Monday, June 30, 2008

Doggy Therapy

I’ve often spoken of Portia on this site and I have another heartwarming story for you here.

One of Portia’s daddies, Jack, is a counselor and often brings Portia to his office if he’s going to be there for most of the day.

Portia loves being around people and Jack always asks his clients if it’s okay for Portia to remain in the session. He assures them that she will keep everything confidential. If anyone is allergic to dogs or isn’t comfortable with her being there, she happily spends the hour in the courtyard with the other staff.

She’s also good at providing doggy-therapy. I can attest to this. No matter how bad of a day I’ve had, a few moments with Portia always remedies any psychological ailment.

Jack was at his office on Saturday with five appointments, back to back. Portia was there for the day as well.

One client was having a really difficult time over a relationship that had suddenly ended. Tears appeared as she described the feelings of loss.

Meanwhile, Portia was asleep on the carpet in what we call her “alligator pose.”
(see pic below)

Just as things were getting pretty intense during the session, Portia let out an incredibly long, drawn-out fart.

And the client went straight from tears to laughter.

See? Never underestimate the effectiveness of doggy therapy.

You never know how well it will work.

Too Good to Be True

I really like the gym where I’ve been working out. As you may recall, it’s a Crunch Fitness Center and it’s ever so conveniently located in the lobby of my apartment building at Marina City.

I’ve been noticing that another thing I like about it is that it’s never very crowded. There’s never a bunch of people looking at me in my gym attire or laughing at me when I, unknowingly, sit backwards on a particular piece of torture equipment.

I like that.

Just the other day, I was noticing that this facility was never very crowded, even in the mornings before work. And I was wondering if this facility was actually profitable to the Crunch people, especially since there’s another Crunch place just five blocks away.

It turns out that my observations were dead on. When I went to work out on Saturday, there was the following notice on the door:

“After serving you faithfully for nine years at this location, we will be closing our doors and turning off the last treadmill at 10:00 pm on Thursday, July 31.”

I knew it was all too good to be true! Having a nice Crunch Fitness in the same building that I live in which hardly anyone else used was just too much of a good thing.

What made it even more frustrating what that I was really seeing some noticeable results from faithfully torturing myself in this convenient location. My biceps and triceps and forceps finally got some muscle-action going on. I’d be typing at my keyboard and think, “Whose arms are those?”

When I saw that sign, I got into my banging-on-the-high-chair mode and went all huffy-puffy to the front desk and cancelled my membership. That notice also said, “We’ve reserved a spot for you at one of our other convenient locations.”

“The hell you have,” I thought. “Nothing is as convenient as having this place just an elevator ride away.”

Besides, I could always just go there in my dorky work-out clothes, rain or shine, heat or snow. I never had to use the dressing room or bring other clothes with me.

That was so nice. And now it’s all being taken away from me.
I felt like my neighborhood parish was closing on me. I really did.

Me. Me. Me!

I thought I’d look into joining a gym that’s next to my work place. After all, I could just go there after work on my way home.
However, it turned out that it’s a really snooty country-club type of facility that has a pro shop, valet parking, a laundry service, and they shine your shoes while you eat sushi.

Oh, and it costs $132 a month. No thanks.

Maybe I should re-consider staying with Crunch and going to the one five blocks away.

Here’s how I look at it: There were so many times that I would work out for only about fifteen minutes precisely because I knew I could come back anytime. Maybe, if I had to walk five blocks to another Crunch, I’d actually spend some time there and get my money’s worth with each visit.
The other Crunch also offers yoga classes. Mine doesn't. And I'm pretty good at yoga and actually enjoy it.

I could also stop and have Starbuck’s on the way. Oh! And there’s a Bed, Bath & Beyond nearby. That’s a big plus. Oh! And it’s really close to Trader Joe’s. I could go to Trader Joe’s every day, easily.

Also, it would get my sorry ass out of the house.
And, HELLO!, a five-block walk, round trip, is exactly one mile. I joined a gym exactly for the purpose of getting some activity, not avoiding it.

I just called Crunch back and asked them to cancel my cancellation request.

Sigh. . .


Friday, June 27, 2008

Memories of "Taste"

The “Taste of Chicago” event just began an hour ago and look at the crowds already. I just took this photo from a window at my workplace.

See? Here are some more crowds at “Taste.”
See that tall skinny building in the background? That’s where I work. Can you see me in the window taking the photo, shirking my work duties?

I know that lots of folks here just love “Taste” (like Iwanski) but I’m not one of them. Apparently, there’s a solar cycle that causes Chicago to have temperatures and humidity similar to that of Venus this time every year.

I went to “Taste” the first year that I lived in Chicago because I love all different kinds of weird food.

I found a booth selling goat curry, wriggled my way to it and waited in line. And waited, and waited. Finally, I asked for my goat curry only to be told that I could only obtain it with tickets bought at a central location.

The goat-curry lady pointed me to an incredibly long line of people waiting for tickets.

Meanwhile, the sun was blazing and most of Lake Michigan had evaporated into the atmosphere surrounding the “Taste” event.

I wedged myself through myriads of sweaty bodies and tried to find the end of the line. Finally, as I was nearing the Wisconsin border, I got in line for Taste tickets. I couldn't even see the ticket booth in the distance; just a line of sunburned people snaking off across the horizon.

I wondered how long it would take me to get the tickets, then remembered seeing Cro-Magnons near the front of that line.

Finally, just as the "Taste" event was ending a week later, I got to the front and purchased about ten dollars worth of tickets. By that time, I was about to require emergency medical services due to dehydration so I got in another line for bottled water.

“That’ll be one hundred forty-six tickets” said the bottled-water lady. I counted out the tickets, (which came to about four dollars), handed them over and headed back to the goat curry booth.

But they were sold out of the goat curry by that time.

“Okay, I’ll take the lamb-and-plantain curry,” said I.

“That’ll be one thousand, four hundred and twenty-six tickets,” said the lamb-and-plantain-curry lady.

“But I’ve only got one thousand, four hundred and twenty-five tickets left!” I exclaimed in a faltering voice.

“Sorry! There’s the ticket line over there. . . .”

So, that was my one experience with “Taste of Chicago.”

. . . Until last year when darling Lorraine and her family were here. The weather was actually very pleasant which had never happened before. We had all just finished with an outdoor concert featuring the cast of High School Musical which The Child loved, had just met City Mouse for the first time, and Taste was nearby.

