OrangeMoJoJo Has FINALLY Been Published!

in Time Out Chicago magazine!

Okay, so it's only a reader comment, but it's the reader comment of the WEEK! There are only 52 of those a YEAR! 52! What are the ODDS??

Time Out had done a "lists" issue where the listed the "Top Five/Ten _____" in Chicago - one of which was "teen movies filmed in." It listed movies like Ferris Bueller's Day Off (of course!) and The Breakfast Club (awesome!), but also included such "smash" hits as Adventures in Babysitting. I was outraged! Where was Wayne's World? Where was THE BLUES BROTHERS?? They listed Adventures in Babysitting but not The Blues Brothers? I realized they specified "teen" movies, but how many of us Chicagoans hadn't memorized The Blues Brothers by the age of 15?

Elwood: "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses."
Jake: "Hit it."

heh heh heh!

Besides, the car chase was filmed 4 blocks from the house I grew up in, and they were finally pulled over by the cop with S.C.M.O.D.S. in front of a house on Gillick Street. I made a point of walking past that house on nearly all of my daily walks simply because of that fact.

I decided to write a letter to the editor just to give them a giggle, and I copied Shannon to make him smile at what a dork his wife is. Here's what I wrote:

"I LOVE your magazine, first off, so you can imagine the sense of betrayal I felt when you failed to list THE BLUES BROTHERS among the best EVER Chicago movies. Three orange whips to the ass of whomever forgot to list the most quotable movie ever filmed in Chicago. I think you should send me to one of the spas on your list for a full day of treatments to help me recover from this traumatic experience."

I heard a few days later that they actually wanted to print my letter. I was pretty tickled. If this is how it felt to have a letter to the editor printed, methought to myself, I can't imagine how awesome it's going to feel when my BOOK gets published! Then, last Wednesday, I found out that it actually won "Letter of the Week", so I get to choose a cool Time Out guidebook to the city of my choice (no, no spa treatments)! I chose Graz . I have family there, Shannon studied there - it's the perfect excuse to finally plan that trip to Austria.

I am way too proud of myself right now. Not only did I get my letter published, but I got the words "orange" and "ass" published, too!

"You! In front of that computer! OrangeMoJoJo's been published!"

I'm totally adding this to my resume, and I'm going to frame the printed letter in an ornate frame and hang it in my office where others have hung their doctorate degrees.

Now that I have a taste of accomplishment, I had better start working on my book, especially since I bought a book last Saturday on "credit" (I can't read it until I finish writing a chapter).

Oh! And Quantum Leap fans: the day after the edition in which my letter appeared arrived, Shannon and I watched the episode of Quantum Leap where Sam leapt into the backup singer who had to keep her friend from running away. There was a definite "I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!!!! THE BAND!!! THE BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND!!!" moment in the Baptist church during the episode when, during a very energetic Sunday service with all kinds of animated singing and dancing going on, Sam tells Al he's convinced he's leapt there to make sure the preacher's daughter at least gets a chance to make a career of singing.

And incidentally, this episode took also place in Chicago. I wonder why IT wasn't listed on Time Out's so-called "Best Of" list! Hrmph! (Okay, I'll admit I'm still trying to score at least a pedicure here).

"I have seen the light! Get published!! GET PUBLISHED!!! Get off your ass and write your book!!!"

Please Keep Trinity's Beloved Bipeds In Your Thoughts Today

as they are grieving dearly.

My dear friends lost their beloved dog and family member Trinity last to cardiac arrest following open heart surgery. She had been born with a condition in which the valve on one side of her heart was too narrow, causing the muscles on that side to pump much harder. Her vet assured them that correcting this malformation was a routine procedure with a 90% success rate. Unfortunately, when they opened her chest, they found a seriously clogged artery that had to be cleared before they could proceed in fixing the narrowed valve, and the outcome was not as certain. They had to decide on the spot to move forward with both procedures. Though she came through the surgery okay, she suffered cardiac arrest last night and passed away.

Please remember that the surgery was absolutely necessary, and you made the right decision. I am so sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful, sweet dog and you took the most wonderful care of her.


I Always KNEW If A Movie Were Made About Me I'd Be Played By A Hottie!

