Thursday, March 24, 2005

I'm alive..I swear

I'm not abandoning ship folks. Life or something like it has reared it's ugly head, and I've been quite busy. I've gotten quite a few emails asking if I'm ok, and everything is fine. It is just daily mundane things getting in the way of my blogging, as the spring time is a very busy time for me at work and personally.

I've decided starting next week I'm going to try and do at least 2 posts during the week, and one on the weekend. Thank you to all of you that were worried about me, and to all of you that have stuck around this crazy ass blog waiting for my return. I truly appreciate it.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Shamrock my Ass...

Ok, so it really was a shamrock on my ass.

Besides being a rather popular Irish holiday, St. Patrick's Day holds something else for me.

Every year for the last couple of years, I get bombarded with calls asking me if I have my shamrock silk panties on.

Yes, you read that right. I had about 5 messages on my cell phone, and spoke personally to about 4 more about the status of my panties. Lord only knows how many of these messages are on my home phone, as I decided to blog for you, my dear readers, instead of checking it.

I'm sure you are all probably wondering why the hell all these people are interested in my panties, right?

Here we go. So for work I do a lot of community service type stuff. Part of this is being in some of the parades in Chi-town and the like.

I'm pretty sure the more clever of you can see where this is heading.

St Pat's is a big deal in Chi-town. Huge parade (actually two), they die the Chicago river green, and we all get drunk. Good times.

So a couple of years ago I was getting ready for the annual St. Pat's parade, the main one that goes downtown, not the cool real St. Pat's parade on the south side. Anyway, my niece was going with me, and she talked me into wearing my lil Irish Catholic girl skirt, as she had one to and wanted to wear it.

What did I wear under it? Ok, everybody all together now. SHAMROCK PANTIES!!

So we jump on the train to head to where our float is. A group of mid-twenty-ish guys were already drinking their fair share of green beer, and they shouted, "Look! Cheerleaders! Cool!!!" I just gave them my best cool blonde stare and said, "We are Irish Catholic Girls, you putz." "Look Irish Catholic Girls! Cool!" I should have known then just what kind of day I was in for.

We get to the float, and the parade is about to start. They needed people to pass out these nice little chocolate bars wrapped in our company logo, and my niece and I were nominated. "You are in better shape then us," one of the guys explained.

What the fuck did that matter? The parade isn't that long. I soon learned that it mattered a lot, seeing how we were one of the first people in the parade.

You see, when you aren't behind any of the bands or performers, it goes really, really fast. They also don't allow you to throw candy, so you have to actually hand it to people. Chicago's finest were lining the streets to be sure of this, and I really didn't think my work would appreciate it if I was arrested, especially since the parade is televised.

Yes, televised. I'm sure you can really see where this is going now, eh?

So I'm trying to hand out candy to people and keep up with our float that seems like it is going about 100 miles an hour. I heard one of the guys yelling my name, and it sounded really far away. It was really far away, the float that is. I began to run to try and catch up.

My niece was also hauling ass on the other side, all the while people screaming at us for candy. Fuck the candy, the parade was rounding the last stretch, and we'd be left behind if we didn't jump on the float.

So we are running, and as we pass the judging stand, a nice little Chi-town breeze (i.e. tornado like gust) lifted up the back of my skirt.

No biggie right? A few people might have seen my cute little shamrock panties, but with the excitement of the parade and everything that was going on most people wouldn't have noticed. We got to our float just in time to truck down Michigan Ave.

Oh to be wrong on so many levels sucks really bad. As we were settling in to have our first green beer, my cell phone rang. It was The Mystery Man. "Nice shamrocks sweetie!"

What the hell? He was in California. I looked around to see if maybe he had come to Chi-town to surprise me. No, that didn't make sense as he'd never do something so public. "What are you talking about??" I asked him.

"I was watching the parade on W-G-N. The camera man has good taste. He had the camera on you while you were running by, and kind of got a nice shot of your ass as your skirt blew up."

No fucking way. But yes, way.

My handy dandy cell phone rang a couple of other times, one time was just my brother laughing hysterically.

In fact, my best friend's hubby actually taped the fucking thing, and he has edited the tape of me running with the whole skirt blowing up to "Chariots of Fire."

At least I wasn't wearing my shamrock thong....Boy am I glad I work out...It could have been a lot worse I suppose. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Equal Time

Realizing that it is St. Patrick's Day today (Happy St. P by the way!), I pretty much thought that my Maternal Grandmother would be rolling over in her grave if I didn't give a proper shout to that side of my family on this wonderful Irish holiday.

My Grandma was 100% Irish. Her parents had migrated to this country from Ireland in the 1800's. The Pride on that side of the family is immense.