We got in line for the tickets. I knew to purchase about ten thousand tickets this time and I actually got some goat curry, too.

That week while Lorraine and family were here was some of the happiest memories I’ll ever have. Really.

But I won’t be going to Taste this year. It’s already muggy outside and, well, you’ve seen the crowds.

If I want goat curry, I’ll just have it delivered, thank you.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Dynamic Tower

This is just about THE most incredible apartment building you’ll ever see.

It’s called the Dynamic Tower and it’s being constructed in Dubai (where else?)

It’s a 80-story condo building in which each floor, comprising one condo, rotates independently. Each condo owner gets to operate the rotation of their own living space.

One can watch both a sunrise and a sunset out of the same window. In my case, I’d be avoiding sunrises and sunsets if I lived there.

Don’t worry about the speed of the turning. Your sushi won’t be flying off your table while you eat, for it takes 3 hours to make a full revolution.

I think this place would be a peeping tom’s nightmare:

“Damnit! She won’t stay still! Stop spinning around!”

The building is powered by photo cells and wind turbines that produce all the electricity.

Oh, and get this. Each condo has its own garage - - the elevator brings you and your car to your condo.

If you want to live here, the condos average $3,000 per square foot. Let me see, my apartment is 710 square feet, so that would be $ 2.13 million for my little place.

I think I’ll stay in Chicago. Dubai has an average temperature similar to Venus and there’s the issue of sand everywhere.

But still, ya gotta admit that this would be a pretty incredible place to live.

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Bye Bye, Boy

Well, Boy George has done it to me again.

Apparently, his U.S. tour had to be canceled because he’s awaiting trial in England and wasn’t allowed a visa to come to the states.

Here’s the back story regarding my history with Boy George.

In 1984, Culture Club was due to play in Austin Texas where I was living at the time. I was excited. Then, at the last minute, they cancelled Austin due to low ticket sales. (Everyone was sick of Karma Chameleon by then).

Then, in 1994, he had just published his autobiography and was supposed to be at a book signing in Dallas. I was now a monk at a monastery near Dallas, but I snuck out one night in order to have my book signed by Boy.

As I was waiting in line, Boy George had a hissy-fit over something and walked out. I probably broke vows that I didn’t even know existed by sneaking out of a monastery to see Boy George.

Then, the other day as I was walking home, I noticed on the marquis at the House of Blues that Boy George was to perform there on August 6th here in Chicago. Tickets were fifty bucks.

What was even cooler, is that the House of Blues is in the plaza of the apartment building where I live. I could just take the elevator down which is so much easier than sneaking out of a monastery. Believe me.

And now he’s cancelled. Again.

His court case stems from the incident in which he tied up a prostitute in his apartment.

Even fourteen years ago as a monk, I could have told him that tying up a prostitute in his home was not a prudent thing to do.
Oh, and just for fun, here's a photo of me rollerblading in my habit at the monastery.

I got in trouble for that, too.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Amish in the City

Tonight on ABC, there will be a documentary on the Amish called The Outsiders that I’m really looking forward to seeing.

I’ve often found myself very interested in religious sects like the Amish; those that somewhat isolate themselves from the world. I suppose that was one of the appeals of joining a monastery fifteen years ago.

I was also in contact with the last remaining Shaker community for a number of years. There are only four members remaining and the elder of the community is a fellow about my age and we used to write to each other quite a bit. It was fascinating.

On Tuesdays during the summer and autumn months, there’s a farmer’s market in the plaza near my workplace. I walk through it every Tuesday morning and usually buy something.

There’s a small group of Amish women that are always there selling their homemade egg noodles. And, even though it’s not on my diet, I cannot pass up homemade egg noodles made by Christian women.

They also sell apple butter and honey. I started to buy some apple butter since buying apple butter from the Amish seemed like just the thing to do. Then I remembered that I’m not particularly fond of apple butter.

In the fall, they sell Honey-Crisp apples from their orchard which I really look forward to. Fresh Honey-Crisp apples right off the tree are THE most delicious apples you’ve ever eaten.

The women are always so friendly and ever so willing to chat about their noodles. They always ask, “How do you like to prepare them?” I usually say, “Just with a little butter and parmesan cheese.” Then they always say, “Have you tried them in chicken stock?”

It’s very apparent that the Amish serve their homemade egg noodles in chicken stock. These heavenly women are hell-bent on getting the world to eat their homemade egg noodles in chicken stock.

I think one of these days, when they ask me how I like to prepare them, I’m going to say, “Oh, I like them in chicken stock. You should try it.”

And then they will dance about with unabated mirth and glee.

I started to take a photo of them this morning, but then remembered that Amish don’t like to have their photographs taken; something having to do with graven images. I doubt that these particular Amish women come from a group that is very conservative, after all, they’re in the middle of a big city every Tuesday. But I didn’t want to take any chances.

I’ll keep you posted on the chicken stock thing.

Trump and Spire Update

Here is this morning's photo of the Trump Tower. It still has a way to go. Every time I think they've finished with the structure, they jack the cranes up and add some more. (The cranes were jacked up again just a couple of days ago.

As I was driving into Chicago from the south side the other day, one could see that the Trump Tower has really changed the skyline of the city. The building I work in (The Aon Center) is no longer the second tallest.

And here is a big round hole where the Chicago Spire will be. There are still 150 stories to be added to it.

But can you believe this? One third of the condos have already been sold.

So, you better hurry if you want to live here.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Space Exploration

Having recently watched a documentary on the Geek Channel about Mars, I decided to check out a few things on Wikipedia about the red planet.

I think someone made a typo or thought they were being really funny. Here’s what was posted:

Mars has approximately half the radius of shit and only one-tenth the mass. . .

I wonder if scientists at NASA can concur with that fact.

Will the Phoenix Polar Lander encounter this phenomenon?

I’ll keep you posted on further developments. . .

My Saturday

I can’t think of anything to write about today.

So, when that happens, I always turn to food.

This weekend, I had some time to kill and was near a Starbuck’s and a Whole Foods Market. I wandered into Whole Foods and stocked up on some spices I needed. Two of my favorites are nutmeg and tarragon and I needed both.

Although Whole Foods is terribly overpriced, buying herbs and spices there is the way to go as they’re sold in bulk.

