Friday, November 30, 2007

Vegas Baby!!

This weekend is my 55 team tournament in Vegas and I'm not taking my computer with me and AM bringing MWrigley. Sadly, no blog entries for me until probably Monday night (still unlikely) or Tuesday as a result.

I have a feeling they will update the brackets in pretty short order though after games are done if you want to follow along. My team is the Brewdogs/Alpine Machines (our sponsor).

Have a great weekend and happy birthday to el supremo de NM, the big 6-0!!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lots of things to write about, but this topic isn't fun.

It's was not the best of days for LVCJ. After some family issues that I'd rather not write about but were upsetting (everyone's healthy, but some aren't very bright), the day ended with a wake for a buddy of mine with whom I used to shoot pool quite often. We would probably shoot every week for about a year or 18 months and then would grab a drink or two afterwards. Despite our difference in age, he was 66 when he passed, we could relate on many levels. In addition to our enjoyment of pool, we both like to teach others the game, work hard (he was an entrepreneur himself), drink and socialize.

At the wake, there was a nice video montage of photos from his life. It was a nice touch which I hadn't seen before at a wake. It was an open casket and, unfortunately, Rory Dolan looked only a bit like the robust man I knew.

He was a good man and I'll certainly miss him.

Rory Peter Dolan
(July 5, 1941 - November 24, 2007)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

All over the board......the table top shuffleboard that is.

The other day I saw The Maestro episode of Seinfeld where this character, The Maestro, wants the autograph of the third guy in The Three Tenors. They don't show the third tenor's face really and never mention his name. That caused me to go to Wikipedia and look it up. Pavarotti, Placido Domingo annnnnnddddddd, yes, José Carreras. Just an interesting bit
of knowledge or a reminder if you already knew!

T-Rex struck again last night! Big number 5 for him in the last two weeks. I helped him out a little by plugging or collapsing some of the 6-8 holes to force the rats up the other holes. Then I placed T-Rex too close to resist. THWACK!!! The penalty is severe, but quick.

A pretty cool website that I found is also useful. It's called Accuweather and in addition to getting the weather all over the world, you get Accuweather photos. It's a pretty cool collection of Mother Nature in action.

In one of the catalogs I received this year (see current count below), there was this item:

Click on the picture if you can't make it out. It claims to be "Table Top Shuffleboard". First of all, no shuffleboard game is shaped like a U. Second, I HAD this game as a kid and it was called Ricochet or Rebound or something like that. Bee, do you remember what it was called?

The other day in the paper was this comic strip:

If you still don't know what to get me for Christmas, now you do.

Holiday catalog count: 16

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How much bacon did I eat at the tailgate?

After the rousing Bears victory on Sunday, it was time to clean up from the tailgate and get out of all of those warm clothes I had on. Everything was fine and dandy until had to take off my tight fitting Under Armor leggings. Once I got them down to my knees, I realized I was going to need to sit down to finish the job. Two little bunny hops and I was over to the bed (now there's a visual huh?). I plopped down on the bed.....CRACK! Uh oh. That didn't sound good. And it wasn't. Below is the damage done to my....what...8-10 year old hand made frame (by sometimes poster Dry Dock no less!).

That bowing out piece is supposed to be up tight against the facing board you see. The supports underneath the bed were fine. You can see some of those in this picture.

Only the ends were still attached, but broke free in short order too. Heck, one of the wood screws actually split in half!!!

It was not a good time to start messing with the bed right away, so I slept in it (on the other side) without incident and attacked it Monday morning. After emailing Ricardo to let him know I'd be in the office late, to which I received a rousing bout of laughter, I started working through in my mind what I needed to do. First thought was just to somehow push the board back into place and make sure the screws were secure. That didn't work. I needed more upward pressure.

What lifts very heavy things, that I might have around the house and is easy to use?? That's right, a car jack! After searching my trunk for 10+ minutes, I finally found the damn thing. It was only now that I realized I've never had to use it with my Camry....knock on wood. Everything has to be complicated doesn't it??

Next, I had to go to the local hardware store and pick up some Gorilla Glue (made from real gorillas) and some wood screws. After raiding Manual Labor Mike's stash of tools for two large, adjustable clamps, I was ready to go! Here's a picture of the solution. Blow it up because it's kind of funny.

