Saturday, November 11, 2017

That Mahalo Lifestyle 

More on Hawaii! This time with pics. Here's the ATV tour:

Can't you tell how hardcore we are? The sky blue sunglasses are an especially dangerous look.

Then there was scuba scooting. It's kind of like scuba, but with a scooter, so it requires little or no effort. Those fish can be pretty terrifying when they're eating bread out of your hand, though. Did you know they have teeth?

It looks like maybe we could be in space or from the future or something. Maybe we are. You don't know!!!!

This is from one of the hikes we did. So yeah, maybe this one was an asphalt trail all the way up, but it was still very steep. That's what the lady in the wheelchair who also did this one thought, at least.

Did I mention I had a celebrity sighting? This is me and good old Barack, sharing a Hawaiian shaved ice. He looks smaller in person.

Saturday, November 04, 2017


So we went to Hawaii! It was pretty great. The house Ian's company has there had its own infinity pool and hot tub (or "spa," as the controls classily called it), so we were able to spend a good bit of time just relaxing in the sun. Or on the amazing inflatable swan my friends Hillary & Troy brought for us. I did fall off of it face first into the water on several occasions, to be sure, but it was so comfy that I kept saying I was going to sleep in it and then not doing so.

It was beautiful most of the time we were there, so we were able to do three different hikes, all of which were cool, though potentially deadly. The last one in particular was pretty much straight up the side of this giant hill (or mountain, or volcano; I'm not a geologist) so I was constantly envisioning myself plummeting uncontrollably. Of course, other people had brought their children for the death-defying climb (and then failed to pay even the slightest bit of attention to them as they went romping across the summit), so maybe its just me.

We also did an ATV tour, which was super fun. They showed us where they filmed Lost and Jurrasic Park and all that, which was all well and good, but the real attraction was driving an ATV at top speed through mud puddles and across bridges over and over again. I definitely did become airborne once or twice, which I take as a testament to how hardcore I am. We were, by the way, told we would have to complete a training course before the tour or we could be denied our own vehicles; you can imagine my surprise when whatever the "training course" was just led straight into the actual tour without any sort of pause or discussion of the lady who kept trying to rear end me. 

Anyway, there's lots more to say, but we actually have dinner plans tonight and I also want to draw this out as much as possible for when I can't think of anything else to write about, so I'm going. Aloha.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Arts & Culture

Last night we went over to my friend Liz's for pizza and a Lifetime movie. Well, playing with her adorable daughter, dissecting the Harvey Weinstein situation, pizza, and a Lifetime movie, but same difference. We have been a fan of the genre for some time now, well before Rob Lowe really perfected the form with his stunning turn as Drew Petersen. (Why Lifetime doesn't have its own version of the Emmys, I will never know.) For anyone who loves film, Lifetime serves as a sterling example of all the many and varied things that can go wrong.

So last night's exemplar was "Stage Fright," a recent release starring Jordan Ladd as an opera singer who has gone into retirement and seclusion after being attacked by a stalker. There were a number of notable things about it. One, the main character announces that she has a habit of hiding guns all over her house for self defense, which led me to imagine flushing the toilet and having a revolver fall out. Two, the actress who plays the main character's daughter shakes her head back and forth pretty much every time she talks, leading to rampant speculation as to whether she in fact has some disorder. Three, although the movie does not purport to be a period piece, in involves both numerous landlines and a music store with rows upon rows of CDs in those tall, skinny security packages. Four, the theater where the main character is making her comeback performance apparently has miles of tunnels underneath it, despite not being the Paris Opera House. And five, the identity of the stalker is patently obvious from the minute he arrives on screen, and not just because he wears his shirts buttoned all the way up to the top. Subtle it is not.

At the end of the day, I'm not sure I can say it any better than IMDB reviewer lordkrythic, who said "this movie simply lacks everything that makes a movie a movie." I don't wholly agree, as Stage Fright clearly features lighting, cameras, and sets, but the larger point is well taken.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Hawaii 5-0

Did I mention that we're going to Hawaii soon? (Potential robbers, note that I am not saying exactly when, and also that we have both an alarm system and exceedingly nosy neighbors.) Ian's company has a house there that they're letting us use, and it looks pretty amazing -- it's right on the water and faces out on what I assume is a volcano, although I don't meet a wide range. Oh, and it has what I believe they refer to as an infinity pool, even thought it does not actually extend to infinity, because that would be weird. So this is exciting, right?

