Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Independence, Earning, and Accomplishment

I've been watching this show on VH-1 called "You're Cut Off."  It's about a group of spoiled rich women whose families feel they have taken advantage of the riches of the family.  So, the family has "cut them off."  Throughout the show so far, the women have been expected to do such normal, everyday things as clean the house, go grocery shopping, shop on a budget, interview for a job, and work a job.  These are the things most of us do on a day to day basis without even thinking about it, but to these women writing a resume is "degrading" and cleaning the house is "gross."  Most of the women on the show are completely unlikeable.  I'm not sure if they are posturing in order to attempt to be the next Omarosa (who was a guest star in one of the episodes) or if this is their real personalities, but their attitudes are quite shocking to someone like me who is quite used to working for a living.  Heck, I like to tell the Wendy's employees about my days working at Wendy's back in high school.  They look at me like I'm crazy when I do that, but I had a blast working at Wendy's back in the day. 

It's funny, because on one hand it would be nice to be like the women on the show.  Not having to work, being able to spend thousands of dollars on each shopping spree, never having to go to college, work, or worry about money.  (Because let's face it, most worries fall into the money realm.)  But then again, in watching the latest episode where the women had to write a resume, interview for a job, work, and get a paycheck (for many of them, their first paycheck ever), it occurred to me all of the things that I have that these women do not have:

1)  The feeling of accomplishment of graduating from college;

2)  The feeling of accomplishment of interviewing for and getting my first job after college;

3)  The feeling of accomplishment of buying my very first car with my own money (oh 15th anniversay edition Celica, how I miss you!) that I got due to the offer letter from number 2;

4)  The feeling of accomplishment of getting into and graduating from law school;

5)  The feeling of accomplishment of passing the bar exam;

6)  The feeling of accomplishment of getting a job as an attorney;

7)  The feeling of accomplishment of making partner at my firm in five years;

8)  The feeling of accomplishment of buying my own home, that cost over half a million dollars; and

9)  The feeling of accomplishment of looking at my closet, my car, and my home, and knowing that I did every single bit of it on my own.

There are definitely some things money can't buy.  Paying your own way and doing things on your own is also a feeling money can't buy.  While some of the feelings may be based on something that cost money (i.e. my education cost money, but that "can never be taken away from me," according to my mom, and my car cost money, and my house cost money, but it was MY money, not someone else's money.  I don't have to ask someone if I want to drop $2,000 on a purse, or even stop to think about it.  It's my money.)

Of course, Erica on the show keeps claiming that she is in law school, and she wants to be the next Nancy Grace or a "hot Judge Judy."  Yeah, because (as much as I can't stand Nancy Grace) both of them did nothing in order to get on television, and never worked a day in their life.  God, these girls are so deluded.  I can't really recommend this show because these girls are so unlikeable that the show is hardly even fun to watch.  Interesting, yes.  Fun, not really.  And I hope to see none of them anywhere in any magazine or any paparazzi photo once this show is over.  Their fifteen minutes is hopefully over.   

Friday, June 25, 2010

Toddlers and Tiaras

If you've never watched this show, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Just for the crazy.  Have you ever sat back and looked around your house, thought about your life and the things you obsess about and spend money on and thought you might be a little quirky, or maybe even a little crazy?  Have you?  Well, I have.  For instance, I have way too many books.  Way too many.  As in, when I moved last year, the movers said "another box of books?" and sighed.  They also said "another box of sweaters?" and sighed and "another box of shoes" and sighed, but we won't discuss those obsessions at this time.  My point is, we all have things we like to do and enjoy.  But I can assure you, I am not a hoarder.  (And I'm not in denial like Betty or any of the others; I truly have a place for everything in my home, and it is not the floor.  Well, other than furniture.  And rugs.)

But this show.  Wow.  This show is about people who spend tens of thousands of dollars a year on kiddie pageants.  The money goes to all of the following:  (1) pageant dresses, which are apparently extremely expensive, like at least $500, but more in the $1000 and up range for the high glitz little girls; (2) fake hair (for kids); (3) fake teeth, which are called "flippers," to hide that the kid has lost some of their teeth, as kids tend to do; (4) spray tanning (kids, yes); (5) hair styling and fake hair; (6) makeup; (7) outfits for other categories, like choose your own and things like that, which like (1) can get ridiculously expensive depending on how elaborate you want to go; (8) swimsuits (for kids!) which can run to $300 or more depending on the number of sequins; (9) pageant coaches to teach your child how to do the cupcake pose, the prissy walk, and the pretty feet; (10) dance or other coaches to teach the kid a talent; (11) manicures and facials for the kid (yes, facials on a 5 year old); (12) hotel room where the pageant is being held; (13) gas and food money to get to the pageant; (14) pageant entry fee; and (15) pageant optional entry fees for things like best smile, best hair, etc. 

