25 December 2007

Good Tidings To All

Dear Friends and Family,

I've never written a Christmas letter before (and this may be the first and only time, we'll see) but I received one on Monday from an old boss and it made my day, so I thought I'd give it a shot. And this saves me address-collecting and stamps. And time.

It has been quite the up and down year for me. In late spring, I switched from the worst job I've ever had to the best. I am apparently now a member of the financial world (hedge funds, even!) and a citizen of corporate America (albeit a corporate America where you can wear trucker hats). Things don't always happen like you plan them, I guess. Particularly if you plan them when you're 21...

I was also part of a group that founded a women's baseball league in the Chicago area. We recruited enough people to fill four teams, negotiated ourselves a league affiliation, and played an 11 game season, all without killing each other. Better than that (though that was good), I played in three tournaments, one each in Baltimore, Detroit, and Fort Myers, FL, which made me quite nostalgic (in a good way) for high school. The league is poised for a second successful year and I think we'll add Vegas to the tournament schedule and perhaps get to run a tournament ourselves here in Chicago.

Other than that, I play soccer when I can and even tried rock climbing, though boy, I was terrible at that. Curse of the short arms and all...

The cat had a good year as well, and though she remains deathly afraid of plastic bags and the dustbuster, she has improved her social skills a great deal, made friends with my mom (who buttered her up by sending a fleece blanket home from Thanksgiving with me), and has even deigned to let frequent visitors give her a friendly scratch behind the ears. She looks forward to turning four in March and to receiving her can of birthday tuna.

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for 2008.

*Insert dopey picture of me and cat here*

23 December 2007

Not the 'Same Old Lang Syne'

I'm feeling kind of nostalgic these days. Christmas is certainly a factor, since it's such a kid holiday, but it's really related to the fact that Dan Fogelberg died last weekend. I'd be willing to bet that upwards of 50% of you are thinking 'who's Dan Fogelberg?'. Download Same Old Lang Syne (it's about running into an old high school girlfriend in his hometown of Peoria, IL and is probably his most famous song) or Leader of the Band (a good song for those of you who miss your daddies). It's pretty 93.9 The LITE, but it'll get you. But enough of Autobiographical Soft Rock 101.

It makes me nostalgic because my dad really likes Dan Fogelberg (and my dad doesn't generally express opinions about music so when he does, you listen). Really, a lot of my musical...tendencies are reflective of the things my parents put on the stereo when I was young. Billy Joel and Bob Seger and Carly Simon, these artists, among others, shaped my taste in (and enjoyment of) music and it's great to be able to share them with my parents (and my brother - there was a mildly embarassing moment last summer where it was revealed to a friend that my brother and I wouldn't exactly tape over Peter Cetera...).

Some of yesterday's headliners are older than others (though Fogelberg was only in his 50s), but for some reason this feels like the beginning of a new era. Eventually we'll hear that Art Garfunkel is dead, or Elton John, or Bonnie Raitt. And I guess that's really how things work, and how the torch is passed, and not really a surprise, but all of a sudden, it feels like *I'm* getting the torch.
Do you think I could submit this as a Wonder Years script?

14 December 2007

Gun Control, Please

I was on the 66 bus (Chicago Avenue, baby) last night a little short of 10:00 (yes, I realize that doesn't exactly make sense, but I like the way it sounds). I was thinking about taking a cab, but I peered down the street and the bus was right there. The night buses only come about every 15-20 minutes, so they tend to be kind of full. This one was no exception and I ended up standing about a third of the way towards the rear.

Among the crowd were two men. One was inexplicably playing the role of official bus greeter in that he was standing right in the front, blocking everyone's entrance. Instead of 'greeting', though, he sat and muttered to himself and a very unsuspecting commuter who had the great misfortune of picking the frontmost seat. It was hard to catch exact words, but not too difficult to get the gist. The words "damn preppies" and "hoods everywhere" came up.

Sitting at a window ten feet behind the greeter was a guy in his early 30's, though he was dressed (not to mention acting) like a 15 year old. Hooded sweatshirt, skull cap, poorly shaven, and he needed to work on his indoor voice. Though his outdoor voice was certainly doing a good job with the F word. His traveling companion was trying very unsuccessfully to quiet him down. On my way by him, he asked for a high five, which I strangely gave him, only to blurt out "You have huge hands." Which he did.

These two characters quite predictably got into an argument, which began to escalate as we passed Halsted. And I thought, 35 years ago, this would have been a slightly uncomfortable occurence on a bus. But now, as these guys get hotter and hotter under the collar, we all have to worry that someone's packing heat.

Needless to say, I was pretty happy to get off the bus.

10 December 2007

Strike? (Labor, Not Baseball)

My Tivo is getting dangerously low on new TV shows (luckily, there will be enough X-Files and Simpsons to go around for a very very long time), which leads me to contemplate this Hollywood writers strike.

I'll admit that I don't really know much about the terms and/or demands, but I really don't understand how a strike is a viable option for people whose jobs a) don't require any training at all and b) are in very high demand. Who wouldn't want to be a Hollywood writer?!? Many of the perks of being "hollywood" while still maintaining your privacy. Not to mention that there are THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of people in the world who not only could do a good job, but would jump out of their shoes at the chance to do it. Add in the popularity of reality TV (unfortunate in my book, but undeniable) and I can't understand how the writers can get much out of it. I guess they convince the actors to go in with them, right?

Isn't that kind of like the guys that design the car company logos threatening to go on strike and then trying to drag the...well, the analogy is too difficult, it seems, but the methodology seems all wrong.

Anyone have a better summary of what's up?