Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day 2
Second day of work complete! I'm glad to say that I got assigned my old school and also a charter school one day a week. Charter schools are a little of a mystery to me and this one didn't download any of their caseload information onto the school-wide system that we access, so I have no clue what my caseload there looks like. I think I'm just going to show up tomorrow and see what's what. It was good to be at the old school again today, though, see some familiar faces and scrape the cobb webs off of my materials.

Yesterday was an all day meeting for SLPs which was pretty laid back, but sadly was located in the Southside of Chicago (I believe the Bronzeville area, or at least close to it) so I took the main highway, 90/94, to get to it and that experience so blew. It took me over an hour to get there because of congestion and construction and all of that. Blech.

Today I took the main highway again to head south to pick up my shiny new laptop for work. I assumed picking it up would be a breeze since all of the specialized services people (OTs, Psychologists, Social workers and SLPs) were assigned windows within which to show up, check in the old laptop, and then tote off the new one. How much time could it take? Ah, silly me. Three different lines were involved and two hours of waiting all together. The SLP behind me was getting more and more pissed off and was getting ready to maul anyone she suspected of cutting. She was getting ready to blow. It would have been funny if I didn't have to wait in the first line for over an hour. The new laptop is pretty neat, though, so I suppose it was worth it.

Afterwards I had to zoom (or, "zoom," since the highway was crawling with traffic again--at 2:35pm!) all the way to the north to get to my dentist appointment. Seeing as scheduling with my dentist involves a month's notice, I was desperate to get there in time since I needed to get these two cavities taken care of. I got there ten minutes late and ended up having to wait another 20 minutes, but I realized I was so tense from trying to get there in time I had to stretch out, take some deep breaths, and decompress with a couple of quality People Magazines. But, bottom line is that cavities are filled (hurrah!), it didn't cost me hardly anything, and I no longer fear that my teeth are going to fall out from neglect.

Tonight is supper club (Moody's Burgers with the best beer garden ever!) and then tomorrow Todd and I hit the road to head to Lake of the Ozarks to visit his parents at their lakehouse and do some boating and whatnot. It's only for two days, but I'll suck the marrow out of those 48 hours as needed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why does this crack me up so much?
So lol-cats tend to be kind of lame, and this is kind of lame too, but I seriously crack up every single time I see this picture. I was trying to figure out what it is, and I think it's the walrus tongue and the walrus expression and the absurdity of it all.

Seriously, every single time I see it, I start laughing.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Betting and Racing
So, I've got two more days till work starts. It's kind of surreal, but as Sarah described in her blog, the first week should be pretty laid back what with meetings and setting up rooms and stuff and it's only three days long! And then next week is only four days long!

This past Saturday I accompanied Todd to his company's party at the horse races. I'd never been and I found it amazingly large with manicured lawns and a huge track. I also learned that jockeys are extraordinarily tiny: besides being of smaller stature they are slender as young beanstalks. We went to look at the horses closeup along with the jockeys and I gawked. Besides the free food, cocktails, and guidebooks, the company also allotted each couple with $20 to gamble. That was good because girlfriend is too cheap to be betting her own money, and good thing too since we ended up losing about $10 of those dollars on $2 bets (and coming out $10 ahead since we got the rest in cash). We did end up winning a couple of times and once we won 10 cents. 10 cents! Others we talked to came out with $40 in winnings and then we talked to someone who had lost $400 of their own money.

The rest of the weekend was fun with a surprise birthday party on Friday night, a Life and Times show on Saturday night, and then the Bucktown Arts Festival on Sunday with a trip to the best bar in the world, The Map Room, afterward. The weather was amazing all weekend, especially after the monsoons that descended this past week.

And that's all I've got!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Neatorama posted about the Michelin Baby Syndrome.
The blog also links to an article about the syndrome of which I was too lazy to muddle, but you can find it here.
The picture came from here originally.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

During the closing of a conversation with my mom today:

If you're bored, remember that you should keep calling your parents.

That was so awesome, I had to blog it (with my mom's permission, of course).

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

David Simon, writer of Homicide, the man behind the eponymous tv series, also "The Wire" is a hero of mine, and apparently he's very salty.

There's an interview of Simon by Nick Hornby (TWO of my favorite authors in one enclosed piece) in The Believer Magazine, and here's the first part.

NICK HORNBY: Every time I think, Man, I’d love to write for The Wire, I quickly realize that I wouldn’t know my True dats from my narcos. Did you know all that before you started? Do you get input from those who might be more familiar with the idiom?

DAVID SIMON: My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell.

I found this from this link. And I've never heard of The Believer, but I see that it's a branch of McSweeneys. Now girlfriend needs a subscription (gift idea for those who don't know what to do!)

The Life of Leisure
So it appears that the temping gig that I was set up for to start today fell through. To be specific, the contact person for the company never returned my temping guy's calls, according to him. I found that out yesterday afternoon. The plan now is to go for a week and a half long gig in the week before I start my regular job again.

So my vacation is extended again, which makes me half happy (more free time!) and half sad (dipping into money in the bank that I thought I could leave alone). My last paycheck of deferred pay from my regular job comes Friday: dunh dunh DUNH. Basically, I'm trying not to spend money that I don't need to in the meantime, which means LOTS of reading of books from the library, playing on the Internets, lolling in front of bad TV, and working out.

