Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yeah, it's like that.

I waited twenty minutes in a mob at Starbucks this morning for a Grande Nonfat Chai Tea Latte. Crazy? Yes. But I didn't know it would be twenty minutes, it's Starbucks, you learn to expect it to be crowded. And besides, it made for some great people watching time. Like the girl who ordered two Venti Skim Upside Down Carmel Macchiatos. I don't know what the heck an Upside-Down Caramel Macchiato is but I may order one next time just for the fun of saying it. Two half-caff coffees, three hot chocolates, a peppermint mocha and an eggnog latte later they called my name. When I realized that I had to nudge my way through throngs of people to claim my cup of warm liquidy goodness (*ahhh!*) I had a quick vision of the barista calling out names and following them with "Come on Down! You're the next contestant on The Price Is Right!" I thought about suggesting he add the phrase to his rapport of coffee call outs but decided instead on a smile and "Happy Holidays!" Yeah, it's like that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I fell asleep last night pondering the word "more". It seems rather appropriate with the holidays so close. Kids recite Santa lists that to parents sound like, "Buy me more!!" Meanwhile, parents look at wallets and checkbooks only to think, "Wish I had more". Calendars crammed with parties, gatherings and end of the year work reports tick off minutes, hours, days and leave the flustered to need more time. To do lists piled with cleaning, baking, and writing require more help. Chaotic malls, post offices, and parking lots increase the desire for more space. It seems everywhere I look I find examples of wanting more.

"I want much more than this provincial life!I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand I want so much more than they've got planned" ~ Belle, Beauty & The Beast

Except in myself, there's not so much a desire to want more as a desire to be more. Lately life's been kinda crazy and I can't help but feeling like I'm not measuring up. When work is crazy-busy I feel like I need to be more organized, more efficient. When someone gives me a Christmas gift and I have nothing in return I feel that I should be more thoughtful, more caring. When I look at wrapping paper scraps scattered on my living room floor or the dishes piled in my sink I feel that I should be more tidy, more domestic. When I think about risks that I didn't take this year I feel that I should be more bold, more adventuresome.

"I can’t stand to fly, I’m not that naive. I’m just out to find the better part of me. I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane, more than some pretty face beside a train. And it’s not easy to be me." ~Five For Fighting, "Superman"

And as I write up this mental laundry list of my own shortcomings, I think about how this time of year personal faults can shine brighter than Rudolph's nose. Follow my mental train of thought here: in Christmas we celebrate Christ's birth and the miracle of God becoming human. With that incarnation, it's understood that in every second of his life Jesus was perfect. In two millenia not one other human has acheived even a miniscule fraction of that. Grasping that, a sense of humility - and let's face it unworthiness - can easily ensue. We want to be more because we want to be more like God. We want to earn His sacrifice and say that if the tiny baby in the manger was born with the purpose of dying for us, we're worth dying for because we're more than just average everyday humans. But here's the kicker, we're not. God came to us not because we're capable of being good enough for Him, but because He loves us just as we are.

"I love you more than the sun and the stars that I taught how to shine, you are mine, and you shine for me too. I love you yesterday and today and tomorrow, I'll say it again, I love you more." ~Matthew West, "More"

No matter how organized, thoughtful, tidy, and bold I am - there will always be room for improvement. In fact, I could have three months advanced work itineraries; gifts for friends at the drop of a hat; a house that Martha Stewart would envy; and be living every moment of my life to its fullest - and still I would want to be more. But God loves me when I'm inefficient. He cares for me when I'm not caring. He still likes me when I'm not into cleaning. And he's gentle with me when I don't feel very adventuresome. It's these gaps in my life, and many more shortcomings, that allow me be in need of His son, His sacrifice. If I knew all the answers of how to live my life to be the best lisa I can be, I wouldn't need a leader in my life. If I were perfect, I wouldn't need a forgiver. I guess it all comes down to needing more of God in my life and what better time than Christmas to seek it out and accept it.

"...What You had in mind, through my weakness shine, show me grace, a little more than I can give, a little more than I deserve. Unearth this holiness I can't earn...With all this motivation, I still find a hesitation deep in my soul. Despite all my demanding I still find You understanding. Show me grace, show me grace I know is a little more than I can give, a little more than I deserve. Unearth this holiness I can't earn. It's a little more than I can give, a little more than I deserve." ~ Jennifer Knapp, "A Little More"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I need a Friday.

I haven't mailed a single Christmas card.
I still need to go buy stamps.
None of my presents are wrapped.
And far too many aren't even bought yet.
I need to do about three weeks worth of work in the six work days left before break.
Tony got into a car accident yesterday.
Aside from whiplash, he's okay but we can't say the same about the car.
Trying not to ponder what happens if insurance doesn't cover our $1000 deductible.
I'm skipping my company Christmas party tonight to go to my friend's brother's funeral.

I saw a sign at the train station this morning that said "Merry Stressmas". At first I laughed because it mirrored my feelings exactly. But then it hit me that it's accurate not because I'm frazzled with everything going on right now but that it's true that stress is what happens when you take Christ out of Christmas. Things are rough right now. Perhaps the craziest pre-holiday time I can remember, but God is in the sad times as well as the celebrations. People have been telling me all day how tired I look (and truthfully I haven't slept more than 6 hours a night since Saturday) and I just laugh and tell them "Yeah, I think I need a Friday" but I need much more than that. I need to stand on God.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wii Have a Problem

Perhaps the most innovative video game system of the past few decades, and by far the cheapest marketed for this Christmas season, one would think that the Nintedo Wii - with it's motion activated controller! - would be at the top of most Santa lists; but sadly, the reports from Wii users are not all positive. See, there's this little fact of video gaming that people often overlook: the user needs to be smarter than the system. This may have been the key behind the sucess of Pong, but as video gaming systems and programs have become more advanced, one wonders if the video game players have paced the machines in continuous elevation of intelligence levels. To argue my point, I present to you this article on Reuters today that talks about the increasing problem of people breaking their Wii remotes (or worse, their television sets) by excessive swinging of the controller. To the general public I must say, as realistic as the game may seem, you are not actually bowling/playing tennis/swordfighting/etc.

