Attention Laguna Beach junkies:

*Picture removed*

Talan is single again.

That was quick. Head-chica-in-charge called it. The "engagement" lasted less than a month.

Me and few other girlfriends of mine are obsessed with Laguna Beach on Mtv (the show Talan was on). I hate the show and I hate the snotty little spoiled teens on the show, but I *can't* stop watching the stupid thing. Apparently, I'm not alone. They are going to have a season three (speculated to start in summer of '06) and a spin-off show featuring LC called The Hills.


I don't watch much TV. Lost, Nip/Tuck (which was *crazy* last night), Laguna Beach, Illinois basketball. That's about it.

All I *really* want to see on Laguna Beach is Jason...even if he is a selfish, spoiled, little rich kid who treats girls like disposable tissue...he's still yummy. And my eye candy need not be nice, straight, or even sane. That's the whole *purpose* of eye candy.

*picture removed*

Deron Williams and Brian Cook

The Utah Jazz and the LA Lakers will be on TNT tomorrow night at 8:30pm local time. I hope to check out Deron and Brian in the *same game.* It looks like Deron is getting more time than Brian right now. If you are an Illinois basketball fan but not into the NBA (like me), you might want to give this game a look. There is also a rookie profile article up on the Jazz website.

It's got a nice picture as well....


I'm listening to the radio tonight

I forgot all about the "CU Great Great Blogger Meet-Up" scheduled for tonight. Can't wait to hear all the details.

I'm getting all ready for the big game tonight: Illinois v. North Carolina. I picked a high-scoring game on the prediction sheet at work today. What we *should* have been guessing is how many times we hear the following tonight out of Dicky V's mouth:

Coach K
how great Duke is
how much Dicky V loves Duke


According to Illiniboard, Dick Vitale even has his own drinking game. Have fun. My favorite drink rule was this one:
#7 Dickisms

All must drink (1) for any Dickisms (Head Dick shall govern):

"Diaper Dandy"
"Trifecta (Dick calls it Trifecter)"
"Little Davey Odom"
and so on....



Maybe it's me, but as the year is drawing to a close, more and more people I know (either personally or through acquaintances) pass away or slowly travel in that direction.

A friend's child died in September. A friend's brother-in-law died in October. A friend of mine died two weeks ago and my brother-in-law's sister died last week. A few other friends have some family members who are ill.

Is it coincidence that many people end the winter season in life during the winter season in nature? Is it coincidence that cardiac and non-cardiac deaths peak during winter holidays? Are we still more strongly tied to the seasons than we'd like to think? Is that the basic reason behind stringing up so many lights in the dead of winter during the shortest days of the year with the coldest temperatures of the year? So we can try and bring back the light and the life and the exuberant memories of the spring and summer and ward away the gloom and death that the season so aptly symbolizes? I know I've felt the urge to burn more candles and add fragrance to my home with incense and Plug-ins and scented wax. Am I trying to recreate the smell of flowers in the spring and fresh-cut grass from the summer?

Papers, please.

I followed a link on a listserv that led me to Deborah Davis' website, Want to Ride? Papers, Please. I found her story quite interesting---and quite sad. Whenever a friend and I talk about the different ways our privacy is invaded on a daily basis and how that intrusion is becoming more and more accepted by the public and codified into law, my friend always brings up the phrase, "Papers, please." And to be honest, it's chilling to think I could live in a world where I have to show proof of who I am wherever I go. That is *not* the kind of world I want to live in. And after reading the fact sheet on Deborah's website all about the problems with showing ID, I have to say I agree with the reasoning. Unfortunately, I fear this is a case where common sense will not rule.

To me, riding on a bus paid for with public tax dollars and being required to show ID on demand by property owners seems outrageous. If the bus drives through a parking lot owned the Savoy 16, can security guards require me to show ID? If security is such an issue, why would a bus drive through there? Why not make the drop-off point *off* the federal (or private) property?

I might come off like a fruitcake, but I don't fly anymore. I haven't flown in years. Mostly because I can't afford it, but I have had occasions to fly and I just don't want to submit myself to the process. I don't want to have to be searched and prodded and show umpteen forms of ID just to sit in a cramped seat in a stagnant metal tube for a couple of hours. Years ago, when I did fly, I stopped checking any bags. I would only take a carry-on size piece of luggage and pack light. I carry everything on---I carry everything off. I am in full control of all possessions at all times. I don't want to have anything lost, or damaged, or rummaged through while I'm sitting on the plane ignoring the screaming baby behind me. So I guess it's only the natural progression for not wanting to submit to the luggage process to not wanting to submit to the passenger screening process. And I stopped wanting to fly *before* 9/11. I can't even imagine flying now....

