Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Regurgitation of Stuff From the Internetz

Bring out your knits -- Thursday, March 20th will be Sweater Day in honor of what would have been Fred "Mister" Rogers' 80th birthday.

We poor -- The dollar has fallen to $1.50 to the Euro. Dreams of Parisian street crepes fade further on the horizon.

Get Sweded -- If you haven't seen Be Kind Rewind yet, you should go see it this weekend. The Times wrote an article in 2006 on how Michel Gondry used everyday people--300 Passaic residents, actually--to make this movie about, well, everyday people making movies. Awesome. Once you love the movie, go Swede yourself on the movie's website. It may turn out as creepy as mine.
Oldies but Goodies -- OK, so SNL was like so four days ago, but I just had to share this video anyway.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Will the circle be unbroken?

How is it possible that I end up living above an NU grad student and self-important homeowners' association boardman/jerk who thinks that appliances running after 9 pm is an unreasonable amount of noise? Can I not escape NU douches? Will I forever be hounded?

Anyway, the good news is that I found his Facebook page* (really, everyone should make their pages friends-only), and he's actually all of four years my senior, loves fishing and Tom Petty, and likes to point out on his resume that he is a natural-born American citizen. He must also like Lou Dobbs.

At any rate, I've got a serious nasty neighbor problem on my hands. This guy and his fiancee have complained to the condo board, our neighbors, and our landlords about the noise coming from our apartment. ((You know, all that barefooted walking we do at crazy hours, like 10 PM.))

Since they've taken issue with us by contacting everyone BUT us, we're in the strange situation where the following are options, and I'd love some input. How do you handle the nasty neighbor?

1) We ignore their passive-aggressive nastiness. Ridiculous accusations of loudness, launched through unsuspecting third parties, do not warrant a response. If something is really up, knock on our door. You know where we live.

2.) We go downstairs and knock on their door, formally introduce ourselves (we've never seen them before--unless you count the one time I was struggling to open our front door when I was moving in, and I saw someone in that apartment watch me and then shut their door without helping), and then ask politely, and more specifically, what noises have bothered them and when. We have a feeling that they're hearing noise that isn't us, and assuming it is coming from our apartment. So, we'll just talk it out.

3.) We go downstairs and knock on their door, but this time, I wear a fake prosthetic leg and we apologize profusely for whatever harm I've caused them.


*I would link to it, but it turns out we have some mutual friends. If you're curious in looking over his profile, please let me know and I'll send it your way.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Listen to my awesome boyfriend

He has a really special radio show this Monday, Feb. 25 on WNUR 89.3 FM at 10 PM. If you're into Chicago house music (which I know you are), you're going to love what you hear. If you've never heard of Chicago house music (which is also possible), you'll still love what you hear.

Also, here's the poster I made for it.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Oscars: Animated Shorts

A and I went last night to the Landmark Cinemas to see the Oscar-nominated animated shorts, and I fell in love with one in particular. Although I definitely encourage you to go see it in theatres if you can, I've posted it in its 3 parts here because I just love it that much.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is it news?

The Medill drama continues to snowball, and now Hamilton Nolan over at Gawker is mocking the whole situation, calling it “all that self-referential ivory tower bullshit.” Isn’t there something a little bit “people-in-glass-houses” about Nolan’s statement? Isn’t the whole basis of Gawker self-referential ivory tower bullshit? Maybe because this John Lavine story is actual news (rather than regurgitated NYMag and PageSix gossip hash), it upsets Gawker so that they treat it as if they’re above it in lieu of covering it.

It is an egregious error on Gawker’s part (as well as the part of Margaret Lyons over at Chicagoist yesterday who said she “barely cared” about the story) to treat this story flippantly. While this isn’t national mainstream news and there are bigger things to worry about in the world, watching journalists treat this story dismissively disturbs me.

For the dean at one of the top journalism schools in the country—whose controversial curriculum and proposed school name changes are exacerbated only by his heavy-handed manipulation where faculty, stripped of their governance, fear speaking against him on the record—to arrogantly disregard the ethics of his practice is news that should be covered, if only to force John Lavine into communication and transparency with students and alumni and to urge him to reinstate faculty governance among his peers.

