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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cool Stuff from The Chicago Green Fair

Last weekend, the husband and I attended the Chicago Green Festival. Due to (I believe) too much enthusiasm at breakfast (I ate too much yummy and greasey potato pancakes), my stomach wasn't feeling that well that day. My discomfort and resulting grumpiness didn't allow us to stay at the Festival for more than a couple of hours. Basically, we went around and grabbed interesting brochures and business cards off of tables that looked good. We skipped the food vendor section all together due to tummy ache. I came home with a pile of literature. I piled it on my desk and am now going through it. What follows is basically a catalog of what stuff I brought home. I'm not saying all this stuff is great (although it is all certainly interesting), but I just wanted to share the info in case something should strike your fancy. Also, in almost all cases, I have never actually tried any of the products or services I'll mention, so I don't know if the specific ones here are the best in their category. This is more of a "hey, did you know that somebody makes recycled glass counter tops that look like granite?" rather than a "Company X sells the best/only recycled counter tops." Ok, disclaimer over. On with the show...

  1. - From what I can tell, its like Facebook or Myspace but with a "save the world" flare. I signed up for it, but so far I find it kinda lame. They talk a lot about how they'll never bow to the man (sell the site to a corporation), which is cool I guess. I will say that their marketing tactic at the Fair was cool (a packet of sunflower seeds.)
  2. Swheat Scoop and Worlds Best Cat Litter - I already use Swheat Scoop, so I took the opportunity to tell the dudes there how much I like it and to collect some of the coupons they gave me (thanks!). While I've never used Worlds Best, I have seen it in the stores, so I was interested (but never interested enough to buy a whole bag apparently). So, what I learned was, its made of corn, instead of wheat (like Swheat Scoop), but it looks similar, and apparently works just as well if not better. They did the dropper of ammonia (cat pee simulator) test, which was impressive. It didn't stick to the side of the kitty box or smell (bad, or otherwise: it was just odorless). They gave me coupons too, and I can't wait to try. They also said that World's Best can be used with the automatic litter scooper appliances. I don't have one, but sometimes they look tempting, and its nice to know I could use something other than clay litter if I did get one. Incidentally, I've been using Sweat Scoop for a few years now and I'd recommend it highly. I'll let you know what I think of Worlds Best once I get my own bag, get some real pee and shit in it, and see how it goes.
  3. Marmoleum flooring- Its marketed as a natural and sustainable linoleum product, made from natural materials that don't include PVC or Vinyl. And, it comes in a bunch of cool modern colors and designs. If any of you out there have a floor to cover, this looks cool.
  4. Sustainable Energy In Motion Bike Tour- This company runs week long bike tours in Oregon. Along the way, the tour stops at organic farms, grassroots community projects, schools, land trusts, etc. Nights are spent low-impact camping. Apparently there's a lot of hippie liberal bonding opportunities (which I could be in favor of, unless it involves a Trust Fall exercise, hehe). This looks really awesome, and if I had any vacation left at work I'd probably seriously look into doing it.
  5. Toys With Integrity- Claim to be environmentally friendly socially responcible wooden toys for kids. I guess its better than plastic, right?
  6. Gilasi- Really cool looking counter tops that are made out of recycled glass. Theiyt're supposed to be an alternative to granite. Its definitely got a granite price though.
  7. Earth Shade- Eco-friendly window treatments and shades
  8. Mister Miser Urinal- By far, Nick's favorite exhibit, its a water saving urinal for your house. Although I can't really understand why peeing in a urinal is so much better than peeing in a toilet (even though Nick spent a good ten minutes trying to explain it to me), it is true that this urinal is much more eco-friendly than flushing the toilet all the time. And its small and looks easy to install in a home bathroom.
  9. Greenmaker- Environmentally friendly building materials. Sweet.
  10. Renewable Resource Insulation- An alternative to the pink panther shit.
  11. A green condo building (and another), if we could afford it, it might be cool.
  12. Some new organic and vegan restaurants and bakery in town.
  13. Green Exchange- If I had an eco friendly business or organization and I was in need of office space, this green building and eco centric community looks really cool.
  14. Hey, and check it out: its a new vegetarian magazine (or at least one I didn't know existed.)
OK, so that's the low down from the green festival. I skipped the isles of environmentally and socially responsible textiles and clotheing, so I don't have any info on that stuff, although I'm sure you could gogole it. The fair reminded me just how much enviro friendly stuff there is out there, so the next time I go to purchase a product or service, maybe I'll explore some of the green alternatives. Over and Out.