In case this isn't bad enough (or, in all honesty, hilarious enough) I came across another article citing an incident in which a player smacked both his fiancee and his dog while playing a game (I'll let you decide which angered her more). Other users report various afflictions to themselves caused by playing Wii games - including the newly coined injury "Wii Elbow". I realize that it's rather mean spirited of me to laugh at the pains of others, but I stand by my assertion that these things would not happen if the users were smarter - or at least as smart - as the machines they use. Really people, did Tron teach us nothing? For those still hoping for a MerrWii Christmas, I urge you all to excercise caution this gaming season and if you decide that you can't quite handle the Wii, 36 hours in line and three times the cost just might send you home with a PS3.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Catching Up

Long time no blog. You're probably expecting crazy stories about my yearly post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza. I'd love to share them but this year, they're non-existent. My "Black Friday" was spent at the urgent care center with a needle up my arm. I came down with a nasty stomach flu Thanksgiving night and had to have IV fluids administered to combat severe dehydration(and yes this all happened a mere two months after my birthday spoiling respiratory flu - my illnesses seem to have impecable timing). After a weekend diet of Gatorade and crackers, I'm feeling better but still drastically lamenting my missed bargains.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Borrowing ...Sort of.

Sometimes I just can't use my own words to describe really awesome things. Case in point, last Friday my church hosted a World Bazaar. Now if you're asking what a World Bazaar is, here's what I would say: (aka the event from my point of view)

It was all about educating people on global poverty and issues affecting impoverished countries. There were four main topics - Hunger/Thirst, Education, War/Refugees, and Disease - each area had items for sale to assist with the issue for different parts of the world ( i.e. Digging a well in Darfur, Hot meals in Haiti, Aids prevention in Cambodia, School Supplies in Sudan, etc. etc.) - and then various ministries (Global Family Rescue, World Relief, Compassion International, etc.) were represented as well. Our small group presented the disease portion and it went really well but it was loads of work. By last Thursday I was really overwhelmed and majorly stressed out - somehow I ended up doing the brunt of the planning and coordinating for all our activities and when we had two key volunteers switch to other jobs at the last minute I was ready to sit down and cry. I hit the point where I really had to give up my need to control things and just trust that God would bless our efforts and that we could only pull it off by relying on Him. Thankfully, everything went great. Our group really pulled together to fill in wherever needed and we had some impromptu volunteers join our area, all of whom did a great job. There's been lots of good feedback as a whole from people saying they learned something new and we raised over $12,000* as well. It was a headache at first but definitely worth all the effort in the long run!

But like I said, that's only my side of the story. And if you read only that you wouldn't get the scope of the whole event like the fact that GFR set up their own petting zoo. And the work that CCC's Kid's City did to raise money for a house in Rwanda. Or maybe you just want to hear about it from someone who saw a grander overview of it all.

It was an amazing evening and I can't say thank you enough to all the people who helped make it happen. All my gratitude to those who came out and supported this mission for a life-changing and life-saving event.

*As of 11/21/06 the new total is over $16,000 raised!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Haul Out The Holly...

Once upon a time the Christmas season started after Thanksgiving. This year I think it started a week or two before Halloween and I'm sure it won't be long before "Christmas in July" becomes "Buy Your Lights Early Because There Won't Be Any Left On The Shelves In December". Not that I mind. I think there's something nice about getting the hustle and bustle of the decorating and shopping out of the way in November and then having December to sit back and enjoy it all. Granted I may get tired of hearing 82 versions of "Sleigh Ride" played endlessly on the radio, but for the most part, I'm enjoying the way the Christmas season is already unfolding around me. In case anyone is in doubt (or denial), here's the signs that regardless of how early it's coming, Christmas time really is here:

Christmas Music: The radio station 93.9 aka WLIT aka The Lite FM made the festive switch to The Holiday Lite this year on November 1st.

Decoration Sales: Sears was selling Christmas decor as early as October 27th (and I have a hunch other stores had things out even earlier).

Santa Sightings: The ever so popular Salvation Army bell ringers have been at Michigan Ave store entrances since November 13th.

Christmas Trees: Festive evergreens have risen in such glamorous locations as The Hancock Building (November 10th), Union Station (November 17th) and my living room (November 12th).

Christmas Weather:
Even mother nature decided to hit the holidays early as Chicago got a record early snowfall this year on October 12th. If that doesn't put you in mood for starting Christmas early, I don't know what will!

So for those that still resist the early holiday trend just know that for some of us, the song says it all:

Haul out the holly; Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.
Fill up the stocking, I may be rushing things,
but deck the halls again now.

For we need a little Christmas right this very minute,
Candles in the window, carols at the spinet.
Yes, we need a little Christmas right this very minute.
It hasn't snowed a single flurry, but Santa, dear, we're in a hurry!
So climb down the chimney,
Put up the brightest string of lights I've ever seen.

Slice up the fruitcake;
it's time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough.

For I've grown a little leaner, Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older,
And I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder,
I need a little Christmas now.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

That Certain Song

You know how there's certain songs that you can hear over and over and never get sick of? Especially older songs that you don't hear that often and then you hear it again and you wish that it was on the radio a TON more than it is? I just heard my Number 2* song like that on the radio (three cheers for 104.3 Jack FM for playing it) it's the off-genre song Silent Lucidity from the heavy metal band Queensryche and just hearing the opening bars of it literally gives me chills. The lyrics are as haunting as the melody and although some fans argue it's a metaphor for a drug trip, the band members have attested that it's straight forward about that moment in sleep when you realize you're dreaming and have the power to turn a nightmare into a sweet dream.

Can't explain my love for the song outside of the fact that it could soundtrack a Neil Gaiman graphic novel or maybe it's just my somewhat unhealthy obsession with power ballads. Oh yes, I admit it. I love the Power Ballad. You know the one, the heavy metal band's song that's neither heavy nor metal but marks the moment in the concert when you really wish you had a lighter. Is it the fact that singers normally drowned out by guitar riffs are suddenly revealed to have great vocals? Is it the cheesy lyrics that are ripe with raw emotion even though they're dripping with sap? Like I said, it's an unhealthy obsession and I can't fight this feeling. In fact, it's more than a feeling! I mean, what can I do? Every rose has it's thorn. I guess I just love power ballads and really, nothing else matters.

*My number one favorite song is and always will be Livin' On a Prayer by Bon Jovi. There's just no changing some things.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I'm not usually a big reader of horoscopes but I have mine (Virgo!) displayed on my Google homepage and today's was just a little too accurate. Let's just say things have been stressy crazy lately and on reading my astrological outlook, I couldn't have said it better myself:
No matter how you try to roll with the changes, you are not convinced that things are going your way. Normally, your analytical powers successfully guide you through sticky situations, but not today. The more you try to rationalize your next step, the less sense it makes. Setting your compass to your illogical feelings instead of facts may turn out to be the smartest move you can make now.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Thank You in a Minute!

