Monday, January 26, 2015

Remember the Maine

Did I mention that my friend and former roommate Liz is moving to Maine? She was sort of a character on this thing for a while, back when I was still posting on the reg. She's the one who dressed up like a slutty pilgrim with me, somehow got fleas in my guest bedroom, explored the Dells, etc. Her husband is from Maine and they own a house out there; they've been renting it out as a vacation place, resulting in many fun calls from women named Padmini about low water pressure at four in the morning. And now they're going to give it a try for a while. Hopefully the toilets work better for them.

It's of course quite weird to think that the won't be around much after more than a decade of misadventures together. Who will blindly approve of my questionable fashion choices or gather anecdotes about the various extramarital affairs of our law school classmates? Certainly not Lupita Nyongo, I'll tell you that.

My approach to it so far has just been to remain in denial. That's certainly worked with global warming, so I have very high hopes.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm Full of Cliffhangers These Days

So I did come back to Chicago from Quincy and I am still alive. Mom actually drove part of the way back, something she had been nervous about doing. She's going through this interesting process of relearning to do things that dad had generally done: freeway driving, yard work, paying bills. It's like having a sixty-five-year-old child. She's a genuinely gifted child, though. Kept it at seventy the whole time she was driving and even managed some aggressive passing. We're working up to the middle finger; it's some pretty advanced citizenship.

Since getting back I've kind of been playing catchup. For instance, the Christmas tree still needed to come down. And the wreath to come off our front door. I'm pretty sure our neighbors were starting to think the place was abandoned. Also the DVR was, and is, way overloaded. As it turns out, 12 Years a Slave isn't exactly the kind of thing you pop on for a casual, fun night at home. Although I have thought up some pretty great drinking games to go with it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Change of Venue

In Quincy with my mom for the long weekend. Because nothing honors Dr. King like fighting mold, emptying mouse traps, and eating at salad bars. We've been spending a lot of time here lately; I guess I would consider us bicoastal, if the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan are both coasts. It's tough work being a landowner.

Mom actually has a studio up in Chicago now as well as the house in Quincy, did I mention that? Well, two houses, since she never sold my grandmother's. Which is why there is mold now, and why we are desperately packing and cleaning things in preparation to put it on the market. I would love to get some of those HGTV bitches on it, but it seems like they're mainly in Canada. I'm liberal and cold, does that count?

We've also been tackling my dad's office, or offices I guess, which have been consolidated into my mom's office, so there is literally stuff covering every surface. Turns out my dad saved everything that anyone ever put on paper for any reason. There are file folders that have a single, unfilled form in them. There are memos from the 1970s. There are printouts of late '90s websites. So yeah, there's a whole lot of recycling going on.

Oddly enough, it's not a bad way to spend a weekend. Beats a night out in Wrigleyville, at least.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Will Someone Please Check on Jennifer Aniston? Please?

Oscar nominations came out today. As has been the trend in recent years, they largely concern motion pictures I have not seen and likely will not see at any time in the near future. What can I say? I have a very active social life. But since I'm an American, I will not allow my lack of relevant information to prevent me from having strong opinions.

Best Picture. I feel like The Theory of Everything should probably win here, since its title sounds so comprehensive. All of the others present, at best, theories of something. I don't plan to see it, though, because I'm in that Twitter feud with Stephen Hawking. He knows what he did.

Best Director. I can't tell you how much I love the name Morten Tyldum. Not familiar with his work, though. Wes Anderson's movies remind me of when I used to make dioramas out of shoe boxes in second grade, so I'm giving it to him.

Best Actor. I actually did see Birdman, and Michael Keaton bummed me out like you wouldn't believe. Also, I'm over people winning Oscars for playing people with disabilities. Steve Carell's nose in Foxcatcher doesn't count.

Best Actress. Isn't Julianne Moore going to win this just because she's been nominated without winning so many times already? Who knew the Academy Awards were like your Sub Club card?

Best Supporting Actor. Hmm. I'm afraid to see Boyhood simply because I don't want to review the ways in which time has ravaged Ethan Hawke. But still, I think he should win, if only to try to keep him from writing more novels.

