Sunday, May 31, 2009

Can you guess what it is?

I took this picture without taking time to find out the title of the sculpture (ah, the laziness strikes again). Anyhoo, this sculpture stands at my least favorite intersection in the city (Lincoln/Fullerton/Halsted).

Jamiroquai Song Obsession of the Month

So, my Jamiroquai obsession continues, only now, I'm fixating on individual songs. For the last few weeks, it's been "Space Cowboy" (video linked below). This song about the joys of cheeba smoking, has a mellow groove and some nonsensical, but fun-to-sing-along-with lyrics. It's from my favorite Jamiroquai album, The Return of the Space Cowboy. Enjoy Jay Kay's goofy dance moves!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thanks again, Kate Harding

She deftly takes to task all those so-called journalists fueling the bigoted anti-Sotomayor ravings of the right.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Schadenfreude - Making the World a Better Place

One of these days, I really will write a real post, with my own carefully crafted thoughts (read: ramblings). But for now, I want my readers (all 4 of them) to feast on this post from The Atlantic about the importance of tolerance.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Judge Sotomayor

Update 9:00 p.m.: And people wonder why I hate the New York Times. This is what passes for reporting in that rag.
But to detractors, Judge Sotomayor’s sharp-tongued and occasionally combative manner — some lawyers have described her as “difficult” and “nasty” — raises questions about her judicial temperament and willingness to listen. Her demeanor on the bench is an issue that conservatives opposed to her nomination see as a potential vulnerability — and one that Mr. Obama carefully considered before selecting her.
Hmmmm...I wonder if Judge Sotomayor's questioning would be viewed as a liability if she wasn't a Latina. I'm thinking no.

I love that the GOP is saying she's shown bias on the basis of gender and ethnicity. Their lack of self-awareness is kind of staggering.

Writer and Columbia prof Trey Ellis wrote the following on the Huffington Post, re: the right's reaction to Pres. Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor:
Nothing gets the right wing's panties in a bunch more than a hyper-qualified person of color. And if that person happens to have a vagina...? Fuggedaboutit.
Yeah. Nothing to add.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WHY WHY WHY!

Did you ever have one of those weeks or days or months where multiple things decided to assault your body? I've already chronicled the ongoing left calf saga. Then there are the chronic sinus issues, which this week are being compounded by some sort of vague cold-type thing. And let's not forget the ever-present acid reflux, which even acts up if I just eat oatmeal.

Will this nonsense stop if I just say "Uncle!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nightcap

Posts like this are just one of the reasons I love Kate Harding's Shapely Prose blog. I love how she artfully lays the smack down on Purantical (not to mention hypocritical) diet-related bullshit in our culture; while also being sensitive to people with actual eating disorders.

She's my hero. If I were a more enterprising person, I'd stalk - or at least cyberstalk - her. Alas, my legendary laziness isn't news to you fair readers.

The Red Bull Diet

Sad, but true - and not all that surprising. I came across this story on the Fat Lot of Good blog. I don't really have much to add, except what I already put in the blog's comments:

I wish I could say I was surprised reading this, but I’m not. Our societies obsess over and reward thinness, so I can see how it’s easy to rationalize doing whatever it takes to get thin. It’s sad and disheartening how pervasive this kind of thinking is.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

It's been dreary all day here, which is fitting, since I couldn't go outside. I was, once again, stuck in the library doing school work (YAY! Oh joy!) But at least I got a lot done. Have I mentioned lately how I hate school?

Shout outs to those serving in the military and those who served in the past.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Starved Rock






Hungover

But I'm probably in better shape than these guys.

Obligatory Post

Ha! Another day spent in the liberry doing school work. This cannot be over soon enough.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Need Some Caffeine or I'm Gonna Kill Somebody

I wish I could take credit for that quote, but it was uttered by one of my co-workers. Understandably. I'm not sure what the point is of having get-out-of-work-early Fridays if you're still stuck at work two hours later. I do know that it makes me grumpy.

