Sunday, October 29, 2006

The end of an era

Aaron informed me this week that Ford is no longer producing the Taurus. Apparently, the last one rolled off the line last week.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tales from the ghetto aka the Jewel Osco on Roosevelt and Ashland

Today I stopped at the shady Jewel Osco(that I try to avoid) to buy a Happy Birthday banner for our monthly work birthday celebration. In an attempt to get into the birthday aisle I had to walk past 3 men and a woman. One of the guys turns and points to me and says "I would like to get some of that, a bucket of chicken with hot sauce and call it a day."

Let me tell ya, I turned around and gave that guy my number.

flying by

I can't believe that today is already Thursday!

I guess when you are gone from Sat-Tues, the week sneaks up on your pretty fast. I am excited for the weekend to be here so soon, even if I work most of it. Having Sunday off will be nice, though.

Happy Thursday everyone.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I would like to title this "Only in Iowa" but it happened in Illinois

While driving back from my parents house today, I was on I-80. Cruising along like most folk, I see lots of flashing lights(fire truck and several state troopers, about 18 authorities in all) up ahead and a semi turned over in the ditch,laying in pieces, on the opposite side of the road. In the median area, I see a black object that appears to be a body bag. I begin to feel a little sick to my stomach for the scene that I am about to arrive upon.

I begin to slow down and get much closer to the scene. The semi trucks in front of me come to a full stop and so do I. I look back over the road and see that the large black object in the middle of the road is not a body bag, but a cow. A large black cow laying down in the grass. I also see 3 state patrol men standing in the middle of the road on my side herding 3 cattle off the interstate, across 4 lanes of traffic and up the hill. As I began to leave the scene the men were still unable to get the one heifer to move out of the median.

I pulled out my camera to attempt to get a picture of this scene, but was too late. I am still unsure if the cattle caused the semi to go into the ditch or if it was a semi filled with livestock that escaped and decided to play on the interstate once they were free.

Either way, it made my drive more interesting.

Apparently it was a livestock trailer

I won't name any names

Because I work in health care, I hear a lot of stories that aren't often told to other people...Think bodily functions. I don't mind and usually find them humorous.

I had a friend that was doing some traveling and shared this story with me. While he was on his trip, he was having some gastrointestinal distress and had to use the restroom, a public restroom. After about an hour, this person had to use the restroom again and returned to the same public restroom. After exiting the second time this guy realized that he had dropped a deuce not once but twice in the WOMEN's restroom.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Iowa: You make me smile

My brother, grandpa and grandma. My grandpa making a hilariously cheesey smiel after I told him I wanted to see his teeth when he smiled. Notice the great Casey's soda cups. We stopped to "treat" ourselves on the way to the nursing home and took my grandma a soda, too.

Emptying the corn from the combine into the wagon.

After riding a round in the combine with my uncle to keep him company, I got him to pose for a picture. He has a pretty pimp combine.

While I was at my grandparents farm, my grandpa decided that the lawn needed mowed one more time before the winter. I am getting ready to gas up the beastly mower, but I can't lie...I only did about 5% of the mowing. I did other things while Josh did most of the mowing. It was really cold out too, about 34 degrees. I was bundled up. Here you can see the awesome ear flap cap I was wearing in an attempt to stay warm. Grandpa later explained to us all the benefits of having the grass cut nice and even before the first snow. Obviously it looks nicer, but it allows all the leaves that blow off the trees to blow straight off the yard. They don't get tangled up in the slightly taller and uneven pieces of grass.

Missing: One saber-tooth

On Friday night, there was a single-tooth saber-tooth dolphin sighting in Chicago. During Rob's short but very enjoyable visit, we were able to create a single tooth saber tooth shot, with sunken tooth included. I had a great time hanging with Rob!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Play it again, Sam

Aaron was in town last night on business, but I was lucky enough to get to hang out with him for a little bit.
In that time, we were able to form a band and play a few tunes. We have serious talent.

We do weddings, bat mitzvahs, and birthdays. Give our agent a call to book us.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

....on a plane, that is...

I think this is pretty hilarious. Now, I really want to dress up as a bomb.