Jessica Chastain will do! It's amazing how many "Jolene's" there are in Hollywood! Maybe Jolene McCaffrey will do the visual effects like she did in
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Corpse Bride! CooooOOOOOooooool!

...this is so sad. I'm so bored I'm googling my own first name on imdb.com.

300, Three-Schmundred! I've Seen This Before.

Shannon and I went to see the movie 300, which was really entertaining (even Aethelred liked it!), but when the Spartans were yelling and chanting and looking all huge and scary-ass, I was smiling to myself thinking, "I've seen this before." It's called the Haka.

I love the blade across the throat move. Nothing subtle about that!
At dinner last night we got to talking about sports - loyalties and such - and it struck me once again that though I really don't understand what's going on half the time, I really love rugby. Especially New Zealand All Blacks rugby. Before I die, I want to see an All Blacks game in New Zealand. I was introduced to a bunch of (mainly second string) All Blacks at a bar in Headington (the White Horse) in 1999, but I never saw a live game. I did get hooked on watching them on tellie at the pub, though! Watching Lomu or Tana live would have been an experience. They were scary enough on tellie!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a terrible sports fan. I enjoy watching tennis, but I have no idea how one manages to get into Wimbledon. I fall asleep during golf and baseball, but I still claim to be a Red Sox fan. I like it when they do well, and feel sad when they lose, but don't ask me what an RBI is, or what they call the guy way out on the green stuff who never really gets to catch a ball so much as fling himself against the back wall when the batter hits a touchdown. Maybe he's called the "wall smacker."

See if you can spot Lomu and Tana in this video.

Here are some links to more Haka videos. I recommend viewing one before you have to make a stand, do a presentation before a crowd you know will be difficult, defend a belief, ask your boss for a raise, or tell your boyfriend or girlfriend that you can't move in with them until they dispose of all of their bean bag furniture.

If you REALLY want to make a statement, or have a wedding coming up (Laura? Matt?) and want to have the most unique first dance EVER, you can even
learn to Haka yourself. I don't understand why you two aren't asking me for more wedding advice. For serious.


I See One of Hillary's Classmates Has Discovered YouTube

Hillary was born in 1947 and lived and went to school in Park Ridge. I have a strong nagging suspicion that "ParkRidge47," the creator of this video, attended Maine South High Schoolwith Mrs Clinton.

She was NOT, shall we say, voted "most popular."

I love that they added an iPod to the sledgehammer thrower.

I can't believe I never saw the original Apple commercial. But then, I didn't start watching superbowls unti 1986!


Men Report Seeing Orange-Clad Visions in Jerusalem

More men report a desire to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem this year as Hooters opens their newest restaurant in Tel Aviv.

"I totally thanked God when our waitress Kathy bent over the table to served me my Coke and fried pickles at the Hooters in Little Rock." said Stanley Harmon of Pettus, Arkansas who surprised his family this week by announcing his decision to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem despite having been to church only 3 times in his life. "It was a really religious experience. I figure, if I felt that spiritual or whatever in Little Rock, well, that must be peanuts to how thankful I'd feel if I were experiencing the same thing in Jerusalem! So I've booked my tickets for August."

Kathy, pictured in center.
"No! It's the wings! They have the best buffalo wings EVER! For serious!"

Jerusalem is considered by three religions to be the holiest of cities, "the place where heaven and earth meet."

Heaven Van Craenenbroeck, meet earth.

As much as I love the orange shorts, I could never wear this uniform, unless I was able to make some modifications. I'd keep the tank, but the shorts would have to be lengthened a bit to accomodate my pear-shaped self:

Hey! They're still orange and shiny!


Bargain Find of the CENTURY!

Hey, it's only 7 years in. We can say this is indeed the bargain of the century.

