This is an archive collection of entries from my main personal blog, My Mundane Mid-Life.
This collection of entries is from June 2002.
Sunday, June 30, 2002
White Sox 2 - Cubs 9
Back at Comiskey. Hot. No, HOT! Game time temperature - 91°. Heat index 103°. Oh, this is bad. On top of that, we've got too many Sox fans getting cocky and bringing brooms into the park, hoping for a sweep in the series. And now there's way too many Cubs fans here today, and they're the mean, venomous ones that I always hate coming into my ballpark. Sure enough, Sox lose 9-2 (but, I have to hand it to Matt Clement - he pitched a great game). Sure enough, security is very active today and there are fights in the stands at the top of our section. Time to leave early to go to my parents for dinner. Too hot, too ugly.
Saturday, June 29, 2002
White Sox 5 - Cubs 4
Back to Comiskey Park for a weekend series that I always dread - Interleague play against the Chicago Cubs. The game was sold out months ago. It's gong to be hot. It's not going to be fun. I mean, let's face it, both Chicago baseball teams suck right now. Game time is 12:15 for Fox. The parking lot opened 4 hours before game time to accommodate all those tailgaters that can't tailgate at Wrigley since there are no parking lots up there (all the lots that exist are "private"). Gate opened 2 hours before, and that's when we got there. We were successful in avoiding traffic and crowds, but we get inside the park... and there's no batting practice. Great. Nice PR move. get everybody there early and bore them to death. Great. The park fills just before first pitch. It's hot, but fortunately cooler near the lake - 86° at game time (it's going to be hotter tomorrow). The sun is a scorcher. The bottle water vendors are plunging their hands into the ice water that they're carrying and shaking their hands over the crowd to help lure them to buy more water. It's like they're baptizing the fans. Somehow, during the course of the game, there's a healthy give-and-take on the field and even in the stands. The Cubs fans that are here are good, and the Sox fans are on their good behavior around us. It turns out being a great day. It turns out to be the second-highest attendance ever at New Comiskey - 45,942 (yesterday, the first game in the series, was the highest ever - 46,027). Sox Win 5-4. A good day.
After the game, it's off to Barry & Buffy's to have a nice barbecue with Debbie. We leave the park, head east to Lake Shore Drive and head north. What a gorgeous day at the lake. People - believe me when I say this - driving north on Lake Shore Drive today reminds me of how beautiful this town is and why I live here. The new "bowl" is starting to take shape above the south rim of Soldier Field. Buckingham fountain looks great, Grant Park is full of people thanks to Taste of Chicago. Tons of people jogging on the bicycle path or riding their bikes... WAIT!!! HEY!!!... THAT WAS DICK BUTKUS THAT JUST DROVE BY ON HIS BICYCLE!!! OK, This is a great Chicago day! Had a nice dinner with B&B and Debbie - Barry grilled-up some pork chops on the grill. It was a very long day, but it felt like a good day.
Friday, June 28, 2002
Why do I feel that Odd Todd knows my life?
No more running
Derek the gentleman Irish plumber just left and now I don't have to worry about that damn toilet running and running and running...
Friday 5 - Last Time
Time for another Friday Five...
When was the last time you...
1. ...sent a handwritten letter? Have no idea. Wow. No idea.
2. ...baked something from scratch or made something by hand? Well, those parasol frames I guess would qualify as making something by hand. Still making them.
3. ...camped in a tent? Wow... late 1970's... can't recall exactly...
4. ...volunteered your time to church, school, or community? Too long ago. I don't recall. Could have been around 1995-96, helping out with a church talent show. Or, does creating and producing tickets for my mom (as well as managing the membership list) for the St. Anne Society at my old parish, St. Ferdinand's? If so, that was just a month or two ago.
5. ...helped a stranger? About a year and a half ago, downtown at the Ogilvie Transportation Center, I helped a blind woman and her dog into the train station. It was weird, she couldn't figure out where the entrance was, so I helped her in.
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Let's go to the zoo, Mom!
Time for another family outing. I picked-up my Mom, drove to my sister Diane's house again, and this time we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I haven't ben there in at least 20 years. It's a "quaint" zoo. It's really not as big as people think. We had lunch first at Café Brauer and watched the paddleboats on the lagoon. There were a lot of kids in the zoo, mostly from day camps and other organized summer programs. It seemed that anywhere we went, either we couldn't find any of the "larger" animals. They were either all sleeping, or they were just "somewhere else" (they weren't inside a building or outside a building). We went to see the seals - I think there were two. I somehow remember a lot more seals. What's the deal? Now, to be fair, half of the Great Apes were shipped out to do a staged rehab of their enclosures, and all of the elephants, rhinos, and giraffes are gone because they are rehabbing/building a new Regenstein African Journey, and the Farm-in-the-Zoo is all torn up and being rebuilt, so I guess there wasn't a lot to see. While outside the tiger exhibit, I saw some kids playing around one of those 25-cent telescope things that you can use to get close-up views of the big cats. Well, I thought I'd try it and sure enough - it worked! You can use those telescopes with your digital camera! Just Put the camera up to the telescope and zoom in (optical zoom, not digital zoom) and shoot! Cool. I'll have to remember this.
The most entertaining part of the day was watching the polar bears. There was an underwater observations area with a bunch of windows so you can watch the bears swim. There was one bear that was always swimming around the glass. Diane and I were watching him, because he was very active, constantly swimming around. We noticed that he was really looking at some of the people. Then we realized that he was really looking at the children and just passing by the adults. He would even stop and size-up the kids. I even saw him lick the glass by one girl's leg! That's when we realized he thought the kids were seal pups! He was sizing them up as prey! It was, um, entertaining. It was a nice day and we were at the zoo for hours. It was nice being out and walking in the sunshine and looking at the animals. A nice day.
