Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Hard Man to Love

I love my wife. As each day passes, I wonder more and more how I ever lived without her.

Last night, Erika indulged me after a late meal at Sultan's Market. We went to the Map Room on Armitage _ a rare beer bar. If you haven't... I'll just say. We were sitting at the bar _ a fellow came up behind me to order. He asked which beers had the highest alcoholic content _ he wanted a lot of booze. I thought of all those fraternity houses near the school library in Syracuse.

And I even thought, last night, "This young fellow is an obvious candidate for the WeBLoG." And I thought... "No. This is too obvious." But here I am writing about him anyway.

I had the fine Ayinger Doppelbock Celebrator. And then, I put my wife's patience to the test... a Schlenkerla Urbock Rauchbier _ smoked beer from Bavaria. 3/4 of the way thru I felt like I had drunk two Easter ham dinners. I couldn't finish the thing.

But she sat there, with her sensible glass of wine, and watched me struggle thru that obscure German specialty, as I stopped to catch my breath every few sips and belch up smoke.

I love you, baby.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Second Breakfast Served Promptly at 8

Finally. For the longest time I thought a European breakfast was "wine-soaked bread and sausage." I must've read that in some guidebook.

Between the seven-course, traditional Italian meal and the two-breakfast Austrian repast, what do Europeans have time for? I suppose that's the reason they get all those vacation days.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Official Endorsement II

Hey, folks. If you're looking for some entertainment on the weekend, go see the Phalanx Theater's wonderful new production at the Swim Cafe on good ol' W. Chicago Ave. Erika and I went last night and greatly enjoyed it. Young, energetic and site specific.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

More of the Same

Sunday. 10:20. Sunny outside. Feel as though anything can happen today. By "anything," I don't mean "anything" _ not some life-changing thing. Just "anything" within the realm of usual possibilities. That means we'll go to the gym.

A morning like this makes me think of... the Kronstadt sailors. On a morning like this maybe one of them woke up and thought, "Feel as though anything can happen today." ...

B: Ivan, are you awake?
(long pause)
Are you awa--
I: Yes. I've been lying here for 30 minutes. I've been awake 30 minutes, and I'm listening to you... you're breathing thru your nose. Like you're sighing.
B: I'm sorry.
I: It's too late. I'm awake.
B: I've... I was just thinking... I've eliminated--I've cut out pronouns from my inner thoughts.
I: What's that?
B: When I think of myself, I don't... I refrain from using "I"...
I: When did you start doing this?
B: Recently. It was sort of a... it was a process.
I: You don't use "I"?
B: Not when I think of myself. So it's... "Feel as though anything can happen today."
(long pause)
I: Boris.
B: I feel--
I: You said "I."
B: I know... I know but it was--
I: You were speaking--
B: I was speaking out loud. It wasn't internal.
I: There's a diff--
B: Yes. A big difference.
I: I didn't know that.
B: Well, there is.
Are we going to revolt again today?
I: Yes.
B: What are we--
I: Poor pay. Poor food. Poor health.
B: I see... and what about--
I: No.
(long pause)
B: We don't need pronouns either--
I: You can explain that one.
B: Ooo, is there a meeting?
I: It's scheduled.
B: Before we--
I: Yes.
B: Good... good.
Because it gets tricky. But I think... if I can explain it. I think it becomes very clear.
I: I'm sure it does.
B: It does.
I: They'll string you up.
B: I know.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'll Pay You $75 If You Never Say the Word "Meta" Again

Yes. I bought "Game of Shadows" _ I pre-ordered it. Thanks be to... I'm going to start reading at lunch. I'd like to read it in the YMCA hot tub... but that could be a little hard to do.

Lunch. Friday. Work. Lack of work. Lack of ideas. I don't have anything for you today. No good observations. Nothing happening in my life. Nothing out of the ordinary. I'm certainly not going to tell you. What do you think this is?

The Urban Kitchen _ this WeBLoG interface has no proper M-dash. The Urban Kitchen will provide. It lies underground, like a bomb shelter. I eat there about once a week. I don't feel like describing it. This is why I won't ever cut it in the Prose Business. I'm lazy, folks. I don't care what it smells like. I don't care about the lighting. I don't care what the people are wearing. It's not that interesting. The tables are all slightly greasy _ NO. No description.

So... but what do the people say? You're gonna have to wait till after lunch for that.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Winter's Truncheon

I was feeling sick yesterday _ maybe it came thru in my _ ACTIVE VERBS. I FELT sick yesterday. For 30K, you can get this kind of training, too. Apparently Ernest Hemingway got it for free in high school and got paid to learn it at his newspaper job. Well...

