30 September 2005

Newcity's (and Jake's) Best of Chicago

The annual list (you know how I love 'em) of the random category winners is out. The website is pretty clunky, and I don't think this year's list is as good as last years (which I had in the paper version and I kept the entire time I lived in Chicago and didn't throw it out to when I packed to move.) I did think this one for the best speed bump was a good piece of hilarious writing. I like the opening piece about a city not being physical places & things, but more, the memories & experiences we associate with those places and things. I think it is very true. I love the lakefront but I love it because I remember playing volleyball at Montrose Ave beach, refereeing volleyball and going to the Air & Water Show and the AVP tour at North Ave beach and biking the Lake Shore bikepath. The Lincoln Park Zoo is really only a fair zoo, but the memories I have of taking my Y campers there on a field trip is priceless, kids on my shoulders, kids trying to give directions while reading maps, the hippo pooping and stinking up the whole area and us all running away screaming. The Field museum is incredible and has tons to see, but what I remember of it is the excitement of Noah, Brighid and Emily has they ran from exhibit to exhibit. Christkindlmarkt is fun but the real fun was defying the biting cold and enjoying a brat and potato latkes with my older brother. Ginger's Ale House is just one of thousands of bars in Chicago but it was special to me because of the fun I had there on Saturday mornings watching soccer, eating Shephard's Pie, and sipping a Coke. Logan Square is just a neighborhood. Houses, (more and more) condos, streets and pavement. But it is the walks on the boulevard, the route from my apartment to Dara's, the horriblely inconvenient hours of the Bucktown Liquor convenience store, meals at El Nandu with my family, the noise of the Kennedy coming through the windows of my apartment that I will always treasure. US Cellular Field is a beautiful new home for the Chicago White Sox, but it doesn't mean anything to me. What I love about it is remembering having to corral all our campers into the concourse area when a summer squall unleashing torrential rains on our field trip. The Sears Tower and the Hancock Building are both architectural feats but when one of them is mentioned I will think first of my time on my breaks when I worked at an insurance agency across the street from the Sears Tower, gazing up at it, stunned by how tall it really is. Or of Eron with Emily at the look-out, putting money in the viewfinder, thinking of when Steve did the same with Eron & I. Or of a flourless chocolate cake and drinks that Dara & I shared as we gazed out across the undark of Chicago at night from the Hancock Observatory as we celebrated her National Board certification.
Great memories from a great city.

Will & Grace

Yes, it is a crass show with an over-reliance on its endless supply of gay & sex jokes, but I did watch its season premier last night. Dara turned it on while I was reading and I ended up watching it. The subject material was pretty unremarkable and Alec Baldwin (guest starring) was a complete dork, but what made it totally enjoyable was that they filmed this premier LIVE! No cuts (only commercial breaks) and no editing! It was great. It was like watching Saturday Night Live or a play or something. The cameras started out wide, showing the entire studio so you could see how the set was built. Pretty cool. Since there wasn't any editing, there were times where the actors had to wait for the audience to stop laughing or cheering, there were actors who couldn't keep a straight face. Grace & Jack were HILARIOUS. They kept cracking each other up. There were lines that were messed up and lines that were repeated. Then at the end, the cast all ran out and took a bow, just like a live performance. I thought it was a fun, fresh idea and quite entertaining.

29 September 2005

DeLay gets DeRailed

So this story is everywhere, as it should be. Just thought I'd put it on here so everyone has a chance to vent on it. I liked the guy who points out that our Republican leadership is spending more time answering questions in investigations & special committees than it spends doing the people's business.

O'Hare Expansion Plans OK'd

This article on Daley's O'Hare expansion is interesting. Fewer delays sounds great to me. I found it good that they mentioned the pro's and the con's of it. There is a give & take to it all. The plan that won out is the best plan for decreasing delayed flights and has few negative environmental impacts, BUT it also displaces the most homes and businesses. Abe Lincoln said it best, "You can please some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all the time."

