Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life Lessons in the Lunchroom

When the siren blared in the cafeteria, we all knew what to do. After all, we were third graders and tornado drills had become old hat at Louisa Wright Elementary. But, even for us elementary elders, this was our first "real" tornado during school, which was bone-chilling enough…but there was an even bigger issue at hand. It was Tuesday. It was Chicken Nugget Day.

I rarely bought lunch at school. Occasionally, I got a carton of chocolate milk to go with the bologna sandwich my mom had packed me. On certain Fridays, I bought a slice of the freakish four-cornered pizza (which I only bought because everyone else did and, foolishly, I always believed that with enough attempts I'd figure out what everyone loved about the cheese slice).

But Chicken Nugget Tuesdays were the holy day of the school-bought lunch calendar—even better than November's Thanksgiving Lunch or the rare May Ice Cream Social. The chicken was spicy, breaded and piping hot. A heaping serving of barbecue sauce accompanied the meaty morsels. And the sides—well, who cared about the sides? They were merely a backup chorus to the poultry lunchtime luminary.

This particular Chicken Nugget Day had arrived after a long drought of chicken nuggetless lunches. I had long awaited the arrival of a lunch calendar that featured my favorite meal, and this Tuesday was a saving grace.

I spent my morning classes distracted, checking the envelope of lunch money my mom had sealed for me, contemplating whether I would savor the chicken's flavor or lose control and down the nuggets quickly. The anxiety in our reading class was palpable—the collective body of the classroom leaning toward the door, begging the teacher to release us before the other third graders got to the line before us.

After a brief reprimand on how we needed to pay better attention to our studies before lunch, the teacher released us. We piled like bulls out of a stockade into a messy single-file line, pushing and stepping on one another's feet to speed the procession to the cafeteria. To our dismay, we were the last class to arrive. Sixty other third-graders stood in line, some already happily trotting to their tables with their trays laden with the feast.

We waited as patiently as one can expect hungry eight- and nine-year-olds to wait, biding our time in line until it was our turn to skim our tray across the stainless steel serving station, thanking the hair-netted cooks and paying the head lunch lady with the bills and change that had turned damp and warm in our little hands

I was ecstatic. Rushing to a table on the east side of the cafeteria, I quickly sat and bit into my first nugget. The smoky, spicy flavors rushed into my mouth, and for a moment, I was happy.

Then, the siren.

I hesitated, picked up my tray to bring it to shelter with me, then put it down and shoved two nuggets into my mouth instead. The teachers acted quickly, sending some of us into the hallway and others, like me, into the bathrooms. There was stifled laughter as girls and boys entered opposite sex bathrooms, subsequently followed by a hissing "Omigosh, grow up. You are so immature," from the more worldly third-graders. As I was directed into girls' bathroom, I looked back longingly at the empty tables, lined with their pastel green, pink and yellow trays. The smell of chicken still lingering in the heavy, humid air as the shriek of the siren continued.

As we waited, some of us assumed the safety position—heads between knees, hands over heads, a few of us held hands as a quiet reassurance, and then there were those of us who could still taste the barbecue sauce that smeared our sticky lips and counted the minutes of precious lunchtime that were stolen from us.

After an agonizing period during which I successfully memorized the beige, brown and black tile pattern on the bathroom floor, we were allowed to return to our tables with only minutes left in lunchtime to finish our now-chilled lunches.

I pressed my index finger against the soggy breaded surface of the nugget, releasing cold grease from the tepid meat. Letting out one little sigh mourning the loss of my favorite lunch, I picked up my tray and threw the remnants of Chicken Nugget Tuesday into the trash.

Maybe it was while looking deep into the soiled black garbage bag at the torn white flesh of our class's nuggets that for the first time, I recognized that vulnerability pervaded even our lunch calendar. If violent winds could extinguish Chicken Nugget Tuesday, then what else might blow away without warning?

Or maybe it wasn't that deep. But I never bought Chicken Nugget Tuesday lunch again; and to this day, when I order chicken nuggets or pop some in the oven, I instinctively scan the sky for warning signs first while flashes of beige, brown and black tile flicker before me. I bite into the flesh. I won't have another meal stolen from me again.