Made my way past old OPRFHS yesterday, as per the WoundUP Monday evening ritual. Space ritual. Someone was playing "Master of the Universe" in the coffee shop the other night. I looked at the two staff and one manager and started playing one of my favorite games: GUESS THE HAWKWIND FAN. They're out there. I am one. Maybe it comes thru in my...

Going to a network function tonight. Not necessarily a NeTWoRKiNG function, but who knows. Who knows. Who knows. I was planning _ ACTIVE VERBS. I PLANNED to parlay _ there, you get the bonus alliteration at a cut-rate fee _ I PLANNED to parlay my flagging health into the high mass of the office world: The Sick Day. Now I'm feeling better.

Later on, I am going to stand _ I WILL STAND outside in the cold _ outside the building _ without a coat. I will make myself sick. That's something I can do for free.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Our Official Endorsement officially endorses Phil Poppinjay, Democratic candidate for 15th State Congressional District.

Many of you might not know this, but Mr. Poppinjay is the first Democratic candidate to be diagnosed with Derealization Disorder. That means that Mr. Poppinjay believes neither he, nor the people he wishes to represent, are real.

Mr. Poppinjay also does not believe the campaign office he works out of each day is real, and, as he has promised over this long campaign, he will not regard the Statehouse as real, either.

So, tomorrow, when you're in the voting booth and you look at your hand and wonder if you, in fact, are real, pull the lever _ again, it may not be real _ and vote POPPINJAY.

The Cruel Pen...

I was browsing through the Woundup Library last night _ cracking some volumes, looking for At-Home Reading. There is At-Home Reading and there is On-The-Bus-Reading, which is more serious.

I looked into Martin Heidegger's "Introduction to Metaphysics" a touched-up version of a lecture he gave in the 30's. How's that for serious reading? My mind _ my brain _ seemed to swell as I read _ I wanted to continue, but it was too late at night. Nothing that serious for that late at night, yes? Don't want to burn anything out, yes? Can't commit to that kind of serious intellectual inquiry. Just a little too... you've worked all day and now you want to relax. I went to college, but now I want to relax. I can mention the name in my WeBLoG. I can leave it out _ the book _ for people to see when they come to the house...

So I settled on a pocket-sized copy of pithy sayings about writing. You know these books. There are hundreds of them. They're supposed to make you feel better about your chosen profession. Like...

"A writer's one true friend is his welfare check."
J. Toddington Beagle

Sadly, there is no real Mr. Beagle. But let's just pretend he is... real. But you know these books, right? I have at least two, including the little one I mentioned above. Then there are the "gentle" writing books. And I've read my share of those, and there are even more of those _ maybe thousands. You know them. They have titles like "Writing for Warm Waves of Water." They're supposed to help you come to grips with the possibility of maybe thinking about becoming a writer _ just after you read this book and maybe think about signing up for a night class.

Oh, I'll pay for that one later. I'll surely pay... Karma never sleeps. And he wears a rust-colored sweater.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Glorified Lawyer Joke, Take Two

I had what I thought was a unique, innovative idea this morning: a pay, wake-up call service. Too bad I'm 5 years too late on it.

This is why I'm not in the invention business. I'm in the fabrication business, but not inventions. I could, well... I suppose someone could pay me to fabricate things.

Childhood a little too bland and conventional? Pay me, and I'll write you up a sizzling new background: drug addiction, pan-sexual escapades, page duty at the statehouse, flunked out of French art school, glue sniffing in boy scouts _ you name it...

I also do resumes, background checks, marriage licenses and Catholic conversion applications. Here's a snippet from that last one (not my copy)...

"... other religion to Catholic conversion chart. In my previous religious life I was...
_ Zoroastrian: 2.5 months (of wearing hair shirt, it may be taken off for baths)
_ Snake Handler: 3 months
_ Sylvan Denominationalist: 4.3 months
_ Sylvan (Reformed): 4.1 months
_ Sun Worshipper: 5 months
_ Bacchanalianist: 5.5 months
_ Lawyer: 12 months (may include self-flagellation) ..."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Frank J. Discussion

I did survive. I did. Then I had a three-day weekend. Saw part of "Capote" _ Erika and Matt saw the whole thing. I have a problem with movie theaters _ sometimes I get a little panicky. That's what we call a "flashpoint" in the CBT business.

That's not a real CBT term. Why am I lying to you? Maybe I want attention. It's a cry... no, that's a cliche. Let's try to eliminate cliches.

Have you ever acted before? I have. Twice. Bit parts. Once I was about 8 years old in Indiana University Northwest's children's summer theater production of "The Wiz." Bit part, like I said. The other? I played the Yellow Smoke in Xavier University's theatrical adaptation of T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." I had no lines.

