Tuesday, May 31, 2005

And so...
I have finally outdone myself in terms of disturbing, depressing movies to watch. I had gotten "Tarnation" from Netflix. It's a video documentary about this man's life, specifically his relationship with his mentally ill mother who underwent shock treatments as a young woman. It pulls in lots of various media including way old footage he took growing up and phone messages and whatnot. And it's incredibly sad and way powerful, but I couldn't finish watching it if that says anything. But, from reading about it, what's amazing was that the entire movie was made for $218 and Mac software.

I did notice while watching the credits that the movie was executive produced by both Gus Van Sant, though, and John Cameron Mitchell (the creator of Hedwig and the Angry Inch). What's kind of hilarious, though, was that when I took out the Netflix envelope for it, it was completely pure and untouched, unlike the usual battered Netflix envelopes that one expects. I may be one of the only people to have sent off for it.
Happy Tuesday
What an excellent long weekend. It was lazy and I didn't have my Hell Monday and it was ultra relaxed. It was odd to come back into school today and get back into the groove of things, but it's worth it to deal with the discombobulated feeling for a little while.

What happened the rest of the weekend? Sunday I did some work and then went with Todd to Wilmington to his cousin's high school graduation party. It was yooge. His family is large and there were tons of people and TONS of food. Like amazing tons of food. They even had a dj and karaoke. It was pretty awesome: especially when a five year old got up and sang "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." It occurred to us later that she had to have knew the words by heart since she sang along all the way through and it's the rare five year old that can fluently follow a karaoke teleprompter about seducing a girl in the back of a truck.

Monday was lazy, lazy, lazy. And beautiful. We left the house briefly to go to the grocery store, and then came back to Todd's and made a most excellent meal of grilled pork chops, fresh salad, peppers and onions, and baked beans. Happy Memorial Day, indeed. I even managed to take my (new) laptop onto the porch to do some work while soaking up the sunshine.

It's the last week of classes here, and it's fast forward into exam prep. I had my last session with my client today and I thought that he might throw a fiesta in honor of being done for awhile. Only two more days of classes, and then the quarter will officially wind down. Woohoo!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Happy Sunday
I didn't so much yesterday except get my draft of my paper out (Hallelujah), eat a hot dog, drink some diet coke, and call it a day. I love the weekend.

I've been long over due in linking to Kevin's updated Orchesex site, though. I'm adding a link to it to my blog as well. Be sure to check out "The Fans" link; Kevin gives lots of people, including yours truly, a shout out. The site, while still under construction, is pretty goddamn awesome. If you go under the "dance" section, and then click "choreography," you can follow stick man links to learn how do to some of the dance moves yourself. I personally like to see the stick man demonstrate "the slut crawl."

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Best Hot Dog Place Ever
Have you been to Hot Doug's? It will change your life. They have the most awesome Chicago hotdogs and then a variety of fancier sausages and hot dogs. Made of stuff like veal and duck and chicken and veggie stuff and I love them. They also have duck fat fries on Fridays and Saturdays. We went for lunch today, and the line spilled out the door onto the sidewalk, but I could totally see that it was worth the wait. I had a standard Chicago dog ($1.50 with everything on it that included celery salt, the neon green relish, caramelized onions, etc) and Todd got the hot dog that seemed to be custom made for him: it was a quarter pound dog wrapped in bacon topped with jalapeno mayo and pinto beans and probably some other stuff. Health food!

Anyway, I am definitely going to be taking future visitors to Chicago there, so watch out.

I'm working on my paper that's due next week that's on SLPs in health care settings. I'm on page three out of eight. Oy.
Back in Business
I'm using my brand new laptop to write this. It's exciting, but sad because I still miss the other one, and I'm super sad that I had to spend many dollars on this necessary item. I do like this new guy, though: he's good. The laptop that Todd helped arrange for fell through, but we hit both Microcenter and Best Buy yesterday and did some shopping around and got a nice Gateway for the same price as the HP. I feel like I'm no longer stymied, which is nice. Todd presented me with a USB Flash Memory Stick that I can wear chained to my body so I no longer have to lose all of my work in the future should something happen to this laptop. Thanks, Todd!

