30 March 2008

Quicker on the Draw

I was on the bus recently, sitting near the front, when a woman got on, walked just past the card reader and began digging through her bag for her CTA card. After about 45 seconds of digging, she started to look around nervously and it became clear that she didn't have that card with her.

As she started to see what kind of coins she had in her bag and everyone else on the bus (me included, unfortunately) listened to iPods and stared blankly, a woman sitting 2 seats closer than I grabbed her own card, stepped up to the reader, said "I gotcha" and swiped her own card.

A nice warm fuzzy for $1.75

19 March 2008

Man Up

It's possible that this is slightly colored by my intense hatred of all things Notre Dame but this article really yanks my chain.

Kyle MacAlarney, a guard on the ND basketball team, was caught with a small amount of marijuana at a 1:30 AM traffic stop the night of a game during the 06-07 basketball season. Apparently, he never thought he'd get caught because he had a clean record, "only one detention throughout my high school career." [Editorial note, Kyle: most of us have zero]. Like most upper middle class white kids caught with pot, he was allowd to enter a pre-trial diversion program, but it was up to the school to decide his fate on the basketball team. They dragged their feet in handing down the punishment, but ended up taking the heavy-handed route and suspending him for the rest of the semester.

He left in a huff, didn't even say good bye to his teammates and went back home to Staten Island thinking he'd never set foot in South Bend again. Luckily, a visit from his coach and phone calls from a couple team dudes convinced him to come back to show that he was the "bigger person." So he worked out alone for like three months, then went back to campus. Author Adam Rittenberg says, "he has earned the right to be cast in a new light." Notre Dame coach Mike Brey adds, "he's been a role model for other kids...great story, great kid."
[really, read the article, there's even more of this, and I couldn't make this crap up if I tried]

Ugh, even rehashing it, I'm about ready to vomit. Want a scholarship to come play basketball at Notre Dame? This is a Jesuit school, so you're going to need to keep from breaking the law. This is someone who had everything handed to him basketball-wise and threw it away, then dragged his feet and hung his head when he had to face the consequences. And when he didn't like those consequences? He was ready to leave his team without a word. This is not a role model, this is a child.

People make mistakes, I get that. But he didn't handle it well and judging from this article (and another almost copy of it that was posted on ESPN a couple of weeks ago), he hasn't even taken any responsibility for it. I would be willing to bet quite a bit that he still smokes pot. Worst of all, the article treats it like it was 'adversity to overcome', comparable to someone's brother being seriously injured in a car accident or Hurricane Katrina destroying your house. This was a choice MacAlarney made, not an unfortunate occurence.

MacAlarney's ability to hit three-pointers (when it doesn't count...zing!) notwithstanding, please don't tell us what a wonderful kid he is. There are plenty of kids working their butts off to be at Notre Dame who *didn't* try to toss it in the garbage. I'd say they have a leg up in the role model category.

11 March 2008

Just Ask the Chocolate

Things are still a little chaotic. Car is fixed though I'm scared to be in it and just generally need to get my driving mojo back, heat is still iffy (fear of exploding ensues), had a little argument with the insurance company, issues with tournament I pushed my baseball team into, my knees hurt like I'm 50 years old...you get the idea. And while I consider myself a fairly well-adjusted person in general, I'm not oblivious enough to think I'm not also moody, and well, these things pile up.

On an unrelated at first glance note, I keep a bag of Dove dark chocolates at work, you know the kind with the weird sayings on the wrappers? I think the funniest one ever was 'Be your own Valentine'. Recently, I kept one that said 'Keep the promises you make to yourself', which seemed kind of poignant.

Anyway though, I unwrapped one today and it said (drum roll please): 'Don't think so much about it.' Good advice, eh?

02 March 2008

When It Counts

Things that have gone wrong in the past week:
-2 of my car tires had nails in them
-my car broke
-my car broke again (actually it's the same problem, but it was taken to a mechanic in between, so it counts again)
-the circuit board on my furnace that controls the fan crapped out (since fixed, though part of the solution seems to be that it now makes a really high-pitched whine. awesome.)
-my iPod stopped working (since fixed)
-I found a pair of mesh shorts I liked (this is really hard for women, trust me) and the first time I washed it, the stitching came out of the hem
-my cable stopped working (since fixed)
-my CD player inexplicably shorted out (seems to be fine, but had to be reset)

This is a bad week. Really bad. The first time I've ever wished to be 17 again (weren't things easy then? no?)

One moment of clarity though. Last night, I was on my way to see a movie with B, one of those friends who generally means well, but can really get under your skin. I got about 5 miles out on the highway when the car went nuts and revealed that I had given the mechanics $480 to do something I could have done, which is NOT fix the car. I was nervous about the extra RPMs and jerky shifting, but it didn't seem to be in danger of not running at all, so I continued to her house and asked her if she'd drive to the movie and dinner. Ten minutes of venting about how there are no experts anymore and I was free to enjoy the movie (Juno - it was great!).

When we got back to her house, where my car was parked, she said, "Are you sure it will work? Do you want me to follow you?" And right before I opened my mouth to say "I'm sure it will be fine and I have my phone so I can just call you if there's any problem", I looked up and caught her eyes and saw that not only had she offered to follow me 20 miles home, she absolutely would have done it.

How many friends do you think you have that would not only do it, without complaining, if you asked, but would offer on their own? If you have more than a select few, consider yourself very, very lucky