Monday, October 31, 2011

Where I say thank you to that guy on the bicycle...

I feel that if I complain too often on this blog, that people are going to see me for how I really am. I mean... they'll think I'm a whiner, and that's not true. Really.

So, I want to say thank you to the guy on the bicycle who managed to brighten my mood before 8:00 in the morning on Friday.

I was walking from my car to the office when I was crossing the street at Woodlawn. Stopped at the red light was a Lexus SUV that was blasting Katy Perry's song "Fireworks." This woman had no windows open, yet the song was blasting so loud, that every word could be heard clearly.

I'm not a fan of Katy Perry or how she's marketed. "Fireworks," while annoyingly catchy, is also just really annoying. Not as bad as say... Usher's "OMG," but still not a fan of the song.

As I continue to walk across the street, I see a guy on a bicycle stopped on the other side of the SUV. Our eyes meet, and he starts bopping his head in time to the music with a big goofy grin on his face. I couldn't help myself... I burst out laughing.

I would've put up a picture of Katy Perry, but I'd rather look at this.

So... thank you, guy on the bicycle. You made me laugh before 8:00am on a Friday, and it colored the mood of the rest of my day. I salute you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Where I rant about House Hunter's International...

I have a serious aversion to reality TV. This is mostly because I happen to live reality, and what's shown on TV is not reality. I don't know what the hell it is, but it sure isn't any form of reality that I recognize.

I've made it a goal in life to watch as little reality TV as possible. The shows I do watch that might be classified as reality TV, I explain away by classifying them as documentaries. I have never watched an episode of Survivor, a complete episode of American Idol, or subjected myself to the horror that is the Jersey Shore (which is a rant for another day).

So, I was recently forced to watch a reality TV show called House Hunter's International. I was at a friend's house, so I didn't have any control over the TV. We'd just finished watching the Blackhawks lose against the Avalanche (who I accidentally called the Rockies at one point), when the channel was switched to HGTV.

The show that I was subjected to was House Hunter's International. By the time I was done watching this show, I had a nearly uncontrollable urge to either cut myself* or kick cute puppies.

The premise of this show is horrible. It's basically about absurdly rich people who are looking for either a second home in some exotic foreign country, or absurdly rich people looking for an entirely new primary residence in some exotic foreign country.

The episode I saw that fateful night was titled Quality Time on the Gold Coast of Australia. The synopsis on HGTV's website doesn't do this justice, so please read mine instead:

In this episode, a couple that's been living in Thailand (the Mackays) are looking to move to Australia. The husband (Scott) is an international banker (read: he works for the Devil), and has been commuting between Bangkok and Phuket. He lives in an apartment in Bangkok during the work week, while his wife (Navine) lives in Phuket with their three sons. He commutes back to the house on the weekends.

Scott has decided that he can't be a weekend dad anymore. This means that he has to move the family so that he can live with them full time. For some reason that I can't quite put together, this means that rather than move to Bangkok, they're going to move to the Gold Coast of Australia. So, they start looking for a new home in Australia.

During this search, Navine starts whining about how the move to Australia is such a huge sacrifice for her, as she'll be giving up her lavish lifestyle in Phuket, along with her nanny, cook, housekeeper, and driver. (Insert the sound of screeching tires) Wait, what? She has a nanny, a cook, a housekeeper, and a driver?!? And she doesn't work? WHAT THE FUCK DOES SHE DO ALL DAY?

Anyway, so Scott and Navine go to Australia to consult a realtor (who has a better accent than them), and it is revealed that their budget is $1,000,000 USD. (Insert the sound of screeching tires again) A million fucking dollars? Really? How am I supposed to relate to this show? I will never own a million dollar home. Even if somehow I become a famously wealthy best-selling novelist (hahahahahahahaha!), I will still never own a million dollar home. Nor will I ever have a nanny, a cook, a housekeeper, and a driver. Okay, maybe I'll have a housekeeper, but that's it.

