Urge to Write Status Check: Dwindling
I’m losing the battle of balance right now. Work is completely overwhelming at times, which means the few moments I have in the evening are spent decompressing and reviewing the massive list of to-do’s before the wedding. It’s not a good way to build up to a fun wedding day.
Holy crap… the wedding. It’s like it somehow went undetected for the past few months only to decide that now is the moment to reappear and remind me that is it less than two weeks away. There’s so much that has been accomplished (mostly by my wife-to-be and her mom), but the remaining list is frustrating. I think we just need a solid 4 hour chunk of time to sit down and pick out gifts for our friends in the wedding and finalize the list of cheesy dance favorites for our DJ, but that is only a scratch on the surface.
Finding those four hours is quickly turning into a wild goose chase. An elusive white whale comprised of ties that need to be picked out, seating charts that need to be assigned, and table centerpieces that have to be finished. Oh, and tracking down a huge list of people that still haven’t submitted an RSVP either way.
…and I need to find a shiny new pair of black shoes… for my gigantic feet… that don’t require me to take out a loan.
Fun times, my friends.
But soon… soon, Sarah and I will be here:
(why is the “Business Time” song by Flight of the Conchords playing in my head…)
Softball, Kickball, and Daytime TV
Who knew being a rec league softball team captain would be so stressful? I didn’t. That’s why I agreed to be a rec league kickball team captain as well. Dumb move. I think once both teams are up and running, it will be a lot easier. Getting everything off the ground and figuring out money and sponsorship though? Not fun. Why the heck don’t people respond to e-mails? Is it really that hard? Are you so important that taking literally 15 seconds to reply to an e-mail will cause the time-space continuum to slow to a halt?
I’m working from home today, which is turning into nothing more than handling freaking kickball stuff. Thanks for e-mailing me our schedule this morning, kickball league! Why couldn’t more teams sign up for Monday nights? It was all set and everything was good to go… I just keep telling myself to find a happy place… the Bell’s 8000 batch in my fridge is helping a lot.
So yeah, I’m working from home today. I end up doing that about once or twice a week. It’s nice because I get to relax, but definitely not productive enough to do every day. Plus, I don’t think I could stand daytime TV every day.
Have you tried watching the morning shows on the main networks? The Today Show is nothing more than crap, crap, and more crap. I can just see the production meeting before the show… Producer: “Ok folks, so we’re going to start off this morning with a 10 minute story about amazing new lipsticks that contain sunscreen, bug repellent, AND are environmentally friendly, then we’re going to transfer to a pan shot of crazy people from Idaho dressed up as potatoes in the crowd. Then a commercial break where, interestingly enough, we have commercials for the lipstick and Idaho potatoes. After the commercial break, we’ll spend 30 seconds breaking down the top 15 news stories of the day, followed by a cooking segment with the cast of A High School Musical 17. We’ll wrap it up with a model show of this season’s hottest jeans designed just for moms and Al Roker pretending to talk about the weather.”
Wow.Â I sound bitter and angry.Â Kanye’s new album is making my day better though.
THAT… was painful to watch.
Tuesday January 09th 2007, 10:58 am
Filed under: General
I still have my wisdom teeth.Â I have not faced the gruesome process of extracting four molars from the back of my jaw under local anesthetic, listening to my dentist and his assistant drone on about their kids over the sounds of metallic, sterilized instruments of torture.Â I can only guess that watching last night’s college football National Championship game was somewhat akin to that very process based upon stories of pain and horror shared by friends and family; cheeks freshly swollen and bruised, filled with gauze and facing a week of soft foods and painkillers.
The biggest game of the year had passed almost two months ago, and this… this was supposed to be an appendix -Â a useless final chapter to a great season.Â Win or lose, I could be happy with an undefeated regular season, a Big 10 Championship, and a win over the team up north.Â Then, Tedd Ginn Jr. returned the opening kick-off for a 7-0 Buckeye lead 15 seconds into the National Championship.Â The possibility of another National Championship for the Sweater Vest brought me so much hope.Â What transpired over the next 59 minutes and 45 seconds was possibly the most disgusting game of college football I have ever seen.
The defense was picked apart.Â The offensive line that was celebrated as one of the best in college football was completely overwhelmed.Â Receivers were covered like blankets – not that it mattered considering how few times the ball left the quarterback’s hand.Â The worst though… Tressel… was simply out-coached.Â UF knew that the zone could be picked apart by soft passes over the middle.Â Their downfield blocking should be turned into a Tom Emanski-style defensive drill video that could be sold on ESPN.Â When the game was over, there were no blown calls to blame… no officials to rip into for costing the Buckeyes the game… only a team that was out-prepared, out-played, and yes, even out-coached.
