Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Debates: I laughed, I cried, I went and had a strong drink.

I watched some of the presidential debates just now, although it did nothing to abate the impending sense of doom that Nov. 2nd could provide. Some things of note:

What Was Your Name Again? Apparently neither candidate can keep Osama and Saddam straight; both interchanged the names and corrected themselves early on in the debate.

“A Free Iraq” According to Bush, this is the miracle cure for all that ails you…I lost track of the number of times he said it, but will certainly look into it the next time I have a cold.

“Every life is precious” Bush repeated this particular idiom at least 3 times. Anyone else have préjà-vu that Roe vs Wade is the next denizen of terror in his book?

Interviewing other countries to be the patron of my citizenship is looking like my own 4-point plan to a peaceful existence!

Full steam with a ½ pike reverse press

My most dreaded household chore is ironing, and having put it off the last time I did laundry, I now find myself with a big steaming (literally in this case) pile of it to do. Perhaps it’s not extreme ironing (silly Brits!), but it’s certainly speed ironing as I have a client meeting in a little under 2 hours.

Although it’s only a glorified status meeting, it’s with my least favorite account and client. The best way to describe this particular hotshot MBA would be “A week old head of lettuce with a split personality and nasty speed habit”…he’s dense, with absolutely no memory or attention span. Oh, and he thinks he can do my job by offering such helpful suggestions as:
“Why don’t we make the logo HUGE, tha’d be cool.”
“If it was cornea-scorching yellow, then people would definitely see it.”

I’m actually surprised he hasn’t fired me yet, as I’ve laid into him several times:
“No, I can’t just ‘throw’ some popcorn up there if you want crud, go to Kinko’s, if you want DESIGN or ART direction then work with me here, you fool."

Why do I care? (other than it’s my career, and I’m passionate about it?) Well, there’s a hideous display I did a few years back for a certain un-named store, that gets pulled out every Christmas and I’m forced to look at the results of just “throwing stuff together.” Only saw 2 of them last year, so perhaps they’re finally dying off. My personal apologies to the American public on that one, and a vow to not do half-assed tacky schlock again!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

But does Manolo Blahnik make glass slippers?

Last night was the inagaural meeting of the “Winter Ball Committee" for MeetIn Chicago. My 30th year is proving to be a real wacko trans-warp "Freaky Friday" exchange with my teenage self.

Exhibit A: I will be attending or have seen 2 concerts I desparately wanted to see in my more formative years (Siouxsie Sue/Budgie over Labor Day and The Pixies in November.)

Exhibit B: I’m on the “Ball” committee…sheesh, I was never on a committee dance or otherwise in high school; attended Homecoming freshman year to watch the boy I had a crush on dance with someone else and that was it, not another dance in the remaining 4-years. Now, I’m a sub-committee group lead, soon to attend my first formal, sooner still to go shopping for my first formal dress (yes, I’ve had cocktail dresses and those appropriate for more reverant occasions…but never a “ball gown”)…it’s a tad unnerving!!!

It brings to mind a conversation with my friend H, which came up after viewing a section of her film Numinmata. She similarly has fairly tomboyish tendencies, and is a fabulous feminist in the pleasant, non-militant sense. The part she wanted me to see was about feeling weird about being gussied up for her impending wedding. Being extremely low-maintenance, she had pondered some nice comfortable “wedding khaki shorts” and clean sneakers instead of the requisite meringuey dress of white poofiness. Her family was not nearly as amused, to say the least. Over a weekend she went to see the movie Elizabeth, and it provided her with a new take on “The Feminine Ideal." Here was a Queen, one of the most powerful women at the time, not only letting herself be fussed over, but INSISTING on it. By taking the primping to the nth degree, she turned herself into an icon of worship even more powerful than the woman beneath the mask.

