Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Giving of Thanks

Not traveling for the holiday this year, which is nice. A four-day weekend seems much shorter when you take a five-hour drive out of each end of it. Not that I didn't enjoy touring the finer gas stations and Hardee's of Central Illinois.

Thanksgiving here shouldn't be a ton different from Thanksgiving in Quincy, though. The buffet will probably be of a slightly higher quality (and much more expensive), but mashed potatoes don't vary too much from place to place in my experience.

It's kind of great for me just to have a few days off, actually. I've been rehearsing a lot for an amateur theatrical lately (hence my relative silence here) and have fallen desperately behind on grocery shopping and TV viewing and such. So tonight I luxuriated in a trip to Target and a meal that wasn't microwaved in my office. My life is very glamorous.

I'm trying to think if anything has happened since I last posted that you absolutely need my views on, but I'm kind of coming up empty. Horrific acts of terrorism aren't really my bailiwick, commentary-wise. I leave that to the true artists like Trump.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Big Time

Did you know that the Daley Center holds a weekly lunchtime concert series, at which you can thrill to the sounds of a terrible children's choir or a Serbian poetry reading whilst eating a stale egg salad sandwich and fighting off sexual advances from security personnel? I did, but never once did I dream that I would become a part of it, as I walked past it week after week on my way to buy six pounds of nachos or be harassed by sales associates at Old Navy. Today, however, the dream I never had came true, as my amateur lawyer's theatrical troupe did a promotional performance in that groundbreaking creative space that can only be described as the southwest corner of the lobby.

Everything went pretty well, although we did have to compete with the sound of plastic security trays being slammed into one another and the conveyor belt. They even put up a little tent to serve as our dressing room, although they did not provide a bowl of M&Ms with all the red ones removed as I had specifically requested in my rider. I reprised my role as Edward Snowden singing "Blurred Lines," in what was definitely, totally a reflection of how relevant and topical he (and Robin Thicke) have stayed, and not in any way because we were desperate for numbers that were pretty easy to call back to memory. (Like other PTSD-inducing events, it remains pretty fresh.)

What's next for me? Orchestra Hall? By which I mean a hall outside the orchestra, not the actual Orchestra Hall -- I'm really more of a lobby specialist.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Let's (Continue To) Get Political

I'm keeping my promise. Which is great, because I know that there were literally lives hanging in the balance over this. Here's my rundown of the rest of the GOP field.

Bobby Jindal

Pros: 30 Rock has been off the air long enough now that it's really wonderful to see anyone who resembles Kenneth the Page. Also, the only (probably?) candidate to have attempted an exorcism.
Cons: Doesn't even really seem entirely convinced himself that he has any kind of shot at this.

John Kasich

Pros: Has very credible political hair.
Cons: Probably just wants to get the hell out of Ohio.

George Pataki

Pros: Last name is really fun to say. Something about all of those hard consonants. It just seems to fly out of your mouth.
Cons: Currently polling somewhere behind a German Shepherd who can balance a ball on its nose.

Rand Paul

Pros: Likes to filibuster, which is the best theater this side of the Paducah Community Players production of Grease!
Cons: Was against the Civil Rights Act before he was before it.

Marco Rubio

Pros: Passes for handsome, at least as far as politicians go.
Cons: Have you ever listened to this guy talk? I mean really listened to him? It kind of makes you want to go take a long hot bath with a toaster.

Rick Santorum

Pros: Seems to really, genuinely believe, like, a lot of things.
Cons: Evolution and global warming are apparently not among those things.

Donald Trump

Pros: That season of Celebrity Apprentice with Vivica A. Fox was a national treasure. And not the kind with Nicolas Cage; an actual national treasure.
Cons: Has not yet committed to naming Vivica A. Fox his running mate.

I'll do the Democrats someday, too, probably. Unless they all drop out before I get around to it. I'm pretty slow.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Let's Get Political

I know that basically everyone on Earth is waiting for my assessment of our latest crop of presidential contenders, so here are a few thoughts. Just a few, though. Like many of these candidates, I'm too lazy to address more than a few issues at a time.