I think tonight I’m going to go home and pull up the DVR of the Nov. 18th game against the team up north and allow myself to forget that January 8th ever existed.Â Thank goodness Spring Training is right around the corner.
A few more shots at “The Man”
A quick list of ways I’m fighting “The Man”:
1) Today, I am wearing gray slacks with black socks. I know conventional fashion wisdom says that socks should match the color of the pants, but this morning I realized that I had ne’er a pair of clean gray socks. Being forced to choose between dirty gray socks, clean black socks, or calling in sick to avoid any awkward encounters, I bucked the system and am now enjoying the coziness of fashion freedom. Alexis made a huge scene at Potbelly’s when she noticed my secret, somehow creating a sound similar to that of a record player’s needle scratching to a halt, followed by a large woman fainting. I pressed on, defiant and famished, and enjoyed my Wreck on (fake) wheat with brown mustard, oblivious to the slack-jawed onlookers gazing at my casual irreverence.
2) For the past 3 business days, I have refused to read the last page of the RedEye and the typical celebrity gossip contained therein. I realize that I am considerably out of the loop as to the marital status of several celebrities, but somehow I’ve managed to get by. I also have, as a matter of principle, refused to read Liz Crokin’s weekly segment, “Eye Contact,” for the past year and a half, instead skipping straight to the Chicago news to find out how many people were shot in my neighborhood over the weekend. I also find time to kick the Sudoku puzzle’s ass… unless it is a 4 or 5 star. I struggle with anything past 3 stars.
3) I was the deciding vote holding out on the confirmation of John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN. I just didn’t like the guy’s shifty mustache. He looked like a creepy uncle, and while that does somewhat reflect the current US role in international policy, the vibe was just too much.
4) I now watch almost every television show I’m interested in via DVR, allowing me to skip commercials at will. I still stop for the Sonic commercials because Nate knows one of the guys. I also really like limeades. So take that, corporate America! Don’t think I haven’t noticed how you are slipping your wares into sitcoms since your 60-second commercials are now reduced to 10 seconds of squiggly lines! Dwight just “happened” to use a Staples brand shredder a couple of episodes ago on The Office, right? Come to think of it, that shredder was pretty cool. Can it really shred a CD? Wow.
5) I rigged the BCS polling machines. Surprisingly, the 7-3 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was slated to face off in the big game against Ohio State before I changed the weighting to favor Florida.
6) I use my staff ID to get a student discount at movie theaters. Right in the gut, huh Hollywood? Soon, I may even pay for a $5 Movie Club ticket, then sneak into a full price show! Feeling the pinch, movie industry? I mean, come on, $11 for a movie ticket? How about I just watch it on YouTube or pay $10 for the bootleg on the subway?
Most likely, you are trying to find ways to incorporate my examples into your own life right now. Please, feel free to share.
Dreaming of tomorrow
This has definitely been an interesting week. I spent the weekend back in the land of Conn’s potato chips catching up with great friends and of course getting all dressed up for the Joel and Jen wedding extravaganza. I’ve been out to the farm several times, but this time was definitely a unique trip. Jen’s family has been working for months to prepare this beautiful spot in the woods for the wedding, and their hours of sweat definitely paid off. Even the rain couldn’t damper the event (even though it did ruin our early morning ultimate frisbee game!).
I knew that this trip home was going to be an emotional one, but thankfully I had some amazing friends to keep me company. I found out that it wasn’t my dad that was with Maggie when she was put to sleep; it was my brother – the little guy definitely stepped up. I kept waking up expecting to find her passed out in the living room, but my sister’s ugly cats provided a little bit of entertainment to keep my mind off of things. Seriously – these cats are ugly.
I kept thinking all weekend that if it wasn’t for a series of events that were completely in my control a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have been home and the wedding wouldn’t be happening. Three lives were completely changed because of decisions I made, and there was a lot of hurt and distrust that could still be felt in the awkward moments this past weekend. Thankfully, God is bigger than me. Joel and Jen are currently enjoying the beauty of the Dominican Republic (and all things involved with a honeymoon and starting life together) and I couldn’t be happier for them. I feel like the people that matter in this whole situation have all moved on, and we’ve all grown and learned from the situation. I’m really looking forward to the day where our friendships have completely healed and reconciled and I have no doubt that this is in all our futures.