28 September 2005

Strange bedfellows

This story about a snake in a nursing home bed was more than just a little sick and gave me the willies. While I was underwriting, I saw some pretty nasty claims on some nursing homes. There are definitely some bad establishments out there. Glad to see they are going to close this one down.

27 September 2005

Peguins & Landmines Coexist in the Falklands

Penguins rule. And literally run the roost in these areas of the Falklands. And, at least their environment is safe from further tampering by humans.

Are land mines banned from further use in warfare?

26 September 2005

Historic Decommissioning news...

The IRA has followed through on its historic July announcement and the independant decommisioning committee has been satisfied that their arms are fully beyond use. And, as would be expected, Rev. Ian Paisley and the DUP are not convinced, nor are they happy with the IRA's efforts. Everytime I read his comments, I want to punch him in the nose.
I thought it was a necessary & often-missing item in the first article that the committe mentioned that the matter of loyalist arms remains.
Reactions of the Prime Minister and others can be read here.

10-year old play caller

GREAT story. I like Charlie Weis.

For Lack of a Name

What a whirlwind of a weekend!! Lots of miles but lot of fun too. I took a different route home on Friday. I took I-35 south to Highway 2 and then took that west. It was interesting to check out a different part of the state. I have only gone that route once in all my travels home over the years. The deep south-central part of Iowa has the lowest income per capita in the state and it's crazy but you can really see it as you drive through. I saw two Hy-Vee's that looked like they haven't changed since 1960. New Market?!?! The town (and school) that time forgot. Do you guys remeber that gym? TWO rows of bleachers on each side! Cracker box.
When I got home, Mom had some yummy chorizo & potato tacos waiting. I LOVE that Rick & Laynie Bayless cookbook! After some food and chatting we took a walk down to the field and watched the first half of the game as the Admirals battled Malvern.
Saturday we headed up to Omaha and went to Elkhorn to watch Emily's soccer match. It was fun to watch the U-10's, they really are able to play the game and understand passing, scoring, and defense. The Magic were victorious and we then we home to watch the Hawkeyes on TV (who were not even close to being victorious) and enjoyed Asian takeout before going to explore the new Whole Foods grocery. It was packed but it was still fun to check out everything with my family there. I was able to get some of their soda that I love and a few CLIF bars. By that time, Mom & I had to zoom home so I could pack my car with Luke's stuff and get my laundry (half done, part still wet) and head to Des Moines. Once I got here, I had just enough time to unpacked my stuff, but the wet laundry into the dryer, watch the last 4 minutes of Wisconsin's upset of Michigan (HA!) and run out and jump into my still warm car to go up to Ames to listen to Luke play. There were four different groups playing and Luke's group was second. They played five or six songs, changing up the instruments on each. Luke played shaker, then guitar, then sat out, then guitar & sang, then guitar. All but one of their songs were instrumental but the crowd really loved 'em. They had a good following of their friends to lead the cheers. Their one song with vocals was also their only cover, all the others were originals. Luke sang The General and did a great job. It was very fun to hear him sing and play. They really did well and the crowd was into it. They played a song with a fun, lively Irish rhythem and everyone was clapping along. Well done, Luke. Oh, and the name they used for their group was "For Lack of a Name."

22 September 2005

Smashed

I finished this book this evening (while cooking my dinner) and I wanted to recommend it. I know I had said to Eron & Mom that it was a very dark, painful book, and it is. But there is a lot more to it than that. It is a well-written (chosen for Barnes & Nobles Great New Writers Award) biography of a girl who battles with an addiction to alcohol. While she is not an alcoholic (and she makes that clarification several times) she was emotionally dependant on it. Her college experiences typify the binge drinking epidemic growing across America's campuses. Her constant struggles with self-worth, confidence and happiness can wear on you after a bit, but on a smaller level it is something most (at least I) can understand, if not correlate with. Check out her website, she's been doing a college campus tour and working with several organizations for alcohol education and safety. I even bought the stick pin to support her and the org.