Jeb! Bush

Pros: Exclamation points are fun. And letting him win would really help him out at the next family dinner. God knows he doesn't want to be known as "the incompetent Bush."
Cons: Frequently looks like being in close proximity to other humans causes him pain. And doesn't Mitch McConnell have the whole "politician who looks like an owl" thing pretty much locked down?

Ben Carson

Pros: Could do surgery on you, if you needed it for some reason. Seems calm, like your aunt after she finally got on Zyprexa.
Cons: Might do surgery on you even though you don't need it, just because he can. Frequently sounds like he's reading aloud from a Dr. Seuss book no one else knows about.

Chris Christie

Pros: Shouts a lot. Briefly flirted with sanity after a hurricane, likely because he hit his head on something.
Cons: This is what he looks like after the surgery.

Ted Cruz

Pros: The surname "Cruz" lends itself to all sorts of fun puns, like "Cruzin' for a Bruisin'" and "Speed 2: Cruz Control." And if you're a federal employee and want a few weeks of unpaid time off, he's definitely your guy.
Cons: Always seems like he's laughing to himself about how much dumber than him you are. Would give Texas something else to be insanely overconfident about.

Carly Fiorina

Pros: It's nice to finally have a pro-business candidate who actively destroyed a business all by herself. And her logo is somewhat snazzy.
Cons: She got the crazy eye.

Jim Gilmore

Pros: I literally had not heard of him until I pulled up the list of candidates on Wikipedia.
Cons: Could this be one of those crazy made up things people put on Wikipedia for like three hours before somebody notices and takes it off?

Lindsey Graham

Pros: Reminds me of Corky St. Clair from Waiting for Guffman, but with less of a talent for jazz dance. Likes to be on Meet the Press a lot.
Cons: Gives off a little bit of a child molester vibe. (No offense, Corky!)

Mike Huckabee

Pros: His face already kind of looks like the statute of his face would look. Really likes Jesus, which can't hurt if this whole Christianity thing turns out to have something to it.
Cons: It's just way too easy to see him screaming at a waitress at the Waffle House over them being  out of grape jelly.

Second half of the alphabet to follow, approximately when I feel like it!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Halloween was last night, so it is now officially Christmas. At least judging by the seasonal aisle at Walgreen's. The good news is that I got some remaindered candy that I could give to my students at Northwestern. It was like $4 for sixty mini candy bars. And name brand ones, too -- not a "Snuckers" or a "Two Musketeers" among them.

The other good news is that Hallmark Channel is now running Christmas movies until they make your eyes bleed. Right now they are premiering the first official new movie of the 2015 Christmas season, "Tis the Season for Love," starring a sincere, broad-faced woman and a hunk of granite with good hair. It will be followed by a rerun of 2013's "Snow Bride," in which a reporter (that classic Hallmark Channel job) agrees to pose as someone's girlfriend for the holidays (fraud is also big in Hallmark movies) but must eventually "decide whether to take a chance on real love" (I'm guessing she just says "fuck it" and instead focuses on her career). And in case you are up all night, you can catch a repeat of 2013's "Fir Crazy" at 3 AM, which I can personally guarantee as a cure for insomnia. An unemployed executive (field of choice: business) helps her dad with their family's Christmas tree lot, with questionable results.

The bad news is that Jessica Fletcher is taking a break until January to make room for all of this. Which is probably best for the overall murder rate of Maine. Not sure it will do anything for what WMTW deems their "growing heroin problem," however.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

This Should Tell You How My Week Is Going

I steam burned my finger on the Lean Cuisine I was heating up at my office the other night.

It actually hurt like a motherfucker. I spent a good portion of the night dipping it in cold water to alleviate the pain. As in I walked around carrying a little glass of cold water to dip it in. I am a mature, irresistible man.

I am contemplating various legal actions against basically everyone I know, of course. Obviously, this had nothing to do with so-called "user error."