I've wanted a vacuum for a while, since my awesome little blue Kenmore Canister vac went kaput on me almost 3 years ago, so periodically I'd halfheartedly check on CraigsList for a replacement Kenmore canister or a Hoover Duros. I'd check the Dyson listings for giggles, but I stopped laughing when I read these 8 little words:

"Dyson DC-14 Animal in need of some repair - $50"

The cheapest Dyson I'd seen before this on CraigsList was $275. Used. The DC-14 Animal retails for like $550. Added perque: The DC-14 animal is, in my mind, the ultimate vacuum. If I had $600 to spend on a vac, it was the vac I'd have spent it on. It's excellent for us allergy/asthma sufferers, it's highly rated by Consumer Reports, it's bagless, it has a cool Webbernet site that shows you exactly how to use all the features, and, best of all:

it's purple.

Holy crap.

I e-mailed the seller immediately fully exp
ecting to be told it had been snatched up within seconds of the posting, and that s/he was sorry the listing hadn't been removed yet, did I want the DustBuster they were selling instead? I wondered vaguely what could be wrong with it for the seller to be asking only $50, but figured it would be worth fixing if it was in bad shape. Even if I had to pay $100 on repairs, I'd still be coming out WAY ahead.

The seller wrote back to say the rollers weren't working properly, but everything else was fine. We have hardwood floors, so I wouldn't have been using the rollers anyway, so I'm starting to think this thing is like custom made for us. I MIGHT not even have to fix it up! But I called Dyson j
ust in case to find out where a recommended dealer was. There's one in Evanston called AA Moley's "Like 'Holey Moley.' HA!" Inc.

I picked the vacuum up from the selle
rs last Wednesday, and it looked like it needed a bit of a cleaning, but otherwise it looked fine. They pointed out the broken roller, but said that otherwise it worked great. They'd brought it out to my car, so I hadn't been able to test it, but I was okay with that. They also gave me a huge bag full of attachments and instruction booklets

I didn't get to test it until that Saturday after I alerted Shannon to the fact that I had bought a vacuum (he HATES vacuums, and I wanted to pick the right moment to tell him I'd bought one, like, maybe a moment when I was on my way out the door to catch a cab to go to the airport where I'd be flown to somewhere very distant for, say, 3-4 weeks or something). He took it well once I explained I mainly wanted it for the furniture and hard-to-reach pet hair-catching spaces like along the floorboards under the bed and on the backs of my black suit pants.

side from the vacuum being a bit stinky from not being cleaned, it worked perfectly. I cleaned it up, vacuumed up some baking soda to kill the lingering post-cleaning icky smell, and VOILA! I have a perfectly good, odor-free Dyson.

I haven't named it yet, but I have listed it as a primary beneficiary for my pension along with Aethelred, Budica, and Shannon.

Khakis with 'TUDE!

I hate advertising. Who doesn't? Even the Superbowl commercials sucked this year. Except for those Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" commercials all commercials should be taken off the air; and except for the brilliant South Side Chicago Board of Tourism campaign on the Chicago El system, please spare me all visual advertisements. Don't get me started on on the half-clad insipid women who stare at me all day long from wherever ad agencies can find a blank spot. They've been eying the wall opposite my desk since the day I started here, waiting for me to take a long weekend or something.

Ad companies are ALWAYS putting forth campaigns that I'm sure sound fabulous and amazing and sexy and eyecatching around the brainstorming table, but some of them are not just bad, but in seriously poor taste. Take this Dolce and Gabbana ad:

Gang rape is just SO sexy.
Do we really think about what we're looking at??

Then there's the newest Gap ad campaign - "Khakis with Attitude." Some of them are just sloppily dressed men and women, like this guy who showed up for the shoot after sleeping in his kit for, say, 2 weeks. Harmless, but who'd want to look like this slob?

Then we come to the women. The third one especially holds the look of a trauma survivor. Again, how is this sexy? What are they trying to sell? If it is indeed attitude, Gap is selling the attitude of "Victim" or "Helpless" or "Haunted."



This one just creeps me out -
so much so that it inspired this blog entry in the first place.

Here's another slob . This one says,"Hell, yeah, I got attitude! I got it from the six shots of Jack I just had at the bar! You totally want me. Am I wearing your pants? How weird is that!"


Eleventy Thousand, One Hundred and Eleven!

My mileage indicator flipped the other day and I just had to take a picture of it, because it will never happen again in my car's lifetime! I promise I won't do this for another 11,111 miles.