Overkill yes, but it put to rest some of my feelings of uneasiness. I CAN be girly and glittery and maintain my principles, even if they’re sitting underneath a sparking tiara. And ooh, do I crave one...Sandra Dee and Gloria Steinem are having a slugfest inside my cranium, it’s gonna be one hell of a fight!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Sleeping in a Sack: Reflections

Pictures from this weekend's naturalistic romp are up! View them here

It was so relaxing and refreshing! Living urban, one forgets that the sky actually IS blue, there ARE a bazillion stars and "wildlife" can encompass more than squawking pigeons and mutant rats. (Our campsite was invaded by a raccoon we think, as a half chewed bag of marshmallows was found several feet from the campfire!)

Even the "incident" with Ranger Bob disposing our beers didn't keep us from the fun...did get to keep the Jungle Juice thanks to JP's quick schmoozing when grilled about cooler content quickly responding "It's a tropical fruit punch." without blinking an eye. As one who can barely bluff at poker, I bow in the presence of such greatness!

The ride back into the city was fun as well, meandering through various sleepy farm towns we found an local orchard and gorged on carmel apples and fresh-packed cider. The feasting continued at a local haunt some of the former NIU students knew of called "Ollie's" featuring the best dang custard on earth. I arrived back at the abode Sunday night throughly stuffed, sleepy and harmonically tuned back into Mother Earth. Note to Self: must do this more often next year!

Legion of Libras!

They're everywhere, it's an invasion!

My mailbox is filling up with invites to birthday parties this weekend...while in the process of figuring out how to clone the Jenster to attend all the soirées at once, I started pondering the friend breakdown by birthdays. The results were not totally surprising, and certainly explain why it has been and will be a maniacal 2 months of shopping and carousing.

Chums by Birthday Sign
90% Libras
4% Capricorns
2% Sagittarus
2% Cancer
1% Gemini
1% Taurus

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Gate of Hell, Somewhere around Canto 6 or 8ish

It was a marvelous hootenanny of a weekend!

Unfortunately today is less than perfect. It's a Monday from an yet-to-be determined circle of hell as I have 30 sec. here to blog and snarf down some yogurt.

So, in the meantime here was the "Camping-A-Go-Go 2004" Soundtrack...worked out pretty well taking into account I was trying to make 19 people with a broad range of taste (most of it of the Dave Matthews variety UGH!) happy.

"Camping-A-Go-Go 2004"
Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads
You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate
Add It Up - Violent Femmes
Stuck In The Middle With You - Stealers Wheel
My Sharona - The Knack
Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
The Impression That I Get - Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Lust For Life - Lou Reed
King Of The Road - Roger Miller
Little Green Bag - George Baker Selection
Kids In America - Kim Wilde
Pump It Up - Elvis Costello
Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
Call Me - Blondie
Anything, Anything - Dramarama
Lost In The Supermarket - The Clash
You Turn The Screws - Cake

Friday, September 24, 2004

Weekend Wanderlust!

(not exactly sure how one "feels" it a keen sense of freshness from above and beyond hygiene? or the overwhelming desire to be a herb of a refreshing nature...well, it looked leafy and fit in with my camping motif nonetheless!)

So I'm headed out to the wild back-country of White Pines Forest State Park this weekend. (slight exaggeration but it IS Illinois after-all, not exactly land o' virgin pine!) Anticipation is building as I haven't tried my inner non-mormon Grizzly Adams on in almost 10-years!)

Tons of stuff to do tonight; packing and burning the "Camping-A-Go-Go 2004" mix among random miscellaneous crud...then sweet freedom, fresh air and hopefully no wild critters in my tent!

Moody Blues, Yellows and Greens

Check out the new mental state cartoon thermometer in my sidebar!

Slightly cutesy yes, but anyone that knows me IRL has probably noticed that even on a good day I have about 12-15 varying moods....a classic "artistic temperament" one would say back in the days before Prozac became the pill popcorn du jour.

Not that I'll be updating it QUITE that often, but it's a fun little gadget and if I can't amuse the world I'll at least amuse myself!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Frequent Osco Miles?

Well, the 'rents are "officaly" in town now and life has achieved that surreal multiple-dimension quality. I'm 30, an autonomous fully responsible adult, yet echoing the same moment a teen being scolded for failure to clean one's ceiling fans. D'OH.

