Friday, March 31, 2006

April Fools came a day early to Jellyvision.

Someone moved Poland's television into the kitchen and his camera and monitor into the refrigerator. So, for him to be able to see or hear anyone, the refrigerator door had to be opened.

Poland: (wearily) Yeah, they do this every year. Last year I was in the bathroom all day.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Nick is back from Ireland.

Nick: Katie and I went to this little pub in Kohb. These guys were setting up a security camera, pointing it at the dart board, so if you were around the corner, you could still see the board on the tv screen. They had just joined a dart league and they were in last place, but they were super-excited. "Ian, it's fooking brilliant, we're on the telly!"

Nick brought back gifts, including the hat Meador is wearing in the picture.

Unfortunately, Nick had just found out that the 13 rolls of pictures he'd taken on the trip came back completely blank. All the pictures were lost.

Nick: I couldn't believe it. I took some awesome pictures. It felt like being gut-shot by a friend. You look down, you see the blood, and you look up at your friend like, "you did this? you shot me?" And you die never quite believing it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hansen's new tattoo. The plan is for his wife to get a matching one with his name on it.

And there's supposedly another rumored Hansen tattoo in the works as well.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

During a meeting at work today I noticed that Mary had scribbled a heart followed by two plus signs on her notepad. I asked her about it and she explained that once she had seen a white heart spray painted on an interstate overpass. A year later she saw a plus had been added to it. A year later, another plus. She said that she likes to imagine the same man comes back each year to mark how his love has grown. Heart plus plus. I wonder if it's a lovesick graffiti-prone computer programmer.

Mary seems to have recently come out of a long period of not being able to get over her ex-boyfriend, who is a magician. Literally, a magician, as in "pick a card, any card" magician. "I'm tired of the hearing jokes about him doing a disappearing act." This went on for a long time. "I just can't get over him."

Last week, though, she went on a juice fast, quit cigarettes and started a whirlwind romance with a wealthy ex-football player. "I'm jumping in feet first. We had a moment where we looked into each other's eyes and said, 'yes'."

The new writers took turns congratulating and teasing her about it.

Mary: He's big. And he told me that if I needed it, he could hurt any man for me. All I'd have to do is point at them and he'd go to jail if he had to.
Me: That's healthy. There couldn't be any downside to that, personality-wise.
Mary: Don't make me point at you.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Grandpa Paul is out of the hospital now and back home.

Aunt Becky (via group e-mail): He was thrilled to be back in his own chair, and even drove yesterday, with Tom in attendance. Paul drove to the post office and bank this morning, and he's in his glory.

Aunt Ginny (via group e-mail): At one point the social worker said he was lucky to have so many family members interested and willing to help him. His reply was, "that came from their mother" - it brought me to tears.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

In Arizona, where I bought my Camry, you only need a license plate on the back of your car. In Chicago you're required to have one on the back and one on the front.

I went to a dealership to have my new front plate attached. The front plate frame says something like "Metro-Chicago Toyota" but the one on the back, that came with the car, still says "Desert Toyota."

When I'm driving, Arizona is always right behind me while Chicago is right in front of me.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Travel stories.

1. Jordan (pictured) recently returned from a trip to Kenya. "I just climbed Kilimanjaro. What the fuck have you guys been doing with your lives?"

2. When I was moving out of my parent's house in September, Mom made a joke to Sherry that it would be her turn next. A few months later it was. Mom and Dad just finished helping Sherry move down to Miami. So all of the kids have lived back at home for a bit over the last year or two. And now we're all out. For now.

3. Nick (via e-mail): I am at a Coffee-2-Go in Kilkenny. We rented our car and left Dublin this morning, almost died several times on the road. Just had a pint of Smithwick's and Shepard's Pie. We also shook a 1-fingered man's hand, as he accosted Katie at the bar. Yesterday we drove through the town of Naas, dodging Naasguls all the way.

4. Brett (via e-mail): So Natasha & I have not been on our honeymoon. We did go on our trip, like we planned, but it wasn't our honeymoon. We refuse to let that trip be our honeymoon. The cruise was a ridiculous, lame and miserable experience full of shitty food, shitty weather and old people. We actually ended up jumping ship in Mexico. We took a bus to the border, walked across the border, took a trolley to San Diego and a train back to LA. That whole day was actually the most interesting and scenic day of our entire trip.

5. I should really go somewhere.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A delicious but exhausting Korean Barbecue dinner with Hansen, Meador, Trupe and Young. We accidentally ordered way too much food, and cooking it ourselves at the table it turned into a two hour process of constant passing and cooking and eating. Conversation couldn't get much past "have you tried this yet?" or "oh, better get that off the coals."

