Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sweatin' to the Oldies

What makes a sandwich poorly-made?  Do you mean that it falls apart, or that the ingredients are not enticing?  There's a sandwich that I like from Cosi that has hummus and veggies in it, but by the time you're almost done eating it, most of the hummus has plopped out of the back of the sandwich.  I don't know if that is preventable, though.  It would have to be a pita pocket, I suppose.

The microwave hole in the wall has been filled.  With a microwave!  Yay!  Chris' parents came last weekend and did all sorts of house-items, so we're a little more set up now.  It's nice.  They even drilled hole in the floor so that the water/ice dispenser on the fridge could actually be connected to water.  I'm not clear on why the previous owners bought a water and ice-dispensing refrigerator without seeming to have any intention of hooking it up to anything.  They had some pretty stupid taste in light switch covers, though, so who knows.

How are there mean girls that are 5?  Surely they don't get really mean until middle school?  UGH!  Remind me not to be a kid.  I loved that video of Scarlett getting tackled on that superhero run.  What was happening?  Where did that kid come from?  Why??

Your office sounds AMAZING!  Don't you have Killer Queen too?  That and foosball sounds like my dream job.  (Except for the doing whatever it is you do for work.)  You may recall that I am amazing at foosball.  Maybe not anymore.  It's been a while.  The old wrists are out of shape.  

I ran at the gym today.  Why do people enjoy this?  It is awful!  Every minute of it is torture!  I usually do group classes, but I hurt my neck a few days ago, so I decided to do something that would involve me only looking forward.  I brought a little list of interval changes, one of the benefits of which is supposed to be "so you don't get bored."  People must have very dull lives if they think that pushing an arrow button up or down every few minutes while you sweat and suffer is a diverting activity.  People like it though.  I know they do.  As you say, people also vote for Trump.  I won't truly compare the two, though, because running actually is good for you.  

Proof that I am old now:  I just had to look through my trash can for a wrapper because I couldn't remember if I'd eaten my Viactiv calcium chew yet today.  (I had not.)

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Here are some things I think are dumb:
  • Chicago-style 16-inch softball. It's a garbage sport that is not fun but Chicagoans think it great because they're the only people dumb enough to play it. They think the fact that it's only played in Chicago makes it great when, in fact, it makes it awful. There's a reason no one outside Chicago plays 16-inch softball.
  •  Becoming the cliché 40-year old dude who plays basketball and immediately blows out his knee. Fortunately, it's not an ACL but I'll probably have to visit the doctor soon and get the real diagnosis.
  • The American Dream (I believe I've covered this thoroughly in my previous post.)
  • Condo/Homeowner Association meetings. They all turn into bitch-fests but no one actually wants to be on the board and actually do stuff. Everyone just complains about how much money is being spent -- even though most of it is completely necessary. Condo/Homeowner Associations make Congress look competent.
  • Donald Trump.
  • People who have/plan to vote for Donald Trump.
  • Poorly made sandwiches
I feel Chris's (and your) pain on the whole DIY thing. There are very few things I'm willing to take on myself when it comes to making changes/fixing my house. A short list of the things I will and can do: 
  • Hang various art/pictures/shelves/mirrors/TVs/curtains/blinds
  • Hang/setup speakers for the entertainment center
  • Anything computer or electronics based
  • Install a new thermostat
  • Replace kitchen or bathroom faucets (surprisingly easy!)
  • Hang lights/ceiling fans
  • Paint
Scarlett turned five recently. She had a party at her dance studio. It was the first party where she got to invite non-family friends, so I got to meet some of her buddies from school. It was mostly boys because the girls at school won't play with her when it involves running around because she's too fast for them. So she goes to play tag with the boys because there's nothing she loves more than running. Also, she already has a few mean girls in her class, so she goes where the drama isn't.

I recently got into foosball. You may recall that Jason had a table back in the day and we played quite a bit but I hadn't played in a while. We've got a table at my office and my team has been playing a lot recently. Plus, I took Jamie's old table off her hands and I now have it set up in my basement. Plus, plus, the table at work is old so we just got a new, tournament quality table. It's pretty sweet. So, foosball is now the thing I do to distract myself from my own mortality.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Thurible Twos

Oh my goodness.  I have finally emerged from the mental and cardboard box rubble of home-buying.  It is I!  Tristan!  Owner of a thing!  I did not previously really own a thing.  My most valuable possession was probably a bed that I bought from Pottery Barn like ten years ago.  I also had zero debt.  Not even student loans.  Now I have much debt.  Six figures of it.  (Good guess!)  I am also the secretary of the condo association now.  So, things are looking up already.

