Sunday, July 31, 2005

Producto Robot
I've been rather impressed with myself this weekend. A list of what I managed to accomplish so far, and it's only 2pm on Sunday:

1.) Vacuum and clean the living room.
2.) Do three loads of laundry and change the sheets. I even washed a towel.
3.) Have an awesome dinner with Katja and Tom. After a day of helping a friend move, Katja still managed to cook a big dinner for four that included artichoke as an appetizer. I'd never had artichoke whole before: it was a fun process of peeling and dipping and tossing.
4.) Meet up with Laura and Hillary to take the Addison bus to Hot Doug's for lunch and then to Target to purchase some crafty supplies for a project due on Monday. Proceeded to wander around the mammoth two-floor Target for an hour. That place is overwhelming, dude. We needed to buy velcro and it took us the entire time to find it.
5.) Order more checks from my bank.
6.) Pay a couple of bills.
7.) Take a long leisurely jog along the lake front to North Avenue Beach.
8.) Work on aforementioned project and finish it before the end of the day.
9.) Meet up with Carol, my old boss, for dinner. She's in town for work so took me out to dinner. We had tuna steak BLTs which are nothing short of splendid.
10.) Watch "Pulp Fiction" on Bravo; I was mostly curious to see what they would do to it. It was a very brave thing of them to try to tackle that movie to make it TV-friendly. I would guess that entire portions were removed. There's no gimp in it, even. Now, why take out the gimp? If you're going to excise him from the story then you might as well scrap trying to show the movie.
11.) Buy toilet paper.
12.) Ready lessons for tomorrow morning, and put together data from last week's sessions.
13.) Walk over to Trader Joes, battling the Cubs game crowds in the meantime. I waded through them at about 12 or so, and people were already wheeling and spinning with drunkenness. Impressive.
14.) Purchase much needed wheat bread and milk from TJs and also some pine nuts and hummus. I know that I've said it before, but again, I fricking love the crap out of that store. The pinenuts at the Jewel down the street are $7.50 a bag and at TJs they're $3.50. A four dollar savings, my friends, makes for a happy Kristin.
15.) Start reading Reading Lolita in Tehran. It's pretty good so far, and I feel like I'm learning more about interpreting Nabakov than Iranian life for women.
16.) Chat with my parents, Anne, Des, and Robin.

...and there's still more that will be done! Todd's coming back from his trip to the lake tonight so I'll get to catch up with his sun-burnished self.

Time to make a big old salad for lunch. I'll be eating it with a self-satisfied expression on my face, I'm sure.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

An article in The New Yorker about Roald Dahl, why kids love his stories, "and many adults don't."

I hope the day never comes when I would be disheartened by Roald Dahl's children's books. They're some of the greatest things on the planet.
I kiss you!

Not sure if this is for real or not, but it's still my favorite thing of the day.

The weather, starting yesterday, has been nothing short of amazing. It's cool and sunny and sharp and feels like the first the first day of autumn.

So on Tuesday night I had a late dinner with one of my former students from Beijing who's now in Chicago with her husband and has been for the past few months. I haven't seen her since January 2001, so it's been about four and a half years now. Through Suzi, correspondence sparked up again, resulting in the reunion on Tuesday evening. Ting (formerly Alice) and her husband live a 20 minute walk away from me in a sweet little apartment and she cooked up a huge Chinese feast. Pretty amazing.

Last night I went with Hillary, Lauren, Laura and Megan to Ravinia to go and see Elvis Costello and Emmy Lou Harris perform. Ravinia is one of those places like Wolf Trap in DC where most of the people who attend concerts buy lawn seats where you spread out a blanket, crack open a bottle of wine and put together a superb feast. The concert was sold out and the enormous span of grass was covered with groups of friends on blankets. Amazingly, Ting and Brad were three blankets away from me. (Also amazingly, one of our clinic supervisors happened to be sitting at the blanket right next to us; I felt kind of bad for her since I'm sure the last thing she wanted to do was to see the mugs of the students that she sees day in and out). We commented to eachother that if you were an underage drinker, Ravinia would be the place to go. You just buy tickets to a concert that chances are no groups of roving teenagers would attend, come loaded down with wine, and you would just blend in with the masses. Noone was checking.

The concert itself was perfect experience. Ravinia is a well-run machine where buses run constantly between the parking lots and the festivals, and if concerts happen to not be sold out, you get in free with a student ID. Last night the weather was cool and the night was clear. Elvis Costello and Emmy Lou Harris sounded great (Emmy Lou Harris did a cover of my favorite Willie Nelson song as well, "Pancho and Lefty!"). We had the most amazing spread of cheeses, dips and wines. We found an excellent spot under a tree, close to the pathway and relatively close to the bathrooms. Everything went flawlessly, and it tasted like freedom.