Best Supporting Actress. Two-time Oscar Nominee Keira Knightley. Yup, that's a thing now. So maybe someone can finally get her to eat?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Oops! I did It Again!

I completely forgot about this thing. But I swear, not every post from now on will open with that statement. Sometimes I'll just play it off like nothing happened.

Many miscellaneous fun times since we last spoke. I went to a karaoke party, where I received a white plastic top hat with the American flag on it. I also secretly signed my friend up to sing 9 to 5, which became much less hilarious when she secretly switched the sign-up to my name. Dolly Parton was rolling in her grave, despite the fact that she is very much alive.

Saturday we drove to Evanston and went to Chili's. We had a gift card. Not that I am saying that by way of defense, as I believe Chili's needs no defense. I ate my weight in fried cheese products. We also watched Iron Man 3, which I had cleverly taped off the Encore channel. Yes, we somehow failed to see Iron Man 3 until just now. Shut up. It's not like it's The Graduate or something that's part of our shared cultural heritage or something. Yet. I fully believe there will be future AFI tributes dedicated to the lesser roles of Gwyneth Paltrow.

Oh, and the Golden Globes. They were okay. I'm not sure that I've seen a single thing that won an award this year. Were any Nicole Eggert Lifetime movies up for anything? Because I've watched the shit out of those.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Side Effects

One interesting (?) side effect of my extended hiatus from the blog is that I now sometimes just plain old forget it exists. I used to have the habit of at least thinking about it every day before deciding that I would rather just watch back to back episodes of the Real Housewives and speculate about Brandi's mental health. But now days go by without me even thinking about it. So I guess now the blog understands how Kate Hudson feels.

Anyway, I'm trying to think what's new here. I guess I saw the final Hobbit movie this weekend with my mom. (And don't act like I'm some big nerd, because $200 million + worth of people have seen each of these damn movies.) It was okay. I swear in the all the time these three movies take they literally could have just read the entirety of the book out loud. There were some really good battle sequences, though. Like the one between Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly over whose hair was prettier. And there were fighting bears! Another thing Stephen Colbert was right about.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!

What better way to kick it off than by lying in bed and watching TV all day? We started off with a bit of the modern classic known as Double Jeopardy, remembering a time when Ashley Judd was better known for executing intense action sequences without disturbing her hair than for writing op-eds about the weirdness of her face. Then we realized that Catwoman was on, and after a brief accidentally layover in the Spanish language version (which actually really adds a certain pathos, in my opinion), we settled in to try and discern the exact moment at which Sharon Stone's career ended. Of course, we had to check in with the Rose Bowl parade, if only to watch Nancy O'Dell passive aggressively swipe at the Property Brothers, who were co-hosting for some unknown (and perhaps unknowable) reason. Then there was a bit of Rehab Addict. There was nothing particularly funny about Rehab Addict (at least not today; I do think she may well have walled up her murder victims in some of those properties) so we flipped over to the Disney Channel. And now we're watching some terrible made-for-TV movie about a robot boyfriend. So yeah, I think we've pretty much got it together.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Reason for the Season

So it has been an eventful holiday season. As has been my recent custom, I kicked off my holiday season with a run of the thrilling amateur theatrical known as the Chicago Bar Association Show. In a truly timely move, it had a Star Wars theme. And I played Luke Skywalker. This is the part where I pretend I was way too cool to be totally jammed about getting to carry a lightsaber.

Because my mom is now living in Chicago (at least part time), I actually partook of the holiday market at the Daley Center and the windows at Macy's this year as well. Generally it is kind of nice to have my mom as an excuse to act like a tourist, but this was somewhat like pounding nails into my skull. No, scratch that; pounding nails into my skull could never draw this kind of horrific crowd.

I hosted Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my place. This largely involved playing Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You video over and over until nothing made sense any more. There was also brunch food! Loosely defined. Gummy bears are a brunch staple, right?

Now we're in Quincy for a few days. Mold-related events, largely. Hoping to get some Taco Bell breakfast in there somewhere, though.