So I fear the day when I know that simply stepping out my door in the morning submits me to a process I have no interest in participating in.


The holiday season is about to begin

Since Thanksgiving is coming up and the holidays start off with a bang on Friday, I thought I'd pass along a little tidbit to give you all something to be grateful for while your buying new yard toys and nailing lights to your houses and putting up Christmas trees---be thankful *you* didn't have to install a set-up like this in your yard.

Though if you do, let me know where you live....

Holiday blogging

Sorry my posts have been so scarce lately. I've been busy with whatnot, but I have some time off coming up and I'm usually on the computer *more* when I have time off than when I'm working.

Funny how that works out....


Inside joke---sorry

This will only be funny to about 5 people, but it has to be done nonetheless.

This bitch took all his money. And then I watched him lose again and I cackled all the way home.

I *told* you I'd post this....


Pistachios and Poverty

Just got back from the hospital. Some kid at my nephew's school brought in some pistachios today. My nephew, who is allergic to tree nuts, asked "Are these peanuts?" To which the other kid said no---cuz they aren't. He ate some, got sick, developed hives, his eyes swelled almost completely closed, and he began to wheeze. After a few hours at the emergency room, he's mostly back to normal---other than the hives and the swollen eyes.

One quick note: Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America, is scheduled to speak at Foellinger Auditorium tomorrow night at 7pm. Some friends and I are going to grab some Thai and catch her talk. You can still get free tickets with an I-Card at the Assembly Hall box office or at Ticket Central in the Illini Union. I'm hoping she'll also talk about her newest book (which I haven't read yet), Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream.


Wal*Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices opens this week

A new documentary from producer/director Robert Greenwald opens this week. This film is being released in a unique way. Instead of releasing the movie in theaters, the film is being marketed to grassroots organizers. Different individuals and organizations (even you) can order a movie screening kit for $10. You are asked to schedule your screening to fit within different themed days. I've added the local screenings.

November 13th: "A Moral Approach" (free, 3pm at Library and Information Science Building, free, 7pm at the McKinley Foundation, free, 8pm at the College of Law)

November 14th: "Shareholders Day" (free, 7pm at the Channing-Murray Foundation)

November 15th: "Legislative Action Day"

November 16th: "Learn About Wal-Mart" (free, 5pm at That's Rentertainment)

November 17th: "Sick Day" (free, 7pm at the Education Building)

November 18th: "A Working Wal-Mart" (free, 7:30pm at the United Church of Christ)

November 19th: "Family Business Day"

You can see a trailer here. I'm definitely going to try and catch a screening....

Weekend fun

While trying to figure out what the heck Blogshares actually is, I found a funny blog: Scary Personals.

And, yes, they *are* scary but some are quite funny as well. Here's just a few samples of the photos people posted for their personals. Some of their profile bio is there too. I can't tell you if the profile bios are real or not, but I suspect it just might be all-to-real....


My hopes are now dashed

Judy Baar Topinka entered the governor's race recently. Since she's a moderate Republican, I was all set to support her effort to unseat the current governor. (She's pro-choice and against discrimination based on sexual orientation.) I'm not a Republican, but I can't stand Blago.

And then, today, I saw this post on Capitol Fax Blog that referenced a New York Times article entitled "Rove Is More His Old Self at the White House." What, pray tell, would this have to do with the Illinois governor's race?
In particular, several Republicans said, Mr. Rove drove the decision to recruit Judy Baar Topinka to run in the Illinois governor's race in 2006, a development this week that suddenly made the race competitive for Republicans. Although Mr. Rove is still leaving contact with candidates to his subordinates, especially Mr. Mehlman and Sarah Taylor, the White House political director, he is back to mapping out the nationwide strategy as he has in races past, several Republicans said.
Ugh. Course, this does explain why Topinka's worries about campaign finances has changed.

A co-worker's wife said she wouldn't vote for a single Republican because voting for any Republican right now is a vote for Bush and she'd rather vote for *any* Democrat than show any sign of support for Bush. If Rove is behind Topinka's campaign, is a vote for Topinka a vote for Bush?


ANWR off the chopping block

An interesting tidbit in the news tonight: "Arctic drilling dropped from House bill."
WASHINGTON - House leaders late Wednesday abandoned an attempt to push through a hotly contested plan to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling, fearing it would jeopardize approval of a sweeping budget bill Thursday.

They also dropped from the budget document plans to allow states to authorize oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts — regions currently under a drilling moratorium.

The actions were a stunning setback for those who have tried for years to open a coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil development, and a victory for environmentalists, who have lobbied hard against the drilling provisions. President Bush has made drilling in the Alaska refuge his top energy priorities.


The decision to drop the ANWR drilling language came after GOP moderates said they would oppose the budget if it was kept in the bill. The offshore drilling provision was also viewed as too contentious and a threat to the bill, especially in the Senate.