EDIT: I'd be remiss not to mention the Eric Zorn's reporting job on this story. In his Trib blog Change of Subject, he's followed up with the faculty who did not sign the faculty memorandum. There are some interesting responses to look over, many of which are telling of the rift that currently divides Medill's faculty.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I like the moon!!

Total lunar eclipse tonight at 10 PM EST/9 PM CST!

Make sure to look for Saturn to the moon's left (if you have a telescope handy, you'll see rings!) and Regulus (the biggest star in the constellation Leo, not the Harry Potter character--zing! Harry Potter joke!) to its right.

In the meantime, enjoy this video that I probably hadn't thought about in nearly five years. Web 1.0 at its finest.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Medill Gossip, Progress

Since David Spett's February 11 Forum piece on Medill Dean John Lavine's hypocritical journalistic standards, things have certainly snowballed. His story received coverage on WTTW's Chicago Tonight, NPR's All Things Considered, The Reader, the Chicago Tribune (not to mention their relatively caustic editorial), the Sun-Times, and a handful of news services.

Now, some of Medill's faculty has released the following statement, and I couldn't be more proud of some of my former professors. Their personal letter to Lavine can be found on Poynter.

Statement from the Medill Faculty

February 19, 2008

We, the undersigned members of the faculty of the Medill School of Journalism, are deeply troubled by Dean John Lavine's use of unidentified sources in his columns for Medill, the school's alumni magazine. We also are concerned about the public questions that have arisen regarding the ethics of attribution and sourcing, and commend the Daily Northwestern and columnist David Spett for raising these issues.

Public discussion about this matter has moved beyond the issue of a quote attributed to an unidentified student to a question of the dean's veracity, specifically whether the quote at issue was fabricated. Regrettably, much of this discussion has itself been anonymous, posted on the Internet by unidentified sources, an act that if predictable is nonetheless unprofessional. We speak publicly, and on the record.

The dean could, if he wished, put an end to what has become an embarrassment to Northwestern and to Medill. We call on him to do so immediately. As the Chicago Sun-Times said in a Feb. 15 editorial, "With his and the school's integrity on the line, the easiest thing for Lavine to do now is produce his notes or have the IT department retrieve that deleted e-mail to allay concerns over whether the unattributed quote is real."

This matter has become a crisis for the school. The principles of truthfulness and transparency in reporting are at the core of Medill's professional and academic mission. The dean's Feb. 14 memorandum in which he offered his explanation of events to Medill faculty is at best inadequate. It says that the quote at issue is essentially the same as that used by a student in an online video, and that the quote at issue is therefore a "fact." But of course the language used in the video is not the same as that in the contested quote, nor is the speaker in the video the unidentified source of the contested quote. Finally, the student in the video is talking about a different Medill class than the one that is the subject of the contested quote.

It is wrong to argue that the forum in which the questionable quote was used, the school's alumni magazine, is not subject to the same standards as other publication venues. Accuracy and truthfulness are non-negotiable requirements for any material prepared for publication in any forum, including in marketing and public relations. Indeed, the defense that Medill magazine is a public relations vehicle and therefore held to a lesser standard than other forms of publication is an insult to Medill's Integrated Marketing Communications faculty and staff, who are bound by the same Integrity Code, in all its particulars, as are the school's journalism students and faculty. As important, Medill magazine speaks directly to the many audiences to whom Medill owes its greatest fealty: students and alumni of the school's journalism and integrated marketing communications programs; our students' parents; the dozens of media firms around the United States and the world where our students take internships; donors to the school's academic and professional programs; employers and practitioners in both journalism and marketing communications. All of these audiences deserve a more complete accounting than the dean has thus far provided. We call on him to do so immediately.