Obviously if you're reading this you have at least one minute of free time in your day so instead of reading my crazy ramblings do something productive with your minute and check out this link. It's a free service from Xerox where anyone who goes to the site can pick out a card design and they will print it and send it to men and women in the military serving over seas. It literally only takes a minute and as a relative of marines I know firsthand that greetings and grattitude are very much appreciated. Check it out and pass it on: And for those with two minutes or more, you can send multiple cards as well!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Come Cry With Me....

Oh my fellow Lost fans, I'm mourning with you.

For the sake of avoiding spoilers I'll just say I'm more than a little annoyed at J.J. Abrams for killing off the coolest character on the island!!!!

I'll be okay. It's just gonna take some time. *sniff, sniff*

Friday, October 27, 2006

Butterfly in the Sky....

...I can go twice as high! Take a look, it's in a book, it's Reading Rainbow!

Thought I'd throw in a nice 80's flashback for those that grew up with the wonderful world of educational TV on PBS. And for those that weren't allowed to watch much TV at a young age maybe that's a good thing. But regardless, this post comes with a special shoutout to all my peops that fondly remember Levar Burton from a kids show as well as roles like Lt. Geordi La Forge or Kunta Kinte.

Really though, this has nothing to do with Reading Rainbow, Levar Burton or the 80's. Rather, I wanted to point out a new blog feature I added. I've been a member and fan of Library Thing for quite some time now and you've probably noticed the "Last Five Books I Read" feature I added to the blog. Well now I added a Search My Library feature as well! If you don't see it to the right of this entry it probably means you're using Internet Explorer which for some reason likes to place my sidebar material at the bottom of the blog - scroll down and it should be there - go figure.

In case anyone wants to trade book recommendations, it's a pretty good way to see if I've read something on a particular topic or by a particular author. Go ahead and try it out. You can enter a title (ex: There Are No Children Here, Brimstone), author (ex: Mikhail Bulgakov, Neil Gaiman), or even a tag (ex: nonfiction, thriller, fantasy, Christmas, genetics, classic, youth, architecture, Italy, Africa, chocolate, pirates, etc) and it should* return a list of books I've read in the past few years. Also, you can run a search on your favorite book and if it doesn't come up, email me if you think I should read it! There's a few books in there tagged "want to own" that are on my watch list of things to read in the near future - and a few books are grouped as collections instead of individually (Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Icewind Dale Trilogy) - but otherwise I'll have something to say about anything that comes up. Enjoy!

*A note on the search feature, feel free to have fun with it. The tags I listed are actual tags I've used but there are plenty other topics, subjects and even characters (try Pendergast, Mallory or Dresden). Also if you enter a multi-word search use quotes or the returns will hit either word - for example historical fiction will return hits for historical and/or fiction where as "historical fiction" will only hit books tagged historical fiction. Similarly with authors a Charles Dickens search will give books by Charles Dickens and Charles DeLint but a "Charles Dickens" search will only return works by Charles Dickens.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Meeting Bob

So by now you all know that I'm a huge nerd. I'm not ashamed of that fact and I'm even proud to admit that I haven't grown out of my teenage obsession with fantasy novels. Partly because a well-written book is just that, regardless of genre or target audience. Over the years I've chosen a favorite fantasy author and I know I've lauded him before but truly R.A. Salvatore is someone I consider a literary genius. What makes this story cooler than my past rants about his new books is that last night I got to meet him at the Borders store in Schaumburg!! Okay, maybe you're not jumping for joy with me but understand a few things - I've been reading his novels for more than a decade; I now can list him as an amazing author and a really nice guy; and I am currently reading not just a brand new copy of Road of the Patriarch, but a brand new signed copy of Road of the Patriarch! The best part was that he had a question and answer session before the signing and shared some information about his current projects - including a new novel to be released next summer rather than in the fall! I thought long and hard about what to ask when he began taking questions - and seriously, I could probably sit through an entire meal with the guy and not run out of things I'd love to ask (like what does the A. stand for?). I whittled down my mental checklist and asked him a question about his trademark dualistic nature of writing (he varies action/adventure sequences with introspective, poignant moments and the balance of these styles bring lots of color and uniqueness to his books - the reader connects more with the characters and is often challenged with unanswered philosophical questions). He replied that he enjoys writing the adventurous parts but that he sees the reflective portions as giving more meaning to his books. I found it exceptionally cool that his response mirrored my own, reader's standpoint, opinion. Anyhoo, it was a really fun evening and now displaces Jim McMahon in my lab and seeing Vince Vaughn at the Museum of Science and Industry as my favorite celebrity experience! Plus my train rides for the rest of the week will be made much more enjoyable by my new book... my new signed book!! :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What the.....???

There's something very surreal (happy, but surreal) about hearing news that your friends from junior high are having babies. What's with this whole "growing up" deal anyway? Jeez! You'd think we were like almost 30 or something....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Playing with a Full Deck

It was a good weekend. It was an interesting weekend. It was an exhausting weekend. It was a God weekend. (Oh come on, don't tune me out just cause I'm gonna talk about God. Bear with me and read the whole post, you might learn a little something about who I am... or at least who I'm trying to be.)

Friday night Tony and I attended a leadership conference at our church. It was appropriately titled the Jump conference and focused on the scripture in which Peter jumps out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus. I've heard this passage used to teach a number of different lessons in the past (keep your eyes fixed on God, don't be afraid of life's storms, God is always with you, etc.) but this time the message was about listening to God and jumping at the opportunity to join Him. The night was really great and filled with energy (especially with an appearance by the Jesse White Tumblers - those kids rock!) but at one point I found myself fighting back tears. All this talk about God calling and here was me, unable to even remember the last time I really heard God's voice.

Sure, He's led me to some amazing things recently with serving opportunities in student ministry, helping on the setup team, and community development projects like teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) in East Aurora. But I started to wonder, am I doing too much? Am I spreading myself too thin? I know I've heard the theory repeatedly that taking on a "Jack of All Trades" mentality in ministry can lead to a proverbial "Master of None" result. And yet, that's not me. I have a passion and joy for every area that I'm involved in. Student Community is a way to impact a new generation and help young girls grow in the faith and confidence that I didn't find until my college years. Setup team is a way for me to connect with and serve my local congregation (plus it's very much an under-served, under-appreciated necessity - at 6 am on Sunday morning, you can see why the volunteers aren't pouring in). And the ESL classes are a great way to share my resources (extensive knowledge of English, minimal knowledge of Spanish, and a penchant for cookie baking) with those who can benefit from them.

