Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Wizard of Oz rule of sushi



That was me and Jim, sending our standard pre-date text messages as he made his way into the city for our weekly date last night.

Summers in Chicago are just...amazing. So we try to make the most of them by spending at least one week night in the city during the warmer months.

Japonais is a snooty-falooty sushi restaurant that we've been hearing about forever.

"Sushi in the city? You MUST try Japonais!"

I should've known better. Any time anything is a 'MUST' it's usually a bust.

Like the play Cats.

Arguably the worst play on the fucking planet, but everyone and their mother was saying you MUST see it in the 80's. Fuck Cats. Seriously. Three hours of whiny, caterwauling...well, cats.
So back at Japonais.

It's in the River North area of Chicago about three blocks from my office. And it's one of them neato-skeeto trendy upscale hoo-ha places where everyone is skinny and beautiful - except you.

And the world famous, must-have sushi? Average. And expensive.

The only upside? The service was fantastic.

But great service didn't help the 'Let's go to McDonald's' hungry feeling in our stomachs and the 'I've just been raped' feeling on our credit card when we walked outta there.

"I've decided we're going to use the Wizard of Oz rule when it comes to sushi from now on," I say as we're leaving the parking garage.

"What's that?"

"We're never looking farther than our own backyard."

The thing is, we've got a world-class sushi place just a mile from our house.

It's called Jurin. It's cheap, friendly and awesome.

And it's not a place you MUST try, it's the place you go back to time and again after trying all those silly MUST try places.
I am listening to: Air rushing through the ducts in the office
I am reading: Drunkard by Neil Steinberg
And I am: Still hungry

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The #2 situation

How’s work goin’, Hed?

It is unbelievably good. I am actually joyful about work. It’s totally twisted.

And I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but as my co-workers remind me daily: “There is no other shoe here.”

There’s really only one thing I’d change (besides the Super Sized commute), and that’s the #2 situation.

The #2 situation?

Yes. The #2 situation.

We moved to new office space a few weeks ago (same building, one floor up) and it’s a fabulous open loft with gorgeous, panoramic views of the city, high ceilings, and amazing artwork.

And the crappers. Are smack dab in the middle of everything.


No more pretending to take a walk while sneaking away for bowel-related breaks.


Every time you go to the bathroom in my office, you're sending a memo to the world: YOUR CO-WORKER IS CRAPPING.
A long time ago I went on a weekend road trip to northern Michigan with a guy from work.

We’d just left the office when he said: “Did you go to the bathroom? Because I’d like to drive straight through if possible.”

I’ve always been a trooper when it comes to extended car rides. In my pre-Jim/Gromit days, I could do five hours straight from Chicago to eastern Michigan on one tank of gas while drinking a Big Gulp. No stops.

But because this butt-munch essentially banned bathroom breaks, my brain broke and I had to pee pretty much every 20 minutes all the way to Petoskey.

We weren’t dating or even screwing yet (although I think he wanted to), and if the incessant pissing wasn’t enough to kill his ardor, farting on him later that weekend certainly did.

But that’s a story for another day.
Anyhow. The road trip. With the Potty Nazi.

That’s how it was the first week in the new office. The bathroom situation caused another brain breakdown.

“DON’T PEE DON’T PEE DON’T PEE” I kept saying, but my cursed kidneys weren’t listening.

So every 20 minutes, I’m in there. Peeing.
The real bummer is that the women’s restroom in my office is Exceptionally Nice.

Candles. Potpourri. Lotion. Hairspray. And plenty of room spray, too.

But I can’t enjoy it.

Every time I’m in there, I imagine my co-workers gathered outside, setting their stopwatches to see How Long She’s in There This Time.

They’re taking bets. Playing Mule/No Mule. While I struggle to squeeze one out.
As you can imagine, the #2 situation is worse.

The irony is, I’m a fairly regular bathroom person. Mornings are my time. I’m a pre-shower pooper. Or I used to be.

Now, nothing.

I consider this the ultimate betrayal by my body. That’s saying a lot after 40+ years of hard living.
“Hey, Heather, would you like to try some of this?”