Sunday, October 25, 2015

America's Next Top Pet Model

So in what may well go down as one of the biggest blunders since someone decided the world was hungry for Katherine Heigl to return to television, we opted to take Aubrey in to have her Halloween photo taken today. It turns out she was not what one would call a natural model.

The costume was a stunning frock designed to make her look like a rodeo bull with a rider on her back. We practiced at home and she really captured the essence of bull. At the store, however, she captured the essence of a terrified dog desperately fleeing a photographer. She was pulling towards the front door on her leash the entire time. And when they would call her name or make noises to get her to look at the camera, she would just startle and stare crazily at whichever of us was nearest to her. The photographer was literally at a loss, having never seen an animal so deeply ridiculous before. They tried to give her treats, which she accepted, before cowering as though she had just been branded with a curling iron.

Finally they just suggested that Ian and I should jump into the photo with her. Which was great, since neither of us had exactly planned on modeling today. Or, you know, showered. These will definitely be some precious memories when they arrive.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Shock, Dismay

McDonald's all-day breakfast is a lie, people! This one is bigger than Benghazi and Whitewater combined.

Turns out you can't just get any breakfast item you want all day. No, it's limited to like McMuffins and those sad little pancakes I've never seen anyone actually eat. Bacon-based items are completely out of the question. Which makes no sense, because don't they have bacon cheeseburgers on the menu all day? You can't just grab some of that bacon and slap it on a muffin for me?

Of course, I didn't find out until I was already in the drive through. So I had no choice but to order a tragic McMuffin and console myself with a large fry. Which was secretly kind of amazing. Probably just because I've been eating a whole lot of salad lately.

If there hasn't already been class action litigation over this, I would like to nominate myself as a named plaintiff. Thank you for your time and attention.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dog & Baby Show

Yesterday Aubrey's doggie day care had a Halloween party. We took her, not because we thought she'd necessarily enjoy it, but because we thought it would be good for her. Also because it's fun to make her wear costumes. We went with the giraffe.

There was a lot of trembling and drooling on the way over there (from her, not me), but ultimately I think she had a pretty good time. She ran around and sniffed some butts and she got some nice treats. She did spend a fair amount of time rushing the exits, but she never actually escaped, and a couple of times I actually caught her playing. So she is improving.

I wish I'd known in advance what a fine affair this would be, as they had a lot of amazing snacks for the humans in attendance and even an open bar! The wine list was a bit lacking, but I think that's probably true of most doggie day cares.

Afterwards, we hosted a little play date for my nephew and our friend's baby. It turns out babies do seem to sort of enjoy relating to each other. There was a lot of strong eye contact and even a bit of rolling. Certainly I've had dates that have gone worse.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

'Tis the Postseason

So let me start by saying that I am a Cubs fan and I am thrilled that the Cubs are doing so well this year. But man, oh man, is it a pain in the ass. There's no parking anywhere and streets are being shut down all over and seemingly at random. People are getting in fights in the streets and creating trash at an alarming rate. And most nights I go to bed to the sound of helicopters overhead. But the absolute worst part of all of this has to be how difficult it makes it to get a beagle with attention deficit disorder to pee. Seriously, I am out there for half an hour at a time, and she just goes from one distraction to the next. Hey, somebody's walking by! Hey, a car just drove by! Is that the train? Oh, somebody dropped some kind of wrapper here! Oooh, leaves! Let's eat them! All of which are noble thoughts, of course, but best expressed indoors, after urination. Yet again I must note that she is lucky to be cute.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Interview

I always struggle to make small talk with cab drivers. Well, I guess not always; sometimes I just pretend to be on the phone. But it seems that cab drivers often view me as a good sounding board for their controversial views on race, religion, or class in America. Which makes it hard for me to smile and nod appropriately. If it weren't for my years of training with my habitually off color grandmother, I would be completely lost. Mainly I just try to redirect things to the weather and everyone's health. Cab drivers never seem as interested in discussing the physical failings of various female celebrities as my grandmother always was, however.

