28 September 2006

Welcome To The Jungle

I stop by a party, dressed very casually, having just spent an hour moving boxes. I find that, as usual, the girls are in tight dresses totally inappropriate for the weather (and everything else, save for attracting disgusting little boys in men's bodies whose dumb-as-a-rock-but reasonably-hot girlfriends will soon become their dumb-as-a-rock-and-increasingly-less-hot wives and proceed to raise daughters who will have the best time of their lives in high school) and the guys are in dirty jeans and t-shirts they obviously pulled off the floor. Anyone else see a problem with this picture? Starts to feel like one step forward, two steps back.

Anyway though, I’m wearing those Teva sandals that have one extra ‘X’ in addition to the normal flip flop configuration. I finally get dragged into a drinking game, which comes as a welcome distraction from my previous effort to avoid either strangling or vomiting all over every other female in the room, and what does my lovely partner do? She looks down at my feet like they have grown a layer of fungus and practically spits out, “Wow. Those are some intense shoes.”

Thanks honey, way to stick together. I know you and the other trixies are all wearing the same 4-inch spike heels, and that’s great if your one ambition in life is to get one of these little boys here to sleep with you and then treat you like one of the other ninety or so girls he’s slept with, but I apparently didn’t get the memo. The fact that I’m carrying you in this game of beer pong (no, I haven't played much before, I just happen to be coordinated from nearly TWENTY YEARS of sports, but you wouldn't know-you've never asked) will have to be enough to prove my worth.

And Then There Were...One.

When I was in middle school, I went to California, all by myself, to visit my grandmother. It was probably the first time I'd been responsible for taking care of myself (albeit briefly) and I was nervous. The next morning, I watched my grandmother make freshly squeezed orange juice (in much the same way that my mom moved away from the midwest and instantly became a desert person, my grandmother instantly became a California hippie)...

Me: Do you like living alone?

G: I enjoy it very much. Why do you ask?

Me: Aren't you lonely?

G: Sometimes, I guess. (winks) But I don't know, Peanut, there's just something about it.

And indeed there is. Despite the fact that the kitchen lights don't work (let me tell you, cooking in the dark is a whole new challenge), the back wall of the bedroom is painted hot (HOT) pink, the shower drain is less than ideal, and I have no mailbox key (the landlord says she's "not sure what to do"), the new place is great. The cat and I can sleep as late as we want, walk around in our underwear, and DVR History Channel specials to watch at two in the morning. If I was ever up at two in the morning...

I have to admit though, it was slightly hard saying goodbye to the temporary roommate. I guess I rarely meet people who a) I genuinely like to hang out with and b) are up for genuinely hanging out.

26 September 2006


More posts soon, I promise. I have plenty to say, but little access to internet.

Move went well though, and the cat has stayed friends with me and made a new friend in the form of the water heater. Take it where you can get it I guess.

20 September 2006

Great Minds...

At about 10:30 this morning, I gracefully spilled water all over my desk. Thank you, elbow. Honestly, it was a welcome break, as most of my day consisted of data crunching. I got up to get paper towels, walked around the corner, and what do I see but a coworker tearing off about ten for herself.

Me: Hey K., did you spill?

K: Yeah, I just knocked my water all over my desk.

Me: Touche.

19 September 2006

Want Some Cheese With That Whine?

Back story for you: #18 Oregon beat #15 Oklahoma last weekend thanks in part to an admittedly terrible call that gave the ball to Oregon even after a Duck (yes that's the mascot, I'm not making it up) touched an onside kick before it had traveled the requisite ten yards. The Sooners (again, not made up) and their fans went absolutely apeshit. Below is Pat Forde's (of ESPN's weekly Forde Yard Dash...still not made up) opinion, which I thought was quite apt.

Get some perspective, kids. How embarassing for the...lovely...state of O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A.

The Dash understands why Sooner Nation lost its collective mind after the officiating fiasco at the end of the Oregon game, which was won by the Ducks 34-33. The non-call on the onside kick stunk. The inept review of the call was worse. The Pac-10's one-game suspension of the offending officials was completely justified.

But the Oklahoma reaction has become an overreaction. In fact, it has transitioned from righteous indignation to outright insanity.

The actions of school president David Boren make you wonder whether he isn't actually the booster club president instead of the guy running an institution of higher learning. The former governor and U.S. senator pushed out his pouty lip and dashed off a petulant letter to Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg that is embarrassing on multiple levels. "… The Big 12 should request that the game should not go into the record books as a win or a loss by either team in light of the level of officiating mistakes," Boren's letter said.

