Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Things that make no sense

Thirteen Things that make absolutely no sense to Jessica

1. Can someone please explain to me why Chris Daughtry was voted off American Idol last night instead of Kat? She is so not a clutch performer my friends. Don't get me wrong, her voice is fabulous and she's pretty but she freaks out under pressure as evidenced by the last two weeks of ridiculously over the top performances. If it wasn't for Taylor, I would seriously consider not watching any more.

2. Last Sunday's episode of The Sopranos. Seriously, I didn't really get it. Christopher has been all sober and everything after going to AA, he gets married because his girlfriend (who we've never really seen in the show to date, by the way) is pregnant and then his "friends" tell him that it's ok to drink a little wine (that they just stole from a biker gang) and do just a little heroin. With friends like that . . .

3. Staying with the TV theme, given the seriously bad dialogue, why do I keep watching CSI:NY? Here's why. So maybe it does make sense after all.

4. The fact that it rained last night but not one drop managed to touch the plants on our balconies.

5. I can talk and talk and talk in real person but when I want to write 13 little things, I can't seem to think of a single thing to say.

6. A Girl's classmate and good friend can't come back to school next year. The Principal doesn't like her mom (because she expressed concern about some school policies and teacher turnover) so he cancelled their contract (it's a private school). Apparently, the fact that the girl is a good student, well-behaved and well-liked doesn't matter. Admittedly, this woman tends to be a bit too outspoken (and I warned her to tone it down but it's hard for her). But they did it without warning, and with no opportunity for appeal. Not only does that make no sense, it's just not fair.

8. The sheer number of meetings I attend. I am trying (in vain) to go to fewer meetings, most of which are time wasters of major proportions. E-mail me, people. I don't actually have to see you in person all the time.

9. Speaking of meetings, I am currently on a conference call (gotta love multi-tasking). They don't really need me on this call but I'm like a binky - they've gotten used to having me around to answer random questions so they start to think they need me. I guess I shouldn't complain, but you know I will.

10. I almost missed my bus this morning because I was searching through my purse for my iPod headphones (which I had left at the office the night before). You'd think I'd be smart enough to get myself to the bus stop FIRST. It's one block away. Can I walk ONE BLOCK without a soundtrack? Apparently not.

11. The fact that I'm still sitting at my desk, writing this and half listening to a conference call that doesn't really need me when I really, really need to get home.

12. Getting my period every 21 to 24 days. If menopause didn't suck, I'd be begging for it.

13. The fact that white chocolate isn't really chocolate. Then why is it called chocolate? Are they trying to fool us into thinking we're eating chocolate when we're not? What purpose would that serve?

See the Sidebar for loads of links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Concert edition

Thirteen concerts Jessica has seen, wants to see or would never be caught dead at

Writing yesterday's post made me think about all the other concerts I've been to, and some I wish I could see and some that wild horses couldn't drag me to. So here goes:

1. I saw the Rolling Stones at Rosemont Horizon. We had kick ass seats on the main floor (it helps to have a father with connections). At one point, Mick Jagger ran down the center aisle. My girlfriend, G (famous for locking her keys in the car at the Springsteen concert) ran to aisle. As Mick made his way back to the stage, G came running back, breathless. "I touched him! I have Mick Jagger's sweat on my hand! I am NEVER washing this hand again!"

2. I saw Journey (also at Rosemont). I went with my girlfriend, L, and her stoner aunt and uncle. We smoked joints in their van before the concert. I'm sure my parents had NO idea that they put their 15 year-old's safety in the hands of two stoners with a van. It was fun, though. Not that I would let my own kids do that but I'm (hopefully) not nearly as clueless as my parents were.

3. Also at Rosemont, I saw Styx with L. For some reason I can't remember much about that concert. Maybe we went with her aunt and uncle . . .

4. I saw a bunch of concerts at Alpine Valley. It's not called that anymore (like Rosemont, I think it has a corporate name now). It's an outdoor concert venue. One of the concerts I saw there was George Benson. That was an awesome summer concert. It was a beautiful night, we drank sangrias and smoked clove cigarettes (I know, they're disgusting but it was the thing to do at the time).

5. Another Alpine Valley concert was Kool and the Gang with Wang Chung as their opener. Who doesn't love the song Celebration?