Interesting turn of events recently for the administration. Social Security "reform" is dead until 2009. The Iraq fiasco---both in terms of policy and public opinion. More leaks than a boat made of swiss cheese. I'm glad to see that the moderates in the Republican party are picking up steam. A co-worker said he thought this whole administration might wipe out neo-conservatism once and for all and push us into a more moderate era. I'm not that hopeful, but this recent crop of setbacks shows me that perhaps power is shifting and opposition---at least from within the party---is starting to emerge.

Howling at the moon in the park after dark

I took my nephew to Eisner Park today after work and since the sun sets so early, it was dark. Thank goodness there were a couple very bright lights there. I've blurred the picture a bit to protect the innocent.

We spent an hour piling up leaves and he kept jumping in them. And then he fell off the playground equipment because his shoes were wet from the leaves. He's fine, but it scared the heck out of me.


Other than that and the profanities spray-painted on the playground equipment, it was pretty fun. I'm just glad my nephew can't quite read yet so he didn't know what the words said.

I love the parks here in Champaign. You are pretty close to a park wherever you live. When I was living my life in a healthier way, I used to walk every night and I used to try and walk by as many parks as I could: West Side Park, Harris Park (it's that cool park that's really just a strip of green where Harris St. splits into north/south lanes), Hessel Park, Clark Park, Eisner Park (see the link above), Davidson Park (that's park that is on Church St. with the street loop where all the big cool houses are) and back home.

Park of the reason I prefer the heart of Champaign to the sprawling outskirts (other than the lack of trees, character, and neighborhood feel out there---no offense if you live out there) is the fact that there are so dang many parks around.

My friend, starx (who recently started his own blog), has created a wonderland of a park in his own backyard for his kids to play in. But part of what I like to do with my nephew is find different parks to go and play at for our "days." I pick him up from the afterschool program and he always says "What are we going to do today?" Every day gets to be an adventure and sometimes we find little gems and sometimes we decide that we don't need to go back to that park. West Side Park is one of his favorites as is Eisner Park. Of course, I don't mean to slight Urbana: "the hammer park" (as he calls Meadowbrook Park) is his ultimate favorite, but since it's so far out, driving out and back eats up a lot of time that can otherwise be spent playing.

See---it's more than just fun. He's learning a little time management as well.


The future of C-U water system ownership

The News-Gazette has an article in Wednesday's paper entitled "C-U mayors want to explore possibility of buying local water system." Now, let me say that I think it's a good idea. The municipalities owning the water supply was always the case when I lived in small towns. I think it would be good for CU residents as well. It's easier to hold locally-elected government officals accountable than a company in another country. Apparently, there was a boil order about a week ago for my neighborhood and I didn't even know about it.

A few things struck me about the article. One was this quote from Champaign Mayor
"It's an opportune time to look at it again," Schweighart said. "But the odds are probably pretty slim."
Great. I hope that's not an indication of his enthusiasm. The other was this:
Champaign City Manager Steve Carter said Peoria has inquired about Champaign's willingness to pool its resources with Peoria and possibly other cities to buy out Illinois American, or parts of it.
"We would be interested in exploring what other cities are doing," he said. "In some areas, water is supplied on a regional basis."
I'll be watching to see where this goes from here.

Parent-Teacher Conferences---always eventful

Tonight I went to Parent-Teacher Conferences at my nephew's school. If you don't know already, I'm my nephew's favorite aunt. I vacillate between acting like his mom and his toy. I'm his Seh-wah---that's what he calls me. It's a corruption of my name and now that the speech pathologist at his school confirms that it *isn't* an sign that he has consonant problem, we know it's his pet name for me. I call him "Little man" and "Bubby" and "Bub."

He was showing us how he can jump up, do a 360 with his hands up in the air and land---TA DA!!! Except the final time he showed us, he landed wrong, twisted on his ankle, and smashed his face into the hard marble-like floor. He tried *really* hard not to cry. Me and his parents and his former babysitter and her husband were all standing there watching. But his nose started to get red and swollen immediately and his nose started bleeding. After we found a Kleenex and I checked his nose, we noticed he chipped a front tooth as well.

Poor little man...trying to display a cool trick and he gets hurt *and* embarassed all in one shot. He was fine after he got a special ice pack, some grape children's ibuprofen, and a kiss.


What's up with the carpet?

Me and Cor went to a local downtown eating and drinking establishment yesterday for lunch. (I'd link to it, but it doesn't even have a *website* to link to.) The place was pretty empty and after eating my lunch I might know why. Food was nothing special and neither was the service. I don't mind going there to eat outside and enjoy the weather there on the corner, but I hadn't eaten inside for so long that two things struck me. The first were these cool sconces on the walls: I like that Frank Lloyd Wright kinda stuff.

