Monday, January 31, 2005

Crank Yanked and Bruised

It's day 2 of being a cyclist again, after last week's disaster (see here), I finally managed to lug my brand new bike trainer home Saturday. It popped out of the box all shiny and blazed with flashy neon arcs and assembled quite easily. (thanks to Logan's Dave for double-checking my oft lacking mechanic skills...even if he did forget a errant spring!)

With great despair, I discovered my riding skills were not nearly in such sparkling condition. I've logged a mere 14 miles....around 3/32nd of the grand total of my madness. (175 fabulous farmland miles) And these were heaving, sweaty, pass out on the couch face down so one might sip water of out a glass without moving a single muscle miles. With a mere 144 days of training left to go, before the MS150 Tour de Farms my mood is hovering between "What the hell was I thinking, I'll be SAG'd at mile 20!" to "Will the dirt kicked back on me by the 65-year-old man that just passed me wash out of my jersey?"

In honor of my decent into physical brutality, a cycling poem:

The Romance of Cecilia
from Legends of the Wheel by Arthur Waugh

Their wedding-day, they whispered, should be soon;
They'd bicycle one life-long honeymoon.
She praised his prowess (ah, that praise was sweet!),
She thought his whole equipment "very neat";
Then whispered, "Darling, -- nay, it must, must be,
"We'll cycle into Andover to tea."

They started: but Cecilia never knew,
While Robert learned, she'd been progressing too.
Down the first hill she led by twenty yards,
(Speed, Robert, Speed! What Fate thy wheel retards?)
Along the level flashed her silver bright,
Another moment -- she was out of sight;
A hill before her! Warming to the fray,
She pedalled (double action) all the way.
O ecstasy! O grand exhilaration!
She dreamt of nothing but the wheeel's rotation.
The sun was bright, the open sky was blue;
"Whirr" went the wheel; it hummed; it sang; it flew.
Swift as a bird toward Andover she fled,
And, for a moment, Robert left her head.
Then memory; contrition; and a stop!
She paused upon a difficult hill-top;
Down the valley white the roadway wound,
Two miles -- but not a sight, but not a sound.
She paused; she fidgeted; she stamped her heel;
She choked the rage she could not all conceal;
Then swung her wheel round with an evil grace,
And took that hill at a terrific pace.

"Ah, God of Love, what pains thy victims cull!
"As thou art strong, though shouldst be pitiful,"

Four miles away, back in the paling West,
She found her Robert, pedalling his best.
His face was set -- dead weary, past denying --
She thought he looked as tho' he had been crying,
Yet with determination brave to see
He panted, "Dear, we'll still be there to tea."
She bade him turn; she lead him up the lane;
slowly she rode till they were home again.
She passed the trysting-tree, nor stayed to tell
The parting secrets that they loved so well.
Into the market square, without one kiss,
She rode, and there took leave of Robert Bliss!

I think he knew his fate. I think that, when
a note was brought to him next day at ten,
With no surprise the words assailed his sight:
"I fear I cannot ride with you to-night."
I only know that from that fateful day
He locked his hard-bought bicycle away.

I also know that Miss Cecilia Brown
Was seen last week careering up and down
With Mr. Watkins, muscular and lank,
Who's bought a Swift, and manages the bank.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Apparently, this is a common ailment striking the blogosphere, as it looks like The Redhead is also unwell.

Between the snow, a really fun case of botulism and the normal unkeep it takes to maintain Jen, it's been a chore to blog; so I'm refraining until it's fun again! (hopefully by Thursday!)

But now to go bring my beloved some soup for his sniffles, think I might even attempt the Soup Nazi again!

Blog Humug!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Take this job and shovel it!

Wow, making a list of resolutions on a public blog is eerily having the effect of bringing forth those changes...

*insert Twlight Zone music*

for we are now entering "The Declaration Dimension."

Yesterday, I was informed that the train 'o gravy otherwise known as my freelance day gig was being disassembled and sold for scrap. It's been a good train and trip...over a year and a half at one place is virtually unheard of in the finicky "One day you're hip, the next your a Fox gameshow contestant" advertising industry. As mentioned in my '05 resolutions, I was intending on pursuing other career challenges this year anyways...just not quite this soon. So, a frantic re-work of my resume is in the works, as well as a new portfolio and web presence.

Yep, 3 weeks into the new year and I'm almost 3 of 7 on my goals. (Last week, my dentist complimented me on good dental hygiene, plunked an extra floss in my goodie bag and said "See ya in July!")

No worries though, with this new administration promising a strong and vital domestic policy for the next four years, I should find a job with ease...oh wait, spreading "freedom and liberty" isn't a GNP factor.

Back to the search for a new patron!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Bum Rap!

Yet another sign of America being pulled back into the Dark Ages, appeared in this article detailing fear that a cartoon ass would land Fox in the toll line behind (sorry, *giggle*) Randy Moss.