Friday, April 27, 2007


*running around like chicken with head cut off*
*runs by computer, cell phone in hand, bitching out roof repair guy*
*runs other direction, cell phone in hand, cancelling handyman and cleaning service that were scheduled for this weekend*
*runs by again, stops at computer long enough to say*...

Roof still leaks, basement leaks now too, house not on market, listing date pushed back another two weeks...Want to kill roof repair man.

Can we even still qualify for a loan now that the "sub-prime" loan market has crumbled? Should we just move back into the house? Nothing in our neighborhood has sold in the last four months. We're screwed.

Hi blog people. I haven't posted in a while. I also have not done yoga at all this week either. I hope to sit down and do a real post tomorrow. I want to tell you about all the cool stuff I saw at the Green Festival here in town. Just wanted to let you know, I'm still here.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Its Too Late, But...

Chicago is hosting a Green Festival this weekend. Its supposed to be the biggest green expo in the nation. If I was a good planner, I would have told you guys about this way in advance and then given you the opportunity to come up for it. But, I am lame. So, unless you want to make a last minute trip to the city, I guess I'll just have to tell you about it. Sorry.


I was bee-bopping around Youtube and I found this guy who does funny stories.. I decided to post this one, because it had me laughing my ass completely off at work.

If you like funny things, you should watch this
If you are into fishing, you should watch this
ignore the broken toe..

Also, if you're into funny homeade scetch comedy (ish), then check out this guy's other videos.

Dude, I just found this one. It has to do with U2, which obviously peaked my interest. This chick can give me a run for my money when it comes to being a completely insane U2, although I don't think I ever baked bono a cake. (or did I?) I can't remember. Anywa, here y'a go.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yay! Fun With PIctures!

Here is the cuteness I promised a couple days ago.

First off, we have Morgan hanging out behind the laptop as Nick tries to do our taxes. And believe me, behind the laptop is much better than his normal place to hang out which is on top of the laptop.

The next picture is what you would have seen about six inches from your face if you were me doing yoga a couple of days ago. He stayed just like that, staring, at me, for practically the entire DVD. I must really look funny when I do yoga.

Now, here's a picture I took a while back. My cats are brothers, and while not identical, they do complement each other. Sometimes I call them "my book-end kitties" cuz they tend to sit side by side like this and look like (you guessed it) book-ends.

Speaking of book-ends, who wants to go hang out with me at the B&N, have some tea and look through the bargain books? Too bad everyone who reads this blog is at least six hours away from me. That's a long way to drive... The B&N would be closed before you got here. :(

So yeah, that's it for me today. I am going to go do yoga now. Or maybe I will do the belly dancing dvd. Maybe both?

until we meet again. :)

Did You Know...

Did you know that Norway is building a "seed vault" buried 300 ft. in the permafrost of one of their arctic islands which is designed to store and protect food crop seeds in case of a catastrophic world disaster, like nuclear war or an asteroid collision? I guess its a good idea, although I sort of wonder, if the world is contaminated by radiation, where would we plant the seeds? Wouldn't the soil be radioactive too? And in the case of an asteroid, if there's no sun, how would the seeds grow into food crops? I think, in the case of a catastrophic disaster, we'd all just be screwed. Sorry the break the news to you Norway. But then again, what do I know about biology / botany / nuclear sciences / astronomy anyway? Perhaps my more scientifically inclined friends could provide some actual fact-based comments on this subject (instead of just making shit up, like me). Anyway, I just thought this was a wild story. Thought I'd share.


ps: No, I didn't do yoga last night
and No, I didn't post the cutness picture like I said I would
I am lame. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Just Check'n In

So, yes, I did wait until the last minute to do my (our) taxes. I started doing them like two weeks ago, but last night at 9:30, I was still working on them. We filed separately, which meant filling out and filing two returns. I almost fell victim to the TurboTax e-file malfunction last night. It took me about four different tries and about half an hour to finally get them to e-file successfully. Then when I woke up this morning I got the news that something like thousands of e-filed returns made trough TurboTax last night didn't make it. I called the IRS, but they said I had to give it a couple of days before I'd know. So, hopefully everything is good. Damn taxes!