That infernal noise...
I got woke up by Carol an hour and a half ago. The water in the toilet won't shutoff, it just keeps running. I was sound asleep. I had no idea what time it was. Those of you that know me know that I am not a "hardware guy" - whether it's computers or otherwise. No matter what I do, I can't get the float valve to actually close in the toilet. It's maddening. An hour into the ordeal, I give up. In the past, repeated flushings would eventually get the valve to close. Not tonight. We just let the water run. And then, I couldn't take the sound of the running water anymore! So, back into the tank to attempt to move things around a bit, check some seals. Nothing. Flush, flush, flush... still running... the water seems to be entering the tank at the base of the valve as well as through the filler hose... I just want it to end... I give up still again. I'm getting that weird feeling when you've been up way too long, the burning eyes, the weird "sour stomach"... I need to go downstairs and watch some TV and maybe I'll get fatigued enough to pass out and go to sleep. I get downstairs, sit on the couch, turn on the TV... and the water stops. By itself. The picture tube never warmed-up for a picture. Damn - good sleep time ripped away from me in the middle of the night...
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
I've been spending my spare time making parasols. No really. Parasols. Well, not the whole parasol, just the frames. You see, our friends Chelby & Damian have decided to make parasols, mostly for the Renaissance Faire circuit. The have a shop that opens this weekend at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin, which runs weekends until August 25. They've started the business, Piccadilly Parasol Shoppe, with hopes of traveling around the country next year selling their wares. Well, I'm one of a few people trying to help them out by getting the parasol frames, or carcasses, or whatever you call them, assembled so that the fabrics and accessories can be sewn on them. Hey, they need the help. They want 1,000 made, and I'm only cranking out one every 20-30 minutes... when I don't make a mistake.
I DON'T Pledge Allegiance???
OK, let me jump in with the meme du jour - From links from Erin (from Zannie (from Lynda)), Mike (from Michele (from Fredo (from Beau, Max, and Kris (from Meg))) and Jamie (from wKen (from Robyn (also from Michele)))), and Kate (from Colin (from Christy)):
Go to Google, Type in your name plus " is" and see what you get:
Michael is 27 years old, retired, and lives with his girlfriend Christine in the Great Neck neighborhood of Long Island
Michael is excited to finally be combining his talents in the areas of dance, exercise, teaching and weight loss into one technique which is suitable for those in top shape or beginners
Michael is the Applications Liason for Internet 2 activity at KU
Michael is a man of extraordinary talents
Michael is a delight to work with and an outstanding performer
Michael is a nice looking boy who is profoundly deaf and communicates through American Sign Language
Michael is the creator and maintainer of two award-winning web sites
Michael is the author of two upcoming books
Michael is most recognized for his more quiet sounds for musical meditation and contemplation
Michael is confused, lost, delirious (as usual)
Michael is a frequent speaker and workshop presenter on Internet strategy and fundraising online to nonprofits nationwide
Michael is a very caring and compassionate person
Michael is co-chairing the program for the 2002 Symposium on Computer Animation
Michael is the most popular name in North America
Michael is described as: the first of the chief princes or archangels who is supposed to be the guardian angel of the Israelites
Michael is one of the principal angels; his name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers
Michael is out on the road playing
Michael is quite an ordinary tomcat with its own catlike view of the world
Michael is indeed a sax superstar all on his own
Michael is also the author of numerous books
Michael is part of a large family which he remains very close to, even being 3000 miles away
Michael is in the studio with over 300 images to work from
Michael is recognized as one of the fastest illustrators in the country
Michael is very cool
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
The Mole 2 - Episode 7
OK, let me reiterate how cool this show is and how much I would love to be a contestant on the show. I mean, what other reality television game show would have people running around Italy with a greased-up lawn gnome? Anderson Cooper is much looser this year as the host, allowing for more "fun moments" - Anderson: "I think you guys will have fun today. Actually, let me rephrase that. I think I'm going to have fun today. You guys - I hope you have fun." Or his physical demonstration on how to grease a gnome (you needed to see it). Or his final, pointed warning: "Now remember, you can grease your own gnome, but you can't grease your friend's gnome." Thus began the Gnome Home challenge. The group, chosen for preferring to watch "Romancing The Stone", could have won $30,000 for the pot but didn't when Bill dropped and broke the gnome, earning himself an exemption. Heather did fine, and Elavia never had a chance to run her leg of the race. The group that would rather watch Gladiator, played Gladiators (Katie, Al, Darwin & Bribs) protecting Caesar (Dorothy) in a battle. They are successful, with only Al dying. Bribs was offered an exemption for picking the "Brutus" helmet, but did not execute his team mates and Caesar. They win $30,000 and the pot is now at $266,000. At dinner the contestants were taken outside one by one and were asked to write on the back of a dollar bill their list of contestants from most favorite to least favorite. Shades of last week. At the execution, Anderson reads everyone's least favorite player. Elavia, again, is the least favorite. The lexicon of the mole keeps expanding. First, there's Execution. Then there's Exemption. Then 3 weeks ago we learned Neutralizer. Tonight the word word is Bought. Because Elavia was least liked, Anderson made her an offer - $49,992 plus the 8 dollar bills with the lists on them to leave the game now. Guaranteed money. She took it! She left the execution, briefcase with $50,000 in hand, and Anderson escorted her to the waiting car. To say everyone was shocked is an understatement. So many of them thought she was the Mole (me included). Then the fun part of the show: Anderson returns, the execution music begins in the background. "Alright, let's proceed with the execution." Shots of the players shaking their heads, putting hands to their heads, Katie hits her head with her journal. "...In a few moments I'll begin entering your names into the... just kidding (smile)!" I heard some one call Anderson a Jackass! Anderson starting "prancing" or dancing or something and in a sing-song voice says " I love this game!". So who do I think it is now that Elavia is gone? Bill. I'm going out on a limb. Bill.
