Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The biggest problem this guy is facing.

[a child is fussing and crying the background]
Customer: I'm not sure what the program is called.
Me: I need to know that in order to help you best. Are you not at your computer?
Customer: I'm in [city, state].
Me(leading the caller): So... you're... not at your computer?
Customer: Well, we've got a power outage because of the hurricane.

Now, I'm not a father (save for my cat). Nor have I ever been in a hurricane. But, I do have priorities, and one of them, especially when faced with impending disaster, isn't whether or not my simulated trading account, which I couldn't access anyways as there is no electricity, is working properly. If I'm in this guy's shoes, I'm getting my family and myself as far out of harm's way as possible.

Then again, I've been called overprotective before, even repeatedly. I'm just like that.

New blog!

I started a new blog for the pub quiz. I'm finally getting around to promises I made months ago to you, my dear readers, to post the questions I ask every Tuesday night, custom-made for you folks who are not in Chicago.

I'm sure it'll have other features to it, but for now, that's that!

Hope you like it!

Monday, August 29, 2005

The morning after.

I spent the weekend with my friend A at my grandparents' farm. I needed it, badly. I needed the country air. I needed to be pampered (being the oldest grandchild has many, many benefits, even if you are an adult). I needed sleep.

I got it all, baby. I slept at least 6.5 hours every night (although never contiguously). I ate too much. I watched my cousin play football. I mowed the lawn. I watched the sunset just beyond the quarry that's 1/2 a mile from their house. I played with a puppy. I had drinks bought for me repeatedly, although maintained my seemingly ill-advised beer ban.

The unfortunate side-effect of this weekend is a drastic awakening of my allergies. You see, my grandparents live on a farm surrounded, this year, with corn and soybean fields. The ditches by the side of the road are covered in goldenrod, weeds, and yes, marijuana. There's pollen galore out at the farm, especially in August, and I'm a miserable mess right now, with swollen, red eyes (from the hayfever, not the pot) and a overproductive snot factory right now.

The great part about all this is that I'm also extremely happy and at peace. I love where I live. I love Chicago. One of the greatest benefits of living here is that I'm so close to the farm- only about 2 hours by car, but a world away as far as how I feel. Out there, there's almost no stress, no hurry, and no one gets on my case for sleeping past 7. Plus, I get to mow the lawn.

This sounds like a silly thing, and I'll bet that most people think I like to do it because I get to drive a tractor, but the real reason I like to do it is because it's so fun. It has a Zen quality for me. There's no one but me, and the big ol' tractor, and the lawn- a kind of solitude that just fills my soul up. Sometimes, when no one's watching, I'll sing at the top of my lungs, too, not that they could hear me over the tractor. What do I sing? I Wanna Drive the Zamboni. Believe it or not, but my grandparents' backyard is probably just smaller than a football field, and definitely bigger than most hockey rinks- and that big ol' tractor is just right for me. More than once, my grandfather has watched me mow, then asked me afterwards why I did it the way I did. I try to explain, but hockey isn't all that popular out there, where football is king, and the subject is frequently glossed over. Zambonis are not farm equipment, and the nearest one I know of is 58 miles away.

Honestly, it's more fun than you might think. Much more.

Anyways, it was a delightful weekend, and if it weren't for the fact that I believe that my sinuses are going to explode, well, I'd be too happy.

Friday, August 26, 2005

And we all shine on.

Instant karma's gonna get you

Yesterday, I got out of work and headed home, making a short list in my head of the things I'd need from my local Osco before heading home, and then heading out for a drink with my dearly beloved roommate and best friend. As I was walking to the store, I passed by the Globe, where I saw one of the owners standing, talking with someone, and blatantly people-watching.

Gonna knock you right on the head

I was paying attention to him, as he was talking directly at me, making comments about my business attire, so I didn't notice what had happened to the bar. They painted the doors blue, and the rest orange. I was instantly taken aback. "[N]!" I cried, "what the fuck happened to the bar?" He told me they were sprucing it up a bit. "But why orange?"