Ughhhh cuuuuuuuute

Well, this story is a year old, but somehow I missed it. And ughhhhhh.... cuteness.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Uptown Theatre Sold!

Good news today!

The Uptown Theatre has been sold to Jam Productions. Jam promises that they will renovate this beautiful but decaying theatre.

As some of you know, I have a big spot in my heart for this theatre as I watched John dedicate himself to a documentary on the theatre and its supporters. The people who have fought to keep this theatre alive and well, dedicating tireless and countless hours to its preservation, are inspiring.

I’ve been lucky enough to get the (kinda illegal) personal tour, and it made my heart break to see so many beautiful things sitting in neglect. I hope that the whole city can soon see a renovated gem. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out John’s documentary to see just a peek of the Uptown!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Funny Girls

I recommend everyone read my friend Kim's piece in Time Out Chicago on women in the Chicago comedy scene, Painful Punchlines. There's been a lot of acutely defensive backlash-- which in my opinion can only be construed as a reaction precipitated from guilt--from some readers and comedians on both TOC's article and The Bastion.

One comedian and commenter suggested that this "divisive" article was the last thing the scene needed right now. Is it better to sweep such "divisive" issues under the rug, should they upset everyone too much?

Personally, I'm glad that this piece brought up some of the issues that have kept me from being truly drawn in by live comedy in the city. Whether or not girl-bashing is offensive, it's not particularly funny or original.

Furthermore, defending the comedians who engage in girl-bashing, like Chicago comedian Carrie Callahan did ("A few of the dudes who have misogynist stage personas are some of the sweetest guys around."), only provides weak excuses for bad comedy by arguably banal, locker room comedians.

Since this piece was published, I've felt like I keep running into more issues of women in comedy. T Magazine did screen tests with comedians, including Anna Faris, who said the following: 'It's harder for a woman to be accepted as funny if there's sexuality involved because sexuality isn't always very humorous.'

I then got sucked into watching Sarah Haskin's "Target Women" series, which I find pretty hilarious (and not to mention tasteful). Sarah happens to live in Chicago too, which is worth mentioning, and was profiled on The Bastion.

Here are a few of my favorites of her videos, but also check out the Suffrage and Botox videos.

Feed Your F---ing Family

Yogurt Edition

Wedding Shows


Friday, July 25, 2008


I bought this bike at A Nearly New Shop. Um, minus the blond hussy and the totally awesome purple-and-white seat. And plus a basket. And minus those high heels.

I'm going RIGHT NOW to pick it up!!


A Mega-Recap

It’s been one week since my brush with the Megabus, and I’m now privy to that world of tiny seating, efficient driving and bizarre road stops that Megabus encapsulates.

After staying up scrubbing the floors in my apartment until 3 AM on Thursday night, I was looking forward to a good minimum four-hour nap on the bus Friday afternoon. J and I rushed over to the random corner in Chicago where Megabus handles pick-ups, where we were met by throngs of the masses, waiting for various bus routes.

“Is this bus going to Minneapolis?” asked one lady.

“No, Indianapolis, then Cincinnati,” responded a random woman, who seemed to be a representative of Megabus and in charge of the pick-ups and drop-offs.

“Then Minneapolis?” asked the lady hopefully.

“Um, no,” said the random woman. Megabus is such a confusing experience that even we proud Americans forget simple geography.

I handed over my printed-out reservation confirmation, and J and I plowed our way through the narrow aisle to snag the last two seats open next to one another.

(We were ten minutes early to our 3:30 bus and it was packed. Later, around 3:35, a girl who I’d like to refer to as “Northwestern Stupid”—ask me to define that for you another time—arrived with her friend. They wandered the aisle, looking surprised that no paired seats were open five minutes AFTER the bus was scheduled to leave and slamming people with their backpacks as they turned and turned.

Finally, they settled their eyes on one 20-something college student who had clearly arrived early, settling in with his laptop, bag and some chem notes arranged neatly over two seats.

