Saturday, June 30, 2007

a lesson in credit

i found my perfect bed at macy's and sears today. i bounced, i rolled, i laid, i stretched but, alas, i could not buy either one of them because my credit is less than stellar.

and now i am demoralized as i face adulthood. apparently, adulthood also includes kick ass credit, despite there being no actual debt.

this is what i don't get: there are people out there with thousands of dollars in credit debt (hello, i saw you on oprah) and here i am, with perhaps $100 in credit debt and a few delinquents. they can buy houses and cars and i can't get a freaking bed?

sadness. so much sadness, i bought comic books and spent the afternoon reading them and watching videos on vh1.

i think i might have to buy my bed from the skeevy guys on milwaukee avenue.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

today at the office we saw someone take truly unprofessional behavior to a whole new level.

not going into details but beware the wrath of a HR professional who has been let go.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

election 2008: first donation of the cycle

ok, all that elizabeth edwards v. coulter business made me go over to john edwards' site and make a $50 donation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

baby daddies are dangerous

first, did you know that the biggest killer of pregnant women is homicide?

i'm sure you've read the news stories about that pregnant woman in ohio, jessi davis, who was killed by her boyfriend and found in a field. and then about that woman and her kids killed in illinois by her husband. what's up with men?? you have issues and the first thing you do is murder your girlfriend and kids?

it boggles the freaking mind. these stories of murdered women build up and sometimes it makes you look at the other half of the population all aslant.

this woman wrote her boyfriend a note in response to these latest stories of domestic violence against women:

If for some reason I am pregnant, and you suddenly realize that I am just days away from delivering, don't kill me. I know you might not be "ready" to be a father, but there are better ways out of it. Of course I would prefer it if you were a loving and supportive husband and father, but you might freak out. Maybe you're having an affair. Now being a man, you won't think things through. Killing me is NOT an option. Counseling IS an option. You do realize you would be the first person police questioned if I were to go missing right?

If you must be rid of me, just up and leave. I'll go home to live with my dad, or find solace in the arms of a best friend. But I will be alive, and that's the clincher. I'd rather be a single mom on welfare than found murdered in the wilderness.

when my dad was visiting, he got embroiled in a rather heated group discussion with my girlfriends about our singleness. it's a futile conversation but we keep having it and my girlfriends are gracious enough to indulge him. but his constant refrain, which kept puzzling us, was "be a woman."

we had no idea what that meant. we have ovaries. we're women. there's no escaping that simple, biological fact.

but to look at the larger culture, i guess 'being a woman' also means 'being killed.'

thanks, i'd rather not.

Monday, June 25, 2007

adulthood blows. no, it's great. really.

Roomie just bought a place and the purchase puts in high relief that i need to get my adulthood act together. sure, i'm an adult and everything, with a great (burgeoning) career and friends, but perhaps it's time to finally get off the roommate train that i boarded back in 2000. it's been fun, supportive, fiscally feasible and wonderful to have a partner in crime but i'm almost 40. maybe i've been using it like a crutch. (and Roomie and i have talked about this so this isn't something she doesn't know has been kicking around. she sometimes sees things before i do.)

but i was looking at my so-called options yesterday and it gave me a stomach-ache. financially, nothing can happen before italy (I-TAL-IA!) but i still need a plan, right?

what is it that i want? what do i imagine the next stage of my life becoming?
is it a single, 40-something life in a streeterville studio? (affordable but depressing for me)
is it a single, 40-something life in a west town apartment? (not depressing and affordable if i get a whopping raise)
is it a financially strapped single 40-something life in a condo in west town or logan square? (stressful and totally not affordable)

i'm trying to think about these things as clear-eyed as possible, with as little emotion as possible. (i think i do my best thinking when i'm not emotional about it.) but, very viscerally, i have one image in my head of what i don't want my life to look like: the female version of B-'s life. one fork, one spoon, one plate, one towel. i may have made fun of it but i should have paid more attention to how alike we actually were, because right now, i'm pretty much one fork, one spoon, one plate, and so on.