"It isn't orange, Dave. It's copper."

"Dude, that is orange."

Apparently, the paint is supposed to dry to a copper color. I'll believe it when I see it, not before, but I will report that the place is butt-ugly from the outside right now.

You better get yourself together
We chatted a couple extra minutes, but I had places to go, so I bid my farewell and walked on down the road, as it were. I came to the crossroads- literally and figuratively. Do I walk up Damen, the "shorter" route, or walk up Lincoln, the road less traveled, ergo more exciting?

I chose the road less traveled. Why not? It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I strolled, happily, around the corner to the west entrance to Osco, and lo and behold, the woman I had been thinking of all day was there. No, friends and neighbors, this isn't a romantic story. It's a karmic story.

Let me sum up:
A couple weekends ago I rode my bike down to the local Trader Joe's for the usual provisions and a few bottles of wine. As I walked to the entrance, a woman had a table up for the upcoming Leukemia run. She asked if I had some money to spare. I didn't, at the time, as I was paying by card that day, but I told her we'd talk on my way out.

I kept my promise. I told her that I ran a pub quiz in the neighborhood, and that I would probably be able to divert the fundraising away from my charity for a night and donate the money to hers. When I told her how much we usually take in, her eyes lit up. She gave me her phone number, as she was out of business cards, but the pen ran out of ink on the last number.

I've been saving the number, meaning to call her. Yesterday morning, I finally wrote it down in my palm pilot, and set an alarm for after I got home. Let's get back to outside the Osco.

I commented on how odd it was that I had been thinking of her all day, and that I usually don't walk up Lincoln to get to the store, and how amazing it was that she was right there. She said "I'm so glad you listen to your intuition." I call it my Jedi skills, but hey, basically the same thing, right?

We chatted extensively. She was getting a lot more business than the last time I had saw her. I gave her all my information, and told her that I would be in contact with her on Monday, after I get back into town. We discussed dates, and made further arrangements for her to stop by and see the pub quiz in action, and make sure it's something she'd want to do.

I have to admit that I love moments like that, where my brain and fate seem to be kicking back a couple beers and pointing me in the right direction. This definitely put a well-needed smile on my face.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Papa Allegra

My father, renowned crazy guy, teacher of math and computer science, alleged heretic and all-around nice guy, will be featured on WCCO Radio this morning at 11:10 Central. He'll be talking about how the government isn't funding his usual summertime NYSP, which is a sports and education program for economically disadvantaged children. My father has put his all into this project for years, and although it makes him crazy busy every summer, I can't picture him without it. He, like me, has a hard time sitting still.

I'm already logged onto their streaming broadcast, and counting the minutes.

In response to his e-mail informing me of his soon to be radio fame, I sent him to this website, knowing full well that he'd laugh his ass off at it. I will predict, at this time, that my birthday present will probably include one of the items on that site. We're like that- crazy nerds who have absurd senses of humor. I offer into evidence, exhibit A, my birthday present to my father this year:

Of course, if you're not into integral calculus like we are, you might want to know the full explanation:

Not bad, huh?

Pat always finds the good ones.

It's true, and when he posted this one, I jumped at the opportunity:

Take the Which NHL Star Are You? Quiz

While I've never really liked Brett Hull, at least I'm not Mike Modano. Or Patrick Roi. Or Ed Belfour. Or Todd Bertuzzi.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How to get mentioned in a blog.

A fairly easy task, considering the sheer number of blogs out there on the good ole ISH, but indicating that this is an easy way to annoy the piss out of me will probably lead to a lot more people trying to piss me off. Anyways, here's how to do it:

Me: Click on Go.
Customer: Should I click on go?
Me: Yes.
Customer: Ok.
Me: Now click on ok.
Customer: Should I click on OK?
Me: Yes.
Customer: Ok.
Me: Now, close the program.
Customer: So, I should close the program?
Me: Yes.
Customer: Ok.
Me: Now, restart your computer.
Customer: Oh, so I should restart my computer?
Me: Yes.