I bought four nutmegs and a little bag of tarragon. I scritch-scritch the nutmeg into my soymilk-protein smoothies, and New England clam chowder is always a good conduit for tarragon.

There were free samples of cheese there, which I always nibble on.

Holy Mother of God, I found the holy grail of cheeses. It’s “English Seaside Cheddar”. It’s buttery, nutty, not too salty and almost sweet. Plus, it has a really unique texture; there are little crunchy bits of calcium in it. I know that sounds strange but it works.

I bought a pound of it. Then, I went to Starbuck’s for a Venti half-caf and came back across the parking lot to Whole Foods and bought another pound of it.

Then, I had a nice appointment with My Shrink who made me cry a little bit and thinks I should do stand-up comedy.

I was out to dinner with friends and they even asked, “Have you ever considered doing stand-up comedy?”

I replied, “Well, my therapist thinks I should. . . . ”

Then, I went home and ate cheese while watching The Onion Movie. I've never laughed so hard in my life.

Really, there were sounds coming out of me that I've never heard before; sort of like a pterodactyl being squeezed and shaken really hard.

And that was my Saturday.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm a Synesthete

After watching a documentary on one of my geek channels, I learned that I have synesthesia. I am a synesthete.

“What is synesthesia?” I hear you say. Okay, I’m so glad you asked.

Synesthesia is “a neurologically-based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.”

In other words, one sensory pathway in the brain gets crossed with another. For example, when I think of the number 2, it has a color. 4 has a different color.

All my letters of the alphabet have colors as well.

Apparently, I’m a triple-synesthete, because not only do my numbers and letters have colors, but they have a gender as well. I also have spaces assigned to them, too.

I’ve thought of letters and number like this ever since I learned my numbers and the alphabet.

When I studied Russian, the Cyrillic letters automatically and instantly had specific colors.

Here is how I think of the numbers, one through ten:

1 white neuter
2 black feminine
3 yellow neuter
4 grayish red feminine
5 blue-black male
6 dark yellow neuter
7 gray-blue male
8 light yellow neuter
9 dark gray feminine
10 black male

Here are some letters:

A dark red feminine
B navy blue male
C light yellow neuter
D dark gray male
E white neuter
F deep orange feminine
G dark gray male

Subsequently, every area code is either male, female or neuter and has a color depending on the dominant colors of the three digits.

312 is Chicago and it’s definitely yellow because 3 and C are light yellow and neuter
412 is Pittsburgh and it’s dark red because 4 is grayish red, 2 is black and P is red.

Also, my numbers are in certain spaces and they’re not linear. My alphabet is, though.

Now, it gets even weirder. . .

When I hear an F on a piano or hear a song in the key of F, I see orange because F is orange. It’s also feminine. B-flat is dark, gray-blue.

Once, when I was a freshman in college and taking music theory, the instructor played a scale on the piano (we couldn’t see his hands) and he wanted to know if the scale was major or minor.

He played a scale and I blurted out, “It’s F minor.”

I saw orange-red. Orange because of the F and red because of the A-flat which made it F minor instead of F-major. (If it had been F-major, it simply would have been orange, naturally).

This synesthesia thing makes it really easy for me to memorize numbers, mainly because of the spatial thing. When I think of a telephone number, I think of the relationship of the spaces on the telephone keypad along with the colors of the numbers.

Miss Healthypant’s cell phone number is dark, navy blue and it’s masculine even though she’s a definitely girly-girl. Iwanski’s number is light yellow and neuter even though Iwanski is definitely a guy.

Do any of you assign colors to numbers and letters? Or genders?

Or am I just a freak.

Tell me about it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's All About Me

Okay, this blog isn't about ME enough.
A friend of mine sent this survey thing to me and here are my answers.

(X) Gone on a blind date? See recent post on the funniest blind date ever.
(X) Skipped school? Grade school – never. College – way too much.
(X)Watched someone (or some pet?) die? A monk I was tending to.
(X)Been to Canada? Ummm. Went to grad school in Toronto. See question #2.
(X) Been to Mexico? Ummm. Was born and raised in Texas. Always went there for cheap liquor.
(X)Been to Florida? Only once on a business trip. Way too humid. I don’t like any place that has locations named “Buena Vista. . . ”. How revolting.
(X) Been overseas? yes. England and Wales. Once to Alabama.
(X) Been on a plane? Many times, many kinds.
() Jumped out of a plane Only when it’s safely pulled in to the terminal.
() Been on a helicopter? To see what? Nature and scenery just doesn't do anything for me.
(X) Been on a train? Yes, and I love the air freshener in the bathrooms and keep the same kind at home. (Ozium)
(X) Been lost? Once. In a car lot when I was seven. It was horrible.
(X) Been on the opposite side of the country? Seattle to Orlando. Just last year.
(X) Gone to Washington , D.C? I had my first Heineken beer in D.C. when I was sixteen.
(X) Swam in the ocean. Yes, but I prefer not to be a part of the food chain.
() Cried yourself to sleep? Can’t say I have.
() Played cops and robbers? No, but I remember playing “purses” with my little girlfriend when I was 6.
() Recently colored with crayons? No, but I can still remember the smell of a new pack of Crayolas.
(X) Sang Karaoke? Twice. “Stairway to Heaven” and “Barracuda”.
(X) Paid for a meal with coins only. Two-dollar coins in Canada. We should have them here.
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Most of undergrad school.
(X) Made prank phone calls. As a teen, calling my little brother up and telling him Santa Clause had died just before he was born.
(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose? Big Red strawberry soda.
() Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Ummm. Nature? Outdoors? Remember?
() Danced in the rain? See above
() Written a letter to Santa Claus. No, but I wrote a letter to President Nixon in the fourth grade telling him he should do something about civil rights. And that he should mention me on television.
() Been kissed under the mistletoe? Who has mistletoe these days?
() Watched the sunrise with someone you care about or love? If they loved me, they wouldn’t have me outside watching a sunset.
(X) Gone ice-skating? Yes, while listening to “Barracuda” on my iPod.
(X) Gone snow or water skiing? Snow, yes. Lots. Water, hello? Summer? Heat?
(X) Gone to the movies? Love to go by myself. Always sit in the back row.