In desparate preparation for this invasion, and also to run for the "Hostess of the Year" award I just realized I've been to Jewel-Osco 5-times in the last 24-hours:

Visit 1. Garden Burrito (needed a quicky lunch before the cable guy arrived!)

Visit 2. 12 "D" batteries (for boombox, going camping this weekend!) and 1 pint skim milk (my dad won't drink soy milk)

Visit 3: 1 six-pack of Hornsby's Hard Cider (needed something other than water or juice to go with dinner.)

Visit 4: 2 "1/2" gallons of ice cream (needed dessert later! oops!)

Visit 5: Chicago Tribune Thursday Morning Edition (breakfast/train reading)

Somebody (no names) is not exactly firing on all 6-cylinders it seems!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

In Memorium

Today is my aunt's funeral. Due to my lack of car, and the Metra running every 3rd full moon to the far-flung suburb it's being held in, I will be unable to attend.

While there are twinges of guilt for skipping, the rational side of my brain keeps reminding me that the most important aspect is to be the proverbial shoulder for those still here. My parents will be staying with me for a couple days it appears, and making things somewhat sunnier and providing much needed diversions by playing tour guide for them....well, that's probably better that trying to trek to Schaumburg by rented yak.

While I did not see eye-to-eye with this particular relative politically or religiously, I do admire her for a valiant battle with MS which she had for over 35-years. She always had a lighthearted disposition and maintained a sense of dignity and humor throughout the course of her illness.

It seems especially fitting now that I had agreed to join Team mowpundow, being led by my friend Dave for the MS 150 Tour de Farms bike event this summer. I will be dedicating part of my ride to my aunt, the other part to those still making a gallant stand against this debilitating disease.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Three Snaps in a Flea-Flicker Formation???

*sigh* the game last night was a disappointment, but I think what drew my greater disbelief was the ridiculous state of Monday Night Football commentary.

Madden and Michaels spent at least 3-minutes discussing the "Visor vs. Hat" wearing status of an NFL coach, 2 periods later they brought up the argument again (apparently it was still weighing heavily on John's mind.)

Then, they set out in earnest to determine where the best place for the Vikes coach Mike Tice's pencil to be (although even I had an opinion on that after the 4th!!!!) and should it really be a pencil? was a pen better for intelligible marks?

Guys please, a gentle reminder that this is Monday Night Football, NOT Queer Eye for the Football Guy.

May I be the first to ask for the quick reinstatement of Dennis Miller? I'd rather know that my Wide Receivers all have prime numbers than the kind of socks they prefer.

Monday, September 20, 2004

O Fortuna!

It's a miracle.

I actually am leaving work early today....the cynical would attribute this to the agency wanting me off the clock, and it HAS been slow enough that there are cobwebs forming at an alarming speed above my cube...

But hey, it's a gorgeous autumn day, so off to my favorite jazz record store to find a birthday present, get some munchies and vino at TJ's for tonight's exciting Vikes game and otherwise languish in the joys of a "freebie" afternoon. Whee!

¡Vivan las Mariposas!

Last night was book club, our monthly selection this time around was "In the Time of the Butterflies. " I vaguely remember voting for this tale back in June (one of the primary tenets of our group being the popular vote always wins...unfortunately we all live in Illinois, not Florida).

This novel was a absolute eye-opener, as I embarrassingly knew nothing of the real events and had not heard of the horrifying regime that held the Dominican Republic under its thumb for 30+ years. Not too surprising really, as being a product of the American school system, my history classes consisted exclusively of dead white men's accomplishments until high school. After that there was some choice, and I quickly enrolled in HerStory (history from women's viewpoints), Russian History, and Analysis of Subversive Countercultures (nicknamed "Hippies, Beatniks and Punks" by the student body).....alas, there wasn't a Latino option or I would have taken that under consideration as well.

The recent Iraqi debacle brings this story home even long are we* to repeat mistakes of the past? Saddam was by no means the first dictator, nor necessarily the most brutal, and sadly, probably not the last. How many tyrants ascending to power are we* going to allow? How can they be stopped quickly and peacefully? How can the reluctant sheep of the majority be shown that their apathy, ignorance and fear feed the consequences that bring these despots to power in the first place?