Destructive bunnies, cool chimneys and road construction
I came downstairs this morning to an odd little "surprise". Our bunny Indy has been hanging around Carol's slippers lately. Well, apparently Indy has taken to a real liking of the slippers - she's chewed passed the terrycloth covering into the foam rubber. I'm sure carol is not too happy about this. Indy has been acting up lately. It's weird. Actually, she's weird. She's been very demanding of my time lately. She wants her "lovin's" - which is just a very long session of petting. Maybe all of her Live BunnyCam time is too much pressure for her.
Drove back to Galyan's at Streets of Woodfield this afternoon. We're going over to Barry & Buffy's on Saturday after the Sox-Cubs game for a little grilled... something (don't know what yet). Barry needs a new charcoal chimney and I saw them at Galyan's last week, so I picked up one for him and one for me, too. At $10.99 I thought they were a good buy.
The Higgins Road reconstruction is progressing. Last Tuesday they laid new concrete. I guess they're letting it cure before they do anything else. The thing that's bothering me is the installation of temporary traffic signals along Golf Road. According to the Hoffman Estates website, a PDF brochure about the construction says the Gold Road construction isn't until 2003. If that's the case, I'm not understanding the traffic lights.
Monday, June 24, 2002
Oh, I forgot to mention - remember my PayPal account that got hijacked? So far, the unauthorized charges are up to $1,824.00
Had a bad night's sleep due to some GERD problems... damn popcorn chicken!!!
Sunday, June 23, 2002
Went back to Streets of Woodfield to go to the Loews theater there. It's not normally a place we go, but we have gift certificates, so this is perfect for being on a budget. We went to see Minority Report. Another great Spielberg picture. What did I like? Everything, but specifically for a film to be set 52 years into the future, the day-to-day technology used was (I think) very plausible (ignoring the existence of "pre-cogs" and the technology to "read" what they "see"). Well, except when I see Ed Witwer (Colin Farrell) sit down at John Anderton's (Tom Cruise) desk/cubicle... and realize that's the last cube/desk I had at marchFIRST!!! I'm not sure about retina scanning from the distances that were shown (like for the custom advertising, which I totally believe will come some day. I even thought the cereal box was pretty cool, too.) So, what do you do for a cheap meal after the movie? Why, popcorn chicken from KFC, of course!
Saturday, June 22, 2002
OK, those of you know me, know that I'm a White Sox fan, and not a Cubs fan. What's more important, I'm a baseball fan. This is just absolutely shocking. I'm watching channel 32 - the local Fox affiliate in Chicago to pass the time and watch the Cubs-Cardinals game. Except - it's not on. It's been cancelled - St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile was found dead in his hotel room at the Westin Chicago this morning. He was supposed to start tomorrow. In an sad twist, Joe Buck who had eulogized his dad Jack Buck just yesterday made the announcement on Fox. Cubs catcher Joe Girardi came out to address the packed Wrigley Field crowd to announce the cancellation with a catch in his voice and the whole Cubs team behind him, all dressed in their home whites. "Excuse me. Thank you for your patience. We regret to inform you that because of a tragedy in the Cardinals family, that the commissioner has cancelled the game today". He also asked the crowd to "Please be respectful, you will eventually find out what happened. And please say a prayer for the St. Louis Cardinal family." How much tragedy can the St. Louis baseball family take?
Friday, June 21, 2002
Summer in the village
Ah, summer... went to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner - had a Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Scampi that was great with a Crab and Lobster Martini appetizer that was amazing. Then we went over to Streets of Woodfield to go to Galyan's to look at some shorts for Carol. What a gorgeous night. It was great to walk around - though there wasn't a single place to park at Streets of Woodfield. It also appears that Streets of Woodfield is where the teens go to cruise, walk, and hang-out. All well behaved, but they were out. It was a bit hard to just "stroll" I felt like we were going to get run over all the time. But it was such a gorgeous night, everyone wanted to welcome summer. Very warm. Very slight breeze. Ahhh.....
Oh, before I forget, be sure to wish Erin a Happy 32nd Birthday today before she heads down to the Jersey Shore for the weekend...
Wooo Hooo!!! SUMMER IS HERE!!! Yes, summer. Warm to hot Chicago days. Ahhhhhh... Summer Solstace - The Longest Day of the Year... need to find a way to enjoy this somehow...
Friday 5 - Housing
Time for another Friday Five...
1. Do you live in a house, an apartment or a condo? A house in Hoffman Estates, Illinois
2. Do you rent or own? Own. 18 years into a mortgage, though.
3. Does anyone else live with you? Well, of course! There's Carol. Oh, and our little bunny, Indy
4. How many times have you moved in your life? Three - once when I was six, once when I got married, and once to move into this house.
5. What are your plans for this weekend? Plans? Just my cousin Jane's wedding on Saturday. Hopefully that's it.
Hey, this one was easy!
I am awake. Why? Because there are kids walking through the neighborhood tossing firecrackers, that's why. Damn kids. Police are on their way. No, they're here - just drove past the house. We could still hear little "pops" in the distance, so the kids are still out there somewhere.
