Thursday, August 30, 2007


I discovered when I stepped on the scale yesterday that the two pounds of cheese curds I had consumed in Wisconsin had somehow magically transferred themselves to my hips. What can I say, you can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take the cheese-lust out of the girl. So I decided I'd better go out and get some exercise. I rode my bike down the Lake Shore Bike Trail, a pretty little route between Lake Shore Drive and, um, the lake, and made it about halfway to downtown. The trick to bike riding, for me at least, is to figure out what your halfway point is: where do you turn around if you don't want to arrive back home completely wiped and unable to get upstairs? I thought I was doing better than expected, but I turned around at the marina anyway. It was a good job I did, since the kindly breeze that was cooling me off as I sped happily downtown had turned into a raging gale of torrential wind which prevented me from making any sort of headway. Also, I'm convinced the grade is slightly uphill all the way. Just very slightly. I felt kind of foolish as I was consistently passed by bikers who were traveling with apparent ease, also, old people, on their way to work or wherever. But I enjoyed being by the lake and getting outside for a change. Now, all I have to do is let my sitzbones heal, and I might even be able to do it again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Paradise Minocqua

My parents, sensing I might be upset about being unemployed, suggested that I go camping with them, so that's where I've been last week. I'm sorry I left without a word, and I appreciate all the supportive emails. We were planning on going to visit the southwestern part of Wisconsin, only it was raining there (as you may have heard) so we ended up driving north, north, north until we got to Minocqua and Lake Tomahawk. I love Minocqua, it's one of my favourite parts of the world, even though it was still pretty grey for awhile. We took a boat cruise on the Wisconsin River and saw bald eagles. And stopped in numerous taverns, which is the reason why I've eaten about two pounds of fried cheese curds in the past week. Love cheese curds. LOVE EM.

So I had a relaxing week, and a bit of a vacation, and now I'm back in Chicago, figuring out what the hell to do next. Why is it everytime I lose a job I have an existential crisis about what to DO with my LIIIfE? I've been looking for jobs and polishing up the ol' resume, also, writing, so at least I haven't been bored. More news when I get it.

Meanwhile, Alberto Gonzalez is "resigning." Interesting.

Friday, August 17, 2007


It was not the firing itself that was so upsetting, but rather the attempt to make me feel better by saying "You're very good at creative writring, but this isn't creative writing." Only--"creative writing" was said so dismissively that I felt like launching myself across the desk and slapping someone in the face.

So. Unemployed.

No friends (right here).

Dislike Chicago.

New play=half finished.

Glass of water=half full.

Sayonara office.

And it's going to be be a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

action stations!

Mr. S is gone this week, and some of my coworkers have taken it upon themselves to let me know how terrible I'm doing, also, that I'm not qualified for this job, and implying that I'm "just a writer." I was upset earlier, now I'm mad. Because I can do this--I DO do this, I just also happen to be learning on the job, so when I make mistakes it's because I've never done this before, not because I'm an idiot.

This reminds me of Nelson. British naval tradition dictated that there must be a strict hierarchy--even going into battle, the commander's word was law. You sailed in a line against the enemy's line, and the boss gave the signal to attack, retreat, whatever. This would be done by semaphore flag or, occasionally, shouting. After awhile smoke would make it hard to see, so you can imagine how chaotic things would get. Basically, Nelson got famous for flouting this tradition (also, pounding the hell out of the enemy, when gentlemen were only supposed to "best" one another), but also believed in the intelligence of his men. Before the battle of Trafalgar, he had numerous meetings with the other captains to explain his plan to them, over and over and over again until they could recite it in their sleep. Also, he had enough faith in them to say "Pick a ship, knock the snot out of it, and you won't be doing the wrong thing." I'm paraphrasing, of course, but the point is, is that he had enough sense to understand that the men in his command were intelligent enough to make intelligent decisions about their immediate situations.

Anyway. I'm paranoid my efforts this week will get back to Mr. S. via these people who are determined to see the worst in me, and he will realise he made a mistake hiring someone who was not trained to do this job, and I will be back on the street. I wouldn't miss most of my coworkers. I'd miss the one who gave me an article in Lithuanian and told me that Hitler actually saved his country from Stalin. But I like Mr. S, and I like working hard for HIM, so we'll see what happens when he gets back. If the worst happens, at least I'll be free to...ah, crap. Free to start over again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

no one sees what yr doin' thar

I want you all to imagine a pack of cats with their faces pressed against a window paying VERY close attention as the fishmonger walks by.