(we can include one bed, two bookcases, one bench, two chairs, tiny tea cups, one tv, one get the picture.)

but while i also feel the pull to be adult (i.e., accumulate) i also don't want all that stress-inducing work, you know? setting up a household. it sounds so daunting. i'm certainly not one of those die-hard folks who want to lessen their 'footprint.' my footprint is what it is: less than other people's, more than a homeless guy's. but i also want to throw a sop to my vanity and live a life that's really wonderful, you know? that's not chintzy. one that's full. self-indugent? perhaps. but that's what it is, too.

but, hey. at least my fibroid will be gone in two months. yay.

Friday, June 22, 2007

the summer of 3: frolic boy

so. had another fun, exhausting, relaxing, intense evening with S- last night.

i would try and characterize our rendezvous with more poetry but i can't find the poet who would fit exactly. i mean, when someone has taken the role of Dominant Teacher, donne or browning doesn't match the occasion.

'how do i frolic with thee?
let me count the ways.
but first let me put
my thumb in your butt.'

see? not really poetic.

if anyone knows an appropriate poet for this kind of action, let me know.

[thanks to shrinky, i've found appropriate versification from Avenue Q, "You Can Be Loud as the Hell You Want":

Oh, my God, Kate, no one's ever touched me like this
before - you can't put your finger there -

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

it had to happen sooner or later, pt. 2

YOUR PRIVACY IS AN ILLUSION: Six creepy things I can learn about you - Valleywag

orange was kind enough to send me this helpful link about the ways people can follow your online breadcrumbs.

um, yeah. guess what i've been doing the past hour or so?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

goodreads : or, another great way to waste 3 hours

goodreads see what your friends are reading

if you're home, have no desire to watch tv or surf videos on youtube and you want to feel really really smart, sign up for goodreads and keep track of your reading habits.

i've just wasted one hour at work thinking about all the books i've read recently and i haven't even kept an accurate tally of what's on my bedside shelf, yet.

(and if you sign up and would like to share reading lists, send me an invitation! i hate wandering around bookstores wondering what to read. i'd much rather go off my friends' recommendations.)

the plan, pt 2.

i'm on my way out the door so this is a quickie.

the plan is in process. met the newly transplanted C- for drinks last night which turned into dinner and an awkward hug before we took our separate cabs home. he was nice, funny, normal and, well, isn't normal the most important thing?

hello, Hang Out Guy.

(boys remaining for summer plan to fall completely into place: the Backup)

Friday, June 15, 2007

another dove winner: evolution

my thighs are too big.
i have a big ass.
i have a flat ass.
my neck is too short.
where's my chin?
my belly pooches out.
i'm not tall enough.
i wear glasses.
i have a round face.
my hair is too frizzy.
i'm too dark.
i'm a pancake.
i hate my freckles.
my lips are thin.
my lips are big.
my nose is crooked.
i'm too pale.
i need to lose weight.
my thighs don't meet.
i wish i looked like jennifer lopez.
i need to work out more.
i'm not disciplined enough.

we all need to stop the chatter about how much we hate ourselves.
which is why i love the new dove ad.

compromised or, it was only a matter of time

one day, the skeins of my online life were going to cross. one day, i was going to underestimate the intrepid skillz of a man who had a lot of time on his hands and an uncanny knack to piss me off. one day, myspace was going to make me rue the day...blah blah blah.

the thing is, i don't use myspace for anything. it is a placeholder. and now it's connected to my work blog (yikes) and even though i've since made it private, so that no one can see it unless i've made them my friend, it's kinda been breached.

oh! and we were just talking about this today during a meeting - what happens when someone comes across your blog that you never intended to, in the first place. aaargh!

so, yeah. i check my myspace acct tonight and B- sent me a message there, inviting me to a show last week. of *course* he's on myspace! and of course he can find me - i used my real name!! my freak out isn't because i'm 'hiding' from him; that's not the issue. i just don't want to leave any crumbs that might lead back here, to Screed.

