Unpublished Opinion

Friday, March 31, 2006

Podcast: Running with Bettty

Get the new show here or listen on my podcast page here.

On today's show:

Listen as Betty and I run.

Movie review: Thank You For Smoking

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Human Salt Lick.

I just got home from a nice run/walk with Betty. I sat down on the couch to take my socks off and Simba jumped up on the couch to say hi. He then proceeded to lick my arm. Maybe he needs more salt in his diet.

Here are the details of our lovely run/walk:
Moving Time (h:m:s) 0:38:21 12:37 pace
Distance (mi) 3.04
Moving Speed (mph) 4.7 avg. 10.6 max.

The weather today was beautiful. I can only hope for this nice of day on Sunday for the Shuffle.

I recorded some audio during the run and the next podcast should feature some conversation with Betty!! I didn't do the whole show on the run, though, because when I was running by myself, people were looking at me funny when I talked to myself. We ran down by the museums so there were a lot of tourists and I didn't want to upset them or anything

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Chicken Bones and Broken Tooth

Last Saturday, after the car was safely in the hands of the nice folks at Midas, we decided to go to lunch. Since our day had taken a crappy turn, we decided to treat ourselves and head to PF Chang's. I had the yummy honey chicken. It is a breaded boneless chicken. We were very hungry. When my food arrived, I jumped in and started devouring it. It was the lunch portion and I made fairly quick work of it. When I was on my very last piece, danger struck. I bit down and something felt hard. I thought at first it was a piece of uncooked rice or one of the crispy rice noodles that garnished the meal. When it was clear that there was no biting through whatever it was, I tried to spit it out. Luckily I am not too lady-like, so spitting out my food is not something I mind doing. It took three good attempts to get the offending piece of matter out of my mouth. I am sure that was a pretty scene. I showed it to Prince E and he cleaned it off and said he was fairly sure it was a chicken bone. I looked at it again and agreed. Just then the assistant manager came by to see how the meal had been. Prince E told her that the food was great, but that I nearly broke a tooth on a chicken bone. She apologized profusely and took the bone (there goes my lawsuit) to show the manager. He came over immediately trying to determine how angry we were, if I was injured, and how big of a raucous we were going to make. I think he was happy to find that we weren't that pissed off. The situation would have been different if I had broken a tooth or nearly choked on the thing. When the waiter brought the bill a few minutes later, we saw that my lunch had been comped. Pretty great since I had eaten the whole thing.

I went to the dentist today and it turns out I DO have a broken tooth. It predates the chicken bone, though, so I won't be suing PF Chang's anytime soon. (When I made the appointment last week, I already new I had something wrong with that tooth. I mistakenly thought it was something simple like a cavity). Here is a photo of the tooth. WARNING: it is gross. That is why I linked to it on another page. As you can see, my filing leaked and seeped into the tooth, causing part of it to decay or something. I will be getting a crown next week.

UPDATE: An inquiring reader, Amy, asked how I got such a good photo of the tooth. I forgot that part of the story. To show me what the broken tooth looked like, the dentist took several photos of the tooth with a fancy camera and printed them out to show me. When I was checking out, the receptionist made a joke that the pictures would be great on the fridge. I asked if I could have one. He thought I was kidding. I, of course, was not. He went and asked the dentist and she let me take one of the photos. I was planning the whole time to put in on the blog. That is just how my mind works. Also, they called to reschedule today, so the crown appointment won't be for a few weeks, if you are keeping track at home.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Not your typical salesman.