“Ummmmm,” said the girl through her nose. “Can you move over there?” she pointed to an open seat next to a woman who clearly had no interest in sharing her space. “My friend and I are traveling together, and there’s an open seat over there.”

Miraculously, this guy moved for these girls. People like this deserve medals...or the seats they originally chose when they arrived on time. Moving on...)

I was disappointed to realize that, despite my pillow, I wouldn’t likely be falling asleep any time soon, and at least not for any long periods of time. I had heard legends of the double-decker Megabus, but we hadn’t been so lucky to land a ride on one of those. The bus was packed tight, and it wasn’t easy to relax, or lean back, or do much else other than ride in a semi-fetal position with my feet resting on my bag and my knees up against my face.

The ride itself was fine, replete with Pride and Prejudice reading, music listening and The Office watching. I might take this opportunity to point out that the albums I listened to (The Beatles, Coldplay, Once) were all UK artists, and I was struck by how much good music that country turns out. It was a British-themed Megabus ride.

When we arrived, John and I to have some extra time downtown in Cincinnati, which could have been really bad if the area was as desolate as it normally is. Instead, a summer music festival was happening in Fountain Square, so we both tried a BL Lime (too lime-y, yet it covered up the tinny taste of Bud Light, soo... kind of a draw) and admired the Square while we waited for my family.

As much as I complained when I lived in Ohio about there not being anything to do there, I have to admit that being in the Square and watching the music was really nice and provided something that busier urban areas don’t have--tranquility. Unlike my experiences in Chicago or New York, where outdoor music and movie nights are jam-packed and the beers are 8 bucks instead of four, this little outdoor concert was relaxing and calm, with space for kids to run freely and people to break out into dance occasionally. It was great.

The rest of the weekend was not so peaceful, with an early Saturday wake-up, a trip to a sketchy warehouse to pick up a Uhaul, and lots and lots of packing. The best part of the weekend was a dip in the pool and a trip with J and family to Dewey’s Pizza. Oh, God—Dewey’s pizza... a miracle upon miracles. MMmmmm Deweeeyyyyss x-pepperonnniiiii pizzzaaaaaaa....

J drove the whole back to Chicago on Sunday, and I cannot thank him enough for it (or all of his other help loading and unloading our truck). We listened to lots of bad music on the Uhaul radio and were forced into conversation (awwkwarrrd!) on the ride back. We also ate Penn Station. Mmmmm... Penn Statioooonnnnnn Clubbbb sandwichhhhhh.

The family stayed a night with me, helping me get stuff together, and slowly, slowly, slowly the apartment comes together. I’ll post pictures, I promise, as soon as I can!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why did the peacock cross the road?

Um, somebody please explain to me why this man, who saved a peacock from the side of the road, cannot get anyone to help him find the proper home for it?? Really? “So far, he's had no luck with the Game Commission, animal control, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or the local zoo,” says the article.

I guess the first question we should ask is, Why pick a peacock of the side of the road?


Friday, July 18, 2008

It's here!

It's Megabus day. I'm taking the 3:30 bus from random corner in Chicago to random corner in Cincinnati--with one pit-stop at random corner in Indianapolis. I'm hoping John brought his camera so we can document the journey!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sometimes we just need a day off

This morning literally started with me getting my panties in a bunch.

I should learn to take signs like this one as direct messages from God. “Caitlin, this day, it’s not yours, h’okay? Fuhgeddaboudit. Just get back in bed. You can’t win this one. Capice?”

Instead, I spit and swore my way through donning the new underwear that I just bought from Target. (This purchase makes the third Hanes purchase in a row that’s been disappointing. Something about their elastic and cotton material seems different, and I am not a happy camper.)

And I trudged on, pulling on my jeans and moving on with my day, which could only be rectified—naturally—with a pot of coffee. Still bleary-eyed and feeling all sorts of restricted, I got my coffeemaker ready to go… Only to have it literally spew grinds at me (how? I don’t know) and gurgle now coffee ground-ridden, dirty water. I cleaned up, scalded my hand on the kitchen faucet, made a fresh pot that smelled distinctly of an odor best described as cat pee lit afire, and then tossed it down the drain.