In other news, I should report that on Thursday night, I met up with Dave H. at Carol's Pub. I haven't seen Dave since 1990, when I left Islamabad. We were in 8th grade together and had gotten back in touch last summer where we both realized that we were each leaving DC for Northwestern (he for his PhD). He and his girlfriend live in a neighborhood just north of me. And after nine months, we had still not gotten together. He even had a weekly lab in my building on campus! But we finally got together on Thursday, and it was excellent. He's affable and hilarious (which is exactly what I was expecting) and we did some major reminiscing over 8th grade life all those 15 years ago. He told me about rumbles that occurred, various 8th grade variety romantic encounters of people we both knew and we traded memories. We also commented that it seemed like we only knew people by first and last name and descriptor. It wasn't "Jeremy," it was "Jeremy Mates who wore his boyscout uniform all the time."

I also reminded Dave about the fact that he had named his dog after Christie because of his love for her (which always tickled me since it's a sweet, true sign of devotion from a young boy), but he corrected me and told me that while he did harbor devotion for Christie, his little brother was the one who was convinced they had to name their new yellow lab after her. (Christie, all the more reason that you need to come to Chicago, so we can hang out with Dave!)

Btw, Carol's Pub is definitely my new favorite place in the world. We picked it because it was in between Andersonville, where Dave lives, and Lakeview, where I am. I had heard good things about this divey little country bar. It's dark inside with the friendliest bartenders in the world and it has country karaoke on Thursday nights. And it's cheap. We were there for several hours and I seriously spent $5. That's right, $5. Todd commented that rednecks, hipsters, and yuppies live together in peace there, and it was true--it was a diverse crowd even though the ownership bore no pretensions (there were many American flag-eagle oriented artwork hung on the walls). I love Carol's Pub and the grizzled old bartender who chatted with us while a foot-long Slim Jim hung out of his mouth.

In other news, it's a long weekend (Hooray!), and I'm camped out hoping to knock out some of the paper that's due next Thursday. It feels like a like such a luxury to have three days off. I'm grateful.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fast Work
Man, Todd is the best. He did some quick calling to his computer connection at CDW through his work, and found an available HP laptop that's fully loaded and "B Stock" (barely used, rejected by some exec as I understand it) for a low price. It's going to be delivered tomorrow to Todd's office, so I'll be able to get started on work again on my own computer tomorrow afternoon. Yay! Thank you!
Ahhh.... What can I say about it? I got home yesterday from class at 4:30 ready to get started on some work. As I walked up to the door, I noticed that our welcome mat had been pushed aside, but I didn't think much of it (maybe someone was moving, etc). I went through the motions of unlocking the door, like I do all the time, and wasn't really noticing if the locks were clicking open or what, and walked into the apartment just like any other day.

Everything looked the same, so I dropped my bookbag on my bed, and went to the dining room to turn on my laptop, but no laptop. Huh. No laptop in my bedroom either. No laptop in the living room. And that pretty much captures all of the places in which I hold my laptop. Here's where the panic began to seep in, so I quickly checked all three places again. no, no, no. Knees started shaking. Lay down on the floor to call home, and my dad coached me through calming down, calling the police, and remembering that it was not the end of the world.

What was weird was that nothing else appeared to be touched. The tv, dvd player, stereo stuff: all still there. Lee's desktop with the nice flat screen...still there too. Was I going nuts?

It isn't the end of the world, but it sucks a lot. I LOVE my laptop. I do all of my work on it. I save all of my work on it. I watch movies on it, I write email on it, I cradle it and nuzzle it before I go to bed. It's the closest thing that I have to a pet. And it's gone. (Hmmm, I should change all of those verbs to past tense now, I suppose).

Here's how my brain was working:
Omigod omigod omigod (suddenly remember that I had the hours of voice review saved on there)
OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGOD (three hours of hearing impairment review from last night)
BASTARD PEOPLE BASTARD PEOPLE BASTARD PEOPLE (all of my work from my last three quarters here including all of my lesson plans and information...plus, laptops ain't cheap and in case anyone hadn't realized, I make NO money right now).

The police were called and a nice officer came over to take the report, but we both knew that we were going through the motions. He told me that they probably waited outside the TWO security doors to get into our building, then may have jimmied their way in, and took the most expensive things that were portable that they could find. He said that they usually take dvds and cds too, but they apparently weren't interested in Lee's opera cds that were on display. The officer looked over my own dvds and said "Well, *I* think that 'The Office' is hilarious, but I don't think that's something that drug addicts are going to be able to sell very easily on the street."

What, drug addicts don't want to get all up in "Monsoon Wedding"? Come ON.