Thursday, June 20, 2002
The incredible edible egg
Carol doesn't let me go grocery shopping with her. Since I don't do it often, when I do have the opportunity to actually stroll up and down the aisles at a store, I'm always lagging behind her with a" Hey! look at that..." or a "Ooooo... that looks gooood....". We were going through a dairy section recently when I saw something that for some reason just made me confused. Eggs. Vegetarian eggs. Ok, some vegans don't eat eggs, right? So maybe that's why I feel "jarred" reading the carton. Vegetarian eggs? Then this week's Time Magazine (June 24, 2002) has one of their great graphics (page 75) demystifying - eggs! Sure enough, Vegetarian eggs are produced by hens whose feed has no animal by-products. OK. Apparently, there's also Natural, Cage Free, Free Range, Organic, and Nutritionally Enhanced eggs as well, making up a total of 5% of all eggs consumed in the U.S. Who knew?
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
I hate Microsoft
That's it - I've had it. This website is now on an IIS server, thanks to my host. I hate Microsoft. No, I HATE Microsoft. With each day that passes in my life, the rage against this company increases as I find out more and more pieces of their arrogance, stupidity in security, and what appears to be disregard to internet standards. Period. I've been struggling with some SSI coding for this blog, only to read, buried in a discussion form on Blogger, that Microsoft really doesn't adhere to the full SSI spec, so I can't include a stupid file with any intelligence. Bastards. I've had to hard-code some pages because I'm also having ASP problems. I feel like Ben Stiller as Mr. Furious in Mystery Men... and just as effective.
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
The Mole 2 - Episode 6
OK, let's start at the end - I never thought that Anderson would type in the first name and have that very first person executed! In another "tie goes to the slowest", Myra was executed. The team won $20,000 for the Bike Game part of the challenge, and won $20,000 for the Pizza Game part of the challenge. The team could have won $15,000 for the Least Favorite Player challenge, but Elavia turned it down in exchange for an exemption. The team was fined again tonight for a total of $10,000 - Heather touched a bike when she was told not to (suspicious, but I don't think it's her based on my "money talk" theory) and Bill and Darwin got some ice cream after the pizza dinner (this, in my opinion was accidental - hey they were hungry and it wasn't clearly stated that they couldn't buy any food that night.) Total in the pot - $236,000. My candidates so far: Dorothy, Elavia, Bill, and Bribs.
Thank you very much
Thirty-five minutes and out the door - that was my recruiter face-to-face interview. Actually, it was a good thing to do - it was the first one I've had since October. It's always good to go through the interview process. I just wish there was an opening...
How many did you get cut?
Just got back from getting my hair cut. I think I haven't written about it before, which makes me wonder when did I do this last? I mean, it was long - way too long to look presentable. Wonder when that was...?
I have a face-to-face interview with a recruiter this afternoon. I hate these things. It's a total waste of time for the "candidate". I mean, they don't have any open positions, so what's the purpose? It's all for the recruiter - they want to see what you actually look like - to make sure you are not a Quasimodo that would make the customer uncomfortable, or that you do have some grasp of the English language. I even think they even smell you to see that you are "presentable". Great. Carol took my suits to the cleaners yesterday (in anticipation of my cousin Jane's wedding this Saturday) before either of us knew about the interview, so I have to improvise.
Monday, June 17, 2002
WARNING - DNS CHANGE IN PROGRESS - EVERYTHING SHOULD RESOLVE WITHIN 48 (maybe 72) HOURS FROM NOW
What the heck is going on NOW??? My site is changing servers again, this time I didn't know about it. All of a sudden this afternoon I can't get to the website. A couple of hours later, I got a notice that my server was taken down, the accounts are being rebuilt on a new server and it's going to to require a DNS nameserver change. Great. So, I guess I'm down. You're not going to be able to find me for a few days, or until I get a new server and the DNS changes propagate around. Sigh.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking...
We've all been on flights where the captain addresses the passengers from the cockpit before takeoff. But how about this United Airlines pilot that stepped out of the cockpit to make his announcement? Way cool.
Sunday, June 16, 2002
Happy Fathers Day! We went to my parents tonight for dinner, and just had a quiet evening watching Tiger win the U.S. Open in the dark. The weather has been pretty good the past few days. Hope it stays this way for a while. There is one nagging little thing that's bothering me that will stay with me for a while. I have a father with cancer. I can now feel those questions in the back of my head that you don't want to hear, the ones you keep pushing to that dark, back corner, the ones you dare not utter - was this his last Father's Day?
Saturday, June 15, 2002
The Young and the Dead
Did nothing today. Nothing. And it felt good. Caught up on some TiVo viewing. Watched an HBO America Undercover piece called "The Young and the Dead" about the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (check out the Forever Network), and how a young guy named Tyler Cassity has saved the place and is really "breaking ground" (so to speak) when it comes to technology and "innovative cemeteries, funeral homes and LifeStory production studios". Since Carol just watched all two seasons of Six Feet Under this past week, it was a nice "fit". Was a great documentary.
Friday, June 14, 2002
Carol had a great idea that actually crossed my mind two days ago - let's go to the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin to eat at the buffet. We haven't been there in a long time, and it'll feel good to be near a casino again, now that we're not going to Las Vegas this year. So, we had the buffet - and had to endure this one member of the wait staff that stood around, chewing gum and popping bubble wrap. The entire time. I wanted to go over to the bastard a just give him a quick knee to the groin. Don't know why (other than the utter annoyance of the noise), but he just looked like the kind of guy that needed a knee to the groin. Go figure.
We took a quick lap around the casino to see what changes they had made since the last time we were there (there actually were quite a few). We didn't play a quarter - just one lap and out. Though I felt a strong breeze in there, like the air handling was changed, I just couldn't handle the smoke. And there was a lot of it.