Giving up, I decided I’d drive to work and hit up a coffee shop on the way. As I walked out to my car, I noticed that the block was strangely empty. Oh no, street cleaning! I thought. A quick glance up and down the block revealed no street cleaning signs, however. But alas! A ticket! (My second this week!) And indeed, tucked underneath a small tree with low swinging branches was the only sign posted for three-quarters of the block: Street cleaning, Thursday, 9 am to 3 pm.

I took a long look back at my front door. It was like God was standing there in the window, waving the memo he sent me: Fuhgeddaboudit, Caitlin!

Sometimes, I should listen.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scarred and Stacked Neatly

My name is Caitlin, and I’m a former Gap, Inc. employee. For two fulls years and two extra summers, I wore a headset, a frumpy, fire engine red T-shirt emblazoned with OLD NAVY and discovered the horrors of retail.

Aside from the finagling penny-pinchers, the unruly kids and the occasional sociopath who frequented the store, the greatest horror of all was The Truck.

If you frequented an Old Navy between the late 90s and early 2000s (and, appallingly, even at some stores now), you are acquainted with The Truck. That hulking blue monstrosity with the glazed-eyed prop dog gathering dust in its stripped cab. Yeah, that one.

Where customers saw the infamous Flag Tees or the latest round of knock-off men’s “vintage” tees (Gettin’ Lucky in Kentucky, people.), we employees saw the tenth circle of Hell.

At least one person dedicated their entire eight-hour shift to the tumbling piles of once-neatly-folded shirts that surrounded The Truck. The delicate balance never held. After an employee defensively guarded their orderly stacks of shirts, perhaps leaving their post for only a fifteen minute soda break in the back, the customers (and their children) would come in hordes to The Truck.

The questions would follow:

Where did The Truck come from? How much would we take for it? Where could they find one? Could their son just climb in the cab for a picture? It wouldn’t take but a minute and the camera’s all charged and ready to go, so please?

We’d watch, devastated, as the piles would come crashing down. At 9:05, the folding table was retrieved from the back, rolled to The Truck and the toil began again. Left corner sleeve to middle third. Right corner sleeve to middle third. Lower hem folded one third up. Bottom folded refolded to shoulder. Stack. Repeat.

In the hours I spent at The Truck, I never thought The Wall Street Journal might dedicate an article to the art I learned there. It turns out that I’m not the only scarred Gap, Inc. employee out there.


Friday, July 11, 2008

The Second Coming...

God help us all.

HBO parent Warner Bros. and New Line have "enormous interest" in doing another "Sex and the City" film, according to HBO Programming Group President Michael Lombardo, who said the studio is "trying with our help to put that together."

He told the critics that "everybody associated with it was really heartened by the enthusiasm from the fans and by the new fans to the show."


Thursday, July 10, 2008

In which there's nothing to watch...

As I’ve mentioned recently, I moved. I have yet to order Internet and cable (on my list of things to do this afternoon), which means my choices of television have been limited to Wipeout, whatever new incarnation of CSI and Law and Order is on, and PBS. In this field of choices, I’ve naturally turned to the least sucky—PBS—for when I collapse after an evening of painting/cleaning/moving boxes around aimlessly.

And here’s what I’ve learned: PBS is TOTALLY awesome! So far I’ve learned about the bog mummies of Ireland (totally creepy! and not good to watch alone in a big apartment by yourself), all about John Adams (planning on renting the HBO mini-series now), Japan’s neutralized military, how babies are made, and most awesome of all, the life of a navy officer on a US carrier. Carrier is by far my new favorite show, but I have to admit, Aaron Brown’s new hair has me thinking frosty. Mm, Frosties… (The original Silver Fox posted for your consideration.)