I look behind me and it’s co-worker Katie brandishing a bottle of Pink Lemonade Metamucil.

Dead serious.

“It’s new!” she says enthusiastically. “I love it.”

I stop short of saying that simply being in an office with stage-like shitters is enough to ensure my system stays streamlined, thanks so much, but I’m new here and don’t want to be rude so I partake in the poop juice.

The paranoid part of me thinks the Metamucil break was a big jokey jab at the New Person, but later the same day, good-hearted (and obviously bountifully-boweled) Katie offers some to an interview candidate.

Can you imagine? You’re interviewing for an executive assistant position and someone offers you laxative laden refreshments.

"Um, thanks, but I'm already nervous enough without worrying about crapping my pants. Don't you have some Tropicana?"

Although now that I think of it - it's ingenious. Prepares the new people for public pooping.

I am listening to: Kid Rock – All Summer Long
I am reading: Drunkard by Neil Steinberg
And I am: Holding it in

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


It happens throughout the day. Every weekday.




13. Yikes.

That's me and my friend Jim, the IT guy. IM'ing our inbox status to each other.

A while back, when we worked together, we decided to clean out our e-mail in boxes for good and vowed to keep them neat, well-managed and nearly empty at all times.

These daily status reports? The E-mailers Anonymous equivalent of checking in with my sponsor.
Have you tried this?

Organizational experts recommend it. But you don't need some high-priced anal retentive freak when you have yours truly, bargain basement anal retentive freak.

If you're like me, you use your e-mail in box as a to do list. Which is great, until you accumulate about a shmillion e-mails and the shit hits the fan.

Here are the rules. When you get an e-mail, read it and then:

1) Reply
2) Delete, or
3) Move to sub folder

If you can't act on it right away, keep it in your in box. But no longer than three days.
You've done it. Grown old searching for that one elusive e-mail. Could be in trash. Could be in your in box.

Sort by sender. Nope. Did I reply? I replied. Check sent items. What was the subject? Sort by subject. Nope, not there either.

And of course Microsoft's e-mail search is about as useful as a three inch cock on a cold day. Or any day, for that matter.

Sub folders are the key.

You're not deleting important e-mails, you're just filing them away, like you would important documents.

I have sub folders for practically everyone at work, plus alliances, competitors, public relations, research, speaking opportunities, and vendors. I create sub folders for every campaign, promotion or event.

And when someone asks for that e-mail about that one thing from that one person, I'm ready.
One dude actually declared e-mail bankruptcy.

If you have more than 500 unread e-mails in your in box, it's a good idea.

Who I am being rude to today? What did I forget to do? Who's gonna throw me under the bus because I never responded?

It sucks. It's stressful. And so unnecessary.

Ever since I cleaned out my in box and started proactively managing my e-mails, I'm less stressed. More organized. More focused.

And it's so satisfying, the days when I can say "ZERO!"
I am listening to: Gromit sleeping
I am reading: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
And I am: Up to 7, but working on it

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm no journalist, but

Original post is below.

Furthermore, from Global Food Crisis series at the Washington Post:

"Beef or goat meat is now so expensive -- about $1.20 for a tiny portion -- that the family has given up meat completely, eating cheap dried fish instead. Rather than seasoning their sauces with vegetables and peanuts, they now use the tough leaves of baobab trees, the gnarly giants that flourish here in the dry lands south of the Sahara.

To soften the sour taste of the leaves, Lingani mixes in potash, a paste made by boiling down water strained through ashes from wood fires."

That's right. They're seasoning their food with ashes.
If you're gonna write about people struggling to buy groceries, you might not want to make these two stars the focus of your story:

For Some Ohians, Even Meat is Out of Reach
Hedy, Hedy, Hedy.

It's not fair to judge these people. And they can't drive, so they don't have easy access to healthy, inexpensive food.


Here. Read this: Africa's Hungry Horn

Especially this part:

"In recent months, aid workers have seen a 400 percent rise in the number of young children slipping through the stages of malnutrition: first becoming listless and withdrawn, their arms and legs growing thinner, their skin peeling off as it dies, and finally their bodies swelling, a condition caused by severe protein deficiency."