This is a boatload of money.  The show usually features the mothers sneakily stating how much they spend per year ($10,000 and up, and sometimes way up), while the father states that he has no idea, but probably about $1,000.  Seriously?  These dads are in the dark - well, at least until their episode airs.  The mothers on the show try to justify it as a good investment, but spending $3,000 to win a $500 savings bond is the kind of thinking that got our country into this mortgage mess.  I get that the kid may learn some confidence from standing on a stage in front of a group of people, which is good, but aren't there cheaper ways to give a child that kind of experience?  Because honestly, most of the people the show?  Are not rich, by any means.  They do not appear, in any sense, to have the extra money to spend on this nonsense. 

What strikes me the most about this show is that any kid - no matter how ugly - can look really good when given fake hair, hairstyling, makeup, spray tan, and a pretty dress.  Honestly, some of the little girls they show are not attractive at all "in real life," but once they get all glitzed up, they look pretty good.  And most importantly for pageants, the kid never has to open their mouth and talk (at least on Toddlers and Tiaras), because wow, if the judges could hear some of the grammar and attitude, they might just vote a different way.  The show shows before and after photos of the girls, and some of them are shocking.  You can't even believe it's the same kid.  But that's what make up does, and that's what hairstyling does, and clothes, and that's why models look so good in photo shoots and at fashion shows.  And that is apparently the goal of many of the mothers on this show - to get their kid into modeling, commercials, acting, or the Disney Channel.  I'd say odds are low on that, but then again, I'm not in the business.

This show, though.  You see the claws come out; the dirty looks when another kid wins, the frantic race to be on time, the money spent.  The creepiness of these little girls posing and doing "flirty eyes" with the judges.  It's truly astounding.  I guess I'm too much of a realist.  I look at all the money spent and think it would be better off in a college fund.  However, realistically, none of these girls are going to college.  They are going to repeat the path their mother took, at some low wage, menial job, if any, and put their own daughters through this ridiculousness.  Or maybe they will "marry rich" or become a "trophy wife" or the next "Hanna Montana," which are pretty much the extent of the goals for them from their moms.  (Caveat - at least one episode showed a girl who wanted to be a veterinarian, so kudos to her, and I hope she does it!)

The most interesting thing about the whole kiddie pageant deal, from someone who only knows about it from Toddlers and Tiaras, is that the pageants tend to reward those who spend the most money.  Ostensibly, because if the kid wins, they will continue to enter pageants (and spend more money) for continued wins.  No one does this who doesn't win from time to time, which is why they are frankly so many prizes (trophies and sashes) given to almost everyone who enters.  Each girl they features has a roomful of trophies, sashes, and crowns.  (This is usually one of the first scenes shown on the show.)  Basically, everyone wins something.  Maybe not grand supreme, or grand mini supreme, or what have you, but everyone wins.  And you win once, and you think, maybe you have a chance.  So, you spend more money, buy a better beauty dress, a better optional outfit, spend more money on hair, make up, tanning, and next thing you know, you are in.  One of the saddest episodes I saw was of a little girl who entered her first glitz pageant, and she was quite adorable, but her mother was unsure about the whole glitz thing (because the the creepy spray tanning and cost), and they gave her a "Most Potential" award.  She was adorable and had potential, I agree, but it seemed like such a ploy to get the mother to spend more money in entering her in more glitz pageants.  And the mother seemed thrilled that she got the award.  I suspect they made that award up in order to reel her in, but that's just my opinion. 

Seriously, though,  watch this show if you want to feel better about your own obsessions, because anything you do and spend your money on cannot be worse than this. 




Taste of Hell

Well, the Taste of Chicago starts today. I like to refer to it as the Taste of Hell. For anyone unaware, the Taste of Chicago is a yearly event whereby food vendors peddle their wares in Grant Park for ten days. I will not be going this year.