Not the FIRST time a car jack has been in my bedroom. (wink, wink)

Well, I'm happy to report that the bed seems pretty sturdy again. Four wood screws, Gorilla Glue and a long setting time and it seems to be ok. Mr. Fix It strikes again!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Devin Hester is ridiculous!!!

Much sports talk here, but there are pictures!!

Went to the Bears/Broncos game Sunday with MWrigley and two buddies of mine from the softball team, The Brothers Dime. All of the food was very tasty and Mr. Heater worked like a charm, except for some strong winds that blew it out temporarily.

A sense of the wind in the parking lot. The wind also made it a little colder than anticipated.

MWrigley at the tailgate early on....around 11:45 or so. The game started at 3:15. Notice the lot is only half full. That's what a 4-6 record will do to your fans.

Mr. Heater in action pumping out serious BTU's to give us a temporary reprieve from the cold.

The Bears ended up winning 37-34 in over time, a very exciting game. Devin Hester returned a punt and a kick off for a touchdown, his 9th and 10th kicks returned for touchdowns in something like 24 or 25 games. Gale Sayers had held the Bears team record at 8 over 68 games and he hasn't played for 36 years. It seems safe to say that Hester is going to extend his record fairly significantly over the coming years.

Grossman played another crappy game or at least a notch below mediocre. The guy can't hit anyone in stride. Actually he did twice, to the tight end in overtime and to Davis who dropped the freaking ball. While the receivers made some great catches on poor throws, they also dropped a bundle of catchable balls. Even on the game tying touchdown, the throw from Grossman was behind Berrian and low and only a fantastic adjustment on the ball by Berrian allowed us to tie it up.

How about Adrian Peterson running the ball? The guy moved an entire pile of Broncos not just once (for a touchdown) but two or three times. The dude knows how to run. Refreshing to see. Benson is done for the season with an ankle injury, but I say he was done for the season in training camp.

Fred Miller, call it a career. You couldn't block anyone who reads my blog without a holding penalty or letting up a sack. Next to the word "turnstile" in the dictionary is a picture of you. Horrible. Tait and Kreutz are possibly the most overrated players in the NFL.

Ricky Manning Jr. and Adam Archuleta......just retire.....please? Absolutely horrible in pass coverage. Danieal Manning, you're too young to retire, so just go out back and shoot yourself. The plays you don't make and tackles you miss are reprehensible. Robbie Gould, you're just awesome.

There, I feel a little better now.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Future of employment of T-Rex all but guaranteed

This morning, I discovered that T-Rex took another rat-life in Basra. He is on fire!! That's four thwacking's in the last ten days. Outstanding. In addition, while disposing of the latest victim into a large garbage bin (one of those big ones on wheels used by businesses and such), I saw three live rats in the relatively empty garbage bin. I just looked at them and thought to myself, there go future T-Rex victims!! T-Rex was redeployed tonight and I'm hopefully at further success.

Bears game is set for Sunday afternoon. On the menu: bacon wrapped figs, bacon wrapped shrimp, three-pepper-two-meat chili, Nathan's beef hot dogs (for chili dogs), chicken strips, spicy chicken nuggets and plenty of beer. Wow....that's going to be a lot of food. As long as we're warm enough, it should be awesome. Now if just the Bears could hold up their end of the bargain.

Tonight we had softball practice in preparation for our trip to Vegas next week. Not only did we take a bunch of batting practice in the cages, we also took an hour's worth of infield practice too. Here are pictures of the facility:

On the right are the cages. The field is to the left. We moved some of the stuff around to make more room (like those bleachers in the middle of the picture).

On the other side from the cages and field are these basketball courts. The gym is enormous.

In between the field and the courts is this parents' waiting area complete with televisions showing sports.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday!!

Well, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. It was a quick drive for MWrigley and I out to my folks home in Naperville. We were there relatively early, 10:30, and did the tour of the house and did introductions to the relatives. Much food was consumed and we even used real plates! The dishwasher was unused however, still a disappointment. The spinach artichoke dip MWrigley made was a big hit.

A very full table!!

Smiling niece and MWrigley.

(thanks to mwrigley for use of her camera.)

My family did a sufficient job of embarrassing me without being offensive. Can't say I would have been any better if they brought new, significant others over for a holiday.

That's it for today.....oh wait, THWACK!!!! Yes, T-Rex came up big on turkey day. Kill number 3 in a week! Outstanding. He has been redeployed and is looking for number 4. Happy days!!