Then look at these two fat fucks again and tell me who is really suffering?
I am listening to: The washing machine
I am reading: Nothing
And I am: Disgusted

Friday, July 18, 2008


Sometimes you're just reading the news tra-la-la:

Sewage Plant Named after Bush

Pelosi Calls Bush a 'Total Failure'

Hotel of Doom Wakes from Coma

And you see this:

"The firm has put glass panels into the concrete shell, installed telecommunications antennas -- even though North Korea forbids its citizens to own mobile phones -- and put up an artist's impression of what it will look like."


North Korea forbids its citizens from owning mobile phones?


I'll admit most of what I know about North Korea comes from Team America, but damn.

No mobile phones?

U.S. citizens are suffering grief and aggravation over the ongoing iPhone crisis, and North Koreans can't have cell phones?


By all means, name sewage plants after our president.

But also. Also.

Also show appreciation for what we have and where we live.

Because George Bush is a First Magnitude Fucktard, but Kim Jong-il, he ain't.
I am listening to: Galileo - Indigo Girls
I am reading: Neil Steinberg, Sun-Times
And I am: Still waiting for my iPhone

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rites of passage

There’s a letter on the desktop
I dug out of a drawer
The last truce we ever came to
From our adolescent war
And I start to feel the fever
From the warm air through the screen
You come regular like seasons, shadowing my dreams
I was in the shower this morning when that song popped into my head for no reason.

Ghost. By the Indigo Girls.

It’s a sweet, melancholy song that reminds me of my friend Nelson for no other reason than I loved it and included it on a mix tape for him a long, long time ago.

I haven’t been listening to music much lately because all my songs are trapped on the Home Mac and – with the new job and all – I’m spending a lotta time with the Work Mac these days. Plus, my iPod was stuffed in a drawer – out of sight and out of mind.

But this morning I dug it out and quickly found Ghost, singing it at the top of my lungs all the way to the train station.

It’s one of those songs that you actually can belt out pretty good even if you’re like me and couldn’t sing if Cuddly Wuddly Christ came back today and announced he’s saving only the True Singers of Show Tunes.
The Mississippi’s mighty
It starts in Minnesota
At a place that you could walk across
With five steps down
Rites of Passage is the album.

Yeah, it’s chick music. But it’s one of those rare CDs you can listen to all the way through. It’s in my top five for sure.

There’s something about it – whenever I’m feeling disconnected from everything that is important, it puts me back in my place.

Do you have an album like this? Music that runs like a thread through your entire adult life?
And I guess that’s how you started
Like a pin prick to my heart
But at this point you rush right through me
And I start to drown
You didn’t talk to Mom this morning on your way to the train?

Nope. Mom and Da are here from Michigan. It’s been a fabulous week and I don’t want them to leave. Ever. Ever.

It’s funny, though. She’s here, sleeping in because she’s on vacation.

And I miss her because we’re not on the phone in the mornings.
This is the part where I really give it all I’ve got for Cuddly Wuddly Christ:

And there’s not enough room in this world for my pain
Signals cross and love gets lost and time past makes it plain
Of all my demon spirits I need you the most
I’m in love with your ghost
Okay, your turn. Tell me the one song that you just have to sing at the top of your lungs whenever it’s on. And why.
I am listening to: Rites of Passage – The Indigo Girls
I am reading: New web copy
And I am: Unbelievably happy

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What they won’t do for a laugh

I’m walking from the Quincy El station towards Union during my daily planes, trains and automobiles trek from the office when I see them again: The Abortion Nuts.

They’re standing on the sidewalk along Adams holding huge signs featuring grotesque photos of supposed ‘First Term Abortions.’

Again, I’m all for free speech.

But you’d think the gory signs would lend a somewhat somber mood to the occasion.


A more animated Abortion Nut holds another sign: ‘Honk if You Love Cuddly Wuddly Jesus’ or something like that and she’s yelling and laughing like it’s a veritable celebration of dead fetuses on the side of the road.