Seeing Becky, Corey, Geoff, and Becca was, of course, more joyful than I can put into words. I wanted to wrap them all up and stuff them in my carry-on lugage and haul them back to Chicago with me. I would have tried to bring Jen and Joel, but things would have been tight in my pack and they have better things to be doing right now. Joel – do you hear that? If you are reading my blog right now, you have BETTER THINGS TO DO.
I think the only downside to the weekend was the lack of time with the family. They made it home on Friday night but I was out of the house and didn’t really see them until I was packing up to leave on Sunday. I think I’m going to have to make another trip home soon. Leaving them in the airport was tougher than it has been in a while, and I think it was because of the lack of time together. Jimmy Carter wrote this amazing book of short stories called Sharing Good Times, and he spent most of it relishing the importance of spending time with your family. My Aunt Mosey gave it to me as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and I think she knew exactly what she was doing when she picked it out. There are so few opportunities for what I am trying to do in SE Ohio, but it is tough being so far from the people most important to me. I think at least my mom and grandma will be visiting before the end of summer – maybe I’ll get lucky and the whole fam will make it up.
Other than that, I haven’t really reconnected with a lot of people since making it back on Sunday. My roommate and I have seen each other for maybe a half hour total, and everyone else is caught up in trying to stay cool. I did get to see Nate who gave me his old bike! YAHTZEE!
I also managed to sign up for myspace and buy an Xbox 360 at some point. I’ve made a promise to myself to commit the same amount of time to the bike as I do to the 360. We’ll see how long that lasts…
boring ol’ updates
So first and foremost… Sufjan is coming to Chicago in September… nothing else really matters.
But, in other news, I did officially move into my new place with Allan.Â Living with that crazy South African will be a trip, but with our powers combined, we may eventually create serious change.Â We’re still tossing around major world issues we may take on, but right now it’s a close race between extreme hunger and crappy landlords who make verbal commitments and then don’t follow through.Â That’s right, Howard… we’re coming for you.
Everything else has been crazy busy because of the moving process.Â A little tip for all of you out there who may possibly move in the future… don’t ever try to double or triple up on a truck and move with 2 or 3 other people in one night.Â It doesn’t work, and then they blame you for the next two weeks for their own lack of packing skills.Â Freaking women.
The new neighborhood is interesting.Â Evangeline lives across the street and has already demonstrated her worth by making me a sandwich on homemade bread.Â I think I can get used to a Suzy Homemaker living across the street.Â Now to get her working on my laundry…
We just had cable installed, but our living room is just awkward in its setup, so nobody can really enjoy it right now.Â Plus, BBC is apparently not part of the cable package.Â What the crap is that?Â Someone needs to call Comcast and let them know that this type of aggression will not stand, and I think I know just the person to make that call.
A couple of things I love about Chicago – Ravinia outdoor concerts with picnics; watching fireworks on a boat on Lake Michigan (suckas!); nice bus drivers who wait when they see me running to catch them at 8:30 in the morning; the fact that even though my jeep is down and out I can still get wherever I need to go; and Pizza Metro.
Something I don’t like – having my computer chair right in front of the freaking air conditioner.Â That needs to change quick.
Within the past year or so, I’ve noticed that I’ve actually started to enjoy watching soccer.Â Growing up in an area where soccer was that sport where wimpy foreigners can’t use their hands, I never had a chance to understand the strategy.Â I knew the basics because of gym class – there were a couple of goals at opposite ends of a field and the slowest guy usually ended up playing goalie (read: me).Â We didn’t have nets in gym class, so the goal was represented by two orange cones and some imaginary cross bar that would arbitrarily move based upon how the gym teacher was feeling that day.Â Soccer was kept at about a 2-class maximum, giving very little opportunity to actually understand it, and most of the time it just turned into kickball anyway.Â Our entire class struggled with the concept of playing a sport without the use of hands, and I think it was that frustration combined with a lack of understanding and a continual defeat of US teams in international play that led to the death and mocking of soccer in rural, southeast Ohio.
My avoidance of soccer has definitely come to an end with this year’s World Cup, which has given me the opportunity to begin the education process of understanding the sport.Â I can tell you what stoppage or injury time is, and I know that 45 minutes is a long time to wait to grab a snack or take a bathroom break.Â I can also tell you that actually stepping away from the TV to grab a snack or hit the can somehow increases the possibility of a goal by about 150%.Â This is infuriating in any sport, but in soccer where there are very few goals scored, missing a goal and the crazy celebrations that follow is like pouring salt in a wound.Â I can also tell you that any sport that requires you to run non-stop for 45 minutes and could result at any second in an elbow to the face or a shattered knee from a bad slide tackle has my respect, regardless of the lack of hand use.