Would I be an actor now, after all I've been through? I don't have the talent, but I respect those who do. It's called a "point of concession" in CBT vernacular.

That isn't a real CBT term, either.

Friday, March 10, 2006

O'Donnell Delivereth Me My Salvation

O'Donnell's best lede by far. From today's Sun-Times, p. 127., on Indiana and men's baskeball coach Mike Davis...

INDIANAPOLIS -- It was about pedigree but not race. It was about style but not class. It was about myths and folklore and white-haired ghost writhers on the sideline, as hardened as some of the anvils in the small Hoosier towns that separate the woods from the 21st century.


One of those days. Blindingly busy or excruciatingly slow. And, hey, less than five hours to go. I need to get out of here alive. The plan? Sink down low in my chair and be completely silent.

Sun-Times has MametMania. Including a map of the city showing you important MametFacts like where he once bought cigars. And of course I'm reading a Mamet book on the bus... often a bus with a big MametFest ad on the back. Who's ridiculous now?

Erika and I had a nice night at the Rainbo, sitting in the two chairs we occupied on one of our first dates nearly 3 years ago.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Bruni Report

This is AMAZING!

Goodbye, Old Man

It's warm today _ a little too warm for my taste. Erika told me it's spring announcing itself. The temperature, apparently, will dip back down into the 40's after Monday _ a final taste of the passing cold.

I feel cheated on winter this year, but I've always felt sad when it becomes evident the grey season is done. I won't say winter is my favorite season _ who has a favorite season? That's like having a favorite child. You should love them all equally.

So Winter 05-06 is passing. Soon we'll be back to sun worshippers, picnickers, pedestrians along the lake, bike riders, paraders, dog walkers...

I hate them all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I Gripe, Therefore I... Am

My G-Mail. My beautiful G-Mail. Ruined. And by whom? Well, CEO Tom Blister hinted at it recently. Yes. It was the New Yorker.

I am not afraid to air my complaints here. Cross me and you will feel the cold steel of my... let me back up a second...

We moved in September, 2005, and our New Yorkers weren't forwarded. Listen, I don't even read the New Yorker. It was more for Erika. Yes, she thinks I'm a big snob _ writing this isn't going to help my image in that regard.

I contacted the New Yorker customer service department, and they corrected the error. We now receive the magazine at our new address. BUT, not long after my correspondence, I began receiving spam e-mail in my G-Mail account... once a junk-free oasis amid the desert of penis enlargement and discount drug messages.

Can you believe that? The bastards. They could at least send me the William Shawn coaster set for my trouble. I have 1-6, but I'm missing no. 7: "Mr. Shawn discusses John Hersey contract at Tavern on the Green."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Canvass to Select My Canvas

I feel like I need to conduct a focus group... what do you really want from this WeBLoG? I imagine there are some people that liked the Blister stuff. I don't know. If you have an opinion, leave it in the comments. If not, well, I'll read your mind anyway.

Jim O'Donnell Lives


(Google does not recognize "Nudge-the-Squeak")

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Twilight of the Fabricants

I was wrong. The mystery user continues to elude classification, much like members of the sea cucumber family.

Why am I writing again? Because I haven't got a bloody thing else to do, that's why. Is there a parallel universe in which thousands of people go to a big, ugly office building 5 days a week to make art? Sure, it could be crappy art _ and that is always a matter of opinion. But isn't the quality of work put forth by most office workers _ this one included _ substandard anyway?

Keep pushing. That's what they tell me. I will push... this sounds like an old fashioned Woundup post. That's a promising sign. A return to the... see, I almost wrote old guard ...

Word duplication is a concern in this business. I often do it when I reuse a word I spy in the above line in my peripheral vision, so...

"... ... ... .. ... ... ... ... ... this sounds like an old fashioned Woundup post. That's a promising sign. A return to the old guard..."

See? And the post was quoted just a few seconds later in the same post. We are living in a marvelous time, folks.

Before I Rip Someone for His Insecurities, Let Me Tell You About MY Insecurities

Do NOT go carousing with Chicago Public Schools teachers. You will pay for it. Just remember, their workday is over at 3. You can kiss your evening good... seriously, I had a great time with Erika's new/old co-workers, and I'm happy she's back with them. Also, happy 3-0 to J. Stockton.

On another note... I like to comb the STaTCouNTeR data and guess whom is whom, and I have a sneaking suspicion someone in Chicagoland is Googling himself. It's happened more than once.

I could be wrong, so I'll hold my tongue before launching into a long diatribe. Let me just say this...

I'm particularly interested in my counter's "visit length" data. We all want you to read more and read longer. I wonder what goes through the head of a visitor who reads for 0 Seconds.

O Seconds visitor: I want to make you a 1 Seconds visitor.