So what does this mean for me as some sort of ministry profile? Do my multiple passions act against each other driving me towards inevitable burn out? Surprisingly, no. (Although as my disclaimer: taking thirty hours of classwork on top of this has made things a smidge more stressful.) I thrive on the variety. I could no more pick a single area to serve than a card shark could choose a single suit. Give me clubs, diamonds, spades and hearts - I don't want to play without a full deck. I love the opportunities available before me and not using various gifts and resources leaves me feeling hollow and bored. I mentioned earlier that I felt sad at not hearing God lately but I think my simple acknowledgement of that fact opened my eyes and ears to hear Him more. Yesterday morning in a message about focusing on being a Christ follower rather than being culturally Christian a verse jumped out at me that I memorized on the spot:
"I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life away" ~Matthew 20:28
Maybe I'm crazy, but to me that was God speaking. Someone once told me that I was doing too much church and community service and I needed to get a life. What they didn't realize was that my purpose in doing so much is to try to give mine away.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Yay! Blogger Arrow is officially one year old today!! Oddly enough, this also marks my 100th post! How's that for special occasions? In case that's not momentous enough, I've also made the switch from Blogger to Blogger Beta - which means little other than quicker posting on my part and hopefully some template improvements. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

High School and Naked Mole Rats

I felt really weird when I got to the train station this morning. It wasn't the start of a stomach flu or late season allergies. This was a weird feeling of the mental sort - one that I'm rarely, if ever, prone to feeling. I felt old.

See, as I walked up to the platform past the familiar three-piece-suits and Starbucks junkies, there was a new crowd waiting for my 7:40: twenty to thirty high schoolers - from my old high school - taking a field trip. Their jackets and sweatshirts were proudly bearing the bright orange N that flooded me with a rush of teenage nostalgia. And sure, they seemed much younger and much less cool than I remember thinking myself to be, when as a junior or senior certain classes got the privilege of train-to-Chicago field trips, but that's not what made me feel old. Rather as I watched them gathering around their teacher, eagerly calling out "here" as he took attendance, I recognized the teacher. I didn't say hello because he wasn't a teacher that I ever had, but he was certainly a teacher that all students knew, or at least knew of. He was The Cool Teacher. The hip, young, ponytail-sporting social-studies teacher that was talked about in all the hallways in sentences usually consisting of little more than "He's SOOO cool!!!" But today he didn't have his trademark ponytail. His hair was shorter with gray strands around the temples. His characteristic John Lennon glasses were replaced with larger frames, likely bifocals. Not to say that there's anything wrong with these outward signs of aging, but the largest contrast between "The Cool Teacher" I remember and this authoritative leader of high school students at the train station was a lack of fun. No smile graced his goateed face, no laughter echoed from the crowd around him. Perhaps there was just a certain element of field trip stress that tuned down a normally jovial attitude, but maybe it was something else. And what was worse, I saw the same drudgerous lack of joy in my own morning. That's what made me feel old more than anything. I'm reminded of a quote that says "We don't stop playing because we grow up, we grow up because we stop playing."

As I got on the train I was pondering this all and I couldn't help but think about the whole idea of growing up and aging in general. It made me stop and think about naked mole rats. Random, right? I'll explain. Let's look at two things that as a culture or society Americans are generally obsessed with - Youth and Beauty. If anyone wants to doubt the truth of that overly generalized claim, go down to your local drug store and peruse the aisles upon aisles of anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams, masks, supplements, etc. etc. etc. If that doesn't convince you, all I have to say is Botox - the fact that in the name of beauty and less wrinkles Americans will go so far as to have someone subcutaneously inject them with the world's deadliest toxin is saying something for sure.

But back to the mole rats. Ugly little suckers aren't they? A biology friend of mine from college used to say "Awww, they're so ugly, they're cute!!" That's debatable, but I digress. Naked mole rats are one of the animals most commonly used in studies of aging and age related illnesses. They're from the rodent family, just as the common mouse is, but unlike the three year life-span of the mouse, naked mole rats live for an average of 28 years. So perhaps as Americans we fear our similarity to these critters and would rather have three beautiful years as a cute fuzzy little mouse than 28 years growing into a wrinkly naked mole rat.

But seriously, what's so bad about aging? Like the quote above says, we don't have to "grow up" just because our prime numbered birthdays get farther and farther apart. Heck with wrinkle-creams and Botox, you want an anti-aging solution? Have fun! Enjoy each day for all it's worth! Every year that passes doesn't have to mean fear of gray hairs and dreading the need for reading glasses, rather every new year is an opportunity to learn more, see more, do more, play more and be more. Perhaps the last two in the list are the hardest yet most important of the bunch.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Alpha to Zulu

The tradition of Stupid Holidays I love to Celebrate continues:

Happy Over-And-Out Day!

I couldn't tell you who originally invented this one but I always credit it to my friend Lauren cause I'm pretty sure she's the one who first told me about it. For anyone who's a little bit slow, it's Over-And-Out Day because it's October 4th so when you write the date in numbers it's 10/4, as in the radio command "10-4, Over and Out" (which makes me wonder if we were in Europe if we would celebrate this on April 10th instead...) Some argue that "10-4 Over and Out" is just a hollywoodized interpretation of radio language (in CB speak since Over is "message received" and Out is "ending communication", they are typically not used together), it's still fun to use the day as an excuse to insert some alphas, bravos, and niners into your everyday conversation. Enjoy!

lima india sierra alpha :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Puts the "Good" in "Good Morning":

"I'm weak!!
"Grande. Nonfat. Pumpkin. Spice. Latte!"
"Yes. It's officially fall, I couldn't resist!"
"You are weak."
"I missed my bus, it's cold outside. It just... called to me!"
"Learn to resist..."
"The self-control was in the grande... I was this close to going Venti."
"It's soooooo goooood!"
"Now you're making me want one."
"And nonfat - that practically makes it a healthfood!"
"Pumpkin spiiiiiiiice....."
"I gotta go, I have an 8:30 meeting - thanks for calling, though."
"Have a great day, hope things aren't too crazy for you."
"You too. I love you."
"I love you too. I love you even more than my Pumpkin Spice Latte!! And that says a lot!"
(Laughs) "Okay, talk to you later."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I started my Intro to Forensic Science Class last night. As if the hands-on part wasn't awesome enough (running field test screenings for marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines) the teacher - a forensic chemist with the DEA - is a pretty funny guy. The quote of the night was regarding our textbook, authored by Richard Saferstein:
"I used to work with Dr. Saferstein so I know that this is a good reference text, but you won't want to miss any of the lectures because the guest speakers will teach you more than this book ever could. You're not going to get near as much information from just the readings. Do any of you know Dr. Saferstein? (students shake heads) Good, then you can't tell him what I just said!"