Tidbits from owning a home for a whole month now:

- The washer and dryer is everything I'd hoped.  The only drawback is that my clothes are so often clean that I wind up wearing the same shirts over and over again.  Having to go down three flights of stairs to pay two dollars to do one load of laundry ('the ol' 321,' I call it) had the previously unrecognized benefit of making sure I didn't repeat clothing for many weeks.  Like, MANY WEEKS.  Now I'm like a cartoon character that you recognize because they always wear the same shirt.

- We have a gas fireplace, which is fun, but it's unvented.  For a while, we were not cracking the window when we used it, and we wound up falling asleep on the couch a lot.  Like, A LOT.  Now we crack the window.

- We have two and a half rooms that have no furniture in them.  Dance parties abound!  Also, the acoustics in these rooms are BALLER.  If you're ever considering casting me in a musical, please audition me in my (as yet, table-less) dining room.   Bear in mind, please, that my headshot is 11 years old.

- We joined the block association and went to a meeting with the alderman.  We got to eat coffee cake and vote on whether a new restaurant could open. (Everyone voted 'Yea.'  Honestly, I can't imagine that the block association truly had any sway on whether this place opened or not, but it was fun to feel like we had a say in something,) Then we listened to an old lady complaining that there was "too much scruff" hanging around by the train station in the mornings, and we need a cop on patrol.  Chris and I are fairly certain that "scruff" translates to "black people."  Then we voted on offices for the block club, all of which were uncontested.   Thankfully, the racist lady did not run.  My secretaryship of the condo association was also uncontested (indeed, no one wanted to do it, so I was finally like, "...me?  Me will do it?") but still required a vote.  Apparently home-ownership involves an extraordinary amount of superfluous voting.   

- In all his sitcom-husband glory, Chris ripped down an ugly venting hood over the oven to replace it with a microwave that has a fan and light.  Naturally, once he got it down, he realized that he did not have the wherewithal to install the new one.  This is not truly his fault - the hood was hard-wired.  Regardless, we now have a cupboard-gap with different-colored paint, a gaping hole, and wires poking out.  It is very fetching, as you can imagine.  I don't use microwaves a ton, but not having one makes me very aware of when I would have.  I mean, we have one.  It's just the sole thing that currently resides on our dining room floor.

I would hope that Pope combat would involve popish weapons.  Like that incense ball thing they have that is BASICALLY A MACE.  And that cross on a stick?   His staff?  So a weapon.  Don't get me started on his hat.  (I mitre never stop!  HO!)  

Come on.  What am I, an amateur?  Of course I've eaten and loved the Potbelly Chocolate Brownie cookie.  It is glorious.  It is big - which is a downside, frankly, because I can't stop myself from eating the whole thing, and then I feel sick.  
A college recommendation?  Oh NO!  You're such a grown-up.  Once in a while someone asks if they can put me down as a reference for a job and I'm like, "HA HA HA, okay."  

pH joined a theater softball league.  We are TERRIBLE.  Even compared to the other actors.  And I am one of the worst on our team.  It's fun, though, and I like having softball games against Steppenwolf and The Goodman.  Have you seen the softballs they use in Chicago?  They are SO. BIG.  16 inches.  It's truly bizarre how enormous they are.  It's like throwing a 2-year-old's head.  Which I am used to - you'd think I'd be better.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The 'Mercian Dream

It really is amazing how many people you hand large sums of money when you are buying a house. It really is quite ridiculous. You know what else is ridiculous? You just bought something that costs six figures! (I assume) SIX FIGURES. That is a lot of money. In fact, it's a lot of money that you probably don't have. But someone thinks you can pay it back plus interest (which is no small thing) over thirty years, so they just hand you over the money. Which is other people's money, by the way. It's all very weird and it feels like a house of cards -- which it kind of is, look back to 2006, for example.

Anyway, congrats.

I'm trying very hard to not type an eight-paragraph rant on the idea of "The American Dream." Scam. Instead, I'll just leave this quote here:
"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." -John Steinbeck, possibly (most likely paraphrased from him, anyway)
 I'll also leave this quote here:
"Verifying quotes on the Internet is a pain in the ass. Also, it's stupid. It should be about the idea, not who said it. Which, by the way, is everything that's wrong with politics and... Shit. I'll stop." -Jeff Ford
Enough with the politics. So, the pope I murdered in Assassin's Creed was one of the Borgia family popes. Either Calixtus III, Alexander VI, or Innocent (ha!) X. He put up a good fight, though. As I was trying to kill him I was all, "Damn. When did they start teaching Popes hand-to-hand combat?" I'm pretty sure Assassin's Creed is historically accurate. Also, the current Pope only seems pretty okay because every other Pope has spent most of their Papacy covering up for child molesters. Which he's also done nothing about, by the way.

