Monday, July 06, 2015

July, Forth

Had a truly fine holiday weekend this year. Friday we dropped Aubrey off for her tryout at doggie day care and went to see a movie. She passed, but only because standing in the corner and looking disdainfully at all the other dogs for four hours isn't technically a disciplinary infraction. And when we picked her up she looked at us as though they'd been beating her and forcing her to watch The Facts of Life Goes to Australia the entire time.

The movie was Jurassic World, which was pretty good. I saw literally every plot element coming a mile away and the characters had about as much dimension as the Real Housewives, but it was enjoyable. Dinosaurs are fun. And Chris Pratt is funny, although you wouldn't really know it much from this particular sample. It was of a giving velociraptors meaningful looks kind of role.

Saturday we went to my friend's roof party in West Town, where we had a stunning view of fireworks both official and un, as well as easy access to vodka-based jello shots. And cute pugs. Of course, every dog in America was collectively shitting the bed over all of the fireworks noise, but I guess that's the price we pay for freedom.

And last night we had a lovely dinner outdoors with some friends. There was homemade paella involved. And rose. I can't say it with one hundred percent certainty because I don't really know her that well, but my feeling is that Lady Liberty would have approved.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Keeping it Classy
My neighborhood is the best. There are constantly drunken Cubs fans puking or passing out on my lawn (well, the six-foot strip of wood chips between the sidewalk and the road we call a lawn) and every year there's a bar crawl where stabbings are par for the course. I once saw a girl getting fingerbanged by not one by two dudes in a port a potty. Another time I saw a dude getting blown on the hood of what I assume must have been a Camaro. Also, there's never any parking. And did I mention all of the sports bars?
But the classiest touch has to be the fact that lately people have taken to just randomly leaving rat poison all over the place. I mean, I get it, nobody wants rats. But maybe we also don't want to kill our pets? And of course Aubrey snaps that shit up like its a flat screen TV at Wal-Mart on black Friday. Fortunately I have become quite adept at unlocking beagle jaws over the years.
Also she tried to eat a dead fish that had washed up on the dog beach the other day. Some days I just feel like a Disney princess come to life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Film File

Our relationship with the dog has finally evolved to the point where we feel comfortable leaving her alone for a few hours so we can go see a movie. True, this often results in the destruction of a shoe but shouldn't we really update our footwear selections occasionally anyway?

First we saw Spy, which was pretty good. I honestly found the plot to be a bit hard to follow and kind of wished that they wouldn't even have bothered with one, but the actors were all fairly strong and there were plenty of funny lines. I do like Melissa McCarthy and appreciate it when she gets material that doesn't just involve her being loud and ungainly. And, dare I say it, I'm kind of a Rose Byrne fan, though I'm not entirely sure that's really a thing. Jason Statham I kind of couldn't understand. The words he spoke, I mean, not him as a phenomenon. Well, both.

And this weekend we saw Inside Out, which was amazing. Frankly, I don't understand how it has taken this long for Amy Poehler and Pixar to come together; if it were up to be all movies would feature this combination. And Tina Fey. And maybe that cute little dog from The Artist. Anyway, the writing was good, everything looked amazing, and it was funny and touching and really fairly perfect in every way. Also we saw it at the good theater with the reclining leather seats and little tables for your drinks and popcorn, so it was all in all a fantastic night. I'm simple, what can I say?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Riot Fest

You know how you can tell you're getting old? When people take to the streets in your neighborhood to celebrate the Blackhawks' win and, rather than wanting to join them, you just worry that they're going to freak out your dog.

And indeed the lady was a bit freaked out; our pre-bed bathroom trip ended up taking about half an hour due to constant distraction. I'm not sure if it was the helicopters or the people stumbling by screaming things.

Also: it's kind of hard to sleep when it sounds like they're staging Miss Saigon outside your bedroom window. Plus there's the fear that someone is going to set your car on fire.

Anyway, I'm glad that they won, and also that it's over. Of course, baseball season still has several months to go...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Boy II Man

We watched Boyhood this week. I thought it was really good and am honestly kind of amazed that it didn't win best picture. I blame that creepy Entertainment Weekly cover where they spliced together pictures of the kid at three different ages to make it look like they were all hanging out. And let's be real that puberty was no less difficult for that kid than it was for the majority of us.