Trupe: I'm proud of us.
Meador: I love a meal where you're working towards something.
Hansen: A heart-attack?

Afterward we went to Goldie's and had a... heated isn't the right word, but very serious debate about the hypothetical centaur-punching-an-asteroid tattoo. Trupe is still dead set against it ("Meador, if you get that tattoo you'll lose me as a friend") and I think that, although tricky, it could be done right.

Trupe: Okay, Arnie, you like it so much, would you ever get it tattooed on yourself?
Me: Oh, no.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A little while back I got an e-mail from Mom about her tutoring work, with an update about Hooks, the self-proclaimed "most hated" girl at Hometown Ohio Elementary School.

"things seem to be more in control. today she told me that she was having a great day!! they were doing folk dancing & the boy she likes asked her to be his partner so she got to hold his hand!"

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The strange ways people find this site seem to have settled down a bit. I do get a decent number of people looking for info on "The World Series of Pop Culture" and one person who websearched "how to trim your pubes pictures" but now most of the websearch that lead here suggest that the person was specifically looking for this site. "a year following the breakup." "arnie breakup blog."

Except that I've also started getting a lot of people (preteens I assume) looking for Drake Bell. "pictures of drake bell." "does drake bell have a girlfriend." I looked up Drake Bell myself (it's easy, kids!) and he has a band and his own show on Nickelodeon. I am 30 and have a blog about my breakup.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Saturday night, I was having some drinks at the Gingerman with Trupe, Hansen and Young when an older gentleman came up and showed us that he had sketched the four of us. "You can have it," he said. "You don't have to pay me anything. Although you can if you want."

We pitched in and gave him a little money even though we hadn't asked to be caricatured.

Looking at the sketch, the middle two are Hansen (talking about Guitar Hero) and Young. That leaves the outside two to be Trupe and I, or maybe Will Ferrell and a young Richard Benjamin. It was finally agreed that the one on the far right is me, because I sometimes make that expression, and I apparently have flipper arms.

Later, across the street at Wrigleyville Dogs, we ran into the sketch artist again. This time, instead of quietly sketching people, he was staring off into space and loudly proclaiming things like, "what if I told you I had the secret to saving your eternal soul," and, "there are so many ways to betray God." His voice sounded pre-recorded and involuntary.

We decided to ignore him as best as possible, but soon he was staring directly at our table, saying, "judgment and jokes at the expense of others will be like ashes in your mouth."

Monday, March 20, 2006

One last mustache flashback.

Thea made yarn mustaches, goatees, etc for the women of Jellyvision so they could participate on Mustache Day.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sometimes you stop seeing the reminders that are right in front of you.

N had her own login on my computer. There wasn't much in there besides a few family Christmas pictures and a desktop wallpaper from the television show Charmed. I finally got around to deleting it today.

Or maybe it was more like this: I went into the Control Panel, altered the login name from ______ to N and took a few pictures. After that it seemed ridiculous to keep the N account, as if a fictionalized version of ______ was using my computer to check her e-mail, so I deleted it altogether.

Now it's just me and Guest.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. This morning, the girl I've been dating caught me eyeing this dry vomit-covered tree as we walked past.

Girl: Oh no. Are you going to put that in your blog?
Me: It crossed my mind.
Girl: Gross.
Me: Something about green not being the only color for St. Patrick's Day.
Girl: Orange is actually one of the colors. It's for Northern Ireland.

Friday, March 17, 2006

We decided to do a March Madness pool at work. Instead of filling out brackets, though, we each drew three team names out of a wicker basket.

My first draw was, eerily, Arizona.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Drinks with Hansen, Young and Tom.

We found out that the last three generations of Youngs (father, grandfather and greatgrandfather) all had their homes destroyed by tornados.

Which reminds me that I need to sign up for renter's insurance.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I finally got around to getting an Illinois driver's license.

I love the fact that I'm just that much more of a Chicagoan, but the one thing I'll miss about my Arizona license is that it wouldn't have expired until 2041. 2041! I believe in using exclamation point judicously, but... 2041! I could be in my sixties and still have the same picture on my ID.

With my new license I'll have to return to the DMV in less than five years.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Both of my living grandparents are in the hospital right now.

Grandpa Paul, Dad's dad, had a cancerous growth removed. Every day I get forwarded updates that oscillate between "today was a good day for Paul" and "today was a rough day for Paul." Still, the cancer is gone, and although the recovery is slow going, he seems to be doing well.