(because if he saw this? lord jesus. just look for my body in the chicago river.)

now i have to go back and scrub my myspace page and then try to make sure there's no trail to follow. (if he figures out Real Name=ding=Screed then i'm totally screwed. this blog is #2 when you google 'screed'! i mean, yay, but frak!)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

i dedicate this link to my Roomie, of whom i shall never, ever make fun:
My Crazy Roommate: George Lucas ain't got nothin'
ok, thanks to shrinkykitten, i now know how to make ice cream in a bag.

absurdity, meet the chicago public school district

when you're on different boards you learn lots of interesting stuff about how incredibly stupid some institutions are.

for instance, during last night's board meeting, i discovered that CPS has absolutely no idea what it's doing. i mean, what's the point of designating a school a magnet school when it barely even qualifies for it? sure, studies have shown that kids at magnet schools do better - but not because it's called a magnet! they actually have a curriculum and magnet teachers to actually teach it!

anyway, i'm sitting in the meeting listening to one of our literacy task forces report why their results have been mixed and i thought i was in the twilight zone. the conversation sort of went like this:
'reading scores are down at schools AB&C.'
'but don't we have a program there to help with literacy?'
'yes, but the teachers don't like it and aren't using
'ok, but that's the district's reading tool. are we using
something different?'
'no, we're supporting the district's reading tool.'
'but they hate it. the teachers hate it.'
'and we're giving them money to not use something they
'apparently, yes.'
'but aren't they a magnet school? aren't they supposed to have higher
reading scores?'
'well, yes. but they don't. they're in the 20th
'then why are they called a language and fine arts magnet?'
'because parents wanted a magnet.'
'but they don't have a magnet curriculum that supports higher
'well, right.'
'so it's a magnet in name only. underneath, it's still a crappy
chicago public school.' (this was my question)
'in effect, yes.'
'so what are we doing there, again?'
'we're supposed to be helping them read.'
'but they don't have a reading program.'
'and so our impact is basically zero.'
'why are we there, again? i don't get it.' (me again)

if i understood what the poor guy who led this task force was telling us, the city decided to create a random cluster of magnet schools in an inner city area without actually making them a real magnet school (like on the level of a peyton prep or new trier). the schools chose what kind of magnet they wanted to be but didn't actually have any standard, higher level curriculum in place so that it could actually be supported - and, apparently, the classes that are supposed to be 'magnet' level aren't comprehensive at all; they don't have the student scores to justify being a magnet and they don't have the teacher capacity to be a magnet. so why are they a magnet?

that's like saying 'i want to be a genius' and then i go up in my tree house and put out a sign that says Genius and then waiting for my geniosity to strike.

is it just me or is that utterly ridiculous and absurd?

Monday, June 11, 2007

of fibroids and elevators

so i'm leaving my gynecologist's office today. it was a day like any other pretty spring day - except that i got the news that most of my tangerine-sized fibroid (aka, Agatha) is in my uterine wall. frak! so, dealing with the knowledge that i'm going to have to work from home for almost a whole month while i recover, i push the down button for the elevator.

my gyno is in one of the oldest buildings in the city; it's a gorgeous pile of stone, brick and marble. but, as i stepped onto the elevator and noted how the doors vibrated and closed with more of a jerk than a smooth slide, i realized that it made me a little nervous.
(remember The Overlook?)

the elevator made its way down in fits and starts. it stopped once between floors and when i hit the 1 button in panic, it started down again. by the time it shuddered to a stop on the 30th floor i was through. a bearded man stepped inside and when nothing happened for long ominous moments, i took that as my cue to exit.