I completely agree with your assessment of Girl Scout Cookies. If you haven't yet, you need to try Potbelly's Chocolate Brownie Cookie. My various Top Three lists of things are pretty fluid, but the Chocolate Brownie Cookie has been sitting atop my Top Three Cookie list for several years now.

I don't even remember what I got on the SAT's. I know that I was shooting for 1400 but didn't get there. I took it more than once because I didn't think my first score would get me into Notre Dame. My classmates thought I was crazy, but I also went to a school where people were very impressed by any score that registered four digits.

Speaking of Notre Dame, I just found out that the neighbor kid who mows my lawn did not get into Notre Dame. I'm bummed because: 1) He's a good, smart kid and I think he'd be good for ND and ND would be good for him, and 2) He asked me to write him a letter of recommendation. He'll be fine, but I may never recover. I guess Notre Dame doesn't value my opinion as highly as I might have thought. Maybe it's due to my history of Pope murder and Pope badmouthing? Nah. It's definitely because I don't donate enough money.

Also, I'm the old guy who writes recommendation letters for prospective college students now. I'm really leaning in to this gray hair thing.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Gigolos could be a type of Girl Scout cookie

We haven't closed yet - 3/31.  We keep giving people all kinds of money - it's horrible.  My view on the new place is a little blurry, because I've only been inside it once, and there were a lot of other condos that day.  I imagine gigolos (gigoli?) feel the same.  Right now my favorite thing is having a FUCKING WASHING MACHINE.  If you'd asked me as a child what my dream home would involve, I'm sure its own washing machine wouldn't even make the list, because I just thought everyone had one.  It would be like saying, "toilet."  But having lived in Chicago for 13 years has made me dream sweet dreams of doing laundry when I feel like it without scaling flights of stairs and hoarding quarters like a damn hobo, and having to talk to people and have them touch my underwear if I'm not back downstairs the instant the dryer stops tumbling.  I feel like the first couple weeks, I'll just start taking off my clothes halfway through the day, washing them, and then putting them back on again.  I'm sure I'll get over it soon enough, but for now, yeah.  Laundry.

Yes to plain doughnuts.  As I age, I find sugary/flavored things absolutely revolting.  Plain oatmeal, plain yogurt, yum yum yum! I like things in them, sure.  Fruits, nuts.  But I like to add fresh ones.  Anytime anyone other than me has control over the sweetness of something, it makes my mouth pucker.  I mostly feel like I can taste chemicals in anything flavored.   Just the slightest twinge of death.

I can't get into Twitter.  I like the idea, but I wish it just stayed at its roots of saying pithy little bon mots.  I hate clicking links to pictures and trying to figure out what people are responding to.  Just make fun of Crocs/Paul Reubens/your family and be on your merry way, thankyouverymuch.  #poundsign  

Was it the current pope that you murdered?  Because he seems pretty okay.  I hope it wasn't him.  A video game I really like is Don't Starve.  You're just kind of stranded in a world and you gather sticks and berries and stuff, and then you have to get back to your fire before dark or dogs will eat you.  Sometimes you collect bison poo.  If they're not in heat, OBVIOUSLY.  I don't know why I love it so much - it's incredibly boring.  It's the plain yogurt of video games, I guess.

Is Scarlett going to do any Girl Scouty-type stuff?  Here is my ranking of all the Girl Scout cookies from best to worst:

1. Thin Mints.  Classic.  Crispy.  Universal.  You can eat a sleeve without even noticing.  One word: CHILLED.
2. Samoas (sometimes called "Caramel Delites").  Possibly more delicious than Thin Mints, but you don't get as many, and you feel a little sick after eating two of them.  They're really good once in a while.
3. All the other ones.  They are garbage.  I used to like Tagalongs, but we got a box this year, and they are grosso.  I don't know if they've changed the recipe or if it's my sugar-tongue at it again.  There are also some lemon somethings that are just the most disgusting thing ever.  I guess there are more flavors now than when I was a Girl Scout.  What's the point?  People only want the first two.  

One time my boss tried to get me to buy some Boy Scout popcorn, and I told him I wouldn't give them any money because I disagree with their policies on homosexuality.  It was possibly the weirdest moment we've had in the 10 years I've worked for him.  I mean, he was cool about it, but, you know.  It was weird.  They've since lightened their stance, (probably because of me) but they could do better.  

Girl Scouts : Thin Mints :: Boy Scouts : those lemon things.

Man.  Remember the SAT's?  What a load of stressful hooey.  I took them once, got a 1200-something, and was like "Eh.  That's fine."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The System is Down

Congrats! You are now a homeowner! Condoowner? Homeowner. The condo is your home. Welcome home, homeowner. This is the part where I give you advice about owning a condo based on my experience as a condo-owner. Here's all I got: Don't buy a condo in 2006. You'll be stuck with it for much longer than you like. So, you nailed it.