Ah, that taste was fleeting, though. This morning it's back to the grindstone. I woke up this morning feeling pretty well-rested, though, and relatively ready to attack the day.
Happy Birthday, Annie!
Hope that you celebrate with some delicious Carvel ice cream (in cake form, preferably).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hurray, the rain has come and with it...the cooler weather. There is actually a cool breeze coming through our windows. I am absolutely ecstatic.
Happy Birthday, Dad!
He's on vacation right now. Lucky!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Happy One Year Anniversary to Bryan and Des!
They married a year ago this past weekend. I can't believe that a year has passed so quickly, but I can believe what an awesome couple you are. So congratulations from both me and Anne (who was not able to get enough time on a computer to send separate congrats)!
Another weekend...
...passed! How did that happen, pray tell? Regardless, it was a nice laid back weekend. And the upcoming week won't be terribly difficult, but I've lost my momentum for work and am eager to tackle the summer and its lack of responsibility. Yay! Three more weeks left to the quarter.

Anyway, on Friday we went to go and see Holy Roman Empire play at the Mutiny, everyone's favorite dive bar. They have these enormous mini pitchers for the low, low price of $5. Best deal in town. However, Todd tried to buy a bottle of beer (something fancier than your standard Budweiser) and it also cost $5. So you need to choose carefully at the Mutiny apparently.

Saturday after another excellent lunch at Hot Doug's (which we've both decided is our most favoritest place in town if not the world) I tagged along with Todd as he did his first round of car-shopping. We stopped at three different places, which offered the whole spectrum of salesmanship. It's like in "The Little Prince" where you go and visit different little planets, each dealership offering its own experience.

At the tail end of one of the visits, the relatively reasonable salesguy insisted on bringing his manager over. The manager proceeded to give an extremely condescending lecture complete with graphs on why Todd would be stoopid to consider any other kind of car. Todd listened politely, but it was obvious that he wasn't buying what the guy was selling. I don't know if the guy couldn't read body language, or if he thought that Todd was young and/or naive and/or dumb, but it was a bad call on his part because that pretty much forced the decision that no car would be bought from this dealership. My question is: does this work ever? Who does it work with and why?

Today it was over 100 in Chicago, which means that nothing was to be accomplished. I hear that the heat wave will be cracking soon, which I hope is to be the truth.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Best thing that I've read all day
The types of stories my mother tells.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

There are no words
I went with Laura, Lauren, Hillary and Trisha to see "March of the Penguins" tonight. Oh lordy.

First of all, I will preface this to say that both Annie and my dad called me up urging me to run, not walk, to see this movie. And they were so right.

Let's just say that I need a baby penguin in my arms five minutes ago. I was almost in physical pain watching the scenes when they finally ducked out from under their various parental belly folds to waddle and feed and tumble and get fat.
News of the week
I love my easy week. Today I only have one client session in the afternoon and a half hour meeting and that's it. I know. But I'm sticking around Evanston in order to watch "March of the Penguins," about which I'm very excited.

In other news, I got caught in the major thunderstorm coming home from campus yesterday. I stood there at the gym for twenty minutes waiting it out, but I was wrong about the timing so was thoroughly soaked by the time I got onto the train.

Last night we went to see Vamplifier play at the Double Door. $3 tickets since Todd knows the singer, Scott. I applaud the concept of $3 tickets.

So, that's my week so far: not too exciting but not too shabby at all.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Arnold the crime fighting pig has passed away. He was also 450 pounds. Oh my gah.

(via os)
Best thing that I've heard all day...
Dark chocolate may help to lower blood pressure.
I love me some dark chocolate.

Cuteness Alert Level: RED Posted by Picasa
A Stick of Butter
I'm excited that Mei Xiang had a wee baby panda that the Washington Post describes as "the size of a stick of butter." Too much. Check out the Post's Panda Watch.

I didn't find any pictures when I went poking around the Post, but Kevin has a picture on his blog today of a couple of newborn babies and I will submit that freshly born baby pandas may not be the world's cutest things.

But when I google "baby pandas" I came up with a site following Hua Mei, a baby panda born at the San Diego Zoo in 1999. I downloaded some especially adorable pictures for your enjoyment.
Wandering the stacks
I took the el down to the Harold Washington Library today downtown and I am now the proud owner of a new library card. Wooo!

I also took home a few books, one of which is "Persepolis 2" by Marjane Satrapi. They had several copies. Double woo!
What's your favorite word?
I have a variety, but I would need to think for a while about my true favorite and why.

