Unpublished Opinion

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Bikecast

Podcast while biking!! Download here or listen online here.

Also don't forget to enter Simba's Oscar Contest! See link above!

My first official bike ride.

I took my new, still unnamed, bike out for its inaugural ride. I felt pretty slow. And it was cold. But it was fun.

Time 0:37:20 7:24 pace
Distance (mi) 5.04
Moving Speed (mph) 8.1 avg. 13.6 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +504 / -502

I recorded some audio for the podcast. I haven't listened to it yet to see if it is usable.

Monday, February 27, 2006


I had a whole post nearly finished about my awful commute home today (short version: left work late, had to wait 20 minutes for bus, bus crowded, bus blew tire, lots of angry people, walked to train, train crowded, cold walk home) and then the computer froze. This, of course, did not improve my mood. Going to watch Rent DVD now and eat chocolate chip cookies (yes, I baked them first).

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Our new babies

Early birthday present for me (3.5 months) and VERY early birthday present for the prince (6.5 months).

Simba wants to know if I plan to purchase a kitty carrier for the bike!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Costco: Friend or Foe?

Prince E and I have a new friend:

The good thing is that I can make just two or three cookies at a time, instead of having to make a whole batch. The bad news is that it is a dangerous thing to have in the fridge in case I accidentally eat some dough right out of the container!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Podcast: The Running Edition

Here is the running edition of the podcast: download here or listen on your computer here (just click the arrow on the page).

On today's show

I do the podcast while running!

Movie Review: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada: 3.5 cat paws

Stupid Things I did today.

I babble as I run about some other things.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Went Running Again!

Moving Time:0:19:58 13:53 pace
Distance: 1.44
Moving Speed:4.3 avg. 6.6 max.

I did my best Steve Runner impression and recorded the podcast while I ran. Hopefully I will be able to post it later tonight after much editing.

UPDATE: I managed to edit the show and it doesn't sound too bad, for the most part. I couldn't upload it last night, though, because the internet connection stopped working for no apparent reason. Hopefully I can post it tonight.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Simba's Mom Ranting

For the past few weeks I, like the most of the Olympics-watching public, have been bombarded with commercials for the new show about prosecutors. (My refusal to name it or link to it, should give you an idea of where I am going with this post). After I saw the promo once, it made me uneasy. After the fourth time, I was nauseous. I, of course, resigned not to watch it and began to hope for a one-showing-than-cancellation a la that Heather Graham show. However, when iTunes offered a free download of it, commercial free, I decided that I should give it a try before I hated it. (also, then I would not be subjected to the advertisers that paid for the show).

I realize that my line of work has made me predisposed to dislike this show, but it was worse than I could have imagined. I only made it about eight minutes. I am not exactly sure how long I watched, because I quickly closed the window in disgust. It did not even get to the point of showing shady tactics of defense lawyers or stereotyping the prosecutors as the good guys (which is where I am sure the show is headed). What upset me the most was that in the short time that I watched, the portrayal of the defendants was stereotypical and cruel. I realize that the people of America do not like criminals. I realize that many people that are on trial and in prison are guilty. But they are still people. You would not know that from watching this show.

In this episode, one prisoner spit on the prosecutor while he was being questioned. Another one in the next cell made suggestive gestures at the prosecutors. Finally while leaving court one defendant (who the prosecutor characterized as having "13 priors," although he only had two convictions. Are arrests "priors" in NY? Since when do arrests without convictions prevent a plea bargain?) was stereotyped not only based on his status as a defendant, but based on his race as well.

Nearly every client that I have had has treated me with respect, even when I have told them that there is nothing that I can do for them. Most of them have families that care about them. Simply because they have been convicted of a crime, even the most serious of crimes, does not automatically make them monsters.

I have had enough. I would much rather watch some nice mindless crap like There and Back and leave the fictionalized version of the criminal courts to people who don't want to see reality.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Need a good laugh?

Check out this link for a video of laughing babies!

Love is...wearing comfortable shoes.

My wedding shoes came today!! Picture of them below and one of Simba inspecting them.

Monday, February 20, 2006

President's Day Podcast

Download the new show here or listen to it here.

On today's show:

My thoughts on a new exercise video.

Movie review: Junebug, 3 cat paws.

I answer a listener's question about starting up a podcast.