Everyone always says that moving is one of the most stressful events in life. I'm sure it's partially because of all the paperwork and such (especially in the case of buying a place) but I think it's mostly because it breaks all of your systems. Your system for where you put your keys. Your system for storing your pots and pans. Your system for brushing your teeth. Your system for where you put your clothes. You've got to figure out all new ways to do all that shit that you haven't thought about since you moved in to your last place. It's like the operating system of your life got a brand new UI and you have to figure out where everything is again.

Or maybe that's just me.

Have you closed? Are you all moved in? If not, when do you get to move in? What are your favorite parts of your new condo?

I have not heard of these new brownie batter doughnuts from Dunkin' but they sound awful. I'm a boring doughnut person. Give me plain glazed and I'm good. When you start stuffing it with shit, I'm out.

I have some of those tapered sweatpants. I like them. However, I was very self-conscious about wearing them at first. Then I realized that everyone who might see me in them (I don't wear sweatpants outside the home often) already thinks I'm the kind of guy who can pull them off. So it's cool. They're comfy. I mean, they're sweatpants.

I think your assessment of Snapchat nails it. I fail to see why it's intriguing. However, maybe that is exactly the appeal. As soon as the kids see that the old folk don't see the point, they are immediately attracted because it can now be "theirs." Unlike Facebook (ugh) and Twitter (yay, kinda). Seriously, though. I haven't looked at Facebook in about a month. I don't miss it. Especially during elections. Right now, I only use it to post links to these posts and then I get the hell out before I'm tempted to read anything. I do have a Snapchat account, though. It's the only social media account where my username is not something that is derivative of my actual name. I don't know if I like it or am embarrassed by it.

Scarlett came into my office one time when I was playing Assassin's Creed. She asked what I was doing and why there was fighting. Not an easy thing to explain to a 3-year-old (obviously, this was a couple years ago). For some time after that she would ask me if I was going to "play the not very nice game" every time I went into my office. Since then she's seen [SPOILER ALERT FOR STAR WARS] Han Solo murdered by his son and she's yet to turn her toy light saber on me. [END SPOILER ALERT] But yeah, lots and lots of video games are based around murder. In Assassin's Creed I even got to murder the Pope once! The Pope!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Anything You Condo, I Condo Better

Doughnuts are the best food that I never eat.  Have you seen these new Dunkin' Donuts doughnuts?  They hurt my mouth and tummy just to think about them.  (I don't eat DD anyway - everything tastes like chemicals.)  They are FILLED WITH BROWNIE BATTER and COOKIE DOUGH AND SHIT AND WHYYYYYYYYYY.

Tapered sweatpants are the weirdest.  Fashion is so strange.  If someone had worn those three years ago, people would have been merciless.

No sugar in the valentines?  I would call that a rule.  I'm down with reducing the availability of added sugars in schools, what with childhood obesity and all, but at Valentine's Day?  It seems okay to me.  Did Scarlett get tons of bags of Cheez-its then?  What else is there?  Pretzels?  Stickers?  Seaweed chips?  Collector's cards with yoga poses on them?

Speaking of restricting children, I'd always thought it was kind of silly when parents wouldn't let their kids play certain video games, but Chris is playing Grand Theft Auto in the other room, and it's INSANE!  He just keeps murdering people for sport and picking up hookers and doing drugs, and it all seems pretty fun and consequence-free.  I mean, the game seems fairly tongue-in-cheek about everything, but perhaps the nuances of their social statements would be lost on kids?  

I do not use Snapchat, and when you asked, I thought, "Oh good - maybe Jeff can explain to me how it works and what it's used for."  Clearly not.  My understanding is that you make yourself have weird big eyes and mouths and then the post vanishes after a day or something.  I do not understand why this is intriguing to people.  Maybe that's just because I already have big weird eyes and a terrible short-term memory, so it just seems like the entire app was made to mock me.

I have not watched Jessica Jones - maybe I will!   Krysten Ritter was in Gilmore Girls too - don't forget that.  You know, from when you watched it all the time?

Chris and I put in an offer on a condo yesterday.  Buying a home is terrifying and horrible and I hate it so much.  I bet it's fun if you have money. I do enjoy seeing strangers' homes and judging their lives.  Yesterday we saw one that literally had a "Live Laugh Love" sign on the wall and I thought, "I could never live here."

***UPDATE*** The offer was accepted, and now my life has turned upside-down, which means this draft was sitting here for several days, just waiting for me to publish it.  I feel like this is the equivalent of when you're at a to-go restaurant, and you can see the counter person holding the food that you know is yours, and then they get distracted and start talking to your co-worker, and it's infuriating because all they have to do is say your name and reach out their arm.  It would be fine if they were taking longer in the actual assembling process, but now?  NOW?   Give me the damn Southwest Salad!