It is a simple relationship, that between the tech support operator and the client. You ask a question, and I tell you how to fix the problem, via instructions. When I issue those instructions, do not, please do not, repeat said instructions back to me as a question. This frustrates me, and doubles the call time, as you have to repeat everything like a moronic echo. I mean, it's not like I'm asking you play 701 on a dartboard with the first 20 prime numbers on it or anything. Sheez.

Oh, and one more thing while I've got a rant going. Why the fuck to I continuously have to add the word blog to my blog's spellchecker? Anyone?



Tuesday, August 23, 2005

zzzzzzzzzzzzzz huh? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz huh?

For whatever reasons I can't seem to reprogram myself to sleep when I need to, I have not managed to fall asleep before 10 the past two nights, which is pretty bad considering how crazy this 4am shift is. I'm doing the heavy-eye nodding off dance with my desktop right now. If the phones were ringing, I'd have more stimuli, and be more awake.

Time for some online games? I think so.

The practial upshot of all this is that I've finished pub quiz for tonight. The downside of that is now I have nothing with which to fill my time. Oh well. Better to have it done than not have it done.

I'm going back to my pseudo-nap. More later, if I have time and energy.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday morning coming down.

Sitting here so early in the morning, with all of none of my friends (at least the sensible ones) online means I do a lot of reading up on my blogs, news websites, etc, etc. So, when I make my groggy way down my blogroll, and come across Bosco's blog entry about the upcoming Walk the Line movie, let's just say my jaw dropped and my heart cried out for some kind of justice.

Now, dear friends and readers, I won't bore you with the details about how much I love Mr. John R. Cash, it's been said so often on this blog that linking to the entries would be a waste of time. Probably the best entries are right around this date. A strange time for me. Lots of phone calls that morning.

So, after catching wind of said movie, I hurried my ass over to imdb.com so I could take a look at what's what, and perhaps most importantly, find out who is playing my hero. When I read it, I had to do a couple double-takes, then rub my eyes, then question my sanity, then read it again. Joaquin Phoenix? What? Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash? What the fuck?

Ok. Maybe I'm overreacting. After all, after Herb Brooks died, I finally caught wind of the movie Miracle . Turns out I liked that movie so much I've watched more times than I can count. Will I give it a chance? Well, yes. But only because I have to. I've already watched the trailer, and I had to immediately put on some Johnny Cash to wash out the horror of listening to Joaquin Phoenix singing JC songs.

Well, only time will tell. Anyone want to go see a movie with me in November?

Friday, August 19, 2005

You ever listen to K-Billy's "Super Sounds of the Seventies" weekend?

After yesterday's hellatious 2 1/2 hour outage, I was in desperate need of a bender. Fortunately for me, the stars have aligned such that my dear friend L is in town, and wanted to hit the town in grand fashion.

And hit the town we did.

I was going to take her to a nice new place she hadn't been, the Hopleaf, but it's the kind of place that you go to primarily to drink beer, as they have several hundred to choose from, most of them quite exotic. I, as you probably don't know, am on a beer ban, going on twelve days, in an effort to lower my glycerides even further which will, in turn, lower my overall cholesterol, but that's not the point of the story.

L, my roommate and I met up at the Globe, and once we got started, the need to go someplace else faded quickly. Especially after I mentioned that karaoke started at 10. We weren't going anywhere. So, we kept drinking, she her martinis, myself my vodka tonics. And kept drinking. And drinking. Finally, we moved into the back room. The KJ is a guy who comes to pub quiz, so he gave us a bump up in the line so L could crank out her famous rendition of Me and Bobby McGee (she does it so well it melts most men's hearts) and then he introduced me, in high fashion. "Folks, we've got a special treat tonight, Tuesdays at the Globe is trivia night, and coming up to the stage is Quizmaster Dave!"