Mary Coffman, Associate Professor
Eric Ferkenhoff, Lecturer
Douglas Foster, Associate Professor
Loren Ghiglione, Professor
George Harmon, Associate Professor
Sharon Kornely, Senior Lecturer
Craig L. LaMay, Associate Professor
Donna Leff, Professor
Arsenio Oloroso, Lecturer
Marcel Pacatte, Lecturer
David Protess, Professor
Larry Stuelpnagel, Assistant Professor
Mindy Trossman, Assistant Professor
Mary Ann Weston, Associate Professor Emerita
Charles Whitaker, Assistant Professor
Jon Ziomek, Assistant Professor Emeritus


Persisting Kitchen Myths

Oh my God! Throwing an avocado pit in your guac won't keep it fresh?! How my mother duped me!

More info on those myths surrounding the food in your kitchen here.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

No need to mention the twelve hour journey to Orlando wrought with hysteria, delays, no personal space because of hefty builder-men and turbulence

If your day starts with your boyfriend referring to himself as a "cattle prodder," thus making you the lazy cow, chances are it's going to be a bad day.

And if your day ends with the bellhop at your hotel laughing as he directs you toward the "annex" you'll be staying in, chances are it's been a bad day.

Welcome to your first business trip, Caitlin!


Monday, February 11, 2008

The dean's unnamed sources - The Daily Northwestern Forum

More of the same from Dean John Lavine. If this doesn't instill fear in hearts of Medill, who knows what will?

The dean's unnamed sources - Forum


Dolly Parton Postpones Tour, Blames Breasts

Hats off to the Reuters writer who came up with that headline. Of course, Dolly does some doozies herself, too:

"Hey, you try wagging these puppies around a while and see if you don't have back problems," the folksy singer-songwriter said in a statement.

Ahh, yes. Such eloquence from a "singer-songwriter" has not been heard since the days of Berlin and Gershwin.


Friday, February 8, 2008

I can haz fashun line?

I don't mean to blog something straight of the AP Newswire all over again, but this is awfully important.

Project Runway's Bryant Park show was today, and the AP newswire has this story which gives away more things like how Bravo likes to slut itself as much as possible with MMASM's Tyson and Nikki in the front row of PR's runway. With femmebot Victoria Beckham sitting pretty as the finale's special judge, God help us for what horrible judgment is passed upon our final three designers.

Not that we know who they are. All five remaining designers showed--Rami, Jillian, Christian, Chris, and Sweet P--to keep the secrets of the final episodes hush-hush. Of course, Jezebel's model-blogger already gave away some clues. (Jezebel also has images of designs. Hooray!)

Regardless of the final outcome, I bless Heidi, Bravo, and whoever else had their hand in bringing us Chris March this season. Without his return, this season might have been lost in the sea of salty, Confederate soldier-hatted tears that Rickey shed over the last few months.

Speaking of which...

'Lizalde, who is probably best known for his frequent crying, said he felt good about how he was portrayed.

''I wasn't a jerk. It was a little tough watching myself cry every week, but once I got over that and realized I wear my heart on my sleeve, I was OK with it,'' he said.'


Roofie-Free, USA

If you're headed to Dallas in the next few weeks, keep your drink free of roofies, ok?

Flirty Women Victimize Well - Dressed Men

Published: February 8, 2008

Filed at 4:15 p.m. ET

DALLAS (AP) -- Well-dressed men at posh Dallas hotels and bars are being targeted by a ring of flirtatious women who may be drugging them before swiping their watches and other expensive items, police said.

One man was hurt after possibly being beaten with a high-heeled shoe, police said. Another lost his wallet while in his car with his pants around his ankles.

About a half-dozen men have reported falling victim to the scheme, Dallas police detective Mark Jenkins said. Many were business travelers, and Jenkins suspects there are others too embarrassed to file police reports.

''I don't know if so much it's that the men are being attracted to them, as that (the suspects) are more or less forcing themselves on the men,'' Jenkins said.

The stylish W hotel in downtown Dallas is among the places where the alleged thefts began. Authorities said the women knew that were looking for; several of the victims wore Rolex watches.

The women have histories as prostitutes, Jenkins said.