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sweats, Sharks and Shoelaces: The Bachelorette Finale

For the last time, ABC gets their chance to reintroduce us to DeAnna, except this time we don't rehash that whole debacle with Brad Womack. Instead, we rehash that other debacle with poor, poor Jeremy. Tonight, it's time for the boys to meet the whole big fat Greek family--Yaya, Papoo, Windex and all!

Jason tells us he's just a regular ol' guy, a single dad, and he's so happy with DeAnna. We re-meet Ty for the fourteenth time this season, just so ABC can rehash how forward-thinking they are with their token single dad. Cue: shots of DeAnna being maternal with Ty while Jason strips off the body armor. For what it's worth--that body armor, it's everywhere. So many of these men are so damaged.

Jesse shows up to remind us that he's just a dude from the slopes, but that DeAnna takes him out of his element and he's fallen in love with her. He also drops the words "scared" and "nervous" a couple times, which are drier reminders of the sweatiness that's yet to come.

Big Fat Greek Family, Part I of II

Jason arrives to meet the immediate Pappas family and he easily impresses the whole crew. Living up to his gentlemanly standard, Jason approaches D's dad and asks for her hand in marriage. Dad says that no one has ever done that before. Hold the phone. What? What about all those rumors that Brad had Dad flown out to ask for his permission to marry DeAnna way back when? Was I the only one who heard those? Moving on...

When Jesse arrives to meet DeAnna's family, he makes introductions by palming some of his nervous sweat on everybody's hands. Not about to make things easier, Dad grills him. What are you doing beyond snowboarding? Why didn't your last relationship work out? Where are these pink shoelaces I've heard so much about? If you take my daughter away, then you better know that I'm going to hunt you down and break your snowboard over your head, dude. Jesse dry-heaves into the bushes in between takes.

After Jesse leaves, Dad and DeAnna hash out the two men. Dad says that Jason told him he was falling in love with her, so he must mean it. Jesse said the same thing, but there was something about his fluffy hair that made Dad wonder if he could really know what love is. When Dad mentions that Jesse didn't ask for DeAnna's hand, DeAnna furrows her brow in frustration. According to the Pappas family rules, men who don't grovel are not men at all.

Big Fat Greek Family, Part II of II

In addition to DeAnna's dad, sister, brother and sister-in-law, Papoo, Yaya and some other assorted family members have shown up to grill the the same time!!
This is the first of several attempts by ABC to add drama to this finale. Bringing both the guys to the family at the same time? Really, ABC? You might as well bring Jason's ex into this sitch to really make it dramatic. Maybe throw in Brad too just for some added conflict. Or, you could allow a "jilted ex-Bachelor" to come back and confront DeAn--oh, you really are going to do that? Okay.

Jesse arrives first, knowing full well he totally botched yesterday and preparing to make good today. DeAnna also hopes that Jesse isn't as nervous today because she doesn't know how she'll explain the sweats, shakes and vomiting to Yaya. Terrific touch: Jesse does not bring flowers--but he's carrying a potted plant.

Ding dong! The tension of the doorbell crackles in the air!

Jason arrives, announces that he doesn't like sharing DeAnna and secretly plots to put a heating pad under Jesse during dinner to make him sweat more.

The dinner scene consists of extremely fast edits of Jesse not knowing Greek food, Jason knowing Greek food, Jason throwing about compliments to D's family and Jesse throwing fist pounds with D's Papoo.

Jason charms Yaya to pieces, and Yaya's aside about how wonderful and good her husband is makes me tear up and stifle a sob with a big bite out of my Tostitos Hint-of-Lime chips.

Elsewhere in the World of Emotions, Jesse also brings DeAnna's sister and sister-in-law to tears by mentioning his own tears over Dee. Sister-in-law tells Jesse to rock it out and be himself, which is the best advice the dude receives throughout the entire show.

Jesse pulls Dad aside to ask for Dee's hand in marriage. Nice save, Jesse. Jesse and Dad make nice and pound it at the end of their dude-to-dude talk.

The day ends, and nobody wants to say goodbye. Jesse plays well by "tricking" Jason into taking the first limo so he can get the last kiss.