Fresh off our most recent disappointment with Mr. Car, we headed to the Toyota dealer downtown to look at Corollas. Our initial entrance into the dealership was met with the same reaction that our previous two trips into car dealerships has been: no response. I suppose we don't dress like we have money, or my young looks make us appear less adult-like, but, for whatever reason, sales people are not eager to help us. After touring the inside, we went across the street to look at the used cars. No one over there offered to help us either. When we went back inside, we asked one guy that wasn't doing anything if we could take a test drive. He said he was with a customer, and immediately sat down at a desk where another salesman was helping a customer. Then another man came over, we mentioned which car we would like to test drive and he went off to "get the keys." He never came back. It was then that Hyper Boy came into our lives. More than likely he was purposefully sent over because he was inexperienced. Normally the car salesmen that I have dealt with are macho, overbearing, arrogant jerks that try to make you feel stupid while simultaneously trying to talk you into buying something. That was not the case for Hyper Boy.

Hyper Boy walked over (or should I say bounced? skipped?) with much energy and enthusiasm. He looked young and was dressed in something straight out of GQ. He immediately asked Prince E if he was Filipino, and when Prince responded affirmatively, HB said "Really??!!! Me too!!" (think sort of Valley Girl-ish). They exchanged pleasantries in Tagalog and off we went to look at the used car lot. He talked non-stop, but not in a smooth-talking salesman way. His manner of speaking was like someone on four large cups of coffee. He laughed after nearly everything he said, as if not believing his own B.S. at times. And he was really flinging the B.S. After the Prince mentioned we were getting married in the fall, HB told us that we would have the cutest babies, because his brother had married a girl that looked like me and they had really cute kids.

We decided to check out the new Corollas, so we headed over to a different lot. Prince commented that he liked the color of a Rav-4 parked in the lot. Turns out that was HB's dealer issued car. He would admit later that the cool new car was his main reason for liking the job. We went into the warehouse and looked at a bunch of Corollas. He talked so fast that I couldn't really keep anything he said straight. When he was talking about rebates or something, Prince E mentioned something about a deal at the Honda dealership. HB stated, "that is because they can't sell their cars." To which I actually responded, out loud, "Well, now you are full of it." HB laughed because he knew I was right. He was really making a hard-sell, saying he would do everything he could to give us a good deal. He even offered a $1000 off for a "Filipino discount," because "Filipinos are cool and I have to support my countrymen." He also stated that a lot of his customers were Filipino. It made me believe even more that he was intentionally sent over by the bosses to wait on us.

We test drove a very nice Corolla S, dark gray with black interior. During the test drive, we learned all about HB's apartment in Lakeview and that he can't really afford it on his salary. He even told me later exactly how much he made last year. I didn't believe him. Unless he spent all of his money on clothes. I think it was just a tactic to make us feel bad. I didn't.

After the test drive, HB showed us around the vehicle, pointing out the various features. It became fairly clear that he knew very little about cars. He did not seemed ashamed of it. When he popped the hood, he basically said "this is the inside of the car. Isn't it pretty?" (not in those words, but you get the idea). He said "this is where the wiper fluid goes." Prince E explained to him that he thought that was that brake fluid. HB said "I really don't know anything about cars. I can tell you all about the options and how much it costs, though!!!" Then he skipped around to the back to show me the trunk. He seemed relieved when I asked him an easy question about putting the rear seats down.

Despite all of his best efforts, Prince told him that we would not be buying a car today. He seemed disappointed. He took us inside to get our information. He then told us that the manager wanted to come over to say "good bye." Right. A stern, mean (but very short) man came over and said he wanted to put us in a car today and would knock off $1000. I am not sure if that was on top of the $1000 "Filipino discount," but we said no thank you and headed out for some ice cream instead.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Long Day.

All of these things happened to me today. Let me know in the comments if you would like to hear more about any of them.

1) I went to the Chicago Bike Show.
2) The car started leaking fluid again.
3) The car started smoking.
4) We had another car repair divine intervention.
5) I nearly broke my tooth on a chicken bone.
6) I contemplated adopting a cat.
7) We test drove two cars (Toyota Corolla, Honda Element).
8) We spent time with an odd car salesman.
9) We spent all day walking/taking public transportation.
10) We watched Aliens and Simba really liked it.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Runcast #2!!