'this is weird,' i said. 'i'm taking another elevator.'

i stepped off and soon after the doors closed behind me, alarms within the elevator began to clang. the man inside the elevator pounded on the doors yelling 'For god's sake get me out! Get me out!' the alarms kept ringing.

going into the nearest dentist's office i said, 'There's a man trapped in the elevator and someone needs to call down to security!'
the tiny filipina receptionist said, 'what elevator?'
'this elevator!'
'he's trapped?'
'call 911!'

my phone wasn't working for some reason so my 911 call didn't go through and the man was still pounding on the door and the alarms were still clanging. putting my face really close to the seam where the elevator doors met, i yelled, 'help is on the way, sir! don't worry! they're coming!'

muffled now: 'for god's sake! get me out!'
'ok, sir! they're calling 911!'

then i set off down the stairwell - 30 floors down to the lobby.
what a day, you know?

from reading it, i can't tell who writes it but i know they have a major thing for gore vidal. in fact, that's one of the reasons i stumbled upon it; i was looking for an article about timothy mcveigh that had appeared in vanity fair and here it was! it has a good collection of vidal articles, essays and its politics are a little left of center. (ok, it may be more than a little.)

gear up for 08, kiddies!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

strange yet cool

this might be one of the coolest (and most useless) things ever. hours, i tell you. hours.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

the plan's the thing

the summer of love* has kicked off with a bang. lest you worry that this means that ding will shoot off into all sorts of random trouble, fear not. ding has a plan. sort of.

rather, ding has a goal: 3 boys to be kept in rotation over the summer. the 3 boys would be for different things (the romping boy, the hang out boy and the...extra if any of the other two get broken.) it's ambitious but what else is summer for than to make up for all the 'nose to the grindstone' work that defined the rest of the year?

i figure, 1 per week, 3 weeks a month (1 week off for menstrual issues), and the whole 'dating' thing is taken care of. see?

besides, i bought all these cute tops at F&T and need a reason to wear them.

[*summer of love=the name given to the summer by a co-worker who, despite her own prettiness and kick assedness, despairs of finding a boy and so uses this as a way to inspire her self to action - even though all she has to do is snap her fingers and the boys magically appear.]

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

you know you're a grown up when...

slowly but surely, i'm getting my act together.
it started with paying off my school debt, then my tax debt and now, it's about securing my retirement. my father would probably look at this as 'worrying' and not trusting in the Lord but that's why we have IRAs, so i won't have to bother the Lord about my retirement.

i spoke with a fund guy this morning and felt mature while doing it but also like i was totally faking it. but the long and short of it is now i have a diversified fund that will grow aggressively over the next few years and then we'll start taking it back a notch as i get older and more risk-averse. the end point? i think the goal is to accrue as close to a million dollars by the time i retire (if i remember the prospectus correctly.)

a bonus: next year, i can access some money for italy (which i've also started saving for) and the penalty actually isn't that bad if it's under $1000. heh.

what's next on the adulthood checklist?
perhaps buying property (only after italy and figuring out my next job move, which may have just presented itself at work)
perhaps, uh, another person (however, the likelihood of that is remarkably slim; i have more chance of going around the world than that)

or perhaps the next step in my march toward adulthood is just buying a grown up bed.

Monday, June 04, 2007

anything you can do i can do better

a scene in one upmanship:

B-: nice pics on your profile.
Ding: don't look at my pics.
B-: i can look at your pics.
Ding: you make me tense.
B-: you're hostile.
Ding: what do you want?
B-: just thinking fondly of you.
Ding: you make me tense.
B-: you're the one who talked about me to my sister.
Ding: not me. i just blurted out our ex relationship during a
staff meeting.
B-: you're shallow and cruel.
Ding: whatever.
B-: i got promoted, live in a great apartment in uptown and am
no longer depressed. whaddya think of that?
Ding: i'm still great and i'm going to italy.

yeah, we're mature.

Friday, June 01, 2007

it's not often that a few hours with a guy can move Ding to poetry, but last night's romp with the newly met S- made me think of these lines from Donne:

thou, angel, bring’st with thee
A heaven like Mahomet’s paradise; and though
Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know
By this these angels from an evil sprite,
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
License my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned,
My mine of precious stones, my empery,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds is to be free;
There where my hand is set, my seal shall be.
Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee.

here's to more summer poetry.