Friday, February 22, 2008

Love On A Budget

This is something that will sound like complaining, but it's not. I'm genuinely amused and touched at the thoughtfulness of my girlfriend's Valentine's present, even if the postage had to have cost way more than the actual gift. The gift was a box with two cans of Piroulines, which are creme-filled wafers that she knows I love, and a card. My gift to her was a dozen roses, chocolates, and a stuffed teddy bear. Slightly more expensive. But like I said, I'm not complaining, I know she's struggling with her three jobs and many bills and car and house payments. Plus, she is taking me to a spring training game in Memphis between the White Sox and Mets at the end of March, and those tickets were $50 each, so that certainly evens things out. If you ask her, maybe that even balances on her side, since she paid for the tickets and has to sit through a whole baseball game as well. She may punish me after the game for putting her through such torture. But hey, sometimes I like being punished.

Things are calm right now on Planetdre. "Jacob" decided that he had more things to clean up at his Montana residence, so he's staying there an extra week at least. He's on schedule to be back rooming with me and looking for work next week. I've readjusted to having my own space, but I miss him too, so I'm actually looking forward to him coming back. Our paths had led us to making less and less time to chat since we left high school, so we've certainly talked more this year already than we had most other years. Living together for a few weeks would ruin a lot of friendships because they were built on drunken socializing and not real companionship. But we've known each other so long that the bond only strengthened. As for class, everything's moving along smoothly. I did very well on the first tests of all three of my classes. I'm especially enjoying the media class, because every theme and lecture is so familiar to me. The material is basically a primer on the messages we receive every day from the TV, radio, newspapers, internet, etc. And I've always railed against some of those messages and how ignorant they are. I'm more confident than ever that my next step after getting my associates degree is to go on to pursue a broadcasting degree, because media seems to be a natural fit for me. Endless yapping and rambling--that's the ticket! As for my job, people are getting canned around me at an alarming rate, making me think that I need to refresh my resume and find a way out before I'm escorted out the door. And as for my family, my aunt is recovering from a hysterectomy, so keep her in your thoughts and prayers, if you're so inclined.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Deep Freeze

The weather here in Chicago and my friend "Jacob's" job prospects are both under a sheet of ice right now. He left in frustration this past weekend to go back home for a week, tend to his personal business there, and bring back some more clothes and other items, including a new computer for me as thanks for my generosity. But I can't help but wonder what he thought was going to happen when he decided that he was going to come down to Chicago, find a managerial job, and start over at the snap of a finger. The man has lots of experience, finding his way up the ladder to a manager's job at Best Buy straight out of high school, but he's got zero education. He's very bright, brighter than me by a mile; he was able to amass enough credits so that he needed one class to graduate high school his senior year. But he took college classes briefly after that, and he's always said that he quit because it was just too easy and boring. And here he is, never expecting to have to prove himself in life, thinking that he would always have things go his way, from helping his mother move to Wisconsin and open an internet cafe, to buying a house in Montana with his girlfriend and opening a restaurant. I would dare say that Jacob has never had to struggle like this ever. I'm not just talking about the job search, which has resulted in one interview in the last month, but the emotional toll of the whole sad mess concerning the skank he was living with. He hasn't opened up much to me about what he's going through, but I know when he first got here, that first week he stayed with me, he was hardly eating and he was sleeping maybe three or four hours each night. He caught up in both areas by the time he left (and boy, did we eat well every night, whether it was pizza, gyros, nachos, or humongoid burritos), but he was a bit of a mess, and his plan--ignore any interview requests he gets in the next week since he's not here in Chicago, come back, stay here until he gets a job and finds an apartment--seems a little strange. I'm not sure what he should do. I don't know what the hell I would do in his situation, besides crack up and commit to a psych ward and mumble about white trash for the rest of my pathetic existence. All I can do is offer any help I can, which right now means letting him crash on the couch and occasionally buying him groceries. I still remember something he said about me when we were in fourth grade. I had a personality book with favorite likes and dislikes that I filled out, and there was a page for my best friend to fill out about me. One question he had to answer about me was what he admired most about me, and he said that he thought I was gutsy and went after what I wanted (which at the time was a Puerto Rican girl). I've carried that with me throughout the years, and it's a small part of why I'm so outspoken today. And I think when Jacob comes back, I'm going to talk to him about that and how we can maybe figure out a way to both be gutsy and take the world by storm and give a big middle finger to all those who have screwed us over.

So my house is empty once again, and I'm kinda amused at the various things I had to adjust to having a roommate. I had to take the phone into my bedroom any time my girlfriend called, which I'm not used to doing. But I wouldn't have wanted Jacob to hear us cooing and getting all mushy. Hell, I never lived down kissing "Giselle" in front of him at the lunch table our junior year. I had to put on my robe after every shower instead of running out of the bathroom naked and getting dressed piece by piece. I had to pick up my clothes after taking them off for the shower instead of letting them lay on the floor. I had to keep my computer on after using it so that he could check his e-mail. And, his last night here, after he had pork nachos, I had to learn the next morning to keep a can of air freshener nearby at all times. I'm sure my girlfriend is happy that I'm getting some of these lessons of cohabitation out of the way before she moves here. But all of it was worth it for that one Friday night a couple of weeks ago. A woman Jacob went out with several nights prior texted him, warning him that he was going to receive a drunk dial in a half-hour. He looked at me perplexed and asked, "What is a drunk dial?" Amazingly, in all his years, Jacob had never been the victim of a drunk dial. Even I've been drunk dialed. Sure enough, a half-hour later, around midnight, the girl called him and spent the next hour detailing to him her frustrations about her job, her attempts to get home on public transportation after a night of boozing, and her fears that he shared too much information about her to his roommate ("What did you tell him? What did you tell him??"). She even wanted to speak to me at one point. Then, after he talked her into bed, she asked if he was going to come over and "take advantage of me." I don't think he realized that was an invitation, and he ended the call soon thereafter. Predictably, she called back. But she was so out of it, she was telling him about the "snow monsters" outside her window. They haven't spoken since her apology call the next day. But the inconvenience of having him stay here was worth it just to see him squirm through that drunk dial. He never experienced that before, and he was wondering why she chose him to receive it, repeating to me over and over, "We went on one date!" Obviously, I told him, he was the closest thing she had to a man right now. It was another scenario that pointed out to me how lucky I am to have my girlfriend, the sweet, sober angel that she is, and how much I do not miss dating.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

New York Giants vs. New England (-12.5)

Well, the two weeks of endless hype is finally over, and I have to somehow justify this bullshit pick. Actually, I don't have to, since no one is reading this. But anyway, after bouncing back and forth about how I would pick this, here's my analysis: I can't go against the Patriots to win the game because they're clearly the better team. They set records, they didn't lose, they had a season for the ages. However, they seem to carry themselves as if they believe they have already won the Super Bowl. From the arrogance over the nature of QB Tom Brady's foot injury, to the smugness about the Spygate situation, to the fact that they didn't bother to have a walk-through last night, the Patriots seem to think that they have every right to win this game. The Giants didn't even expect to be here, so they carry themselves very loosely. All the pressure appears to be on New England. As a result, I will predict the Giants to take a first-half lead as the Pats play tightly and a little afraid to fail. But I see Giants QB Eli Manning letting the moment and his inexperience get to him, and a few second-half turnovers turning the game the Pats' way. On top of that, the Pats won their previous three Super Bowls by three points each, so that 12.5 points look a little large to me. I'll take the Pats to make history, and the Giants to cover the spread.

My Pick: New England 33-27