Holiday catalog count: 12

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Though I'm writing this on Wednesday evening, IF you read it, you'll be having Thanksgiving or already have had turkey day. So I hope you HAD a great Thanksgiving!! Or, if you live abroad, I hope you had a great day at work. :-)

If you were traveling just about anywhere in the country via plane, Chicago apologizes. Though the specifics of the quantities of delays are not at my disposal, it seems likely that pretty much everywhere was impacted. Sorry. Our weather was windy, cold, rainy, just generally dreary.

T-Rex was redeployed in Basra tonight. I'm very hopefully for a Thwack-giving Day surprise.

Sunday is the Bears/Broncos game at 3:15. The high temp is supposed to be 44, but it's going to be in the 30's a good chunk of the day. Time to break out Mr. Heater!! This time, I'll try not to get too close and burn/melt my pants. Doh!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Time to reflect

It's a few days before Thanksgiving, only one by the time you read this, and I'm taking a few minutes to look back at what I was writing about last year at this time.

My very first entry was just over a year ago. The concerns over having material to write about seemed to be overblown.....mostly.

While I hoped the Bears were going to be 8-0, they lost and went to 7-1. Still, a far sight better than the 4-6 record they have this year. Ugh.

Some things are quite the same though as T-Rex was deployed in Basra just like this year!! Actually, T-Rex has come in to be debriefed and I saw today that all of the plants around the rat holes have been removed by the landscaper for our neighbors. This means T-Rex will be completely exposed during the day. I'm thinking I'll deploy him at night and bring him back home in the morning, regardless of whether he's caught anything.

Of course no recap would be complete without my trip to Dallas being covered. Though the trip and our relationship was a bit of a roller coaster (think steep climbs, steeper falls, hard curves and upside down travels), I seemed to have written positively about the experience at the time. At least I learned about the french press!!

And of course, who could forget the Thanksgiving Day pictures I posted which included the paper plates on the table. Yes, I was appalled at the time, but they did make cleanup easier. I've been assured that this year we indeed are going to have REAL plates to eat off of when MWrigley visits. We'll see.....we'll see.

So some things have changed (the Bears, dinner plates and MWrigley) and some things haven't like the rats in Basra and that I'm still blogging!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

In sticking with the musical titles: "It's just another manic Monday."

It is indeed manic with many little to-do's to get done and most of them have been good for me!

Lots of personal stuff going on with Joe today. Maybe I'll just list them off since I'm in this very harried state:

--Put together my evite for my softball team's two hour beer bash and gathered email addresses. (sorry Stef, it's on the night of the 8th!)

--It's my 2 month anniversary with MWrigley! The requisite card and flowers have been acquired.

--T-Rex was sprung, but no dead rat! Crap. He was recalled from Basra and will be cleaned and rebaited. The fight goes on.

--Called Sears to come out and fix the dryer.....again! They fixed the heating unit, but now it makes horrible banging and whining noises that it didn't make before the repair guy came out last time. They told me there would be the standard $65 inspection fee that would be applied against repairs if I chose to have them done. I said, "No there won't. You're guy caused this problem so there's no charge." "You're right Mr. Sutton." Damn right I'm right.

--Thanksgiving and the meeting of the family for MWrigley is only three days away!

--Christmas is coming WAAAAYYYY too fast for me this year. I do have some great gift ideas already though. Just need to get out and get them!!

--Needed to craft a diplomatic email to a church volunteer telling them their financial projections are crap. Couldn't bite my tongue enough on this one, so I took a pass here.

And THEN there was work to do. Geesh. They are going to make me drop the "R" in my AARP membership.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"I Woke up this morning and I stepped outside; I took a deep breath and I......THWACK!!"

Yes, I interrupt this regularly scheduled softball tournament report for a brief update on T-Rex. As you know, he was deployed in the Basra region of my neighbor's yard earlier this week and promptly had his first kill. After a thorough cleaning, T-Rex was redeployed Friday night with the bait du jour, peanut butter. This morning the world was rewarded with yet another quickly killed rat!! Two kills for T-Rex this week! Outstanding. He'll be re-re-deployed Sunday night.

