Monday, June 28, 2004
Oh-oh, it's magic
What exactly is the difference between a Magic Marker and a regular old marker? Have Magic Markers even been sold in the last 20 years, and if not, why do folks insist on using the term "magic marker" as an all-encompassing description of markers? (Other than the obvious fun of muggles being able to use magic)
A brief Googling fails to tell me what I need to know. I did find a place where you can buy alleged "Magic Markers", but I'm pretty sure that this time, they really do mean *magic*. A product description:
**Please make a drawing with our color pen. Then with magic white pen or arranging white pen go over what you have done. You will have a new fantastic drawing that you need.**
Did I mention this is a company in Taiwan?
I had a real, honest-to-god Magic Marker when I was little. It was green. I remember using it to death, and dribbling water into the end to squeeze a few more uses out of it. I also got some interesting line effects when the felt tip went all floppy from overuse.
1. Cubs-Sox game at Comiskey/Soxpark/The Cell
The series started well with the Cubs taking Game 1, but then two games of fairly sloppy baseball (on both sides) led to two Sox wins and the Cubs are now in second but 5 games back from the unstoppable Cardinals. Home runs galore, but the Sox managed to have more men on each time, and Cub errors abounded. We attended Game 2 on Saturday, sitting right next to the Sox bullpen down the LF line. The whole section was Cub fans, *except* the drunken loudmouths behind us. The vitriol was flying in the stands, including fun homophobic comments. We had a good time, but we pretty much decided that in the future, we're not going to try so hard to get to a Cubs-Sox game, at either park. Being surrounded by blind hatred makes it hard to enjoy the game. If I were trained in sociology, I might make some statements on the willingness of people to hate so violently and purposelessly, if not based on religion or race or politics, then based on something silly like baseball. Soxpark as a proxy for Jerusalem.
The four greyhounds of the apocalypse!
So, here's a weird story: The dogs have been very good all weekend, sleeping through the night and only eating one thing off the coffee table (that we know of), a plastic floss dispenser. So, last night sometime after 1 a.m., all four dogs were whining and up and walking around the house with their clicky toenails. I tried to ignore them, but no such luck, and a while later I let them all outside so they could reset and go back to sleep. I of course had to go outside to retrieve Miss Belle, who likes to go on extended sojourns to the far corners of the yard. Upon returning to the house, the dogs went more or less right to bed. And this morning, I get up and find out that there was a 4.5 magnitude earthquake in Illinois that was felt in Chicago. I guess I can forgive the dogs for being a little loopy :)
Monday, June 21, 2004
This weblog is a tour de force!
Not feeling so great today, and it's rainy and possibly chilly out (haven't ventured outside so hard to say for sure), so I spent the day puttering, watching Chicago, and cataloging more books. Re: Chicago, the way they mixed the stage parts with the real-life parts is really inspired. The song-and-dance bits are mostly in Roxie's head, because she's so determined to become a star that she imagines every occurrence as being a scene she's performing in. The marionette scene is brilliant, and I just love the Cell Block Tango ("He ran into my knife! He ran into my knife ten times!"). Should add that to the Angry Women playlist.
And re: cataloging books, I'm up to about 500 now, and I cannot begin to count the number of bookjacket reviews that announce that the book is a "tour de force!" The hell does that mean, anyway?
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Dads, according to Hallmark
-play golf, and badly.
-have a lot of tools, and aren't good at using them.
-sleep in front of the TV.
-are compulsive about their lawns.
-have extensive collections of bad Father's Day ties.
-drink a lot of beer.
-have perfect daughters who frequently ask for shopping money.
-answer all questions with "Go ask your mother."
-play "pull my finger" at every opportunity.
I don't think the Father's Day card jokes have changed at all in my lifetime. The writers are hopelessly trapped in the 1950s, and it's so hard to find a funny card that's appropriate for a man who can't be summed up by the above stereotype (except the "perfect daughter" part is dead-on :)). The alternative is a serious card, something with a misty seaside scene and perhaps a lighthouse and some waterfowl, and an elegant poem to "Dad". But those always sound more like epitaphs. Besides, my daddy likes funny!
On the other hand, all those "from the dog" cards crack me up.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
and yes I said yes I will Yes
Today is the 100th anniversary of the day Leopold Bloom meandered pointlessly around Dublin, June 16 1904. Joyce, of course, was very scornful of Dublin, a point Dubliners are conveniently overlooking as they celebrate the day with Guinness and kidneys. As with Sinclair and Algren in Chicago, we city-dwellers are inordinately fond of books that show our worst sides to the world. We're rude! and loud! We eat bad food and drink too much! So there!
Anyway, I read Ulysses a few years ago, part of a list of things I wanted to do before the 20th century ended. It was thick and slow and made my eyes cross in places. I remember really hating the chapter that was laid out as catechism, and really liking the final chapter. I don't pretend to understand even a fraction of what the whole book was about, and admit to using on-line guides so I could answer that age-old question: "Um...what??"
My first introduction to Ulysses was this: Ulysses for Dummies
I especially like the peeing chapter. And I don't know if this link will persist, but it's a good summary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3810193.stm
Friday, June 11, 2004
We've been to two free movies this week: Chronicles of Riddick, and The Terminal. The first one was... interesting. Vin Diesel has no discernable personality whatsoever, and while I'm usually a sucker for deep voices, his just goes too far. The second movie, even though I'm not a big Tom Hanks fan, was very good. The supporting characters were great, especially Gupta, the funny little Indian janitor who takes gleeful delight in mopping the floors and then waiting for folks to slip on them. Tom does *not* end up with the girl, and I'm glad because that really would have been way too Hollywood an ending. The whole jazz theme sort of comes out of left field but was very sweet in any case. Anyway, thumbs up from the Bintgoddess.
