Wednesday, February 28, 2007

After a rough six months, Thea has been hired as a copywriter in the suburbs. It sounds like a pretty decent job. Her mass e-mail letting friends know she has regular work now included the magic words, "I get to wear jeans. I will have benefits."

And she's working with Erik and Brian, two other former Jellyvision employees. I asked her to send me a picture.

Thea: I just realized we're all in the same corner. We could all peek in from our separate desks. Welcome to Jellyvision 2.

Still, after hearing she'd been hired, she wrote on her blog, "I accidentally checked Craigslist today when I got back. Old habits die hard."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

We've added a scoreboard to the You Don't Know Jack site. Nate had to come up with several fake user accounts in order to test it. Here are some of the names he used:

Boner King
Boner Queen
Boner Prince

Nate: I've actually started using the name Boner King more in my day to day life. I tried to set up a gmail account as bonerking but I had to settle for bonerking22. bonerking was already taken. I sent an e-mail to bonerking challenging him to a boner off. He hasn't written back.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The weather in Chicago yesterday: Wintery Mix.

Our plane was stuck in a holding pattern over Midway for an hour because of it. The male flight attendant (who was particularly chatty) said, "We're going to start our descent and see if there's enough visibility. We'll only get one last shot at it though. If it doesn't work, we'll have to be redirected to Fort Wayne."

Sarah: What happens then?
Flight Attendant: It varies. Sometimes they'll send you on a bus. Sometimes you wait for another flight back to your airport. Sometimes, if it's because of the weather, they'll say, "It's not our fault" and just leave you there.
Me: Because of the weather, as in what's going on right now?
Flight Attendant: [shrugs] You two live in Chicago?

Luckily, like in the movies, that "one last shot" paid off and we were able to land.

As I drove us back from the airport, Sarah said, "I'm not doing long distance anything ever again. I'm keeping everything in my life within one mile of me."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Flying back to Chicago with Sarah and her "I'm moving" suitcases. It was a tiny plane which seemed to make her nervous.

Me: Not a lot of people on this flight. They say that flights with less people go down more often because people have premonitions that they shouldn't be on the plane.
Sarah: Don't tell me that.

The smallness of the plane aside, Sarah seemed to be doing well with the big move.

Me: See. This isn't so sad, huh?
Sarah: No. Not yet. [long pause] Why did you have to bring it up?

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Sarah dashes off stage at the end of her last show at the theater.

Afterwards there were drinks, cake, gag gifts and a few farewell speeches.

Sarah: It was nice. It was just the right amount of goodbye. Not too much. Just enough.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jarecki: Well, that warms my heart. A rival AC/DC tribute band just lost their drummer and they e-mailed me, asking if I was interested.

Jarecki plays drums for Downpour, which, according to their website, is "America's Best AC/DC Tribute", "The Nation's Greatest Tribute to AC/DC", and "The Ultimate AC/DC Tribute Band."

Me: Are there many AC/DC tribute bands around here?
Jarecki: There have been quite a few, yeah. More than you would think. And things aren't always cordial. I don't know why. We all kind of cover different territories, different parts of Illinois.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

While researching random things for potential Jack questions, I came across a description of work designations beyond the traditional blue collar and white collar. "BLACK COLLAR for those working in 'creative' industries and the media, or those in industrial jobs like mining."

Yesterday, the first day after my "lucky year" came to an end, Amanda called me into her office and offered me an official longterm position at Jellyvision (as opposed to being a contract worker).

Amanda: Take some time. Think about it.
Me: [jokily whispering] I'll probably say yes.

Today, I accepted. I'm officially black collar.

Amanda: Do you feel different now? Less tenuous. Have you been walking around asking "What does it all mean?"
Me: No. But I've stopped working entirely. Being an employee has really negatively effected my productivity.
Amanda: Really? Awesome.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Had some drinks with Tom and caught up. His wife, Steph (State's Attorney), is pregnant with their first child and Tom's younger brother just moved to town.

Tom: I think his job is cooler than mine.

We also played Wii Sports despite the fact that Tom had recently fallen in the slushy street and hurt his side.

It was a lot more fun than this picture suggests. Tom's eyes are only half closed so it must have been a blast.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The fifth annual Gandy Gras, the Otis Mardi Gras party hosted by Gandy (Youth Program Coordinator), who wore a purple gold and green top hat.

Gandy: The colors stand for... well, I don't remember.

Last year I was the one to find the baby in the King's Cake. Actually, it was a Colonel Mustard piece from the game CLUE, but still, it meant I would have a lucky year. Looking back, I'd have to say that it was a good year.

Joe's girlfriend, Shelby (Elementary School Drama Teacher), found the "baby" this time (again, Colonel Mustard) so this is her year to be lucky.

Monday, February 19, 2007

There are supposedly a number of potentially useful reference books in the storage space below the building. I'm not going down there.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The big news: Sarah is moving back to Chicago. Soon. As in, a week from today.