1. Any nickname? Buck, Dooder
2. Mother's name? ‘Laine
3. Favorite soft drink? Tab. (I’m not kidding)
4. Tattoo? Never. Way too permanent.
5. Body Piercings? One drunken night in college.
6. How much do you love your job? I like it very much but definitely not very very much.
7. Favorite vacation? I’m lucky to live in a city where lots of people want to come for their vacations.
8. Favorite TV program? Lost in Space when I was seven.
9. Ever been to Africa ? Africa? Heat? Sand? I don’t think so.
10. Ever eaten cookies for dinner? No. I’m actually not much into sweets.
11. Ever been on TV? Almost. I was supposed to be a “matie” on the Captian Gus Show (a local kiddie show) but freaked out at the last moment and ran out of the studio.
12. Ever steal any traffic sign? No, they’re outside.
13. Ever been in a car accident? Yes, the first time I was allowed to take the car out when I was sixteen. I was two hours past curfew. Beer was involved. I was grounded until I was twenty-nine.
14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? I ride a 32-door subway.
15. Favorite salad dressing? Blue cheese. And I hate the pepper-guy. The sacrament of fresh-ground pepper is so stupid.
16. Favorite pie? Mincemeat (no, I’m not kidding. Just ask Lorraine. She knows)
17. Favorite number(s)? π is pretty awesome.
18. All-time Favorite Movie? Babette’s Feast.
19. Favorite holiday? Leap Day (February 29)
20. Favorite dessert? That goopy rice pudding stuff at an Indian restaurant
21. Favorite foods? Toast
22. Favorite day of the week? Friday and most of Saturday
23. Favorite Brand of Body Wash? Anything that doesn’t smell like almonds
24. Favorite toothpaste? Sensodyne with some Ajax sprinkled on it (My grandmother taught me that)
25. Favorite smell? My apartment when my neighbor isn’t binging on cigarettes
26. What do you do to relax? Visit the pharmacist.
27. Favorite sport? Walking home from work.
28. How do you see yourself in 10 years? In the mirror, hopefully.
29. Least favorite vegetable? Radishes. Oh, and lima beans.
30. Least favorite fruit? Bananas

Back Home and The City

Having been on the road visiting staff members in every small town in Illinois for the past three days, I can definitely say that The City is an entity, a cast member in my life.

I respect the fact that not everyone wants to live in the middle of a big city, but for me, it’s like a member of my family. It sure felt great to see the towers, both Sears and Trump, silhouetted on the skyline as I approached last night.

I’m filling out my expense reimbursement today: 959 miles, two hotels, and eight meals in three days.

Here are some observations about traveling across Illinois:

Illinois all looks the same. From top to bottom, from east to west, it’s all corn and soybean fields.

There are an amazing number of TV stations broadcasting Christian programming in small towns across Illinois. And wrestling. I check into a hotel, flip on the TV and there’s nothing but Christian this-n-that and All Star Wrestling.

One night, I was channel surfing for CNN and stumbled upon this Christian pianist named Dino Kartsonakis. This guy is definitely the Christian equivalent of Liberace, only ten times as faggoty-faggy. (And I DO mean that in a derogatory way). This character makes Liberace look like an All Star Wrestler. I sat there with my mouth agape as he flitted and fluttered all over the keyboard.

And Christians like this clown? They never cease to amaze me.

Here’s a video of him on the Jim Bakker Show. Naturally. (Fast forward toward the end so you can see him play). It's the only video I could find of him.

People are friendlier in small towns. I forget that and it’s always a pleasant surprise.

There’s this giant, 200-foot cross on the side of the highway near Effingham, Illinois. Just this huge white cross in the middle of nowhere.

Oh, wait. The only other thing near there is a giant adult book & toy store, all lit up in pink neon at night. I don’t know which came first; the giant cross or the giant adult toy store.

I guess people can visit one site and then feel better about their selves visiting the other.

I checked into a hotel in downtown Quincy, Illinois and, exhausted, asked the desk clerk where one could get a nice dinner nearby. She suggested “The Patio” restaurant which was in an ancient hotel across the street.

Let me tell you, The Patio has, hands-down, the best steaks anywhere on the face of this earth. I had the best rib-eye I’ve ever eaten. (See? I'm not one of those militant vegetarians. I eat a vegetarian diet at home, but hey, if I'm at a restaurant and a steak sounds good, that cow's going down.) These snooty-McSnoot steak places in downtown Chicago haven’t got a thing compared to this charming little place in Quincy. It was truly amazing.

If you’re ever in Quincy, eat at The Patio. It’s downtown right near the Mississippi river where lots of sandbagging was taking place. For now, anyway.

One of my favorite meals is the deluxe salad with grilled chicken and a large glass of tomato juice at Denny’s. There. I said it.

I was early for my appointment in Effingham so I stopped by J.C. Penny just to browse. We don’t have any stores like that in downtown Chicago as they’re all way out in the suburbs. So, I like to hit them when I’m out on these trips.

They were having an incredible sale on Dockers clothing and I left with an armload of new shirts. I love Dockers clothing. There, I said it.

I’m now set for Casual Fridays for the next three decades.

I went to my appointment, and 255 miles of corn and soybean fields later, was gazing upon the skyline of Chicago. Where God intended me to be.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tired, Travelin' Puppy

I'm on one of my whirlwind trips across the entire state of Illinois for three days. Every three months, I have to visit my staff and their offices and every three months I regret trying to get it all done in three days.

The first day, I left Chicago in my wonderful Zip Car at 6:30 am and went to Rockford. That's in the northern part of the state. I then Zipped down to Peoria for an afternoon appointment.
Peoria's somewhere in the middle. Sort of.

Then I drove past a bunch of pigs, sheep, and ponies to Quincy (western part) and spent the night.

Morning appointment in Quincy, then down to St. Louis for an afternoon appointment. Well, through St. Louis to East St. Louis which is in the southwest part of the state.

Got that?

Then, to Mount Vernon in the south part where I'll have a morning appointment, then to Effingham for an afternoon appointment, then home to Chicago tomorrow night.

I'm beat.

Here's a pic of my nifty Zip Car. I feel very intimate with it since I've been using the same on for the past year. I think I've stayed in the same Marriott at one point or another.

I'm going to wash up with a little-bitty soap and go to bed.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Father's Day Story. . .

Last Thursday night, my workplace was having me attend one of those big, snooty, fundraising banquet-with-networking-and-grilled-chicken-nightmare events.