It's gonna be a great class.

Friday, September 22, 2006

...Don't Wear it Out!

Just this morning I was thinking to myself "Self, it would be really cool if you could spell your name with letters from Flikr!" And what do you know....

L Ii S A

Thanks Westy!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yo, Ho! Yo, Ho! A Pirate's Life For Me!

Ahoy there mateys! It be a wonderful time of year once more! Yarrr today be "Talk Like A Pirate Day" again! So whether ye be a buccaneer, a privateer or just another scurvy deck swab here's a top ten tribute to great pirates of the silver screen!

10, 9 and 8) Name: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
Film: Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie
Actors: Larry the Cucumber, Mr. Lunt, Pa Grape
Memorable Pirate Moment: None ...there's a reason they're called The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
Memorable Pirate Quote: "We are The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.....and if you ask us, to do anything, we'll just tell you, we don't do anything."
Jolly Roger Rating: 2 - Yarr, they got the right clothes 'n every sailor knows singin' be the key to unity on deck but these salty dogs lose plenty o' points for not doing anything!

7) Name: Blackbeard
Film: Blackbeard's Ghost
Actor: Peter Ustinov
Memorable Pirate Moment: Uhhhh... That would require me having seen this movie in the past decade and a half. Used to watch it a lot as a kid. Yes, my pirate fascination started early.
Memorable Pirate Quote: See Pirate Moment
Jolly Roger Rating: 6.5 - Ahoy! He be a pirate and a ghost and with a name like Blackbeard ye can be bettin' that he's a fiercesome fellow!

6) Name: The Pirate King
Film: The Pirates of Penzance
Actor: Kevin Kline
Memorable Pirate Moments: Swashbuckling, Pillaging, Trickery and of course Singing!
Memorable Pirate Quote: "But I’ll be true to the song I sing, and live and die a Pirate King. For I am a Pirate King! And it is, it is a glorious thing to be a Pirate King!"
Jolly Roger Rating: 7 - Mess with this King and he'll make ye walk the plank!

4) Name: Captain Hook
Films: Peter Pan (several versions) and Hook
Actor: Dustin Hoffman (in Hook), Jason Issacs (in the 2003 Peter Pan)
Memorable Pirate Moment: Any of many sword fights with Peter Pan
Memorable Pirate Quote: "He'll crow. He'll fight. He'll fly. And then... he'll die." (from Hook)
Jolly Roger Rating: 7.5 - Shiver me timbers, Captain Hook be a villianous scab of a pirate if ever there was one!

5) Name:
Films: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Actor: Viggo Mortensen
Memorable Pirate Moment: Some may argue that Aragorn is not technically a pirate but the same way actors can win oscars or emmys for minute long scenes in films (*cough cough Judi Dench cough cough*) I'm adding 'Gorny to the list because of his kick-ass swordplay and also the awesome scene in RoTK where he and the army of the dead commandeer Sauron's ships! Now that's Pirate-style!
Memorable Pirate Quote: "What say you?" (To the army of the dead - with the right accent it's very Pirate-ese)
Jolly Roger Rating: 8 - Avast ye mateys here be a leader fit for the seven seas!

3) Name: The Dread Pirate Roberts
Film: The Princess Bride
Actor: Cary Elwes (and for one scene Andre the Giant)
Memorable Pirate Moment: Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity or Storming the Castle Gates (tie)
Memorable Pirate Quote: "Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning."
Jolly Roger Rating: 8.5 - Here be the true secret of infamous pirateering: "Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. He took me to his cabin and he told me his secret. 'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts' he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited the ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from is not the real Dread Pirate Roberts either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Patagonia.'"

2) Name: One-Eyed Willie
Film: The Goonies
Actor: Senor Skeleton?
Memorable Pirate Moment: He set all those awesome boowy twaps! (You mean booby traps? That's what I said, those awesome boowy twaps!)
Memorable Pirate Quote: Okay so he never actually talks in the film but as Mikey Walsh says, "You know something, Willie? You're the first Goonie."
Jolly Roger Rating: 9.5 - Crack open a chest of dubloons cause Willy here be a pirate of the highest caliberrr.

And who could be a more obvious choice to sail to the number one slot than the master of two great pirate films - soon to grant us the treasure of a third - harr harr, the winner of me pirate movie tribute be non other than....

1) Name: Jack Sparrow
Films: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest and coming soon At World's End
Actor: Johnny Depp
Memorable Pirate Moment: Too many to count!
Memorable Pirate Quote: "Captain... Captain Jack Sparrow."
Jolly Roger Rating: 10 - Yo, Ho! Yo, Ho! A Pirate's Life For Me! Drink up me hearties yo, ho!

Friday, September 15, 2006

I guess I like Wesley...

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan.
You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You
believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in
him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of
the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also
enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us.
You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.



Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox


Roman Catholic


Classical Liberal


Reformed Evangelical


Modern Liberal






What's your theological worldview?
created with
Thought this was an interesting quiz about "religion". Not sure how growing up Catholic and attending a non-denominational church puts me in the with the Postmodern / Evangelical category but cool survey nevertheless. Of course, I'm not too sure about the John Wesley influence either. Not that there's anything wrong with it but I can think of a different Wesley that I spent much more time growing up with....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Unplugged Again

Here I go with the random thoughts/updates again:
  • Crazy weekend. Great birthday but I got something I really didn't want: the flu.
  • Needless to say chocolate cake has been added to chicken soup and ginger ale as the ultimate feel better trifecta.
  • All day at home on Sunday was made much more enjoyable by DAA BEARS!!! 26-0 AWWW YEAH!!
  • Of course we know at least one person (not named Favre) wasn't too happy about the way the game ended up. I knew I should have bought a new bedroom set...
  • And while I'm on the subject of record breaking sports performances, let me just say that the Cubs have made a rock solid case against perfectionism. Six errors and a victory last night gives slackers worldwide hope for a positive future.
  • Speaking of positive future, I'm jumping on the back-to-school bandwagon (sort-of). I'm taking a class this fall. What can I say, old dreams die hard. Tell me who are you...
  • It's been a while so we'll see how it goes. There's something a little crazy about going to school just for fun, not to mention signing over 30+ hours of the next ten weeks to class work - yikes!
  • Because there's no nice way to transition in or out of it I want to give kudos to Greg for a really great 9/11 reflection blog entry. Poignant but not tear-jerking, it's things I would've said, had I thought of them... except I think I actually filled in the blanks the first time. ;)
  • And the best news I received this week is that a family friend whose father died in the World Trade Center just had a son - born on Monday, September 11. Kind of makes you think about God as the God of new beginnings. Here's to healing and new life for all.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Shop For A Cause (Just one more...)

