Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Way No How

All week I've been in Louisville. I came down here to go to my sister Claire's Peacock warehouse sale and hang out with my other sister Liv one more time before she flees to Italy for six months. I planned to head back to Chicago five days ago. Then came the ice storm. It was no joke:

So, first some snow happened. Then a lot of ice. Then more snow. I got up at 6:30AM on the first morning of the citywide TOTAL FREAKOUT AND EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN and went into my mom's room to whine:

Me: Mom, I have to get internet access! Right now!
Mom (in sleepy voice): Well, I don't know what to tell you.
Me: I have to go to the coffee shop!
Mom: It's slick out there. You don't have to go anywhere.
Me: I'm leaving. I'll just drive up there. I can make it.
Liv (entering room): What's going on? How are we ever going to get out of here?
Me (panicked): Yeah, we have to get out of here!
Mom: Ya'll need to stop it. I've been up five minutes and you're already stressing me out.

The day went by, and more ice came. Mom, Liv and I watched American Idol that night and then we went to bed. The lights flickered. "Oh no," Liv said down the hall in her room. "It's only a matter of time," I whispered, so quiet no one could hear. At 3:30AM the lights went out for good, and ever since then we've been camping out at my Aunt Jenny and Uncle Mike's house, which is great because they have lightening fast internet access. They also have a dog named Henry who is highly decorative but who has always been a biter. He hangs out in the kitchen most of the time, so if you want a glass of water you have to ask Uncle Mike to get it. Our friend Cecily, a jewelry designer visiting from California, stayed there with us last night, and when she saw the sign on the kitchen door that says, "Beware of dog. Stay out of kitchen," she thought it was a joke. She got a bite.

P.S. The other day when every road was covered in snow and ice and there were downed trees and power lines blocking our progress at every turn, we drove to the hardware store to get some keys made. (The key story is a whole separate situation and I don't think you'd be all that interested.) Anyway, at St. Matthews Hardware, a man asked us if we were looking for sleds.

Man: Lookin' fer sleds?
Us: Nope. We're not sledding. We need keys. Are you sledding?
Man: Aw hell, I ain't goin' sleddin.' No way no how, dammit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I'm Just Not That Into Them

Not that I'm a member of or have ever given out my credit card number to meet straight men online, it rude to e-mail a stranger whose profile you've just read after receiving a wink from him and say, "Dude, that's just too many exclamation points?" I mean, is it over the top to comment upon the punctuation of someone with whom you've never actually communicated?

Please review this sample profile I've created to illustrate my point. It is compiled from actual excerpts, a 100% cut-and-paste job:

Go Cubs!

I am looking for a girl who likes to laugh! Hard! I'm a total beachbum!!! I LOVE Vegas and I've been there 27 times since I turned 21! I also love MIAMI!!! I have a medium build and dark hair and dark eyes! I'm a selfish prick! A hot, rich, pampered intellectual!! I am a very good looking successful greek male who lives on the mag mile who enjoys all the finer things in life and am hoping I find a woman who is very attractive clean intellegent and also enjoys all the wonderful things that life has to offer!!!

Well, maybe I added one or two extra exclamations, but you get the gist.

In other word-related news, I learned a new adjective on The Bachelor last night: amazing. Well, I already knew the word since it's been in heavy rotation as the favored expression of mindless enthusiasm for several years, but I discovered it can now be used with even greater frequency than ever before. So many things can be AMAZING. Helicopter rides. Jason's bod. Levels of bitchiness. Plaster busts. Legoland.

Anywho, I really need to concentrate on this historic inauguration now. GOBAMA!