Labor Day Favorites Mix

I've assembled the Labor Day Favorites Mix on my iPod and have been enjoying it for a week or so now. I love the diversity of it. And thinking of the faces on Noah, Brighid and Emily when I tried to guess their favorites never fails to place a smile on my face. Next time we are all together, I'll be ready to play all our favorites for everyone to enjoy. It was such a fun great idea, thanks for doing it. I'm pasting the list below.
Purpose - 311 = Luke
Danny Boy - (i have 3 different versions of this...who's your favorite, Mom?)
Somebody Told Me - The Killers = Noah
He Went to Paris - Jimmy Buffet = Eron
City of Blinding Lights - U2 = Kate
So Yesterday - Hilary Duff = (these are the 2 i couldn't guess, and now I can't remember which was which!) umm, Emily?
I Always Get What I Want - Avril Lavinge = ?Brighid?

Old Maids

There was a group of people in last week from Ohio and I'm not sure how it came up, but someone had popcorn or something and someone said something about Old Maids. The Ohio contingent had no clue what was being talked about. Nor did a lot of folks that were not originally from Iowa. So now I'm wondering if Old Maids is a universal term for the unpopped kernels in a batch of popcorn or a Midwest colloquialism. I did a quick search on the internet and there's plenty of popcorn sites out there mentioning Old Maids, but since I was at work I couldn't delve into it fully.

Cookies!

Last night I baked my Orange Carrot Cookies for the first time in probably a decade. I used to make those cookies all the time, but in recent years, I only bake cookies 5 or 6 times a year and when I do, I usually tend to make chocolate chip, or sugar for frosting, or Rolo cookies. Last night I was flipping through my recipe cards to get some ideas of stuff to make before I headed to the grocery store and I ran across the Orange Carrot Cookies and I knew their time had arrived. And all I needed was a can of cooked carrots! I took a lot of enjoyment from making them. As I mashed the carrots with a fork, I thought of all the times I had done the same in the kitchen with Mom out in our old house by Riverton. The Golden Glow Topping tripped me up a bit and was way too runny the first time through, but I added powdered sugar and was able to rectify the situation. The finished product was really pretty tasty. The cookie still has that nice spongyness and the topping was citrusy sweet. They wouldn't be able to compare to the 2nd Place winners at the Fremont County Fair of my youth, but they were just right for my first attempt. Anybody want some?

19 September 2005

I - O - W - A


Great seats, Row 3, Goal Line.

Touchdown, Iowa!

OPI does Chicago

Check out the hues in their Chicago collection. Not revolutionary, but there are some good ones. I like Miss O'Leary's BBQ, My Kind of Brown and Lincoln Park after Dark. I also checked out the Mustang line, but it was kind a weak effort althought the Gone Platinum in 60 seconds is good.

Zeros and Ones getting mixed up

Grrr. Blogger's application for uploading photos hasn't been working for a day now and I have 2 fun pix to share! Come on techies!

16 September 2005

No surprise here...

OK, Who had 'four months' in the pool?

Have some Kool-Aid

Man, the Catholic church is right in clearly denouncing this group and putting as much distance between themselves and this cult. Another media nightmare is not what it needs right now. As for the cult, it is scary and I feel sad for the family. You really have to be on your toes, I guess. This was a girl with a 4.0, active in groups, successful in sports, holding a scholarship for college who had been going to meetings at the church. Who would've guessed? Scary.

15 September 2005

Lunch

I brought my lunch today, as I do probably 4 of the 5 workdays each week. But there wasn't much in my sack today, just a nice sandwich and an apple. So, when I went down to the cafeteria to eat, I went and checked out the soups, thinking that I might compliment my fare with a bowl of soup. They had a cheese vegetable concoction that looked decent so I grabbed a bowl and commandeered the ladle. Before I started filling though, I decided that I really only needed a cup, not a bowl. So I put the bowl back and downgrade to the cup. So I begin filling it and as I do, I am also reading the nutritional info for the soup since it is conveniently placed right beside it. I see that it has 15 grams of fat, and I thought, "Yeesh, kindof alot, but what do you expect from cheese soup." THEN, I see that the 15 grams is for EACH SIX OUNCE LADLEFUL. My small cup fit a little over two ladles so now I've topped 30 grams. I've already begun to depress myself because I'm going to eat this cup of fat when something happens. In one of those wierd, subconscience, connections of brain synapses, I instantly remember that I think I left my money clip at home today. So I set my tray down and pat my pockets....Yep, empty. So, I place my full to the brim (gotta get my money's worth!) cup of soupfat back on the counter, place my tray back on the stack and nonchalantly go and sit down and enjoy my sandwich. People had to think I was a freakin' loon.