And strike the Kansas City Royals' 1985 World Series title from the record books because of that terrible call at first base by Don Denkinger, too!

"It is truly sad and deeply disappointing that members of our football team should be deprived of the outcome of the game that they deserved because of an inexcusable breakdown in officiating," Boren concluded.

What's truly sad and deeply disappointing to The Dash is the fact that Boren should have such an inexcusable breakdown in perspective.

Is there really nothing better for the president to do at the University of Oklahoma? Like, maybe check in on the college of arts and sciences? Or, if he's that terribly concerned about the football program, perhaps he could lend a hand to the compliance office and help monitor players' jobs at local car dealerships. Y'know, make sure they actually show up and do some work.

If the president can put down his pompon for a minute, he'll realize a couple of things:

1. Bad calls happen. In every game. A few times a year, they can play a critical role in a game's outcome. Are we going to set a precedent of presidential hissy fits after each critical blown call?

2. The game did not end on this bad call. Oklahoma still had the lead, still had a chance to win. It didn't get the job done.

But instead of absorbing this as an object lesson -- life is not fair, but you have to deal with it -- the school president is setting the sore-loser tone.

Coach Bob Stoops went off shortly after Boren, all but declaring the officials and the Pac-10 unforgiven for the damage done to Oklahoma's season. (Bob: You can still win the Big 12 title and go to a BCS bowl. And you weren't going to win anybody's national championship anyway. You might have sustained the illusion for another few weeks by winning this game, but it wasn't going to happen.)

When asked about Boren's letter, Stoops thanked the prez for taking time away from reviewing game film to join in the bitchfest.

"We have a great administration," Stoops said. "President Boren is the absolute best president a head coach can have."

Clearly. The question is whether he's the best president a math professor can have.

Then again, maybe Boren is simply following presidential precedent at Oklahoma. It was OU prez George Cross who once explained to the state legislature a need for more funding because, "I would like to build a university which the football team can be proud of."

In closing, The Dash will take the obnoxious step of quoting itself, just to help the honorable president Boren. This was from an August column enumerating 23 new rules of conduct for college football fans:

If the scoreboard says you lost, you lost. That's not going to change. Take an hour to vent postgame, then try to regain your sanity. Do not diminish your quality of life -- and the quality of life of those around you -- by spewing for days about the refs who cheated your team, the flagrant league bias against your team or the complete lack of class displayed by the team that beat your team. Your team l-o-s-t. Try to deal.

18 September 2006

Hail To The Victors Valiant

This may have been the best football weekend of my entire life. Michigan crushes Notre Dame (bye bye national championship, bye bye Heisman trophy), and the Bears, for the second week in a row, look like they maybe possibly hopefully could be for real. And though we're all sure it's a total sham, they seem to have found a quarterback as well. They're playing the Vikings next week, so I guess we'll see what's what.

Got a call during the game on Saturday from the ex-boyfriend (no, not that one, the one whose voice I've kind of missed hearing lately even if it still doesn't pipe up quite as much as I'd like). He's another (Irish) Catholic who is well aware of both my Michigan fandom-ness and my intense hatred of Notre Dame. Anyway though, it was really nice to talk to him. Though things didn't work out for us as a couple, I know (and always knew) that he genuinely likes me as a person.

Well-timed too, considering I asked for help with various aspects of the moving process (some easy, some more time-intensive) and wasn't exactly thrilled with the *outpouring* of support (sense the sarcasm?). Let's just say there are three types of friends. One kind responds promptly with something along the lines of, "Can't do Thursday, but any other day just tell me when and I'll be there." Another responds after a day or so with "I might be free Wednesday night, but work is crazy and my boyfriend wants me to watch his hockey game and my dog is sick, so I'll let you know." Finally, there's the total lack of response. Brilliant. Not that anyone's a bad person or anything, but you certainly know where you stand.

I don't mean to complain so much (really) and I know that my life is considerably smoother than the vast majority of the planet. It's just that college makes you used to having a solid group of close friends around and it has been really hard to lose that.

14 September 2006

I Hope The Next Time You Get A Double Decker Strawberry Ice Cream Cone The Ice Cream Part Falls Off The Cone Part And Lands In Australia

On occasion, I have a day so ridiculous that I can't even believe it's part of my life. Yesterday was one of those days.

I woke up early because I was due to lead a training at work and wanted some extra time to get settled. I was greeted by Noah's Ark-style rain but, hey, at least I was on time.