It's an unusual trip for us in that it's more for relaxation than anything, so I have not planned everything down to the minute with itineraries and maps and guidebooks. We plan to spend a good deal of time just laying about reading back issues of Us Weekly. I've barely even peeked at the tourism website, although I can admit that Pearl Harbor is definitely on our list. What's a vacation without a little bit of national tragedy?

And because everyone always asks which island we're going to, I should tell you that it's Oahu. Normally people follow that up by telling us we should try to do a side trip to Maui or Kauai so we can check out this super cute sushi restaurant or sarong store they found, but we're pretty much planning to stay put, thanks. Ian claims he is going to go skydiving, but I predict that will end with sobbing in the jump seat of the airplane, if not sooner. And I will definitely be staying earthbound for my part. My everyday life is "extreme" enough as it is.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Emoticons for Dummies

Listen, I know that it's sometimes difficult to decide what the appropriate emoticon for any given situation is. But what are you going to do, communicate with someone in person? I'm here to help with this handy breakdown.

SITUATION: You've been caught flying a chartered jet to various chili cook-offs and family reunions at taxpayer expense.
EMOTICON: Grimacing face.

SITUATION: You've had your bail revoked after making vaguely threatening and deeply weird comments about Hillary Clinton.
EMOTICON: Face with dollar signs for eyes and on tongue.

SITUATION: You've been granted parole after serving nine years in prison in connection with a plot to steal your own sports memorabilia that is unlikely to serve as the basis for an extension of the Ocean's series.
EMOTICON: Smiling cat face.

SITUATION: You're picking a Twitter fight with the victims of a hurricane.
EMOTION: Clown face. 

SITUATION: Your cameo on the Emmys didn't go over quite as well as you thought it would.
EMOTION: Tossup between crying face and face that appears to be based on Edvard Munch's The Scream.

SITUATION: You're a celebrity announcing your pregnancy mere days after your equally famous and underserving younger sister.
EMOTICON: This is a tough one, but I'm going with Black Santa Claus.

SITUATION: Your company got hacked, which may or may not have resulted in the release of millions of people's sensitive personal information, but you're still getting a multi-million dollar golden parachute.
EMOTICON: Winky face with tongue out.

SITUATION: You used to be the biggest celebrity in the world, but now your big new release is neck and neck with the fourth weekend of a movie about a scary clown.
EMOTICON: I don't know, disco dancing man? I'm starting to miss the days of T9. 

That's all for now. I hope this has been helpful. I live to serve, of course. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Neighborhood Watch

Things have heated up a bit in the ole condo association lately. We had some renters move in across the courtyard from us, and immediately start having loud parties at 3 AM on Tuesdays including people toking up in front of the building and people jumping over the railings on the roof deck to sprint directly across the roof itself.

Now, I'm generally inclined to live and let live in this regard, at least when it's not right underneath me causing my floor to throb in time to Euortrash trance music. But my neighbors are not. These people save up their entire lives to buy townhouses so they can make rules about noise to enforce against people. And so the fines started rolling in.

My nosy neighbor, though, of course decided that she loved these guys and that they were being unfairly victimized. "They seem like good kids," she said. "Two of them have jobs, and one of them is in law school." Of course, my personal experience has taught me that admission in a law school should not be seen as a mark of character.

And then there was the home invasion. Apparently, one of these fine gentlemen was tripping balls earlier this week and returned home, except to the wrong home. Instead of apologizing and walking away, he decided to force his way into the wrong townhouse and, I am told, punch a woman in the face. He was subdued by several of my neighbors and escorted away by the police.

Clearly this was not well received. Except by my nosy neighbor, of course, who declared that she "thought they could have done a better job of de-escalating the situation" and that "if an attractive, affluent-looking young man came to my front door by mistake, I would just help him find the right place." This is the same woman who has spent weeks agitating against a new homeless shelter in my neighborhood, claiming it would attract drug dealers. So apparently actually using drugs and assaulting someone is fine, it's just dealing drugs in her imagination that's a problem. And by the way, if a drug dealer is homeless, he's clearly not doing it right.