Just needed to put in one more post about the Shop For A Cause Mart. All sales were totaled and we raised $3045.60! Our goal was $3000 (enough to build homes for two Rwandan families) and even with the rain, we did it! Congratulations team! Here's the group picture of all the volunteers too (for the Where's Waldo fans - I'm actually in this one):

Shop For A Cause Mart Volunteers

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Shop For A Cause (Part 1)

This morning I had the opportunity to be a part of a fun, unique and amazing service event. My friend Beth (the tall blonde in the black and white skirt) with an awesome team of volunteers - collectively known as Women Embracing the World - opened her lawn to friends, family and neighbors for a "Shop For A Cause Mart".

Beth greets everyone at the morning volunteer meeting

Now if you're asking yourself, "Self, what in the world is a 'Shop For A Cause Mart'?" You could get an answer from an article in the Lemont newspaper, but while you're here I'll give you the 411. It's pretty self explanatory in that it starts with a cause and shopping.

In this instance, the cause was Rwanda and an organization that you've heard me blog about before called Global Family Rescue. The next step is shopping. Beth's lawn was home to over a dozen vendors - all of whom donated profits to GFR. Here's just a few of the volunteers:

Heather (left) of Emmy & Me Interiors setting up her floral designs with Jeannene

Belinda (left) selling Avon with Lynne

Rachel talking to customers (Kandi, Heather & Lynne) about Cookie Lee jewelry

Mandy and her tent of Tastefully Simple

Janine selling fun scrapbooking materials

Julie showing off her Mary Kay products

Mary selling home-made jewelry

Doris with more Avon items

This wasn't even everything - but it's all that will fit in this post. Keep reading for Shop For A Cause (Part 2) and (Part 3)!

Shop For A Cause (Part 2)

There was certainly a lot of work to be done at the Shop For A Cause Mart but some vendors managed to mix business with plenty of fun. Gospel recording artist Renea Taylor was hanging out selling (and signing!) CD's for Global Family Rescue.

And when you just happen to have a talented singer on your front lawn...

Renea's rockin' sidewalk concert

In case all these great things weren't enough to entice wallets open shoppers also had the opportunity to test their luck with a raffle for several amazing gift baskets.

Sandy setting up the raffle table

And the backdrop in that picture also went home with one lucky ticket holder much to the chagrin of many of us who hoped to walk out with a gorgeous hand-made quilt generously provided by Shannon. (I asked and she said 28-30 hours of work went into it!)

Shannon with her beautiful reversible quilt

If the stress of selling or shopping got to be too much to handle for anyone, a solution was provided by the talented hands of Tyra with her chair-massage station.

Tyra waves hi from the massage tent

Now I'm sure you're wondering - what could be so stressful about a day of outdoor shopping and selling and raising money for charity??!? Well.... how about a rainstorm? Luckily Tony was on hand with tarps, table cloths, twine and duct tape and in just a few minutes everything was covered and water-proofed!

Tarp-master Tony to the rescue!

Rain, rain, go away!

Granted, we all would have preferred a sunny afternoon but the rainstorms provided a nice lunch break and once they blew through, Renea called her friends Karen, Susan and Zereta out to join in some gospel singing and dancing!

"Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance..."

"I just wanna praise You, I just wanna praise You!"

Pretty cool, right? Wanna know something even cooler? There's still more! Read on for Shop For A Cause (Part 3)!

Shop For A Cause (Part 3)

It was fun! I know that was the first sentence out of my mouth when people asked me "How did it go?" but it was also more than just 'fun'. It was, above everything, a chance to know that together we were doing something to make a difference in the world! Several of the volunteers and shoppers spent time throughout the day sharing stories about trips they took this summer to Rwanda to visit families they sponsored through Global Family Rescue. One very cool moment in the day was a reunion of sorts between Karen, Pam and Mary who had traveled with GFR together in June.
Rwandan travelers with a Cause Mart reunion

By sharing their stories and their great experiences with Global Family Rescue they convinced Zereta to take the plunge and sponsor a family of her own!

Karen, Pam, Mary and Zereta "meeting" her new family

If a picture is worth a proverbial one thousand words then I've told the story of the Shop For A Cause Mart in over twenty thousand words already and yet I've barely scratched the surface of what a great event this was. I will take advantage of the thousand words per picture though and fill the rest of this entry with more great shots of everything going on. Thanks again to all these fabulous volunteers and everyone who came out to shop! You made this day unforgettable and truly made a difference in the world!

Dave and Myra selling "Cooking for a Cause" Cookbooks and "Paws for a Cause" Journals, all home-made by Beth

"Paws for a Cause" Journals with cover model Daisy (Beth and Tony's dog)

Karen setting up sales for Yankee Candles and Baker's Square Pies

Annmarie(left) showing her jewelry table to Karen

Renea's concert drawing an audience

Dennis running Renea's sound board

Sandy and Shannon selling raffle tickets while Dave handles the popcorn and Bake Sale table

GFR's Melody Pahlow with Mary, Pam and Ruth

Shop For A Cause Mart up and running!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

One Wants A Teller

Those that have been reading my ramblings for quite some time might pick up on the fact that in times of indecision and uncertainty I often quote a poem I read in high school with the opening phrase "One wants a teller in a time like this". Until recently I didn't realize that it's a Gwendolyn Brooks work but it seems I'm back in the state of my life of wanting "a teller". I know it's silly to want God to construct neon road signs of where to go and what to do, but I sometimes wish He'd put someone in my life that would approach me exuding infinite wisdom and guidance and tell me flat out "You know, lisa, here's what you should do with your life...." And then I could be presented with a year-by-year bulleted Power Point presentation of what to do and when. Okay, so that would make life really boring but still...