I have been to the Taste of Chicago twice. This is what you get: (a) enormous crowds; (b) blistering heat; (c) children everywhere; (d) gangs; (e) you have to buy your food with tickets, which means first you have to wait in line to exchange your money for tickets, and then you have to wait in line again to get your food; (f) expensive; (g) attempting to juggle your food while you navigate the crowds until you can find a place to enjoy your food before it either gets cold, gets hot, or melts; (h) enormous crowds. Did I mention the crowds? People are everywhere, walking in all different directions. Attempting to walk ten or twenty feet can take 20 minutes.

In short, it’s hell. I don’t understand why it is such a big deal every year, and why so many people go. Not to mention the threat of violence, which appears to be getting worse with each passing year. People are regularly arrested at the Taste with guns and knives. Shootings have occurred over the past couple of years. The city writes it off to “business as usual” when you have a crowd that large. I personally prefer to avoid it all together. 

But don't let me dissuade you.  If you've never been, you should definitely go at least once.  My prayers are with you. 

School Sanctioned Begging?

Regularly in front of the CVS where I frequently shop due to its proximity to my apartment there are two or three possibly middle school aged kids clutching a laminated piece of paper and asking for money for new baseball/football/basketball uniforms. They are there all the time, but it is never the same kids (at least I don’t recognize them). It’s possible they rotate between drugstores. These kids are hard core about it, i.e. they don’t seem to be kids embarrassed to be out shilling for money. I had one chase me across the parking lot the other day. (I wasn’t even going into CVS; I was simply cutting through the parking lot.) Ignoring the “ma’am, ma’am” didn’t help me at all. (Note to kid: If you want money, do not call me ma’am.) He ran right in front of my path so I had to stop and talk to him.

Sports uniforms are the type of thing for which I would have no problem donating money. Yet every time one of these kids comes at me, I wonder whether they are for real, or if it is a scam. Call me cynical, but are schools really sending kids out simply asking for donations? That seems odd to me. Back when I was in middle school and high school and we needed funds for various sport related things, we had a car wash, or we sold candy at school, or we sold other crap, or we did other types of fundraisers. We actually did something for the money.  We never stood out in front of a store and simply asked for money, with the only proof being a laminated (yet still crinkled) sheet of paper filled with misspellings that purports to serve as the proof of officialness of the endeavor.

I suppose I could stop, write down the name of the school, put a call in, make sure it is on the up and up, and then make a donation through other means, but this seems like a lot of work on my end to make a donation I had no intention of making prior to taking a trip to CVS. And frankly, I’m tired of being asked for money every time I leave the house. There was a woman in front of the Walgreen’s by my office yesterday sitting on the corner with her daughter, who appeared to be around 7, asking people for money. She had brought a chair with her and everything. Ten feet beyond her there was another guy holding out a cup. Ten feet beyond him, another. I am not making this up. Visit the Loop during the day and you’ll see what I mean. It simply gets exhausting to deal with, and honestly I barely hear them anymore.

But back to the begging kids. I never know what to do with these guys. Even if they are scamming, I give them credit for standing out there all day. But if they are scamming, I don’t want to give them money. If they aren’t, I do want to give them money. Unfortunately, an attempt to find out all of the more official information could (a) piss the kid off if he isn’t on the up and up; and (b) take some time. Neither option is particularly appealing. So, what do I generally do? Generally (and I’m being honest here) I tell the kid I’m sorry and go on my merry way. Occasionally (i.e., if I’m in a really good mood), I might give him a buck or two.

But seriously, schools, if you are sanctioning begging you should be ashamed of yourselves.  Make these kids do some work for their money. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicago's Wonderful City Workers

I’m utterly annoyed with the city of Chicago.

Sometime around the second week in May, the city decided it was time to put in wheelchair accessible curbs at the corner of my block. My condo complex sits on the corner of Street A and Street B, in the interests of retaining my privacy, and not broadcasting to the world exactly where I live. I will just say this: it’s on the north side, and it’s initials are LP.

The city workers arrived during a day that I was at work and tore out the sidewalk at the corner. As part of this destruction, they removed two knee high iron fences that we have which separate the sidewalk from our flower gardens on Street A and Street B. (Apparently our flower gardens are on what is known as the Devil’s Strip. I love Google.) The two fences they removed are approximately ten feet long, and have been there for probably 20 years, when the complex was built. Additionally, we had some brick laid next to the sidewalk (patio-like), and half of that has been torn out, and there was dirt everywhere. Quite a mess.