10 costumes that just won't fly
Having Halloween spirit is fine, but don't forget the common sense

By James Wysong
Travel columnist
Updated: 12:01 p.m. CT Oct 18, 2006

On Halloween, most airline crew members are allowed to wear a costume to work. Some costumes are elaborate and well thought out, while others look like a last-minute throw-together. Sometimes passengers get into the spirit and dress up as well. Every year there is someone — a passenger or a crew member — who takes dress-up a little too far.

The following are costumes that I have actually seen at the airport, along with the consequences that followed.

Osama bin Laden. Maybe funny at a college frat party, but a little too close to the bone at the airport. The person who did this was — believe it or not — a pilot, and let’s just say it went over like a lead balloon. I laughed, not at his costume but at his surprise when he discovered the authorities didn’t think it was funny.

Drunken pilot. A passenger thought it would be clever to come to the airport dressed up as a pilot and hit the bars a good three hours before his flight. He met up with several passengers who were horrified when he claimed to be their pilot. He wasn’t breaking any rules, and nobody had the right to tell him to quit, although security was alerted and made sure he wasn’t really working the flight.

Police officer. Impersonating a law enforcement officer is illegal no matter what day it is, and with cameras and real cops all over the terminal, if you turn up in this costume, you are just a chicken waiting to be plucked.

Airline CEO. I wish I had thought of this one. A flight attendant dressed up as the tycoon from the Monopoly game and added a badge identifying himself as an airline CEO. He bragged about his pension during the whole flight, threw fake money around and laughed continuously at the other airline employees. Simple, yet brilliant.

Flasher. It may sound like a good idea, but keep in mind that indecency laws are strictly enforced. When a man from Florida wearing nothing but a trench coat flashed the women as he passed through the terminal, he was arrested. Apparently, he had been arrested before on the same charge, so maybe it wasn’t a Halloween costume after all.

Mass murderer. Dressing up as an infamous murderer in a public place, especially in an airport, is also a bad idea. On my flights I have seen Lizzie Borden, Son of Sam and Jack the Ripper. The best one was a flight attendant dressed up as a box of Cheerios carrying a fake sword. I am embarrassed to say it but, yes, he was a Cereal Killer.

Suicide bomber. Not funny, period! Two flight attendants dressed up as “I Spy” characters but ended up looking like terrorists with bombs. They were suspended when a couple of passengers raised a ruckus.

Anything explosive. Two gate agents actually dressed as bombs with a lit fuse. They worked the customer service desk and anytime anyone got angry, they would reply, “Be careful, I am operating with a short fuse today.” Surprisingly enough, the costume went over well, or I guess you could say that it didn’t bomb. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this stunt at the airport, especially these days.

Priest. A colleague of mine offended an actual priest with his “Father Ted” outfit. It wasn’t the costume that was the problem; it was the Catholic jokes that came with it.

The opposite sex. You may wear a dress as a gag on Halloween, which might make some people chuckle, but before you know it, you are sneaking out to catch the cosmetic sales at the duty free shop.

Any character of ethnic origin. Don Juan, a matador, sumo wrestler, geisha girl, Rastafarian (especially if you’re white), etc. You have to realize that Halloween is an American tradition, but when you are in an airport, you may come into contact with international passengers who could take great offense.

Feminine hygiene product. A man showed up at a New York airport dressed as a tampon. In fact, he made most people, including me, laugh out loud. However, small children kept asking their parents what he was, and I doubt the flustered parents were inclined to begin sex education at such a young age, much less at an airport. The costume also had drawbacks for the wearer; for example, sitting on the airplane was difficult, and he had to take his cotton top off because he was blocking the video screen.

Next time you’re flying on Halloween, wear a costume that will put a little smile on a crew member’s face. As long as it isn’t one of the previously mentioned get-ups, it might get you a free drink on the airplane. I have known many gate agents who have upgraded as many costumed passengers to first class as would fit. It’s in the spirit of “Trick or treat!” and all those grinning jack o’-lanterns.
Enjoy and have a happy Halloween flight.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Totally gross--Tales from the gym

When I was at the gym the other day, I was wondering how often people don't wipe the machines off after they use them. I always clean them off when I am done, but never before I start working out....a new practice that I will employ after I tell you about what I saw.