Anyway, I felt like the fact that they shot it over the course of many years, combined with the semi-improvisational approach, made it feel so much more authentic than anything else out there. There were a lot of moments in it that reminded me of my own experiences, even some experiences that I had forgotten about until I saw the movie. And I loved that they didn't feel like they had to pick all huge, pivotal moments in the kid's life; sometimes it was just bowling with Ethan Hawke, which sounds like the worst prize from the silent auction.

It was too long, of course. But I feel like a movie that covers years of a person's life has more reason to be long than, say, Transformers. Although I would love to see how Optimus Prime changed as he grew up. Somebody get me a meeting with Michael Bay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Baby, Boom

As promised, here are some pictures of Baby Jack. We're continuing the great family tradition of naming a child one thing but calling him another. His legal name will be John (like me and my dad) but he will go by Jack. It will be so much fun for him every year on the first day of school.

This is the one week photo. He looks kind of like he's over it. So he'll fit in well around here.

This was in the hospital right after the big event. Apparently they have mood lighting in hospitals now.

I believe this is the very first photo of Jack. Not his first selfie, though. That will be the real measure of the man.

Here is the Boo/Jack summit. Many important policy accords were no doubt reached.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Welcome to the Family

My sister had her baby this week! (Did I even mention she was pregnant? For nine months, if you can believe it.) It was kind of weird because the little guy's arrival was a moving target. The due date was June 1, but then they said they thought that it would be earlier based on the baby's size, but then they said it would be later because nothing seemed to be going on with her contractionwise. And then all of the sudden he was here, around 12:30 Tuesday morning.

He's great! Super small, as babies tend to be. (Though actually quite tall for a baby, or maybe the word is long since he's not exactly standing up?) A good sleeper, if you put aside the twenty-four hour period where he never stopped screaming/eating. Looks a bit like both of his parents, though I think his closest analogue right now is Dorinda's boyfriend on Real Housewives of New York. And the dogs have approved of him, which is good, because it's not like they have the option of voting him off the island.

I'll get some pictures together soon. "Soon" being a relative term, of course.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Weather Underground

It's been the kind of weekend where there really doesn't seem to be any point in getting out of bed. Cold, grey, rainy. What I tend to think of as shoe ruining weather. Even the poor dog didn't want to go outside to go to the bathroom. (To be fair, neither would I.) Really, I think my top accomplishment this weekend was watching two episodes of Mad Men. Almost through season five! Then I'm only like three years behind the rest of America.

There was also obedience class (not an S&M thing), although I think that Aubrey's learning may have plateaued. "Sit" and "stay" seemed very credible to her, but "come" has received quite a cold reception and "down" really no recognition at all. If only she were more susceptible to bribery, like me with the McDonald's gift certificates in grade school.

We also watched the Blackhawks game with some friends. I like hockey, mainly because floor hockey allowed me to explore my violent tendencies when I was in junior high. But to be honest mainly I like drinking, which seems to go hand and hand.

And tomorrow it will be June. Time to get out the tube tops, I guess.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Automotive News

I did end up buying a car this week. It was, as it always must be, a horrific experience. There were so many psychological techniques at play I felt like they were trying to get me to confess to murder. At one point they actually withheld my driver's license and car title from me in an attempt to coerce me to continue negotiating. I was afraid the rubber hoses were going to come out at any moment.

There were also shades of the bad romantic comedy, with lots of twists, turns, and declarations of affection. One dealership manager actually followed me out to the car to try to entice me to come back in with a lowball offer. It was all lies, though, of course. And now I can't get the rejected dealers to stop calling me.

In the end, though, we got a car we liked at a price that didn't feel like (pun definitely intended) highway robbery. It's a Prius C4. Gray. (One place tried to stick us with one that was fire truck red, but I'm not looking for that kind of attention.) Lots of fun options like voice recognition and a back-up camera. I could back up all day long with that thing. And the dog has already shed all over it, so it feels like home.

Now let's not do this again for like another ten years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Let the Good Times Roll
My friend Emma had an '80s themed roller skating birthday party in the suburbs. She was turning 35, obviously. It was amazing. There was cardboard/ketchup pizza and everything.
It was '80s night at the rink, except that no one else was dressed up and they played mainly '90s music. Maybe they didn't have time to consult Wikipedia about what happened in the '80s?