One wants a teller in a time like this
One's not a man, one's not a woman grown
To bear enormous business all alone.
One cannot walk this winding street with pride
Straight-shouldered, tranquil-eyed,
Knowing one knows for sure the way back home.
One wonders if one has a home.

I don't want to go into specifics about where my confusion and indecision are stemming from right now (most of you have heard the story and those that haven't can call or e-mail me and I'll tell you all about it) but needless to say, I have some choices to make and they're going to make for interesting directions of my future. No need to panic, if you haven't heard the plot yet, all roads are leading to good places it's just that sometimes that makes choices even more difficult. How does one choose the right path when all roads have advantages? I know how to choose a lesser of two proverbial evils, but how does one choose the greater of two goods?

One is not certain if or why or how.
One wants a Teller now:
Put on your rubbers and you won't catch a cold
Here's hell, there's heaven. Go to Sunday School
Be patient, time brings all good things--(and cool
Strong balm to calm the burning at the brain?) Behold,
Love's true, and triumphs; and God's actual.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

You be the Jury

Is there something wrong with me if I actually kind of want to go see Snakes on a Plane??? But secretly you know you're with me..... right?!?? I admit it - I need help.

In more ways than just that too because I also thought Dennis Leary's rant against Mel Gibson during the Red Sox game was pretty hilarious. (Upon learning that talented first baseman Kevin Youkilis is Jewish, Leary jibes Gibson with many taunts including "Did ya see that, Braveheart??" after an exceptional Youkilis catch.)

Any chance I'm still normal?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Step Away From Your Jimmy Choos...

I was reading an article in the newspaper yesterday about heightened airport security and it was making a big deal about the new rule that "All shoes must be removed and placed on an X-ray belt for screening". This is news??? I know there's been a lot of new restrictions about liquids put into place but I thought the whole "take off your shoes" rule was old hat. I was 21 years old before I ever took my first plane trip (not counting a family flight I can't remember when I was probably less than two) so I can't say I ever experienced airport security pre-9/11. For as long as I've been flying, I've had to walk through metal detectors in stockinged feet. I've wizened to the handy tip of wearing slip-on sneakers for quick removal and reshoeing. And yet five years later I'm still surprised that people don't know about this policy of footwear scanning. I remember one time I was in line behind a woman shod in flip flops. These weren't any Saks-special, high-heeled, glittery Manolo Blahnik thongs. They were flip-flops. Your plain old centimeter-thick, rubber-bottomed, Jimmy Buffet variety. The kind you should never ever wear to the White House. She was shocked and almost indignant when the guards informed her that she needed to pass through the scanner area barefoot while her miniscule sandals took a ride in the x-ray buckets. And, yeah, I understand not wanting to ruin your pedicure with whatever microorganisms take up residence on the floors of O'Hare (which raises a whole new question of wearing flip flops to an airport in the first place...) but there's something to be said for knowledge of the rules and willing compliance. I can sympathize with those that regretfully surrendered hundreds of dollars worth of cosmetics and perfumes when the new regulations against liquids in carry-on luggage went into effect, but as for the questions about footwear removal, it really is an old is-shoe.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Video Arrested, Charged With Murder One?

This week marked the 25th anniversary of MTV. Oddly enough, the network is now older than it's coveted 18-24 year old viewers. Some of us look back fondly on the era of the "vee-jay"; others love the irony of a Music Television channel that no longer plays music; while still more cling to their youth and boldly proclaim "I STILL want my MTV."

Many know that the very first video played (August 1, 1981) on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles - but what happened after that?? I don't mean that as a philosophical question as to how MTV went from a video music channel to an overly advertised reality TV fest of bleeping the Osbournes and the unbearable chicken-or-fish debate of the Newlyweds. Rather, what were the other videos played on that fateful August 1st that earned the channel it's rightful place in the pop-culture hall of fame? Was the #2 video by Styx? Pat Benatar? Phil Collins? Iron Maiden?

Take a guess for yourself and I'll post the answers in the comments.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Because Insects Are Cool.

This post comes with a shoutout to all my U of I Entomology buddies. (Reasons why the class rocked: Taught by Tom Hanks's brother; good friends to "study" with; fun bug collecting excursions; lunches at Murphy's after class; etc. etc. etc.)

Being the nerd that I am, I routinely check out headlines from and I thought this article was an interesting study of insect behavior (sarcasm free here: this stuff fascinates me!). Plus it's kind of funny because the headline itself belongs in the "Well, Duh!" department:

See, you really do learn something new every day.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Latinos - 1 ; Vegetarians - 0

Sometimes the perfect item to blog about just falls right in your lap. I came across this brilliant article today and I figured it was a hilarious commentary just waiting to happen.

It seems that in honor of requests from the Latino community, Milwaukee's Miller Park will be adding a Chorizo Sausage - wearing red, green and white and complete with a sombrero - to their trademark sixth inning Sausage Races during Brewers' baseball games. Routine racers include the Hot Dog, Polish Sausage, Bratwurst, and Italian Sausage (or rather adults wearing oversized anthropomorphic costumes of said links) and the Chorizo will be the newest addition since Hot Dog joined the scene in the 90's. Although I'm always glad to see strides made for Latino equality, this move comes as a slap in the face to Vegetarians, and specifically to PETA, who in 2002 tried unsuccessfully to gain a position in the race for their meatless "Soysage".

All I can say to the Chorizo is good luck and watch out for Randall Simon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Theft, Sundaes, & Frogs