The city workers left the two gates laying on the sidewalk. I remember seeing this sometime around the time they were put there, and thought to myself “Gee, those are going to get stolen.” Of course in my laziness I did nothing about it. I mean, if I moved them into our inner courtyard would the city workers be able to find them and put them back in? Who do I even contact to tell them I’m moving them? At any rate, I figured we’d have fresh, new cement within a week or two, and surely the hooligans of Chicago could contain themselves that long.

Six weeks passed, and the corner remained torn up.

Surprising to no one, one of our fences walked away. (Who steals a 10 foot long iron fence? Seriously.) So now, according to our alderman, we have to file a claim with the city which could take 3-6 months to resolve. Does anyone really think the city of Chicago is going to reimburse us for this fence? Show of hands, please.

Even more annoying, the city workers have now apparently cemented the corner, but they left the bricks torn out, left the other fence laying in the flower beds, and essentially left the corner a mess. I can’t tell if they are coming back or not yet, but I presume they are because there still needs to be some cement poured at the base of the accessibility ramp. But will they put in our other fence and repair the brick they tore up? I’m not going to hold my breath.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Classier, More Sophisticated American Apparel

 Gawker has exposed the grooming code and other various hiring requirements of American Apparel. Apparently American Apparel is seeking to move into a “more sophisticated, expensive, classy, direction.” They describe this direction as ““Classy-Vintage-Chique-Late 80’s-Early 90’s-Ralph Lauren-Vogue-Nautical-High end brand [sic]” at the latter link.

I’m not entirely sure what this means. It appears that they took a bunch of different types of styles, dropped them into a hat, pulled out nine and decided that would be the new direction. Also, is “chique” really a word? Do they mean “chic”? And isn’t Vogue an entire magazine? They couldn’t come up with anything more focused than that? What an amalgamation of crap.

I find all of this pretty hilarious, because I hate American Apparel. I do not understand the appeal of a store entirely full of items made of jersey or spandex, not to mention the many items in the store that require instructions on how to wear. The last time I was in American Apparel (there is one right by my house, so I wander in occasionally), the shelves were stocked with shine/glittery tights-to-be-worn-as-pants, shorts that looked like 1980s track shorts, and the usual array of t-shirts, jersey dresses, and jersey skirts. The store was basically a 2010 version of Rave. (If you don’t remember Rave, it was a popular store back in the late 80s, early 90s.) With the above, they appear to have acknowledge that this was the wrong direction to go; although, I’m not sure the new direction is any more clear.

I mean, this doesn’t exactly scream “sophisticated, expensive, and classy” does it?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Definitions of Common Annoying Expressions Used on Discussion Forums

I love reading the comments after news articles, and various other discussion forums, on pretty much any topic. It’s such an interesting cross section of people and views. When I want to put my finger on the pulse of the nation, that’s where I go. Throughout my extensive reading, I’ve stumbled upon the most annoying expressions used regularly by people in their discussions on the Internet. This is my interpretation of their meaning, which is based on a vast and in depth study:   

Sour grapes – you just posted something I don’t agree with

Mind you – I’m about to make an excuse

TIA – I’m too lazy to go search for the [link, comment, discussion, article, video, or photograph] myself

Advise – I really mean “advice” but I fell asleep during English class many years ago

Rediculous – Ditto, but I mean “ridiculous”

God bless – Fuck you

IMO – I just made that up and have no idea whether or not it is true, but let's just pretend it is

Neocon – you just posted something I don’t agree with

Plop – a silly waste of bandwidth

Oh, Obama. Why must you curse?

It's been all over the news that Obama is looking for "whose ass to kick" regarding the big oil spill in the Gulf.  In fact, here is the video of him saying it. 

This makes me sad.  Why is the President of the United States swearing in an interview?  Is he trying to emphasize his anger?  Can't he do that through actions, or even different wording?  Was "ass to kick" really the best way to phrase what he was going to do about the situation?  Does he now condone a good asskicking or other form of violence?  Was this written on the teleprompter, or is this what Obama comes up with when he speaks off the cuff?

It's like Obama watched the MTV Movie Awards and deduced that kids these days (aka the ones will will vote for him in 2012) think swearing is cool, so now Obama wants to be cool, too, so he swore.  (In cased you missed the MTV Movie Awards, there was an unbelievable amount of swearing.  After awhile, it just seemed really pathetic.)

Fail.  You're the President.  Have some respect for the office you hold.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My God, Do I Hate Sookie

 I’m talking, of course, about True Blood. I’ve hated Sookie since the first episode (with Bill running a very close second), yet some of the other characters and storylines interested me, so I kept watching the show. I’m finally caught up through the end of Season 2, all ready for the Season 3 premiere next week.

Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ is the name of the Season 2 finale episode, and my God was Sookie ever annoying. Worse even than usual. Leading up to the episode, Sookie, for the hundredth time, has done the complete opposite of what Bill asked her to do and gone back to her Gram’s house to try and save the day. So let’s see, how did the episode go with respect to Sookie?

Sookie is at her Gram’s house, and has come face to face with a giant egg. Lafayette and Tara are under Maryann’s spell, and it takes at least the combination of glamouring from a vampire + Sookie’s telepathy to get someone out of this spell. This was already established in a previous episode. Sookie knows this. Yet she yells “Tara! Tara!” as if Tara is going to snap out of it, and also tries to talk it out of Lafayette. Shockingly, it does not work. Then Lafayette asks her to put on some stupid white dress, and she does. (I mean, who would try to run in a situation like this?) Then she comes face to face with Maryann.

Maryann is happy to see her, and is wearing Gram’s wedding dress. This pisses Sookie off. (Moreso even than Maryann’s taking over of the town.) Keep in mind that Sookie can’t really do anything to Maryann other than yell at her. This she does for awhile. She then says “I will not let this happen.” What the hell is she going to do? Whenever she gets into any sort of trouble she screams and then Bill is there to save the day. This girl is a complete moron.

Maryann asks Sookie to do this electricity thing she did to her the last time they saw each other, and Sookie tells her she can’t. (Duh, right? Maybe at least try to pretend that you can defeat Maryann with the electrical powers.) But then she tries to do it and fails. Maryann demonstrates to her that she is not a human being because Maryann can’t put Sookie under her spell. Sookie says “I’m a waitress. What the fuck are you?” Stupid, stupid line. Anna Paquin delivers it terribly. They then have a boring discussion about God.

Sookie then leaps to the conclusion that Maryann wants to marry Sam. Maryann quickly disabuses her of this notion, and Sookie finally realizes that Sam is to be the sacrifice, and that she is the bait to get Sam there. Why does every man on this show love this girl? I don’t get it. She has absolutely no redeeming qualities and a terrible sense of fashion. Maryann then puts a wreath of leaves on Sookie’s head. End of conversation. A whole lot of talk from a girl who “WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!”

So, Maryann and the other women all start licking blood off the egg. They tell Sookie to do it, and she does. But then Sookie tells Maryann “She will not be part of anything so evil” and “She will go to the police.” This is the dumbest girl on the planet. The police are all outside with black eyes, and Sookie is just sitting there. She hasn’t even tried to leave. They all go outside. Meanwhile, Bill shows up with Sam, and tells Maryann he will trade Sam for Sookie. Sookie freaks out. (Again, does she not have the sense to think maybe Bill and Sam might have a plan?) Lots of screaming and crying ensues. “Bill, you can’t let her kill Sam!” Seriously? Bill tells her to trust him.

So, Maryann starts the big Bacchus/Dionysius ceremony. Sookie screams when Sam is brought out. (So much for trust.) Sookie screams “Sam, use your gift.” Bill tells her to “use yours.” Eggs stabs Sam in the chest. Sookie screams some more. (Has she fucking forgotten that Bill can heal people? God, what an idiot.) Then Sookie starts crying and Sam starts talking to her through his mind. He tells her to “destroy it.” So, then she gets pissed off, breaks the egg and knocks over the big bull totem meat thing.

Maryann gets pissed. So she starts her shaking thing and all the people start screaming and grabbing their ears. This doesn’t affect Sookie since she is so special. Sookie yells “You’re hurting them!” (I think that’s the point, dumbass.) However, this is enough to make Maryann stop. She dips her hands in the ground and they turn into big claws. Finally this is enough to make Sookie run. She screams “help” as she runs. (“Help” from who? Oh, that’s right, Bill. Jesus Christ.) Maryann chases her.

So, a big old bull looking thing comes out of the trees. Shocker, it’s Sam. He sticks his horn into Maryann and pulls out her heart, killing her. Sookie comes running over to Sam and says “He killed you!” (God, has she even been watching the show?) Then Bill comes stumbling out of the woods, depleted, since he let Sam drink his blood to heal him. Sookie hugs Bill. Bill then apologizes to Sookie “I’m sorry that I worried you.” First, Sookie shouldn’t have even been at Gram’s house. Second, he told her to trust him. It’s not his fault she’s a fucking moron.