The rainbow suspenders were specially purchased for this event, if you can believe it.

The shorts I've owned for a while, though. They work for so many occasions, but mainly funerals.

Melissa even remembered how to skate backwards. I mainly remembered how to eat cake. I didn't even fall down once, thought!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Here We Are Again

Busy week.

Went car shopping on Monday night. Embarrassingly enough, this is the first time in my life I've looked for a vehicle without my parents' active involvement. It's kind of icky. A bit like Glengarry Glen Ross come to life. I told them that I wanted to take some time to do some research and think about it and they responded "okay, but why not now?" See, that was the part I had already explained. I do think it's time to part with the 2003 Corolla, though. I think soon it will be just four wheels held together by duct tape.

Tuesday we took our mandatory trip to see the Avengers movie. It was okay. Parts were a bit Whedony for my taste and I can't for the life of me understand why there would be continuity issues with other movies released by the same company last year, but it was entertaining. Also the theater had reclining leather seats, which won me over big time. I could have been watching an auto da fe and been relatively content.

Last night we hung out with my mom and watched Mad Men. We're halfway through Season 5. Clearly we won't catch up before it ends next weekend, but least these episodes aired in the current decade. Although the '00s were very good to me.

So I'm here now. Isn't anything ever good enough for you?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sweet Mother of God

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! Does it kind of bother you that it is "mother's" day, singular, when we are supposed to be honoring all mothers, everywhere? No? A lot of things are just me.

We had a good day -- I took my mom to church and then my sister and her husband came over for pizza and frozen yogurt. MTV showed The Parent Trap and several Amanda Bynes movies, as is obviously appropriate for the day. Seriously, what is going on over at MTV? Do they just have an Apple IIe randomly airing shit now?
We also had obedience class. Aubrey is perhaps not the best student. As in she tries to ignore everything that they're trying to teach her and just keeps staring at us in a disbelieving rage. Which is kind of how I was in Con Law, so I get it.

And now I'm like super exhausted. I used to think that might mean there's something medically wrong with me, but now I know it's just life. Beats the alternative.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

By the Book

Since our little Aubrey has taken to eating books off of the bottom shelf, we decided to prune our collection a little bit this weekend. (Some people say that you want your pets to change their behavior to conform to your needs, but in my experience it is definitely the other way around.) This was in part a terrible idea, because driving anywhere in Lakeview on a gorgeous May Saturday when there is both a Cubs game and some sort of kite festival (not making this up) is about the stupidest thing a person can do. It took about an hour, round trip, and that includes the time I saved by simply dropping the books inside the front door of the Brown Elephant without so much as a hello. (If they try to track me down I will simply deny everything. Including climate change.) But it was also kind of fun, because it allowed me to learn that Ian owned Nicole Richie's book. Of course, it also allowed Ian to learn that I not only owned Lauren Conrad's fiction debut, L.A. Candy, but also did not wish to part with it at this time. As I told him, I'm not looking to be a hero here. I'm just trying to keep my dog from choking on Ian's lightly-used kabbalah manual.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Deep Thoughts

I sometimes wonder if the existence of the Internet has entirely destroyed my productivity. Not just because I can check email every five minutes to see if I got a notice that I won the HGTV Dream Home sweepstakes (no luck yet), or even because I can look for breaking entertainment news with a similar frequency (if Hilary Duff has done something, I want to know about it, damn it). No, the issue I've noticed lately is that there is no thought so idle that I cannot follow up on it with a google search. Suddenly remember the name of that girl who ate candy for lunch every day in junior high? Might as well check to see what she's up to now. Having difficulties remembering the entire plot to RENT? Easy enough to look it up and even find some unflattering photos of Idina Menzel as part of the deal. Wondering why that girl from the Tomorrowland trailer looks kind of familiar? IMDB can tell you she starred in the Lifetime original film "Triple Dog" in 2010.

I guess the good news is that all of this can be accomplished pretty quickly. But that's also part of the bad news, because it definitely makes a lot of sketchy topics seem worth looking into.

I bet they don't have this problem in North Korea.

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