October 31, 2007

Grossly Informative

I don’t consider myself a germ-a-phobe. I don’t feel the need to wash my hands 1,000 times a day. I don’t freak out if I don’t have hand sanitizer on me at all times. I don't go AWOL on people who sneeze within 5 feet of me. I also rarely ever get sick, so I just generally don’t freak out about germs – at least I didn’t.

There is this article in my new Health Magazine . I read it last week and have not stopped thinking about germs since. Let’s just say I learned a lot I may not have actually wanted to know. It was aptly titled “The 12 Germiest Places in America” and should you choose to read this article, you too might start thinking differently about grocery shopping. “Saliva. Bacteria. Fecal matter. Those are just a few of the choice substances Gerba found on shopping cart handles. Carts rank high on the yuck scale because they’re handled by dozens of people every day and you’re 'putting your broccoli where some kid’s butt was,' says the professor of environmental microbiology."


October 22, 2007

Someone Told Me!

There is a fabulous, intelligent and witty program on NPR I have only been able to catch one time. Months ago, I was house sitting for a friend in the burbs. I was driving her car, running errands and came across the program "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." It's an hour-long news quiz program that features topical questions, a panel of comedians and hilarious answers. It was so funny, I actually found myself not wanting to exit the car to finish my errands. The program stuck with me, but I hadn't heard it since that one time.

When this month's Chicago Magazine came out, I once again stumbled across "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" - this time in print. There was an article about the host, Peter Segal's, new book "The Book of Vice." In the article, I learned the program airs on WBEZ 91.5 FM on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m.

Very excitedly, this Sunday morning I plugged in my old boom box circa Christmas 1998. I tuned to Chicago Public Radio and heard the morning's top news stories. NPR has phenomenal news programming, but I really wanted to hear "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" for a second time. I then did something I maybe should have done a long time ago. I used Google. Not long after I found the show's Web site did I see a link to the its latest broadcast. So not only could I listen to the show I missed, I could listen to the show whenever I wanted.

And I share this because I think you all should too.

October 15, 2007

Short Changed

Today was a beautiful fall day. One that made me glad the steamy, summer days are over. I walked to the CVS around the corner to pick up some things. It was just too nice a day, so instead of heading right back to work I decided to do a lap around the block. I was heading east on Adams when I spotted the post office. I remembered I was fresh out of stamps and decided to pop in and visit the stamp machines.

I walked up and checked out my selections. Fifty stamps were too many and five stamps too few. I settled on a book of twenty. Twenty stamps go for about $8 these days. I examined my wallet and found nothing but twenties. I saw the machine took $20 bills and I'd made the trip, so I figured why not. The machine took my 20, and gave me change - in the form of 11 mint condition Thomas Jefferson $1 coins.

I didn't even know these existed. And now I have 11 of them.

Looking back, I have no idea what type of change I would get. I guess I was hoping the machine would spit back a 10 and some ones. It didn't, and now I have no idea how I'm going to get rid of these. No vending machines, parking meters or laundromats will accept them. I can't even deposit them in my bank's ATM. If i try to use them as they are intended, I envision endless hassles from clerks not knowing what they are or believing me they are real. These bright, shiny gold coins don't look like real money. They look like new tokens at Chuck E. Cheese. They look like I stole them from a pirate's treasure chest. They might as well be Euros.

What absolutely blows my mind though is that you can currently bid for one of these $1 coins on eBay. And the going price? Two dollars plus $1.50 shipping. Well maybe that's what I'll do with them. Put them up on eBay. Heck, at their going rate, I could consider my $11 in coinage an investment.

October 11, 2007


My co-worker Maggie introduced the word hangry to me a while ago, and I have since used it many a time over like it's my own. It is the perfect word to describe the feeling of being both hungry and angry - mainly angry because you are hungry. I am not hangry at the moment, but foresee this coming later in the day.

I didn't pack my lunch this morning because I got dinner here last night. It was a yummy pasta dish with white wine sauce, pine nuts and shitake mushrooms with garlic mashed potatoes on the side. The portion was huge, so instead of gorging myself I chose to save the remnants for lunch today.

Only someone else had other plans.

When I went into our cafe this morning to place my mid-afternoon snack in the fridge, my pasta was gone. Gone! Sometime between 7:30 p.m. last night and 9 a.m. this morning my pasta vanished. I don't know where it went or who might have taken it, but I am enraged. I refuse to eat only garlic mashed potatoes and black cherry yogurt today, so I will be buying lunch against my will. And I am certain that will create a whole new kind of hangry.

Lesson learned, it's better to gorge.

October 10, 2007

Disconcerting Spelling

You know how sometimes you know you know a word because you hear it more than you spell it. Yet every time you spell it, it you spell it the same way because it is the way you know you heard it? And then sometimes spell check tells you your wrong? I do.

The other day I was composing an email to an attorney at work and before I sent the email it automatically began to spell check. It got to the word disconcerning and said it was wrong. I thought, “No way. How else would you spell that?” Well it turns out you spell it disconcerting. Yeah, that’s pretty much a different word.

Here are some other words spell check has corrected me on time and time again: hilarious (I thought halirious), category (catagory) and voluminous (voluminuous).

It’s a wonder I’m no longer in journalism.

*By the way, I checked my blog today and found it funny that I have not updated since I said my time freed up due to trial postponement. That is only because I've actually been able to do things I'd hadn't for a while.

October 3, 2007

I'm Back!

Today was an unusual day at work. No, I did not break my previous staying-late record (it's 9:30 p.m. by the way). I actually left work before 6 p.m.! My bum was on the train and pulling out of Ogilvie Transportation Center by 5:50 p.m.

This happened for one reason and one reason only. My trial got kicked. What was to be an early November trial date is now a late February trial date. And what was to be a fall of late nights and weekends at the office will now be a winter of late nights and weekends at the office. I love the fall, so a winter of work sounds much more appealing.

The new date does not mean I won't have work to do. There is still plenty my team needs to do in order to prepare for trial. However it does mean that every project I take on over the next three months not have a deadline of 5 minutes ago.

It also means that for those of you who have tried to get a hold of me at a reasonable hour as of late, I might actually be able to take your calls now... at least for the next three months.