Some links I mentioned on the show:
Podsafe Music Network
Podsafe Audio

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Good thing no one tried to reach me.

This morning, Prince E and I headed out early to beat the crowds to the Chicago Auto Show. We had alot of fun and saw some interesting cars. This was my favorite:

I also really liked the Toyota F3R, a concept vehicle.

I took the picture below for my favorite Scion driver.

We were there a couple of hours and it was just starting to get crowded as we left. As we headed home, we chuckled at the people that were waiting in the long line of traffic to exit for the auto show. They were going to have to wait to get into the parking lot, just to have to wait when they got inside, and fight with the crowds. We were proud of ourselves that our early-rising tendencies had helped us out again.

After we got home, some take-out lunch in tow, I listened to the voicemail. We had a message from a friendly woman named Angela. She was at the Mini booth at the car show. Apparently I had left my cell phone in one of the Minis. I am not even sure how that happened, because I don't remember taking it out of my purse. Luckily, Angela was pretty smart and had called the "home" number in my address book. I would find out later that she had also called the number labeled "mom." Also, for some unknown reason she had also dialed "G.G.'s" which is the number of a place we like to get take-out from. The mini was the first car I had gone to, so I had been without my phone all day and didn't even realize it.

As we ate our lunch, we strategized how to get to McCormick Place without having to sit in the traffic we had so recently mocked (karma sucks). We decided to exit Lake Shore Drive at Monroe and take Michigan Avenue until we were south of McCormick Place and then take Martin Luther King Drive back up. Prince E stopped at an unloading zone and I ran in. Fortunately we had gotten handstamps, so getting back into the show wasn't a problem. Of course I picked the wrong way up and had to fight my way through the entire length of the show to get back to the side where the Mini was at. Once I got my phone, I had to fight the whole way back through, because I was afraid I would get lost if I went down a different escalator than I had come up. Not only was it 100 times more crowded than it had been earlier, people were walking SO slowly and drinking beer. Plus, I was hurrying so much, I kept nearly tripping as my boots kept getting caught in the extra plush carpet. I managed to find my way back out and Prince E was there after having gone in an orbit while he waited for me.

Not wanting to waste an opportunity, Prince E wanted to go a little farther south and get a photo of the skyline from the southern angle. I thought it was interesting that the ladder that you use to get into the lake for swimming was covered in ice. In case you had any doubt that they water might be too cold to swim in.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Why I love Target, Reason 9612.

Most of my running apparel is C9 by Champion, all purchased at Target. We went to Target tonight and I was happy to see that they now have "performance swimwear" from that same line of clothing. Below is my purchase. It makes me look all swimmer-like.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Latest Podcast is up!

Get the latest show here.

On today's show:

Thunderstorms in Chicago in February

Cats in the News

Movie Review of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room: 3.5 cat paws

I answer a listener question about cat litter.

Strange weather continues...

It is currently thunderstorming here in Chicago. You have to wait until about a minute into the video to see the flash of lightning and you may have to turn the sound up to actually hear the thunder, but it is there, I promise!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A cake fit for a king.

For Simba's birthday, I made him the little cake that you can see at the left: kitty treats, sprinkled with catnip. I have a video which shows that he was less than thrilled with it. For some reason the video wouldn't load properly, so it might not work when you click on it. The highlight of his party was when Prince E put some new batteries in the laser pointer. Simba raced around for awhile chasing the red light, just like he was a kitten.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Podcast: Simba's Birthday Edition

New episode here.

On today's show:

Movie reviews:
Cinderella Man: 2.75 cat paws
Murderball: 3 cat paws

Listen as Prince E and I tackle Oakbrook Terrace Tower

Stop the Presses: Simba's Mom Seen Running Outdoors in the Winter!!!

As I was waiting for the bus to come home after work, I realized that it was quite warm out. The sign on the bank said 51 degrees. I contemplated going for a run when I got home. Keep in mind that I have not run outside since November. However, I figured that I had to go out and go running, considering so many of my running friends on the east coast are still buried in snow. I could not let a 50 degree February day go to waste.

