Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dixie Bound

I'm seeing the Dixie Chicks live this w/e. Yeehaw!! (That seems appropriate... ah, who am I kidding; I always say that). I'm so PSYCHED! (I'm dating myself... what can I say? I'm a child of the 80s). I've been listening to their albums for a month in anticipation, and I'm ready to sing every song with them (harmony of course). And especially my favorite karaoke song, "There's Your Trouble."

And then I get to support the Chicks and help them rage against the machine. Okay... bad music reference. Sorry. But, people who previously liked them but now don't b/c of the whole George Bush thing? Get a brain. It's called free speech people. It doesn't mean that they aren't proud to be American-- remember the whole America being built on freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the like?

If you haven't heard the new album-- take a listen... a REAL listen. It will make you think. God forbid.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Love John C. Reilly

If you don't know who he is, don't worry you will... so says the Hollywood media. But if you really don't know who he is, sad to be you. One of the most talented actors ever. While everything he does is worth seeing, my favorite of all time was he and Philip Seymour Hoffman (who, before last year's "Capote" Academy Award win, you probably didn't know who he was either-- again, sad to be you) on Broadway in an amazing reivial of "True West," a two-man, "good brother, bad brother" play, where they switched roles-- every night. The original production cast John Malkovich and Gary Sinese. Big shoes to fill (I wish that I could have seen THAT), and they did so brilliantly.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Randomness Outloud

1) Netflixed the movie, "Stay." Had never heard of it, but the cast was interesting and eclectic (Ewan McGregor, Kate Burton, Naomi Watts, Bob Hoskins, Janeane Garofolo, Ryan Gosling), so I thought, why not? Well, turns out there's a reason why I had never heard of the movie. If anyone can tell me what it was about, please do.

2) Was channel surfing and came across, "America's Got Talent." Glorified "Gong Show" without the 70s kitch... and does Regis Philbin really need any more publicity? But there was one act: "
At Last" (I found them on My Space!) that was actually good. Okay, so it might be that I'm a tad bit partial to a cappella... but even better? They're Asian! Asian rock-a-pella (or as they define themselves, "hip-hopapella." Heehee). All you a cappella geeks out there will understand... Tommy Pyun, where are you? YOU are the only Asian a cappella stud that I know... (in case you were thinking, "my god! Tell me how to buy that album!", don't. There are instruments...sacreligious!)

3) If you shower at night and put your wet hair up in a towel and then do the dishes, you can dry your wet hands with the towel in your hair. Very multitask-ish / multipurpose-ish.

Sleep well.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Beautiful Sundays

If you know me; or read this blog ever, you'll know that Sunday is my favorite day. I love, love, love Sunday. I get to sleep late (errr... which for me, is 7:30-- but today it was 8!!), drink my favorite earl grey creme tea (from argo) over the NYT. And the perk of all perks today? 78 degrees, sunny and NO HUMIDITY.

Ahhhh... since we didn't have a Spring, it's the kind of day you want to jump up and down over. So, after my tea and a quick scan of the paper, I was off on a walk.

I walk a lot... I've never owned a car, so the downside (and I guess, luxury) is I get to walk everywhere. I tend to wake up early on weekends and go for a walk when the weather is nice. Usually it's nearby (to Argo or Starbucks...), but today I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous day and embark on a 7+ mile walk.

I live in a beautiful neighborhood... definitely the prettiest I've ever lived in. Sure, I loved Queens, but it's no Gold Coast, that's for sure. I live a block from Lincoln Park (for all intents and purposes, it's Chicago's answer to Central Park... it even has a zoo...), and a block from Lake Michigan. I never take advantage of it, so today, I did. I started North through the park, past the zoo, the boathouse (where I'm taking sculling lessons next month) and past multiple children's playgrounds. I then cut over to the Lake and walked South.

It was great people-watching; People there to work out (it was packed)-- running, rollerblading, biking. Then there were the sunbathers, bikini-clad volleyball players, and people being seen to be seen. Best of all, the AVP was in Chicago this week-- meaning, lots of hot boys... err, volleyball players... I know, I know... "beaches" in the middle of the country. But seriously-- there are beaches. I know-- I play beach volleyball every Wednesday. Sand and all.

I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes we all get caught up in life and forget to stop, take a breath, and appreciate what we have-- right in front of us. Today I got to do just that. Another great Sunday.

Friday, July 21, 2006


I'm one of those certifiably insane people who actually like the dentist. I like getting my teeth cleaned-- the plaque scraped off, my gums debrided, flouride treatments and polishing alike. I've never been one of those people to dread the bi-annual visit.

