Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chicago Med

Having spent a fair amount of time helping my mother navigate the medical system this past year, I have to say it's maybe not my favorite thing in the world. (I do still like it more than intestinal parasites and Kim Kardashian, however. But I repeat myself.) Today, for instance, I took my mom for an endoscopy. This is a seven minute procedure. We were there for four hours. Now, of course, some of that was waiting for the anesthesia to take effect and wear off, but a lot of that was also just dicking around. After they got her checked in and prepped we literally sat there for an hour without anyone so much as checking in on us. There wasn't even a TV so we could catch up on our Y&R or something while waiting. Just anecdotes about my mom's students from twenty years ago. Pretty compelling stuff.

On the plus side, the actual waiting area where I sat during the procedure was pretty amazing. Lots of comfy chairs and couches, ample outlets for charging of devices, and even a piano in case Chopin dropped by for a tummy tuck. Oh, and they gave us a little electronic buzzer so we would know when it was our turn, just like at Bennigans. Plus the views were surprisingly great. Which is what you really want when a loved one's life is on the line (or in this case, their acid reflux).

Big thumbs down to the cafeteria cheeseburger, however. Limp lettuce and one tiny tomato? You can tell it's not McDonald's, because I ain't Lovin' It.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Love, American Style

I've been watching a bit of American Ninja Warrior lately. Now, it's important to me that you know I'm not like fanatical about it or anything; I haven't developed a rooting interest in any of the contestants and I'm unlikely to fly to Kansas City to try to attend a taping any time soon. But it is quality, low impact entertainment to have on in the background while you are, say, bathing a dog for the third time in as many days because she won't stop rolling in trash or writing an analysis of the constitutionality of an obscenity statute. (Basically the same activity.) I enjoy it for a number of reasons:

-- People are ridiculously earnest and say things like "this is for all the kids with troubled childhoods out there."

-- People frequently fall face first into the water shortly after delivering statements like the above.

-- The commentators get way too excited about everything and act as though these are celebrity athletes on, like, a LeBron James level, when in fact it's sub Oksana Baiul.

-- The inspirational backstories they put together make it seem like there is no one in the world who hasn't lost a parent in a tractor accident, had lupus, or started an after school martial arts program for disadvantaged youths.

-- They're on like their third interchangeable blond lady as their contestant interviewer, and they still haven't found one who doesn't look like she fears for her life when she talks to these people.

Anyway, it's happening. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dispatches From A Month Ago

So we finally watched A Deadly Adoption this weekend. You know, the Will Ferrell/Kristen Wiig Lifetime movie that was filmed in direct implementation of my dream journal? It was a topic of discussion about a month ago? Yeah, I've been busy. Mainly with alcohol, but still.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. Anyone who was looking for a straight up parody must have been pretty disappointed, but I loved the fact that it was basically just a regular Lifetime movie with bad acting that was slightly more purposeful. Will Ferrell's beard deserved an award of some kind, and I'm glad they finally shined some light on the seedy world of financial planning book tours. Kristen Wiig was basically dead on, with an important message about dock safety to boot. Plus there was a sassy gay friend in classic Lifetime tradition. And diabetes.

Oh, and there must be a special shout out for the impromptu kitchen dance party at the end. All Lifetime movies basically end with non sequiturs. I'm pretty sure this one was choreographed by Twyla Tharp.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

In Which I Am Helpful

Recently I was down in kind of the tourist area of Michigan Avenue (I wasn't hustling up the Hancock or anything; pretty much every physician I've ever had is right near there) and I kept getting stopped by random strangers with questions.

A woman with two kids and an old person in tow asked me if this was where you board the trolley to Navy Pier. Of course I did not. But this did not seem to satisfy her, as she persevered to re-ask the question in several different forms. Eventually I kind of made up a halfhearted answer that probably had the effect of getting her entire family murdered. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Navy Pier was within easy walking distance. Or that it's terrible and no one should go there.

Another guy asked me if the place he was looking for was at the top of the steps we were standing near. It was. But when I told him that, he complained that he couldn't climb the steps because he had knee problems. That seemed a bit beyond my jurisdiction (was I supposed to carry him?) so I just kind of made a frowny face.

It was kind of weird, because I don't usually get stopped multiple times in the same day, much less the same trip. But later I realized that it was probably because I was wearing a suit that day. I think people feel much less worried about people in suits murdering them. Because of course everyone knows people in suits are much more likely to sell us worthless investments and spend the profits on dolphin racing or something.

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!

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