Tuesday, August 29, 2006


My cousin Rachel died on Saturday. She was 20 and has a three-month-old daughter. I've been trying to write a tribute or something here, but I'm just not ready.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Precipitation Technology

We can send people to the moon, perform heart transplants and even cram days’ worth of music into a thin strip of metal. So why is it that humans have not been able to come up with something more advanced than The Umbrella?

Sure, The Umbrella is an advancement compared to its predecessor, The Newspaper. However, stripped down to its basic parts, the technology of The Umbrella is: 1. Stick. 2. Cloth. That’s about as advanced as the basic toothbrush — Stick. Bristles. But even the toothbrush has seen some updated technologies over the years and is now motorized and practically cleans your teeth without you having to lift a finger.

My problem with The Umbrella is that it only accomplishes about half of what it’s supposed to do — keeping you dry. For starters, it may keep your head dry, but your feet are another story. In fact, pretty much everything from the waist down doesn’t get covered by most umbrellas. Plus, all the rain that’s not hitting you on the head is rolling down your umbrella and landing on your back, or in my case, my butt. Because that’s where I really want to have a wet spot.

Then there’s the whole issue of opening and closing them. Even the smallest umbrellas don’t fit through doorways and other narrow places, so you have to close them before entering or exiting things. All the while you’re fumbling to close it using those impossible metal things (which, by the way, I’m always terrified of pinching my fingers in), you’re getting rained on. And if you also happen to be carrying something else like coffee or a purse, well, you might as well forget about being dry. Plus, half the time when you close an umbrella, it manages to pour water all over you. So really, you’re no better off than if you hadn’t used one in the first place. In fact, you’re probably more frustrated.

And don’t even get me started on The Umbrella vs. The Wind. Guess what, Average Umbrella Manufacturer: When it’s raining outside, it’s usually because there’s a storm blowing through. And you know what storms produce other than rain? Wind. So maybe you should try to make umbrellas that don’t flip inside-out and render themselves useless whenever there’s a stiff breeze. Or maybe this is all a marketing ploy. The more our umbrellas get destroyed by the wind, the more we have to buy. Jerks.

So I’m begging all you smart folks out there, please invent something more advanced than The Umbrella. Seriously, if you come up with another technology to keep people dry in the rain that allows for free use of both their hands and doesn't require them to wear one of those stupid umbrella hats Professor Frink wears, you will surely become a millionaire. And please invent this quickly, because my shoes aren’t getting any drier.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Enclosed Spaces

I’m beginning to think that the nicer your view at work, the less you actually get to leave your office. That’s why you get a nice view: It’s a consolation prize for being tethered to your desk.

For example, at my first job as a reporter, my cubicle — and most of the building in fact — had no windows. However, I was rarely at my desk. Instead, I was out on the street, attending meetings, interviewing people, driving around, looking for stories, etc.

At my second job, there was a window within walking distance of my desk. At this job, most interviews were done over the phone, and I left the building less often than my first job. But I still got to leave every once in a while to go sit in other offices and interview people.

At my current job, I have an amazing view of Michigan Avenue and the John Hancock building. And I never get to leave. When I do interview people, they’re always done over the phone. I don’t even leave for lunch. Instead I eat at my desk. Staring out the window. Watching people do more exciting things. Like shopping.

But I shouldn’t complain. I like my job (even though it’s a wee bit stressful most days) and I actually get paid to work for a magazine. Now if I could only get paid to go shopping on Michigan Avenue…

See more self portraits here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I can read

A big "thank you" to Jessi for giving me something to blog about other than the wedding.

1. One book that changed your life.
No More Prisons,” by William Upski Wimsatt. (It's more about senseless fear than the prison system.)

2. One book you have read more than once.
Things Fall Apart,” by Chinua Achebe. (I had to read it twice in college.)

3. One book you would want on a desert island
How to Build Wooden Boats,” by Edwin Monk

4. One book that made you laugh
Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks,” by Mick Foley. (Who put these cookies in my bed?)

5. One book that made you cry
The Time Traveler’s Wife,” by Audrey Niffenegger. (But you already knew that.)

6. One book you wish you had written
The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” by Milan Kundera

7. One book you wish had never been written
Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity,” by David Limbaugh

8. One book you are currently reading
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk,” by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. (My friend Alex bought this for me when I graduated from high school. I'm finally getting around to reading it now.)

9. One book you have been meaning to read
All the President’s Men,” by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. (Yeah, I've owned this one since December. Still haven't read it. What was my major again?)