As I rode the bus home, I saw scores of runners and walkers enjoying the lakefront path. I started to get excited. Many of them were wearing shorts. I wanted to wear shorts too! I got home, gave the birthday kitty a quick pat on the head, threw on my running shorts and long-sleeve tech shirt and shoes and headed out. I only grabbed Garmina, so I would have proof that I actually went running. I didn't bother with music or my camera, because I was afraid the longer it took me to get ready, the more likely I would be to talk myself out of it.

I got outside and immediately started running. Usually I do a short minute warm up walk until I get over by the lake because it takes that long for Garmina to acquire the signal (since I live in a tall building). However, today I just wanted to run. So I did. Garmina kicked on about 1/4 mile into the run, even though I started the timer at the beginning. So the stats below aren't exactly accurate. I estimate it was close to two miles total. I ran 10 minutes straight! I cannot even remember the last time I did that. I wish I would have had my camera because the lake was beautiful in the sunshine. I saw a few other runners. It was super fun.

Moving Time (h:m:s) 0:25:05
Distance (mi) 1.75 (actually closer to two miles)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

We Tackled the Tower!!

UPDATE: I finally managed to decipher our climbing time by listening to the recording from my dvr (I remembered to say "starting now" when we started and counted the stop time at a few seconds after Prince E shrieked with delight at seeing the 31st floor up ahead). We finished in 11 minutes, 21 seconds.

This morning, Prince E and I completed the 680 steps to the top of the Oakbrook Terrace Tower, in the "Tackle The Tower" event, benefiting the American Lung Association of Illinois. All of our training paid off and it went by very quickly. I was disappointed in the "finish line," however. There was no finish line, no signs, no one even saying "congrats." Just an old grouchy man in a fire department jacket. I realize we were in the non-competitive division, but I would have liked a little hoopla. We had to go back downstairs to get water, post-climb snacks, etc.

It felt like it took us longer to give back downstairs, believe it or not! They had two elevators that were supposed to take us back down, but about 10 of us got in and it went nowhere. No other elevators would come up, since that non-moving elevator was already on that floor. We complained to the fire department man that and he told us it had been working before, as though it was not broken and we were just not smart enough to push the button for the first floor. He suggested we take the stairs back down. Someone asked if there was another stairwell, other than the one that had people climbing up it and he said "oh, no, I guess not." Finally someone came up in one of the other elevators and we were able to jam into it and get back downstairs.

Here is a photo of Prince E rocking the stairclimb. I was so happy that had he agreed to do the event with me. I hope it is the first of many fitness-related events for us.

Below is a photo of the shirt we got. I like it. (Sorry it is so wrinkly; it was wadded up in the bag all day). We also got a little teddy bear beanie baby, which was not too exciting, except for the fact that according to the little tag poem, it is from Hawaii.

I recorded audio during the whole event. I have to go back and listen to it and see if there is anything worth posting. The highlights will appear in an upcoming podcast.

Thanks to those that pledged Prince E and I in the stairclimb: Kiki, Shore Turtle, and Dog Lover! I may also be collecting donations for the triathlon, so be on the look-out for future chances to pledge!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

French Toast Heaven and Snow Sculptures

UPDATE: They announced the winners of the snow sculpture competition! The professional winner was "A Grizzly Meal" and the High School winner was "Bottoms Up" (the pig sculpture). Both are pictured below.
This morning, Prince E and I went to breakfast at the Egg Harbor Cafe. I ordered the cinnamon roll french toast. Yes, you heard that right. French toast...made out of cinnamon rolls. I had already eaten half of it when I realized I should take a picture.

It was so yummy and it just melted in my mouth. I could eat it everyday. I just might, too, if we end of moving to an apartment building that we looked at today near the restaurant. It was a great building, with an indoor pool, fitness center, and close locations to movies, stores, etc. It is a suburb, but like a little city. Unfortunately, the rent reflect that coolness. Also, they have the nerve to charge a pet DEPOSIT ($300 refundable), a pet FEE ($250 non-refundable), and pet RENT ($20/month). I just got through breaking it to Simba that if we move there, he will have to get job, or at least start doing some chores to earn his keep. We tried to figure out what the pet fee covered that couldn't just be taken out of the pet deposit, but they didn't have an answer. I suppose it is for the privilege of having a cat in their building. Really, though, it is because they know they can charge any amount and get away with it because people won't give up their pets over money.