I really don't mind attending them as long as for they're a good cause.
This one definitely was.

It was a fundraiser for an incredibly effective and active agency that has been on the forefront of serving individuals with disabilities for a very long time.

. . .And I was there "networking" with a group of people, all of whom were extremely diverse, when one of them said, "I'd like you to meet Anne Roosevelt."

I was trying to be my extrovert, 'networking' self, when I almost caught myself saying, 'So! Are you, like, any relation to FDR and Eleanor?' - - - but I suddenly caught myself - - when I instantly recognized the face of Eleanor Roosevelt looking back at me. . .

. . sound of Politically Correct brakes screeching on asphalt)

I was, indeed, being introduced to Anne Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt's granddaughter, who is an activist for individuals with disabilities and was the evening's keynote speaker.

Anne Roosevelt bears an incredible likeness to her grandmother, Eleanor.
Here's a lovely photo of her with a granddaughter.

Isn't the resemblance incredible?

She gave an astounding speech about the fact that her grandfather's disability enabled him to identify with those less fortunate and that it roused his psyche to greater heights; that his presidency wouldn't have been what it was had not it been for his disability.

It brought tears to my eyes.

It was hell trying to get a taxi home from the event.

After managing to fight my way through the crowd, I was able to leap into a taxi and phone my dad, a staunch Republican, in Texas afterwards. . . .

Here's the conversation. . . .

"Hey, Dad! Guess who I shook hands with tonight? A big Democrat. . . "

"I don't know, son. . . Barak?. . ."

"No, . . .better. . "

"Son, don't tell me it was Hillary. . ."


. . . Dad, it was Eleanor's granddaughter, Anne Roosevelt!"

My dad gave a hearty laugh and proceeded to tell my about the time HE met Eleanor Roosevelt. . .

It was 1957 and Eleanor Roosevelt was visiting the campus of Texas Tech College in Lubbock Texas and my dad's fraternity was hosting the event.

My dad was an 18-year old sophomore and was delegated to "stand guard" at the restroom in the fraternity house where the First Lady would be visiting.

Mrs. Roosevelt asked my dad where she could visit the facilities, he directed her to the bathroom and stood guard. . . .

After Mrs. Roosevelt finished in the bathroom, apparently, my dad immediately thought it would be fun to plop his same backside upon the same commode as did Mrs. Roosevelt so as to say that he could have always have claimed to have . . . . '. well, you guess it. . . . '

. . . Needless to say, my dad and I had a wonderful laugh.

I thought I was going to call Dad to have a jab about my impressive contacts with Democratic political officials. . ..

My dad, in return, surprised me about his contact with that same political official's grandmother on the toilet,

Anne Roosevelt and I shook hands,

But, apparently, my daddy and her grandma shared a toilet seat!

I'll always love the fact that my dad gave me the ability to appreciate the humor in each other's lives.

Happy Father's Day,

I love you lots, Dad.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

States of the Nation

I’ve always enjoyed looking at maps, even when I was a little kid. The 50 states in the U.S. have some pretty distinctive shapes (except for Colorado and Wyoming) that I’ve been very familiar with for a long time.

I have very strong viewpoints when it comes to shapes of the states. Some of them look angry, like Georgia, South Carolina, New York and Virginia. Some look happy, like Texas. Others are very masculine, like Montana, while others are feminine (Illinois).

Montana looks like the profile of Lyndon B. Johnson. Have you ever noticed that?

That's the first thing I noticed about LBJ when he became president; that he looks just like Montana.
Mississippi looks like the profile of Bart Simpson. I don’t like the way Oregon is shaped. The northeast corner can't decide if it wants to be a right angle or not. The border of it heading west all of a sudden jumps up to the north right before touching the Pacific Ocean.

That bugs me.

Four states have panhandles: Oklahoma, Idaho, West Virginia and Florida. I imagine it must be pretty unique to live on those little slivers of land.

Nevada has always looked kind of slutty to me.

Wisconsin looks all lopsided. The bottom part is to the right and the top slops over to the left. I don't know why they made Wisconsin like that.

And don't even get me started on Nebraska.

And the entire U.S. looks like some kind of animal, trumpeting its elephant-like appendage in the air. Can't you just hear it?

There you go. Just a little peek into my weird little mind.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Do you remember a few years ago when the planet, Pluto, was demoted? Astronomers at the International Astronomical Union decided that it didn’t meet the criteria to be considered a planet, so it was demoted and no longer considered one of the nine planets.

Third graders everywhere rebelled.

Anyway, members of the AIU have now come up with a name for these celestial objects such as Pluto. They’re called “plutoids.”

Plutoids are celestial bodies in our solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune that have enough gravitation to cause them to be spherical. Like Pluto. (There’s one other called Eris which is a little bit bigger plutoid than Pluto but way far out there).

I like that term “plutoid.” I've had friends meet the same criteria.

They’re initially in my inner circle, sometimes causing my own orbit to wobble a bit, but then become distant and insignificant. Occasionally, I’ll detect that these plutoids are still out there, but only if I happen by chance to come across them.

Someone may ask me, “Say, how is X doing?”

I can now say, “I dunno. He became a plutoid.”

I love this term.

I just added it to my spell-check dictionary.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Day at "The Office"

For those of you who are fans of The Office, you’ll appreciate this.

One of my workplace clients is an office paper distributor just like Dunder Mifflin on The Office. They’re planning on hiring several people with disabilities to work in their document destruction portion of their warehouse and wanted us to come out and provide a disability sensitivity training to their staff. Just like Dunder Mifflin!

So, my boss and I headed out to Dunder Mifflin, Chicago.

Pam Beesly, the receptionist, greeted us when we got there and directed us to the meeting room where we would conduct the training. Soon, the staff came in and I’m thinking, “This is SO cool! Where's Jim?"

When conducting these trainings, I like to give stories in order to make it somewhat entertaining.

For example, did you know that McDonalds is very innovative when it comes to hiring people with disabilities? Well, they are. Very often, the person you’re speaking to on the microphone at the drive-thru is not actually working in the store, but is a person with mobility impairments working from home. Isn't that cool?

Later, I was providing some information about service animals. (i.e. Don’t pet the service dog. He’s “on duty” and shouldn’t be distracted. Don’t worry, the doggy isn’t lonely. Don’t feed the dog. He’s on a very regular schedule, etc)

My favorite part about the service animal presentation is the bit about “service ponies.”

