4 posts from August 2004

Oldies: Sunday, August 22 - Saturday, August 28, 2004...

Saturday, 28 August 2004: Today was a definite first for both Katie and me... particularly, the first Saturday class that either of us have ever had in our lives. I will admit that there are times when you don't get to sleep in on Saturday for whatever reason, but when that reason becomes attendance in class, it gets a bit depressing. She's mixing chemicals in a chem lab and I'm learning about management.

Well, there is one good thing to come of it all, the instructor seems pretty cool. He's the former president of a management consulting firm and, when you listen to his voice, you can't help but think Mel Brooks cranked up 20 decibels. He knows his stuff which is a definite plus because I don't think I could put up with some hack of an instructor pretending he knows what he's talking about that early in the morning on a weekend.

Wednesday, 25 August 2004: This was pretty damned funny. It's a comic strip written as though Han Solo (from the original Star Wars movies... duh) were being brought to trial for the murder of Greedo. However, the twist comes in that the special edition versions of the films (released in 1997) play into the verdict. It's pretty clever and exceptionally funny if you know what's going on. Pay attention to the smaller nuances. This artist really gets in some good semi-hidden jabs.

"Now witness the judiciary power of this fully-armed and operational court system."

Tuesday, 24 August 2004: I feel bad for Katie. She starts class tonight and is not looking forward to it at all. I can't say that I blame her. I'm not ready for this next semester either. I start on Saturday (she also has a lab class on Saturday) and then I have another class next Monday night. This summer was way too short.

Monday, 23 August 2004: Have you all been following the whole Paul Hamm controversy? I dunno how you could have missed out on it all. First, Hamm wins the gold medal in men's all-around gymnastics in Athens. Then people get all fired up because of a scoring error on one of the Korean athletes that should have gotten him the gold. Now, remniscient of the 2002 Winter Olympics, three of the judges are suspended.

People are saying that a second gold medal should be awarded to the Korean athlete much like the figure skating controversy in 2002. Hamm and several others are saying no. Because there is another twist in this pretzel-esque story. Specifically, if the judges go back and re-evaluate the performance, they will have to take note of the fact that the Korean athlete made several other errors that weren't noticed by the judges in the first go around. Those flaws would drop his score enough to either offset the points gained by rejudging the error or it could actually drop him to fourth place overall.

Nice little conundrum, eh?

Sunday, 22 August 2004: In the utterly creepy words of Aphex Twin, "Come to Daddy."

Yes, it is finally mine. My very own iPod. It only took two years of pining and scheming, but it is mine. Now I can finally listen to the dozens of gigabytes of music that I have been ripping to my computer somewhere other than my office.

I got a 15 GB iPod and it's a second generation (in other words, the four buttons are still above the scroll wheel instead of having the click wheel that the new third generation models have). For those of you quickly doing some basic math calculations in your head, no, it does not have a large enough HD to fit all the songs in my iTunes library (roughly 25 GB). But, if you can't be happy with 3,700 songs in the palm of your hand at any one given moment, then there is something severely wrong with you. Plus, you gotta love the fact that Katie and I managed to nab it for a mere $50. How, you might ask? And I would respond, "ancient Chinese secret." Shame I'm neither ancient nor Chinese. No, it is not used. It is brand new. Purchased legally at a local retail chain whose name rhymes with Shmarget.

So, everyone please welcome Dopi to the clan (that's "iPod" backwards).

Oldies: Sunday, August 15 - Saturday, August 21, 2004...

Friday, 20 August 2004: I got a kick out of a dream Katie had last night. It's pretty innocent, so I don't see her having a problem with me telling it to all of you. Anyway, in her dream, she was on the show "American Choppers." That in and of itself is pretty funny. However, it gets better. The Pauls were making her a custom chopper and they were telling her that they didn't have a frame small enough for her (my wife is 5' 2 1/2" tall). So they had to do a severe custom job on an existing frame to make it small enough and it was going to cost her something like $100,000. The dream made both of us laugh.

Thursday, 19 August 2004: Yep, Katie and I are still hooked on the Olympics. Much to the detriment of our now by-the-wayside Netflix rentals.

More specifically, we have really been getting into the gymnastics competitions. I've always watched the women's gymnastics meets, but I've never watched the guys before. That has changed this year with Paul Hamm and the gang. And these guys are amazing. Not to take away from the women who are incredible as well. Graceful, incredibly powerful, and poised unlike any athletes I've ever seen.

Gymnastics may not be the thing that you would expect a football and baseball lovin' guy to enjoy, but I do (and, for the record, I'm a big fan of figure skating as well). I think it has to do with the fascination level. When you look at all the different events in the Olympics, gymnastics events are the only ones I could never possibly participate in personally. I'm not saying that I'd be good at the other events, but I can do them. I can swim, I can run, I can jump (except for pole vaulting). None of them particularly well. But I am a pretty decent shot with a rifle, pistol, and bow. So there really isn't as much fascination with those events.