When the hell did we become Victorian England? It's a butt, a derriere, a gluteus maximus if you prefer...a perfectly normal part of the human anatomy, it is not obscene, although the are certain ones I prefer seeing over others ;)

My bias should be noted, as the Family Guy is frickin' sweet in this writer's oh so humble opinion. This swell piece of animation is also far from being DaVinci by artistic standards; a depiction of this 'salacious' part is little more than 2 sideways 'C's colored in a pinkish hue.

Pass me my corset and smelling salts, I just heard Bugs Bunny actually liked dressing as a woman!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

No Soup For You

Today, on the recommendation of a fellow co-worker, I decided to try a new place for my lunchtime soup requirements. (He was bewildered that I had been walking 8 blocks to Whole Foods to obtain some healthy and deliciously steaming lentil soup—car centric people are fascinating!) The new place, Bockwinkel’s Market is 2.5 blocks and won out this afternoon due to frigid weather and my wimpiness.

They have a “soup attendant.”

I first mistook this person as a general employee placed there to make sure no one starts randomly ladling soup in to their mouths and other miscreant pastimes.

This was not the case.

You are to put requests of soup flavor and size in to her, she then traipses down the aisle of gleaming soup tureens and returns with your selection. Not realizing this was the proper etiquette, I meandered down the soup line opening lids to check out just how clammy their Chowder was, the viscosity of the Chili and what Cock-a-Leekie Soup looked like. My actions were conducted under the glaring eye of the attendant, until a line of people formed and I sheepishly realized my faux pas. Luckily, she was not in knowledge of the “Seinfeld Soup Nazi” and I was allowed my steaming bowl of Minestrone after adhering to proper form.

Such stress for a simple bowl of soup! Mmmmm Soup.

Friday, January 14, 2005


Posted by Hello
Next Stop: Philadelphia....or QVC?
 In preparation for the Vikings vs Eagles Playoff game this weekend, I thought perhaps Randy Moss could do some cross-promotional work while in the endzone. During NFL games, FOX charges at least $100,000 for 30sec commercial spots, so with his touchdowns (many hopefully, fingers crossed already) already being covered, it would be a bargain for a new product launch. (And hey, at only a $1 a piece that fine will be paid off in no time!) GO VIKES!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I can't believe it's not Dolly!

My horoscope from The Onion this week:

Cancer: (June 22 - July 22)
After traveling for months, Nashvillian monks will appear at your door to announce that you are the latest incarnation of the Dolly Parton.

But I work 10-6! Posted by Hello

To be fair, the above pictures feature both me and Ms. Parton from the 80s aka "The Era of Aqua Net."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Laundry Among the Unwashed Masses

Yesterday was one of those days, where after looking sideways at Tuesday's cards on the table, politely nod to the dealer and push my cards away...folding back into bed.

Last night's goal was to tackle a rather prodigious pile of laundry, this trek started upon discovering a shortage of the necessary quarters. Knowing I could receive the allotted change at my local Osco and also procure shampoo, I headed there first. My total was $4.12, I handed the cashier a $10.12...and got back $5.88. This snag, despite dragging the store manager into things did eventually produce $6.00 in shiny quarters.

Getting the actual laundry to "The Washing Basket" proved to be a expedition worthy of Sir Edmund Hilary. While Chicago received no more than average snowfall last week, the streets and sidewalks are far from clear.... I have a white laundry cart without snow tires. A cumbersome push-me-pull-you dance proceeded the 3 blocks to the launderette, and when finally dragging my cart inside remarked, "At least I didn't fall on my ass!"

Amazingly, it appeared to be a slow night, the interior revealing no one in the act of doing laundry and 2 of the "regulars" (friends of the manager's sitting up front watching TV). I quickly started the dumping of detergent and dispersal of whites, colors and darks into the appropriate machines. The door suddenly flings open and "Joe" a drinking buddy of the aforementioned two, sidles in reeking of bad pilsner and carrying a 24pack. The three start into various slurry diatribes on "Why I'm not a drunk." "The Guatemalan vs. Mexican heritage of an ex-wife" and "What it means to be a gentleman."

Having decided I had somehow stumbled into "Reality Laundromat: Where only the Clothes Get Clean" I decided, while bad, things could be worse. The door wisps open a second time, and a homeless woman shuffles in complete with bags, mumbling and a stench to make the folks at Tide tremble. She parks herself opposite me and starts digging through bags to find a cigarette and proceeds to chain smoke and watch the Critic's Choice Awards.

Never fear, all this time the boozed bunch in back have continued to get thoroughly sotted are unceasing in their philosophical ramblings and, taking a cue, have now also started smoking heavily. Thankfully, this also marks the halfway point, and I switch my clothes to the dryers on the other side of the room with NASCAR competition speed.