That's the attitude I've had ever since I heard Karl Rove was resigning from the Bush administration. Handing in his crown, so to speak. I've always been dimly aware that Karl Rove was evil, but lately I've been reading the career-spanning articles, and I'm slightly shocked at how methodical and overarching this man's agenda has been. Nothing less than the overthrow of two-party government? I am horrified--as you know, not the biggest fan of the current administration, but a big fan of American Democracy in general--had the man succeeded, I may have had to wage guerrilla warfare. Thank God for the Iraq War. No--wait--I mean, thank God the righteous right shot themselves in the foot. Of course, it may still come to republican (republican meaning French Revolution) fighting in the streets. Curse the American practicality of eliminating cobblestones! We will have to throw SUVs at them!

What was I saying? Oh--right--so, the evil mastermind is leaving his post, and I am happy, but still impatiently waiting for the day when Nancy Pelosi will rise, Marianne-like (what is it with me and La Revolution today?!) and lead us against the Reign of Terror. (I guess that would make Bush Robespierre. Robespierre shot himself in the face, fyi. Lived to be guillotined, but still.) Democrats of the World! We put you in office for a reason! Knock off this partisan shit and get some stuff accomplished! You have been put on notice.

Karl Rove is Evil here and here.

In other news--Zac Efron, recent love of my life and star of "Hairspray" apparently has a torrid past. Before acting brilliantly in a John Waters-inspired movie adaptation of a hit Broadway show, he was in (wait for it) HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL which I refuse to see on the basis of a) it's a craptacular Disney made for TV movie for God's sake, and b) if your kids are old enough to want to watch musicals, they are old enough for West Side Story. I am torn, however. I want more of Zac Efron singing and dancing (and may I just point out he is eighteen, thankyouverymuch), but the only place I'm going to get it is in--you guessed it--crappy HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. DAR.

In other news, I think I'm almost over the hangover I picked up somewhere between midnight and four AM Saturday night at my brother's wedding reception. Damn. I did manage to stay on the dance floor as long as my younger cousins, but probably only because I couldn't really feel my legs at that point. Damn. Congrats, bro. I'm so glad you're only getting married once, because I have no more brain cells to spare.

Friday, August 10, 2007

"I thought we were going to go get those Sharks!"

"Not without three years jazz/tap we're not!"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Nobody here is interested in Nelson, including my therapist

I can barely be excited about the fact that I am now a published author. Not one, but TWO of my sparkling gems now reside on the internet:

Everything was Ragtime A review of the book, the movie, the play.


On the Beach A scene for two that happens on a beach. Maybe.


Right--off now. I heard a rumor that there are Turners at the place with the art.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Put Out the Fire

How did this happen?! The AFL-CIO (that’s a labor union) hosted a HUGE debate last night, with most of the Democratic nominees, right here in Chi-town, at Soldier Field!! And I missed it! I didn’t even know anything was going on until I watched the news last night. (Yes, I have a TV right now, which only gets five channels, one of which is, grrr, Fox news, so I don’t watch it much) If only I’d known! I could have gone down there and protested! Why? Why not! At least I could have stood sullenly in front of the “dead-baby-picture-anti-abortion” people, who provided the most priceless soundbite of the evening:

Reporter: Why are you here?
Blonde soccer-mom with two kids: Because it’s wrong. It’s just wrong.

Sure. And making little Brendan and Blair stand outside in ninety-degree heat waving signs that have pictures of aborted fetuses on them is PERFECTLY OKAY.

Compared with the relatively intelligent sounding college student who was out holding a sign that said “Troops Home Now:”

Student: “We’ve heard a lot about bringing some of the troops home, or keeping a small troop presence over there permanently, but what we’re saying is, is it’s time to bring everyone home. That’s what we want: all the troops home from Iraq.”

Easy. Simple. Like the Temperance Movement in the early last century what got Prohibition passed.

Meanwhile, inside, the candidates were vying for the support of the largest labor-union in America. The AFL-CIO has said they’re not ready to declare support for one candidate yet, fair enough, but I think it was great that they hosted a debate so their members could see the candidates firsthand and get to hear what they had to say. For the record, the union also invited the Republican nominees, but no one responded. Since I didn’t see the whole debate (I gotta start watching some of these pretty soon) I’m under the impression that a lot of the talk centered around rebuilding America’s “infrastructure” which means perhaps, oh, I don’t know, fixing New Orleans or maybe rebuilding some of those Eisenhower-era bridges. As opposed to rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure.

