget Gospel, by Gnarls Barkley. This dynamic duo is awesome when it comes to videos. The Rorschach test video for Crazy had me mesmerized. Then the Gone Daddy Gone video with the band as disgusting bugs getting real intimate with the lady of the house had me in hysterics. Putting themselves in historic moments in Smiley Faces was also awesome and my description doesn't do it justice. Needless to say, I was excited for this video. When it started I was a little surprised, it looked just like a normal rap video. Then, the wonderful happened. I won’t spoil it for you, just watch and see for yourself. My only problem with it is the song, as great as it is, is so short. Which, I suppose, may make this video more interesting to those of you with little time.

1. What happened to/ The world we knew/ When we were dreaming, scheming/ Whiling the time away.

2. Megan/ She don’t eat bacon/ She never killed a sweet innocent little piggy to get bacon.

3. It's a hard world to get a break in/ All the good things have been taken/ But girl there are ways/ To make certain things pay. It's My Life, The Animals. Identified by Johnny Yen

4. Riding round town with all the windows down/ 8-track playing all your favorite sounds. Summer, War. Identified by Johnny Yen

5. I kept the right ones out/ And let the wrong ones in/ Had an angel of mercy to see me though all my sins. Amazing, Aerosmith. Identified by Monica

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Why does the media insist on making my life horrible? I am usually ok with the media. Sometimes the media pisses me off but I understand it is a godless-lack-of-information-machine set to only deliver half the news. I am aware of this and accept it. However, when the media trespasses on my good fortune, I have serious problems.

Case in point, the current North Side expansion project on the CTA was blasted all over today’s Redeye paper. For the past month, we have been told that on April 2 the 2-year expansion project will start and it could as much as double commute times. People have been bombarded with messages to leave early, leave late, take alternate routes, etc.. I was not looking forward to this.

Yesterday morning I got up at my regular time and left at my regular time. I wanted to see how awful this expansion was and would then adjust accordingly if need be. I got to work 5 minutes earlier than normal. The train was far less crowded than usual (which doesn’t matter to me since I live far North enough to always get a seat) and people seemed calm and relaxed. On my way home I left at the normal time and arrived home about 10 minutes late due to some sitting, no biggie. The train was much less crowded and people seemed calm and relaxed. I thought the golden age of transit had arrived.

As you can tell, I did not post about this phenomenon yesterday. It would have fit in well with the whole branch theme (branches of transit) but I wanted to keep this glorious redline change a secret. I have a few readers in Chicago and, while I love you guys, I didn’t want this good news getting out. Selfish yes, stupid no.

This morning as I am taking my leisurely ride on my incredibly un-crowded train (it was a brown line car with fewer seats than the red line ones and nothing filled up until Sherridan) I began to read the red eye. There were two separate articles on how great the commute was on the train. Are they trying to ruin me? If people find out that the trains are great now they will stop taking alternate routes, leaving late, leaving early, and the commute times will double. It’s not smart to advertise things that will cause problems. I fully expect my 15 minute early arrival this morning (despite leaving at the normal time) to be my last. Tomorrow all those people who read the articles will be back on the trains and I will be late to work.

On a happier note, Sandra of Sunshine Scribe has been sending interview questions out to various bloggers and I wanted to post our interaction for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

1. What is the first concert you ever attended?
The first concert I was at was technically a Yanni concert. I don’t know why my parents were there. They generally have pretty good taste in music. I was a small baby and cried until they had to leave. The first concert I remember was an outdoor Stevie Wonder concert. That was really awesome.

2. If you were recouperating in a hospital, who would you want in the bed next to you, excluding your relatives?
It really depends on what I am recovering from. If it was a surgery on my abdomen I would need someone not very funny, if it was for any other reason I would need a funny person. Tony doesn't count because although he is not related, he is family. I would probably say Brooke, my partner in crime from the college days. She can make me laugh or talk about the deeper philosophies of life. she probably wouldn't make too much fun of me for being in the hospital, but she might. Not to mention she plays a mean Monopoly.

3. What is your least favourite word?
Being a lover of linguistic expression I honestly can’t say that I have a least favorite word. I think every word expresses something and was put into the language for a reason. Even the words that incite riots and wars are important to me. I may not say them, but every loaded word elicits some kind of emotion and that is what living and expressing yourself is all about. Part of what makes life so tragic and so beautiful are the bad things in it. We couldn't laugh without pain. Everything has its place.

4. For what do you think you would be willing to lay down your life?
My sister is the one thing that pops into my head immediately. I have a real protective thing with that girl and hate to see her in pain. While political causes and social justice are important to me, I think that I can effect more change in those areas alive than dead (at least in this day and age). My life is pretty darn important to a lot of people.

5. What reality TV show would you kick butt on?
America’s Next Top Short Plus-Sized Model. This show obviously doesn’t exist. I don’t think I would be all that good on any reality show. I tend to have a relatively dry sense of humor and I don’t know if it would really translate well to a wide audience. I also tend to be a jerk sometimes and it would probably get me kicked off pretty quick. Once this girl dragged me along to a casting for The Real World and they asked me what I would do when embarrassed and I said I didn’t get embarrassed (which at that point was actually kind of true I made a fool of myself often and didn’t much care) because nothing was that important. A girl next to me said something about walking into a wall in front of a cute boy. I said I would get over that (I had a big habit of doing stupid things in front of a particular “cute” boy who got less cute over time) and I was telling the truth. They thought I was no fun and I got no call back. Then again, I would assume few people do.