The latest podcast is up! Listen here or download here.

Recorded while running!

Movie Review: Unknown White Male

I ramble a lot.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ready for the apocalypse...or Halloween.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Podcast: back to the movies!

Latest show is up! Listen here or download here.

When fitness comes in handy in everyday life
Movie review: V for Vendetta

Reading the Fine Print

Yesterday Prince E and I went to the grocery store and bought a lot of frozen meals. As a reward, Dominick's gave us two free tickets to see Ice Age: The Meltdown. We were, of course, less than thrilled. I tried to figure out who I could give it to, as our association with children is somewhat limited.

Today I was looking at the tickets again because I was going to email details of them to a friend to possibly give them to her brother and sister-in law, when I noticed some small, exciting, fine print. GOOD FOR ANY MOVIE.

Ha! Despite the large cartoon drawings of animals all over the front of the tickets, I can actually redeem them at our favorite art cinema! Imagine going to see a foreign language film with free Ice Age tickets. Fabulous! The best part is that they are good up to $12 each! We might actually go see a move AFTER 3pm. Actually, we probably won't, but we COULD.

Yes, I realize it is selfish of me to keep them now that I was going to give them away, but I hadn't told the friend about them yet, so it isn't like a take-back.

Friday, March 17, 2006

As playful as a kitten

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Is there something he's not telling me?

Prince E got this invitation in the mail today. Hmm. Not sure how he got on that list. We might go. It would make an entertaining blog entry, I am sure.

Videocast #2

Snowing in Chicago and Simba bathes himself.
It is only about two minutes long.

Download here or if that is not working, go here and click on the arrow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Podcast: Retro Edition

A new podcast! Listen online here or download here.

On today's show:

The triathlon training officially begins

Two reviews of movies from my childhood:
Cloak and Dagger
Electric Grandmother

Monday, March 13, 2006

The things she could do!

I was sad to read today about the death of actress Maureen Stapleton. She is best known to my family as the Electric Grandmother. I always wanted to be able to pour chocolate milk or orange juice out of my finger like she could.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A tale of two rides.

Ride #1: From Foster Ave to Milton Lee Olive Park (southbound)

This morning, Prince E and I set out for a bike ride. The sun was shining and there was a light breeze off the lake. I felt very comfortable and even fast at some points along the way. E was super fast. I wish I would have given him Garmina to wear just to see how fast he got at one point. I was very happy with my choice of clothing: two longsleeve tech layers on top and my new cushiony bike shorts on the bottom. I was also wearing my new biking gloves and helmet. I was looking rather sporty. We had a lot of fun. We stopped for a break and a snack and decided to keep going, even though we had planned to go to a movie. (You know we were having fun if we decided to continue the ride rather than go to the movies!) We decided to head over to Milton Lee Olive Park, a place that Betty and I have run through on several occasions. I like to run in circles around the little fountains. This time I biked around them.

While in the park, I noticed that it was much colder than it had been thus far, but I thought it was because it was right on the edge of the Lake. Then we decided to head back home. Fastest mile this ride = 4m 36s; Slowest mile this ride = 7m 16s

Ride #2: From Milton Lee Olive Park to Foster Ave (northbound)