DeAnna sits down with her sisters to get their opinions. Sister thinks that Jason is more into her. Sister-in-law thinks that Jesse is closer to the same place as DeAnna. DeAnna is confused and thinks that maybe buying another swimsuit for the Bahamas will help her make her decision.

Back in the Bahamas

DeAnna barely gets to break in the new suit before some ABC producer approaches her.

"Um, hey De-ANN-a--"

"It's De-AHH-nuh!"

"Oh, right. Um, so the execs aren't too happy with the ratings of your show so far, and with it being summer scheduling and all, we need to fill two hours, plus that totally unnecessary extra hour-long After the Final Rose show. And um, we never filmed your family's ouzo-soaked Opa!'s to fill an extra five minutes, so basically we need to fill a little extra time with some conflict and we've brought a jilted ex-bachelor back."

"Is it Graham? I hope it's Graham."

"Uh, no. Graham's busy hooking up with all the girls who want to jump his bones after seeing him on national television. But we do have Jeremy."

"Is he still crying like the emasculated wuss he is?"


"Fine! Send him in, but make sure he's wearing really tight pants, okay? ..And bring me another swimsuit!"

Jeremy arrives to make DeAnna feel awful for her decision to send him home and gain sympathy from America. Jeremy tells DeAnna that he has been a cold person since his mom died and that after meeting DeAnna, he has changed and feels things he hasn't felt since before his mom's death. DeAnna tells him that her feelings for him should be stronger and she cannot drag him on when they're not meant to be. They exchange kisses on the cheeks and part ways. Jeremy has a breakdown outside the hotel where he secures his position as the next bachelor.

Date with Jesse: ABC Crosses Two Hit Shows to Make One Boring Date: The Bachelorette and Lost

The next day, DeAnna tries to clear her mind of all that Jeremy crap with a new swimsuit and a date with Jesse. Jesse tells us that today is either the rest of his life or his last date with Dee. I am so impressed—Dude be eloquent.

DeAnna takes Jesse to a deserted island. More or less, they just make out while Jesse's voiceover reiterates the same old same old.

Back at the hotel, Jesse gives DeAnna her present: a book for DeAnna that consists of nice thoughts and prom-pose pictures of them together on all of their dates. This brings less a revelation of Jesse's feelings for DeAnna and more of a revelation on the fact that these photos exist. Does ABC make some lowly assistant carry around a Polaroid camera to snap shots at every single date? Where did these come from? I'm so impressed.

Date with Jason: ABC Tries to Create Tension by Putting Bachelorette and Bachelor in Water With Man-Eating Sharks

On their date, Jason and DeAnna go shark diving. Did anyone else feel like this scene was practically biblical? Like, the two of them kneeling in prayer, holding hands while the sharks bump up against cameramen? This show keeps getting weirder.

After dinner, Jason gives DeAnna his gift--a board game that reenacts every moment they've shared together and spells reenact incorrectly. At first, I think this is cute. But as the "reinacted" moments keep coming, I start to feel uncomfortable, like Jason had planned this all along and the whole love reality show thing really is just a game. DeAnna, however, loves it and melts when Jason tells her he loves her.

Final Rose Ceremony

On the morning of the rose ceremony, DeAnna shows us how hard this decision is for her by wearing her glasses and not washing her hair. This MUST be tough! Oh, I guess not. DeAnna tells us she knows who she's picking.

Jason and Jesse pick out their rings. Jason sits down with ease, picks out a ring and checks his reflection, practicing faces for when DeAnna accepts his proposal. Jesse nearly spews outside the makeshift ring shop before entering For the record, I like the ring Jesse chose better.

All three get ready for the big day. DeAnna curls her hair with a straightening iron? I'm so confused. Jason poses a lot in perfect shots with the wind blowing across his face. Jesse sweats a lot and downs some Tums. Both men cry.

Chris "America's Favorite Host" Harrison walks DeAnna out to her pedestal. You know, that pedestal that she's been on since she got dumped by Brad? I'm sure you remember it. The one that no single guy seemed able to crawl up to and join her because DeAnna's expectations are so high? Yeah, that one.