10. One person I tag.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sobering Thought

I logged onto theknot.com today, and it said "24 days until your wedding!"

Holy crap.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

EE Anonymous

I had a bad day yesterday. The kind of bad day that pushes people in drink. Or in my case, pushes people to eat. Turns out, I’m an emotional eater.

I never thought I was one of those people. And to be fair, I didn’t woof down a tub of ice cream to calm my nerves either. However, at the height of my stress-filled day yesterday, I went out and got the tuna salad sub from Jimmie John’s. Scandalous, right? Well actually, for such a healthy-sounding sub, it’s got 500 calories and 19 grams of fat. Compared to what I normally eat for lunch, that’s was pretty bad. Afterward, I felt gross and vowed not to eat dinner.

But you know what I did when I got home? After relaying my craptastic day to Chris (which I’m sure he enjoyed), I sat on my ass, watched “House” and “So You Think You Can Dance?” (greatest show ever) and ate half a Home Run Inn pizza.

Disgusting. And I was doing so well. Last week, I worked out regularly, ate well and finally pushed past the nasty plateau that my weight’s been hanging onto for the past two months. However, with the bachelorette party on Saturday, my poor food choices this week (I also ate an entire bag of butter popcorn for a “snack” on Tuesday), and no time at the gym due to a case of the sniffles, it looks like I’m heading back to plateauland. (118, I hardly knew ye).

But I’ll get back on track. Today I finally feel well enough to go running again, so I’m going to relieve all that stress with a nice, hard run. I love running when I’m stressed out. It just feels so…right.

Plus, I’m eager to get back on the treadmill after watching this video that my brother-in-law sent me. It’s amazing. I suggest you all go watch it…now!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Enclosed in a Veil

This month’s Self Portrait Challenge theme is enclosed spaces. I decided to do "enclosed in a veil.” Now, I could get all psychological and say that I’m enclosed in a wedding, or about to be enclosed in a marriage. But let's just leave it at "enclosed in a veil."

A really, really pretty veil.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Longest Day Ever

This Sunday is my first of two bridals showers, where I will wear a pretty dress, eat finger food, sip mimosas, and probably nurse a hangover.

Tomorrow is my bachelorette party, where I plan to wear a pretty skirt, get sufficiently intoxicated, dance like a moron, and probably throw out lots of hugs and tell all my girls how much I loooovvve them.

Tonight, one of my bridesmaids is flying in for this weekend’s festivities, and I plan on taking her around the ‘hood, visiting some local drinking establishments, and staying up ‘til dawn in total slumber-party fashion.

I’m so ecstatic about this weekend, I can’t sit still. Yet I impatiently sit here at work, editing articles written in corporate-speak, reading and tweaking e-newsletters, and occasionally staring out the window, all the while wishing that today — the longest day ever — would get off its fat ass and fast forward about seven hours.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Yay, this is fun!

My brother-in-law got me hooked on eMusic a few months back. It's awesome. For $20 a month, you get 90 downloads. I'm one of those people who likes to ration things out, so every week I allow myself one or two albums. It's hard, dude. I have about 100 albums in my Saved for Later folder. But I keep downloading stuff I already had on tape or I lost a long time ago, like Bad Religion and Operation Ivy. And when I listen to them again, it's like, "Hey, I missed you guys."

Anyway, I think I'm going to start posting what I download each month. I've been a member since May, and I can't sort the downloads by date downloaded, so here's what I've gotten over the past three months:

Alkaline Trio – “Good Mourning”
Antioch Arrow – “Gems of Masochism”
At The Drive-In – “In-Casino-Out”
Bad Religion – “Suffer”
Belle and Sebastian – “If You’re Feeling Sinister”
Braid – “Frame & Canvas”
Fugazi – “13 Songs”
Iggy and the Stooges – “Year of the Iguana”
Operation Ivy – “Energy”
Pavement – “Slanted & Enchanted”
Rainer Maria – “Look Now Look Again”
Sleater-Kinney – “Dig Me Out”
Spoon – “Gimme Fiction”
Sufjan Stevens – “Illinoise”
Sugar – Cooper Blue
The Fiery Furnaces – “Bitter Tea”
The Lawrence Arms – “A Guided Tour of Chicago”
The Streets – “Original Pirate Material”
The Streets – “The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living”
Tortise – “Tortise”
V/A – “Brain Candy Soundtrack”
V/A – “Ghost World Soundtrack”
Willie Nelson – “Yesterday’s Wine”