Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Taking Chances

Back on December 31, I said that 2011 was my year of Living Life Out Loud. I'm doing just that. This year has seen its share of challenges and now I'm hoping for a bit of fun and adventure. Next week I travel to NYC to see my favorite band perform a couple times. The Go-Go's are embarking upon their "Ladies Gone Wild" tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of their debut album "Beauty and the Beat." It'll be so much fun to see them on this tour, see some old friends, and celebrate a new friendship. I'll share more on that at a later date but suffice it to say that 2011 is my year of going for it. It's time to look outside the box and go for it.

Stay tuned...

Phone...the winner is

The iPhone.

I love it. I already felt like I knew how to use it the second I picked it up, thanks to my iPod and iPad. The first couple times I received calls I had no clue how to answer them and instead of hanging up I started pushing things that I didn't need to push. It's fun, it feels good in my hand and I'm so happy with it.

Sorry it took me so long to weigh in about the phone. We're still on our honeymoon.

More to come...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Phone vs Phone

I'm counting the days until April 22. What is April 22? It's the day that I qualify for a new phone with my wireless carrier. I currently have a Blackberry and I HATE it. Oh sure, almost 2 years ago when I got the phone, I believe I blogged about it being the best thing ever. I was so excited to have it. It could do everything, or so I believed. I soon learned that it's cumbersome to use and it has quirks. It freezes on me from time to time. The track ball sticks. The case smells like turkey burgers. Okay that's a very recent event as I had it in the kitchen with me when I was cooking dinner Sunday night. About a year ago, I had decided that the moment Verizon added the iPhone to their lineup, I was going to own one. Then I met Anthony who designed apps for Android based phones so I was introduced to a whole new world of phones, because he always had new phones that he was testing. It changed my thinking. The Android platform is very impressive and my friends Dan, Steve and John all have Android phones and they like them. They seem to function similarly to the iPhone, but they are more customizable. Then I got my iPad. I love my iPad. A lot. It does all the great things I'd like a phone to do. It's intuitive and super simple to use. Using it has given me a preview of what it will be like to use an iPhone. But...here's the twist. Apple has released a new version of their phone each year. All signs point to the iPhone 5 coming out this summer. But, if I want the most current phone, I would have to wait until maybe June or even July, which would mean another 2 - 3 months with the Blackberry. I don't think I can do it. And there's no guarantee that Verizon will even have the iPhone 5 at the same time as AT&T. I don't think I'll wait. I think that if I go iPhone, I'll be satisfied enough that I've dumped the Blackberry and enjoy it, even if a newer one comes out a couple months later. I talked to someone at the Apple store, he said "you're always going to be behind a generation because you're under a 2 year contract. A new phone will likely come out during that time." True. I posted on my facebook page that I was counting the days, and contemplating Android vs iPhone. I got lots of votes for both, but nobody actually stated their case. What are your experiences with these phones and why did you choose the phone you're using now. If you're using an iPhone and wish you had an Android, why would you switch? And vice versa. Make a compelling argurment for your device.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Glitter shows up in the most unusual places...