That is, of course, because I've never really had to worry about it. Sure-- I had the occasional cavity, which I diligently had filled (and yes-- the drill DOES bother me). But in general, I have great dental hygiene habits-- I floss daily (sometimes twice a day, once after lunch-- at my desk. Yeah; my co-workers LOVE me) and I brush after every meal. That's why, imagine my surprise last year, when the dentist told me I had four cavities.

Hmm. A red flag should have been raised given that the shady, ghetto managed-care dental office (freaking HMOs) was in the basement of a Sears in downtown Chicago. But I thought, hey-- it's in my insurance provider directory; it's clean; and there's (mostly) normal-looking people working here (I overlooked the not-always-functioning equipment thing). And lo and behold, my naivete got the better of me once again, and a-racin' downhill we went. Emergency room visit for a root canal and near law suit later, I landed myself at Water Tower Dental.

The Park Avenue of dentists, Water Tower Dental is comprised of cosmetic dentists-- so they actually view your teeth as art-- and want to make sure their creations best reflect, well, them. But after my first experience, I was willing to shell out the bucks. Sure, they had to replace the four fillings that the ghetto dentist had filled the year before (since that dentist hadn't entirely removed the original silver fillings he was replacing). Along with that, there was the crown over the root canal tooth, two partial reconstructions of fractured molars (that would have eventually needed to pulled if ignored); and three (or four?) fillings on top of that. Ouch. Three months and nearly $7K later (because even though I switched to a PPO, the lotto dentist is out of network and my might-as-well-not-have-insurance-plan has a $1500 calendar year max), my teeth look like a million bucks.

I have to say, though-- I didn't really mind shelling out the money, even though my savings took a huge hit. In addition to being state-of-the-art (they take digital photos and xrays of each tooth and load them into their computer system AND send you a text message and email reminder of your visits,
for God's sake), they are seriously some of the nicest people I have ever met.

In a sick, "My Town" kind of way, they've become friends-- There's Diana, the first person I met, who made me feel immediately at home with her affable and comforting nature; Tiffany, my hygienist, just had a baby girl who I saw pictures of at my last visit; Catherine, the coordinator, is on her way to superstardom, having just had her headshots done and shopping for an agent; Andrea, the dental assistant, is joining my weekly beach volleyball team; and Dr. Anesko-- who has the best bedside manner of any physician I've ever met, aside from my dear Dr. Dempster of course, gave me a "graduation gift" at my last visit (not to mention, you can't even feel the shots when he's administering them)-- a replacement head for my sonic care and a mug. Plus, they send handwritten thank you cards and reminded me that I should stop in to have coffee with them since they won't see me until my cleaning in November.

Maybe it is all about business... being nice is certainly the way to incent me to patronize their business. As G so cynically made clear, I should get a framed photograph of the staff on the boat I helped finance (just kidding-- there's not really a boat; at least I don't think there is...). But something tells me that there are still good in people in the world... people who want to help others, and who do so genuinely, without ulterior motives. I think the staff at Water Tower Dental are those type of people.

So if you are in Chicago-- and even if aren't, but value your teeth and are willing to travel for them, these are your people. I will not trust my smile to anyone else.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


It's been so long since I've had a good WTF that I thought I'd give it prime real estate today (it hasn't changed on my sidebar in a few months... and for those who didn't know I updated the sidebar-- I UPDATE THE SIDEBAR). Da-da-da-daaaaa:
Cruise Ship Lists Heavily; Injuries Reported
A cruise ship listed heavily on its way to New York on Tuesday, injuring some passengers, Coast Guard officials said.
This was the headline and lead-in for a NBC news alert that just came across my e-mail.

Ummm.... "listed heavily?"

For all of you non-sailors, it means, "to roll to one side, typically because of a leak or unbalanced cargo," (I looked it up) as in, "The Titanic listed heavily after careening into an iceberg the size of Rhode Island."

In this case (according to the article), the ship "s
uddenly rolled heavily to the left..."


Hello!? Mainstream, television news, people. Commonfolk watch/read this stuff.

Then again, it did make me read the stupid article.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Valley Girls, Represent!

Of course this week's travel feature (okay-- feature may be stretching it, but it was on the front page of the Sunday NYT Travel section, in any case) on the San Fernando Valley (affectionally known as "THE" Valley, as NYC is known as "THE" City-- because there is no other that could possibly stand up to it...) was one not to be missed. I'll let you read the article for yourselves however, anyone who has any ties to this great and magical corner of the world will surely get a kick out of it.

Apparently, The Valley is making a play for the new LA hot spot. Clubs are cropping up on Ventura Boulevard (Iest we forget Tom Petty's refrain, "... and all the vampires walkin' through The Valley move west down Ventura Blvd...) ala Sunset Blvd, making bars actually "hoppable" without getting into your car (don't scoff, you New Yorkers). Of course, the article fails to touch on the getting home after the hopping... but we'll overlook it.