Yes. She’s laughing.

Probably not the impression you want to leave on all of us crabby, tired commuters.

At least not if you want us to take your ignorant, misguided protest seriously.
Ignorant, Hedy? Misguided? So you’re pro-choice?

Hell yeah, I am.

But be careful here.

I’m saying their protest is ignorant and misguided, not their opinions.

Because if you really want to reach people with a message you feel strongly about, it’s not a great idea to stand in our way holding offensive, disgusting signs.

If they wanted to engage us in an intelligent, meaningful conversation about abortion, I’d be all for it.

But the shock value – coupled with the despicable laughter – does nothing to help their cause.
I am listening to: Blasphemous Rumors – Depeche Mode
I am reading: Neil Steinberg in the Sun-Times
And I am: Astonished

Monday, July 14, 2008

Everyone thank Cheryl today

From my new friend Cheryl via e-mail:

I have 3 suggestions I would love to see you cover in your blog:

What are the top 10 movies that are going with you on your deserted island?

The Wizard of Oz
Heidi (Shirley Temple)
The Color Purple
The Big Chill
Pulp Fiction
Pride & Prejudice (the A&E series, not the crap with that skinny bitch Keira Knightley)
Shawshank Redemption
Monty Python's Holy Grail
American Beauty
I love the idea of a deserted island with electricity. Love it.
Who are the members of your hot tub 5?

I don't know about this one.

I've heard of the five people you'd have over for dinner (Queen Elizabeth I, Jesus Christ, Mark Twain, Leonardo DaVinci, and Albert Einstein) but not the hot tub.

So I'm going with people I wouldn't mind seeing naked or semi naked:
Russell Crowe
Brad Pitt
Joseph Fiennes
Denzel Washington
And of course: Craig Ferguson

Plus one back up in case Brad is a no-show because of that skank Angelina: Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.
Hedy, how come Moe didn't make your hot tub list?

Well just look at him. C'mon.
What is your death row meal?

If I'm on death row, I'm assuming I've lost my appetite. Along with all my friends.

So the only one who'd still love me for-sure no-matter-what I-don't-care-if-you-killed-your-husband-because-he smacks-his-lips-when-he-eats-Popsicles is Mom.

So it would have to be Mom's roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, baked butternut squash, rolls, and her famous chocolate Navy cake (with vanilla ice cream) for dessert. And a big glass of ice cold milk.
Big thanks to Cheryl for helping me out during this dry spell.

Feel free to share your own lists and variations on the lists.
I am listening to: Quiet house
I am reading: Not much
And I am: Hopefully dieing on a deserted island with five famous actors

Friday, July 11, 2008

Frederick Smalls from Massachusetts: Get a Life

Oh. The humanity.

It's all "grief and aggravation" for people like Smalls who tried to buy the new iPhone today.

Grief? Over a mobile phone?

I am listening to: The cries of countless disappointed iPhone users
I am reading: Web copy
And I am: Disgusted

Escaping the idiots

It started shortly after I boarded.





Oh. God.

Someone is clipping their nails on the train again.

Yes. It happens more than you’d think. It’s incredibly gross.

And I never thought I’d say this, but I’ll take gross over extended periods of irritating any day.

Because the silly twat wasn’t clipping her nails, but snapping her gum.

Every two seconds.





Plus, the train was delayed several times due to freight traffic so all of us in the seventh car on the 5:26 to Aurora last night endured more than an hour of this infernal snapping.

Better still?

She stopped snapping her gum only to TALK ON HER PHONE IN A VOICE LIKE THIS.
Hedy, why didn’t you just move to another car?

I thought about it. My blood pressure would’ve gone down considerably.

But this is America, folks.

I shouldn’t have to move because someone is irritating me. I shouldn’t be the one inconvenienced by idiots. Right?
Okay, it’s barely 7 a.m. on Friday.

And idiocy abounds.

I pass a beer distributor on my way to the train station.

Every morning big, beautiful land barges of beer make their way out into the world so slobs like us can get blasted and bloated.

It’s fabulous.