Then there's gymnastics. Damn. Uneven bars? No. Pommelhorse? Nuh uh. Vault? Are you insane? Parallel bars? Okay, admittedly I did enjoy playing around on parallel bars when they left them out after team practices back in high school. So, I can honestly say that I am really in awe of all these gymnasts. It takes a lot to make your body do those things that are otherwise very unnatural and uncomfortable, to boot.

To all-around gold medallists Paul Hamm and Carly Patterson, congrats. You deserve it.

Wednesday, 18 August 2004: How can you not love this one? I found a Reuters article online about how the wholesale club CostCo is now selling caskets. Yes, "caskets" as in final resting place for people who are life challenged. May sound a bit morbid and I'd tend to agree. But, think about it realistically, some people say that the only way out of a tough life is death. This is not always the case. Do you have any idea how much it costs to die these days? Medical expenses, funeral home, service costs, burial, maintenance fees, et al. It ain't cheap. So, I guess if you can alleviate some of the costs by purchasing a casket (which, in itself, tends to be quite expensive) at a wholesale market, then why not?

Katie did bring up a good point, though. What if a funeral home (who I believe do some selling of caskets themselves from time to time) does not allow outside caskets in? I dunno if this would ever be the case, but it could become an issue.

Anyway, I just hope I don't walk in to CostCo and see the caskets sitting right beside the frozen foods section. Hey, maybe cryogenics is the next logical step for CostCo. They certainly have the freezer space. Heh heh.

Tuesday, 17 August 2004: Amid all the chaos of yesterday and the fact that I was completely hating my 8-5 existence, some good did come out of it. I received a call in the early afternoon from the WXRT 93.1 FM promotions office telling me that I had won two tickets to see Diana Krall tonight at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago.

Diana Krall, for those not in the know, is a jazz vocalist and pianist. She's put out about five or six very critically acclaimed albums. Very slow, smooth sound. Much slower than, say, a Norah Jones. But very good stuff all the same.

So we took the train, yet again, to Chicago for the show and walked the mile and a quarter to the theater. I dunno if Katie was totally into it. She had a hard day at work and then she wore sandals for the show.

By the time all was said and done, she was beat and had blisters to boot. But the concert was good. I even found a new band to enjoy in Krall's opening act, Ollabelle, a group from NYC that sounds akin to a fusion of blues, roots, and gospel. Really good stuff. Met most of the band after their show and they autographed their CD for me. Check their site (linked above) for more information.

Katie, I really am sorry about the walk. Honestly, I am. But thank you for going with me. :)

Monday, 16 August 2004: Take a day off at work and you certainly pay for it the next time you're in there. That's my Monday. It's a veritable shitstorm. 41 e-mails waiting for me. A ton of little jobs. A few big design jobs. Phone calls. Meetings. And not nearly enough oxygen to feed my brain to keep me going.

I need a vacation. Hmmm... wait... let me rethink that a bit.

Oldies: Sunday, August 8 - Saturday, August 14, 2004...

Friday, 13 August 2004: I tell you what, going to Chicago is fun. That's how Katie and I spent our Friday the 13th. We took the train to the city and walked up to the Hancock Plaza to eat a late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, then we did some shopping along the Miracle Mile, and, finally, we took a self-guided tour of Millennium Park.

It may not sound like much, but we had fun. There's never enough time to finish up everything you want to do in the city. But at least we finally got to see Millennium Park and the infamous "Bean." Yep, the big reflective metal, kidney bean shaped sculpture in the middle of the park. It's not as bad as some people make it out to be. It's actually kinda cool. I took a bunch of pictures and I will have them up soon... promise.

Wednesday, 11 August 2004: I was listening to the radio this morning (101.9 WTMX-Chicago) and the DJs were talking about less-than-favorable fashion trends. Eric, the male host, was talking about how men don't find women's ponchos to be at all sexy and that women only wear them to impress other women. Many male callers confirmed this viewpoint.

To make it even, he opened it up to the female DJs, Kathy and Melissa, who started to tear into male trends. They mentioned many things that I can agree with like sandals with socks, golf visors (especially with sunglasses on them), pleated khaki pants, and Zubaz pants (I can't believe these were ever "in"). But one they mentioned kinda bugged me... any kind of denim shorts.

What's wrong with denim shorts? I can understand that cut off are a bit funky looking, but when you wear nice denim shorts, what the hell is wrong with them? What am I missing? Help.

Tuesday, 10 August 2004: Okay, this was a little too cute to say no to. I found this on another website. It is the Sesame Street Terror Alert Level and it's a fun spin on an otherwise serious topic. What you get are Sesame Street characters that represent the five terror levels. It is updated as necessary by some other side administrator and the information is loaded and automatically updated on any site that has the HTML source code properly encoded on their site. Aw, what the heck, I'll give it a try.