Friday, December 26, 2014


I hesitate to say that I am back, because the fact of the matter is I may well disappear for many months at any given moment, much like Renee Russo's career. I promise that I won't come back with a new face, however.

I don't have that much by way of explanation, either. Mainly I just had stuff to do. Dealing with my dad's passing, my mom's illness, their two houses in a city five hours away from mine, the mold that chose to grow in one of those houses, the many acres of grass surrounding those houses that never seems to stop growing, except for when it is covered in giant piles of leaves or snow. Also watching my fair share of HGTV, to be sure. But blogging never really made it to the top of the list or, frankly, even to the vicinity of the list. And there are actual lists at all times, I mean that. That's why half my income is invested in post-its.

Not that there aren't things that, in retrospect, I wish I'd been commenting on. Robin Thicke becoming the saddest person in Sadville was pretty fascinating. I enjoyed the Sony leaks, if only because I share Angelina Jolie's passion for developing character through anachronistic wigs. Oh, and Kim Kardashian's ass photos. Actually, I probably wouldn't have commented on those just because I know she wants us to. And yet I just did! Damn you, Kim, you evil genius!

Anyway, I am back? Sort of? Or maybe I'm not? I guess we'll all kind of just have to wait and see.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Well, there’s really no way around it: my 2014 was pretty terrible, and not just because the Saved by the Bell Lifetime Movie turned out to be kind of underwhelming. My dad passed away unexpectedly and my mom got sick. Overnight I went from gossiping about whether Beth from accounting had lap band surgery and googling my own name to see if my undergrad had finally taken down my terrible haiku poetry to arguing with insurance companies about how many x-rays is too many x-rays and wondering whether “On Eagle’s Wings” has actually become mandatory for memorial services. I helped pick out cemetery plots, only later noticing their dangerous proximity to a tombstone bearing the image of two larger individuals riding a motorcycle, and tracked down back issues of The Utne Reader to take to hospital rooms. I realized yet again that I learned absolutely nothing of any practical use in law school.

None of which is to say that this year was entirely bad. My mom got better. And introduced me to the wonders of HGTV’s Love It or List It. I took in one of my parents’ dogs, a beagle/dachshund mix with the style and attitude of a mid-career Diana Ross, who enriched my life by gently nosing me awake each morning at four and rightly despising the many pirate and princess and cheerleader costumes I inexplicably purchased for her. I went to the Mall of America, where you can find that perfect mix of Old Navy Performance Fleece and indoor log flume rides run by glue-sniffing teenagers who may or may not have just broken up with their girlfriends, and the Minnesota State Fair, where you can experience cutting-edge art composed solely out of dairy products. I appeared in an educational video for traffic court defendants, because that is a thing. So yeah, bereavement is rough, but Midwestern mini-vacations and Canadian couples whose televised real estate misadventures have murder/suicide written all over them sort of make it bearable? Somehow I feel my wit and wisdom on this subject is unlikely to be gathered for an inspirational volume with a forward by Nancy Grace any time soon.

The holidays, of course, present a special conundrum. How can you focus on handcrafting all 197 characters from A Christmas Carol out of toilet paper tubes and twine in the face of such grievous loss? Under the circumstances, is it even right to spend time delivering a body block to a swarthy woman in a tube top over the last pair of clearance L.A. Gears at Shoe Carnival? And what, exactly, is the exact nature of the relationship between Lady Gaga and Kermit the Frog? It’s all very disturbing. But ultimately, we have to put these questions aside and just move forward, because, well, that’s what human beings do. There’s a reason we’re still here hardening our arteries with cheese fries and polluting the hell out of our environment in our Chrysler LeBarons while, say, the Malagasy Hippopotamus totally crapped out in 1000 A.D. We’re built to survive.
And while we’re at it, we might as well thrive. So let’s all have wonderful holidays and amazing 2015s, whether we like it or not. There are bound to be plenty of low points; Girls is still in production and Taylor Swift is unlikely to be crushed by a meteorite any time soon. But there will always be high points as long as we have each other.  And Netflix, of course. Three hundred plus episodes of Murder, She Wrote can really hit the spot.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