Being that they were Irish Catholics, they found the environment in Ireland a bit stifling at the time, to say the least. My Grandma used to tell us about how bad they had it, and how they wanted better for their children. They saw America as a land where anything was possible, and they wanted that for their children.

I can't imagine the courage it takes to pick up and move to a country where you don't even speak the language. My Grandma was the first person born in this country on her side. She took this land of opportunity for everything that it was worth.

I've discussed on here before about how progressive she was. She owned her own businesses, refusing to be thrown back into the kitchen after WW II. Beautiful and intoxicating, she never met anyone who wasn't a friend.

She also partied like a rock star despite being diabetic, which led her to an early grave. She is the only Grandparent that didn't make it to the 90's, and in fact died at the tender age of 54, when I was 7 years old.

The only thing that makes up for the fact that she died so young is that she truly lived every single second of her life. Even those last couple of months, when she was pretty much bed ridden, she'd have these huge parties in her bedroom, playing poker, laughing, listening to music. You could hear her laugh from a mile away...

Her husband, my Grandpa, or Pappou (it's Greek for grandpa. we are not Greek. My sister started that, and the only explanation I have is she must have been Greek in a past life.) is probably the Grandparent I know the best, because he is still kicking. My Dad's parents died when I was in my mid-teens, and they lived rather far away.

He is half Irish, half English. His Father was Irish, and one of the meanest bastards ever to walk the Earth. I may well be the only human being that man ever adored, and it was probably because even at a young age I wouldn't put up with his shit and asked him ten million questions until he'd talk to me.

My Pappou learned from the past, and he is a very kind and gentle man. He was very proud of his wife, and never let what society say rule his manhood or how she should behave.

My Great Grandpa had it bad, real bad, when he came to America. He had it pretty bad over there in Ireland too, and it always amazes me that here I am, just two generations away, living in such comfort and security.

I know having it bad doesn't really give an excuse for being a bastard, but it was a different time, with different social mores. My Mom told me that when she was growing up, if they were bad my Grandpa would take them to the basement, hit a pole with his belt, and tell them to scream so that my Grandma thought they were being punished.

He said he would never, ever hit his kids like he was beat.

All these different genes, all these struggles, all these hardships all come down to my generation. My sister, brother, and I have never went hungry. We have always had a nice place to live, always had electricity and running water.

Our Great Grandparents and Grandparents gave us the world by the balls through all their hardships, courage, and struggles. They dreamed that their children would do better, and I like to think that they are smiling now, knowing everything they went through was worth it.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields and,

Until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

You raised the road for us, your offspring, and I hope we never forget where we came from or the sacrifices made to give us these blessings.

Going Home

So the Original Party People (my parents) have once again conned me into going down south for the holiday.

Does your DNA mutate when you become a parent giving you some kind of super sonic guilt trip gene?

Technically Mississippi is not my home, as I was raised in a small Indiana town outside of Chicago. All my Father's family is down there though, and I spent a good part of my summers down there.

I hate the fucking south. I always have. Even when I was a kid I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs at everything that went on down there.

Before any of you southern readers get upset with me, hear me out. It's not the people, just the way of life. Southern people are some of the kindest, sincerest people I have ever met.

If only they could get off their asses and move at more then a snails pace, I'd be ok.... :)

You see, my Father, being 3/4 Native American, thought it was important for us to be in touch with those Native American roots. There weren't a hell of a lot of Indians running around a state ironically called Indiana, so my parents would ship us off to Mississippi to be with the paternal Grandparents for a month or two in the summer.

This also was the perfect opportunity for us to become farm hands, as my grandparents were farmers.

I fucking hate farming.

My Dad always wanted us to know what it truly meant to work, as we had it much easier then he did. This may well be the understatement of the year, as people that get two meals a day and had indoor plumbing had it easier then him.

What the hell would I tell my kids about my hardships growing up? That we didn't get cable until I was 11? That we had to cook shit on the stove until I was 12 because my Dad was certain microwaves were dangerous? That if we wanted to steal music we had to actually go to the store and physically steal it instead of downloading it???

I'm tangenting (is that a word?) Another post, another time....

Anyway...So we were shipped off to be cheap child labor for my Grandparents.

I'm thinking that I know why they are so slow down there. That farming shit is hard work. It's also hotter then hell, there are weird bugs that fly that really shouldn't be flying, and snakes that will kill you if they bite you.

When they finally stop working and stressing over all the scary shit they just shutdown? It could be a theory...

So my Granpda, who was proud as hell of his tractor, would climb up on that bad boy and drive it. We'd walk behind it with these big burlap sack thingies picking up potatoes, all the while dodging any kind of snake that may have been uprooted in the process.