Anyway, needless to say, there shall be a rigorous debate. And I shall attempt to be as uninvolved as possible.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pop Star

My assistant has a lot of interesting qualities. She decorates her cubicle feverishly for every holiday from Presidents' Day to Arbor Day, and she follows my movements like the only Soviet spy not currently employed by the Trump administration. She eats her lunch in a corner conference room, where she takes off her shoes, puts her feet up on the desk, and tucks into a romance novel whilst spooning pasta salad from Tupperware. She changes screensavers frequently. But perhaps her most deep and abiding quality is that she loves popcorn. And she loves to make other people eat it.

The tin of Garrett's had barely arrived on Tuesday before she sent me an email urging me to come have some. I didn't even have time to respond before she knocked on my door holding a bowl of it. My protestations that I wasn't hungry fell on deaf ears. And I had no sooner finished than she stopped by to offer me seconds. "It's gotta go," she said. "And it'll be best while it's fresh." I tried to put her off by promising to come by for some in the afternoon, but she was not deterred. "Just take it now," she said. "You can eat it whenever."

Which is how I ended up with two bowls of popcorn hidden in my desk drawer. I'd throw it away, but I'm too afraid that she might go through my trash. Perhaps I can use it in some sort of craft project? I realize this is an odd problem to have, but so is she.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Privacy Please

I generally think of myself as a pretty friendly person. I smile at babies and dogs I see on the street, and try to keep bitchface to a minimum, even when random strangers stop me on the corner for directions to Navy Pier. (Two blocks straight ahead, then step directly in front of a passing truck.) My only enemies are Maureen Dowd and that guy from the Sprint commercials. I even make small talk with my secretary when she barges into my office unannounced to stare at some minor weather phenomenon. See? Nice.

But I do sometimes find my neighbors trying my patience. They were literally ringing the doorbell five minutes after I stopped at the house after the closing, when we hadn't even moved in yet. And they seem to monitor our behavior, making comments like "I haven't seen Ian taking the dog out as much lately" and "don't worry about changing in front of the windows, it doesn't bother us at all." Plus, they are in everybody's business -- I just passed them giving the mail carrier the third degree about her life. I mean, I'm all for being pleasant, but I don't need a close personal relationship with the person who drops of fifteen pounds of Restoration Hardware catalogs I don't want, ok? Is that so wrong?

It probably is. I need to try harder. But for now, I'm just going to eat some crackers and watch some Naked Gun movies on cable. Why did OJ ever give up on that acting career?

Sunday, September 03, 2017

The Weekend

I can't tell you how exciting it is to have a long weekend, especially after all of the excitement of the last few weeks. Our original plan was to do nothing at all this weekend, but obviously that completely fell through. Yesterday I went with my sister and my nephew to a children's bowling party, which went about as could be expected. Jack didn't want to do anything except run up and down the length of the building rubbing a piece of pizza on things and then eating it. He "bowled" a total of one and a half frames, which consisted of my sister putting a bowling ball on the ground in front of him and trying fruitlessly to get him to push it. On our second try, he took off running down the actual bowling lane towards the pins and my sister screamed for me to catch him, which resulted in both of us landing face first on the floor. And in a stern reprimand from a bowling alley employee. At least that makes me feel young again.

Today I have a massage and then we're going to my friend's roof party. I have promised myself that I will only drink in moderation, so I don't wake up to a world of half-understood regrets tomorrow morning, but we'll see how that lasts. This is America, after all, and self abuse is our number one form of entertainment.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hitching Post

Some of our friends threw us a little party in honor of our (March) marriage last night. It was really great! People came in from all over and we had heavy appetizers and a full bar. I love when my friends meet my other friends, so it was sort of my platonic ideal. Here are some pictures!

Me and the hubs, during the awkward fifteen minutes after we were supposed to get there but before the party actually started.

College friends! We look exactly the same, except exhausted.

Law school friends! We were already exhausted to begin with. The law does that to people.

My sister and my friend Liz! I look blurry for some reason.