And, before we went to all these free movies, we of course had to eat... which led us to sample the original Nookie's on Wells, and Adobo Grill. Both were wonderful, as different as night and day. Nookie's is the classic neighborhood diner where cops eat and everyone knows everyone else. Adobo Grill was fabulous Mexican food and extremely attentive and friendly staff. More thumbs up for both! I'm running out of thumbs here.
Blues Fest this weekend. Also, much rain. Will I make it downtown? Who knows?
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Two ways to enjoy a baseball game
1) Watch the game intently. Drink water or pop, eat peanuts and hot dogs. Keep a scorecard.
2) Drink beer and yell.
I'm embarrassed to say that I've been a Cubs fan my whole life, and a big fan of beer my whole adult life, and yet had never done method #2 until last night. Some of us from work went, sat in the very back row of 202 (a surprisingly good section), and drank beer and had a silly, fun night. Cubs lost to the Cards, but the pitcher Glendon Rusch hit a home run after I commanded him to (seriously!). I tried it on other players but I guess it only works once. The main thing that keeps me from drinking at the ballpark - the restrooms - turned out to be a bit third-worldish but not nearly as bad as I expected. There wasn't even a line.
For next time, though, a note to myself: EAT DINNER.
Went to the Printers Row Book Fair on Sunday, and came home with a backpack full of Connelly and other mysteries, and signed copies of Doug Cummings' Deader By the Lake and Laura Lippman's Every Secret Thing. Ms. Lippman writes a mystery series set in Baltimore, and her main character has a greyhound named Esskay (a reference East Coasters get but us Midwesterners have to look up). Esskay is singlemindedly devoted to finding soft places to lie down, much like other greyhounds I know (insert pointed look at Jazzy here). Anyway, Ms. Lippman is a very interesting person and I very much enjoyed her talk. She told me, though, that her own greyhound died some years ago, which made me (and her, too, I think) sad.
I visited my usual spot on Polk for $1 paperbacks, and was hit on by the vendor, who seemed generally sad that all the women are already taken and there's no one left for him. I was cornered at another booth by a weird guy who wanted me to buy his overpriced graphic novels. I paged through one to be polite. Now, I'm no expert on graphic novels, but I know bad artwork when I see it. Oy.
There was a postcard vendor there, and I found this 1907 photo of the Tinker Swiss Cottage in Rockford that I keep thinking about and should have just bought. It was a neat picture, with the elaborate cottage up on the riverbank and a cow down on the muddy flats. Maybe next year I'll look for it again.
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Can 'ou canoe?
So, faced with a glorious sunny Saturday with absolutely nothing to do, we headed up to the canoe launch in Skokie and spent a lovely couple of hours paddling the North Shore Channel. We saw:
- giant goldfish lurking in the weeds
- red-bellied woodpeckers
- lots and lots of swallows, nesting under the bridges
- a hawk being run off by blackbirds
- a deer, walking noisily through the underbrush and vaguely startled by the weird creatures on the river
- 900 trillion cottonwood fluffies, all headed directly towards our faces
'Twas an excellent trip, and my arms and shoulders don't even hurt (yet). We even talked about getting a canoe of our own, something I've wanted to do for a long time. Hey, if you have a big truck, you might as well get a canoe to put on top!
View northward, not far from the launch site at Oakton
Turtle - painted, yes?
Snapping turtle on a slab of floating bark, very irritated that we saw through his "Pay no attention to me, I'm just a boring old rock" routine. Dark spot on shell is water Mark dribbled on him to wake him up.
Look at the tail on this guy!!
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
"smart" cards again
I have the CTA smartcard figured out. I hold it firmly against the plastic disk and if I time it right, don't have to slow down at all. However, just when I was feeling all smug and high-tech, along came... the bus. I used it twice on the 80 bus this weekend, and both times it triple-beeped and registered $0.00. "Did it go?" I asked the driver. "Yep," he said, waving me on. Hrm. A little confirmation from the machine would be nice.
1) Not all of the pages on my website have been indexed. I find this sad and puzzling, esp. since the obvious missing page is the bint page. I am trying to figure out how to force Google to index it. This is valuable information that the bints of the world need to have!!
2) Stumbled across the Amish WebDirectory. I'm amused.
3) Went looking for more bint sites and found one in the suburbs who collects photos of penises with "ditzy bint" written on them. It's good to have a hobby.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Memorial Day Weekend 2004
We spent ALL DAY on Saturday playing Dungeon Siege. Seriously, we broke for lunch, returned to the game, and then looked at the clock and it was 5:00. On the plus side, my character is quite the combat mage!
We went to the Cub game yesterday. There was a bald eagle there, to celebrate Memorial Day. He flew off the bleachers, took a few turns around the infield, and landed on his handler's arm on the pitcher's mound. A pigeon was drifting around the outfield, and we were sincerely hoping for some predator-prey fireworks, but no such luck. There also apparently is a duck nesting in the batter's eye junipers. She spent much of the game hanging out in center, fielding the bits of food tossed by the bleacher folks. And, the Cubs won the game, and Mark Prior returns from the DL on Friday, so a good day overall, despite ongoing rain and a backyard that is too mucky to dig. My plants from the CBG sale are STILL on the patio.
We've been shopping for bedroom furniture. I'm sort of fixated on this, but I think it's justified. I've been realizing just how unhappy that bedroom makes me. It's not attractive or well laid out in any way. There's no storage and no mirror, the lighting is bad, the color is too cool for a sunny room. I let the floor fill with laundry and I don't bother washing the dog blankets or dusting. It's just not a very feng shui kind of place, and decent furniture is the first step to making it livable. We've dealt with it for nine years; it's time.