(via tmn)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Out and out wrong
So as I was reading "Today's Blogs" in Slate today I stumbled across the brou-ha-ha that surrounds the NY Times essay from Sunday titled "The Real Nanny Diaries are Online."

In the article, Helaine Olen describes reading her nanny's online blog, becoming mildly obsessed with it, and ultimately deciding that she was offended by knowing so much about her nanny's personal life and feeling as if the nanny was airing her own family's dirty laundry. I haven't read the nanny's blog in depth so I have no idea if she besmirched Olen's family, and it would be totally shitty if she did, but still...

Olen comes off sounding small and self-centered and not a little jealous in the essay. Did she realize this when she was writing it? Because very few would read it and think that this was a stand-up woman. And how low is it to scream "inappropriate" when your nanny mentions her work in her personal blog with a likely small audience and then describe in detail everything that you think is wrong with her in The New York TIMES for pete's sake. And this whole debacle is mentioned in enough blogs (in Slate, for instance) with links to the nanny's blog that it wouldn't be that hard to figure out who she is if you really wanted to put some elbow grease into the whole thing.

If you read the article then you would know that the nanny had passed along her blog address to Olen, which was a terrible idea. Even if you don't plan on talking badly about your employer, they're still your employer, and--really--do you want your employer to know about your personal life? It's your own. But from what I've read, it appears that the nanny didn't do anything worse than talk about her life as a 25 year old in New York. Which only makes Olen seem more foolish.

The nanny's rebuttal is in her blog here.
It's hot outside right now which means that it's extra hot in my apartment. The temperature gauge in our living room is past its highest mark which is 85 degrees. AWESOME.

Actually, what's pretty awesome is that it's supposed to cool down tonight. I think it's supposed to dip just below 70!

I'm having a nice, eaaazzzzy week. Now that one of my classes has ended, I only have one (relatively undemanding) class left along with my clients. And then one of my clients canceled for this entire week so I only have six hours of stuff to do. Well, more since some of the stuff takes preparation and I'll have a couple of meetings as well...but still. And I have tomorrow completely off. I'm thinking of checking out the main library downtown. It's supposed to be pretty sweet.

Yay, pre-vacation!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

We just got back from Pitchfork Media's Intonation Music Festival held in Union Park here in Chicago yesterday and today. We only went today mainly because a couple of Todd's favorites were playing: the Wrens and Les Savy Fav. I like what I've heard of the Wrens myself, so I was pretty excited. The festival started at noon today, but we met Steve and Kiley later in the afternoon and then caught the bus from their place over to the park. I am here to report that it was a rather excellent music festival. Some of the reasons why it was so good include:
  • cheap tickets! A day pass cost $15 and if you went both days, it cost $22. That's as if the tickets were almost given away considering how much concerts normally cost.
  • the space! Union park is large and spacious so it was easy to spread out and I never felt as if there were too many people. Before we went over to the stages to listen to the bands, we spread out on a blanket...and there was room for it.
  • food and drink were reasonable! cups of decent beer were $4 and we got jumbo dogs that were pretty good for $4 too. I'm usually prepared to be shocked and disturbed over price gouging at concerts, but I was impressed with this.
  • the planning! they set up two main stages relatively close to one another. So... there was little lost times of bands setting up: when one band finished you just moved over to the next stage where the next band was all ready to play. Instant gratification.
  • The porta-potties! They weren't that gross and there weren't bad lines.
  • The breeze! Once the sun went down, it was pretty spectacular to be standing there with the constant breeze.
  • The DJ tent: there was a DJ spin-off between one DJ and one of the dudes from Yo La Tengo. (Note: Todd wants me to add that the dude from Yo La Tengo played "Mexican Radio," a song that I had never heard before, but apprarently "an awesome song" and needs to be mentioned).
  • The bands! I liked the Wrens a lot and I was hands-down blown away by Les Savy Fav. The main dude was such a showman and owned the crowd. We were pretty close to the stage for them as well, so all the better.
  • The times! We're back before 9 pm on a Sunday night.
A great festival. And we left as the last band was starting so didn't get caught up in the crush of people leaving.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Happy Birthday to my little prince of a brother, Erik.

I can't believe that you're 16. But way to go.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

An interesting article in the Post about a DC graffiti artist who goes by Borf. He's 18 and pretty ambitious with his graffiti. I'm totally impressed. I haven't seen any of the Borf work, though. Have other DC people?

He also went to Erik's high school, apparently.
I wish that I had something interesting to report, but there ain't nothing going on except work.