I am doing my thing on the elliptical(which is in the front row right before the nautilus machines), when a guy starts using the leg press machine right in front of me. The guy takes a paper towel from the wall and meticulously lays it across the head piece where he will be putting his head. He proceeds to do a set of presses then lays there and rests on the machine. While he is taking a break, he proceeds to start digging in his nose. This wasn't a normal swipe or wipe of the nose, but full-on finger in past the first knuckle digging. I was totally grossed out. He put his hand right back on the handle and did two more sets. When he was done, he took his head paper towel off, threw it away and DIDN'T wipe down the machine. So gross. If I got off the elliptical before anyone else used the machine, I was going to wipe and down and say something to that guy. Unfortunately, some unlucky guy made it to the leg press machine before I got off the elliptical. He also did not wipe it down, so maybe it was just karma that he used the boogery machine.

In fact, I didn't see anyone wipe down any of the weight machines, but 90% of the people wiped down the cardio machines when they were done.

All I know, is I am becoming a wiper-downer before and after working out.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I deal with autistic children all the time

Mutated gene raises autism risk, study finds

Pop pop poppoppop popitty pop pop

I don't know who created this, but it is GREAT! I can't take credit for it, I stole it from Angie's blog.


I prefer manic mode.

Sorry I forgot....

The YOY update:

I have been living at work lately, so there isn't much to say...

--a lot of people have inquired about previously posted guy #4...he never called.

His loss.

Fun filled week ahead

Today is my day off from work...and a much needed one, as I have been working some overtime in the past week. The kids at work are more than entergetic and I feel like I talk all shift and none of the kids hear me. Whew. My voice box needs a rest.

I was pretty productive today. I reorganized and cleaned out my bathroom. Who knew how many 1/2 empty bottle of products I had living in the cabinet under my sink. I don't think I will have to buy any body wash, shampoo or conditioner for a while if I just use up what I already have. I also de-cluttered, dusted and vacuumed my bedroom and did a couple of loads of laundry. I am much less stressed when everything is in place.

I have a pretty exciting week coming up. Aaron is going to be in town giving a talk at Loyola on Wednesday, then I get to hang out with him for a bit when I get off work before he catches an early flight back to C-Bus Thursday morning. Friday, Rob will be in town for a conference at Northwestern and staying on Friday night. I am headed to Iowa on Saturday morning to spend a few days with family and celebrate my grandparents birthday's that are on the 25th and 31st of October. I am sure lots of fun farm pictures will be posted after the trip.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

You know you owned one

Yesterday when I was talking to Mel on the phone and she was packing to head to NC for an interview, I jokingly asked her if she had packed her lucky rabbit's foot to put in her pocket so she could stroke it during the interview. After we laughed at the thought for a little bit, we wondered...What ever happened to the lucky rabbit's foot? and Who ever thought that was a good idea?

The idea of a rabbit's foot on a keychain is just repulsive, but I definitely owned one. They were everywhere and in every possible color. I remember them being sold at Santa's secret shop at school where you could go to buy cheap presents for your parents for Christmas. I would like to give Oscar's to the millions of parents that pretended to enjoy opening an obnoxiously dyed rabbit's foot keychain from their kid for Christmas and acted excited.

I am sure that the disposal of lucky rabbit's feet is directly related to the landfill overflow problem plaguing the US today.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dear Mr and Mrs Starbucks

After hearing one of my coworkers rave about the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, I was compelled to try it, despite not really liking pumpkin pie. My favorite fall drink from Starbucks has always been the hot caramel apple cider and will always be.

I give the pumpkin spice latte(i got it with nonfat milk and minimal whipped cream) a B for accuracy. It tastes like a cup liquid pumpkin pie. Every Thanksgiving since I can remember, I always think I want to like the PP, but then two bites into it, I, this is gross. It does smell delicious. This year I am sticking to the pecan pie...well, probably no pie. I am a little sad that I will not be with my family for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year. Due to distance and work requirements, I am averaging making it to Christmas every other year and haven't been to Thanksgiving since I graduated college.