Quick, clean everything up!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

After five years of working the same office job, Steve recently quit to spend four months performing in a Second City show on a cruise ship with his girlfriend.

Steve: I spent five years thinking I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible and then the last day I all of a sudden realized all the security and comfort I had taken for granted was going away. As I trained my replacement, I realized all the little things I could have done to make my own job easier. Little organizational things. But doing those things would have meant admitting to myself that I was staying there for some length of time.

There was a going away party on his last day with a cake and "a bag of presents."

Steve: I think I was just a fixture there. There is so much turn-over in the non-profit world that anyone who stays for any length of time becomes kind of like an office mascot.
Me: So, you were the guy who cared the least about the job, and was always determined that this would be temporary, but you ended up staying there much longer than most people.
Steve: Exactly. In a way, that was what allowed me to stay so long. If I had been more committed, I would have become frustrated. I would have cared too much. Instead, I put my blinders on and lasted.

Steve leaves for the cruise early next month. Barcelona. Florence. Rome. Naples. Istanbul. Egypt. France. Croatia. Etc.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Lunch at CPK with the Amandas.

Halfway through lunch we realized that tomorrow is Amanda Lee's birthday. Amanda snuck away to order her a surprise birthday brownie.

Amanda: Hurry up and finish your pizza! We have a brownie to eat.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

After seeing him on '1 VS 100' I got back in touch with Zabor (Funeral Director), my friend from college. We were on our school's Forensics team together. Speech and debate, not forensic science (our team t-shirts actually read, "No, not THAT forensics").

Zabor: [via e-mail] yes that was me on TV. im amazed that you not only saw but recognized me. especially since i was only on for all of 3 seconds. i have been a full time funeral director at my father's firm for 6 yrs. i am now married, have a house, a dog & am chasing my piece of the american dream, i guess.

He sent me some scans of old pictures, including this one, from Nationals in Arizona (where I eventually ended up going to grad school). Zabor is the one on the left.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


A couple days ago, while working on some potential Valentine's Day themed Dis or Dat questions, I sifted through two bags of conversation heart candies, to make a list of the different messages. "LETS KISS." "URA STAR." Etc. I was sad to see that my old favorite, "DIG ME," is no longer included.

I ate an insane amount of the candies throughout the day and felt weird and spazzy. We ended up not doing that question after all.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Job #8: One Hour Photo Lab

The summer between college and grad school I worked at a One Hour Photo Lab in a Meijer Superstore. The pictures were rarely done in an hour and I would repeatedly have to explain that 'One Hour Photo' was our name and not necessarily a written guarantee.

In case you're wondering, yes, no matter where you get your pictures developed, someone looks at them. And if they're interesting enough, they show them to their co-workers. And if they're really really interesting, they print an extra copy and throw it in a special drawer behind the counter.

I saw the occasional naked picture over that summer. Never a whole roll of naked pictures, usually just the last couple, as if to use up the film after a vacation with the family. "Honey, I've got two pictures left, take your top off."

To be honest, though, if you were to rifle through the interesting picture drawer, you'd probably find more pictures of classic cars that impressed my co-workers than of anything else.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Back in Chicago. Near the end of the workday a bell rang from outside.

Meyer: Either that's an ice cream truck or a train is actually coming down the road.

Everyone ran to the window. The road that runs by the office is a strange, thrown-together ordeal with train tracks running along the center, sort of like trolley tracks. I always assumed they were abandoned, but there was a locomotive (all by itself, not pulling anything) slowly chugging past our building.

And then it got stuck. A parked car was peeking out onto the tracks, blocking the way. So the train sat there with no choice but to wait in the middle of the road. Cars nonchalantly drove around it and people came out of the surrounding buildings to gawk.

If trains had feelings this one would have to be demoralized. People leaned out of their car windows to take pictures. Others (including Amanda Lee and I) stood directly on the tracks, staring the train's lights down to get a good shot.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Things change.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saw Sarah's show for the second time.

Sarah: You'll come to the theater, you'll have a few drinks, you'll see the show. You'll think it has some good parts, but overall you'll have reservations.
Me: Hey! That's what I think about everything!

The show was good. It seemed to improve since the last time I saw it. Sarah was especially funny.

I sat in on their midnight improv set, performing with the cast. I'm not great at performing with strangers, but it was fun to be on the stage where Sarah has been working for the last half year. I did okay. I had some good parts.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sarah and I went to the Christian Science Museum to see the Mapparium, which is sort of like walking into the center of a brightly painted giant glass globe. There is an audio visual presentation inside. The continents glow and recorded voices float through the air explaining how democracy is saving the world and how the globe itself hasn't been updated since the mid-1930s.

When the disembodied voice said, "The world you are looking at now, no longer exists" I got a creepy feeling like we were in 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes' or 'The Time Machine' and we'd stumbled on some outdated but still working relic from a dead civilization. After we were done I half-expected to find a post-apocalyptic landscape outside, past the Hall of Ideas.