I miss the place.
It's official - Survivor 5 or Survivor Thailand started shooting this past Tuesday. They are already in trouble with the local fishermen. AND GET THIS - the applications are already available for Survivor 6.
Oh! A scoop! From an article in today's Sports section of the Chicago Tribune: "Carey Schueler, daughter of former White Sox general manager Ron Schueler (who is now Sr. Vice President/Special Consultant to the Chairman), made the final cut of contestants for the next edition of the reality show "Survivor." Carey, an Orland Park native who was once drafted by the Sox, will test her survival skills in a remote part of Thailand."
Friday 5 - Laundry
Time for the return of The Friday Five...
1. How often do you do laundry? Here we go again, still another Friday Five that has me at a disadvantage of answering. I am fortunate (and I do mean fortunate) to have a wife that does the laundry and who doesn't want me to touch it! Carol does the laundry at somewhat irregular cycles, so judging by the piles that I am seeing right now, the generic joke answer is "Not often enough!". That's not really true, but it's not done on a weekly basis, and it could be 10 days to two weeks that I am witness to the process.
2. What's in a typical wash load? Huge.. See #1.
3. Front or top loader? Powder or liquid detergent? Top load Maytag. Liquid - Wisk, there may be some Ultra Clorox involved as well.
4. Do you use fabric softener in the rinse cycle? Hmmm... not to my knowledge - she uses Downey Dryer Sheets in the dryer
5. Dryer or clothesline? Dryer - matching Maytag to #2
Thursday, June 13, 2002
The "Family Outing"
Today was "Family Outing" day. I drove into the city and picked-up my mom, and then drove to my sister Diane's house in Bucktown. We are spending the day together. The first stop - lunch. We went a few blocks over to a corner bar called the Lincoln Tavern. Typical corner bar. We walk in and go to the back of the bar. There's a few tables there. But Diane doesn't stop - she makes a right after the bar, goes through this little vestibule area and we wind up on the first floor of the three-flat next door! There are tables, a fireplace, and it's decorated like a kitschy hunting lodge. We order lunch. I get a steak sandwich (which was surprisingly good!). When you order a Coke, you get a can and this little glass filled with ice - so little, you can fill it three times before you empty the can!
After lunch, we drive to the Garfield Park Conservatory. There is an exhibit there - Chihuly in the Park: A Garden of Glass by Dale Chihuly. Who is Dale Chihuly? If you have ever been there, he is a artist that designed the ceiling sculpture (called FIORE DI COMO) for the lobby of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He is an artist that works in glass. I've never been to the conservatory, so I was an interesting walk. But it was really cool (almost like a Easter Egg Hunt) to walk through the whole place to find all of the Chihuly glass sculptures! Some are just out in the open, others hidden behind plants, some floating in water. Some pieces were actually designed for the specific plant and are almost integrated into them. Very cool! The exhibit runs through September 8. If you're in Chicago, this is a unique exhibit that you must see before it leaves.
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
I am pissed-off... some idiot out there has hijacked my PayPal account. Now I'm affraid this jackass has access to my credit cards and checking account. Great, that's all I need right now...
All the same
Well, phone calls are up to four right now. Unfortunately, three of them are for the same contracting gig. I haven't heard back from the fourth - bet you it's also the same. It's obvious that I match this one pretty well, and everybody must have jumped at it. I would have wished they were four different jobs. Figures.
The difference between "thermos" and "Thermos™"
So, Carol is upset at reading the news this morning. She works at Thermos. They make some great container products that I love. Well, she's surfing the net, reading some news when she sees this article at CBS News. The INS has ordered that all Yemeni nationals be searched before entering or leaving the United States. However, the memo says: "under no circumstances will an inspecting officer open a thermos bottle." Great. "Law enforcement officers discovered dozens of thermos bottles, some rigged with batteries; wire was also found. Authorities say these components could have been used in manufacturing bombs." This is just going to be great for her business...
Chinese lunch fortune?
I had lunch with Barry today, back at the Chinese buffet near his office. It was actually a cheering-up lunch for me. Carol & I had come to the conclusion that we just can go on our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas this year with Barry and Buffy. There is just no way, even if I got a job right now, to be able to do this. I'm bummed. No, really bummed about this. First, I love the town. Second, I love travelling together with B&B. Third, I just feel the need to getaway. Fourth, and most importantly, I feel like it's all my fault. We could go if I was working. But, after a year, it's not looking too good. Finances are bad. It's just not feasible. I feel like I let everyone down. Barry took me out to help make me feel better. And, to a certain extent, I do. We talked a bit about the job market. First, I haven't seen many job postings in my field this past year. Secondly, with the amount of people out there, recruiters are getting inundated with resumes, and I'm just getting lost in the pile. I don't have a chance, and I'm getting really depressed about this. So, it's a Chinese buffet, right? Out come the fortune cookies (with the bill, of course). I crack mine open and say "Good one. That's coming home with me."
It read "New and rewarding opportunities will soon develop for you."
I get home, and there are three (count them, three) voice mail messages from recruiters. I think I'm finally getting down through that stacks of resumes, and somebody is noticing. Well, it's a start. I am extremely pessimistic, so let's see how this all pans out.