Unexpectedly, the crowd clapped. I drunkenly moved directly into rock star mode, and bounded up to the stage. The first notes of my new signature song started up, and the crowd cheered again. I asked for volunteers to come up and sing harmony for me, as you really can't do that song justice without backup. I'm not even going to attempt to be humble about this. We fucking owned that song! The whole crowd was thrilled, and I was dancing around like a young Mick Jagger. As a part of my theatrics, during the musical break, I do a Michael Madsen impression, by putting my foot up on something, saying "hold still" and pretending to cut off someone's ear. It's always a crowd pleaser. At the end of the song, it was handshakes all around and thunderous applause from the crowd.

And let me tell you, it felt damn good.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Crisis mode.


Our system is down, and has been down since about 8:45.

It's a fun morning.

Because I didn't have time write about it yesterday.

Jen, sweet friend that she is, posted this yesterday, a nice little tribute to me.

Here's what happened: I admitted, to my entire pub quiz, with the microphone on, that back in the day, I thought that being a game show host would be a fun and lucrative career. While she photoshopped my head onto the body of Bob Barker, I always imagined myself a more Richard Dawson or Alex Tribek kind of host. Sadly, after years of remarkably mind-boggling questions of an asinine nature, I'm too bitter to be the nice, cordial host I could be. I'm probably more suited to be more like Anne Robinson, except I think my bald, menacing look like be a little too intimidating. Maybe I'm a not-quite-as-nice-about-it George Gray.

A brief retelling of my morning thus far.

2:22 My alarm clock goes off. I've been doing this thing lately where I set the radio alarm to trigger before the buzzer alarm. It seems like a nicer way to wake up- in stages- instead of the whole bang-bang you're up scheme.

2:25 My other alarm goes off, and is met with a struggling-to-comprehend Dave, wondering why the fuck he's waking up.

2:27 Realizing, I have to do this, I actually get out of bed. Mia is nowhere near happy with me, and doesn't have a problem indicating this to me through a series of chirpy miaows and the ever-popular claw to the arm.

2:35 I've brushed my teeth, and am standing with the shower running, looking at myself in the mirror. You may not know this about me, but my eyes are rather strangely colored, in that they're brownish when the pupils are large, yet golden with brown flecks when contracted. Usually, when I'm happy, you'll see the gold and brown, it's kinda neat. I'm rather fascinated with my eyes because I'm just so damn unhappy about being awake, but can barely allow light into my eyes, so they're rather golden at that particular time.

2:38 Once I realize I'm wasting time I don't have, I get my ass in the shower, shave, and start to get ready to leave for work. I'm packing my bag so quickly I forget my belt, too.

3:07 I walk downstairs with my brand-new headlight, backpack laden with clothes, shower supplies, and everything else I'll need this morning. I hop on my grocery-getter bike, a heavy mountain bike with a broken bottom-bracket, and notice that it's sprinkling. Fuck.

3:35 I finally cross the Chicago River on the Wells Street Bridge, tired, sweaty, and far too tired. I mean, I was biking past closing bars. Oy. At least, I'm only a few blocks from work, so I'm pretty good on time.

3:45 I lock my bike outside of Kent Law School, remove all valuable components of my bike, and head to my office. When I get to the door, the security guard asks me where my bike is, I tell him, and he informs me that there's a bike storage in the basement of the building. I'm thrilled, because this means I could maybe ride my nice road bike instead of my heavy mountain bike. He shows me where it is. I know what I'm doing next week.

3:56 I hop into the shower in our fitness center. It feels damn good to rinse off after that bikeride.

4:16 I clock in, 16 minutes late. I have a hard time caring about this, as, well, I just don't care. I'm too tired, too much not in the mood to be at work this early. I'm sure that over time, this will only get worse.

This is just the start of my day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New addiction.

I've found this game which is rather fun, and frankly, probably the reason I havent' gone completely insane.

Needless to say, it's been a rough day around here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Proof Positive that I was once really, really cute.

My brother had a great brainstorm for what you get our mother for her birthday. And it was quite and idea. Seeing as my mother doesn't know about my blog, and definitely doesn't read it, I'm willing to post up what we got her.