You didn’t know about service ponies? No?

Okay, it was noticed that in herds of wild horses, if one horse goes blind another one will naturally take over the responsibility of guiding it. Isn’t that sweet?

So, they trained the little bitty micro-mini ponies to be guide ponies. They live to be about forty years old, they’re only about 22 inches tall and about 50 pounds, can concentrate very well and have an incredible memory.

You can even buy little pony-sneakers for them so their hoofs don’t scuff up the floor.

Here’s a photo of a guide pony named “Cuddles” taking a shower.
Everyone at Dunder Mifflin loved hearing about the ponies.

Well, except Dwight. He was a little suspicious:

Dwight: “Question! What about when the pony needs to urinate or defecate.”

Me: “Like I said, guide ponies have excellent memories and can be house trained. When they need to go . . . outside. . . they will go to the door and whinny.”

He seemed satisfied.

All in all, it was a very productive day at Dunder Mifflin, Chicago.

The Passport Photo

I just realized that my passport has expired. If I plan on going to Mother Russia for Christmas, authorities in Moscow will probably require one.

So will the Canadian border patrol outside of Detroit when I drive to Toronto.
Soon, we’ll be required to present a passport in order to obtain a Venti de-caf at the airport.

I just got my passport photo taken.

My god. . . .

I look just like Hank Hill.

I can just see it now. I arrive at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow and I’m in front of the customs official named Dmitri:

Dmitri: May I see your passport?

Me: Okay, but it’s not a very good picture of me.

Dmitri turns to his co-worker, Sergei:
“Посмотрите это! Он смотрит точно как тот ‘король человека’ холма!”

(“Check this out. He looks just like that King of the Hill guy!”)

Sergei: Нет. Я думаю что он смотрит больше как Дуайт Шрут от “Офиса.”

("No. I think he looks more like Dwight Schrute from The Office")

Dmitri: Вы правильно! (Hey, you're right!)

And they both laugh. In Russian: Я-Я-Я-Я-Я-Я-Я!
(Ha ha ha ha ha ha!)

Sigh. . . .

Maybe I’ll just visit my folks in Texas instead.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Кристмас в Москва (Christmas in Moscow)

As a kid, I remember gazing at the huge yellow blotch on the world map and wondering what it was really like in Russia. We couldn’t telephone anyone up there behind the dreaded Iron Curtain to find out. Russia was just this enormous country on the map that was forbidden to all Westerners. So, of course, I wanted to go there.

As a kid, I also noticed that the country was shaped like the profile of a walrus.

Yesterday, I noticed an advertisement on a cab that American Airlines now has direct flights from Chicago to Moscow. I checked it out and, sure enough, you hop on a plane here and hop off in Moscow ten hours later.

What makes it even better is that the flight is on a 777 which is a really smooth airplane to fly on.

My workplace gives us lots of paid time off during the holidays. We close down on December 23 and don’t open again until January 5.

I think by now all my readers know how much I dislike warm weather. I embrace winter wholeheartedly. I’d be getting to visit that big, forbidden, walrus-shaped yellow blotch on the map.

Oh, and those two years of studying Russian would finally come in handy as well.

Yep. Christmas in Moscow. My idea of a great holiday.

It's That Time of Year

On Saturday, I received a high school graduation invitation in the mail. I was a little incredulous over receiving it because:

I’ve seen this kid only twice in the past eighteen years.

I received it on the day of the graduation.

My name was spelled incorrectly.

And what’s the big deal with graduating from high school anyway? It’s not like these kids have actually done anything noteworthy. Our taxes pay for public school education. It’s pretty much announcing, “Hey. Send money to me for not dropping out or getting kicked out of school.”

If any money is given, I think it should go to the parents.

College is a different matter. College costs, even at state schools, have soared in the past decade. My niece worked hard through college, got good grades, raised money to go on missionary trips during her summers and graduated with a teaching degree. I happily gave her a nice graduation present and she didn't even impose an "invitation" on me.

But when I receive a high school graduation invitation on the day of graduation from someone I’ve seen twice in my life, that’s not an invitation.

That’s an invoice.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sushi on the River

I noticed that a new eatery has opened up in the most unusual place. It's on the lower part of the river-walk just across from my apartment building.

The river-walk borders Wacker Drive which is comprised of a Lower Wacker Drive and an Upper Wacker Drive. The lower part is actually more of a tunnel underneath the upper.

Here's a pic of this new eatery on the river walk. It's a sushi place called Diosa on the River:
First, they installed that little trailer on the river walk which where they prepare the food. For the life of me, I don't know how they got it there because there's a wall behind it separating it from Lower Wacker Drive.

Then, they added the tables, chairs and umbrella thingies. That's it. Poof. A restaurant.

I don't know about you, but I have my doubts that this place is going to make it. I can just see their advertisement:

Chicago's newest eatery, Diosa on the River!

Come try our delicious sushi, prepared fresh daily in a trailer while experiencing our unique al fresco dining. You'll be sure to enjoy exhaust fumes emanating from Lower Wacker Drive on one side along with the fetid, garbage-festooned Chicago River on the other.

Wanna start a betting pool on when this place will close down?

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sex and the City -- The Movie

(I am not giving away any part of the movie in this post, so read on)

I’m tired.

The gala outing with Miss Healthypants and The Girls to see the Sex and the City movie kept me up past my bedtime on a school night. Which is usually about 10 pm.

I have to admit that it was really exciting to see that movie last night. Even though the big downtown Cineplex had showings every 45 minutes, all of them were sold out. It was a good thing MHP bought tickets on line ahead of time.

We got in line early which enabled us to sit together in really good seats. There was definitely a buzz in the air – you could tell everyone was really excited to see the characters from SATC after all these years.

And it was. It really, really was.

Now, one thing I was not prepared for was the nudity and the “strong language” in this movie. You see, I’ve never had HBO and didn’t start watching the series until the edited versions were broadcast on TBS. Frankly, it was a little shocking to see Miranda all topless and (gasp!) actually having sex. In the City.

The movie was great. Really great. There were a lot more comedic scenes in the movie compared to the series which really made it entertaining. There were, of course, lots of very touching moments as well. I only cried once, but Miss Healthypants was just a big ol’ puddle of goo through the whole thing.