Get this folks: I'm reading a book. Well, I'm actually listening to it on my iPod, but its an unabridged copy, so whatever. You paper and ink snobs can kiss my ass. (just kidding, I don't think I know any paper and ink snobs, I just made that up). So yeah, I'm reading The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. I'm about a third the way through and so far am enjoying it very much, and I'm learning a lot too. If you're into plants, agriculture, environmentalism, etc. you'd enjoy this book. I'll give a full review of it once I actually finish it, I'm just really excited so I wanted to mention it.

In her most recent post, Velocibadgergirl spoke very eloquently about the awfulness that happened at V-Tech this week. I too felt like this hit very close to home. Its probably because I've spent so much time on university campuses and many of my friends and family work at universities. It just totally sucks. I saw Rosie O'Donnell on TV today saying how she feels completely fed up with fighting for better gun control laws. I feel the same way. I mean, if Columbine wont do it, what's to lead me to believe that this will? Of course, who knows if a change in gun laws could have prevented this tragedy. Also, I have to admit that despite how horrible this was and how close to home it feels, I'm struck by the fact that gun violence (or just regular old violence) happens all the time. Something like 30,000 people are killed by guns (the people using the guns, more precisely) every year in America. Maybe if we were so outraged by the deaths of those 29,968 people as we are at the deaths of the 32 people at V-Tech, maybe things would be different. Or maybe not, I dunno.

I love all you guys. (for the record)

Yes, I've been doing my Yoga. I made a promise to myself that I'd do yoga every day for the next week. So far, things are going pretty well, although yesterday I did cheat cuz I didn't exactly finish the entire dvd, but hey, I was trying to file my taxes, yo. I'm still very sore. There are places that are sore on me that I didn't even know could be sore.

That's all for now (although I may post some cute pictures later tonight)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Self Fullfilling Prophacy

(What follows is my attempt to convince myself that my job is actually really awsome, even though I've been so cranky about it lately. I think that it is probably really awsome, I just don't feel that way most of the time. This is an attempt to put a positive spin on my current attitude about work. This is probably the first of many upcoming installments of positive thinking)

I love my job. I have so much freedom to arrive when I want. Dr.'s appointment? No problem, just make up the hours tomorrow... Want to listen to my iPod? That's cool too. I can surf the web, check email, blog, etc. as much as my conscience will allow. And, even if I do have to do actual work, most of that involves reading about transit. I love transit. It is so cool. Although I've almost started to take it for granted, it remains true that Chicago's transit system is one of the best in the US, and so much superior to the transit systems anywhere else I've ever lived. If you need to get somewhere in Chicago, chances are a bus or train can get you there. And, I love this city too, dammit. I feel so lucky to be able to live here. Despite having to hang out with the Gucci buying, Starbucks-permanently-attached-to-hand-drinking, sunglasses-bigger-than-face-wearing, rhinestone-cell-phone-talking, hair-extension tossing, tea-cup-poodle-spray-painted-pink-carrying rich girls who are shopping at the mega-expensive designer stores on my block and with whom I have absolutely nothing in common, it is nice that my office is located on the "Mag Mile". (Uh oh, that last sentence was a bit cranky). But anyway, I walk past one of the country's tallest buildings every day. I get to smile at the tourists, and sometimes they ask me to take their picture or tell them where the train is. I get to see the Chicago River or Lake Michigan on my way to work. I have my choice of about six different transit routes to my office, and it takes less than twenty minutes to get there. I can talk to my sweetie on the phone during the work day. I can take my shoes off at my desk. This job was such a good starting place for me in the field of public transit. My boss has worked for just about every transit organization in town (RTA, CTA, etc.) and she knows everyone in the field, so she's a good contact to have. This job pays more than I probaby deserve and way more than any nonprofit job I could get right now.