6. The funniest concert I ever saw was in Las Vegas. As part of our hotel package, my husband and I got free tickets to see The Righteous Brothers. This was just a few years ago (obviously before Bobby Hatfield died). I love Unchained Melody and You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' as much as anyone and you gotta give props to two guys who lasted in the music business as long as they did. Not to diss the older crowd - I am (or soon will be) one of them. But seriously, those guys were gettin' too old for the concert gig. First of all, they told "jokes" between songs. And they weren't the funny kind of jokes but they were so corny you had to laugh. Second of all, they kept flashing REALLY bright lights into the audience. I think the point was to blind us so we couldn't tell just how old the guys were. Also, Bobby Hatfield just couldn't hit that high note in Unchained Melody, try as he might. It was sort of sad. But Bill Medley sounded pretty good, all things considered.

7. This might surprise you, but one Vegas concert I'm dying to see is - Tom Jones. Yes, Tom Jones. I know. I'm totally out of the Kool Kids Blogger Club for this one. But seriously. What's New Pussycat? It's Not Unusual? Those are some fun songs. And I think it's hilarious that women are STILL throwing Tom their panties during his concerts. I have a strange sense of humor.

8. No offense to metal lovers out there but you couldn't pay me enough to go to a Metallica concert. To me (and this is just my opinion, I know others strongly disagree) it just sounds like noise. Really unappealing noise. I'd rather listen to jackhammers all day.

9. Along the same vein, I can't stand techno or Goth music. A few weeks ago, we were at a restaurant called Big Bowl. It's sort of Americanized Asian food. Generally we really like it but this particular night, I found myself feeling more and more agitated and unhappy as the meal progressed. I couldn't figure it out until I took the girls to the bathroom where you can hear the music they were playing. I swear to God - it was like evil Devil worshipping music. It was so dark and discordant and awful. Although I couldn't hear it very well at the table, just having it on really bothered me. On top of that, the service was awful that night. I wonder if it had anything to do with the poor choice of dinner music. Luckily for them, they comped our appetizers and we've since returned. And the music was much better last time.

10. Did I mention that I saw Bruce Springsteen? (Ok, I know that's cheating).

11. I saw Billy Joel at United Center. He was awesome. It was soon after Christy Brinkley dropped him like a stone. So he managed to make a bunch of snide comments about her and the crowd went nuts.

12. I know this doesn't really count as a concert but I saw the musical Mama Mia which is sort of an ABBA concert with a lame story built around the songs. If you love ABBA (and who doesn't) it's fab.

13. Since I love Billy Joel (sorry, Dutch but I think his older stuff is awesome), I can't figure out why I haven't seen Movin' Out yet. Apparently plot means nothing to me when it comes to my musical theater entertainment as long as the music and dancing is good, I'm there.

See the Sidebar for loads of links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Closets are for hangers, winners use the door

CMHL talked about a great Springsteen song (Rosalita) in Monday's post which I didn't get around to reading until yesterday morning. Then in the afternoon when I was going to pick my daughter up a gymnastics, what song came on the radio? Right - Rosalita! And I caught it at the beginning of the song which is really rare for me since I'm constantly switching the channels trying to find the perfect song. Anyway, I sang really loud and it was great because there was no one in the car to say "Mom, can you puhleeese stop singing?" or "Put on Radio Disney!"

First the song made me think of CMHL. Then it reminded me of high school (yes, I'm that old - this song came out when I was I teenager). When I was either a senior, I went with three of my girlfriends to see Springsteen in concert at the Rosemont Horizon (which is now called something else because, like every other venue, it's named after a company that has nothing whatsoever to do with the purpose of the venue but there it is.)

We were having a great time - singing and dancing, lighting our lighters (not like any of us really smoked but you can't go to a concert without a lighter, can you?) Then, in the middle of the concert, my girlfriend G, the one who drove us to the concert in her father's baby blue Volvo, turns to me and says "Um, I don't have my car keys." Being a bit dense I said "What do you mean you don't have your car keys?" "I mean, I think I might have locked the keys in the car." "No flippin' way!" (Ok, I think I said an actual swear word but you get the drift.) So we spent the rest of the concert searching her purse and the floor around us to no avail.

Sure enough, we get to the car after the concert and see the keys dangling in the ignition. Rosemont was a good hour from home and we were suburban kids - we didn't know from public transportation so even if there was a train (or God forbid, a bus) we could have taken we didn't know about it and would have been terrified at the thought anyway. So we stood there trying to figure out how the hell we'd get home without having to call one of our parents to come pick us up. And this was in the day before cell phones so I'm not even sure how we'd call them - there were no payphones anywhere near the parking lot.