The other day I was at the gym. I've been going regularly to try to tone up a bit for summer. I'm never going to be svelte or have a buff body, but if I can minimize my belly and maybe firm up my chest so I don't have middle-age moobs, I'm going to certainly try. Anyway, I finished a decent workout and decided to sit in the sauna for a few minutes. It was kind of crowded that night but there was a seat on one of the benches so I was happy. I looked down and happened to focus on the foot of the guy sitting next to me. A rather attractive European guy speaking with his friend in some Slovic sounding language. On his foot was one fleck of bright red glitter. It was a really small speck actually. Not the big, cheap glitter, but very fine, like the Martha Stewart stuff. But it got me wondering, how did it get there? That's a rather odd place for glitter to appear. I glanced carefully (so as not to be noticed) at the other foot and his legs, to see if there was more. There wasn't. I wasn't convinced that there wasn't more glitter on him somewhere so I carefully looked at his upper body as he was shirtless. No glitter on his back. None on his front, none on his nipples (where had there been glitter I would have had to contain laugher and applause), none on his face. Thankfully he and his friend were engrossed in conversation (perhaps about glitter) and didn't notice my glitter inspection. I then decided that perhaps the fleck of glitter came from his friend, so I looked at him, carefully, to see if he had any on him. Not that I could tell. Mind you, both had on shorts so there were parts that may have been covered in glitter that I could not see. What was the source? Is he a crafter and had he been glittering things for Easter? If so, he was using the wrong color, he should have been glittering in pastels. Maybe he kicked a drag queen. If so, then shame on him, I hope she kicked back. A stilletto can do a lot of damage. Maybe it was a random drive-by glittering, but was he the glitterer or the glitteree? Perhaps he's a Mariah Carey fan.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grown-up Reckless Abandon

Camp Go-Go has been buzzing with rumors of a Summer tour and this got me thinking back a few years, to when The G0-Go's released their last CD. The band was sent out on an insane promotional tour, taking them all over the United States and throwing in a stop in Turkey for good measure. One day they would be in Los Angeles, the next NYC, then Florida, then St. Louis. Not so fun for them, but lots of fun for fans. This one included.

Picture it - May 2001. I'm doing my payroll thing at work, having been on the job 8 months. I was pretty well settled into my routine, I had some PTO time built up and I could schedule a day off here and there if I wanted. I don't recall if it was a phone call or an email, but Vahona, my partner in mayhem contacted me. It went something like this:

V -"Hey - The Go-Go's are doing that show in St. Louis on the 30th. It's a Wednesday but I figure if we leave work at noon, it's a 6 hour drive but we can probably make it in under 6. They'll probably go on at 8, be done by 9:30. We see the show, drive back, sleep a few hours then go into work the next day. What do you say? do you want to do it?"

J - "That's insane!"

V - "I know."

J - "Let's do it!!"

V - "YAY!"

Minor problem. It's payroll processing. I process payroll every other Wednesday and Thursday. Tasks need to be done on Wednesday before Noon, then Thursday morning. After some thought, I decide I can do it. After all, we're leaving Wednesday afternoon and we'll be back Thursday. I just have to make sure I get to work by 9. Easy!

On the 30th, payroll processing tasks were completed without any problems. I packed up my desk at 11:45 and was out the door by noon. I packed a bag of snacks and a cooler of cold beverages and loaded the CD player with lots of discs. I picked up Vahona and our friend Faith downtown and we hit the road in my pretty little Jetta. Off we went, on our crazy little adventure.

The drive was completely uneventful. We talked and laughed and shared stories and zipped down I-55 and made it in record time. We found the venue with no effort what so ever. I can't even tell you the name of the venue or the type of neighborhood it was in, all I can say is that we found street parking and then found a bunch of our friends in a restaurant which I believe was attached to the venue. There had to be 15 of us around the table. Why St. Louis was the meeting place, I don't know. Rusty and Rick from West Virginia, Heather from Las Vegas (or maybe at the time she was in CA), and others who had traveled a long distance for this show. We had time to laugh and chat and hang out before the show.

Doors opened and we rushed to the front of the stage. The equipment on stage didn't look familiar. That meant only one thing...opening act! CRAP! We didn't have time for an opening act!! There was nothing we could do about it. They started to play at 8, they finished at 8:45. The Go-Go's didn't go on until 9:30. UGH!

The show was excellent, despite Jane not feeling well. She saw us there and smiled and waved. Belinda even came over by us and appreciated seeing some familiar faces in the crowd and she waved. Kathy, always cool and polite hopped over and greeted us as well. They had fun and we had fun. The show ended and we spend a few more minutes talking with our friends before deciding it was time to hit the road and begin our journey back to Chicago. The time was now 11:15. And we had to stop for gas.