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
The Mole 2 - Episode 5
Goodbye, Rob. I didn't think you were the Mole, but everyone sure seemed to like having you around. I should have realized it when I read this article about Rob from May 28. You see, The Mole 2 was shot in the summer of 2001. He actually forgot he was on the show. Probably because 1) it was shot a year ago, and 2) he wasn't there long enough! Man, the weather in Vincenza Italy sure looked great. And the places that they've got these people staying in and visiting look wonderful. OK: My candidates so far: Dorothy, Elavia, and Bill. And maybe Bribs. The key thing is to listen to what people say in the confessionals, when they are interviewed, or what they say about the person that is executed right after they leave. Also, watch closely the reaction each one has as their name is called during the execution process. Do they react as if they have something on the line? (a player) or do they look aloof? (a Mole wouldn't care). People that talk about "wanting to win the money" and "winning the game" are players. A Mole will talk about other players, or how hard the game is. Why would they talk about "winning money" if they are the Mole and clearly will not win the pot? Speaking of the pot, it is now up to $206,000, after the team made no money on the Think or Sink challenge, but made $40,000 on the Get the Key challenge.
Off to Woodfield tonight. Carol has an eye doctor appointment at LensCrafters and she's going to be buying glasses afterward. I along for the trip for supervision. She's getting her eyes dilated for the first time tonight, so I thought I had better accompany her. I mean, she could get into trouble wandering the mall by herself. I was apprehensive about doing this tonight. My unemployment situation has started causing a big money situation, and paying for glasses right now doesn't feel right. I just seems that it could be deferred for a while, though the both of us are struggling reading and doing up-close work. We've got coupons and there's $99 sale signs everywhere. Carol does the doctor and dilation thing and comes out a struggles to pick out frames she likes - one regular, one sunglass. The whole thing, appointment, lenses, frames, etc with discounts and coupons comes out to a whopping $788.34!!!!! We walk the mall for the regulation "glasses in an hour" timeframe. I'm stunned and a bit worried. Carol doesn't appear to be too worried. I'm thinking that my turn for glasses should really get deferred for a while.
While we're walking around, Carol still saying "cool" every once in a while when her dilated eyes catch some lights is a display case, when I hear somebody say, "hey! what's going on over there?" I turn to look and it's Victoria's Secret. A sign outside says there's a $9.99 bra sale going on. I've never seen so many women handling so much lingerie before. The place is mobbed. I can't divert my eyes. I'm entranced. Carol pulls me away saying her glasses are ready. Back to LensCrafters, pickup the glasses, get them adjusted, and we leave to go home and watch The Mole.
Thunderstorms. What an interesting way to wake up in the morning - to the sound of thunder. That, and that sound of rain being thrown against aluminum siding by high winds, making it sound in-between claps of the rolling thunder like your laying in a soft, warm, dish washer.
Monday, June 10, 2002
al Qaeda in the hood
So, yesterday, as we were sitting around gabbing on Joe's patio, Carol turns to me and says, "Oh! You don't know about this!" and proceeds to tell me a story she heard from my mom at Saturday's bridal shower. I guess the FBI has been in their neighborhood. Why? Well, in the middle of the block, was an Arab family... that moved out suddenly on September 10. I guess the FBI is going back over their data (about damn time) and is checking out the neighborhood. Mom said there had been a lot of arguments between a man and a woman at the house (she really didn't know them), even with an incident where he woman was across the street talking to someone, there was yelling back-and-forth between her and her husband who was in front of their house, leading to the man coming across the street, dragging the woman back into their own house and beating the crap out of her. Nice neighbors. Makes you wonder about whether or not September 10 was just a coincidence or not.
Now, this morning, the big breaking news on TV is about a suspected al Qaeda operative that was arrested on May 8th. At O'Hare. A former Chicago gang member. Hmmm... it's getting closer to home. And this time, this guy - Abdullah Al Mujahir -- a U.S. citizen who was born Jose Padilla and converted to Islam - was involved in a plot to build and explode a radioactive "dirty bomb", probably in Washington D.C.
Great. I'm feeling really safe, right now. The only solace in this is that they caught the guy before anything happened. I feel good about that.
Sunday, June 09, 2002
Party at Joe's
WARNING - DNS CHANGE IN PROGRESS - EVERYTHING SHOULD RESOLVE WITHIN 48 HOURS FROM NOW
I'm just changing servers. We'll see how long things will take to change over, so if you see some odd changes happening over the next few days, you'll know what I'm up to.
I'm a baaaad boy...
I'm in the doghouse. I did a bad thing. I was insensitive, and now I must grovel and pay for it. Yesterday, Carol went home after the bridal shower, to have an evening alone. She wanted it. She needed it. After a year of unemployment, there are times she resents me breathing in the house. She just wants to be alone. I understand totally.
So, what did I do? Well, last night during the game, we were all trying to figure out why Paul Konerko wasn't playing - was he hurt, was he just sitting out. So, I called Carol. Big mistake. I could hear her anger on the phone, though she tried hard to hide it. I blew it. I invaded her "alone time." I'm screwed. I need to find a way to make it up to her. Sigh. Update: Oh, cripes... it's PMS Weekend... I don't have a chance...
Blog (Like One of Us)
He did it again. I missed this yesterday, but Mike did another great parody at his Blog - this time it's Joan Osborne and 'One of Us'. Go listen to the midi, read the lyrics and sing along with Blog (Like One of Us).
Saturday, June 08, 2002
White Sox 1 - Expos 2
Back to Comiskey Park. Tonight, Barry is with me - Carol was at my cousin Jane's surprise Bridal Shower this afternoon at Cog Hill. First thing we did was to go upstairs to the Stadium Club to watch the Belmont Stakes. It was 70-1 long shot Sarava the winner (a record $142.50 for a $2 bet) - War Emblem didn't get the Triple Crown, finishing 8th (but was in first for a while, after stumbling out of the gate).