Another great quote that indicates the homicidal tendencies brought on by the modern workplace: "The ugre to kill." This was a favorite of a former supervisor of mine, and I've always thought it should go on a t-shirt or some public space.

In happier news summer is kinda sorta here. The network shows are wrapping up for the season and the cable shows are gearing up for their run of the TV landscape. I hadn't realized until now how much I missed my glorious Mad Men. August cannot come soon enough for me. Before that, though, I get to be drawn into the world of True Blood once more. And I can't forget about Leverage.

If only school would get out of the damned way so I could watch more TV.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Post

Another reader of this blog cautioned that it is a bit a of bitchfest-lol. So, I will try to alternate the bitching with some happy thoughts. Here's a pic of one of the fountains in Millennium Park. Lately, I've been toting my camera around with me wherever I go. I'm taking a lot of joy in seeing Chicago come alive for Spring - though, technically, we don't have Spring here. One day it's 40 degrees and the next it's 85. *shrug* When it comes to weather in Chicago, you take your joy where you can.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Boldly Going...Out of My Damned Mind

I'm at the end of my rope with school. Really!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

K, gonna try to breathe now.

A reader suggested I blog about my rekindled Star Trek obsession (I've seen the new movie twice already and I'm not ruling out a third viewing). So here goes.

I remember when I first encountered the character of Spock (like Prince and Madonna, he needs only one name). I was about 9 or 10, and growing up in suburban New Jersey. My dad was an avid watcher of Star Trek (TOS or The Original Series in the Trek-verse). He watched the syndicated reruns every Saturday afternoon. We had one TV - a Zenith 19-inch color - which was tuned to Channel 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. every Saturday evening for the airing of back-to-back episodes. And you could hardly pry the man away from the TV during a New Year's Day marathon of the show.

Oh how my sister and I hated it. The aliens were creepy-looking (probably because the actors' makeup was always in danger of falling off). Plus the guy with the funky ears and permanently raised eyebrows seriously weirded me out. My dad, however, took joy in teasing us with shouts of "Hey girls! Star Trek's on!"

But something happened (maybe it was the year I turned 12 and my sister turned 10). Star Trek grew on us until we loved it as much as dad did. After all, the characters went on all these cool adventures and there was always a mystery to solve. And...um...Capt. Kirk was kind of cute. So, I came to love Star Trek.

I still hated Spock, though. He never smiled. He threw cold water on almost everything Kirk and the rest of the crew did. And he always came across as superior and snotty, like that kid at school who always has the right answers and raises his hand every. damned. time. Spock was the definition of the word pill.

Then I watched the episode "Amok Time," in which Spock has his careful emotional control swamped by the vagaries of the pon farr (the Vulcan mating ritual). Our Spock was basically in heat. Seeing him vulnerable to emotion was a revelation for this budding Trekker, a potent reminder that Spock was still half human. I finally saw the supreme effort of will it took for him to maintain that emotionless veneer.

From then on, Spock became my favorite Star Trek character (yes, he even ranks above the yummy and equally conflicted Capt. Picard.) This means I was a happy little Trek nerd when I went to see the new Star Trek film. You see, the story of the film is the story of Spock: his struggle to reconcile his human and Vulcan sides and his attempts to come to terms with various tragedies. Director JJ Abrams and his team of writers have created a film that has a soul and kicks ass. The cast of largely unfamiliar actors easily inhabit the iconic roles, but special kudos to Zachary Quinto (Spock) and Chris Pine (Kirk). ZQ deftly embodies Scock and all his struggles - and he's sexy to boot. Chris Pine channels the Kirk I grew up with, but still makes the character his own. And yes, it helps that he's pretty.

When I heard about this franchise reboot, I was skeptical. At best, I had middling expectations when I walked into the theater. Before it started, I remembered the words of my sister (as harsh a movie critic as any I know). She'd seen the movie before I did, and gave it a 10 out of 10 based on nostalgia alone. As I watched, I was taken back to those Saturday afternoons in the living room, watching with dad and sis as Kirk, Spock and Bones narrowly escaped alien possession or some other worse fate. Sitting in the theater, the same heady feeling of limitless possibility filled me and I was happy to go back in time and be 12 again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spotted While Roaming

Random pics taken during today's lunch hour. The first one is the sculpture I call the Silverhorse. He stands near the Tribune Tower and across from the Wrigley Building. The second pic is the Chicago River as seen from the Michigan Avenue bridge. Enjoy!