As for price and service, I give the latte a D. $3.75 for a tall(Starbucks smallest advertised size) latte? Ridiculous. I could have gone to Subway and gotten a 6" sandwich with change to spare...a much healthier and filling choice. Also, I requested a SHORT pumpkin spice latte...a cup size that Starbucks does not advertise but offers most of their drinks in for a cheaper price and lower calorie count. And really, most of their drinks are so sweet that I can't drink all of a tall. Well, the man behind the counter(baristas is how I believe they refer to themselves) informed me that a short was not an option. Well, dillweed, the sign for how to make the latte is on the side of the machine which is in open view to me and in fact gives the instructions for how to make it in the short version...2 pumps of the pumpkin flavor and a shot of espresso.

I will not be buying another pumpkin spice latte anytime soon and might return to my boycott of Starbuck's ridiculous prices. Bring Java House to Chicago. I like the independently owned coffee shops much better.

And what is their logo. Is anyone else creeped out by the mermaid-ish girl that is the center of their logo? I AM!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It's Pat! I mean Liam!

My roommate's brother Pat is on a show in Scotland called River City. The website is featuring him this week with an interview. Check it out.

Congrats on the big break Pat!

A Simple Show of Hands fromthe NY Times

ON a brisk autumn afternoon, in the shadow of the marble arch in Washington Square Park, a couple visiting from Ohio walked along holding hands like two teenagers going steady, decades after “going steady” went out of vogue.