The folks over at mydavinci.com take pictures, and render them into sketches, watercolors, etc, for a nominal fee. This particular drawing is based off of a picture taken way, way back, on my first day of school in America, in the late 70's. My brother, of course, is upset because he won't have me to play with anymore. It's a great picture, and a wonderful present. Special thanks to the MyDaVinci people for a job well done.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Things to do in DC when you're dead. [UPDATED]

I came across the Christopher Walken 2008 Site this morning via Fark.com. Now, I don't know if it's true or not, I really hope it is, but here's a list of things I'd sure love to hear Mr. Walken say if he is successfully elected president:

"He hid the WMD's in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass."

"Now I know you know where they are. So tell me, before I do some damage you won't walk away from."

"You can't do that. We don't have "bathrooms" in the Whitehouse."

More. More power. More. Do it!"

"I tell you this as an journalist,I think you'll understand."

"You've broken my mind."

"You really think that I would let Ed keep bullets in his gun?"

Just a couple thoughts. I'll have to learn more about his politics to see if I'd cast a vote his way.

Update: Turns out this is, sadly a hoax. Sounds like my bullshit meter was right. Sad. Thanks to Rizzn for letting me know.

Land speed record.

I actually timed it this morning. I arrived at my desk at 5:54 am.

At 8:38 am, I became so annoyed with a customer I threw* my keyboard.

Total elapsed time, 2 hours 44 minutes.

This is scary. I mean, it's Monday, and I've got a whole work week lined up, including some really funky shifts on Thursday and Friday, where I'll be working from 4 am until 3:30 pm.

No, you didn't read that wrong. I'll be at my desk, answering calls at 4 am. I'll be riding my bike to work, too, as neither the Brown line, nor any buses to get me to another trains to get me to work will be running yet. I should derive a little pleasure out of the bike ride, at least. I should also be pretty loopy, having gotten very little sleep, seeing as my friend L will be in town again this week. Dangerous times ahead, dear readers. Dangerous times.

*By throw, I mean I pushed it forward in disgust, displacing my speakers but not actually damaging my $700 monitor or my keyboard. I would have to pay to replace said objects, and let's face it, I'm not making that much money. While it is a minor act of violence, it does have the advantage of allowing me to burn off a little steam, and it makes a funky noise when I knock shit over.

Friday, August 12, 2005

More birthday goodness.

Today is my stepfather's birthday. It's not a milestone, like my mother's was, but hey, birthdays are birthdays. Supposedly, they're going to top by on their way back from Michigan in a couple weeks, like in the picture here, we're going to try to meet for lunch or something. Should be interesting, as I work downtown now, so parking is a serious hassle.

Next week, my friend L comes back into town, which means I'll have a week full of excessive drinking and partying too much. Not that I'm complaining, but we're a force to be reckoned with. Methinks I'll spend the weekend resting up for it.

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in the 21st century anymore.

Many of you already know that The Kansas Board of Education has ostensibly approved adding "Intelligent Design" to their science curriculum for public schools. I'm pretty sure you can all guess where I stand on this particular debate. Allow me to use my blog in a way I try not to: a political/religious sounding board. What you may or may not know is that my father, the man who raised me, is on the same type of committee, in the great state of Minnesota. He has been, as a source of extreme pride for me, called a heretic in the State Senate for his views on evolution. I asked him yesterday how he felt about the Kansas decision. He hadn't heard about it yet, but was still amazed at the fact that people accept Creationism and Intelligent Design as valid science. Dad told me that they were trying to change the definition of science to make it easier for the board to include Creationism as a valid scientific fact.

So, what's my beef here? Well, science is not a set of beliefs. It's a set of studied phenomena, things that someone has seen, theorized about, and then proven that theory. Religion is a set of beliefs, asking for faith in those beliefs. I quote the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
The Argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist" says God, "For proof denies faith and without faith I am nothing." "BUT," says Man, "The Babel Fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It proves you exist, so therefore you don't. QED." "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that." And promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. "Ooh, that was easy." says Man and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.