I always knew that damn Elmo was trouble...

Monday, 9 August 2004: In case you're wondering why Lamb has been in the "Read Me" box for so long, I swear I have a good reason for it. No, it's not that every book I've read since that time has been completely terrible. Actually, I've hit a bit of a reading slump since that point in time. I've tried to read six different books but have not made it through four of them. I did finish one and it wasn't quite good enough to warrant a spot in the box. And I'm pretty close to finishing another one. Hopefully by tomorrow or the day after I will have it finished and reviewed. This book actually does warrant listing in the box, so you all will have something new to look at there. I swear.

Oldies: Sunday, August 1 - Saturday, August 7, 2004...

Friday, 6 August 2004: I know that not all of you like reading mushy, sentimental crap, so why don't you tune out for this entry. Go ahead. Don't feel ashamed.

I just want to say that I love my wife. I went from work here at AU to the gym yesterday to work out. After I finished working out, I had to shower and then work the front desk at the gym. Barely any time to breathe, to be honest. Well, when I came out of the locker room and went behind the desk, I noticed a blue cooler bag sitting there. I said to the woman who was working the desk before me, "hey, that looks like my lunch bag." She replied, "it is your lunch bag." Katie had dropped off dinner for me since I didn't have time to grab anything.

Sorry, just had to point this out and make sure she knows how much I appreciated it.

Thursday, 5 August 2004: I'm just not understanding something here. The Illinois GOP (that's the Republicans for you laymen out there) is struggling to find a candidate to run against Democrat Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate seat.

They started with Jack Ryan who dropped out over a sex scandal. Then the rumor was that it might be former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka (yeah, Ditka a Republican... right). Now the word is that they are trying to recruit former presidential candidate Allan Keyes.

That's all fine and good, but Keyes is a resident of Maryland! How can he possibly be a candidate who would serve the best interests of the people of Illinois when he doesn't even know the people of Illinois? Obama at least lives here. He knows what's going on.

If anything, voters from Illinois should feel insulted that the Republicans don't think that any fellow GOPers in the state are worthy of the nomination and then vote for Obama.

I just don't get it.

Wednesday, 4 August 2004: Ever since Nomar came to the Cubs, Katie and I have been watching every game. Okay, maybe not every minute, but she's been really into it since her "Nomy" came to Chicago. She's been a fan of his since he did a cameo as himself on the show Two Guys and a Girl. Remember that show? Well, he played the boyfriend of Ashley (Suzanne Cryer) after she broke up with Berg (Ryan Reynolds).

Now that he's a Cub, Katie is all smiles.

I think the Cubs must have the most female friendly lineup around. Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Todd Walker, and now Nomar. That should keep a pretty steady female population in the stands.

Anyway, Katie and I got a kick out of last night's game when a fan held up a sign reading, "Can we leave the goat here in the mountains?" We had trouble stopping the laughter. It was pretty funny. Not to worry, Rockies' reliever Shawn Chacon was definitely the goat last night as he gave up four runs in six pitches. First, a wild pitch brings home Nomar, next pitch is a solo HR by Aramis Ramirez, then a single by Derrek Lee on his fourth pitch, and then a two-run homer by Todd Walker on his first pitch. Ouch, that's gotta hurt, eh Shawn?

We'll take it.

Tuesday, 3 August 2004: Here's some film news for ya... Shrek 2 is now the #4 film of all time. This weekend, it passed Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. And, if all goes well this coming weekend, that not-so-jolly green giant could pass E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for #3. It would only need $2.5 million to do it. Very easy. And, if not this weekend, it will definitely happen the following weekend. Here are the top five films of all time (domestic, not world wide)...

  1. Titanic $600,788,188
  2. Star Wars $460,998,007
  3. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial $434,949,459
  4. Shrek 2 $432,493,392
  5. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace $431,088,295

Monday, 2 August 2004: In a bit of early hype building, George Lucas announced to fans at the San Diego ComicCon that the title of the next Star Wars film will be Revenge of the Sith. Well, I can dig this title. Much better than the episode I title The Phantom Menace. So now, when we finally get one giant box set of all six films, the spines will read...

  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Actually that doesn't seem too bad all things considered. They do fit pretty well together.

For those of you wondering just what "Sith" is, it is the name given to the Jedi who have turned to the Dark Side of the Force. Darth Vader was the Dark Lord of the Sith. While the title works, I can understand how it might be a bit confusing to the casual Star Wars fan. Oh well, deal with it.

Sunday, 1 August 2004: As bad as my stomach may ache when the Cubs win in a come-from-behind victory, it is still fun to watch. That's what baseball is all about and the Cubs pulled through in fine fashion tonight. People say baseball is boring. To them, I say, "bah!"