I thought about the absent money clip again on my way home from volleyball tonight. I was thinking how much simpler it is if you just don't have any money. If I had had my money, I would've been thinking, should I stop and get a Subway? should I call dara and see if she's eaten? maybe I should just stop and grab a Gatorade? Instead, I just drove home.

Candyfreak

I finished my book this evening as I waited for my volleyball game to start. In the back were some fun links. This Name that Candybar is the best. I missed 5 on the first page and only got 4 right on the second page. Pretty tough. I'm definitely very a mainstream bar shopper, but after this book, I am going to seek out some of the independant candybars. Check these out. Valomilk. Idaho Spud. Twin Bing.

Katrina forces Red Moon rewrite

Interesting article about a very avant guarde, edgy, unique theater group in Chicago and the changes that were forced onto Loves Me, Loves Me Not, their newest offering by Katrina. This is the same theater group that put out "The Cabinent".

Power couples

These pictures are kind of fun to check out. A look at these couples away from the playing field/red carpet. Who is your favorite couple?

14 September 2005

Huston Street....Burnt orange in his blood

My blogging has been pretty lame lately. I guess that is what cube life does to your creative writing, or at least to your blog-worthy experiences.
Anyways, I was reading ESPN the magazine at the Y yesterday while on the eliptical machine and I read an article on Huston Street. If you don't remember, he is the pitcher who was the ace for the Longhorns two years ago when they won the National Championship. The article focused on how, in just his second year of professional baseball and his first year in the majors (with the Oakland A's), he is one of the best closers there is. Now, I remember reading a while back that Huston's dad had been Longhorn too, but as I read the article I learned some incredible stuff.
First off, Huston has twin younger brothers who both are pitchers on the current Longhorn baseball squad and a youngest brother who is probably destined to do the same. His dad was James Street who not only pitched on a National Champion Texas baseball team, but quarterbacked the Longhorn football team to a National Championship. He was a pro prospect in both sports but both careers were ended before they began do to an injury (I think in bullriding). So we toured as his friend, Wille Nelson's opening act. He also was good friends with Elvis Presley and hung out with him whenever he came to Texas. So then Huston comes along and he wasn't too shabby at football either. He played in the 5A (biggest class) title game against a Midland Lee team that had Cedric Benson as its running back and led his team with 17 tackles. Oh, and team Huston was playing for?...Westlake. There's probably more stuff but I can't remember it all. Oh, and for Luke...Huston bought himself a $100 acoustic guitar this year for something to do and has been teaching himself to play with the help of a couple of his teammates. After three or four months, Huston came into the clubhouse to find a high-end Gibson guitar in front of his locker. His teammate was impressed with his dedication to learning and had bought it for him. Cool.

13 September 2005

Yummy Healthy Breakfast Treat

Plain fat-free Yogurt - around a cup
Skim milk - around a cup
OJ - around a cup
Handful of ice cubes
whatever frozen fruit (or fresh) you have
splash of vanilla
two big spoonfuls of flax meal

blend and enjoy your well-started day. should make enough for two people. probably a lot of calories but low in fat and high in good things. just add enough milk & oj so its smooth & pourable.
whoever thought that milk and OJ together would be good? but it is. Thanks to Jake Shull for getting me started on these.