Except this morning, the dude driving the huge Heineken truck (and I fucking hate Heineken) didn’t see me, pulled out and nearly ran me off the road.

To his credit, he gave me the little ‘Sorry, I’m an asshole’ wave, but this did nothing to dislodge my heart from my throat.
Then, more idiocy at the parking ticket machines.

A dorky corporate chooch cuts in front of me to the only open machine and PROCEEDS TO DIG THROUGH HIS POCKETS, THEN HIS WALLET FOR MONEY.

While I stand there, park card in hand. Like always. Waiting. Ready.

Better still, this particular idiot had to go back to his car (we know he didn’t forget his head, because that was clearly lodged up his ass) and I ended up winning the Race for the Train anyhow.
Here’s the thing. With that gum-snapping twat, I could’ve moved to another car. I should have.

But there was no avoiding the Heineken dude or the ticket chooch this morning.

I was forced to move out of their way so they could do what they needed to do, even though I clearly had the right of way in both cases.

So here’s the lesson of the today, kiddies: Be grateful for the days when you can escape the idiots, because most of the time they’re completely unavoidable.
I am listening to: Train sounds
I am reading: My guy Steinberg at the Sun-Times
And I am: Grateful

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Reasons I'd like to be a man (or husband)

My Dilfy friend Moe was whining like a little bitch about how he's all outta fresh ideas for his blog. So I made a deal with the fascist free marketeer that I'd help him out with a bit of blog fodder today.

20 reasons why I’d like to be a man (or husband)

1. No bleeding, bloating, or bitching every month
2. No underwire bras
3. No shaving your legs/under your arms
4. You rule the world, albeit badly
5. You can screw around all you want and you’re a stud (not a slut)
6. The world is your toilet
7. The dog respects you
8. No panty hose
9. You never have to concern yourself with finding any of your stuff because your wife will always locate it for you
9.5 On that same note, you never have to concern yourself with putting away any of your stuff because again, your wife does that for you
10. You get gray hair and look 'distinguished'
11. You have no hair and you look 'sexy'
12. As the primary breadwinner, you get to lord it over the rest of us
13. You NEVER fake an orgasm
14. You get old and you win a 'trophy' wife, while we get old and are labeled after pathetic, predatory felines
15. You receive a blowjob in the White House and get away with it
16. You’re physically stronger – handy for unscrewing lids and carrying luggage
17. You seem to have been born knowing the difference between a Phillips and a regular screw driver
18. You make more money for doing the same (and often less) work
19. You can wear the same thing every day and no one notices
20. You never seem to be troubled by clutter or dust or crumbs
I am listening to: Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode
I am reading: Nothing but work stuff lately
And I am: Actually pretty happy being a chick, mostly because of Moe's reason #9

A Susan-worthy sidewalk snippet

Dashing through Union Station last night to catch the 5:49 and I am stuck next to this guy, who is wearing a blue suit and walking very slowly:






derivative |diˈrivətiv|
(typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason : an artist who is not in the slightest bit derivative.
• originating from, based on, or influenced by : Darwin's work is derivative of the moral philosophers.
• [ attrib. ] (of a financial product) having a value deriving from an underlying variable asset : equity-based derivative products.
Somehow I don’t think this guy got hammered out of hatred for some Warhol wanna-be.
I am listening to: Jay Leno muted
I am reading: Not much lately
And I am: Tired but happy

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

All I need is u

I am listening to: Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
I am reading: Neil at the Sun-Times
And I am: Waiting for u

Good morning

There are times when I must…resist…writing about the day’s events out of respect for the folks involved. Highlights:

“Christ wasn’t a smoker so he didn’t have that problem.”

“Just breathe and try to answer the question.”

“I don’t know. I’ll have to look it up in the employee handbook.”

And my personal favorite:

“Maybe you’ll learn this in your third year of law school…”

I really wish I could say more, but it just wouldn’t be right.

But you know those rare, deep belly laughs that come from unexpected yet truly hilarious moments?

That was my morning.
I am listening to: A quiet office
I am reading: New web site content
And I am: Great