Um, if you're going to be alarmed by any red pointer indicator thingies, ummm, why don't you focus on the gas gauge? I'm almost down to half a tank! Where's the BP???


The Mystery of the Random Lyrics Has Come To an End!

Crazy Redheads! Sting (left) can sure give Elfman (above) a run for his money when it comes to looking creepy-ass crazy!

Thanks to Shannon, Peepster and Mugsy for guessing! And thanks to Rev for playing even though I was in total disregard of da rulz of da meme. I still don't know what "meme" means, and I refuse to look it up. Sounds too much like "mame," and I'm not a big fan of the coelacanth. I'd rather have me a nice John Dory at Carlos'.

The John Dory I ate at Carlos' - before shot.

The John Dory I ate at Carlos' - after shot.

But I digress.

Once again, without further ado, I give you the songs the lyrics I posted a few weeks ago came from.

1. Hey there mighty brontosaurus, have you got a lesson for us? - The Police, "Walking in your Footsteps"

2. And his face which was a paper-white mask of evil sang us this song - They Might Be Giants, "Turn Around"

3. I'm going to Wichita - The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army" (That one was for you Chuffed!)

4. Just put me in a wheelchair and put me on a plane - The Ramones, "I Wanna Be Sedated"

5. You're such a silly woman - Harry Nilsson, "The Coconut Song" (There's a Nilsson song I actually know, Rev!)

6. Kemosabe, you can kiss my ass I bought a boat I'm going off to sea - Lyle Lovett, "If I Had a Boat"

7. I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me - Pearl Jam, "Wish List"

8. I'm a new day rising - Foo Fighters, "Times Like These"

9. We have the same intrigue as a court of kings - Yes, "Leave It" (was I the only one who listened to the LP 90125 until there were grooves worn on this song?...I was afraid of that.)

10. Chicken's in the bread pan picking at dough - Charlie Daniels Band, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"

11. I think that God's got a sick sense of humor and when I die I expect to find him laughing - Depeche Mode, "Blasphemous Rumours" (they're English, so I get to spell "rumours" funny. Oh, look! I did it again!)

12. I see you've sent my letters back and my LP records and they're all scratched - The Police, "I Can't Stand Losing You" (I didn't realize I'd had two Police songs on this Random Lyrics post! Good catch, Peepster!)

13. If you take away our rocket fuel we're gonna escape in cars - Off Broadway, "Bad Indication" (c'mon you Chicagoans and Mainers related to the lead singer of Off Broadway! I know you knew this one!)

14. Nothing matters but the weekend from a Tuesday point of view - The Kings, "Switching To Glide" (widely recognized song, yet noone remembers who sings it....)

15. You're an acid junkie college flunkie dirty rotten daddy bastard - Scissors Sisters, "Filthy, Gorgeous"

16. She smiled and said "forgive me" as she let go of my hand - Better than Ezrz, "Recognize"

17. Your head is firmly lodged way up your butt where it belongs - Oingo Boingo, "Imposter" (obligatory Boingo quote.)

18. No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women, no fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it's dark - The Vapours, "Turning Japanese"

19. She could kill you with the wink of an eye - Sweet, "Ballroom Blitz"

20. She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake - Elvis Costello, "Detectives"

21. Dr. Heckyll is his own little guinea pig because they all think he's mad - Men at Work, "Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive" (It's A Mistake is actually my favorite Men at Work song, Peepster!)

22. He could get away with murder one and you would clean the smoking gun - Barenaked Ladies, "Off the Hook" (Keanu fans will recognize this from Sweet November)

23. I'm as happy as Christmas - Collective Soul, "Better Now" (this song is now a jingle for a casino. At least I get to hear a bit of it every day on my way to work!)

24. Where the demons dwell and the banshees live and they do live well - Spinal Tap, "Stonehenge" (It goes to 11.)

25. And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations they're quite aware of what they're going through. - Bowie, baby. Bowie. "Changes"


Richard Jeni, It's Almost Spring Here, What Is It, the Dead of Winter There? Huh? Huh?

On Religion: "You're basically killing eachother to see who's got the bettter imaginary friend."