This job is much better than trying to sell phone service to people (the job I had when I decided to come to Chicago for grad school.)

Work is GREAT!!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Good News / Bad News

The good news is, if you can't afford to buy a Prius, this article suggests that you can still make a difference by not eating meat which can make an even bigger impact on slowing global warming than driving a hybrid.

The bad news is.... ummm... okay, I don't have any bad news, I just thought it was a snappy title.


Help Wanted

Hey guys. My friend Dazzlefresh is looking for people to help him publish his very own parody magazine. He's looking for people who have a dry sense of humor and who have graphic design / journalism / photography skills they're willing to share for cheap. DF and I studied abroad together back in undergrad, so I don't think most of you have met him. But I can vouch for his coolness (and a great writer in my opinion). Just thought I'd pass along the info in case any of you are interested.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Holy Bah-Jesus

So, it finally happened. I managed to get myself up off the couch/chair/bed to do yoga for the first time in.... well... let me put it this way: I've had the kitties for almost two years now, and I don't think either of them have ever seen me do yoga. (and judging by the weird looks they gave me the entire time I was doing it tonight, I think I'm right.)

OK, ok... Nick was kind enough (annoying enough? j/k) to point out that we did in fact do yoga once (and only once, and I didn't even finish the whole DVD that time) when we were training for the marathon (the 2005 marathon, mind you). So, yeah,. fine. The kitties were around then. You're right...

So anyway, yes, I did yoga tonight. I did the MTV Yoga DVD, the original one, not the totally kick you in the ass MTV Power Yoga (which I do in fact own and have done before and hopefully will be able to do it again someday). In short, Holy Bah-Jesus did it Kick MY ASS!!! Good news is: I seemed to have some muscle memory for the poses. Bad news is: my flexibility is totally gone, and my belly is bigger, which also made the bending in half stretches harder.

But, I did finish it, and I do plan to do it again soon (maybe tomorrow). Maybe I should make a deal with you, my loyal readers and, from this point on, my unilaterally appointed accountability partners, that I will do yoga one time for the next seven (7) days.

Dude, I can feel the disappointment of not following through on this already...

We'll see...

So yeah, in other news, this is a picture of my indoor herb garden, week one. (I really planted it like two or three weeks ago, but this is the first week I've taken a picture, so this is week one, I declare.)

So, from left to right we have: Regular Basil, Purple Basil, Parsley (top row); Chives (bottom left), and Mint (bottom right). The bottom middle pot is actually empty. I ran out of seed packets, but I bought some Lavender seeds today which I will plant tonight. Of course, I didn't actually mark the pots, so I might have that plant identification out of order. I keep it covered in a little green house lid thingy so hopefully the cats wont eat it.

And now for the roof update. (If you don't know what I'm talking about here's a hopefully brief synopsis: We're trying to sell our house, but about a month ago we discovered that we have a leak in the roof. We've spent the last month trying to get half-way reputable roofing dudes to give us half-way do-able quotes, but we've been stood up, lied to, and stood up some more my roofers ranging from slightly clueless but with good intent to totally dumb out to rip us off. Things starting looking up when we finally were able to locate the dude who did the roof originally (the roof was new when Nick bought the house three years ago), so our new hope is to get him to finally fix it, and hopefully for free) So, FINALLY Mr. did-the-roof-before (and did a shitty job, but all accounts) guy showed up today. Nick and I went down to the house this morning. I got up on the roof with a garden hose and sprayed in different places while Nick was in the attic looking for the leak. It was a sunny day, so we had to make our own rain. We then called Mr. roof man and insisted he come look. He was grumpy, but he came anyway. He got on the roof and looked at the place where we thought it was leaking (the point where spraying caused the leak to drip). He says he'll send out his "guys" do put another "bundle or two" of shingles on top of the old ones at the place where its leaking. I have no idea if that's legit or not, but he's doing it for free and he's supposedly doing it this week. Whatever. We'll test it again with the garden hose once they've done the work. But, at this point, things are looking up. Maybe we'll have this place listed in a couple weeks.