I think the reason the US has not embraced the sport is because we have not been told that we should.Â Look at the major sports like baseball, basketball and football – we are told continually that we should “love this game,” and all of that, but why?Â It’s pretty simple, really.Â More Americans tune in and drive up ad revenue for the leagues.Â Thanks to the time between innings and television timeouts in professional and college football and basketball, we get breaks to hear about the newest line of automobiles and infused sodas on the market.Â In soccer, a sport where there is no break for 50 minutes straight, there are very few chances to advertise a product, meaning minimal revenue for the television station.Â Unless television stations can find effective ways to advertise products during soccer matches, good luck trying to find a push to popularize the sport similar to the NFL, MLB, and NBA.Â Nike had some pretty cool commercials this year that were focused on the US team, but they were still lacking compared to the larger pushes seen in other major sports.
It will definitely be interesting to watch, though, as the surge in soccer popularity begins to reach different demographics.Â Youth soccer programs are no longer restricted to upscale communities and school districts.Â The stigma of soccer as a weaker sport is quickly being chipped away as more communities embrace it and become part of the world-wide fan base.Â I very seriously doubt that soccer will compete at any level in my hometown, but in many similar communities there are already big changes on multiple levels of athletic participation as soccer competes with football for some of the top male athletes.
My knowledge of soccer is still very limited, admittedly.Â I could not name off most of the positions, much less figure out what each of them do.Â Also, besides the World Cup, I’m not sure I could keep the teams straight.Â I know there are big professional clubs in Europe, as well as the MLS here in the States, but that is about it.Â I’ve seen the bright yellow seats at the Columbus Crew stadium, as well as the new stadium for the Chicago Fire, but I have no idea what the names are of the other teams that make up MLS.Â I will say, watching a bicycle kick connect for a goal is pretty dang cool (if that link doesn’t work, just go to the Chicago Fire’s website and click the highlight link).Â As for the US team, I think it is the competition for top athletes at younger levels that will continue to keep the US national teams weak.Â With the explosion of youth soccer programs, soccer will continue to see improvements, but there is always going to be a glass ceiling preventing the US from reaching the same level as a team like Brazil or Italy.
So there it is, that’s my soccer confessional, with a few theories on the barriers of full US support thrown in for fun.Â I will, of course, try to put up a front around my much more knowledgeable friends, especially those from across the globe who grew up watching and playing soccer.Â I’ve learned I sound much smarter when I keep my mouth shut when watching a soccer match and just nod and grunt when everyone else does.
Side note: I think everyone in my office is hacking and coughing and wheezing today.Â So help me, if this is the start of some sort of epidemic, I’m gonna be ticked.
You just can’t make this stuff up…
Thursday June 29th 2006, 10:50 am
Filed under: General
I miss being in southeast Ohio sometimes.Â Like when I read the Times Recorder online and I stumble across little tidbits of life that just make me go, “WHAT?!”
Take, for instance, this story.Â A 2 year old horse decides to go a little on the wacko side, and somehow ends up smashing up a police cruiser.Â I’m not sure what led to the altercation between the officer and the horse, but the law enforcement in Zanesville is just not having a good week when it comes to relations with 4-legged friends.Â It could possibly be time for some type of sensitivity training, like for instance, don’t shoot a dog in the face.
Wandering thoughts of contentment
Monday June 19th 2006, 3:33 pm
Filed under: General
I love my amazing friends.
I love Chicago.
I love sitting outside on a Sunday evening, listening to amazing big band jazz, while munching on a generous bounty of assorted snacks.Â That feeling as the night draws on and the sun begins to fade.Â Our faces begin to blend into the darkness, but the unmistakable sound of contentment and laughter carries across our blankets.Â The change in pitch and tempo between songs seemingly fitting our conversations and our energy level perfectly.Â We enjoy making snippy comments about the well-to-do suburbanites that crowd the area, but then secretly admire the stars and perfect grass and begin to understand that there are a few benefits to moving out of the city.