On Chicago: "I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough. Let's go west.' "

It was confirmed this morning that comedian Richard Jeni died of suicide - a gunshot wound to the head. When police found him he was still alive, but died soon after arriving at the hospital. He was 49 years old.

I remember watching him in the late 80s on Comedy Central back when it was all standup comedians and informercials. It was so awesome. Hours and hours of Rita Rudner. Paula Poundstone. Richard Belzer. Janeane Garofalo. Judy Tanuta. Emo Phillips. Ellen DeGenerous. Jake Johannsen. Richard Jeni. He wasn't my favorite stand-up comic, but I never turned him off. He certainly did make me laugh out loud on more than one occasion - especially when he talked about his parents. Seems when he moved to LA his parents couldn't get a handle on the whole time change thing. "It's 9:00 here, what is it,noon there? Huh? Huh? It's 3PM here what is it 5 AM there? Huh? Huh? It's Easter here, what is it, Christmas there?"

Thank you for making me laugh, Richard! I'm sorry you felt you had to go when you did.


OrangeMoJoJo is Totally Into Ergodic Literature!

I know! You thought you knew me, right?

The word "house" appears in blue throughout the book, no matter what language it appears in. (See the cover above and a page from the text below.)
I counted the word house appeared in at least four languages, always highlighted in blue.

Ergodic literature is not something you can very easily skim.
Thank God I didn't have to read Danielewski at Shimer!

So I have a WINNER!!! for the Scare The Bejeebus Outta OrangeMoJoJo Contest from this past Halloween, even though I'm actually still reading the book.

CONGRATULATIONS, CHUFFED! You win a plate of Peanut Butter Temptations, which I will get to you as soon as I sneak the recipe away from Shannon. It's his most closely guarded recipe, and also his most popular baking request.

Chuffed had recommended The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Others had recommended: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The House on Haunted Hill by Shirley Jackson, Ghost Story by Peter Straub, and, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

I loved In Cold Blood, it just didn't creep me out like The House of Leaves did. Erm, I mean, is doing. Ghost Story was the scariest of the four runners-up; In Cold Blood the best written.

I missed all the hype back when this book was but a glint in Danielewski's eye. Like The Blair Witch Project, Danielewski used the internet and media to get people talking before the book was "compiled," passing the story off as real.

He essentially lets us scare the bejeebus out of ourselves by letting our imaginations go free and wild. You really don't know what you're afraid of - a distant growl? A claw-like slash on a wall? A room that wasn't there before? Inexplicable dimensions of a house where the inside is far, far larger than the outside? Danielewski fuels this fear by citing his work with actual footnotes and sources.

You can flip through the book to any footnote and look the source up on www.Amazon.com.

It'll be there.

It's been referred to as "a satire of academic criticism," which I think anyone who's attended grad school will probably get a smirk out of. I can't imagine the time and effort Danielewski took (10 years!) to put this work together. Each person has his or her own voice, evidenced through font and tone. There are footnotes. Everything is cited. There are windows in the book, and mirrors, created an actual house through text. There are rips, again, created through text alone. It's an amazing work, and far FAR from an easy read. I'm glad you recommended it to me Chuffed for the experience alone. I have never read anything like it. The closest I can equate it to, all that comes to mind, are the movies The Blair Witch Project which scared me to the point of almost having to leave the theater, and Natural Born Killers which was presented to the audience as an actual series of events.

Danielewski just came out with a new book: Only Revolutions, and he again uses the actual text to help tell the story in his unique way. I don't know if I'll read that one. As much as I am enjoying House of Leaves, and as glad I am to have been introduced to it, I can't see myself putting this much effort into reading another novel any time soon.

There's rumour of a House of Leaves movie. One "fan" of the book who calls him/herself "katatonic" recommended Christopher Lambert to play one of the twins, Navy or Tom. Seeing as the twins are clever, interesting, and contain, oh, I don't know, DEPTH - I think maybe this "fan" should be thrown into the deepest bowels of the House and his or her cries ignored from those sitting in the brightly lit dining room only a few feet away.

Click here for a good review of the book.

Congratulations, Chuffed, and thank you for the recommendation. What a chilling novel! I can't wait till we both finish it so's we can discuss it! Maybe over tea at Transitions Bookstore?