So yeah, that's my big weekend update.

Random words of wisdom: Adding half and half to melting dark chocolate to "make the fondue more creamy" totally doesn't work and will ruin the chocolate that had moments before been beautiful dark creamy melted goodness so that looks poop and you have to throw it away.

Luckily I had one more bar of chocolate left, so I started over, used JUST chocolate, and had some tasty fondue, despite my earlier mishap. Nick and I ate fondue (then popcorn), drank wine, played Othello and watched Must Love Dogs. Its cute and lame all at once.

Ok. so I need to go start dinner, so catch all you guys on the flip side.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Inter-species Nirvana

Nothing like an afternoon nap with the brood. For those of you who've been wondering how the puppy-kitty integration is going, here's your answer. Things are good. :)

Maybe I'm Just Lazy...

...because lately, my idea of a post is to find something on Youtube and post it here. I know, I know. Its a cheap excuse for a post.

But, whatever, here's today's Youtube of the day. This one is a vegetarian recipe. I haven't tried it, but it looks good (more lameness, sorry). And the animation thing about the difference between Vegetarian and Vegan is funny (although dubiously accurate). Chef Melissa isn't a veggie chef--she does a lot of meat--but I still think she's cool.


Dude, this looks good too....

I feel bad laughing at this guy, cuz he's really trying, but its still funny. I'm too lazy to do the research right now (I'm at work), but I wonder just how vegan some of those ingredients are... (ie: I bet the beans have something dead in them, as well as perhaps the seasoning packet). I'm not trying to be a snob, I'm just pointing it out... And I'll be the first to admit that I cheat all the time and eat/wear non-vegetarian things all the time (not like steak, but like vegetable soup from a restaurant that I know has chicken stock in it...) I do like the dry erase board (reminds of the quote board / funny picture board we had in college) and the music. This makes me want to have my own Youtube cooking show (so other people could critique it in their blog?) [insert pun here about not dishing out what I can't take...( get it dishing.. cooking show.. dish... ??)]

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Video of the Day (although its more of a song than a video)

Dudes. I stumbled upon Ben Folds Five on my iPod. Of course, I had heard them before, but I'd never heard this song before (cuz I dunno if it was a single or if it got much radio play), but I like it and thought many of you might too.

(Ignore the last 30 seconds of the video after the song ends, its dumb)
(but the song is good)
(at least I think so)


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Humps Clarification

Oh yeah, some of you probably have never heard the (awful) song from the Black Eyed Peas called My Humps. Here's their video If you didn't get the funny video from yesterday's post, this should help explain it a little.


I'm not sure if its supposed to work like this, but today's post is confession and apology for me being a lame movie watching buddy. Nick knows what I'm talking about. Last night, after sifting through all the bullshit on TV, we decided to watch a movie. It sounds easy enough, but the truth is that I'm the pickiest movie watcher EVER. For instance, here's a list of things that I don't like in movies:
  • I don't like cartoons (exception: Lion King and Finding Nemo)
  • I don't like movies with fantastical characters like faries, witches, wizards, magic, etc (exception: Dogma and Sci-Fi movies)
  • I don't like movies that are in black and white (no exceptions, not even Wizard of Oz)
  • and now that we're on the subject, I generally don't like movies that take place in any time period other than the last forty years or so (but Sci-Fi that takes place in the future is ok)
  • I don't like movies where people are mean to each other, especially including scenes of torture, people beating other people up, people having limbs amputated etc.
  • I don't like movies with monsters like King Kong and Draculaand no vampires please!
  • I don't like movies with subtitles cuz its hard for me to read (although if someone wants to read the whole damn movie out loud to me, that's cool (not that anyone would want to do that). Overdubbing in English is fine.
  • I don't like movies with overly dumb comedy, especially comedy based on poop or farts or inflicting pain on oneself or others

So yeah, that pretty much cuts out 90% of movies that were ever made. I dunno what my problem is... I'm not really this picky about anything else (I don't think).