Anyway, Lee came home later that night and we walked through her room. Here's what they took:
  • $60 in cash on her dresser
  • silk scarves and costume jewelery in a nice wood box (we later found the nice wood box broken open in the dining room)
  • Her make up bag...with USED makeup

What they didn't take:

  • Our checkbooks, passports, documents
  • either of our cameras, digital and otherwise
  • all of the tv and stereo stuff
  • A Visa gift card and an unsigned American Express gift check
  • "The Office" dvds, either season

So, I'm still in mourning, and feeling seriously inconvenienced, but we actually got off pretty easy. They didn't damage our stuff, and they didn't take everything, so in a Stockholm Syndrome kinda way, I'm grateful to the bastards. Plus, noone was home when it happened, and everyone's safe. Now, if someone stole my bookbag (all of my notes, phone, wallet, keys, el card, NU card) *then* I would be royally screwed. So I'm glad that I still have that.

Tonight our landlord is changing our locks.

But the lesson? Lock very carefully and get renter's insurance in the future.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The text message that I received tonight from Matt, my old roommate, apropos of nothing:
The only rose without a thorn is friendship.

I was wondering if he had got it from a fortune cookie.

And then as I was typing this entry, and commenting about the fortune cookie-ness of it all, I got the next text:

I miss telling you my fortune cookie fortunes.

I wish that I had something interesting to write about today, but I gots nothing. Next week is the last week of the quarter and then exams. And then four days off before I start into a week long intensive class that occurs during my break. That's hilarious. I am very grateful for those four days off though without an ounce of homework to do.

I'm sitting on the futon in our living room putting together a study guide for hearing impairment, putting off doing a paper, and watching "Britney and Kevin" in the background. You other people better be watching this travesty as well. It's seriously what I was looking forward to today.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Last Hell Monday of the Quarter is Officially Over!
Praise the Lord, y'all.

Plus, it's almost bedtime now. Things don't really get much better than that.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

100% Awesome Spring Weekend
Man, the weather has finally arrived. It's in the 70s and sunny here and just hands-down lovely. It was a good weekend as well.

Friday, Todd threw a housewarming/belated birthday party at his new place and it was a cozy, warm gathering filled with many beverages and snacks. Megan wheeled over a cooler filled with two divine homemade ice cream cakes put together by her pastry chef roommate. Need I say more? It was quite lovely.

Saturday was lazy and spent mostly on the couch, either doing homework or watching tv. That evening I went with Todd to his cousin's wedding reception in Lemont (?), IL. It was held at a swanky country club and it was a classy affair. After a seventeen-course dinner we hung out outside on the patio in the unbelievably gorgeous weather. It was cool, and the sky was a pretty dark blue, and it smelled like spring nights and carefree feelings. I talked to one of Todd's many uncles when we stood by the bar. The conversation was as follows:

UB: Todd's my favorite, you know.
K: Yeah, he's a great guy.
UB: Do you get his sense of humor?
K: I think that I do. I like it.
UB: Good. Anyone who doesn't get it is pretty much a jackass.

Well said!

We drove back with the sunroof open and listened to American Analog Set and it was pretty much perfect.

Today was pretty great too. This morning we watched another in a string of Awful Movies (the Tori Spelling masterpiece, "Mother May I Sleep with Danger"). The sun peeked out around noon, and we strolled around Bucktown, stopping at the Map Room for some coffee. Then to Roscoe Village to the Village Tap for an early dinner and to watch the Cubs beat the Sox. And now I'm home working on stuff for the week, and celebrating in the knowledge that tomorrow is my last Hell Monday of the quarter. I think I'll have to fricking throw a party when tomorrow is over.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Happy Friday everyone.
The sun has shown its face, it's warming up, and the Sox and the Cubs are playing eachother today so the neighborhood is teeming with people.

But, the exciting news is that Brendan, our cruise ship man, has a blog! I also added the link to my link sections.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'm spending tonight trying to work on little things, getting lesson plans prepared for tomorrow, hoping to tackle some stuff for Monday. It's hard to get motivated, since all I want to do is lie around and watch Netflix. I think I grow more exhausted with age; it's not a good thing.

While Grace was here, we took her to Reckless Records, one of the chain of independent music shops in Chicago. Grace and Todd are both very savvy about the indie music so buzzed around, but I usually scurry over to check out their used dvd racks. I did find a used version of the 3-cd YLT compilation called "Prisoners of Love" (actually, Todd found it and pointed it out to me). It was only $13 since it was used...for three cds!