The first limo pulls out, and it's: Jason! Jason tells us he's not nervous. He's excited to get started on his life with DeAnna. After rushing down the walk, Jason quickly gets down on one knee. Before he can more than "I" out, DeAnna interrupts: No, I can't.

DeAnna tells Jason that she cannot share her future with him but that she loves someone else. Jason tells DeAnna that he really did fall in love with her. DeAnna cries as she walks Jason to the limo. In the limo, Jason is at first quiet and dejected before he opens up. "Why me? I was so ready to be in love again. God I wanna fall in love, I've had a huge hole in my heart for years." Jason worries he was not adventurous and on the edge enough for DeAnna. Jason says he already feels that body armor up again and the only thing he has is Ty.

DeAnna tells us that Jesse is someone she can see herself with in the future. "Man, my stomach's in knots," Jesse tells Chris. That's pretty sweet. Jesse manages to keep down his breakfast as he walks up to DeAnna. "I never thought this process could be real and I could fall in love here, but I did. The thought of not being with you kills me. I want to spend forever with you and I truly believe you are my soulmate. DeAnna Marie Pappas, will you spend forever with me?" DeAnna says yes, they kiss and she says, "I would not be okay if you were not in my life. And I love you. I've waited so long to say that. I love you."

To carry us out, Natasha Bedingfield. Remember? We saw her at the first date? Well, just in case you forgot, ABC included it in the flashbacks. And as a final thought? "I cannot believe I'm going to marry the guy with the pink shoelaces!"

And as an aside, I did watch the After the Final Rose show but didn't really find it worth blogging--plus, I was busily painting the new apartment's living room (what, what, Cozy Cottage by Behr!). However, I did LOVE how ABC brought back Matt and Shayne to disprove all those silly rumors of monkey trouble. I'm not so sure I believe them, but it was good to see the Monkeys in addition to the Pink Shoelaces. Until next time, fill yourself with some Jesse Csincsak love by reading up on him on Purl, watching an online rerun of the time he was an MTV Made coach, this 2005 article about how Jesse helped less-well-off boarders get their chance on the slopes, or his profile on his website, which--for the record--lists girls as the number two thing that sucks.


Well, if last night's episode didn't include enough forced drama (making people sit with sharks? really, ABC?) and swimsuits, I don't know what would. I've got an update on the way later today. Until them, keep on nuggin'.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Greatest Ever Played

As I’ve said before, I am a huge devotee of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, so watching them play one another with so much passion and such great skill was (like McEnroe had to have said at least a half dozen times) an honor.

One thing that those of us in the US didn’t get to catch was a commercial the BBC had filmed in case of a rain delay. (Good thing there were two.) The network had each player read passages from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If,” from which two lines are engraved over the entrance to Centre Court: If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same.

It’s incredible that these two players did just that—meet triumph and disaster—with such grace and respect for one another. It only makes it more difficult for me to choose who I’ll root for at the US Open.

The video, although a little maudlin with the music, is touching, particularly given the tension during the time it aired. Check it (and the poem) out below.

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man my son!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Earth-Shattering Revelations

Occasionally in life, everything we believe in is turned upside down. The last time this happened to me, I practically argued with my AP US History teacher that Henry Clay was, in fact, once president. (I swear to GOD that he was! Someone went back in time, changed history, and I’m the only one who knows the truth.)

Today, a similarly disturbing truth was revealed to me, and all that I’ve ever known is now questioned. Prepare yourselves, people, for something you probably already knew: Loofahs are not sponges.

I have avoided buying loofahs--or so much as looking at them--because of the stomach-turning reaction I have to their porous surface which I imagined as the squishy innards of a sponge. (By the way, I can’t explain this reaction, but I truly am nauseated by things with little holes or scales. Thus, my dislike for fish and how sometimes I feel like even certain mesh materials are looking at me the wrong way.)

But to (only) my (own) surprise (and nobody else’s), loofahs are made from the locules of a gourd. A GOURD. Not a sponge. Well, I guess you live and learn but can continue to insist that someone changed history and nobody else knows…