Vladimir Milivojevic for The New York Times

Locked in People moving in tandem across the city. Some see hand-holding as a public announcement that a couple is approaching. Others see the maneuver as an ideal way to snake through a crowd.
When a stranger asked why they had chosen to join hands during their stroll, the man, Dave Findlay, looked at his wife of seven years and answered in a word: “Connection.”
Or as the Beatles sang back in 1963: “When I’ll feel that something, I want to hold your hand.”
Those simple lyrics turned an expression of teenage longing and first romantic steps into a No. 1 hit. Yet today, when Justin Timberlake is at the top of the charts with “SexyBack” and the digital airwaves are filled with steamy lyrical declarations (“I’m into havin’ sex, I ain’t into makin’ love” sang 50 Cent in “In da Club”), couples like Dave and Carey Findlay still intertwine fingers, kiss palms and link pinkies as they meander through parks, cross streets and snake through crowds.
“Hand-holding is the one aspect that’s not been affected by the sexual revolution,” said Dalton Conley, a professor and chairman of the department of sociology at New York University. “It’s less about sex than about a public demonstration about coupledom.”
Nowadays hand-holding has attracted the interest of scientists who are studying its effects on the body and mind. And sexual health educators say it is a much-discussed topic among gay students who now publicly hold hands more than ever before but still must consider whether they want to declare their sexuality.
“I think it remains more important in an era of perhaps more liberal sexual norms,” Dr. Conley said. “It remains this thing to be doled out.”
To hold someone’s hand is to offer them affection, protection or comfort. It is a way to communicate that you are off the market. Practically speaking, it is an efficient way to squeeze through a crowd without losing your partner. People do it during vigils, marches, weddings and funerals.
Usually it connotes something innocuous and sweet about a couple and their relationship. In rare instances, it takes on added potency, such as when President George W. Bush held the hand of Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Crawford, Tex., last year — an act of respect and affection in Arab countries — reminding some people of the film “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which depicted the Bush family’s close business ties to Saudi leaders and which ignited conspiracy theories.
But, over all, few things are more innocent than a child grabbing the hand of a parent, for protection, direction and, as Mr. Findlay put it, connection. And with many children these days closer and more outwardly affectionate to their parents, chances are you have spotted a mother and her teenage daughter and perhaps even a father and his adolescent son ambling through a mall, scurrying through a crosswalk or strolling along, hand in hand.
Adult children and their elderly parents also hold hands, for balance, support and as a sign of love.
As for romantic couples, the opinions about hand-holding are as varied as fingerprints. But most people agree that it has merely changed, not lost favor.
“I think that for sure college students hold hands just like the old days,” said Sandra L. Caron, a professor of family relations and human sexuality at the University of Maine in Orono.
If they do, it is likely only after they are deep into a relationship — not in those early days of budding romance, when a touch of hands was the first act of intimacy between a couple. That was the hand-holding that the Beatles wrote about. (Followed swiftly by the sexual revolution, whose equivalent anthem might be The Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”)
Among more than a half-dozen students at the University of Maine, there seemed to be two universal truths: that hand-holding is the least nauseating public display of affection and that holding hands has become more significant than other seemingly deeper expressions of love and romance.
“It is a lot more intimate to hold hands nowadays than to kiss,” said Joel Kershner, 23. Because of that, he said, reaching for someone’s hand these days has more potential for rejection than leaning in for a smooch at a party where alcohol is flowing.
Libby Tyler, 20, said it was “weird that hand-holding is more serious,” but true. “It’s something that you lead up to,” she said.
There is nothing casual about it any more, said Rachel Peters, 22. “Hand-holding is something that usually people do once they’ve confirmed they’re a couple,” she said.
But if that is not complicated enough, where you choose to hold hands also has meaning, the students said.
Drew Fitzherbert, 21, said that public hand-holding “shows that commitment not only to you and your partner but everyone else in the community.”
Dr. Conley of N.Y.U. agreed. “In the dark movie theater, in the dorm room, that’s a very different social act,” he said.
Are people holding hands as much as they once did? That’s impossible to quantify. But Gregory T. Eells, the director of counseling and psychological services at Cornell University in Ithaca, said he didn’t think so.
“I see more people on their cellphone than holding hands,” he said, adding, “To some extent we are trading real face-to-face relationships, where there’s touch and body language, for electronic ones.”
Peter Shawn Bearman, a professor of sociology and the director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University, said that hand-holding in crowded cities like New York may simply be impractical.
“Maybe if the proportion of hand-holders has indeed gone down it has more to do with density (of humans) than the devaluing of hand-holding as a romantic signal,” he wrote in an e-mail message.
Whatever degree of hand-holding may be happening, there are good reasons to cultivate the habit — reasons would-be hand-graspers may wish to pass along to their hands-in-pockets partners.
“Based on what we’ve seen, when we get more physical intimacy we get better relationships, whether a mother and an infant or a couple,” said Tiffany Field, the director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
Even monkeys understand the importance of a hand squeeze every now and then. In “Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals,” Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University, wrote that some monkeys hold hands in reconciliation after a fight.
James Coan, an assistant professor of psychology and the neuroscience graduate program at the University of Virginia, has studied the impact of human touch, particularly how it affects the neural response to threatening situations, and said the results of a recent study were more dramatic than he expected.
“We found that holding the hand of really anyone, it made your brain work a little less hard in coping,” Dr. Coan said, adding that any sort of hand-holding relaxes the body.
The study, which will be published this year in the journal Psychological Science, involved 16 couples who were rated happily married based on the answers in a detailed questionnaire. The wives were put inside an M.R.I. machine and were told they were to receive mild electric shocks to an ankle. Brain images showed that regions of the women’s brains that had been activated in anticipation of pain and that were associated with negative emotions decreased when their husbands reached into the machine.
“With spouse hand-holding you also stop looking for other signs of danger and you start feeling more secure,” said Dr. Coan, who led the study. “If you’re in a really strong relationship, you may be protected against pain and stress hormones that may have a damaging effect on your immune system.”
Perhaps it is why so many people crave it.
Blogs and online forums are rife with complaints of those who say their significant other does not want to hold hands. “When we go out, we always have a blast, but the one thing that bothers me is that he never holds my hand in public,” writes a woman on a “love advice” forum on
For older couples, letting go of hand-holding may be one more sign that they are pressed for time and too swamped for little acts of intimacy.
“When do we make time to hold hands?,” said Dr. Eells of Cornell, talking about his own marriage of 15 years. “Not very often.”
The couple is often busy shuttling children to and from school and extracurricular activities, not strolling through parks like characters in a Georges Seurat painting.
Sometimes, though, even errands provide opportunities. Recently, Dr. Eells said, he and his 9-year-old daughter were caught in a downpour after her cheerleading practice. The two grabbed hands and raced off into the rain together. When they finally splashed over to the car, the damp girl turned her face to her father. “That was awesome,” she sighed.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday's events