* "we" in the above comments is directed at the world community as a whole, the U.S. being only a small part of the equation.

In America, this should serve as yet another wake up call (stop hitting snooze people!!!) as November is creeping nearer and the vote is way too close to call. Though Bush is certainly not the sadistic masochist Sadam was, nor a machismo power-whore like Trujillo don't be fooled.....

He IS dangerous!!!

Isn't this perhaps how a dictatorship starts? First, minor concessions (ie: the Patriot Act), then
Women's Reproductive Rights
disappear....and it's a scary, slippery slope to being forced to have a picture of GW in every home (an El Jefe tatic to appear the "watching eye" and "benefactor" of every Latino home) and suddenly the rights, freedom and liberty we fought for in 1776 are a faded memory.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

It's Jen, Ms. Nelson if you're nasty...

I apologize, but a mid-afternoon rant is in order. There are very few things in life that really make me bonkers (people walking in the middle of a sidewalk, the Flaming Lips CD “Soft Bulletin” and turtlenecks are at the top of the list!)

The other is being called “Jenny.”

In my professional life, I usually go by “Jennifer.” Once I’ve put in a brutal 12+ hour work day with someone, they are given the honor of calling me “Jen” which is how I am addressed by all my friends.

No one EVER calls me “Jenny.” Period.

*(the only slight exception is my grandma, but when she says it in her cute West Virginian accent , it’s more like Gin-eeee...and heck it’s grandma, she could call me George if she really wanted too!)

Back to the present offense, a manager I’ve been recently assigned to the past 2 days has taken to calling me “Jenny” for no apparent reason. My phone extension, email, nameplate....ALL say Jennifer. In the meetings, (that she has been in attendance, and conscious) everyone calls me Jennifer.

I’ve politely tried several times to emphasize this without being too rude, “Yes, this is JENNIFER speaking” and of course signing all email and internal correspondence with my formal name (that’s typically about 30emails and 40-50 signed printouts....not exactly a small amount). But alas, the clod apparently is to darn thick to get a clue. Hmmm, maybe I could spray paint her office ala Homer Simpson...... I AM JENNIFER!

I Have All the Answers... least to locations, it appears!

In the past 2 hours I have been asked:

1. "Is this the train to I take to get to the Blue line? That goes to O'Hare right?"
2. "Do you know the way to the Four Seasons Hotel?"
3. "Which building is the Hancock?"
4. "Where is the 15Main Conference room?"

It's always slightly bewildered me that in a crowd that I am the one people seek out for there some sort magical invisible "Information Desk" sign lit up above my head? Is my non-threatening small stature and the aura of Minnesota Nice welcoming to the lost and confused ? Do I actually appear to strangers to "have my act together" (HA!) and thus would be a font of knowledge (HA! HA!)

Whatever the case, the above 4 people have been directed to their appropriate locations and I await my lunch hour and potentially even more inquires as I cruise down the tourist-ridden Mag-Mile.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Vanilla Fudge Whore beats Falstaff's Concubines*

Some clarification on today's heading...last night was the first pub quiz at The Globe and my team concluded that a new name was in order for our debut at the new digs. Being horrendous geeks (an essential quality to any good pub quizer) we decided based on the new establishment's name that the Shakespearean character "Falstaff" would be apropos.

After the 1st round we heard the official team names announced, (some creative, others quite lacking!) and among them the moniker "Vanilla Fudge Whore." A consensus was taken, and it was decided that although we'd pit our scholastic mettle against any of the teams easily, perhaps we sounded a tad stodgy and needed a bit of an adaptation....I suggested Falstaff's Concubines and a valiant effort was made under this banner! But alas, despite being able to name the various classes of quarks, we ended up choking on the picture round missing Lenny Bruce, Sam Phillips and Harry Caray! (these were NOT obvious pictures...heck, we thought Harry Caray was Leonid Breznev!)

But 2nd is not a bad finish, we won "Food Products To Be Determined" *yum FPTBD* and next week we SHALL recapture our crown!