12 September 2005

NYC charter school makes lunch program from scratch

This article is from Mom, but I loved it so much I wanted to share it. I think it is such a great idea, in so many different ways! The manners, the training of the childrens' palette's, the portion size control, buying local foods, the farmers market at the school so parents can reinforce at home (or learn along with their kids). I was also glad that they touched on how they can afford it. The chef is an alum of Johnson & Wales, same place as Alton Brown! This is my favorite quote, "Children learn to respect where it comes from and who serves it, as well as whom they eat with. They must use tongs to pick up their morning bagels. They may not bang their trays down on the cloth-covered cafeteria tables. No one is allowed to toss out whole peaches or to cut in line."

11 September 2005

Work In Progress

I'm trying to update my Sidebar area on my blog as you can tell. Bear with me as I struggle with the html. And feel free to offer any comments or ideas. I'd love to find a way to be able to be a small picture there.

09 September 2005

FEMA chief booted back to DC

I think most people expected something like this to happen. And I don't think it is the last head to roll over the disasterous handling of this natural disaster. They are already voting on motions to have investigations in both the House and the Senate.
I don't know if any of you watched the TV show "The Office" but there is a funny joke in that show where there is a conversation between a manager and one of his workers...
Worker: "..well, I after all, I am the Assistant Manager,"
Mngr: "No you're not. You're the assistant to the manager."
Worker: "Same thing."
Mngr: "No it isn't. It's lower actually."
Not too funny to read, but if you can imagine it delivered with the dead pan comedy of Steve Carrell, it's pretty good. And strikingly similar to this quote from the article...

"A former mayor of Edmond, Randel Shadid, confirmed that Friday. Shadid told The Associated Press that Brown had been an assistant to the city manager, and never assistant city manager.

“I think there’s a difference between the two positions,” said Shadid. “I would think that is a discrepancy.” A former mayor of Edmond, Randel Shadid, confirmed that Friday. Shadid told The Associated Press that Brown had been an assistant to the city manager, and never assistant city manager."

New to the iPod family

A sharp new member of the family. Probably will be replacing the Mini at some point. They are already running Mini specials at Amazon. And the nano is available in black! I'm guessing it has flash memory (like the Shuffle) instead of a hard disk (like the larger iPods) since it boasts it is entirely skip-free. Apple is smart to offer better functionality, smaller size, new perks, etc for the same price instead of decreasing their prices. Steve Jobs also unveiled the new Motorola ROCKR this week that everyone's been talking about. It uses iTunes and the service is through Cingular and the phone holds 100 songs.

Former Husker leaves ESPN in a huff

I wasn't ever a very big fan of Trev or his commentary anyways. I'm excited to see who they bring in. So much for that 2 weeks notice thing.

06 September 2005

"Hey Porkchop, How ya doin' Porkchop?"

I wish we had recorded Noah singing that on the computer. I would kill to have that on my computer to greet me each day. It still cracks me up just thinking about it!
The labor day weekend was very enjoyable. I had a fun time out at Old Chicago with Eron, Katie, Dara and friends on Friday. And sunrise soccer was so fun! It was great to get out there, shake off the sleep, stretch my legs and watch the kids have fun with a soccer kickabout. And I enjoyed kicking the ball a bit myself too. I got to drive Eron's car! Very smooth and tight. I loved it. Grilling out and watching an Iowa win is always a great way to spend a Saturday. Picking out yarn with Mom and then making short work of Wild Oats was fun. The pizzas on the grill were a exciting new cooking challenge. Sitting around and talking and watching the Auburn game was a nice relaxing way to finish the day. The new picnic spot was great fun, boombat and frisbee were sweaty fun. I loved the favorite songs guessing and watching the kids reactions! They were LOVING it. Thanks again for that, I will definitely enjoy listening to that playlist. Mom & I watched a super Irish movie to relax after all the Indian cooking. "The Boys and Girl from County Clare". Good music, good story. Monday was a lot of small fun projects around Mom's house, plus a trip to Orshelin's. That is always a fun time. I love the owl, Mom. Thanks for such a fun weekend everyone!

iSock

01 September 2005