Usually after about 20 minutes of this I was riding on the tractor with my Grandpa because I was a hysterical wreck after seeing my first snake. Like my Dad, Mel Looney (that's what we called him, and no I don't know why except that he was a bit eccentric) couldn't bear to see me upset.

I heart men...

So my brother and sister would walk behind doing their work and mine. Being the baby is a good thing, let me tell you.

He'd make up for it though, by giving me barn duty or something of the like. I got rather attached to a bull that I named George, and one summer was rather traumatized when I realized that the nice juicy burger that I was eating was in fact my sweet bull George (a shout out to my brother who told me, you know, after I had a couple of bites), causing me to not eat beef for about oh, 15 years or so.

I'm still not over it.

Our reward for being good little sweat shop workers wasn't exactly what I would call a reward. We were allowed to go down to the creek (pronounced Krik down there) to swim.

Now this was much different then swimming in my pool back at home. I believe I only did it once, and it was for about all of 30 seconds. You see, there are other things swimming with you as you swim around.

Things like water moccasins.

No fucking thanks.

The first time we went down there it was with our cousins. That was one of my favorite parts of going down south, having cousins. Up here it was just our little family, with not much in the way of an extended family.

That was until I found out my cousins were crazy fuckers.

We get to the creek, and jump in. Oh, it felt so good considering most days down there are like 100 degrees AND humid. This was until I saw a water moccasin swim by me, which prompted my sister, brother, and I to swim/run our way out of there screaming at the top of our lungs.

Our cousin's response? "They won't bother you if you don't bother them."

What the fuck??? Who would bother them? Who would knowingly swim with poisonous snakes?

My crazy fucker cousins, that's who. We held a united front and proclaimed we would never go into the creek again.

This caused much shame to my Grandparents, who labeled us white breaded Yankees.

A couple of weeks later we redeemed ourselves because after a family fishing trip we all knew how to clean fish and the crazy fucker cousins didn't.

Thank you maternal Grandpa, for showing us how to clean fish and clearing our good names.

So as you can tell, many things about the south and me just don't gel all that well.

I do cherish the memories of going down there, as I learned so much about my family history. I heard stories of my family walking the trail of tears. I heard about my Grandparents leaving the reservation because everyone was starving.

It really kind of cleared a lot of things up for me. We seem to have this ambition gene thing going in my family, and I never understood why my Grandparents didn't try to do better. They never particularity cared to own their own land. They would hunt for fur when things got really bad and they didn't have food.

Why didn't they do that all the time? My Dad had told me before that a couple of good Fox hides sometimes was more profitable then their intake from farming for the year.

It was because in their mind they were doing good. They had shelter, food (most of the time), and their family. In their culture, that was all they needed.

My Grandpa was a proud man. Big and strong, even in his 90's. He had a twinkle in his eyes, and a wicked sense of humor. A guitar was one of his best friends, and he would play music for hours for us, while my Grandma sang along with a voice that would put Aretha Franklin to shame.

Or maybe it was just because she was my Grandma. She was big too, not as in fat, but tall. She was 6' tall, with long, solid white hair. Even in her 90's, she was still gorgeous.

It was like she could see through you and feel all your pain. She was the most compassionate person I have ever met in my life. My Grandma could make anything ok.

My Grandma was diagnosed with leukemia at age 96, and acquired HIV through a blood transfusion. She had full blown AIDS by 98, and passed on soon after. My Grandfather was in perfect health at age 99, but as soon as her casket was lowered into the ground he completely lost his mind. He didn't know who we were, who he was, anything.

He died a month later. I suppose if you are married to someone for 79 years, it is a bit tough to live without them.

Soul mates they were my friends...

Being a late in life child, and my Father being a late in life child, didn't give me much time with them. I am so grateful for every second spent with them, and proud of my heritage and ancestors.

Where was I? Oh yes, I hate the fucking south. I suppose the rest of that will have to wait until tomorrow....

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Greenlight me baby!

AAAAAaaaaaaaah yes, it's that time of year again. Project Greenlight debuts on Bravo tonight, and I simply cannot wait.

Project Greenlight, the Internet contest started by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, holds a special place in my heart.

I'm a graduate of the Project Greenlight school of writing. Well, not really, but their old website used to have incredible message boards with some really great people that taught me a bunch about writing scripts. I also found many other great resources there, and they have helped me considerably in my writing endeavors.

The boards are non-existant now, as with most Internet things it kind of got out of hand over there, but I will still always be greatful for the things I learned. I'm dedicated to watching this show for this reason, as I've always had that whole loyalty thing in truck loads.