* Footnote: On the way back from the bar, I realized that I actually had meant to suggest courtesan instead of freshman year in high school I took Shakespearean Comedies and when the class was asked for volunteers to read, I had jumped excitedly at the part of "courtesan." I was only 14 and having been ridiculously sheltered had no idea what the word meant; I thought it was perhaps a female chamberlain or jester...when informed that the part I clamored for was "a lady of ill-repute" my mortification was palatable to say the least!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

At The Clothes Wash...Folding at the Clothes Wash..Yea!

Last night was laundry night, not horribly exciting, but imperative unless I started a trend of going into work nude...hey, they already think the art department is nuts, why not!

Laundromat you say? Doesn't your building have facilities? Well, yes there IS a single machine in my basement, but on GOOD day it resembles something out of a Rob Zombie video. I also have a tendency toward procrastination and by the time washing needs attended to, it's several loads high...yet another good reason to schlep to multi-machine haven down the street.

Not that I mind however! The atmosphere of laundromats can be fascinating, this one is no exception (yeah, like they'd have a web link!) Among the many joys of my current local laundromat is the rather large screen TV that is usually playing Telemundo, which I secretly hope is leaching Spanish into my brain by osmosis...although Amarte Es Mi Pecado is a hoot without translation!

In the evenings, there is the added bonus of a cheez-ball radio station playing Love Notes in the background as well... "Bob writes: JoAnn, I really screwed up, forgive me? Well Bob, let's hope the poignant vocal stylings of Steve Perry send JoAnn back to you, "With Open Arms..."

Believe me, there is nothing quite like folding Downy fresh towels and humming bad 80's songs! (hmmm, now if there was only a laundromat/karaoke bar....)

And lest I forget; the people watching! From the people who have NEVER used a laundromat and can't figure out the soap dispenser (the machines in their bazillion dollar condo going kaput, and workout clothes for PowerPilates being needed) to the elderly ladies that have probably done laundry at that place for years, and always use the fancy double-loaders in back.

I know we all have to grow-up at some point and I will probably have in-unit machines in that condo somewhere in my future. But for now it's me, Sergio Sendel, Phil Collins and my linens!

Monday, September 13, 2004


Another cram-packed weekend has flown by, and in order to avoid a completely tangent-ridden ramble, today's entry will be in bullet format:

Still Not Nursing Material: Even though my previous entry lauds the skills of healthcare professionals, I would last all of 10sec in this profession....taking care of my favorite patient D this weekend went smoothly until bandage change time; a sudden appearance of something red and suture laden caused immediate nausea and flight!

Invasion of the Aussie: Friend and fellow survivor of that whitebread, winter wonderland known as Apple Valley, MN was in town for a business trip. Much catching up was accomplished (it's been 12 years since we've talked IRL...isn't email fabulous!) as well as introducing J to Chicago pizza and the "Bean." Plans for meeting in Houston, TX in 2016 are underway....

• Purple Pride: It's that magical time of year when any team can still mathmatically make it to the Super Bowl. My beloved Vikes won their opener yesterday, now if they could just study this closely and avoid it in the post season!

Follow the Gourd! The Holy Gourd of Jerusalem!: Although in this case it's a carrot and in Pennsylvania...sheesh, no wonder parodying organized religion is so easy.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Clara Barton, Your Kind Rocks!

Hello from my own digs this time around! Yesterday, I filled in for Logan’s Dave as a guest blogger, as well as aiding and assisting that delightful boy in his journey through post-op arthroscopic knee surgery.

The whole experience of being primary care-giver was sort of new to me; I’d of course been there for various friends over the years helping through various bubonic plague-level colds, flus and allergies….fairly no-brainer stuff involving pumping them with clear fluids, providing a cozy nest in which they could fight their delirium and of course lots of TLC!

This experience took things to a new level.

Things started smooth in the evening, Dave being fairly snockered on Vicodin was content to watch football, gulp down massive amounts of Jell-O cubes, shots of pomegranate juice and explore the fabulous tactile experiences that the euphoric little pills were providing.

Then, it got a little scary.