Maybe it's the fact that I, like my father, have a brain that thinks like a scientist, not a brain that easily accepts religious concepts, but I need proof of something before I'll believe in it. Creationism has no place being taught in a science classroom. Neither does Intelligent Design (the, dare I say it, slightly more evolved version of creationism). Want to hear about a god or gods creating the earth, life, and all of nature? Fine. Go to your local church, mosque, synagogue, or temple. The public school system, run by the government, cannot and should not teach either topic, as per the First Amendment.

In the end, just keep your damn religion away from me. I don't want it, and I definitely wouldn't want my children being taught your beliefs.

Thanks to fark.com user Lord_Baull for Photoshopping that picture.

...and the punks breathe a sign of relief.

A judge ruled that CGBG's does not owe $100,000 in back rents, fees, and interest, blocking the eviction process.

All I can say is whew.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Doctor's office shocker.

Let's recap my latest trip to my GP to talk about my high cholesterol.

5:16- I lock my bike to a parking meter outside his office.
5:17- I enter his office, check in, and take a seat.
5:21- His PA takes me to an exam room, takes my blood pressure. Results: 122/82.
5:58- My doctor finally arrives. He sits down, checks over the chart, and we get to talking about the results. He's happy with a couple numbers, not happy with the LDL. We talk about medications, side effects, friends of his on blood thinners, the history of cholesterol medications, and exercise. I'm attempting to injest all this data, and I'm admittedly over my head- on a mild case of overload.
6:32- He exits the room, I'm presuming to get the appointment book so we can schedule our next appointment, but he doesn't. He heads back to his office. I follow. He asks casually if I'm in a hurry, I answer that I'm not, I was just following him. He says, good, because I've got something for you to read, and I really need a cigarette.

Really need a cigarette. I figure he's going to go out back, in the alley or something. Nope. Right there in his Oak paneled office, at his big Oak desk is an ashtray, and 3 opened packs of Parliament Lights. I take a seat on the big leather sofa and have a flashback to Red talking about the Cake song she loves so much. I shake it off, and my doctor lights up, then has a seat in the recliner next to the sofa. We continue, basically chit-chatting. He's trying to give me advice as to how to lower my LDL levels, and it's basically the same thing that we've been talking about for the last year.

6:58- Our conversation seems to finally be over. We've decided not to do the meds, largely because I balked at the side effects. He's had two cigarettes, and started a third, and I'm wanting to get on my way. A whole slew of information has been crammed into my head, and I need to eat dinner. I head home, relieved that I'm not going to start taking more pills. I'm also excited about starting more cardio workouts, and doing my best to lose a little weight around the middle. Mostly, I want to start playing basketball again, maybe even get back into volleyball again.

The end results: cut back on the boozin', eat right, try to lose a little weight, and exercise.

Sorry to disappoint those of you expecting a Shyamalan-esque twist at the end, but there isn't one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Welcome to the jungle.

Jen and I had a new waitress last night at pub quiz, who did an excellent job, considering we had a record-breaking 53 people in attendance last night. It was, quite literally, overwhelming, for us, for our waitress, for the bartenders, for everyone. We had so many teams we were pulling tables and chairs from the front, rearranging the room completely. It was great to have so many people there, too. The questions were a little harder than usual, but folks still had fun with them. Of course, they could have been humoring me, nice folks that we have there.

Hopefully we'll see them all again next week, as our fundraising calendar year is ending soon, and I've still got a ways to go before I reach my lofty goal! As always, you can click on the links at the top of the blogroll or here, if you would like to make a donation. I would appreciate it greatly.

At the end of the night last night I got to talk to D, the new waitress. I asked her what she thought. She said it was busy and crazy, as I suspected. I gave her high praise for working through the busiest pub quiz we've ever had as I gave her the huge tip we always give our wait staff for being so damn good at their jobs. It's good to feel good twice over, for raising money and for making a person's night with a huge tip.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Still further proof the NHL is run by a bunch of morons.