In one case, police said a 37-year-old Tampa, Fla., executive lost his iPod, laptop and $4,000 watch after accepting a beer from one of the women.

The women may be slipping drugs into the drinks of their victims, police said.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Incredible Weightiness of Driving (in Chicago)

My parents told me not to bring my car from Evanston to Chicago. “You won’t need it!” they said. “We never needed one! Public transportation!” I shared with my parents my thoughts on the CTA, laden with explectives and clenched fists, which I’ll spare you now—and then said, “No. I need my car.”

In the end, I was right. My car is a necessity. I work in the Ravenswood neighborhood, right off Silicon Alley, which is impossible to reach by El, bus, or Metra from east Rogers Park. On the weekends, I often relish in driving out to the burbs, subsequently fighting super-moms for parking spots at Old Orchard or getting my ass kicked in Wii boxing by J’s 5-year-old niece in Glenview.

However, the city car brings with it a burden that is greater than parking tickets or snow plows that impact dirty ice igloos around your vehicle. No, this burden manifests in the seedy underbelly of Rogers Park and Edgewater, in the speeding main thoroughfares and clogged side streets of these neighborhoods. It is, by a more common name, Chicken.

Living in Rogers Park, it didn’t take long before I recognized this game of brain and backbone as it played out between cars. In narrow streets flanked on either side by parked cars, cars speed at one another for the right to pass first in a challenge that requires gumption that the likes of Sherman and Grant once knew.

The first few times this happened to me, I blamed the drivers. I muttered profanities as they barreled head on at me and then veered close, narrowly missing scraping the side of my car. But the more it happened, I realized—I need not hate the players, but should instead hate the game. (Specifically, Chicken.)

This is how I start each morning—sleepy-headed, unkempt, and reckless. Heeding to no one (except pedestrians!/especially not the buses!) and pushing my way out of Rogers Park.

My trip south on Ashland and Clark is another story altogether, a harrowing journey with quick swerves around delivery trucks, those damned CTA buses, and thick-headed bicyclists. (By thick-headed, I literally mean they must have rock-hard heads because they’re often biking right down the middle of the road without helmets on. They must have no fear of crashing skull-first into anything.) Speedy motorists squeeze into the right turn lane and then gun their way through intersections to continue straight while cabbies straddle multiple lanes as if following the dotted yellow lines to their destination.

By the time I manage to wedge my car into a parking spot near my office, I’ve lost at least the duration of the commute off my lifespan and I’ve devolved into something more primitive. My heart is pounding and my pupils are dialated—I’m in full survival mode, ready to strike snake-like at the nearest postal worker who comes too close to me on the sidewalk with his cart-full of envelopes.

It takes me nearly eight hours to wind down, and by that time, I’m ready to take the same trip home. My hands are shaking, but I reach for the keys. This is my burden to bear.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"I'm constipated--couldn't give a shit"

I'm surprised I hadn't seen this kid yet, but I stumbled upon his videos yesterday on YouTube. Apparently Bo Burnham is 17 years old, lives somewhere in Massachusetts, and is a bona fide punster. I promise, you'll be addicted. I'm posting my favorite video here, although another great one is his Rehab Center for Fictional Characters.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

SUPER TUESDAY REVELATIONS: CNN's "Magic Wall" Touch Screen Board Finally Explained!!!!

I do not know why it took a media source so long to report on this topic, but thankfully, the Washington Post finally did.

When the Magic Wall made its premiere with the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, Wolf and the rest of CNN put on a total uninhibited show of their new toy.

"This is how regular voting works!" Wolf chided us, and with several over-animated hand flourishes, little poker chips (representing voters) fell onto playing cards (representing candidates) and then tallied themselves up. "You see? Now you understand."

Thank you, Wolf. Thank you, Magic Wall.

At any rate, this fancy toy costs upward of $100,000, and more of them will gracing the studios of other news networks in the near future. I haven't tuned into MSNBC or Fox News's coverage of the elections, and I don't think I'll start now. For Super Tuesday, I need a Super-Magic Wall. [Washington Post]