1. What happened to/ The world we knew/ When we were dreaming, scheming/ Whiling the time away.

2. Megan/ She don’t eat bacon/ She never killed a sweet innocent little piggy to get bacon.

3. And she was lying in the grass/ And she could hear the highway breathing/ and she could see a nearby factory/ she’s making sure she isn’t dreaming. And She Was, by Talking Heads. Identified by hospital buddy Brooke.

4. It's a hard world to get a break in/ All the good things have been taken/ But girl there are ways/ To make certain things pay

5. I’ve got a delicate mind/ I’ve got a dangerous nature/ And my fist collides/ With your furniture. Regrets, by The Eurythmics. Identified by Dad (much better than Yanni)

Monday, April 02, 2007


The first Manic Monday post I wrote was about Yellow. I mentioned fighting “inner” demons with my friend Brooke and people seemed somewhat interested in more of that story. The following is an attempt to explain and will chronicle the importance of branches, today’s Manic Monday topic, in our journey.

If you have ever been on the Sarah Lawrence College campus (which I am pretty sure that few people who read this blog have been except those that I know about) you know that it is a beautiful fairy land of charm and wonder. It is the perfect setting for imaginative, albeit crazy, minds to romp and play. It is also a place, as are all college campuses, full of people slowly but surely approaching adulthood. The things that swirl in such developing minds can be somewhat, strange.

Brooke and I never did well with the whole growing up thing, we’re a little more successful now but as 30 quickly approaches we’ll see how this toughness lasts. We had a lot of demons. They would follow us around and show up at seemingly normal times like taking the train to the city before spring break, or driving through the hills of Bronxville. We knew that these demons had something to do with our future success as people and that we would, at some point, have to confront them.

They were in full force one night while we were sitting in Marshall Field, the place on campus where the mystical always happens. Once I got trapped in a dark stairwell there but that is another story. Brooke and I were peacefully minding our own business under a tree when a car started slowly screeching past us. The car was scary. It swung around and started coming back the other direction. We knew it was time to run. Unfortunately, there were demons all throughout the field. Grasping on to one another we slowly made our way through the fray and came out unscathed on the other side. However, we knew that it wasn’t over.

One day in April after a heavy storm had ransacked campus blowing branches hither and yon, we decided it was time to face our demons and gain the upper hand. We were about to graduate and we knew we couldn’t leave before settling the score. We armed ourselves with the implements of warriors. The Dragons, a forked branch with two dragon heads made of leaves rested with Brooke. I had The Flag, a branch with leaves spread out like a fan, and a cute little bug that lived on it named Homey, our mascot of the day.

We took the dragons and the flag and went back to Marshall Field to show our demons that we weren’t afraid of the life that was to come (although we were terrified). We wanted to assert that we would be strong and protect ourselves from demons trying to keep us down. We had to be victorious. When we got back to Marshall Field, the scene of the initial onslaught, we found it to be incredibly peaceful and still. We looked everywhere for the demons but they wouldn’t appear. Our strong willed determination had been enough to stop them from rearing up and trying to take us down. They knew that we could not help be victorious and chose to stay home. We walked around the would-be-battlefield, knowing we had won but not quite believing it. Then we saw them. Two huge branches had been ripped from the trees in the storm. One was about 5ft long, twisted, gnarled, and came to a fine point. There were no branches coming off of it. It was the Demon Stick, dark and evil, and all that remained of our foes. Then, there was what could only be described as a larger version of our flag, About 6ft high and 4ft wide, a huge part of a tree had been blown off. It was full of leaves and life. It was a perfect juxtaposition to the Demon Stick. These two branches symbolized the good and the evil we would face and we hoisted them up in victory and began to carry them back to our dorm on the other side of campus.

Triumphantly, we set our new flag and the demon stick up against the window of our first floor common room, much to the shock of the people inside. The Flag stood up in the center of the window and the Demon Stick lay across it diagonally forming some kind of sick and twisted coat of arms. We stepped back and looked at them with pride. We were jubilant because we felt we could take on anything at that point. We couldn’t wait until the next morning to take a picture of our spoils.

Unfortunately, the groundskeepers took our Flag and Demon Stick away long before we woke up in the morning and they were lost. We only have the memory of these spoils of war against the dark side. At least we know that nothing can touch us know, for we have conquered our demons. The branches of light and dark carried us through.

This is “Guess That Song” week. Let’s see what our first five will be

1. What happened to/ The world we knew/ When we were dreaming, scheming/ Whiling the time away.

2. Megan/ She don’t eat bacon/ She never killed a sweet innocent little piggy to get bacon.

3. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know/ Sometimes I feel like checking out/ I wanna get it wrong. Ultraviolet (more commonly known as Light My Way) by U2. Identified by Jaclyn

4. Anthony walked to his death because he thought he’d never feel this way again/ If he goes back to the house then things would go from bad to worse/ What could he do? If You're Feeling Sinister, Belle and Sebastian. Identified by Monica

5. When I see you sky as a kite/ As high as I might I can’t get that high. High, The Cure. Identified by Brooke and Monica