Monday, May 18, 2009

Still On This Kick

When I have the time and energy, I will craft my own rant about the thinness- and diet-obsessed culture we live in. Until then, I'll just share this rant from Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Dragging Today

So exhausted. It feels like a truck ran over my body. Literally had to drag myself out of bed this a.m.

On the up side: I have 3 weeks of classes left and Summer Fridays (where we get out of work at 1:00 on Friday afternoons) start this week! YAY!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Modern. Circa Something or Other

Happy Sunday!

The Art Institute of Chicago opened its new Modern Wing this weekend. Since admission is free for the next week, my buddy J and I went this afternoon. While taking in the new wing, we kvetched about our wretched writing workshop (and I use the term workshop oh-so loosely). The first pic is the top of the new wing; the second is a view of Millennium Park from the foot bridge that links the museum and the park.



Saturday, May 16, 2009

Three Cheers for Health at Every Size (HAES)

Wanted to share this really good article from the Guardian on the concept of Health At Every Size. The writer lays the smack down on the whole thin = healthy propaganda that we're all being pelted with every day. One of my favorite parts:
It is counterproductive to continue pouring money and effort into attempts to make everyone slim, especially when this results in side-effects that are disastrous for mental and physical health: widespread body dissatisfaction and poor self-image; eating disorders; appearance-based prejudice, discrimination, stigmatisation, and abuse. None of this promotes good health within the UK population. It also diverts attention from underlying influences on health: poverty, for example.
Nothing to add except a big fat WORD!

Lakefront Walk

Pics from my walk along the Lakefront trail this morning.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Dear April Showers...It's May

Go the fuck away.

Sincerely,

-wcg

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Real Spring Day

Some pics I took today. The first one I took in Lincoln Park this morning while I waited for the bus. The flowers are from beds planted in the median on Michigan Avenue. The last picture is the sculpture of the characters from the painting American Gothic. The painting by Grant Wood hangs in Chicago's own Art Institute. The sculpture is called God Bless America and it was fashioned by J. Steward Johnson. It was installed in December 2008 and is now a big tourist attraction. It stands on Michigan Avenue next to the Tribune Tower and across from the Wrigely Building.





Break Day

No school work today. None. Nada. Zip. Have spent the last 8 days straight (minimum 4 to 5 hours every day) doing school work. I'm not even going on Blackboard to look at next week's assignments. Profs and homework can SUCK IT. Today is all mine.

Which is great because it's actually nice out (wore no jacket when leaving the house this a.m.) and I can really enjoy a day for once without having a bunch of bullshit busywork hanging over my head.

YAY!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Draft Draft

So, I've finished the draft of my profile that's due in class tonight. And only now am I realizing how it was hanging over my head like the fucking Sword of Damocles, casting a pall over my entire life for the last 3 weeks.

Have I mentioned how much I hate school this quarter? Yes, I know it's only 4 weeks till graduation, but between now and then...let's just say getting there will be NONE of the fun.

In other news, thank you Kate Harding for this blog post about why people hate the gym.

Policing the Grammar Police

You know, until recently, I hadn't realized how much grammar-related trauma and stress had been inflicted on me by teachers - from grade school to grad school. I think what most bugs is that the rules are often so inconsistent. One teacher insists that the serial comma is an absolute necessity (use it in her class OR ELSE!), while another is all "serial comma? Pshaw!"

Thank goodness, then, for linguist Geoffrey Pullum, who eviscerates Strunk and White's Elements of Style (the bane of many a student's academic career) in a recent piece written for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Sample excerpt:

most unfortunate for the field of English grammar, because both authors were grammatical incompetents. Strunk had very little analytical understanding of syntax, White even less. Certainly White was a fine writer, but he was not qualified as a grammarian.