Oh, and there's ever standing talk of a Chicago Teachers Union strike in case the next contract doesn't get settled. If there's a strike that means no pay for those days, so...yeah, got to be conservative with the monies. [Actually, I'm pretty confident that they'll work it out, since the other unions--like the ones for the janitors, custodians, food service workers--settled with the Board of Education earlier this week. And I doubt that Mayor Daley wants all of these kids running around unoccupied and the bad rap the city might receive when Chicago is vying to be an Olympic host]. We'll see how it turns out.

I just checked out a book from the library called An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned But Probably Didn't. This is important, because while a lot of things were passed onto to me throughout my education, the amount that has actually *stuck* with me is pretty pathetic. I'm going to try to post a new fact that I've learned every day while I have this book, so get ready, people. Because daytime TV is definitely not keeping me sharp.

Speaking of books, we had another book club meeting last night and it was a funny one since NONE of us who attended had read the book (or even looked at a copy). Only four of us attended, and we were all ones who work in the schools and have been home all day. I guess we couldn't find it in us to track down the book, but it was still a good time.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I Have Never Seen So Many Hot Dogs
So, on Saturday Todd and I decided to tag along with Rich when he went on the first official Hot Dog Crawl that was organized by the guy who owns Sick Room Records (which sponsors, or whatever record labels do, Bear Claw). The guy, Ryan, decided that it would be fun to visit hot dog places all around the city and pay homage to the Chicago hot dog by eating a hot dog at each place. He planned an itinerary, he rented a 15-passenger van, he named a starting point and it was all set.

I wanted to go because watching people perform acts of gluttony for kicks cracks me up. Plus, it was a fun little tour of various points of the city since Ryan planned it so each part of the city represented. And this is not something someone sees every day.

We arrived at Hot Doug's at 10:20 (10 minutes before opening time), got into the line that had already formed and met up with the rest of the group. Thus began our day, and it ended around 7pm after visiting nine other places. Curious about the places we stopped by? Here's the list:

1. Hot Doug's: Really, the best. I temporarily departed from the SBD to have a sausage here. Don't worry, I'm back on the wagon.
2. Super Dawg: Todd and I had visited this place before and while it was kitschy with the giant male and female sausages on the roof, it's kind of expensive. Others in the group really seemed to like the hot dogs, though.
3. Wolfies: This place had a giant fork spearing a hot dog outside. You can't miss it.
4. Hueys: This was in Andersonville. I actually ran into Jenny on the street while we were at this stop. Small world, indeed.
5. Byron's: This was a small stand in Irving Park. It was also where I got pooped on by birds TWICE. I couldn't see it since both shots were on my back, but Todd helped me clean it up and since I couldn't see it, I didn't get too caught up in it. Plus, it's supposed to be lucky, right? I did have crusted bird poop on me the rest of the day, though.
6. Weiner Circle: This is a popular place in Lincoln Park where drunken people and a cranky staff come together late in the evening to yell at eachother. There was only mild yelling on this visit since it was about 4pm. Rich picked up someone else's hot dog, though, and was chastised for being rude. People seemed to really like these hot dogs.
7. Jim's Original Hot Dog Stand: This is a huge, cheap stand and I think it was the lone southside representation, close to Univ. of IL-Chicago. There was a another huge hot dog stand right next door, but I think that Jim's was there first. It should be noted that Gold Coast Dogs was supposed to be number seven, but we wandered up and down Clark to realize that the shop that the Internet said was around no longer existed.
8. Duk's: I don't know where this falls in terms of geographic location, but it had character. And by "character," I mean scary painted Donald Ducks on the wall, hot and dark quarters, and ladies working who work hard for their money. Rich said that the hot dogs tasted like they were cooked in dishwater which seriously still makes me want to vomit just a little.
9. Jimmy's Red Hots: This was on the West side of the city. This place also had a lot of "character." The hot dogs and fries were thrown into a big mass of waxed paper. Others in the group reported that the fries offered here are some of the best.
10. Sam's Red Hots: This tiny shack is very close to Todd's place and we have passed by countless times. Apparently, it's a neighborhood favorite. The lady who worked the counter was really nice ("Too bad you didn't come here first because then you didn't need to go to the other places"). Reports on the dogs were so-so.

It should be noted that while others skipped stops or shared dogs, Rich and Ryan had a hot dog at every single stop. They looked like they were struggling a little at stop number 10. I think that Rich stretched out his stomach from all this, though, because he ate ice cream later that evening and then polished off an entire french toast meal at the Bongo Room the next day.

Interestingly, one of the places was serving their food in Burger King bags. This was the same place where this dude with a blue tooth headset was manning a whole store of bootleg dvds on the counter of the place.

The entire trip was a lot of fun, mainly because the other people on the crawl (a slightly changing group of about 8-15) were hilarious and down for a good time. I also want to note that my Chicago screen print poster hero, Jay Ryan, was there for the first three stops and he was super nice and gracious even when I gushed to him about how I have plastered my apartment walls with his works. So, I got to meet one of my Chicago idols. I even heard that he's going to design a t-shirt for next year's crawl.

So, I don't want to be near hot dogs anytime soon, but it was worth it.