So I get to the train aaaand my ride card doesn't work. It's got a little chip in it, and has been giving me some trouble on occasion, but yesterday it wouldn't work at all. So I stand there like an idiot rubbing it against the censors with grumpy, wet people piling up behind me. Finally. the ticket agent comes to see what the holdup is, tries the rubbing a few more times, decides he believes me, gives me a lecture about calling the customer service number (look buddy, I will, the thing is that cards just work until they don't and today is apparently the day) and lets me through. I've missed a train during this whole ordeal, but they come every 3-5 minutes during rush hour, right?

Except no, because the train I missed while card-jockeying seems to have somehow been the last one for 17 minutes. Which means that the next one opens its doors to reveal a completely impenetrable wall of people. Wet people. Guess I'll let that one go. The next train is also not within the 3-5 minute rule. Instead, it's a nine minute wait, during which the stupendously loud P.A. system breaks in every single minute to announce "Brown Line riders traveling north and southbound, we're experiencing a delay." Oh really? I hadn't noticed. But thanks for covering only one-eighth of the platform so that these delays are as bad as possible when it rains. Anyway, the third train that shows up is packed too, but I have no choice but to cram in.

The training actually went fine, but then I had the pleasure of spending the rest of the day taping paper, making copies, and calling everyone who was at the training to tell them that the schedule I gave them mere hours ago was wrong because of an oversight by someone else. Except it doesn't pay to blame other people, so I just had to eat...doody. See, this has to be someone else's life, because I don't remember signing up for this.

Oh yeah, and a coworker I really like is apparently leaving to stay home with her first child. No comment on that one. I hope she'll be happy.

All's well that ends well though, since I saw the Marky-Mark movie. If there was an Oscar for Best Slow Motion Mud-Football Scene, well, you have your winner.

11 September 2006

Hell In A Handbasket

I got the apartment I wanted, which was GREAT, both because there was a fair amount of drama and because I haven't gotten some...other...things I wanted lately. But now I'm deeply mired in the whole moving process.

I have some overlap between the two leases and can easily move the small things myself, but have a few bigger pieces of furniture that I don't really trust my friends with. Let's just say that good intentions don't move a queen size mattress down a curved staircase. So I need a little help with labor, but moving companies don't seem to differentiate between a full scale apartment and a couple of pieces of furniture. So I'm left with independent little operations and everything sounds great, but you just don't know when push comes to shove if they'll really show up and be as experienced as they say.

I guess I wouldn't know for sure, but it seems to me that even one generation ago, this kind of thing was a little more certain. Or at least it would have been horrifying if you did get ripped off and definitely would have merited more than a shrug. What do you suppose has changed that? Increasing uncertainty in the world? Globalization and the resulting breakdown of the insular community? Anonymity of the internet?

Anyway, cross your fingers that my guys show up.

07 September 2006

Don't Judge A Book...

The brown line trains were delayed on the way home today (something about faulty equipment--maybe that could happen at a time other than rush hour?), so my train was beyond packed when an old, rather unkempt, likely homeless woman shoved her way on at Clark and Lake. From my vantage point jammed into the vestibule, I watched a preppy banker type in a pink oxford shirt jump up and clear the way for her to take his seat. He blushed and began to fiddle around in his pocket as she smiled at him gratefully and told him he was a nice young man.

By the time we got to his stop (Sedgwick, of course--he couldn't be all anti-stereotype), the train had cleared out a bit, and I had a great view as he pulled a twenty dollar bill out of his pocket with the intention to give it to her. As the doors opened, he pushed it into her hand on his way by the seat. She started to shake her head, but he leaned down, whispered "I insist" and disappeared out the door. This time, she blushed.

04 September 2006

Happy Labor Day

Speaking of labor, you know what I don't understand? The job market. You know why? Because I somehow failed to get a job I was absolutely perfect for. There's a non-profit in Chicago that uses sports to empower young women and teach them leadership and life skills. They were looking for a program coordinator for their after-school program in the Chicago Public Schools (yes, many of the same schools I'm working in now).

So. Let's get this straight. These people needed someone with an interest and background in athletics to do my job with the same kids. Not only have I been practically doing this exact job for two years, I can actually prove an interest in sports--I still play at least twice a week! I've even coached kids before. Ever hear the story about the person that sent her resume to HR to apply for her own job and didn't get it? Well...

Having failed to get a job where the description pretty closely resembled my resume, I guess I go back to applying for jobs that
a) I'm mildly qualified for and
b) sound slightly less dull than my current job.