After pulling T-Rex back home and getting my morning coffee, I headed out to the softball fields in Carol Stream for 9:45 batting practice. The weather here sucked for softball today: cold, periodic drizzle and a cold 20 mph wind. Ugh. We won our first game though and then came up against a team 2 to 3 levels above us during the regular season. This tournament was an "open" tournament which meant it didn't matter how good your team is, everyone plays by the same rules. We hung with them anyway though and only lost by 5 runs, which our defense pretty much gave them.

We followed that loss with a win over the top team in the losers' bracket on our side of the seedings and we handled them pretty well. Unfortunately, that put us right back against the team that had just beaten us. After spotting them 7 in the first, we put forth a game effort only to lose by 10 in seven innings. So I think we went 3-2 though maybe I'm missing a game. Truthfully, it was so cold and the conditions so tough, it's hard to remember the actual games. I do know that I was 4-4 in the last game with a ground rule double that would have been a triple if it didn't go out of play. Overall for the tournament, I think I was something like 11 for 16 I think which would be a .688 average.....pretty damn good.

The good news is that the team finished third and both of the teams ahead of us play a few levels above us during the regular season. It was good for us to play together again prior to Vegas in a few weeks though.

Friday, November 16, 2007 the snow!!

Ok, it didn't snow on Friday, but it did snow a bit on Wednesday night and it was damn near cold enough to snow tonight. Oddly enough, even with the cold, the ball was just jumping off the bats. We batted around in the first inning (including a double by yours truly) and batted around two other times during the game. We won something like 26-13. Their pitcher wasn't very good, so I don't expect as much production from us offensively tomorrow.

Tonight I was REALLY looking forward to playing for several reasons: 1) I hadn't played in several weeks 2) traffic SUCKED on the way out to Carol Stream (about an hour away) and 3) our internet connection at work was on and off every 10 minutes or so. Ugh. Ricardo was much worse off than I, because he was in the office before me (who isn't) and he had to deal with calling SBC. Double ugh.

Saturday morning softball at 10:30, batting practice at 9:45. It's going to be a long, cold day. A good warm up for Vegas though....just not actually warm.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

R.S.V.P. .........R.I.P.

It's the holiday season and many, many folks are going to be receiving invitations to office parties, friends parties, all sorts of events. The invitations will come through the mail or through email. And virtually all of them will have, down at the bottom, the seemingly ubiquitous R.S.V.P.
Well, I received an invite the other day, saw the R.S.V.P. and thought to myself, what the hell does it even stand for? "Reserve"......something...."Very".....important "Person"?? I had no freaking idea. So off to Wikipedia I went and found the definition: "Répondez s'il-vous-plaît" or translated as "please respond". And, obviously, its French. Not real happy about that. Can I start a grass roots movement to get people to use "Please Respond" instead of RSVP? It doesn't seem like the rest of the country has the disdain for the French that I have, so it doesn't seem like I have a shot. Plus it's the holiday season, so I should be spreading cheer.

Four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. Yep, Barry Bonds has been indicted and the only way I could have been happier is if it occurred prior to him breaking the home run record. He's still innocent until proven guilty (it's not France after all), but I'd love to see his image further tarnished as anyone who lies to a grand jury should go to jail. We'll see though. He's a long way away from going behind bars.

Lots of work for me today, so not much exciting going on this Thursday. Friday night starts a softball tournament in Carol Stream (yes, it's outside) when we play one game and then finish up on Saturday. Should be a nice tune up for our trip to Vegas.

Holiday catalog count: 9

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You have to know your readers!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I turn to you, my faithful readers, for appetizer (or other portion of the meal) ideas for MWrigley and me to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are some things to keep in mind when making suggestions:

Dinner will be in Naperville. 'nuff said really.

Dinner is actually a late lunch, around 2-3 or so.

Already on the menu (outside of dinner):
Bee's famous deviled eggs.
Shrimp with dip.
Pumpkin pie from Other Sis.

We're currently pondering a few things: a cherry pie (my dad LOVES cherry pie), carrot cake, caprese and pasta salad. We may bring some combination.

On a completely unrelated note: T-REX HAS STRUCK AGAIN!!!! It's his first kill in the Basra region of my neighbor's yard. A quick, blood-less neck breaking. He's been recalled from the front for cleaning and fumigation to remove the odor of dead rat. Redeployment is anticipated in two days.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Busy Month on the Way

Tough to get motivated to write today after such a positive response to my post yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't write any of it! Oh well, at least I could pass along some good humor.