We also headed to the snow sculpture contest in Schaumburg. Last year it was in a much better location in Rolling Meadows, where the participants were more spread out. When this year's event was postponed in January and moved to this weekend, it was forced to move to the parking lot of Roosevelt University, across the street from the Ikea. The space was too small and the sculptures were all cramped together. There were still many impressive sculptures from professionals, as well as several local high school groups. Below are my favorites (several of the artists in the photos are still working on the sculptures because we arrived about an hour before the deadline for finishing the work).

A Grizzly Meal
David Andrews, Chris Andrews, Albert Benedict, Jr. from Madison, Wisconsin.

Think Spring
Artists: Mike Bihlmaier, Derrick Greenlee, Christopher Bihlmaier from Marengo, Illinois.

Bottoms Up!
A high school entry from Fremd High School.

Another high school team, this one from Schaumburg High School.

The sculptures will be on display Sunday and Monday, so if you are in the area, I suggest you go check it out. It is free!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Aloha spirit

I got some pretty blue and purple orchids today. They make my office feel a little more Hawaiian than usual.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

French Fries and Shoes

This morning I was reading this article about McDonald's french fries containing more fat than they originally thought. Rather than be horrified, it just made me want to go McDonald's. So I did.

I was going to post a picture of my wedding shoes, which arrived today, but they are too wide. That is a first. Most shoes are too narrow. I ordered extra wide when I guess I should have ordered just wide. I ordered them already so that I can get the first alteration done in the next few months. I bought the dress a couple of sizes too big, so I know that it will require alot of work.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fun with Videocasting!

I decided to give videocasting a try. Here is my first effort. It is only two minutes long. Download here. If that doesn't work, try to see it on my podcast page.


I am wearing my half marathon medal. Yeah. Right now. Yeah, I know it was seven months ago. But it was just laying there, looking kinda lonely. So I put in on. I forgot how heavy it was. And pretty. I guess I should take it off before I go down to the laundry room. But it makes me feel strong. And powerful. And oh-so runner-like.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Frogs Discovered

From the Chicago Tribune.

A new species of treefrog was discovered during an expedition to Indonesia in December 2005 by Conservation International. Scientists discovered a "Lost World" in an isolated Indonesian jungle, identifying dozens of new species of frogs, butterflies and plants, as well as large mammals hunted to near extinction elsewhere.

Here is another one: a microhylid frog less than a half inch long!

Courtesy of SignOnSanDiego.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Podcast: Feb 6

Get it here.

On today's show:

How I spent my sick day.

Movie reviews: Transamerica: 3 cat paws
Hustle & Flow: 3.5 cat paws

Simba's Oscar Contest!!

Details here.

Official rules here.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Simba's Oscar Contest

The contest has ended. Thanks for participating!

Official Contest Rules here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

35 for real this time.

We started the stair climbing from the basement tonight, so we actually did 35 floors this time(rather than 34, since there is no 13th floor).

My legs and heart rate were fine again, but my cold has gotten worse. I was experiencing major sinus pressure/dryness. When we finally got up to the apartment, I put my face over a steaming bowl of water and that helped alot.

I am staying home from work tomorrow. (I just typed "school" and had to correct it. Silly sickness is making me a wee bit delusional).

Don't forget to wear red tomorrow! Maybe I will wear red jammies all day.

Snacking with Simba

Simba loves Natural Cheetos White Cheddar Puffs. Video proof below.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Snacks and Movies

Get the new podcast here.

On today's show:
Five Healthy Snack Ideas
My reaction to the Oscar Nominations
Details about the Unpublished Opinion Oscar Contest: Starting Feb 6.

Simba's Mom on TiVo

Awhile ago, Rae mentioned that she was able to listen to podcasts through her TiVo, but that she wasn't able to hear mine for some reason. My TiVo didn't seem equipped to listen podcasts at all so I wasn't able to help her. But now I can listen to podcasts through the TiVo! I guess when it updated today, it finally enabled my version of TiVo to hear podcasts. I am right now listening to myself through the television. Pretty awesome. So, for those of you who want to hear my show, but don't have an mp3 player and don't want to have to sit at the computer to listen, if you have a TiVo you can listen to it through there!

Go to TiVo Central.
Select Music, Photos, and More.
Select Podcaster.
Select Enter a Url.
Enter: http://simbasmom.podomatic.com/rss2.xml