It took Nick and I half an hour to find a movie that we could both agree on (meaning one that I approved of; he'd watch almost anything I think). We endedup watching Elizabethtown, which was actually better than I expected. Generally, Chic Flicks don't fall under any of those categories of things I don't like, but they can also be annoying in their own right. But this one was pretty damn good (although someone did die in the movie which made me cry several times).

For anyone who finds themselves in the situation of picking out a movie to watch with me, I offer my sincerest regrets. I seriously mean that too.

I think I'll end this post with a list of my favorite movies, partially to prove to myself and you guys that there are movies that I do actually like. Here goes:

(in no particular order, because I tried that and its taking to long to decide)
High Fidelity
40 Year Old Virgin
All the Kevin Smith movies
American Beauty (yes, this violates the death and violence rules)
Best in Show
Garden State
the first Bridget Jones movie
Trainspotting (this violates many of my rules...)
Bend It Like Beckham
When Harry Met Sally, Forget Paris, and French Kiss which are basically the same movie
50 1st Dates
Love Actually

There, see... I like stuff.

fwew, I feel much better now.

Thanks for listening. :)

Monday, April 9, 2007

Video of the Day

Funny Youtube video of the day:

How many blogs would a wood chuck blog if a wood chuch could blog? (or something)


So, I started this blog on Friday night with my first post. Then, I managed to loose the blog in the labyrinth of Blogger/Google landia, but I found it again a few minutes ago. Everything is still here. Fwew! So I thought I'd go ahead and make another post before I lose the blog again. Its been three days since my last post, which leads me to believe that I will not be an every day blogging person. Hell, I can't keep myself on a schedule when it comes to just about everything.

Today I was reading velocibadgergirl's accountability blog. The three stages blog envy: First I felt guilty, since I haven't done yoga in forever (and since VG and I used to do yoga a couple times a week together). Then, I felt angry at my lack of motivation. Then I thought "Ah-ha, I can do that too".. meaning that I have decided to harness the power of the accountability blog to make myself do shit that I know I should do.

But, where should I start? There's so much stuff I need to be more disciplined about: exercising, doing housework on a regular basis so things don't get totally out of hand, keeping up with some creative hobby (but first, deciding what that hobby is going to be; fiddle and painting are in tight competition at the moment), reading something that can make me smarter (or at least doesn't make me dumber), blogging on a semi-regular basis, etc. I can come up with a good reason not to choose any of these. But then again, that's the root of my problem: ability to rationalize procrastination. I'll have to put more thought into this...

Is my blog boring you?
I don't mean to bore you... (who can spot an adulteration of a Bono quote)

Its my second post... and about time I finally made a U2 reference. Don't you think?

I like taking pictures, usually of the animal cuteness that I am assaulted with on a daily basis, but also pictures of the cool city I live in, the view out my window, the progress of the window herb garden the cat's haven't discovered yet, etc., so I'll probably start a daily picture or something... There is a slight logistical complication with this: our dog Maggie is insanely afraid of the camera--we think the flash reminds her of lightning which reminds her of thunderstorm es which scares her shitless--so its hard for me to even turn my camera on to download pictures without her hearing the camera beep, waking up from a deep sleep, running into the other room, and shaking uncontrollably while hunched in the corner... So we'll see how that goes.

Ok, enough for today. I'll try to resist the temptation to babble on incessantly.

Are you bored yet?


PS: I would like to take this moment to thank Blogger for their lovely spell check tool. Otherwise you guys would really hate me.

Friday, April 6, 2007


Here it is: my first step into the blogasphere. Pretty much my entire motivation for doing this is to reciprocate the kind of informational voyeurism I enjoy when reading the blogs of my friends. Its kind of like reality TV, except less gratuitous drinking...

I've tried to keep a diary a couple times in my life, but I usually make it for about a week. I wonder if this will be more successful. My own powers of procrastination and lack of follow-through do surprise me at times.

I have no idea what to write on this blog. I think, for starters or at least until I figure out what I'm doing, I'll just take a stream-of-consciousness approach. I'll apologize for that in advance.