No those aren't random Blogger Comment words, they're words to summarize my evening yesterday. I'll start with the worst which came up first: my wallet was stolen.
  • Normally I keep my bag (with my purse in it) stowed away under my desk at work but I was in a rush yesterday morning and left it sitting on my chair. I was out of the lab for several hours in the morning for a training class which gave the thief ample opportunity to swipe it. Unfortunately I didn't notice it missing until I went to leave at the end of the day. So I had to stay late filing a police report and calling my credit/debit card companies to cancel everything. Frustrating? Heck yeah. But in a way I am lucky though because they didn't take my whole purse which means I still had my cell phone, keys, and driver's license (no one will ever think I'm strange again for keeping my ID in a separate sleeve of my purse).
Aside from the obvious feeling of victimization, the annoying part of the ordeal was being stuck so late at work. I was supposed to be on a bus at 5 on my way to the Museum of Science and Industry to meet Tony for the annual Members Open House that we reserved tickets for. It started at 5:30 but since I missed the last bus Tony picked me up at work and we headed over there together. This meant that we didn't get there until 7 but the event went until 9:30 so we still had time to see most of it.
  • I wasn't expecting much from the event - mostly I wanted to go because parking was free and it was a chance to see the museum at night and hopefully with less crowds - but I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. It was something of an all-access pass to the museum and if seeing behind the scenes with the train set operators and security wasn't cool enough we were also treated to cookies, punch and a sundae bar! I'm guessing few have experienced it so let me just go on record as saying few things are cooler than wandering a museum after hours while building your own ice cream creation. There were also plenty of staff members chatting about their work, various science demonstrations, and circus performers throughout the main exhibit areas. It was a really awesome event and I'm considering renewing my membership just to do it again next year. (Plus we received information "off the record" that Body Worlds 2 might be arriving next spring.)
Also interesting about the Open House was that we were able to visit one of the special exhibits we had been wanting to see but haven't had time for on a weekend.
  • We got to see Frogs: A Chorus of Colors and it was a really awesome exhibit. I've never seen so many sizes and colors of frogs and, like most of the MSI's exhibits, it was a perfect balance of education and aesthetics. Another great part of this exhibit was the reminder of what a genuinely nice man I'm married to. Sorry if that sounds ridiculously sappy but seriously, there's times where I'm just struck by how good and caring he is (and smart, handsome and funny too, of course). Not only did he drive way out of the way in crazy traffic to pick me up so I didn't have to hail a cab, but he bought me a frog. Not a real one, but a little stuffed green one. Okay, that sounds really cheesy but it was a sweet way to cheer me up after a rough day. I'll try to post a picture of it here later - I named it Dewey (long story) and he's super cute.
So that was my evening yesterday. Frustration and anger giving way to thankfulness at thoughts of "things could be worse"; low expectations being exceptionally exceeded; worries erased by a smiling green frog. Hopeless optimist: guilty as charged!

Friday, July 14, 2006


Consider this a series of random thoughts that have nothing to do with each other besides being simultaneously swimming in my head. Anyone who's a Red Eye reader can consider this my version of Ebersole's "Nine Lines".
  • I had a Mountain Dew and a banana for breakfast this morning. What's worse is that I actually consider that a well-balanced meal. It was a weird Friday craving though, not a daily habit.
  • Reflecting on a critic's review of the not-in-time-for-my-birthday but soon-to-be-released Fragile Things, author Neil Gaiman said:
    "Also nice to learn that I'm a neo-goth-pulp-noir author. Next time anyone asks me what kind of an author I am, I can finally tell them. I wonder if there are any other neo-goth-pulp-noir authors out there. We could form a society or something."
    I don't quite know why that cracked me up but he just keeps on earning his place on my Bestest Authors Ever List.
  • Okay - I don't really have a Bestest Authors Ever List but now I think I should probably start one.
  • Thanks to Lauren for unintentionally informing me that the Raconteurs sing "Steady as She Goes". I like that song and I hear it all the time on XRT and get it stuck in my head everytime I so much as think about the title. Thanks for letting me know which group is to blame for me humming it for the rest of my day/week/month/life...
  • This blog is going nowhere - or maybe everywhere - fast. And to think, like my day, it all started with Mountain Dew.
  • Speaking of Mountain Dew, they no longer serve it at Red Robin. They switched over to Coke products without my knowledge and I made a fool of myself ordering Dew there when the happy little Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite icons were smiling up at me from the bottom of the menu.
  • They weren't actually smiling at me. That was just a lack of caffeine side-effect which is why I was trying to order MD in the first place (the drink, not the doctor). And then the waitress was being all polite and said "We don't have Mountain Dew... We have Sprite?" As if Sprite and Mountain Dew are even CLOSE to comparable - SHYEAH RIGHT!!!! Do you not understand the importance of caffeination??? Or should I say Dewfeination?!?? Okay calming down. "Steady as she goes, are you steady now..."
That's my thoughts for the day. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not Quite Shakespeare

Here's an article for all the bibliophiles out there. In a literary parody contest in LA, authors were asked to submit their imaginary worst first sentence of a novel. I've been trying to concoct what my own entry would be and I guarantee it would not have come close to the winning gem submitted by Jim Guigli :
"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."
What would your entry be?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why I Love The Home Run Derby

Here we are, once again in the middle of summer and on the brink of MLB's All-Star game and I have six words to share: I Love The Home Run Derby! Seriously, folks, whoever invented this competition deserves an honorary spot in the Hall of Fame (of course as far as I know he - or she? - already has one). If anyone's unfamiliar with this rockin' event - it was on last night, I'm really sorry if you missed it - it involves a bunch of baseball's best sluggers of the season trying to do nothing other than hit the ball outta the park. That's it. No full-counts, no running bases, no pitchers' pick-off moves - it's all home runs, all the time! Each player gets an unlimited number of pitches so they can wait for the one they like best and then just swing away. For every hit ball that's not a home run it counts as an "out" but they up the margin from 3 to 10 so each guy gets quite a few chances.

But my favorite thing about the HRD is that it generally constitutes a complete role reversal in that players are the fans and fans become the players. Here's a group of big-tough-guy baseball players unabashedly cheering each other on. As with the All-Star game it's National vs. American League, so you'll get Yankees supporting Red Sox and Cardinals rooting for an Astro - meanwhile the fans show all the outfield talent, performing Olympic quality stunts to try to catch some of the balls. Last night's challenge at PNC park was exceptionally hilarious because of the Allegheny River that runs adjacent to the field. You might guess that a river would deter fans from gathering outside the park to fight for the far hit homer but instead it seemed actually to encourage them. I can just picture the conversations that occurred all over Pittsburgh's suburbs: "Honey, let's go kyaking... And bring your baseball glove!!"

As with most sporting events there's little at stake besides bragging rights and the Home Run Derby is ultimately all about fun and entertainment. For those that missed the actual event, the MLB video games for PS2 (and likely XBox as well) have a Home Run Derby level for do-it-yourself HRD entertainment. Unfortunately, the game doesn't come with crazy fans outside the stadiums but you will get the luxury of entering any player you like into the competition. Tony and I once created a "Funny Batting Stance" Home Run Derby and chose players such as Moises Alou, Gary Sheffield and Craig Counsel simply based on the silliness of their pre-swing stances. Our HR tallys never got high - likely because accuracy gave way to laughter a few too many times. Entertainment, pure and simple. And that, my friends, is why I Love the Home Run Derby.