We headed back northbound, hugging the Lake. It was at this point that I noticed a rather strong headwind. Funny, I hadn't noticed the wind at my back coming towards the city. I just had thought I was fast. I am estimating the wind gusts at close to 20 mph. The steady wind was probably about 15 mph. It was brutal. And cold. I tried to stay close to Prince E so he could block some of the wind, but I couldn't keep up with him. I became cranky. Part of me wanted to yell to the runners/cyclers heading south to not go too far, because they would regret it on the way back. But another part (the mean simbasmom part) wanted them to suffer as much as I was. I scolded myself for letting us go so far to begin with. If we had only gone 4 miles south, we would have been home already. Now we still had another 7 miles to go. I regretted not wearing pants instead of shorts and not wearing gloves that covered my fingers (oh, no, I had to look cool). Although my legs were a little tired, I knew that I could go faster if this wind wasn't so strong. At a few points I actually felt like the wind was going to blow me backwards. I struggled to pass runners. It sucked. I tried to divert us to an inner path, away from the lake, but it ended and we had to turn around. I was in no condition to be riding next to motorized vehicles on the street. When we got further north, there was some tree cover, but the wind was still just as strong. At one point, Prince E said "do you want to take a break?" and I snarled back "I just want to be home!" Too bad I didn't have the digital audio recorder going. Would have made for a great podcast. Finally I could see our home. My fingers were frozen. My face was (extra) pink. But we were home. Another person from our building followed us in. He had just finished bike riding too. He said "Wish we had yesterday's weather again." I didn't even say anything. I was too cranky. And too cold. And mom always says if you don't have anything nice to say...
Fastest mile this ride = 6m 17s; Slowest mile this ride = 9m 34s (which is close to my 5k running pace!)

Moving Time (h:m:s) 1:46:41 6:55 pace
Distance (mi) 15.40
Moving Speed (mph) 8.7 avg. 15.1 max

Friday, March 10, 2006

Kitty and his artistic replica

Photo by Prince E, painting by me.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

That's a lot of popcorn: movies I saw in 2005

On my most recent podcast, I promised to post the list of all the movies that I saw in the theater in the calendar year 2005 (the tie-break question from the Oscar contest). I forgot to mention on the show that no one guessed the number of movies exactly (it was 31). I was going to put ratings by each one and hyperlink them to their internet movie database profiles, but that would be a lot of work. Let me know if you want me to review any of these movies. I would be happy to. This list excludes movies I watched on DVD, TV, and airplanes. I saw them all with Prince E, with the exception of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Batman Begins
Broken Flowers
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Constant Gardner
Dark Water
Good Night, and Good Luck
Hide and Seek
A History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
House of Flying Daggers
In Good Company
King Kong
Ku Fu Hustle
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
North Country
Pride and Prejudice
The Producers
Red Eye
Sin City
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Skeleton Key
Star Wars: Episode III
Vera Drake
Walk the Line
War of the Worlds


Everyone be sure to go visit Shore Turtle today and wish him a happy birthday!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Podcast: Oscar Edition

Listen to the Oscar Podcast here or download here.

My thoughts on the Oscars!!

And the winner is....

Thanks to everyone who participated in Simba's Oscar Contest!! It was a close race and it came down to a tie-breaker between three contestants!! The person with the closest guess on the tie-break was...

She is the winner of a fabulous Simba magnet! If you are disappointed that you didn't win, you can order one for yourself, along with other Simba items at Simba's store.

Be sure to check out the next podcast, where I will reveal the correct tiebreak answer, as well as read the names of all the contest participants. Thanks again to those who participated for making Simba's Oscar Contest a big success!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Simba's New Toy

I moved the movie here because it was affecting the formatting of the sidebar and I was too lazy to fix it.

The couple that rides together...

Yesterday, Prince E and I braved the Chicago cold for our first bike ride together. It was a lot of fun and the first of many many rides to come. I would have some pictures to show you, but the camera was too cold and wouldn't work. I recorded some audio on my digital voice recorder, but the battery died. I am not sure how much it recorded before that point. I haven't had a chance to upload it yet to listen to it.

Here is what we did:
Moving Time (h:m:s) 0:43:35 6:37 pace
Distance (mi) 6.58
Moving Speed (mph) 9.1 avg. 14.0 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +561 / -544

Friday, March 03, 2006

Don't You Want To Win???

Less than 48 hours remain for you to send in your entry for Simba's Oscar contest!!! All the details, official rules, and entry form here. Entries must be received by noon on Sunday, Chicago time.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pretty Kitty