Then Tara and Jason wander over and look at Maryann’s body. Sookie then orders the massively weak Bill to “bury the body,” tells Jason and Sam to “get everybody home.” (Why does everyone listen to her?) Sookie then assures Tara that “it’s over.” Please, it’s only 27 minutes into the episode.

Thankfully, we don’t see Sookie again for 5 minutes (at least in the foreground). She’s looking for Bill. Tara apologizes to her for letting Maryann into the house. Sookie hugs her and tells her they are family, and tomorrow they are going to clean the house. Sweet. Sookie then goes to the bedroom and finds Bill, and cheesy lines ensue: “How long until sunrise?” “41 minutes.” “Hold me for 40?” Sure, because he can get back to his coffin in one minute.

Next time we see Sookie, she’s at work. Sam asks her to watch the bar for a couple of days. Sookie wants to thank him for what he did, blah, blah. She hugs Sam. Then some lady shows up with a gift bag for Sookie. She runs outside to open it, and inside is a super ugly purple dress from Bill, with a note for her to wear it that evening. Uh oh, this can’t be good. Then Eggs interrupts her and complains about his lack of memory about what he did. Sookie doesn’t want to tell him, but of course he convinces her. She holds his hands and tries to get inside his mind. “Let me in!” Dork. He remembers killing the psychic woman and tearing out her heart, and freaks out. Sookie tells him “That wasn’t you!” Eggs runs off.

Bill takes Sookie out to dinner. He rented out the entire restaurant. Oh God, this is turning into a freaking soap opera. They then start to dance in the middle of the restaurant to country music. Bill still looks extremely creepy. I mean, yes, he’s a vampire, but Eric looks hot. Bill looks like he has malaria. We cut back to them, and Bill hands Sookie a plane ticket to Vermont. He then hands Sookie a box with a ring in it and asks her to marry him. Sookie freaks out. She can’t say yes. Anna Paquin overdoes it. Sookie runs to the bathroom in tears. It’s quite a rock. She puts it on and looks at herself in the mirror. That gets her smiling. Then she goes back out yelling “YES” but Bill is gone. Someone has kidnapped him. Oh, darn. THE END.

I can’t even believe I just wrote such a long post about a character I despise.

Can I Borrow Your Lighter?

Every day, without fail, someone asks to borrow my lighter.

Walking down the street, standing outside of my building on a break - Every Single Day.

It's not that I mind lending my lighter out.  I have about a hundred, because the proprietor of the party store near my old apartment used to give me a free lighter every time I was in the store.  And they always hand it right back to me, so it's no big deal.

At least it shouldn't be.  I don't know why it is annoying me so much today.  Maybe it's because I watched three episodes of 16 & Pregnant yesterday and ended up getting completely depressed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Things Not to Do as a Summer Associate

I went for option two, and two of our summer associates on probation soon to possibly be full timers showed up.  One I like; the other I can't stand.  Here's what he did last night:

1.  Stayed out with us until 2 a.m. even though he had bar review class early this morning.  This just isn't impressive to me.  Although,I secretly hope he will fail the bar.

2.  Dismissed any and all advice I tried to give him about working at the firm.  Note:  I am a partner and have worked at this firm for many years.  I know who to work with, what to do, and how to make people like you.  This kid is so conceited that he thinks he knows more than I do about what to do.  Fail.

3.  Got so drunk he almost got into a fight.

I won't have to see this kid again (I hope) until August.  (For reasons unexplained, he is not working part time in June.  This is bizarre to me.  He should be working and kissing everyone's ass in the place.)  I hope he takes an office on another floor so I don't have to see him at all once he starts.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sex in the City 2 versus the Chicago Blackhawks versus My Couch

I have a few different options for this evening:

1) Go to see Sex and the City 2 with my girlfriends;

2) Go to watch the Blackhawks game at a divey sportsbar with some co-workers;

3) Stay home, watch Golden Girls DVDs, and get drunk by myself.

To be clear, option number 1 is not even in the running. The last movie I saw in the theatres was The Dark Night, and the only reason I went to see it was because I was in San Jose on business and had nothing better to do. San Jose is not exactly a hopping town.  I used to go to the movies all the time when I was in my 20s; now I pretty much never go to the movie theatre. I just pay for the Premier package on my Direct TV and wait for the movies to show up on cable. Not only do I not have to leave my house and deal with the masses, but it’s a better deal overall. I’m not sure how this transition occurred, or if I’m just getting lazier (or cheaper) in my old age, but I no longer have the burning desire to sit in a packed theatre.