Then we saw two guys that had been sitting near us at the concert. Their car - a lovely yellow Pinto - was parked near us! And they were going to the north suburbs too! And they were willing to drive us home as long as all four of us could fit in the back! And so we did. And no, we didn't know that if we were rear ended, the Pinto would burst into a ball of gas-fueled flames. And even if we were aware of the danger I'm not sure we had much of a choice. And since when have 16 year olds cared all that much about danger - they're going to live forever, after all. So we all scrunched into the back of the Pinto and managed to get home.

G's dad had to drive her back to Rosemont in the middle of the night to retrieve the Volvo. To this day, she'll probably remember the fact that when she drove the Volvo into the school parking lot that morning, exhausted and unshowered, the school yearbook photographer took her picture as an example of the seniors driving to school. Isn't it always like that?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A new belt!

On Sunday, I passed my belt test in Tae Kwon Do and will now be wearing an orange belt. I recently learned that different Tae Kwon Do schools use different belt colors and that, when asked, I'm supposed to give my Gup or number ranking. So, I'm now an 8th Gup (white belt is 10th and black belt comes after 1st Gup). Not only did I pass the test but I broke the board! Again! For those of you who weren't around when I took my yellow belt test, every tester has an opportunity to break a board with the "breaking kick" for their rank. At the lower ranks, you don't have to successfully break the board in order to advance but at the higher ranks, you don't get your next belt until you break the board (it's actually two or three boards at the higher ranks). When you test to get your black belt, you have to break a block of concrete with your hand. How cool is that? By the time I get there, I'll probably be in my late 40's or early 50's and I am SO going to bust that concrete in half and represent for the older crowd!

Speaking of representing for the older crowd - because of a scheduling conflict, I had to test on Sunday with the kids instead of testing on Saturday with the adults. So there's me and 14 kids under the age of 10 (most of them 5 to 7 years old). And there are all their parents sitting to the side watching. I only felt a teensy bit awkward. And big. I'm not all that tall but I think I know now how super tall people feel looking down at the top of all those heads.

Moving right along - I tested with the three boys who were higher ranking than I am. They each had an opportunity to break their boards before I did and none of them were able to do it. Then it was my turn. Everyone was watching and I really, really wanted to break that board. I would have felt like a fraud if I didn't - even though that's silly. I didn't break on my first try. The teacher said "You're a little too close." I moved about an inch farther away and BAM, the board cracked in two. It's funny, when you hit it wrong and it doesn't break, it feels like you're kicking the wall. But when you hit it right, it feels like you just put your foot through paper.

Just like the last test, my five-year old was there, too. She wasn't officially testing but the instructor let her go through the test with the other kids. She's been struggling a bit because she takes the mixed-age class with me and most of the other kids in the class are far more advanced than she is. The teacher thought (rightly so) that it might motivate her to see more kids her age and rank. As soon as I broke the board, I looked at her and she was beaming. Just like last time. She didn't break the board the first time she tested and she was really disappointed. But this time she did it and the look of pride on her face was priceless. She was hoping he'd give her a new belt even though it wasn't an official test but he said no. So now she's been practicing her other techniques every day because she wants to move up so badly.

Like last time, I thought I'd drop in my essay. In order to advance, you have to write an essay on a topic from a list the instructor provides. For kids who can't really write yet, they have to dictate to their parents. It's not exactly great prose but here it is:

Define respect and how to develop it through Tae Kwon Do.

To respect someone means to hold them in high regard and treat them with deference. You develop respect through Tae Kwon Do by following the manners and treating higher ranking students and instructors with the deference they deserve. At least that’s what I thought when I selected this essay question. But then I looked up the definition of “respect” and realized that although I was partially right, there is much more to that word than I thought.

According to the dictionary, respect has the following definitions:
1. To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
2. To avoid violation of or interference with: respect the speed limit.
3. To relate or refer to; concern

As a noun, it also means:
1. A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem.
2. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.
3. Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.

Tae Kwon Do assists in the development of respect in many ways. The manners of Tae Kwon Do require respect for instructors and higher ranking students. In showing respect for others and respect for the etiquette of the dojang, we also develop respect for ourselves. As we learn new and more difficult techniques, we begin to appreciate the strength of our bodies. Self-respect improves as we achieve higher levels of mastery. We will be regarded with honor by others for our achievements and, more importantly, for our willingness to treat those around us with respect. Finally, Tae Kwon Do teaches us that if we are willing to show consideration for others, we will receive consideration and respect in return.