Since I was working most of the day today, not a whole lot of blog worthy things transpired I have to say. In search of news, I looked on CNN's website this morning and was confronted with many different articles of interest from around the world. The first article that I started to click on?? "Brittany spears caught on video running red light." Fortunately I caught myself before succumbing to the allure of trashy stories. Why do they even have a story like that under Bhutto being placed under house arrest? Just doesn't seem right.

Looks like MWrigley and I have a busy next month together. To start, she'll be coming over to my folks place on Thanksgiving. It should be quite the event, hopefully without incident. Can I count on my family to be on good behavior? Hell's no!!

The first weekend in December my softball team will be playing in a large tournament in Las Vegas. In a bold move, I've invited MWrigley along. It should be a nice trip, but my softball teammates can be pretty merciless too. Hopefully we'll be focused on winning.

MWrigley has a few extra days of vacation left over, so we're planning a weekend trip somewhere. We may be heading north to a remote place in Wisconsin, but nothing's finalized yet.

And finally, her parents are coming to Chicago for Christmas, so I'll meet her mom and step-dad. Not to mention there's the whole gift exchanging thing between the two of us. That event will be closely followed by New Year's Eve. Wow.

Holiday catalog count: 6

Monday, November 12, 2007

Going back in time.

Fun entry today, but I guess you'll be the judge. Two emails hit my inbox today that were pretty funny. One was a link to this video and the other is a story with pictures replicated below. True or not, it's funny:

Last weekend I put an exhaust fan in the ceiling for my wife's grandfather. While my wife's brother and I were fitting the fan in between the joists, we found something under the insulation. What we found was this:

A JC Penney catalog from 1977.

I thumbed through it quickly and found my next dining room set, which is apparently made by adding upholstery to old barrels:

Also, I am totally getting this for my bathroom:

The clothes are fantastic.Here's how to get your ass kicked in elementary school:

Just look at that belt. It's like a boob-job for your pants. He probably needed help just to lift it into place. The belt loops have to be three inches long. And way to pull them up to your armpits, grandpa.

Here's how to get your ass kicked in high school:

This kid looks like he's pretending to be David Soul who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15.

Here's how to get your ass kicked on the golf course:

This "all purpose jumpsuit" is, according to the description, equally appropriate for playing golf or simply relaxing around the house. Personally, I can't see wearing this unless you happen to be relaxing around your cell in D-block. Even then, the only reason you should put this thing on is because the warden made you.

Here's how to get your ass kicked pretty much anywhere:

If you look at that picture quickly, it looks like Mr. Bob "No-pants" Saget has his hand in the other guy's pocket. In this case, he doesn't, although you can tell just by looking at them that it's happened - or if it hasn't happened it will. Oh yes. It will. As soon as he puts down his matching coffee cup.

Here's how to get your ass kicked at the beach:

He looks like he's reaching for a gun, but you know it's probably just a bottle of suntan lotion in a holster.

How to get your ass kicked on every day up to and including St. Patrick's Day:

I don't believe that color exists in nature. There is NO excuse for wearing either of these ensembles unless you're working as a body guard for the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

In this next one, Your Search For VALUE Ends at Penneys.As does your search for chest hair.

And this -- Seriously. No words.

I'm guessing the snap front gives you quick access to the chest hair. The little tie must be the pull tab.

Also, judging by the sheer amount of matching his/hers outfits, I'm guessing that in 1977 it was considered pretty stylish for couples to dress alike. These couples look happy, don't they?

I am especially fond of this one, which I have entitled "Cowboy Chachi Loves You Best."

And nothing showcases your everlasting love more than the commitment of matching bathing suits. That, and a blonde girl with a look on her face that says "I love the way your junk fights against that fabric."

Then, after the lovin', you can relax in your one-piece matching terry cloth jumpsuits.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Are the Bears THAT bad?

As my faithful readers know, I'm a huge Bears fan and season ticket holder. Nary a home game goes by that I don't tailgate and most away games will find me at a bar with buddies (except for one week when a certain cute female stole my attention for the afternoon). Today however, with the Bears out of town, my softball buddies didn't want to go out!! What's that?? Why?? "Just not into going out and thought watching from home would be fine." Huh?? Are the bears now THAT uninteresting to people that they don't even want to experience the camaraderie that is hitting the bars on game day?