Barack Obama has come under a lot of heat lately for saying things which—while very refreshing—aren’t exactly politically astute. I’m thinking here of his statements last month where he said he would meet unconditionally with leaders from countries who don’t follow US policies, like President Musharref from Pakistan or Hugo Chavez from Venezuela. (I hope I got that right—I didn’t google them this time…) Then there was the statement that he would attack terrorist groups within Pakistan without that country’s permission, if he had “actionable intelligence,” whatever the hell THAT means. I was slightly stunned at the sudden hawkish turn of events, yet…refreshed that someone had the ovaries to come out and say what we’re all thinking instead of dancing around the topic. (Paging Prez. W…Prez. W to the red button, plez…) Hilary Clinton seized on what he said last night, saying (I paraphrase) “Well, it’s easy to make statements like that, but you have to be careful, because things change, and we have a long way to go yet.” (update-I found the quote here: Warning that Pakistan has nuclear weapons that could be used against U.S. interests in a post-Musharraf world, Clinton added: "You can think big, but remember you shouldn't always say everything you think if you're running for president, because it has consequences across the world. And we don't need that right now." )

Part of me wanted to jump on her for basically telling Obama how to do his job, part of me wanted to tell Obama to be more of a politician so he would get elected. But then, if he was more of a politician, he wouldn’t be Barack Obama. I really don’t like Hilary Clinton, she seems as though she’s always judging her actions to ensure she’s making the right movements. Politically we get along fine, although I would have said “Chicago, I’m your candidate!” instead of “Chicago, I’m your girl!” I just wish she wouldn’t forget there are a WHOLE lot of liberals out there who need convincing to vote for HER. After eight years of the Evil Empire, we’ll vote for anyone left of Attila the Hun, but we won’t LIKE IT unless she convinces us.

I know this is already WAAAAY too long for a blog that purports to be about my fabulous self livin’ the high life in the Windy City, but I also wanted to talk about guns today. Last Monday night the Chicago police shot an 18 year old dead, after claiming that he had waved a gun at them, then run away. This latest death is just one more in a loooong line of recent shootings. At least, it feels to me that there has been a lot of gun violence lately, but that could be because I’m used to England where there is violence, yes, but not so many guns. But watching the family and friends of this latest victim hold a rally outside the station where the police officers are stationed, I want an answer to their question: When is it going to end? When are the police in this city going to stop abusing their own people? Of course, I don’t want to defend people who are legitimately defending themselves—but shooting a suspect in the back while he’s running away from you seems slightly, uh, unjustified. The other side of the coin, of course, is a society that is armed to the teeth, which leads to the police suspecting and fearing everyone. The police chief has gone on record as saying the suspect adjusted his waistband, which officers take to be a sign that they are armed. Well, hello, have you seen the fashions lately? TRY and keep your pants up without adjusting your waistbands these days. Hell, even I do it.

No, the problem to me seems to be the one that the NRA and the gun lobby don’t want you to hear: that guns themselves are the cause of violence. It really is a spiral, going from armed officers to armed citizens, but if we take away ALL the guns, then NO ONE gets to play. The other option, the one we have today which clearly isn’t working, has led to suspicion between police and the people they are sworn to protect, so that both groups seem more interested in protecting themselves from the other, instead of working together to root out the truly “bad” elements in society.

I was thinking about buying some Mace the other day—women have been attacked in a neighborhood nearish enough to mine to give me pause—but I decided against it because I don’t want to carry a weapon. I may be afraid, but I’m not going to start carrying something that will give me a false sense of confidence or security. Basically, I don’t want to be part of the problem.

PS: Mace is also illegal in England. Hmmm….

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I say...

"when people ask me what I'm bringing to a party, I say, 'I'm bringing the AWESOME!'"

I had a great weekend this week, despite the fact I got stood up on Friday and spent most of Saturday catching up on my sleep. (Two unrelated events.) I re-read Harry Potter 7--the review is coming, so y'all better hurry up and finish--and I went to see the Simpsons movie on Sunday. I thought it was great, especially all the little side jokes to the fans of the show. Truly, the show but in a longer format--but hey, what's wrong with that? I also loved the character of Colin. Because we all know if you are a musical Irish kid who's into saving the planet, odds are on that your father is Bono.

But the best part about this cinema is that its right next to the bookstore that is the Muggle-bookstore-equivalent of Ollivander's wand shop. Think books stacked on each other to create shelves which are stacked with more books, hung with masks, posters, busts of George Washington, McDonald's toys, prints of WWII sailors, commemorative statuettes of's a maze AND a firetrap and I love it. This time I found a book called "Memoirs of Emma, Lady Hamilton, The Friend of Lord Nelson, and the Court of Naples," which was written in 1910, and based largely on her own letters. From this book I have learned two things: 1, Emma could not spell to save her life. 2, in 1910 the world was STILL not ready to deal with Emma's sexual climbing. Whereas I once attended a workshop entitled "Sex in Nelson's London" this book neatly skates over ANYTHING that might hint at flaring ankles or laviscious dropped handkerchiefs. It's a bit like watching "Pride and Predjudice" and turning your moral meter down so that you're completely scandalized when Lydia walks out in her bloomers.