The second was the carpet.

I actually stopped walking at one point and said "What's up with carpet? Is that gum? Or burns?" All over the carpet were shiny black spots---almost smears---in differing sizes all over the place. I pictured hundreds of people drinking and smoking and then *putting out their cigarettes on the carpet*! What that.... I mean, come on, how lazy can you be? Is it *that* hard to find an ashtray. I smoke, but I'd never put my butt out on carpet.

And speaking of bars, I got into a discussion about the worst pick-up lines ever. It began with a reference to a recent study of the "best" pick-up lines. Basically, the study found that honesty was better. Whatta newsflash. But I heard a few really *bad* ones as a result.
  • If love were a drop of milk, then baby, you'd be a whole cow.
  • Gee, that's a nice set of legs, what time do they open?
  • Do you like short love affairs? I hate them. I've got all weekend. (which led me to this site of ignorant wonders)
What's the worst pick-up line you've ever heard or said? Don't worry, you don't have to specify which it is....


Speaking of brain farts...

...sometimes mine nearly blow my brain out the back of my head.

I've learned to accept that no matter how hard you look at a thing, it'll never be perfect. Something will always slip through. Better to have as many sets of eyes look upon a thing first and catch the bulk of them. Sometimes it's the the simplest of mistakes that slip through and no matter how hard you look, your brain won't register them (like the "the the" in the beginning of this sentence---most times, your brain skips right over it and you don't even see it). Others are so friggin' big it's a miracle they don't jump right up and punch you in the nose.



I fixed my post from this past weekend. I put the wrong date on my WRFU entry. It's this weekend, Friday November 11 through Sunday November 13th.



Harvest surprise

To the person(s) who thought it would be funny to litter Rt. 10 between Bondville and Champaign with pumpkins, thanks a bunch. I hit them last night while driving back in the pouring rain from my friend's house in Monticello.

Couldn't see them til I was upon them.

Couldn't swerve to miss them because of oncoming traffic and the ditch.

Thanks alot, @$$#*!%....


WRFU debuts 11/13 from 4-7 pm

A new low power FM station, WRFU, is set to air it's first show on Sunday. The radio station's first broadcast is part of a bunch of events this weekend that include:
As a low power FM (LPFM) station, the broadcast can be found at 104.5 FM at low power (~100 watts). A preliminary timetable shows there are lots of open slots still, however, I still see some shows I might have to check out. Looks like there are some music shows (reggae, electronic, hard core, sound art), a progressive political finance show (can't wait to hear more about that), and some spirituality-based shows (I see a one monthly show billed as "radical Catholic though" and a few others on faith or spirituality).

And, you can propose a show of your own right on the WRFU web site. According to the website, the signal should reach all of CU proper, and depending on the tower, it may reach Savoy. I'll be checking it out tomorrow.


Jam weekend

Some friends of mine from college who live in Chi-town are arriving (as I type) in Champaign this weekend to "jam" with other friends from college who live in CU. They will spend this weekend drinking and playing music and, when they tire of the festivities, I may get a call to come and play cards. One of my friends asked if I would sing with them. Granted, I'm a *notorious* shower and car singer (yes, I'm that idiot singing and grooving in her little Saturn while driving around town), but singing in front of people scares the heck out of me....

Cards. I miss playing cards. We used to play cards *all the time* in college. Spades, Hearts, Euchre, and Oh Hell. It's Spades I miss the most, but Oh Hell was fun as well. We'd sit around a table in someone's apartment and drink Old Style Light returnable bottles and play cards until about 11pm, when we would then stagger across campus only to return a few hours later to eat cheap pizza and play cards once again. Bulls games and Star Trek: TNG were our only breaks. I think classes and schoolwork were in there somewhere as well. But I look forward to these jam weekends if only to relive those card-playing memories.

Course, last time they came down, I had strep throat and the time before that I had the flu, so being sick this time around is simply par for the course. I only see them 2 or 3 times a year, so I can't let a little bit (ok, a lot) of phlegm get me down.

I'm hoping they'll let me take some pictures of them to post here on the blog. Maybe I'll wait until they've had a few (ok, a lot) of beverages....


Tinfoil Theory on Halloween

I'm sick. Coughing, stuffed-up alternating with my brain running out of my nose, headache-y, exhausted, phlegm-filled misery here....

I've decided that Halloween is *really* a conspiracy to spread germs and viruses by having us randomly mix them up in bowls of candy that we then carry back to our homes with the candy. In a brilliant deliver method, we even cover our hands with the germs on the wrappers right before using said-infected-hands to eat the candy.


I'm gonna get a flu shot when I feel better.