Plus, I didn’t even enjoy the first Sex in the City movie, so why would I want to see them run around in the Middle East in four inch heels?

The second option is much more appealing, and much more my style. This is what I will probably end up doing, even though option three arguably sounds the best. You know you are getting old when staying home sounds like the best option. But now I’m sort of stuck, since one of my co-workers just called me to make sure I was going to do the sports bar thing. So, now I have to show up. That gives me an hour and a half to go to the grocery store, stop off at home to change clothes and eat something, and get to the bar. And let’s face it – it isn’t every day that the Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup playoffs, so I might as well go out on the town and watch. After all, I can always go home early.

In the meantime, I need to get out of here!

And this was the best news I heard all day. Who doesn’t love a baby zebra?

City Stickers in Chicago

The city sticker is by far one of the biggest scams in the city of Chicago.

This is a sticker that you must buy if you live in the city of Chicago and have a vehicle. Said sticker must be affixed to the bottom right hand corner of the windshield. The sticker costs $75 for the average vehicle.  Once a year, in June, you must buy a new city sticker.

I don't know what the purpose of this sticker is, other than to pour more money into the city coffers.  I never park my car on the street.  My car is either parked in my garage at home or in the parking structure across the street from my office.  Occasionally you might find it in the parking lot of the Dominick's at Division and North Clybourn.  My car is registered in the state and city; why do I need to pay another fee?

Because I rarely drive, my vehicle is almost never in a location where I can get ticketed for not having a sticker - except when I go to the airport.  Leaving my car at O'Hare for a few days has resulted in two tickets for lack of a city sticker.  (In my defense, even though I've lived here for nine years, I didn't realize I needed a city sticker until I got a ticket for not having one.  My bad, guess I should've looked it up.)  It's insanely ridiculous to me that cops are trolling the parking garage at O'Hare to give people tickets for no city sticker.  Don't they have anything better to do?  You know, like deal with the shootings in Uptown or at North Avenue beach?

So, since it's June I need to renew my city sticker.  (After the second ticket, I broke down and bought one, but I never did end up putting it on my car window.  Maybe I won't even bother renewing and roll the dice with the ticket.)  Of course, I can't renew it until the city mails me my renewal information.  I'd rather just do it now, because I know I'm going to forget to do it later.  Come on, Chicago! 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

RIP Rue McClanahan

Rue McClanahan has died of a stroke at the age of 76.  In her honor, a link to one of my favorite Golden Girls moments involving Blanche Devereaux:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Drinks With The Guys

It's always a little strange to go out for drinks with a huge group of male co-workers.  I am an attorney, and I work in a predominantly male field of attorneyism, patent law.  Patent law is male dominated because most patent attorneys have engineering or hard science degrees.  For some reason, it is mostly men who get these degrees.  I got one, and here I am.  So, there aren't many female attorneys at my firm, much less female partners, like myself.  Yet, I like -- and have always liked -- sports, beers, and going to bars.  Most of my female attorney cohorts either are in a serious relationship or do not like to do these things.  So, I get along quite well with my male co-workers, even though they are men.  In fact, I like the men better than I like the women, for the most part.

I'm not quite sure why I feel this way, but when I'm out with two or three of my male co-workers, it's all fine because it's a small group.  But add three or four more male co-workers to the mix, and then I feel a bit weird about it.  It's like this -- I, the only female, am out and about at a sports bar with seven or eight men.  Big deal, right?  But then I start thinking too much, like I tend to do, and I wonder whether or not I'm normal.  Most of the groups at the bars are groups of women, groups of men, or groups of fairly equally divided men and women.  Not a large group of men and one woman.  This is not a situation where I have any hope of picking up a men -- I am hugely cockblocked.  Nor am I necessarily seeking to find a man when I am having fun with my co-workers.  Yet, I somehow wonder whether they all think that I should be home, married, tending to children, as all of their wives are doing while they are all at the bar with me.  But I view these guys as my friends -- not close friends, but friends nonetheless.  We've all enjoyed many a drink or bitch session together. 

And it's all okay now, because I am still somewhat in the younger range.  I'm 35, not 40, not 50.  I feel like they get it when I tell them I have no interest in getting married, but at the same time I wonder if they truly believe me.  Because what I say is true, and has been true since I was 21 years old.  I don't want to get married.  I've found that I'm happiest when I am not with a man, and three long term relationships has taught me this.  If I were a single man, it would be no big deal.  But I'm not, nor do I want to be a man.  I like wearing high heels, dresses, and wearing makeup.  How boring to be a man.  But the male co-workers I go out with are all in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, and they all still like to drink and hang out.  Will I still be able to do that when I am their age, or will I be viewed as an old broad trying to reclaim my youth?  Why shouldn't I be able to do what they do?  It's all so complicated.