I am in love.

I've been listening to the first two cds nonstop and they are the best. Especially perfect for rainy evenings like this.
Chicago crime
An easy resource at Chicagocrime.org!
The best is the crime map where you can look up your area to see what happened there. There's a lot of "criminal damage" in my area. Better lock up tight tonight.

(Thanks to Charles for the link!)
For Todd
The all bacon sandwich.

(via tmn)
Happy Birthday to Desiree Duke!
Girl, hope that you're celebrating with the best of them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Happy Birthday to Kevin on this fine day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Did anyone else watch that Britney Spears/Kevin Federline reality show on UPN tonight?
You know I did. James, I bet that you did too. It was pretty terrible. Like, even more terrible than I expected. I'm not sure whether to rejoice...or rejoice.

Des and Bry's new puppy. Just shoot me now: so cute is slays me. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 16, 2005

Best Comcast guy EVER!
Man, I seriously had the best call possible to a cable company. I had to call because our Internet wasn't working and I had to check on how to change the name on the account from Jenny's to my own. Last time that Jenny talked to someone, they told us that we would have to fill out a form for a name change and said form is very confusing, so I was calling for help on that too.

All of the times I've talked to someone at a cable company it's been completely fruitless and confusing, and tonight I got the God of Help Personnel. He was totally nice, and he changed my name right away on the account (no mention of a form), and walked me through fixing our Internet connection. It was so efficient and unconfusing. John at Comcast is the best.
A Conversation with my older brother

(as the conversation wound down)

K: Congratulations on the new space. That's great news.

R: We don't have it yet, wait to congratulate me when it happens.

K: Well, I'm congratulating you now.

R: Well, then, good job on getting your Master's degree.

K: Congratulations on your marriage.

R: Happy Birthday.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Vroom-vrooming through town
Grace just left this afternoon after a most excellent weekend in Chicago. She arrived on Friday night and was lucky enough to have her flight delayed, poor girl. She got in around 10, and then we took the el over to the Green Eye Lounge to meet up with Brendan and Todd. We lucked out with Brendan since he actually took off for his summer gig today, and while we only stuck around for a drink or two, a good time was had by all.

Saturday was another day of amazing weather, and after lunching at Ann Sather, Grace, Todd, and I took the bus down to the Magnificent Mile, so Grace could marvel at the magnificence of it all. We walked down Michigan Avenue and ducked into the Art Institute for a little while to soak up the art. That evening, we went to the Tiny Lounge (tiny, as it promised, and a little chichi) and Grace's friends from Japan who live in Chicago came out to meet us. After that we went over to the Dram Shop on Broadway, and hung out for a little bit before gas officially ran out.

Today was a day of laziness. We slept in, ate leftovers, and watched terrible tv. Just how I like to spend a Sunday morning. Grace took off this afternoon, and I later made dinner with Todd, and am now home and about to crash. Sunday nights are so bittersweet! But, only two more Sunday nights left to this quarter, since in two weekends, we get a long weekend for Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Happy Birthday to James today!
He's celebrating by working on a paper tonight, lucky man.

Major CONGRATS to Suzi for finishing with everything school related today!
I am so very proud of you and so very envious! I hope that you spent the next few weeks taking her easy since you deserve it in a major way.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

About who won the Amazing Race:

80 today!
I'm thrilled about it.
I woke up extra early with some time to blog, but I don't got much to say. Except that I watched all of "Nanny 911" last night...and I cried a little. I wish that I were lying. See, the nannies went over to this family's house in California, there were 23 adopted boys still in the house--many of them with severe issues or disabilities--and the dad himself was a quadraplegic, so mom did everything. And she was awesome. So, the nannies went over to stay for a few days to give mom and dad a vacation. And the nannies were humbled and moved (hey, as was I!).

I went back into the archives and a year ago today I was reporting that Annie and I had gone to see Davy Rothbart read for FOUND a day before. I cannot believe that was a year ago. Seriously: it was spring in DC, and I can still taste what the weather was like, remember the drive, and all of those little details. It seems like last month. This year has flown.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Hey, it was in warm today!
Today's weather was gorgeous. It must have been in the late seventies at least. Yesterday was supposed to be 78, but it definitely wasn't. I went with Todd to see the Cubs plays the Phillies and we each brought light jackets figuring that it wouldn't be that cold. We were wrong. It was FREEZING. Besides being not warm, we were in the shade and caught all of the wind off of the lake while sitting in Wrigley. It was hilariously cold. We would watch a couple of innings and then run downstairs to the food area, out of the wind, and stand by the pretzel warmer to capture the heat off the heat lamp. It was pretty patheti-sad. The Cubs didn't win, but we did get to hear Will Ferrell and Mike Ditka sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for the seventh inning stretch.