A special problem for me is the need to avoid being asked for legal advice. For that reason, I always try to evade the very simple traditional question of "what do you do?" The answer "I work for the state" seems to stop a lot of people in their tracks, perhaps because they're afraid I'm some sort of surly clerk from the Department of Sanitation or something. And it has the benefit of obscuring the legal nature of my employment. But if people ask the follow up question, I'm forced to admit that I work for the Attorney General, though that still leaves open the possibility that I'm a slutty file clerk with a heart of gold. Often people do pin me down as being a lawyer, leading to inevitable questions about people's complicated immigration statuses or the expungement of assuredly bogus shoplifting charges. Of course, the joke's on them, because I know absolutely nothing about any useful form of law.

Monday, October 05, 2015

You Can't Go Home Again

Can we all agree that I need to learn how to say no to things? Over the past few years, I have ended up agreeing to pay my own way to Europe to help with a moot court team at a law school I never went to, to drive several hundred miles to give a five minute speech about being an honors student fifteen years ago, and to appear in several amateur theatricals written by and for middle aged lawyers. Do I really have that much spare time on my hands? I know the answer to that is no, because the unwatched Lifetime movies are piling up on my DVR. So I guess I just have severe psychological problems?

As a continuation of the important case study, I agreed to chair my fifteen-year college reunion this weekend. This despite the fact that I did not particularly want to attend my fifteen-year college reunion this weekend. It's not that I don't like strolling down that particular memory lane (though memory lane in Decatur is in kind of a bad neighborhood), it's just that I have already strolled it quite a few times recently. Like two years ago. And last April. But somehow I found myself getting up at 6 AM on a Saturday to drive down and pose for a photo with former classmates who I by and large do not speak to any more. And to eat catered chicken with representatives of the class of 1915 or something. I did get a nice commemorative plaque and a bag of popcorn, however, so it wasn't a complete wash.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Back in Time

So it must be admitted at this point that I am watching season three of Felicity for some reason. Well, "watching" is probably not the right term, as I am doing other things while it is on in the background. And as far as the reason, does one really need a reason to revisit the early zeros? Chunky sweaters, sensitive singer-songwriters with acoustic guitars, hyperarticulate white people -- it's all fairly amazing.

Something must be said, of course, about the hair. She really did look like a chia pet when she cut it short. But Wikipedia tells me that people are wrong to blame the drop in ratings on her hair: the ratings drop actually occurred earlier when it moved from Tuesdays to Sundays. Still, it didn't look good. And the mannish outfits didn't help.

The University of New York seems like a pretty great fictional college, actually. The professors don't mind listening to students whine endlessly, probably because they have sick offices with giant windows. The student body is filled with diverse obsessives of every race and creed. And the student apartments are gigantic, though you can't ignore the chance that you'd be forced to live with Megan.

The most amazing thing to me is that I can remember the critics totally loving this shit at the time. Like, there was awards talk. TV has come a long way since then. Although strangely, Julianna Margulies is still on it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday, Sunday

It probably says something about the way my Sunday is going that I was actually kind of sad just now when the Shark Vacuum infomercial ended. I guess I'm just a sucker for people discovering a lower-cost, high-suction option for all of their pet hair removal needs. Also the background music is really catchy -- it sounds a bit like the very end of the Beverly Hills, 90210 theme on repeat.

It was an early Sunday, as Ian was running the half marathon and I had to drive down to pick him up. Yes, I am complaining not about the exertion involved in running a half marathon, but that involved in driving a car to the location of a half marathon. I was also involved in the carbo loading the night before and the brunching afterwards. It is quite grueling, obviously, but someone has to do it.

I guess my real problem is that I am heading into month three of my allergy season and I neglected to take my meth precursor this morning. And so I feel as though I am sanding two by fours with my face. (I can't take the pill in the afternoon or I will be up all night flitting around the apartment like a tiny hummingbird.) I don't know exactly what it is I am allergic to, but at this point I would not object to the eradication of every form of plant material in the greater Cook County area. Except for, like, wheat, because I'm pretty fond of carbs.

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