And then it sunk in......I really wanted to stay home too! Heavens to murgatroid! It's true. Staying home and watching the game while I cleaned up the condo, organized stuff and did laundry was actually compelling to me. Ugh. Someone shoot me. Of course, I was up until 2 a.m. on Saturday, so maybe I was just tired. Yeah, that's it!

Our condo building is finally replacing an old, shitty, falling down fence in our backyard. We had done one portion of the fence last year when we needed a new gate put into the old fence, but we held off on the rest of it. Here are some pictures I took. Unfortunately, no before pictures.

The old fence piled up in the yard with the first section of fence from last year in the back ground.

More of the debris. Notice the red maple in the corner. It appears in other pictures below.

You can barely see the maple by the completed fence section. To the right of the posts is our neighbor's yard. This is where the rats come from!

Our "security" gate. For two days, it didn't provide much security. Even the meth addicts can figure out how to get around this one. I was standing in front of the gate when I took picture #2 above and the next picture.

Apparently out of focus red maple. Very nice contrast with the fence though....just not focused. Damn.

The completed security gate! Yay!! Also the best picture of the fence.

Outside my bedroom door. Nice and secure as the fence now goes up over the fire escape. I'm on the first floor and we don't even need to have the fire escapes anymore.

One final note: while walking by my neighbor's front yard, I noticed the return of several rat holes in their yard. So again today, I decided to fight them over there so I don't have to fight them here and out came T-Rex!! Yep, the mighty T-Rex has returned. He hasn't made a killing since the Spring, but should have ample opportunity tonight. There were at least four rat holes over there. Ugh. He's already been out there for four hours, so I might go check on him! I just can't help myself.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Good offense, weak defense.

That's my summary of the Black Hawk's from Friday night. I headed out to the United Center to see the Hawks and the St. Louis Blues. An ex-coworker who now works for Morningstar down under in Australia is in town and we used to go hockey games periodically when she lived in Chicago. Back in the day, I used to know all of the players and their numbers and I would do a little play-by-play during the game. While some people found it incredibly annoying, others enjoyed it (including my Aussie friend). So last night I tried my best with the very new Black Hawk team and didn't do a bad job actually. A drunk guy sitting in front of us (there were four of us altogether) turned around and said "You're just like Pat Foley!" and gave me a high-five. Sometimes I do the same thing at Bears' games, but the Bears' announcers don't have a similar and distinctive voice like Pat Foley and the game moves at a different pace. Still, it's fun and sometimes I think I've missed my calling.

Ahhh, but there are small companies out there to help save and lives to change. Not a bad alternative.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sung to "A few of my favorite things": Mosquitos, bad drivers, dumb people and rats, these are a few of the things that I hate!

There are many things that I just don't like: mosquitoes, bad drivers, dumb people and, of course, rats. Two other things are: calling people during fundraising and not being able to see my gal. Both of those things hit me today.

As a parishioner of St. Alphonsus Church, I'm relatively active. In addition to being a member of the finance council, I sponsor the golf event, participate in fund raisers (as an attendee) and attend services whenever there isn't a Bears game or softball tournament that leads me out of town. Currently our church is going under some external, and now internal, renovations. However, the Pastor decided that some folks would be more than willing to call other parishioners to see if they received their packet of information and to say that we'd hope they consider contributing to the campaign. While not specifically asking for a donation, it's much closer than I'm comfortable with. Still, it was only about 20 calls and most of the time I just left messages on their answering machines. I'm not happy doing it regardless.

This afternoon I took MWrigely to the airport. She headed out to New Jersey for the weekend to see her 94 year old grandmother who hasn't been doing well health-wise lately. She'll also see her genetic father while visiting (parents were divorced and her step-dad raised her mostly). Her grandmother lives in an assisted living home and MWrigley will be sleeping on the sofa. Boredom is going to be her biggest concern since it's tough to plan things to do with a 94 year old woman. Almost selfishly, I'm trying to fill up my weekend with activities and drinking so I don't think about how much I miss her. Ok, let's hear the "awwwwww's". Yeah, yeah, whatever. It's been seven weeks, give me a break.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

To PDA or Not to PDA? That is the Question.

So yesterday I was working most of the day with some deeply intellectual conference calls and then had a decent workout at the gym in the afternoon. After driving back to the office to finish up some more work, I picked up MWrigley to go to dinner and use a gift certificate at Lalos Restaurant at 500 North LaSalle. The certificate, which I obtained through a charity event somehow, allowed for a free appetizer, two entrees and two desserts. Lalos is known for their margaritas which were not included, but oh so tasty and very big. We ordered the medium sized one for $12 and I couldn't even finish mine! Truthfully it was, in part, because we had so much food to eat, but it was a big drink.