Grandma Anne (pictured), has been placed in a nursing home by my Uncle Kenny. He claims she has Alzheimer's, which may or may not be true, and that she's suicidal, which is doubtful. Either way, if these things were true, they would definitely benefit Uncle Kenny.

Ever since Grandpa Ralph died Kenny and his family have been taking care of Grandma Anne, checking in on her every day. But they've also slowly cut her off from the world, shoo-ing off her friends and the rest of her family, like backwoods vampires, holding their victim close while they suck it dry. Supposedly it's not an uncommon story among first-born farm sons.

Still, being in a nursing home is probably for the best. The problem is she wants to be in a different nursing home. She could even pay for it, assuming she has access to her own money. Mom and Great Aunt Iva Lou are trying to see what can be done, but Uncle Kenny has power of attorney (and has fought tenaciously to not let my parents share in that power) so the decision is ultimately up to him.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Back in October when I wrote about my first Jellyvision interview, I mentioned overhearing what sounded like a "Max Headroom-esque sentient wisecracking computer."

As it turns out, it was Poland. He telecommutes from Michigan. He's in the office most days, but always via a television screen. More than one television screen in fact, different sizes in different rooms.

Despite the occasional time-lag delay, he's still very much a part of the office. In fact, as this picture shows, he participated in Mustache Day.

I find his trapped-in-a-TV state endlessly strange and endlessly fascinating.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

K-Rich hosted a tasty wine and dinner party for the season 6 premiere of the Sopranos. Her apartment was packed with people.

Danny: (before the show started) I've only seen a couple episodes here and there. Every time I watch, a major character gets killed off.

There were three lit candles on top of the television. Five minutes into the show one of them slid off the back and fell behind the entertainment center.

Fifteen minutes into the show, while getting more wine from the kitchen, someone discovered that garlic bread and been left and forgotten, charring in the oven.

Five minutes after the show, K-Rich's roommate accidentally toppled the overburdened coat rack, spilling wine, smashing a glass (onto the floor and into shoes) and sending another lit candle skittering dangerously close to the curtains.

It was a nice night, but it's a miracle no one died.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The World Series of Pop Culture audition. The process began with a written test to filter away the majority of teams.

Three middle-aged women (Megan: Let me guess, their team name is Desperate Housewives), one of whom had flown in for the audition, sat behind us wearing wacky t-shirts with pop culture references printed on them (in fact, one t-shirt contained one of the answers on the test, but since I signed a confidentiality waiver, I won't go into it). They seemed very sweet and proud of their team name (the Pop Tarts), but were crestfallen to find out that there had already been five teams with the same name (not counting Meador's team, the Pop Smarts).

My team, Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs, was one of the few teams during our round to get a high enough score on the test to move on (the Pop Tarts did not). We moved on to the waiting room, where we stood around making jokes and trying to seem "pop smart." (Me: I bet this carpet design is a what Bruce Banner sees before he turns into the Incredible Hulk)

During our brief on-camera interview we mentioned the Pop Tarts in a sympathetic but mildly snarky way.

Interviewer: (smiling) You guys are kind of mean.
Us: No. They seemed sweet. We just thought it was kind of funny.
Interviewer: Do you consider yourselves super-competitive?
Us: (stupidly) Competitive? Sure. Probably not supercompetitive. We don't want to destroy people.

Later, Megan pointed out that if they edited our interview a certain way we could come off as reality TV villains.

We were not invited to move on to the next step in the process.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mustache day at work.

Meyer brought in cupcakes and later in the day we used a blender to make thick milkshakes and blizzards. Amanda ordered Popeyes for the entire office.

I Netflixed 'Magnum P.I.' season one, disc one, and some of us watched the pilot episode in the conference room.

A good day.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tomorrow is N's birthday.

I haven't heard from her in a long long time, and I haven't sent her any kind of message since my "merry xmas. hope ur well." text message. But for a little while I thought maybe I'd send her something for her birthday. It is her birthday after all.

Then I thought, no, maybe I should just send her a card. She always loved cards. No matter how nice a gift was, she always seemed a little disappointed if a card didn't come with it.

My friend, Jeanine, is active with the MS Society and I thought, I'll make a donation, I'll get one of those "A Donation Has Been Made In Your Name" certificates, slip it in a Hallmark card, and send it to N for her birthday.

Finally, though, I decided not to send her anything. Maybe the best gift is to leave her alone. I just hope she's not too alone.

I did make a donation, though.

It's funny, a small part of me thought, "Hey, my donation is just going to getting people classes or supplies or home care. Why can't my money go towards curing this thing? Let's get this thing cured."