Not just the fact that they managed to parlay what should have been an easily resolved labor dispute into the first-ever cancellation of a season due to labor issues, but now, they've allowed their punishment of Todd Bertuzzi to turn into a joke.

Remember when I said I'd start going to NHL games again? I might have spoken too soon.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sports Corner

Just had to touch on a couple things.

First off, I finally clinched a playoff spot in my Fantasy Baseball League:

Secondly (and definitely more important), the AHL has announced the schedule for the 2005-06 season. Check it here. My beloved Wolves have their home opener against the Manitoba Moose on October 15th. Who's up for a hockey game?

Seems like someone has a case of the Mondays.

I'm really wishing the a case of the Mondays was some kind of magical alcoholic beverage that would take away my day. My week, too. Take some LDL cholesterol, while you're at it.

I'm pissy, at this particular instant, because of a recent call, where I asked someone to describe to me what website they were on, as their previous answers as to what URL they were using were insufficient. The answer: "it's the same site I've been using for years."

While this is technically an accurate description, it does nothing to help me identify what the fuck the client was talking about, which is, of course, why I asked them to describe it in the first place.

Of course, I'm having extreme difficulty with the fact that no one seems to be able to read today. Maybe it's that they have the actual ability to read, but they're just not taking the time to do so.


Today is my mother's birthday, and it's a big milestone, too. Big happy birthday shouts out to her. She hasn't got the phone call yet, largely because she has the day off today and I didn't want to be the son responsible for waking her unnecessarily, but I'll call her on my way home from work, when she's hopefully had a nice lunch with my stepfather and a relaxing afternoon. She doesn't know what my brother and I are getting her yet, either, but it's good. Damn good. She's going to love it. I can't wait til she gets it.

Friday, August 05, 2005


After reviewing this week's posts, I realized that I have yet to have shared with my readers what all I did last weekend, while I was in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Of course, live has been so amazingly busy this week, so I feel like I have an excuse, and with yesterday's day off, Wednesday's Purple Line Fire, my doctor's appointment, and this morning's CTA problems, I've got a bit to say. Let's set the way-way back machine for last Friday.

I took the train down to Midway, swung into the horribly understocked bookstore, bought a crossword puzzle book, and had a seat at my favorite airport bar, Reilly's Daughter for a couple pints before my flight. I sat, kept to myself, and drank my Guinness and did crosswords. Quite the relaxing time. The flight itself was uneventful, although the woman sitting next to me hadn't flown in almost 20 years, so she was a little nervous, but I'm a pretty good traveler, so I was happy to do those little things, like offer her a piece of gum to help her ears pop.

After landing, it was a bee-line to my friend L's house, where were dropped off our stuff and headed out to the Dubliner, my favorite pub with the best Guinness in the whole of Mpls/St. Paul. Good times, live music, and happiness. Joining us were some high schools friends, K and A, and drinks were had, catching up was done, and it was a really good time, save for the women's room being out of order for 3 hours. There were some tense moments, but we got through it.

Saturday, I went shopping, got a couple shirts, then we were heading to lunch before trekking up to my mother's house, on the shores of Lake Pokegama, just outside Pine City, MN. We stopped, of all places, at an Arby's by my father's house. After placing my order, someone came out and slapped me on the arm. I turned, and it was, lo and behold, my stepsister M, who was working. We gave her a ride back to my dad's house, and crashed the wedding shower preparations, chatted, then finally got on our way.

Once we got there, I got to catch up with my grandparents, an aunt and uncle, mom and step dad and my brother and his wife. Unfortunately, I haven't spoken to my grandmother since the breakup, so she wanted to talk about that. I, of course, didn't, but I did anyways. She was understanding, as always, as grandmothers are, especially for the oldest grandchild. My mother flatly refused to take me out on her boat, after this trip, when she scuttled her boat on some rocks while taking me for a tour of the lake. I, naturally, still sing the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald every time I see her. L's son, Gabe, my youngest partner in crime (women love to see a man with a toddler, even if he doesn't look a thing like you!) had a blast playing with my step nieces and nephews. Later on that night, I had a couple drinks with A again before heading to bed.