Anyway, it's Interleague time again, or as Carol calls it - cross-pollination. The first inning starts good - 3 up/3 down. Then we're up. Kenny Lofton triples to right (Vladimir Guerrero dove to his left and didn't come up with the ball, and Kenny just kept chugging). Ray Durham sacrificed to deep right and scores Lofton. OK, Good start. Frank Thomas strikes out - nothing new. Magglio Ordonez singles to right, Jose Valentin singles to right, Carlos Lee walks. BASES LOADED, Jeff Liefer steps to the plate. What the hell is he doing in the game? Where's Paul Konerko? Must be a lefty-righty thing. Sure enough - strike out. That summarizes what the Sox have been doing for the last month. It looked like we would get to Tomo Ohka, but it never happened. Jon Garland looked pretty good - retiring the first 12 batters. Expos tied it in the 5th. Both teams struggle the rest of the game, trying to do anything. Keith Foulke come in to pitch the 9th. First pitch to Vladimir Guerrero - home run. Thank you, Keith Foulke. He's caused more pain than good for the Sox lately. Bottom of the 9th, Frank Thomas flies out then Magglio Ordonez walks on 4 pitches. OK, we have a baserunner. On the first pitch, Jose Valentin hits into a double play. It's over. Ordonez, again, made no attempt to break it up, like I said during the Yankee game.
Me on the tollway
My first Mirror Project submission - it's just something from back in March that I put up here in my blog.
Friday, June 07, 2002
Ferrara Pan Candy
From a link from Erin, I had to find out:
discover what candy you are @ stvlive.com
And, if you know me, doesn't this fit???
Carol came home from work without any dinner plans. I had a hankerin' for some stir fry, so we went to my most favorite place near us - Stir Crazy at Woodfield Mall. I love going there (I love Flat Top Grill, too, but there aren't any out by us - actually I think I like it better, specifically the way they charge for the dishes, except when I was there they were missing one specific ingredient that I must have - water chestnuts). I love being able to pick out exactly what you want in the stir fry. And I always believe in one thing - if you don't like it, it's your fault since you put it together. Had some chicken pot stickers as an appetizer. Carol had garlic chicken, and I had a stir fry with steak and lo-mein noodles plus whatever I can scrounge at the vegetable bar (heavy on the water chestnuts, with a walk through some snow peas, red peppers, green onions and whatever hit me. Yum. We walked around the mall a bit for exercise afterward. That, and Carol had to go Payless Shoes for three pairs of shoes. Sigh.
Friday 5 is offline
Time for the Friday Five... except I can't get to their site. What's going on over there???
Thursday, June 06, 2002
It's not my fault
My sister (Diane) called this evening to talk to Carol. We talked for a bit as well. She was laid-off yesterday and joins me in the ranks of the unemployed.
But, after careful thought, she now blames me for being unemployed. You see, in April 1998 I was let go from Brunswick Corporation - 7 months shy of 20 years of service. I took time off (a very nice severance package, thank you). One year later, in April 1999, Diane was let go from her job. Flash forward. marchFIRST takes a dive, my services are bought by divine, and my last day was June 1, 2001. Sure enough, one year later, Diane gets laid off again. Coincidence?
Whole lotta cups
I received an EMail recently that just made me feel warm inside. A former coworker of mine has been reading my blog quite regularly. It was something I hadn't thought about, but she said "I feel like we are still working together and seeing each other everyday." I hadn't thought of a blog giving that kind of connection to people that you used to work with. Even though it's a bit one-way (even though there are options on each post to make a comment for feedback), it feels good to know that there's a connection. On top of it, since Barry is mentioned a bit in my blogging, she's vicariously keeping in touch with him as well. I really enjoyed my time working with Peggy. She's a great woman and a great worker. I've missed her dearly since my time at Brunswick. One of the last times I saw her was at Comiskey Park almost two years ago for Elvis Night. She had her daughter with her, so I snapped some pics. These are for you, Peg! Hope you keep reading.
Wednesday, June 05, 2002
The storm and subsequent power outage has taken out my wireless access point, so the wireless portion of my home network is ka-blewie.. At least the rest of the machines are all hard connected, so I still have access to them and the internet. I've been struggling to try to talk to the access point all day and it's just driving me nuts. I hate hardware. I don't do hardware. There's something nice about Cat 5 cable - it's tactile, you can touch it. It's real. A wireless access point may be connected to a Cat 5 cable, but it's that wireless part that's so - ethereal. It just works. Except, when it doesn't (I'm sounding like Yogi Bera).
Tuesday, June 04, 2002
The Mole 2 - Episode 3 & 4
The game keeps adding more and more twists. First we've seen The Exemption. Now we've seen The Neutralizer - neutralizing an exemption and adding money to the pot. Well, Lisa is gone. Nuts. Well, see you at Comiskey! Even though she said it was the last day to get her job back, at least we know it all turns out OK. The game moves from Switzerland to Italy, and Patrick makes an odd move - tearing out pages of his old journal now in Katie's possession, causing a $5,000 fine for the group. The team won $0 in the Rappelling challenge, $30,000 in the Morality Game challenge (helping change tires on cars of stranded motorists), and $50,000 in the Dumb vs. Smart challenge. The pot is now at $166,000. The team feels that Patrick isn't strong enough to get information by himself and he won't get far. Sure enough - Patrick is executed.
150/96 or 140/90
It was a year ago this past Saturday that I worked my last day at full-time position. I've now been unemployed for over a year. One of the (many) bad off-shoots of this is lack of complete health insurance coverage. We haven't been able to have it straightened out until last week, so it was off to the doctor this morning to get checked-out and get back on my blood pressure meds. One thing's for sure - I need them: 150/96 left side, 140/90 right side. Meds, exercise, diet... should all help. Just have to do something about the those last two things...