Some of my Bar Show crew! We take a lot of pictures, some of which we should definitely think twice before sharing anywhere.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Air Invasion

It's Air & Water Show weekend here in Chicago, or as I like to call it, %#@&^%. Hundreds of thousands of people come into the city to fail to make right turns on red, amble aimlessly directly down the middle of the sidewalks, and presumably watch an air show of some sort. Parking in our neighborhood becomes an absolute nightmare, as opposed to its standard fever dream, and every Walgreen's line becomes clogged with people trying to haggle over the price of sunscreen. In short, it is a grand affair.

This year, one of my friends had a party, because her new place has a gorgeous rooftop in an excellent location for viewing. Because I will take any excuse to drink rose in mass quantities, I attended, and on that score it did not disappoint. I did spend the majority of the actual air show program hiding inside my friend's condo and consoling her terrified dogs, but I pretty much got the gist of it from the ear-splitting flyover noises.

Afterwards, I tripped over the sidewalk and scraped my entire forearm against the side of a building while trying to get to McDonald's and order a chicken sandwich. May there be many happy returns of this day.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Bulletin

So the church my mom and I go to has started making us all introduce ourselves to each other at the beginning of each mass. This may not seem like a big deal, but we're Catholic, so the whole idea of church is that we can sort of disappear into the background and think about where we should go to brunch afterwards. I already have to shake hands with strangers after the Our Father without a sanitizer station in sight; I wasn't exactly looking for more. And let's not forget that we are, by and large, not a charismatic religion -- if I wanted lots of excitement, I'd become a Snake-Handling Baptist. That might even get me on the news.

Anyway, I've struggled over the years with the Catholic mass. I'm definitely for all of the social justice, but kind of against the premarital sex will blow your legs off business. I'd also prefer that there be less child rape involved, but maybe that's just me.

The 9 AM mass we go to has the huge disadvantage of being at 9 AM, but I do like having the whole day ahead of me afterwards. And there's never a threat of acoustic guitars, which tend to creep into the later services. Also very few children, which is good, because Jesus said to "let the little children come to" him, not me. I'd hate to get in the way.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

West Coast Time

I was just in San Francisco for work for a few days. It was pretty nice. A lot of the work I was doing consisted of drinking and exchanging business cards, so that's okay. The weather was beautiful the whole time, although they did have these weird, anemic mornings where I felt like I wasn't even sure they were really happening yet. That could have been me, though, given the drinking mentioned above. And I got in a short visit with a friend I've known since kindergarten, but who has nevertheless forgiven me for throwing up on her mother's day card. That's the sort of closeness you just can't develop overnight.

It is always kind of weird dropping into a city for one or two days and just working there, though. I didn't really get to see any of the major attractions, like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Full House building. Mainly I saw the hotel conference rooms and the bars and restaurants within a two block radius of there. Oh, and the airport. I do have to give some credit to SFO for their range of food options and plentiful outlets. Demerits to United for the in-flight internet not working, however. I was already out of reading material for heaven's sake.

I'm definitely glad to be back with the full weekend ahead of me, though. I've got a lot of not doing stuff to be doing before Monday comes.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Golden Grams

I've been getting pretty into Instagram lately. I actually joined it several years ago, but I didn't really understand that it could be used for anything other than putting filters on photos to make them look like you have a shitty old camera instead of a nice new one, so I didn't do much with it. My account literally consisted of some blurry, dark pictures I unsuccessfully tried to clean up from one of my Vienna trips and, for some reason, a picture of Chili's. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But now I've begun to understand the real, celebrity-stalking uses of Instagram, and I love it. I know when the Vanderpump Rules crew takes a contractually-mandated trip to Mexico together because I can see all of the pictures hit the 'gram, and wonder if LaLa did something to her nose. I get inside insights into the production of all kinds of wonderful and terrible Hallmark movies because I've actually bothered to learn the real names of the Hallmark stable of "stars" and follow them on the app. And I have immediate access to lots of slutty photographs of vaguely famous hot people I've seen on thousands of reality shows across the years, and I straight up refuse to apologize for it.

I've also, of course, constructed an elaborate fantasy persona for my own Instagram, which seems to consist largely of traveling, drinking, and hanging out with cute dogs and children. Okay, so maybe it's not that far off from reality. But I seldom, if ever, include photos of myself in disintegrating sweatpants watching Murder, She Wrote for hours on end. No one needs that much reality. 

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