Oh, except that yesterday I stumbled across "Celebrity Fit Club 2" on VH1, and I can't help but be intrigued by the parade of C-list celebrities on it. No overweight A or B list celebrity is going to agree to be on a show about how fat they are. Everyone has to climb on giant scales: it surpasses demeaning for sure.

But, I was watching for maybe ten minutes and during that time some of the people I saw on the show were: Gary Busey, Jackee, Willy Ames, that Snapple lady (again!), a reject from "America's Next Top Model 3," and the dad of that dude Bam from the Mtv show. I repeat: the dad of that dude Bam from the Mtv show. He seems like a nice enough guy, but VH1 must be scraping the bottom of the barrel here. But Gary Busey is always hilariously weird to watch. And mix him with Jackee and it's like you've entered an alternate universe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Conversation that occurred this past Saturday
Me: This is the second time that I've seen Pauly Shore on tv today! I know something's wrong when Pauly Shore is on tv.
Him: I know that something's wrong when Pauly Shore is not on tv.
...For one of the last busy weeks of the quarter. Everything will wind up with the presentation that we're giving in Advanced Articulation this week. We're the last group to a 4-6 class on a Friday in the last session of that particular class ever. We don't think that anyone will be there besides the other group presenting.

What else? I talked to Robin this past weekend and he told me about how he and his roommate have started going to matinee movies and then movie-jumping afterward. He said that noone ever suspects them of it because they're 30. He makes me proud.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Getting back into it
It always takes a little bit of an adjustment to shift from weekend mode to week mode. Woo: happy Monday!

First of all, major good wishes to Anne who starts her new job today. Yay!

It was a music-heavy weekend. We went to see some of Todd's friends play on Thursday at the Bottom Lounge, his roommate's band perform on Saturday at the Beat Kitchen, and then finally last night went to a fundraiser concert at Subterranean. Shellac and a few other bands played to raise money for the son of a local musician who recently contracted serious neurological issues. It was a cool experience since tons of people came out and the dad was clearly moved and it was just nice overall. The concert started late, though, and since four bands played, we didn't get back home till like 1:30. The entire night I felt like I was playing hooky, since usually on Sunday nights I'm preparing for the week ahead. I have it pretty good, though, since I don't have stuff to do till the afternoon today.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Doing some research for the artic project...
But "St Elmo's Fire" is on and is bidding for my attention. Oh my god, I'm helpless. These people are supposed to be four months out of college?!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

to Anne on her last day of work today. Hurrah!
It will be a mournful thing that you will no longer be a hop, skip, and a jump away from Krispy Kreme, but I think I'll get over that.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Checking in
I feel inclined to check in even though I don't have much to say. My parents called last night to check if everything was okay since they hadn't seen a blog post in a while, so I'm assuring all friends and loved ones that I'm alive and well. Even though summer quarter is much more laid back than others, this week and next week will probably be the busiest. My half-quarter class is ending and that means a big group presentation, which is always the bane of one's existence and a yoooge time suck. Last Friday, we met to do some Internet scanning for articles, spent two hours doing so, and came up with nada. So frustrating.

I spent all day zooming around IL suburbs. First to daycare which is in parts of Evanston that I had never seen before (read, not particularly close to school) and then trekked over to catch a ride with Mirhiyah so we could go to the SW suburbs to do some observations for class. We left at 12:45 and didn't get back to Evanston till 6. Then I had to take the train home. Looong afternoon for observations. It was cool to get to watch them, though, and made me feel even better about choosing this field.

In other news, I have to confess that I have a new love. His name is Scratchy, and he's a mammoth lovebug of a cat. His owner was Katja's boyfriend and we came across him when we attending a fourth of July bbq at his place. Scratchy was enormous. And hairy. And a total affection sponge. He had me at hello. Later that night Todd and I discussed my newfound love, and he suggested that I put together a website for him. The website would be incredibly awesome because I am probably not going to be seeing Scratchy again soon (if ever), so I would have to do "artist renditions" of him for lack of photos, and with every entry I would have to cite the number of days it was since I had first made his acquaintance.

Okay, time to do some dishes.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Happy Belated Birthday America!
It was a nice relaxing holiday weekend dominated with barbecues, potlucks, and gorgeous weather. How did the weekend pass so quickly?

It should be noted that we spent July 4th in Todd's neighborhood where there was a constant stream of fireworks displays from morning into the late night (okay, let's be honest...they started yesterday). Nine o' clock was the pinnacle of it all, with fireworks exploding everywhere. These weren't little fireworks like sparklers or tiny things like that: these were all out-see-them-miles-away-high-in-the-sky fireworks. The kind you might see at the end of a minor league baseball game. It was actually really impressive.

You would never have guessed that fireworks are illegal in Illinois.