ANYWAY, the whole point of that last paragraph is just to say that the thing that is driving me crazy is the print on the front of the book, which is an engraving of "Admiral Nelson Dancing With Lady Hamilton at the English Embassy, Naples" by H.G. Glindoni. I think to myself "I would like this on my desktop--it will make a nice change from "The Fighting Temeraire is tugged to her last Berth to be Broken Up" by Turner. But when I go online, I cannot find it ANYWHERE! ANYWHERE, I tell you! Even the artist is shrouded in mystery, Wikipedia being staggeringly ignorant about him. Now I'm picqed. I want to know where this painting is and, more importantly, how I can get my hands on a copy, because it's a nice picture. Inoffensively historical, appropriate for bathrooms and your better sort of B&B. I will have it.

In the meantime, something by Glindoni for all you fan fans out there:

and, for all you flan fans:

Meanwhile, I'm off to the library.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"and if they try and stop us, Seaweed, I'll call the en-double-ay-see-pee"

I am not a football fan, but I am a dog fan, so I've been following this Michael Vick case with some interest. One of the interesting aspects of the case is how the animal rights community has made Vick their new posterboy. Most animal rights activists are white, by the way. So when you see a picture of Vick entering courtrooms, you see a large group of white protesters waving signs at him, and opposing them are champions of justice...who are largely black people asking for the right for a black person to receive a fair trial in this country. And yesterday I read an opinion article where the author was fuming about how the NAACP is "protecting" Michael Vick , the dog-abusing murderous scum. They were angry that a group would close ranks merely because of the colour of a person's skin.

Gentle readers, personal opinions aside, Michael Vick is innocent until proven guilty. THAT'S what the NAACP is protecting--the right for someone to be judged in a courtroom, not on the streets outside by a pack of wild animal rights activists. I'm not fighting for Vick's right to abuse dogs, but I am fighting for his right to a fair trial. Regardless of skin colour.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

43%...and gaining

I just read in the latest opinion poll that Senator Clinton is ahead of Senator Obama for the Democratic National Party's nomination for 2008, 43% to 22%. Part of me is sad that the Chosen Candidate is behind, but then again, I don't feel like I'm losing, because if she wins, we get a woman in the White House! Whoo! And Obama can try again in eight years. Or--better yet, esteemed Senator from New York, how about picking Obama as your running mate? You're complaining about Obama's lack of experience, well what better way to get him experienced up than by making him VP?

I was seriously considering buying an Obama T-shirt the other day (they have ones priced at $20.08--cuuuuute), but the website makes clear that this is a campaign donation, and I just don't know if I'm ready for that kind of a commitment yet. What I really need is a T-shirt that says "Obama For President! (but Hilary's OK too!)" Because seriously, at this point, it's like having M&Ms on your ice-cream sundae because they're out of crushed Oreos.

OMG I TOTALLY DID NOT MEAN IT LIKE THAT. hahahahaha.... I mean....uh, oops. :)Oh my God, I am going to hell.

Meanwhile, in other news, the Sunni faction of the Iraqi Cabinet, about six ministers in all, have resigned due to the fact that the Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki, has not met the goals established by their political party. I don't understand how resigning from the government is going to help you establish your goals any better, unless you're planning on setting up your own governing body in, say a Sunni stronghold and then seceding from the Union, but at first read this kind of felt like the Sunnis got sand kicked on them and were now taking their ball and going home. I hope I'm not coming across as impatient and derisive, but in my opinion I would want to stick around, if for no other reason than to see what's going down. I'm fairly certain that eventually Iraq is going to end up being several smaller countries, but at this point the US is holding the country together at gunpoint, so it is probably best to stay close to where the action is. (lest you think I'm being insensitive, read a better article about Iraq bipartisan ship here.)

No noose is good noose, as Mel Brooks once said, but I also hear tell that the President W and Secretary of War-oops-I-mean-State Rice are planning on selling weapons to certain states in the Middle East to help them combat terrorists. Among the states listed are Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and (potentially) Pakistan. I'm sure when this idea was starting to make the rounds someone brought up that one time we sold arms to Afghanistan and Iraq, possibly with the comment that surely things will certainly go better this time. Arg.