Maybe that's my problem, though. I'm too interested in fixing things and not enough into simply giving people what they need.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I found this lonely piece of stray magnetic poetry on the back porch behind my apartment. "ing." It's a suffix. It's used to form the present participle of verbs.

See. Seeing.
Read. Reading.
Photograph. Photographing.
Blog. Blogging.

Maybe it means that I should be living more in the present, being active and in the now. Living being doing.

Sounds kind of gross, though. Maybe it's just the way I'm saying it. Anyway, I'll probably just continue to live largely in the past and future.

And, to be honest, I didn't even take this picture today. I took it back in January.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Joe was recently "jumped" by two guys on a fairly busy Chicago street. Or, two guys harassed his girlfriend, he stood up for her and ended up getting punched in the face. He seems alright, although he has a small fracture in his lower jaw.

I occasionally have the conversation about how, living in the city, it's only a matter of time before you're mugged or burglarized or who knows what else. The stories are endless.

Hansen got jumped.

The girl I'm dating got mugged shortly before we started going out. Later, during the process of trying to get a new license, she realized that someone was stealing her mail and snatched her new social security card.

Back when N and I both lived in Chicago, but didn't live together, someone broke into her apartment and stole her VCR and CDs and rifled through her underwear drawer. We had been going through a rough spot, and in some ways it brought us closer for a time, but also, probably, it was the breaking point between her and Chicago, and ultimately led to her needing to move back to Arizona.

And on and on.

Sometimes I think I shouldn't be carrying this digital camera around with me all the time.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Dinner and drinks with the new writers.

At some point we noticed that we all had our phones sitting out in front of us, but all of them face down, as if to say, "yes, my phone is out, but I am totally here, totally present in this moment, because my phone is face down. I can't even see what time it is."

Later, when I went to the restroom, one of them changed my phone to Spanish mode, and it took a long time to figure out how to change it back while navigating the now-spanish language menus.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The 78th annual Academy Awards.

I was invited to a couple different Oscar parties, but ultimately decided to stay in and watch the awards with the girl. She suggested we keep a running tally of who can pick more winners. And she suggested that we just lazily select our picks as the night went on. It's funny that this was exactly the way N would always want to watch the Oscars as well. The girl, though, also suggested that we give The Academy a point whenever neither of use chose correctly, which was a nice addition.

The girl said that 78 is her lucky number, because of a retreat she'd been on in high school, but I won anyway.

Meanwhile, Young went to the Oscar party of his friend Popio. His Oscar parties apparently always involve bringing a food dish inspired by the nominees (Lord of the Onion Rings, etc).

Young brought Fruit and Nut Trail Mix for 'Brokeback Mountain' (I suggested he bring Brokeback Mountain Oysters).

Popio made Fruit Compote for 'Capote.'

Young's friend Kenner wanted to bring Crunch and Munch with an added letter "i" for 'Munich.' Unfortunately he couldn't find Crunch and Munch anywhere, so he had to settle for bringing Poppy Cock with "Munich" written over it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Next weekend VH1 is auditioning teams of three in Chicago for their upcoming World Series of Pop Culture game show. A good chunk of the cast of Whirled News Tonight is already scheduled to participate.

(from left to right)

Chin and Megan - Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs (I'm also on this team)

Padraic - Homer and the Gang (Steve is also on his team, although he was out of town this weekend)

Glynn and Shane - These Guys Here

Also, Meador has a team with some college friends (Pop Smarts) and, out in LA, Brett's wife Natasha was asked to be on a team (The Hive) but unfortunately they didn't get an audition.

I'm too lazy to study, but feel free to quiz me.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Meyer: I just proofread what may be the greatest piece of closed captioning ever. "[Rhythmic farting continues.]"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

This is the oil change sticker from Young's car.


Young: Great. I guess I can never get my oil changed. Unless it's a super-leap-year.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I was digging through my (extremely disorganized) filing cabinet, looking for some documents, when I came across this file folder with the fading label "nice letters."

And inside was just that, nice letters. A few notifications that I'd won some award or other, some thank you cards, but mostly, actually, love letters. Old pre-N love letters from past girlfriends and almost-girlfriends and sorta-girlfriends (A, D, M, R, etc). It was exciting to find them (who doesn't like love letters?) but I was surprised by how quickly I grew bored reading them. Maybe love is boring when you're not in it anymore. The same with infatuation.

There wasn't even anything funny enough to, say, yuk it up about in a blog.

In the end they really are just "nice letters," and the best place for them is filed away with "funny stuff" and "important documents."

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