To me, the most memorable part of the movie was when Carrie got a new cell phone number and it was a 343 area code rather than the 917 area code she’d had for years. (Both area codes are for Manhattan)

I have sort of an obsession with area codes. When I worked as a telephone operator in college, I had them all memorized.

Boise? 208.
Milwaukee? 414
Santa Fe? 505

The middle digits of all original area codes were always binary; either a 1 or a zero. Now that we’ve entered the digital age and have so many cell phones, faxes, pagers and the like, all phone numbers became ten-digit ones. Now we have these “bastard” phone numbers that begin with 773 or 343.

You can tell if someone lives in the middle of a city and has an original phone number if the area code has a middle digit of one or zero.

When I got my cell phone, the guy asked me if I wanted a 312 or 773 area code.

Are you KIDDING me? Of course I wanted a 312 area code. Three-one-two just “says” Chicago.

I remember when I lived in a suburb of Dallas and our area code changed at midnight from 214 to 972. I stayed awake until midnight, making calls before and after to experience the area code change.

Does anyone else have an obsession with area codes?

So yes, the most memorable scene from the Sex and the City movie was when Carrie had to give up her 917 area code.

That’s the part where I cried.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

2016 Olympics - In Chicago?

Newsflash - -

The International Olympic Committee just narrowed the bidding cities for the 2016 Games down to four finalists.

And Chicago is still in the running!

The other cities are Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

Tokyo is favored, but they’ve already held the summer games back in 1964. London is due to host the games in 2012 so it would seem odd to hold the next ones in Europe. Besides, the 1992 Games were held in Barcelona.

Barcelona. Madrid.
Same thing.

Rio de Janeiro? Who knows? A lot of city planning would need to take place in the meantime. However, a South American city has never held the Olympics before, so the unique-factor would be in their favor.

Baku, Azerbaijan, was knocked out of the running and I can understand why. No one knows, exactly, where Azerbaijan really is. Spectators would end up either in Krzygministan or Drkzymnannistan if they tried to attend.

Frankly, I think Chicago would be a stellar venue for the Games. The weather is really nice here in the summer, we’ve got a great waterfront, a fantastic transportation system and really friendly people.

Also, anyone flying anywhere in the world usually gets stranded at O'Hare anyway. Chicago makes perfect sense.

We’ve already got our logo for the games. Isn’t it cool iwth the flaming Sears Tower thing going on?

I just thought of something. Can you imagine how much money I could make by renting out my downtown apartment during the Olympics?

Oh, that would be SO sweet.

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Girls' Night Out

Tonight will be a gala event.

I will be accompanying four women to dinner and to see the Sex and the City movie.

Originally, it was just going to be Miss Healthypants and me. Iwanski did not want to see the Sex and the City movie with us for some reason that I cannot even begin to fathom.

Then, Miss Healthypants invited a friend of hers along who, in turn, invited a couple of other friends. So, it will be a huge girly-girl outing tonight.

I don’t mind. Truth be told, I’m a big fan of “chick flicks.” One of my favorite things to do is to watch back-to-back movies on the Lifetime Movie Network throughout an entire Saturday.

Give me a movie starring Meredith Baxter or Judith Light in which they’ve been scorned by a nasty husband and then develop an eating disorder and I’m in heaven. Sheer heaven.

Have you noticed that all the movies on the Lifetime Channel have to do with misogynist men and the horrible way they treat women? Actually, I think the Lifetime Channel should change their name to the Misandry Channel.

Here’s a typical lineup of Lifetime movies on a given Saturday afternoon:

A Woman Scorned

A Daughter Scorned

A Mother’s Plea

A Daughter’s Plea: Stop Hurting My Mother

Please Save My Daughter

Please Save My Fallopian Tube

Broken Vows

A Promise Broken

Castration: A Promise for Revenge

Men Are Terrible and Will Hurt You

Men Are Terrible and Will Still Hurt You

Anorexia: Meredith’s Secret

My Husband Makes Me Binge and Purge

And on and on.

Anyway, I'm really really looking forward to the movie tonight.


Irritating Little Snurds on Airplanes

Here’s a brilliant idea with which the airlines can make more money.

First, let me backtrack.

For a long time, I’ve always liked to obtain the seats in the emergency row when flying. I’m almost 6’3” and those extra few inches of leg room really made a big difference on a long flight.

For a long time, obtaining the emergency row seats was an easy thing to do. Back before the days of online reservations, I’d simply ask for one when I’d check in. Then when I’d make reservations online, I’d just click on one of those seats. They were always available.

And, yes, if the plane plummeted down in a firey crash, I would happily set my Diet Coke down and take the responsibility of opening the emergency door. I've read the safety pamphlet.

Now, almost all the airlines charge a lot of money for one of those seats. On a recent flight to Seattle, they wanted $90 extra for that seat. Seeing as it was a four hour flight, I almost paid for it.

So, I no longer get those nice seats and here’s what invariably happens – I’m sitting there all scwunched up in my seat and some five-foot-two-inch snurd reading his Wall Street Journal in front of me plops his seat back as far as it will go, thus impaling my knees into my chest.

It’s at that point that I want to smack him in the back of the head, which, by now is two inches from my nose.

I’m a nice passenger. I really am. Before I ease my seat back a tiny bit, I always check behind me. If there's a big person behind me, I don’t put it back at all.

See where I’m going with this?

Why don’t the airlines implement a “seat reclining fee”? In order to activate the seat reclining button, you’d have to swipe a credit card and pay fifty bucks to do so.

Or better yet, charge more the farther back you want to put your seat.

I think I’m on to something here.

I’d better watch it though. I know the aisle seats have a little more leg room than the middle ones. Soon the airlines will be charging more for those.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Avoiding the Trash Chute

Okay, so I have my nifty new piano all set up and working. I love it. I just purr when I play it.

Here’s a dilemma: What do I do with my old piano? It still works beautifully.

Normally, I just toss anything I don’t need down the trash chute. (We don’t have recycling available downtown and I really hate that).

Tossing large items down a 49-story trash chute is lots of fun, but I don’t think this piano would fit. It weighs about 150 pounds.

I thought about putting a notice up on the bulletin board in the laundry room to sell it. People are always selling things in my building.

But that would be a hassle. A more disagreeable endeavor I cannot think of than having strangers come up to my apartment to haggle over a price.