At about 3:00am, the alarm went off; time for Dave to take the next dose…no big deal. Except that a gross underestimation in how long the pills were effective had taken place. On the pain scale (a 1-10 measure health professionals use to help patients rate pain) he had gone from 4 to 9, and there was nothing between his neuroreceptors and the very real fact that someone had been playing surgical Roto-Rooter with his kneecap.

Another dose was quickly administered, ice packs frantically arranged in hopes that this oversight could be remedied expeditiously. It was not to be. At 20min. there was virtually no effect, and the decision to go ahead with dose 2 was made without question.

The next 45min was sheer agony, as he tried quite valiantly to not have a meltdown. That’s probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt, watching such a good friend in such horrendous pain and being able to do nothing except hold his hand and try to keep a distracting and witty banter going.

Eventually the little-V’s did work their hypnotic trance, and though missing some key dozing time everyone is A-OK. It did bring to light however, what superb humans nurses are. Doctors are in and of rooms and patients lives very quickly; it’s the nurses that in addition to medical care are the emotional stewards to both the patient and the family.

So, a shout out to all those incredible men and women who have devoted their lives to this special occupation, keep rocking it from Med/Surg to the ENT and everything in between!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The New SAT: Now with 100% More Writing!

Where in the unjust universe was this when I was garnering for admission?

Not to say my entrance exam score was lacking….heck I went to the school who’s unofficial motto was “When in doubt, go to Stout” half my score could have been donated to the less fortunate and admissions still would have been stalking me relentlessly. But, as a self-admitted merit-aholic I deeply craved that massive number that could preserve my geekiness for posterity. Due to a massive case of number-phobia, the math portion of my test resembled the connect-the-dots puzzles one finds on the back of a Denny’s menu. So, despite off the charts reading/comp scores then best I could garner was a meek “above average.” Needless to say, this new portion could have made for a beefy Marilyn-Vos-Savant-in-training rank instead.

But, personal glory-seeking aside, it’s about bloody time they ranked writing skills as important as math/logic. There are countless people running around out there with no clue as to how to write a proper letter or even how to properly convey information in an email. One very respectable executive I know even went so far as to ask my friend C to write some sample emails for her so she could modify them and not sound like a blathering idiot to her clients. Even my own clients send me emails that more often than not sound like a cross between Yoda and William Shatner with a killer hangover. “You...have....files...get me to them.....and vendor as well”

Of course it will be several years before those required to pass this new section are unleashed on the world, but it does give me a deep sense of hope that when opening some future invitation it will NOT read “We having a party, you come and have good time.”

Thursday, September 02, 2004



Note: Due to excruciating instances of corporate computer cruelty, your regularly scheduled blogger will be sleeping until such time as the bags beneath her eyes receed from "Ling-Ling the Giant Panda" size to the hip and smaller "Siouxsie the Goth Girl" diameter.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

And The Beep Goes On....

Displacement seems to be an ongoing theme in my life.

In fact that is a largely motivating factor behind me starting this blog; we'll get back to that at a later point, and perhaps even wear the topic as thin as a flaccid gum wrapper one finds on the street.

But, for the moment, back to the present.

The first act of displacement took place last night in the form of a loud and annoying beeping coming from a neighboring apartment. Due to the apparently excellent acoustical conditions between my building and the next, sound travels up and just swirls there's really no way to determine where it's coming from and put an end to it.

It's been going on for over 12 hours now.

As a result, I ended up crashing at my friend's house last night in order to make a vain attempt at some shut-eye. Argh!

The 2nd act of displacment took place upon my arrival at the ol' workplace. It's training session week, and my cube resides in the row with all the necessary hook-ups to project absurdly large Mac desktops onto a screen. As my accounts don't Photoshop themselves, I've been moved to a teeny tiny cube under a scorchingly hot flourescent light in the interim. Double Argh!

To everything turn, turn, turn.....(but if this is any indication how the season is going to be, I'll take a raincheck thanks!)

"Is this thing on?"

*tap* *tap*

"Hello Blogosphere!"

And then, in the city of Chi-Town another blogger was born.

> Listed on