Most people probably don't care about this, but it might be the highlight of my week. I am getting my hair cut today and couldn't be more excited. It has probably been 3 months and my hair is just gross. I love my hair lady and have convinced multiple other people to start going to her as well. I hope she doesn't get so much business that she can't take me anymore. I should really stop referring people.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's about time for a YOY update

I reported a few weeks ago that I was going to get back into the YOY full swing.

Well, I did. Here are the updates!

Man #1:
Right after confirming that I was going back to the YOY, I met a guy at the bar who seemed really nice and smart. Well we hung out one night and talked and everything seemed good, but then I saw him out and about a couple of more times with minimal acknowledgement to my existence. Wierdo. His loss. I am sure he will be in therapy 20 years from now and it will all come back to him not calling me.

Man #2:
While in Iowa City on Saturday, we were watching the game at Donnellys. In the middle of the game a quite intoxicated man came up to me and told that I was beautiful and asked me to dance. I laughed and said, there isn't any music on, the game is on. He said he wanted to dance anyway...well, being that it is the year of yes, I popped out of my chair and danced with him. He wanted me to leave and go meet up with his friends at another bar, but I was hanging with Anna and Mel and the game was on. I felt the dancing was "yes" enough.

Man #3
Later in the night on Saturday, we went to an establishment called Jakes where I ran into a guy that I had a couple of classes with my freshman year in college. We talked for a while and were talking about our love for Iowa football and I informed him that I get to go to a wedding reception in the press boxes at Kinnick next year. At this point he invited himself to be my date at the wedding. I said, sure, why not. We exchanged numbers...I am betting he won't call...and that is ok. It was a fun interaction.

Man #4
Being the super cool roommates that we are, Megan and I played Scrabble last night then decided to go to the neighborhood bar for one drink. Once we got to the bar it started pouring, like Hurricane Katrina style pouring rain. So we stayed for a second drink, when the two nice guys sitting next to us started chatting us up and we disclosed to them that we had been playing Scrabble. One of the guys apparently loves board games and keeps them in the trunk of his car. So we encouraged him to go get Balderdash and he the middle of the tsunami. The game wasn't in his car but he did have a kickball. Sadly, we couldn't convince enough people to play kickball in the bad weather. Board game guy and I hung out for a while longer then decided we had to brave the weather, since it was pouring out and we were already soaking wet, we decided to dip our feet in the fountain, jump in puddles and dance in the rain. We exchanged numbers and had a lot of fun. I think I would say yes to this guy again.

There you have it.
Update complete.

Eggplant Parmigiana will get you every time

This is me recovering from eating the eggplant parmigiana. We are pretty excited to have left overs for the rest of the week.

Last night for dinner I made eggplant parmigiana. Neither Megan or I had ever eaten eggplant before, but I really wanted to try this recipe, so I convinced Megan to try some. It was AMAZING. It was so good that we got the eggplant parmigiana sweats. Megans brother gets the meat sweats when he eats a lot of meat at once and we kept saying we were going to stop eating the EP, but we couldn't. This is Megan make her brother's classic "meat sweat" pose.

It was so good that Megan saved her last two bites in a rubbermaid to eat later, even though we have a whole 9x13 pan of it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ohio St vs Iowa weekend in Iowa City

We thought this guys shirt was HILARIOUS!

You know you are cool when you have an Iowa belt buckle!

TJ and Tonya were stellar tailgate hosts. The Tioga(in the background) is a beast, but amazing for tailgating.

Tailgating with the Lens'. Always a good time.

TJ and Tonya's dog Maizey was so cute. It made me want to get a dog. We fed it a lot of Chex Mix....don't worry, Tonya said it was ok.