I thought I had a point to make, but apparently I don't...just pontificating here, I guess.         

Paying for Useless Majors

There's an article in the New York Times that once again solidifies for me that no one wants to take any responsibility for their own decisions these days.  The article is called "Placing the Blame as Students are Buried in Debt" and it profiles the story of Cortney Munna, who has racked up $97,000 in student loan debt after four years at NYU.  Now that she's got the degree and has borrowed the money, it suddenly occurred to her that she has to pay it back.  With the economy being what it is, she has had trouble finding work.  The article goes on to ask who is at fault for giving her so much money?  The school?  The government?  Citibank?  Herself?

After getting near the end of the entire two page article, I finally found the information I was looking for:
She recently received a raise and now makes $22 an hour working for a photographer. It’s the highest salary she’s earned since graduating with an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women’s studies. After taxes, she takes home about $2,300 a month. Rent runs $750, and the full monthly payments on her student loans would be about $700 if they weren’t being deferred, which would not leave a lot left over.

Emphasis added by me.  She's now making about $27,600 a year after taxes.  My question to Ms. Munna is:  what did you expect to make with a degree in religious and women's studies?  Did you think that was going to be a high earning degree?  Being a math and science person, I've never understood why people spend so much money on degrees that are essentially useless in the real world.  Here's an idea, if you are interested in religion and women's studies, read books, attend lectures, and make it your hobby.  When it comes to a major, go for accounting, math, computer science, business, or engineering.

And of course now she wants a do-over:
Ms. Munna understands this tough love, buck up, buckle-down advice. But she also badly wants to call a do-over on the last decade. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back,” she said. “It feels wrong to me.”     
Well, it feels wrong to me that you were even able to get a college degree from NYU when you didn't have the intelligence to consider how you were going to pay the loans back, or the intelligence to choose a major that would enable you to pay the loans back. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reality TV Does Not Mean Acting Dreams

After seeing this TMZ video of The Situation (from the fabulously trashy Jersey Shore) asserting that he wants to parlay his fifteen minutes into an acting career, a question occurred to me. Legions of reality television “stars” have expressed this exact goal, but has anyone ever successfully done this? 

I started with the cast of the horrible movie The Scorned. This was a movie that aired on television back in 2005, which “starred” a host of former reality television “stars.” Allegedly nearly all of them hoped to become real actors and actresses. Remember Toni Ferrari from Paradise Hotel? She desperately wanted to become a serious actress. So did much of the rest of the cast, which included Trishelle Cannatella from The Real World, Jenna Morasca from Survivor, Reichen Lehmkuhl from The Amazing Race, Tonya Cooley from The Real World, and many others.

So, what have all of them been up to as far as acting? Toni Ferrari is playing The Hitchhiker in the 2009 movie Mutilation Mile. Jenna Morasca is doing casting on such quality MTV and VH1 television shows as The Girls of Hedsor Hall and Tool Academy. She’s also apparently in a couple of small movies in 2009. Tonya Cooley has done nothing more than appear on The Real World/Road Rules Challenges in recent years. Trishelle Cannatella played Courtney in Ninja Cheerleaders back in 2008 and guest starred on Criminal Minds back in 2006. Reichen was on five episodes of Dante’s Cove back in 2007. Many other of the cast have done no acting since The Scorned scorched our eyeballs five years ago.

Who else was desperately seeking an acting career? Tiffany Pollard, a.k.a. New York, from Flavor of Love is playing Mrs. Jones in Memories of My Melancholy Whores this year. Schatar Sapphira, a.k.a. Hottie, from Flavor of Love is playing Scuttle Butt Dancer in this year’s wildly anticipated Glass Heels. I could go on. IMDB shows that the majority of reality television stars might appear in small roles in a few movies no one has ever heard of, but that’s about the extent of it.

Indeed, the only person I can find who seems to have done remotely anything with an acting career is Jacinda Barrett, from The Real World: London. You’d think by now, given the track record, that aspiring actors and actresses would realize that reality tv does not equal an acting career. The Situation is likely better off marketing a workout video, telling us all how to get those abs.