I think I’ll stick it out in the city for a while longer.Â How could I pass up living near Humboldt Park, or sharing an apartment with Allan for that matter?Â We are most likely going to be living across the street from Evangeline, which will of course make for an amazing summer on our extremely slanted back porch.Â The basement ceiling is about 6 inches lower than what I would like, which means I may develop a hunchback from doing my laundry.Â My mom suggested that I get a girlfriend and have her do my laundry.Â This confirmed the fact that my mom is the smartest woman I know.
Wedding season has officially started.Â Phil and Michelle will be hitching up this weekend, with Phil’s big bash on Thursday night.Â Dave and Miriam will be the following weekend in sunny Indianapolis.Â That should be a great roadtrip that will at least include Naomi and myself.Â I’m sure we’ll pick up a few other people on the way.Â Then of course there’s a trip back to Ohio to take part in Joel and Jen’s big day, which will be outdoors and beautiful I’m sure.Â That reminds me… I need to send out a few RSVPs and find out where these couples are all registered.Â Wedding season is expensive!
Why I’m a Slacker
Thursday June 01st 2006, 11:43 am
Filed under: General
Oh Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and your Driver’s Services branch, why do you taunt me?!
Ok, yes, I should have taken care of this months ago.Â The state of IL says that you have 90 days after moving here to obtain an Illinois license (I’m now a few days over 90…), but leave it to me to wait until 2 days before my Ohio license expires to finally do something about it.
So I call the Secretary of State’s office and work my way through the phone tree to the Driver’s Services branch, where I realize that I have not been in an accident or had my license revoked (which are the only choices), so I have to wait patiently for an operator to direct my call.Â Waiting patiently turned into a half hour of the absolute worst hold music ever.Â It would have been more pleasant to listen to Jake babble on about the evils of meat and the importance of a finely groomed mustache while being sucked dry by Minnesota’s West Nile-infested mosquito population.
I finally get connected to a very soothing state employee who kindly tells me that my current out-of-state license does not count as a verification of date of birth.Â I’m not a license-issuing expert, but usually the date of birth on a legitimate out-of-state license is pretty accurate.Â I know I look like the shady type that carries around a false ID, but it wouldn’t be that hard to call the state of OH and confirm that my license really is valid.Â What really gets me is that if you have a current IL license, that can count as your date of birth verification to get a new IL license.Â We’re not talking about getting your license renewed, which you can apparently do over the phone in IL, we’re talking a whole new license.Â What’s the Illinois?Â You think you’re better than other states?!Â Yeah, well the Indians beat the Sox AND the Reds beat the Cubs last night, so who is better than who now?
The lovely state employee on the phone was pretty confused when I started ranting about Illinois elitism being defeated by sports dominance, but she still held to her claim that an out-of-state ID would not work.
So she asks, “Do you have a passport?”
Great, not only do I feel pretty bad about my lack of travel, but now I have a state employee rubbing it in that I don’t have a passport.Â Well, if you don’t like spaghetti and meatballs, why don’t you just get the heck out?
So she asks, “Do you have a military ID?”
Oh, so now it’s going to get political.Â No I don’t have a military ID.Â I do have my official AmeriCorps ID issued to me by the VISTA coordinator in the state of Pennsylvania.Â My picture was taken in a hotel lobby in front of a gold curtain by an i-Zone Polaroid camera.Â They even let me laminate it myself.Â Does that count as official enough?Â No?Â Well I gave a couple of years for my country too, dang it.Â Just because I did it without the aid of a rifle while living in poverty doesn’t diminish my sacrifice for this country!
“Do you have an official high school transcript in a sealed envelope? ”
Well, I actually have about 8,000 of them sitting on my desk.Â I wonder how closely they actually look at those things though, because I’m SURE I could find a transcript for some kid born on June 3rd.Â No?Â It has to be my own transcript?Â Well, you got me there I guess.
So it looks like I’ll be waiting for my mom to ship my birth certificate to me.Â I have a strange feeling that it won’t make it up here by 3:00 pm tomorrow afternoon, which means I may be without a valid driver’s license until Monday or Tuesday next week.
Apparently part of the new license issuing procedure is an eye test, which does make me a little nervous.Â I’ve been putting off making a trip to the optometrist for way too long, and my last pair of contacts are still the prescription from… well, it’s been a while.Â I even have freaking vision insurance, but I’m somehow inept in making time for the dang visit.Â I’m still flirting with the idea of getting a pair of funky glasses, but finding a pair that will match my rather large head is a barrier I have not managed to cross.
Motivation in general is just not there.Â I need Colorado to get here QUICK.