HALLELUJAH! It's nice to know I've had rules made by "grammatical incompetents" shoved down my throat for the last 20+ years. It's even better knowing I can cite this handy analysis the next time someone tries to impose S&W on me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Alley By Night

I took this photo on my way home from the library tonight. I love that Chicago has alleys, real alleys that you can drive through (and my how Chicagoans love to charge through them like they're at the Texas Motor Speedway). Anyway, there's something endearing about alleys, but I rarely get to enjoy them at night (I don't do alleys at night, regardless of neighborhood).

In other news, that damned profile worked me over but good. I will be so happy when that thing is out of my hands.

On Self-Loathing

Over the last few months, I've gotten really fed up with the whole weight loss/weight maintenance tilt-a-twirl I've been on since I first did Weight Watchers in 2002. I've just gotten tired of beating myself up about every damned thing I eat, feeling guilty when I don't exercise and all the other pathological shit that goes along with trying to maintain weight loss. I have enough stress to deal with in my life, without worrying about attaining some mythical body. And I'm also tired of feeling like some moral failure if I gain a pound or two or five or however many more.

As I was really getting my outrage good and boiling about this, I stumbled onto Kate Harding's Shapely Prose blog, which promotes Health at Any Size and calls into question a lot of the assumptions our society makes about weight loss, health, thinness, beauty, etc. It's been eyeopening and I'm now addicted to reading her blog daily and the many great links (like the one above) that she and her team gather on a daily basis.

It's nice to know - or have confirmed - that I can enjoy food and be healthy without making myself crazy. Anywho, excerpt from the blog I linked to:

Self-loathing is not a fucking character-builder. It doesn’t make you stronger. It doesn’t make you better. It’s just an ever-deepening, creepy-ass trap; a trap that is a huge moneymaker for corporations that do not have and never will have good intentions. You’re not disgusting. You’re not freakish. You’re not ugly. And you’re never going to be perfect. And holy shit, that is so okay.

The Rehab Draft

Trying to clean it up. Not having much success. Doesn't the prof realize I have nothing left to give. It's May and there are 4 weeks left and I have nothing left to give.

At least the sun is shining. May take pictures during lunch after trip to Trader Joe's.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Grey Gardens Draft

So, I'm at work on the accursed profile, an assignment for one of my accursed classes. I swear, my professors this quarter got together and had this conversation.

Prof. 1: "Since this is her last quarter, why don't we just grind her face into the dust every chance we get!"
Prof 2: "Sounds like a plan."


Whew. Breathe.

Where was I? Ah yes, the profile. I'm calling the first draft the "Grey Gardens" draft because it's like the Grey Gardens house before Jackie O. stepped in and helped clean it up - not fit for human company or consumption. The hope is that what I hand in on Wednesday is up to Jackie O.-restoration level. Of course, I don't have a Jackie O., so...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring...kind of

Yes, it was bright and sunny, today; BUT (and isn't there always one with Chicago weather), it was also windy as hell. Mother Nature giveth and taketh away.






Not That I Need Them

But more reasons to hate fucking Facebook.

My Left Calf Hates Me

With good reason. I walk a lot most days, and exercise regularly and my calf protests these activities, sometimes vehemently. It's been gimpy since last year. I saw an ortho (you know, once I got some decent health insurance) and his prescription was a few exercises to nurse it back to health and an ice pack from Walgreens. So, the knob on the back my leg is still there. Good times.

Well, I've got another scintillating threesome date planned for today: me, myself and the library. WOO HOO!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

About the Name

To clarify, I don't hate all writing. I just hate my writing - both the act and the end product. Good writing? Love it. Great writing? Wanna Marry it.

Take Ann Hornaday's clever review of Star Trek.

Excerpt:

Let us pray.

Lord of "Star Trek" and its many spinoffs, we thank thee for a movie that, against all odds, has miraculously resurrected a wheezing but beloved and still-relevant franchise.