Moving on... The realtor shows them three different houses. The middle of which is on some sort of waterway that isn't the ocean, but must still be saltwater. I say this because, as Navine goes down to the beach and declares, "We have our own beach!" the realtor warns her, "Yes, but don't go into the water. There are bull sharks!"

The sole redeeming moment of this show is when Navine exclaims in her British accent, "Shaaaaaahks?!?"


But the show proceeds to ruin this by repeating that clip ad nausem.

They did not pick the house with the sharks, sadly. I was hoping she might get eaten by sharks. It would've only improved my opinion of the show.

Anyway, the moral of the story is: This is exactly why I hate reality TV. There is nothing in this show that I can relate to, aside from an aversion to sharks. In this economy, where people are struggling to pay their mortgages on their reasonably priced homes, how can HGTV justify throwing crap like this in our faces? This is quite literally a show for the 1%, about the 1%.

Oh, and the added kicker? At the end of the show, it's revealed that Navine has two yippy yappy anklebiter dogs. Not that this should have shocked me, because the woman was pretty much portrayed as a stereotypical privileged rich housewife.

*A note to readers - I actually have no desire to ever cut myself, despite my frequent assertions otherwise.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Random things I obsess about on the highway...

So, anybody who knows me, knows that I can't shut up about the horrible commute I endure. Yes, it sucks. I take the Eisenhower Expressway from downtown to the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway (EOE, and it goes to neither Elgin, nor O'Hare), twice a day, five days a week. I just did the math, and I kind want to slit my wrists, but I spend 18.5% of my waking day (Monday through Friday) commuting. Thank God I don't own a gun. Unfortunately, I do own knives.

Anyway, the point of this blog entry: Because of the length of my commute, and the large portion of it that I spend moving under fifteen miles per hour, I tend to notice things that I wouldn't otherwise notice. I get bored. I look around me, I see things.

The other day, I had a woman following me home on the Ike starting from downtown until about 25th. This portion of my drive takes about 45 minutes (on average - trust me, sometimes it takes longer). Every time I glanced in my rear view mirror, she was chewing on her fingernails. This woman had her fingers in her mouth for 45 minutes straight. It started to drive me a little nuts. I've never claimed to be completely sane in the first place, but still. TAKE YOUR EFFING FINGERS OUT OF YOUR MOUTH! THAT'S DISGUSTING!

I criticize this woman while fully acknowledging that I am a nail biter. But I'm not being hypocritical. I may chew on my nails when I'm nervous or engaged in deep thought (it's been known to happen), but I do not chew on my nails for 45 minutes straight. While driving a car, no less.


And then there was this morning. While stopped at the Hillside Strangler, (because yes, there is always a portion of my commute ON THE HIGHWAY where I'm at a dead stop), I noticed a sign that I had never paid attention to before. It looked something like this:

The Eisenhower: Sucking it up since 1956

But not exactly. The internet failed me today, and I couldn't find the EXACT sign that I saw. I may have won the internet for seven minutes yesterday*, but those seven minutes are over. But I swear to God it's real. The sign I saw said something about I-290, 1956-2006, and patriotism.

So, all I could think was, "The Eisenhower stopped being patriotic in 2006? What's been happening the last five years? Is this why my commute sucks? Because the Ike stopped being patriotic? Oh, wait. The Ike sucked five years ago too. Nevermind."

Anyway, that's all I got today.

UPDATE - I found the actual sign with the actual wording:

The Eisenhower Expressway: Taking the "Express" out of "Expressway" for 55 years...

So I'm going to amend my previous statements. "A symbol of freedom." Right. A symbol of freedom from movement for 50 years?

*According to my friend Guido, I won the internet for exactly seven minutes when Voltron started following me on twitter (@phoenix_beth).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bring it on!

The book doctors have spoken. My first manuscript "...needs to be streamlined and have a good stiff edit."

To which I say, bring it on! I never had any illusions that it was anywhere NEAR perfect. I'm pumped! I'm ready to do a good stiff edit.

As we all know, I love good stiff things. Er... too much sharing?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Under Construction!

If anyone is even reading this, expect more in the future! Consider this blog a work in progress.