Then, I remembered a resale store here in Chicago called The Brown Elephant. The proceeds from their store goes to benefit an organization that serves those with HIV and AIDS. Better yet, they have a nifty service where they will come and pick up whatever you’ve got to give them.

They’re coming next weekend.

I know that donating to an organization that serves those with AIDS is awfully “retro”, but hey, it’s better than the trash chute.

The Fish Nook

For about three years, from the age of about twelve to fifteen, I was really into aquariums and tropical fish. I don’t know why, because I’m even remotely interested in them now. But for a while, I had a couple of aquariums and did all the things that one has to do with keeping tropical fishes.

The nearest tropical fish store was The Fish Nook which was in the next town over from where we lived, about thirty miles away. During my Tropical Fish Phase, a trip to The Fish Nook was like going to Mecca. I’d often spend all my hard-earned money on various fish or other accoutrement for my aquariums.

Once I even spent a whopping eight bucks on a baby discus fish which was about the most expensive fish in the store. See the picture of the discus fish? Isn't it pretty?

Once I got it home and acclimated to its new environment, it was promptly fished out of the tank and eaten by our cat.

The owner of The Fish Nook was this kind, elderly gentleman named Mr. Frankenberger (I’m not making this up) who always seemed to be the only person ever there. He’d often give me tips and advice on which fish to buy, which ones to avoid grouping together and the like. It always felt good to walk into The Fish Nook and be greeted by my friend.

Fast-forward about five years. I was home from college one summer and needed a job. Having worked for Domino’s Pizza for a year while in college, I didn’t want anything remotely involved with the food industry.

I remembered The Fish Nook and the kindly Mr. Frankenberger. When I went there to apply, he remembered me and gave me a part time job. I’d be selling fish at one of my favorite places! How cool of a job was that?

Here, I had envisioned my nice summer job being comprised of happily selling fish to lots of nice customers. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It turned out to be The Job From Hell. Mr. Frankenberger, it turned out, ran a very tight ship. He was certainly "old school" and maybe that's why The Fish Nook was such a nice pet shop. The kindly gentleman I knew as a kid instantly became a taskmaster and put up with no dilly-dallying whatsoever.

The Fish Nook had expanded since I was a kid and now had about seventy aquariums full of fish on display, all of which had to be cleaned on a rotating basis. That was pretty much what I did all day in the back of the store.

It had also grown to include a full array of birds for sale, all of which had to have their cages kept spotlessly clean at all times. When Mr. Frankenberger wasn’t on the floor, sweetly selling fish and birds, he was in the back chastising me for not stocking the feminine napkins for dogs.

Have you ever noticed those big aquariums in seafood restaurants or the ones that are often in the waiting rooms at doctor’s offices? The Fish Nook had also branched out their services to include maintenance of these aquariums around town. That was also my job.

When I wasn’t cleaning fish poop in the back of the store, I’d be sent out to The Crab Hut to clean their huge aquarium which, I suspect, held half the town’s water supply. There I’d be on a step ladder with buckets and pumps and water vacuums, cleaning away. God, I hated it.

The worst part was when I’d have to clean an aquarium at a doctor’s office. I would then be the entertainment for everyone waiting to see the doctor. They would just sit there and watch me the whole time.

I’d be sucking up the gravel in the bottom and hear some little kid:

“Mommy! That man sucked up another fish! He’s hurting them! Make him stop!”

Upon arriving back at the store all wet and covered with fish gunk, I’d have to deal with this psychotic giant cockatoo. It was an Australian apricot-topped giant cockatoo and was Mr. Frankenberger’s prize possession at $1,200 bucks. God, that was a mean, horrible, nasty bird. Whenever anyone would walk near his cage, he’d just freak. There was no way anyone would want such a vile and angry creature, but Mr. Frankenberger insisted on keeping him for sale.

I was scared to death of that damn bird. He could snap railroad ties in two with his beak. I’d open the door to his cage wearing a protective glove, he’d bite at me, I’d jump back and he’d inevitably escape. Screeching and flapping around the store would ensue. So did the bird. It was a nightmare.

After about six weeks of this, I’d had enough. I found another job as a night auditor at a Holiday Inn and called Mr. Frankenberger on the phone and quit.

I was never so glad to have The Fish Nook out of my life forever.

The Fish Nook closed down a few years ago. I just Googled it and I see where someone wrote:

Anybody remember the Fish Nook? Coolest pet store ever.

That person, obviously, was never employed there.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My New Toy

I bought a new “toy” this past weekend.

Let me backtrack seventeen years ago. That was when I sold my nice piano and made the leap to a digital piano. I really shopped around and bought one that sounded a felt like a “real” grand piano. It cost about five thousand bucks. I never regretted it.

Well, that was seventeen years ago and I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth out of that piano. Digital technology has certainly progressed since then. My old digital piano had served me well, but it would no longer talk to the computer using MIDI (musical instrument digital interface).

So, I’ve been needing (wanting) a new digital piano and have been shopping around for one for the past year or so. This weekend, I finally took the plunge on a new Yamaha digital piano. It has a lot of “wow” factors.

Yamaha has certainly been the forerunner with digital pianos, as their new ones play and sound just like a grand piano. If you’ve ever noticed on a piano that the strings in the lower part are comprised of two big strings for each note, the middle register has three smaller strings for each note, etc. Subsequently, it takes different pressure to play the bass keys as opposed to the middle as opposed to the higher ones.

The new Yamaha digital pianos even emulate that subtle difference.


It even makes the sound of the hammer striking the string and even that can be adjusted to your preference.

It makes about forty-bazillion other sounds; everything from a human voice to an Irish tin whistle. When you play the flute sound, it even includes the sounds of the felt keypads popping on the instrument (which can be adjusted or filtered out.

It allows me to record and overlay lots of tracks.

It has a built-in mixer.

It hooks up to the internet.

It has pretty blinking lights.

I’m looking for the part where it makes espresso.

Playing it is an incredible joy and it sure makes a difference to play something of this quality. I had been playing with seventeen year old technology all this time. Frankly, I didn’t realize that I am, indeed, a pretty darn good pianist after all.

Now, I need to learn how to work all the features on this puppy. Hopefully, soon, you will all be able to purchase my recordings on iTunes, I will become insanely rich and that will enable me to never have to work again.