But, the big news is that Clarence and Jonathan were in Chicago this past weekend! On Friday night we met up for dinner and wandered around Boystown a little and I showed them in apartment in progress. Saturday evening we met up and went to Devon, the Indian neighborhood on the northside of Chicago. We wandered into a nice restaurant called Tiffin, which was a little more upscale than the lower-rent places in the neighborhood, but it was still reasonably priced and it was *awesome*. Future visitors: alert me and we will go there to dine when you come. Yum. Clarence and Jonathan also spent the day checking out various other ethnic neighborhoods in the city (Greektown and Chinatown), so I think that they got to taste many of the good Chicago foods.

Today, Clarence took off for French Canada early in the morning, so we met up with Jonathan to brunch in Lakeview and then walked over to the lake and walked along Belmont Harbor. It was the perfect day for it. I am endlessly happy that spring has finally sprung in Chicago...for now at least.

And that's the news here. I'm reading some voice and putting off doing a project due later this week. As I do.

Todd and me Posted by Hello

Jonathan and me  Posted by Hello

Jonathan by the lake Posted by Hello

Warming up by the pretzel machine. Posted by Hello

The Cubs/Phillies game on Saturday. Check out the fog on the buildings. It was freezing. Posted by Hello
A Happy Mother's Day to my most excellent mom!
I heard that Erik made her breakfast in bed, so I'm glad that one of the kids could represent.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Midterms done? Check.
Three midterms finished! Hooray. Yesterday was the final two and it was a long, long, sapping day, but I managed to get through relatively unscathed. School is crazy too since there are staff changes before the end of the quarter and it adds to the upheaval. Oh well: bring it on. All I have today is my client session, and I hope the little dude is in the mood to say his good words today.

Clarence and Jonathan arrive in Chicago tonight, though, which makes the weekend very exciting. Plus, tomorrow is a Cubs game. And it's supposed to be in the 70s this weekend. Things are looking up!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Happy Birthday to Bryan!
Cinco de Mayo Baby.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Who lied?
Everyone told me that grad school is fun. It's totally unfun! I mean, objectively I'm happy I'm in the program when I look at how much I've learned in the past eight months, but I won't lie and say that I'll be sad when it's over. Because this kind of sucks. Yes, my attitude is bad right now.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

One exam down, two to go!
Yahoo! It was back to back class, session, and rigorous exam yesterday and by the end of it, I was a rather sapped shell of a girl. I managed to bounce back, though, and treated myself by letting myself study in front of trashy television. Did you know that there are TWO different nanny shows on Monday nights? Weird. It was also clear to me that I've been too fricking steeped in SLP studies that while I was watching one of the nannies talk in a cockney kinda accent, I thought to myself: "Hmmm, she is substituting final thetas for /f/s."

Monday, May 02, 2005

The wine/cake party for Laura this past Saturday (thanks to Katie for the picture) Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Happy Belated Birthday to Laura...
...who turned 26 yesterday. Lucky girl!

In other news, this weekend is coming to a quick, screeching halt, as usual. Sad stuff. This week is going to be rather hellish, but I'm eager to get this shite over with. What was this weekend composed of, besides studying?

1. Wedding reception in Joliet, IL with Todd on Friday evening. It was a nice reception but it took us like two hours to get out there, what with Chicago traffic and all.

2. Laura's birthday dessert/wine celebration held by Megan in Evanston. We had to miss the tapas night she was having afterward because of...

3. Brooke's improv show late Saturday evening. Brooke and her improv group were in town from LA to perform at the Chicago improv festival. I haven't seen Brooke since college graduation, and I also got to see Amy at the show, who I also haven't seen since graduation. Crazy.

4. Lee's choir performed a Concert for Peace at the Broadway Methodist Church here on Broadway. It was pretty awesome: the choir is knockout good, and they did some rocking South African numbers that were lively and fun and made for an excellent study break.

Now I'm about to go off and study some voice and find some dinner. Go ahead and ask me about the glottis, I'm all over it.