After settling in to my plastic chair and sending a silent prayer that the next 30 minutes passes just as fast, I resume reading my book. Our boozehounds decide at this point to attempt a mini-dance competition in which one, with a full brewskie stumbles and sprays me with foul beer. Profuse apologies ensue; I disowning the English language, just nod and go back to my book. Several minutes pass and the back door opens, it's the manager, I'm saved! Or not. He jokes with the guys for several minutes before mentioning that they really need to check with customers before smoking. "Miss," he asks me "is the smoke bothering you?" In awe, I replied actually it was, (yea, THAT’s the problem) and if they could hold off for the 5 minutes it would take to pack up my things from the dryers that would suffice.

Dryer removal was embarked on at turbo speed, when quite suddenly, the manger grabs one of the guys and body slams him up against the turbo washer; my memory is a little fuzzy here as I was quite focused on getting the hell out, but I believe the word "DUDE" was uttered. The last dryer clicked at last and my cart was full steamed in reverse towards the door. As I was wrenching the outer door open the manger calls out to me from the back "Thanks ma'am, have a nice night."

The trek back to my apartment goes slightly better, and though I am loathe to every do laundry there again, the evening is over. Bending down to yank the cart over the last hill of snow, I slip and fall smack on to the icy sidewalk, brusing my posterior.

House folds, Tuesday has blackjack.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

We're gonna need a bigger shovel Hal.

Posted by Hello
Photo courtesy of the Historic National Weather Service Collection.

No, it's not Chicago. The above is actually from the 1966 North Dakota blizzard, but you wouldn't know it from the wild gesticulations of Chicago's meterological braintrust over a mere 2-4 inches of powder. A newsflash: You live at a latitude of 41.81N, it's January nearing the apex of winter....clusters of ice crystals falling from clouds is not only normal, but to be expected.

From the nsidc:
"Nationwide, the average snowfall amount per day when snow falls is about two inches, but in some mountain areas of the West, an average of seven inches per snow day is observed."

Stick a saucer sled in you mouth and shut up already!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Making a list, checking it twice

Yes, these are a few days late...but timing wasn't one of my resolutions so *phhhhhfft* to you!!!

New and Improved Jen in 2005

1. Balance (My attempts at cyclic pitch control need to continue to evolve, improvement has occurred...but there are still many spinning plates being dropped in various life areas!)

1. New gig (lured in by steady pay and hours, I've lost my edge and cliff diving into the unexpected reflexes essential to freelancing....and most importantly the work isn't any gosh-durn fun!)

2. Website, website, website (this has been a multiple year goal, swept to the wayside by life's breezes faster than trucker spit, hopefully this will be the year it sticks!)

1. Drink more water (it's time to put the coffee fiend in me on hold and start chugging that clear natural elixir, and it will become a training necessity!)

2. Get Fruity and consume 2 pieces/ servings of fruit a day (why I've become in danger of scurvy is a mystery, normally I revel in the crunching of a sumptuous apple, but this is what resolutions are for eh?)

1. Floss, twice daily (if for no other reason than to avoid the "tsk tsk" of my dentist, this resolution has begun immediately in anticipation of my annual check-up next week!)

2. Train to complete the MS 150 ride and attempt my first "century" (by choosing the longer 100mile course the first day, the ride expands to 175 miles of butt numbing delight)

That's it, my goals for 2005...posted in cyberspace no less, so the pressure is on to not creatively "revise" this archive in 352 days!

Monday, January 03, 2005


A special thanks today goes out to the judicial system of Maryland for finally freeing my beloved from the bonds of a fairly ridiculous matrimony!

(A disclaimer note: although I've secretly delighted in being a "mistress" and "homewrecker" the likes of which lurk in satin amongst the pages of Danielle Steel novels, I had nothing to do with the divorce, have never met nor desire to meet the errant spouse in question and did not start dating the petitioner until after the papers were filed.)

It is my above spicy little affair that has prompted the public service announcement your reading now. Although the U.S. Divorce rate has gone down the past 10 years, it's still hovering around 40% according to this study. While most people do address the solemnity that is necessitated when agreeing to love, honor and cherish 'til death, few ponder the "What if..." should one's spouse have their fingers crossed during the vows. There's a fun little rule on the books in most states that requires a separation to obtain a no-fault divorce, and is an unavoidable prerequisite in those states that only allow fault grounds.

The state of Maryland requires 1 year before filing and does not allow no-fault. Long? Yes. Absurd? Just a bit. However, "The Land of Pleasant Living" is not even close to being the worst nuptial narc. The state of Idaho required 5 years of separation before granting a no-fault divorce. States of Rhode Island, Texas and Utah follow on the ludicrous meter with 3 years. True, the above mentioned also allow fault divorce but only if the proper grounds are met.

So, a word of caution to those looking to tred the carpet of matrimonial bliss...checking your state's laws before things go awry isn't being a killjoy, it's just good common sense when entering into a contract to read the fine print; the religious cloud that hangs over most nuptials might blur the fact that this is a legally binding contract, but not in the eye of the state.... especially Idaho, a drunken road trip through there could land you 5 years on the sidelines!

Now, to go celebrate with Chicago’s newest bachelor!

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