P.S. Last night I dreamed I accidentally ate a little bite of a real goldfish. It was pretty gross. I think it happened because I cooked salmon for dinner, and even though salmon is an undeniably healthful superfood, it's nearly impossible to get that smell out of one's apartment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Brain Games

I just had the most fascinating conversations with two employees at my gym, Equinox in Lincoln Park. I went there not so much to work out (which of course was an added benefit), but to bask in the presence of actual humanoids. One of the gym employees asked me about my headphones, which gave me a chance to explain that my Ultimate Ears UE-5 Pros were made from casts of my inner ears and provide the most superior sound quality imaginable (and no, they're not hearing aids). I initiated the other conversation at the concession stand:

Me: You know what I wish you guys would get?
Concession stand guy: What?
Me: Those G2 drinks from Gatorade.
Him: Yeah, I think we're getting them.
Me: Only 25 calories per serving!
Him: People have been asking about those.
Me: They're really good.

It was so stimulating! I mean, that's the most words I've exchanged with anyone face-to-face for 48 hours.

I'm spending way too much time kicking it solo in my new capacity as Freelance Writer. I know I need to keep my brain sharp for the moment when the economy leaps to life like a newborn foal and job offers flow toward me in abundance (no pressure, B.H.O.), so here are some activities I plan to start engaging in more frequently:

1. Driving. Chicago's pothole plight works wonders for one's reflexes. Just try driving down Sheridan Road--especially the blocks with defunct streetlights--in the dark, in a blizzard. It's kind of like playing Minesweeper, but with your whole car at stake.
2. Puzzles. I used to love working puzzles, and they provide surprisingly inexpensive entertainment, except I might need to buy a new table for the purpose. Never mind, I forgot about my card table.
3. Cooking. As soon as Bob the Landlord fixes my dishwasher, I'm totally getting back to cooking. When I arrived at my apartment after an outing today, I noticed the place smells like grilled cheese. That's because I've been subsisting almost exclusively on grilled cheese sandwiches...on whole-grain, high-fiber bread, but still.
4. TV. In particular, The Real World: Brooklyn. Finally, a cast whose collective hobbies cannot be summed up in one word: tanning. This season's strangers are so non-hottie-oriented and diverse in their sexual orientations, it promises to be a truly mind-expanding ride.
5. Bubbles. I keep a bottle of bubbles on top of my refrigerator at all times, and sometimes I open the back door and blow a few into the courtyard. I'm not positive it's increasing my brainpower, but it certainly is soothing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Case of the Defrosting Steaks

Yesterday there was a box sitting in the front hall of my apartment building which clearly contained dry ice and Omaha Steaks. It was addressed to my downstairs neighbor, Cade, for whom I'm always walking on the outside edges of my feet because I don't want to torture him in the same way my upstairs neighbor tortures me. The box had a notice taped to it: "Contents Extremely Perishable! Freeze Immediately Upon Delivery!" Well, the steaks were still sitting there this morning, so I carried them up and placed them outside my neighbor's door, hoping he'd find them on his way to work. He didn't. My anxiety about those rapidly thawing hunks of meat rose throughout the day to the point that I was going on hourly peek-over-the-rail missions to see if the box was still there. I didn't know if I should, like, knock on his door, or try to intercept him in the back stairwell, or maybe even track down his work number via Bob the Landlord. Eventually, I came up with a plan to bring the steaks into my apartment if they had not moved by 7PM, stow them in my freezer, and compose a note to Cade politely explaning the situation. Promptly at 7:00, I peeked over the rail. Whew. He found them.

So, did everyone catch the season premiere of The Bachelor earlier this week? (Mid-episode text from Tim: "If I see that guy and his son run dramatically towards each other again with their arms spread like hookers' legs, I'll vomit into a box and send it to him.") I hope you at least tuned in for the touching one-hour portion of the show during which each girl was shown individually teetering her way out of a limo, trembling in her satin Caché dress as she approached irresistible single dad Jason (who is surprisingly beardless for someone from Seattle) to share their first precious words. Most of the conversations can be summed up as follows:

Girl: You're beautiful!
Jason: No, you're beautiful!
Girl: You're so beautiful!
Jason: Seriously, you're BEAUTIFUL!
Girl: Cool, see you inside.

I started to get a little sad, watching it. I just wish someone could see into my soul like that.