So Yeah

I haven't posted in a while. More than a month, I think. The truth is that my dad passed away unexpectedly last month and there really isn't anything very funny about that. Nor does it really feel right to prattle on about random Lifetime movies when something so serious and terrible has happened. So I'll be back, maybe even soon, but I'm not really sure when yet. Fortunately, the internet is unlikely to run out of snark from other sources in my absence.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

And Now My Weekend is Complete

What did you do today? If the answer is not "watched the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding documentary on NBC," then I'm afraid you've wasted your day, if not your entire life, my friends. As someone who watched pretty much every minute of the Lillehammer games despite my very busy math team schedule at the time, I had very high expectations for this program, and they were entirely exceeded. The '90s hairstyles! The plastic track suits! The Gilooly 'stache! These are some amazing production values, and the quality of the reportage also stunned. Both Mary Carillo and Bob Costas did everything short of taking a cattle prod to Nancy to try to get her to trash Tonya, and she resolutely refused. Tonya, meanwhile, really brought the fun, announcing that she had "proven" "so many times" that she wasn't involved in the attack before babbling incoherently (and incredulously) when asked to explain how, explaining how she was really a victim in all of this herself, and complaining that Nancy "wasn't even worth it" at this point, without really clarifying what "it" was. I was a little disappointed that no one dug up well-known Oksana Baiul for an interview (preferably in her '94 swan costume and, dare I dream, with a round of shots), but it's a minor quibble. Maybe the Winter Olympics ended today for the rest of you, but for me they ended back in the glory days of 1994.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Joyful, Joyful

So Joyful Noise is on right now. I'm not sure I can say that it's the worst movie of all time -- Katherine Heigl has made a lot of movies -- but it's certainly not great. And yet every time it is on I find myself drawn to it, and not solely because it has a climactic musical number of the type that makes me want to get out my show choir gloves. (Just kidding; I wasn't allowed to keep the gloves.) Here are just a few highlights:

-- Dolly Parton's face.
-- The crazy rivalry between Dolly's and Latifah's characters that results in a food fight at the restaurant where Latifah character works.
-- The fact that Latifah's character is surprised to be fired from said restaurant after engaging in said food fight.
-- Dolly Parton's character's duet with her dead husband, who is played by Kris Kristofferson.
-- The many references to how beautiful Keke Palmer's character is.
-- The screaming match Latifah's and Keke's characters have in the elevator lobby of some sort of Best Western, including a dramatic slap and the phrase "I am a board certified supermodel."
-- The many excruciatingly colorful characters in the choir, including a woman who kills a man by having sex with him and a man who apparently does not know his family hardware store is closing until he drives up to work one day and sees the signs.
-- The fact that the movie casually features a child speaking in tongues.
-- Courtney B. Vance being in this movie.
-- The fact that no one has bothered to submit a plot synopsis for this movie to IMDB yet, even though it came out in 2012.

Also, every time I see this movie there is at least one scene that I don't remember having ever seen before. Is it possible that they are still writing and directing new material? It's such a rich vein to mine.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

News & Notes

It turns out it's pretty difficult to put together coherent sentences with figure skating on in the background. I keep looking over to see if someone has fallen on her rear. But so far it's really just been a lot of underweight girls spinning. And hugging. And smiling. God, where is the drama of the Nancy/Tonya years? I've got a long list of candidates for the tire iron, if anyone is interested.

It's been kind of a fantastic couple of days here for the sad and pathetic reason that it is finally above freezing and all of Chicago is melting. I can finally see my driveway again. And I wore regular shoes instead of giant boots. On the minus side, I was about three inches from a concussion when a giant sheath of ice fell off of a building downtown while I was walking to Walgreen's at lunch. Near death somehow seems a high price to pay for that bag of fun size Crunch bars I had my eye on.

I did have court this morning, though. And again I'll remind you that's as an attorney, not a defendant. It was an 8:30 AM call, which is one of the crueler inventions of man. And then my opponents didn't show up, so it got rescheduled for next week, also at 8:30 AM. Next week I'll pick them up if I have to; we're getting this thing done.

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