Sunday, I needed to sleep in, but I didn't. I had reservations for brunch with, K, L, S, K, Gabe, L, J, and my step mom and dad at Fabulous Ferns, a regular stop for me when I'm up there. Very, very good food. Afterwards, we took Gabe and K bowling. Fun was had by all. Eventually, it was time for me to come back home, to my life and my cat, who was so eager to see me, she was half out the door when I unlocked it.

So, that was last weekend, fun, but way too busy. I need a vacation type vacation, where I just sit around and drink. Something like that.

Wednesday, after work, I headed to the train, as I am apt to do. I got on (brown arrow) sat down, opened my book, and started my evening decompression. Once we had traveled to the stop at Clark and Lake(green arrow), the conductor announced that the train was going to continue drive around the loop, and that if we needed to head north, we needed to go to State and Lake (blue arrow) to catch a Red Line North. Of course, the brown line travels counter-clockwise, so his announcement, the first he had made about this subject, came a station too late. Needless to say, I wasn't too amused. I then decided to go to the next station and catch a purple line out, but that train was out as well, so I went around to the Library station, and transferred to the Red Line at Jackson (purple arrow). All told, it took me 92 minutes to get home, a trip that usually takes me about 40 to complete. Of course, I didn't know about the fire at the time, but that didn't make the lack of communication any better.

I took the day off on Thursday for a doctor's appointment to finally get my cholesterol checked. Unfortunately, my doctor was really busy, so I waited 45 minutes to see him. Aggravation ensued.

5 minutes ago, I got the phone call. While my liver enzymes are finally back to a respectable range (read: normal), my bad cholesterol is still a whopping 251- way, way, way too high. My good cholesterol, however, is still good, though. So, we've got mixed results, and guess what? Time for a new medication. Fucksocks.

After my appointment, I was starving, as I am required to fast for at least 8 hours prior to the test. I got home, took the last of my medication, and headed to the Globe for lunch, where I spent the remainder of the afternoon, keeping the bartender company and watching Jeopardy!. I went home, and started to feel the effects of stopping my medication- stomach cramps. So bad, I barely managed to eat dinner.

Later, it was off to the Empty Bottle to see one of my favorite bands, Smog, with my friend T. Great show, but it started too late, and I was out too late, and the opening band was a waste of the space they collectively used up while on stage. Fast-forward to this morning. I hungover, tired, 4-hours-of-sleep-getting Dave is walking miserably to the train, when a woman stops me and says "it's not running." Shit. There's a train sitting on the platform, too, my train. I needed it to be running. I call the office, tell them I'm screwed, but going to take the bus to the Blue Line to come to work. This is, of course, an untested method of going to work, so I have no idea how long it will take.

Now, of course, I know. It takes an hour.

So, I was 30 minutes late today, and seriously considering riding my bike to work everyday, as twice in one week is just too much for me. Naturally, there's also no news on what the hell was wrong with my train this morning, either. I need a nap. And a drink. And a miracle on the cholesterol front. Soon.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The most important thing to happen yesterday is...

at least, according to the Chicago Tribune's Red Eye...

NOT the dangerous spacewalk to repair the shuttle.

NOT the deaths of more soldiers in Iraq(see paragraph 3).

NOT the flooding and rains in India.

NOT the plane crash in Toronto.

Nope- all this was too unimportant. What was important? See for yourself:

I can't remember what movie or TV show or whatever it comes from but the line I'm thinking of is "have you ever wondered what it feels like to lose one's mind?" I get the feeling that the world should be asking itself that exact question.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Keep your head down.

This is it boys, this is war.

We rolled out a new website this weekend. It's problematic to say the least.

So, I'll tell you all about my day and my weekend sometime after I get my head and maybe some spear time back from the world.

If that happens.