Faith took the back seat. She decided to sleep so that if I needed someone to drive, she would take over. Vahona's job was to navigate and keep me awake and entertained. Not a problem, she and I could have fun at a funeral. We played games on the ride home. One was "Hot Air Balloon of Love" where, starting with the letter A, we had to recide the names of celebrities who were all riding together in the hot air balloon of love. Each person takes a turn, and adds a name to the list. We played a couple rounds of that game, then started on a similar game naming movies. Vahona and I were going back and forth with names when out of nowhere (well actually the back seat), Faith just blurts out "Blackula!" We laughed for about 5 minutes. Then it started to rain and instead of driving 70 mph, we were driving 50 mph.

Somewhere, about 50 miles from the city, at about 4 am, the road we were on was closed. There was bridge work being done and supplies and equipment were being brought to the site. We sat there for about 30 minutes, waiting. I was tired, I had to pee and I was panicked about payroll. When the road finally opened, we proceeded and got Faith home safely. Vahona asked me if I wanted her to drive, I decided to just go the rest of the way.

Without incident, we returned back to the city. As I dropped her off, the sun was rising. It was 5:40 am. I got home at 5:45, walked in the door and got into bed. I slept until about 7:45, got up, showered and made it to work by 9. Surprisingly I was awake and alert the entire work day. Payroll was processed without incident and I had a fun story to tell my coworkers. All were shocked that I had spent more than 12 of the previous 24 hours driving.

After work, I even managed to go do laundry. The last thing I wanted to do was go to sleep after work, for fear of messing up my sleep pattern. Laundry was not without incident. Sadly, I left all of my socks in the dryer. I guess exhaustion was setting in.

When I think back to that adventure, it makes me smile. In a heartbeat, I would do it again.

As an adult, what adventures have you experienced that you would file under reckless abandon?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger

Honey Badger don't care. Honey badger don't give a shit. He just takes what he wants!


Reckless Abandon

Two weeks ago today Chicago was under a blanket of snow some 20+ inches deep. The days that followed were cold and grey and ugly. Then the warm up began. Since Sunday each day has been a little warmer and the snow has been melting. A welcomed sight. This afternoon as I was driving home from work I saw two kids running, their coats were open and they were running into a Walgreens. They ran right at the bars that keep the shopping carts from leaving the front of the store and instead of going around them, they grabbed them and threw themselves over them, twisting around, landing their feet and laughing. No fear, no hesitation. It got me thinking about being young and having all that energy and some reckless abandon.

I recall episodes of reckless abandon. Not to say that some kids live their life in a constant state of it, though I guess it seems that some do. Those are the kids at the next table at the restaurant who you wish were duct taped to their chairs. As a kid, I can remember days at the playground, swinging on the swings as high as I could, or playing on the roller coaster slide (a tall metal slide that consisted of a long row of bars that spun as you rode down it, creating a really quick trip down. These days you wouldn't see one of those slides, they would be deemed too dangerous. I probably wasn't the most daring kid, thanks to my overprotective parents. I never had a bicycle but managed to teach myself to ride a neighbor's bike. I doubt I could do it today if I tried. I never learned to swim, in fact I have a fear of deep water thanks to an unsuccessful bout of reckless abandon. I was running on the steps of my grandmother's pool and I fell in and went right to the bottom of the pool. I think my uncle pulled me out. From that point forward I never had any desire to go into the pool.

Do adults lose their sense of reckless abandon, or do we just temper it? Maybe it's just a different form of it. You don't often see adults climbing a fence (unless you're watching "Cops") or playing on the swings at the park (unless they're with their kids). Maybe our brand of reckless abandon is calling in sick, or skipping a meeting, or ordering in dinner when there's food in the house but you just don't feel like cooking. Maybe it's asking someone out after meeting them online. Perhaps it's buying that new sweater at full price even though you know it will go on sale in a couple of weeks. These are the things that we deem exciting and make life fun.

Have you practiced a bit of reckless abandon lately?