That, and it's so freakin' addictive. I am NOT a reality show fan, but I get seriously addicted to PG. That, and I think I have a serious crush on Chris Moore, Matt and Ben's partner in thier LivePlanet production company.

I loves me some Chris Moore...

I missed the first contest and season of this show. I didn't have a TV then, and hadn't really heard about this. By the time the second season rolled around I found their website while searching for some script help. The contest was over, but the message boards were alive. The show was also about to start airing, so I got HBO to watch it.

Hooked. It was like crack going through the air waves.

Now this contest, the one that is going to start airing tonight, I had every intention of entering. I was polishing up my first script, was all set to enter it, and then they announced they were looking for a horror script about 6 weeks before the contest.

What the fuck??

Mine was a Romantic Comedy, which some people I'm sure find horrifying. I decided it needed a good rewrite, so I didn't enter it. I also didn't have much luck writing a horror script in 6 weeks, so I didn't participate in this years contest.

I did judge scripts though, and I did try and be involved in the process.

So tonight we get to see how you make a horror film. I think this is going to make really great TV....

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Bad kj...Baaaaaad kj...

I know I haven't been around much, and to all of my readers out there I am truly sorry. Lots of life stuff going on, and I promise I shall be writing regularily again very soon...

Monday, March 07, 2005

No Kids Allowed

So my friends and I have been talking about doing a mini-vacation sometime in the following year. We already have a 3 dayer booked for the end of April, but we are thinking something more Tropical for another 4 or 5 day get-a-way.

There is one problem in the planning of all of this. Half of us have kids, and have of us don't.

Now if we without kids had our way, they would have Mommy-and-Me type deals for everything. Flights, restaurants, stores, hotels, buses...You name it, it'd have a warning that kids-a-plenty were abound.

Don't get me wrong-I like kids. I had a big hand in raising three kids myself, but the three kids I raised knew damn well that whether we were at the movies or a restaurant, they had better behaved like young ladies and gentlemen or they were in biiiiiig trouble.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not like this. I feel for those parents for a bit, but then I wonder why the hell they didn't teach their kids some damn manners.

Maybe I'm just getting a bit less tolerant as I age, but it drives me absolutely crazy when a screaming kid is ruining my experience at a restaurant/museum/movie.

Now I know you can't just ban kids from ALL places, but the thought of a "No Kids Allowed" type resort is my version of heaven.

The half of friends that have kids are not exactly thrilled with this option, as they think our vacation should be more of a "family affair" since we are all just like family.

I wouldn't mind one bit if it were just their children there, as most of them pretty much know how to act in public. They are good kids, but if I'm going to be laying on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, drinking some frozen alcoholic laden umbrella type drink, I really don't want to think of what activities we can do that will involve the kids.

Selfish? Oh yes, yes it is. The two couples in our tight knit group from childhood have kids, two couples don't, and I'm single and carefree. That would be 5 against 4 if put to a vote.

Maybe it's time for us to just do the mini three dayer and not a bigger vacation together. We are all so close, and have been close for so many years, that it's hard for half of us to do something and leave the other half out.

We have chosen different paths in life though. The ones that don't have kids have no intention of ever having kids. They have ambitious careers and like being independent. The ones that have kids relish their families, and are very involved in their children's lives.

Even though we are so different, the friendships remain. Loyalties like what we have are hard to come by. I can honestly say that I have 8 people in my life that would take a bullet for me without thinking twice. They love me unconditionally, and we have bonds that can't be broken. I'm talking about relationships that were formed 29+ years ago, since we were practically toddlers.

It amazed me to find out when I became an adult that most people do not have relationships like this. I then realized just how lucky I am to have people like this in my life.

We are so used to doing things as a unit that the thought of half doing this and half doing that never really occured to us. Yes, I've went on vacations without them a bunch of times, and they on their own.

Usually every 3 or 4 years we will do a joint venture, and they have always been my favorite vacations. We haven't done more then a 3 dayer in awhile, so we started talking about it. When M suggested a Disney Cruise, you could just see the look of horror on the childless people's faces, and the delight in the procreator's faces.

Fuck no. No way in hell am I going on vacation where kids are encouraged to be there. No fucking way.

I totally understand how they would feel bad if they left the kids home for the 5 day stint. After all, they are going on the 3 dayer at the end of April without them. Mabye we need to be more tolerant towards children, or maybe we just need to hang up the idea of bigger vacations together until their kids are old enough to drink with us....

Cabin Fever

I've officially gone crazy. I know many of you may be thinking that I was crazy before, but now it's official.