Beep... Beep... Beep...
Thunderstorms are ripping through the neighborhood. The power went out, so the UPS's for the computers are beeping. I swear as I'm laying in bed that I can hear the thunder directly above me, through the roof. I don't remember that sensation before. My cell phone is going off with Emergency Weather alert messages for thunderstorms and flash floods. There was one crack of thunder after a blinding flash of light that must have been pretty damn close. Should be an interesting day.
Monday, June 03, 2002
Chicago Wolves 2002 Calder Cup Champions
Let me start by saying - I'm glad I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to get back on my blood pressure medication! The crowd was even louder, up from 5,022 Thursday and 9,115 Friday to 15,132, the second largest in the 66-year history of the AHL. Steve Maltais get's two goals in the first period only 2:15 apart. It feels good. In the second period, Malts gets another goal for the hat trick. Ooo, this is feeling good. Then Bridgeport scores a goal. And then another. And then another. Crap - it's the end on two periods and it's all tied 3-3. The officials start letting the players go - the penalties are stopping and the crowd is going nuts. Third period - no penalties, also no scoring. We go into overtime, and then something ugly happens. No one sees it because it happens behind the play, but Dallas Eakins is laying flat on his back with his arms outstretched, not moving at all. AT ALL. And Nobody sees him in the corner. NOBODY. The officials never blow the whistle, no team member comes over, play is at the other end of the ice. Pasi doesn't even go over to him. The crowd goes nuts. THEN the whistle blows, and Bridgeport's trainer is first to Dallas with other Wolves team members. The place goes quiet. the team doctors come up the tunnel. Next thing we know, Dallas is up and going back to the bench! No penalties were called. In fact, again, no penalties that period. No scoring that period either! We go into the second overtime. Then, at 2:05 into the second overtime, Yuri Butsayev scores the winning goal and the Wolves win the Calder Cup during their first year in the league. Well, the place went up for grabs at that point. I've never seen so much hugging and high-fives amongst the fans before. The team is going nuts on the ice. Then, of course, the obligatory handshakes. And then the red carpet gets rolled out, a table setup, and the trophies are walked out. Pasi Nurminen is awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the Calder Cup Playoffs' most valuable player. The Calder Cup is then presented to the team captain, Steve Maltais. Then the streamers and confetti rain down, Queen's "We Are The Champions" starts playing, and the team takes turns, passing the cup around player to player to allow them to skate part of a victory lap around the ice and show the fans.
Yes, I know it's only a minor league team, but in a town like Chicago, you grab what you can. And having a cup is, as Martha would say, a "good thing."
Sunday, June 02, 2002
Saturday, June 01, 2002
Jasmine and clones
We decided to spend the day with our buds, Barry & Buffy (or B&B as we sometimes to refer to them), taking in a movie and having some dinner. We dove into the city, into Wrigleyville to go and pick them up. When we called them from the car (we were just going to wait outside and have them come out), Buffy said to double park the car and come in. B&B's brand new granddaughter, Jasmine, was over for a visit. We had to go in and see her! She was beautiful - all sacked out taking a nap on B&B's bed. Of course, mom Kim was there, too, so we had to chat a bit. And, well, I had to take some pictures because she was just so damn cute! What a gorgeous little baby. Well, we had to get going, so Jasmine got "packed-up" and all six of us left - well, only four of us drove back up to the Evanston Century 12 again, this time to catch a matinee of Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones. I'm starting to like the theaters - good concessions, good seating (gotta love that Stadium Seating), and free parking (with validation). The movie was great. There's something about seeing those famous little words at the beginning of the movie, those same words that we saw 25 years ago. I think that you couldn't tell that the film was shot using digital video instead of film. The special effects were very good, and even though there were a ton on digital sets, they were well done. There seemed to be a lot of pieces that reminded me of other movies, like Blade Runner for the city/planet Coruscant, a little bit of Gladiator, and I thought that I saw a little Mr. Miyagi in Yoda at least once... There was a large group of pre-teen girls that were sitting in the row behind us, usually chatting throughout the movie. Fortunately, they were pretty quiet, but every once in a while you can hear what they were say. For instance, when Anakin would show a bit too much anger for a young padawan, I could hear one of the girls say "What is his problem?" And then there was the scene with Anakin and Padmé - wearing that black corseted dress - that was dimly lit in front of a fire. As soon as the scene started it was really quiet in the theater and then I heard from behind me this quiet "oh oh". Carol and I struggled from laughing out loud. After the movie we went to Sam's Club, so B&B can do some shopping. Then back to Wrigleyville (which was a bit of a mess since there was a 3:05 Cubs game), and then a brief walk down Southport to go to Red Tomato for dinner. On the way there, we passed a toy store with these cute ladybugs in the window. We had to stop, as Buff wanted to but one for Jasmine (it wound up having a chime ball inside of it - pretty cool). Dinner at Red Tomato was great. We all had to get the carpaccio for the appetizer - we had been thinking about it all day. Had a good meal - I had something that was actually called a "stir fry" which was beef and potatoes - it was very good. We walked back to B&B's and watched most of Jurassic Park III on cable, had some apple pie (from Sam's) and finally left about 9 o'clock. I don't know what it is, but I love having friends that we could just spend the day with and have a good time the whole time.
That's it for the entries in this particular Archive of my blog. If you want, you can look through other entries by selecting the links in the right-hand column of this page under either Archives by Month or Archives by Category, or you can search the site for specific keywords by using the Search page.