Due to the long work day(s), trip to the gym and a missed turn which caused me to triple my driving time to Lalos, I was in a bit of a pissy mood. The sight of MWrigley certainly helped perk me up though as did our conversation. As I think I've mentioned before though, she doesn't like PDA in restaurants. Since I know this, it shouldn't be a big deal but last night it was for some reason. While I can speculate all day as to why (we hadn't seen each other in two days, I was tired, I was pissy, she looked exceptionally pretty, etc) all I know is that I was frustrated and unhappy and the feeling wouldn't go away. Despite her efforts to draw me out of the mood, anything short of some smooches and hugs probably wasn't going to work. As such, instead of heading over to her place after dinner, I just dropped her off, much to her (and mine quite frankly) surprise. It just seemed like the mood of the nice dinner was ruined somewhat, partially because of outside factors impacting me and partially because of this arbitrary "no restaurant PDA" rule.

And what kind of problems is this rule going to cause in the future? Having been in three long term relationships, I know that a good portion of romantic interludes later in a relationship occur within the environs of a cozy restaurant. If you suddenly take away that as a romantic venue, what will we be left with? Movie theater? Parking lots? Starbucks? It's not good I'm telling ya!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Work and a huge margarita......

.....means I'm really tired and have nary a thought. Tomorrow I'll have more time and should be well rested, so come back for a much better entry!

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Helium!! Get your helium right here!!"

Well Saturday turned out to be a really fun day. After I secured the Dane Cook tickets, I hit the gym (ran 2 1/4 miles and lifted some weights), cleaned up around the house and headed over to MWrigley's. She opted for a pedicure in the morning and then came home to make dinner after doing some work. She made this dish: chicken with sun dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic and some other stuff wrapped up inside a pastry dough. It was outstanding. We had a pedestrian chardonnay (Smoking Loon) that wasn't great, but certainly not offensive. I'm not much of a white wine drinker, so that's about as good of a review as a white wine will get from me.

So then it was off to the United Center for the performance. We passed up the $14 parking lot for the $15 lot and ended up really close. Nice move Joe. There was this huge line outside the stadium though that wrapped around one side. Now, I've been to the UC for all sorts of events: Springsteen, Blackhawks and Bulls and I've never seen anything like this. Turns out they only had one gate open, at least according to rumor and the ever-helpless parking facilities and security folk. So, like lemmings, we waited in the line which was moving relatively quickly. After we got inside, we had to walk to the other side of the stadium where our seats were, which was fine because it was good people watching and we had to find the good beer anyway. When we finally did get to the other side, the gates were open and people were coming in at will, so who knows WHY the line formed.

The show was very funny though and the people watching was OUTSTANDING. Dane Cook's following is mostly 20-something's and they were hysterical to see. The women were dressed like absolute tramps, which I loved to see of course. The guys had the complete hobo look going. Too funny.

Stolen from the headlines: Helium reserves dwindling. Really?? Helium?? Helium, my good readers, is the second most abundant element in the universe next to hydrogen and constitutes 23% of the elemental mass of the universe. And we're running out of it. "How can that be?" you say. Well, it's actually quite amazing that we haven't already run out of it to be honest with you. While it's abundant in the universe, it's not so abundant on Earth. The U.S. government decided to stockpile it in the 30's and 40's when the thought of possibly using it for an army dirigibles was prevalent. Those uses didn't come to fruition though and the government slowly sold it's stockpiles over the next 6 decades. In the last 10 years though, the demand abroad for helium has almost tripled!! The price has doubled! Apparently there are tons of foreigners walking around talking like the lollipop kids from The Wizard of Oz.

Not true as I found out. Helium is used in all sorts of electronic products both in the end product and during fabrication. As these facilities have moved abroad, so has the demand for helium. While helium is a byproduct in many natural gas reservoirs, it's difficult to capture and not as lucrative as the gas or oil it associates with. At least it isn't yet. Currently the U.S. has the preponderance of the planet's known helium reserves and we're on pace to run out in about a decade. Without new exploration specifically for helium, those mylar balloons we've all grown to know and love are going to cost more than the roses with which they are normally accompanied!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pleasant Ridge is on the map!!