This happened after I enjoyed one hell of a weekend-temps hovering in the late 60's yesterday. I hadn't realized just how bad I had cabin fever, and being outside in the sunshine with no need for a parka was exhilarating.

Then it happened. I checked the National Weather Service homepage, and I see a low of 17 and bunches of snow in my near future.

I think it pushed me over the edge. NO!!!! I am ready for spring. I am ready for flowers and bikinis and barbecues and hikes in the woods.

I want it now!! So when I saw highs in the 30's and lows in the 10's, I just about lost it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

50 is the New 30

That's what my sister said to me. 50 is the new 30.

My sister encompasses pretty much all of the bad things they say about Baby Boomers. This world is all about her you know, and of course at 43 she is not old. Why, you are still a kid in your 40's!

Not that I'm saying 43 is old, so don't y'all get together and kick my ass in a parking lot or something. It is mature though, and it most definitely is not what used to be the 20's. They say that many boomers live in this little cloud where they think they don't age.

Fuck that. I wouldn't want to be in my 20's again for anything in the world. That is just my Gen X genes talking I suppose...

So my sis and I were arguing about something stupid, and she said, "You're just a baby. You'll find out someday." "I'm fucking 34 years old! I am no where close to being a kid, so don't patronize me."

"Well, you know they say 50 is the new 30," she said. By this logic I am still 14 years old.

I thought 40 was the new 30 was the latest catch phrase, but I guess as the boomers age it'll keep going up. Pretty soon we'll be hearing "70 is the new 30!" as many of them just don't want to admit they are getting old. And they are. Getting old.

You can see what's going to happen from a mile away if you look really hard. The Boomers are eventually going to be taken over by the little Echo Bastards, who will then declare that 30 is the new 30, and when I'm 50, I'll just be old.

We Gen Xer's are a really pain in the old Boomer's ass. Close enough to their age to not be a kid, but young enough to remind them they are getting older, we are a constant in your face look at what they were 10 years ago. Logically we can't be dismissed as young and inexperienced like the echo bastards, so I really think we present this huge threat to the boomers.

Tomorrow (hopefully if I don't start throwing up again or if some wayward boomer doesn't kill me or if work doesn't hold me hostage) I'll talk about how my 90 year old grandpa thinks we are going to inherit the Greatest Generation title. We meaning Gen Xer's....Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A day late and a dollar short

Yes, it's Tuesday, and yes, the Oscars were Monday.

I had the stomach flu, and I have a note from my Doctor. I kind of wonder if the whole Oscar Extravaganza was the reason why I couldn't hold anything down, because most of the Oscar telecast did just that-it made me sick.

Talk about being disappointed. In a big caste system the lower people were herded like cattle on stage. Even worse a fate was met by people less then the second class citizens, as they had to receive their awards in the audience.

In the audience... Was it just me, or did Cate Blanchet look really, really uncomfortable giving away that first award in the nose bleeds?

What the hell were they saying to these people? Basically, you aren't as good as the other people winning an Oscar. I mean, image you are winning an Oscar, and you are pretty much one of the unsung people on the project. I guess they just wanted to sing a little for these people, as they aren't nearly as important as the actors, directors, and surprisingly, the cinematographers.

Speaking of singing, in a great big high school popularity contest the people that actually did the work for the movies and sang the songs for the movies and were probably a big reason why the songs even got nominated were pushed aside for Beyonce and Antonio Banderas.

I really feel for Minnie Driver and Jorge Drexler. They were the ones that put the sweat in, but the academy pushed them to the side for the head cheerleader and the captain of the football team. I don't even think that Antonio is captain of the football team material, but maybe head of the student body?

Either way, it was wrong, wrong, wrong. I suppose I feel more for Jorge Drexler as he wrote and performed the song. It was actually a monumental moment for the foreign language song, as it was the first time a Spanish song won. They took away part of this man's night by having him sit in the audience while Antonio and Santana performed his song.

I don't know the name of the French performer that sang the other song, but I'd feel sorry for them to if I knew who they were. I'm surprised that they didn't let Sean Penn sing "Accidentally in Love" as the Counting Crows aren't exactly a big name anymore.

Speaking of Sean Penn, someone better check the lost and found over at the Kodak Theater, because he seems to have lost his fucking sense of humor...

I liked Chris Rock...I thought Jamie did a gracious and touching acceptance speech....The whole Magic Johnson theater bit was hilarious...

That part really kind of made me think. The Oscars aren't exactly a big popularity contest. Most people haven't seen the movies that were winning all these awards, but the Academy goes by the craft, and who does the best job.

Unless you are a make up artist or a documentarian. Then you just get your award in your seat.