And celebrities aren't ignoring it either. Nick and Jessica famously made their [broken and slightly dysfunctional] home there (well, in Calabasas, but that counts by "Valley" vs. "Westside" standards). And then there was Scotty from Star Trek (in Van Nuys, no less!), Christian Slater (lived down the street from my friend, Beth), and the best example of all? Beverly Hill's ultimate poster child, Tori Spelling, presently calls The Valley (Studio City to be exact) home.

Ah... The Valley. My home of homes. The picture is the best, though-- it's the corner of Vesper and Ventura (I'm totally guessing on that intersection, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong); La Reina was an old movie theater (way before my time) and the facade has been preserved for posterity. The building used to be "La Reina Gap" because there was a Gap and BR there. Now it's a Starbucks. If that's not a text book example of gentrification, I don't know what is.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Another Reason Not to Watch Movies Late at Night

If you haven't seen "The Notebook," DON'T WATCH IT.

Not b/c it's some cheesy, typical Hollywood-ish love story where they all live happily ever after, but because it's heartbreaking, and gives a glimpse of the life cycle of what the happily ever after actually means.

I started crying 10 minutes into the 2 hour movie, and the waterworks DID NOT STOP through its entirety. And not just little sniffles here and there. Full fledged sobbing. For 110 minutes.

I'm definitely losing it in my old(er) age.

Friday, July 14, 2006

What NOT To Do When You Can't Sleep

Watch Poltergeist III.

Yes-- a terrible, terrible excuse for a horror movie (but that first one-- boy, was that a pee-in-your-pants scary movie). But that little kid (and I hate to say it, b/c she died a tragic death shortly before this movie wrapped, and they had to use a blond-wigged stand-in) is freaking scary.

But Tom Skerrit and Lara Flynn Boyle (pre-scary anorexic phase)? Some of their best work.


After nearly three weeks of nonstop travel, I'm finally back and internet-enabled. Yahoo! But I have to say, after being in a plethora of airports, and given the amount of travel that I do on a semi-regular basis, what I don't get is how people don't know what their luggage looks like.

While I know that airports around the country (and world, no doubt) post warning signs of "baggage look-alikes," come on, people. It's not that hard.

On the last three flights that I've taken (in a week and a half), I've seen my suitcase picked up-- count 'em-- 5 times. As in picked up, taken off the carousel and then put back when the unsuspecting (translation: dumbass) traveler realizes that they've commandeered the wrong bag. Now, I must digress and scold myself for checking the bag in the first place. A cardinal sin for the gal who had luggage lost on both an outgoing and incoming flight-- for the same trip; and also for the, what I consider myself to be, seasoned business traveler. But alas (*sigh*), sometimes it is unavoidable.

In any case-- I could tell it was my bag-- from 20 feet away, even without seeing my bright, colorful Hawaiian luggage tag. And yet, it was still pulled off the carousel-- two times on yesterday's trip, by two different people. And I can't even count how many times I was shoved out of the way by people, bent over, chasing bags around the carousel, trying to ascertain whether the bag was theirs.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Lost Luggage

I guess I could have been more creative with the title, but alas, the heart of the matter is indeed, lost luggage.

So, given the amount of work travel that I inevitably must endure (because of course it's to exciting and exotic places like Hartford, CT), you'd think that I must have experienced my fair share of lost luggage. But until the great 2006, I've been very lucky (even in my days of arriving to the airport 10 minutes before a flight... whoops). This year however, I've had five lost luggage experiences; two on my most recent excursion.

Yes. Twice. That means, going out AND coming home. The first was a doozy... because, not only did they lose my luggage (although, according to the United Airlines rep, my luggage was not "lost" because they knew exactly where it was), they wouldn't deliver it to my ultimate destination because it was outside of their "delivery radius." Ummm... yeah. And upon my return to ORD, guess what? LOST LUGGAGE. So not only was I subjected (aka crammed) into the most cramped seating in the airline industry (translation: UA SUCKS. DO NOT FLY UNITED. THEY HAVE EXPANDED "ECONOMY PLUS" TO THE SAME DIMENSIONS OF FIRST CLASS AND STOLEN THE SPACE FROM THE REST OF THE CATTLE CLASS TO MAKE MORE MONEY FOR THE SPACE, WITHOUT THE SERVCE) and crappy service (translation: people in the service industry who clearly don't want to be-- go get a data entry job, I tell you!!), but they lost my luggage TWICE, and I got 'tude both times... when it was THEIR fault.

Nothing like ending a trip on a positive note... God. Do I need a vacation (sans air travel).