The gods have shined upon me once again as my Dane Cook tickets were picked up at the local mail annex this morning!! Whew! MWrigley was VERY understanding and we made simpler plans for tonight as a backup. I think she feels the same way I do: if we go to see Cook, great. If not, we'll just hang out or go see a movie and have fun too. Awesome. But dinner and Dane Cook are on the agenda for tonight and pizza and football with her friends are on the agenda for Sunday. A great weekend!

After getting my tickets this morning, I decided to get my car washed. Shouldn't be much of a story right? Well it isn't, but there was something interesting. What is the price of gasoline, $3 a gallon roughly? Outside of the hand car washing facility is where the employees park their cars. Now, I'm not sure, but I'm thinking if you're washing cars by hand, you're not making a shit-load of money. The employees cars weren't cars at all, except for one. There was a suburban, two pickup trucks (big ones too), a big van and some huge SUV. Shouldn't they have more economical cars?

While waiting for my car to get washed, I have the opportunity to indulge in a favorite American past-time, reading trashy magazines. My choice for this 15 minute span? US Magazine. It's a horrible publication with really insightful recurring sections like "Stars are just like us!" with outstanding photographic entries like Woody Harrelson doing yoga in Amsterdam and some chick I've never heard of taking her shoes off as she goes through security at the airport. Really?? How is this photo worthy?? Do the idiots that are the U.S. population really believe that third rate television stars wouldn't have to take off their shoes as they go through security at the airport? Just unbelievable. No wonder Bush got re-elected.

Just saw on tv a commercial for economic development in Michigan. The hook? It focused on a high tech company located in Pleasant Ridge Michigan, a past home of yours truly!!!! If I'm not mistaken, and I hope my siblings or folks will correct me if I am, but we lived at 34 Maywood Ave. between Woodward and the railroad tracks just south of 10 Mile Road. It was just cool to see, though the whole area seems residential to me, so I'm not sure if I believe that they are really located there.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Yes, it turned out to be one of THOSE days. It all started innocuously enough, nice weather, slept in a little, cereal for breakfast, pretty typical.

Then Manual Labor Mike called and said he couldn't get some work done that he was supposed to do. We have two doors to the building that desperately need their door knobs replaced and the doors/frames manipulated to open/close more easily. Fine, it doesn't really impact me.

In the morning I was scrambling to get clients set up with bankers in order to make their transition to NEW banks go smoothly. In an ideal world, it would go smoothly without much intervention (new checks, new accounts, pay off old stuff, transfer info, etc). In reality, it can be a pain and you need to make sure the new bank is all on board and has their paperwork done prior to letting the old bank know that you're moving. It just is safer for everyone to do it that way.

So that's what SHOULD happen. Unfortunately my client called their OLD bank to let them know they are moving. The new bank has NO paperwork done yet nor have they completed their due diligence. Thanks clients!!

Still, no heart attacks yet. As I mentioned, I'm going to see Dane Cook on Saturday......or at least I thought I was. I bought the tickets on Craigslist from a woman in Michigan who had a block of 8 of them and sold them 6 and 2. Now the gory, gory details go on and on, but the end result is that I don't have the tickets yet, but the other person getting the 6 seats who also lives in Chicago received them yesterday!! Nice. We're still working on trying to get me replacement electronic tickets, but I'm not holding my breath. Hopefully there will be good news one way or the other tomorrow.

By the way, I was talking to Ricardo in the office about my day and was wondering if there's some website out there where people sign up just to mess with me. We Googled and entered ",,, etc" but there were no hits. Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean people aren't out to get me!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Work really gets in the way of blogging.

It's been a busy week with el supremo de NM in town and many meetings throughout the day. We made good progress on current clients, sent a proposal for a new client and Ricardo hosted a great seminar event with el supremo presenting. Good stuff.

Today I heard that our weather in Chicago is going to take a nasty turn. We were supposed to hit the upper 50's today and now we're going to be in the 40's for the forseeable future. Not good. Now that's what I HEARD on the radio. When I go to a weather website to check out the 15 day forecast, we have several more days in the 50's. Hmmm, not sure who is lying to me. Starting a week from Sunday though it is indeed supposed to be in the 40's.

I'm exhausted, so hopefully tomorrow I'll have titillating topics again.

Holiday catalog count: 5