We thank thee for an origin story that, unlike such recent downers featuring the Incredible Hulk and Wolverine, pays affectionate respect to its source material but never falls into slavish worship or, worse, self-seriousness. Instead, viewers have been blessed with a movie that retains a warm and playful spirit, even when one of its chief protagonists is being chased by a lobster-red monster on an intergalactic tundra, or fending off tattooed, time-traveling space pirates aboard a huge, fire-spewing drill.



Good stuff, but also kinda depressing, since, you know, I won't be writing like this any time soon if ever.

Doesn't mean I can't enjoy it, though.

Ocho de Mayo

Yesterday afternoon at work, one of the guys from the mail room brought margaritas around to everyone's offices in celebration of Ocho de Mayo (the 8th of May). To my knowledge, it's not a real holiday, but since we've all been depressed by yet another round of layoffs, we really needed them.

In other news, I saw the new Star Trek movie and it kicked all kinds of ass - alien, human, everything in between. The casting is excellent, particularly Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk. But you know what really made me happy: seeing Leonard Nimoy, not only because Spock has always been my favorite Star Trek character (hell, Spock is one of my all-time favorite TV characters), but cuz Leonard Nimoy is just awesome and kinda ruggedly handsome still. And extra props for Bruce Greenwood, who I've adored since I first saw him in the little known sci-fi show "Nowhere Man."

So yeah: margaritas and Star Trek - not a bad way to end the week.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dating Advice for these Recessionary Times: Never Date a White Man During a Recession

The above title is taken from a recent entry on New York Magazine's Daily Intel blog. It's kinda wrong, but also damned funny. And no, the Times column is nowhere near as funny as the title of the blog entry.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Musical Obsession of the Moment: Jamiroquai

Every now and then, I obsess about a band, artist or album. In 1999/2000, it was British indie pop band James. For most of 2001, it was rock demi-gods, U2 and those cranky Oxfordians Radiohead. Not a day went by in 2002 and 2003 when I didn't play at least 5 songs by Massive Attack. In 2007, I was all about The Shins.

For the last two months, it's been all about Jamiroquai. You remember Jamiroquai, right? They of the freaky Virtual Insanity video. I bought the album from which that song was taken - Traveling Without Moving - in 1997. In 2001, I bought their fourth album, A Funk Odyssey. I loved both records and had genuine affection for the band. Until recently, though, they were just another band in my album collection. But then one night in February, I watched this clip of them performing a cover of Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" with Anastacia on the Brit awards.

WTF? I didn't know they were a kickass live band. Well, that did it. I became a raging fan girl. I bought all the Jamiroquai albums I didn't already own (Return of the Space Cowboy is a fantastic album. Where has it been all my life?) I've watched highlights of their concerts in Verona and at the Montreux Jazz Festival so many times I've lost count. I even fell for Jay Kay's goofy dance moves. I can't really explain it except to say that the music just kind of takes over my brain and body. I don't really have any control over it. Just riding this one out until the next musical obsession takes over.

How Not to Write a Profile

1. Wait till 4 days before said profile is due to conduct main interview.

2. Gather interview questions in a scattershot, disorganized manner.

3. Order copy of profile subject's book and have it shipped to your parents' house 5 states away.

4. Begin reading profile subject's book 2 days before conducting interview.

5. Conduct research of profile subject in fits and starts.

No wonder my writing is shit.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This is What I Want

I want someone to tell me that my writing sucks, that I should hang it up and stop trying.

I want someone to put me out of my fucking misery.

I want that someone to confirm for me that my writing isn't going to get any better no matter how degrees I have, or seminars I take or pathetic articles and blog posts I write.

I want someone to agree with me that whatever cleverness or talent God bequeathed to me was tapped out a few years back and that any attempts to revive it are futile.

I want someone to tell me once and for all to stop deluding myself that I'm going to be a good writer.

Because once that is confirmed beyond the shadow of a doubt, I can finally and irrevocably

MOVE. THE. FUCK. ON.

It's really not too much to ask.