There are no pictures allowed in the Mapparium, by the way, so here is Sarah holding the brochure.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Flying to Boston for the weekend. I'm tall, so it's uncomfortable to fly.

I'm not sure exactly how they decide who gets to sit in the exit row. I'd always thought it was usually tall people, but I noticed that this isn't necessarily the case. In fact, most of the people in the exit rows during this flight were short men, and old men. Basically just people who know to ask for it.

"The exit row," I heard one of them say to another. "A lot of people would kill for these seats."

The tiny businessman sitting next to me had a kind of I-fly-a-lot-and-I've-got-it-down-to-my-own-asshole-science vibe about him. He was pretending to already be asleep while I was still boarding, and only half moved his little legs to let me through to my seat, making sure to keeps his arms planted on both armrests as if to say, "I'm so groggy, it wouldn't even occur to me to relinquish any of this space, but it's not my fault because I'm pretty much asleep, right?" Despite having plenty of leg room in front of him, he splayed his legs out, so one of his knees was halfway into my limited leg space.

I stared at the emergency door latch, and contemplated pulling it open, sucking us out into the sky over Indiana. They probably shouldn't let me sit in the exit row.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Work on the new on-line 'You Don't Know Jack' continues, and we continue to write Daily Dis or Dats.

JLA Member or Computer Software. Beatles Song or Wiggles Song. Stuff like that.

It's fun, but after a while coming up with funny lists of things that sound like other things can become difficult. I spend a lot of my day thinking, "Hmm... what do the names of the Thundercats sound like? Chef Boyardee products?" It all becomes a blur after a while.

Today we had a writers' brainstorm meeting that led to, "Hey, maybe a list of slang terms for farting." So we googled "slang term fart." When we got to "barking spiders" deja vu set in.

Steve-o: Wait. Have we already done one about farts?

Apparently we had. In fact, the You Don't Know Jack website comes up as the fifth link when you google "slang term fart."

City in New Jersey or Slang Term for Farting. I was the one that wrote that question and I forgot about it. My brain is bursting with lists.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A number of people couldn't make it in to work today because of the snow. Others had as much as a two hour commute.

Steve-o was driving in from the suburbs when he hit some ice and his car spun around two and a half times. When it stopped spinning he was facing the direction he'd been coming from, so he drove straight ahead home and worked there for the rest of the day.

Here, Chris helps Michele scrape snow off her windows.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I still don't have much contact with my ex-fiancee, N. None, really. I sent her an e-mail after my last blog ended and she responded that it was good to hear from me, but that she still isn't ready to talk. As I've said before, she's probably right that it's for the best.

Sometimes it's tough, though, knowing that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after we broke up and not knowing how she's doing.

Someone sent me a newspaper article from the university where N is getting her Phd. The article was critical of the insurance offered to graduate students, especially when it comes to prescription drugs. It reported that N's MS medication costs her about $23,000 a year. "The costs," it reads, "were significant enough that she had to consider either quitting her graduate teaching assistantship to go on state medical assistance or to not take her medications and continue in her educational and teaching endeavors."

The part about N is sort of a minor blip in the overall article. That's all it really says. It doesn't share what she decided to do, or if some other option presented itself. I know how much she wants to be a teacher, though, and I hope she hasn't had to give that up.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Two halves. Two parties.

Super Bowl party #1: Nick and Katie's

Everyone brought food inspired by the Bear's roster. Hot Griese Chili, Deviled Ogunleyeggs, Briggs in a Blanket, Beer Garzaritas, Strawberrian Bombs, Rex Mix, Olovie Bread, Devin Layer Dip, Garzachiladas. (If you don't get the puns, it's okay, neither do I)

Jane (#54) handed out football stickers to everyone. When the Bears scored a touchdown off the first kick, we yelled, "It's the stickers! The stickers are good luck!"

Then Martin said, "You know, 20 out of 30 times the team that scores first in the Super Bowl ends up losing."

Super Bowl Party #2: Alex and Megan's

From Alex's e-mail invite: "This year is pretty serious since the Bears are involved. Improvisers have varied levels of commitment to sports, but I am committed. If, despite it being the Bears, you still don't care about this game, you're still invited, and you will have a great time with delicious food. Perhaps, in recognizing your lack of commitment, you will do us the favor of taking one of the less choice spots where the TV sightline isn't so good, and being generally respectful of our desire to focus on the game. For example, long 'Battlestar Galactica' discussions with your fellow ambivalents, while certainly permitted, would be best held in the kitchen or dining room (the food will be there anyway!)."

There was great food in the kitchen but everyone was glued to the television, watching the painful second half of the game. If anyone had been in the kitchen I would have shared some hilarious joke about Galactica jumping into the Earth's orbit, distracting the Colts, and giving the Bears a chance to escape off the planet.

Alex was pretty down afterward, but a quick game of Guitar Hero seemed to cheer him up a little.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fuck you, winter!

Friday, February 02, 2007

I entered the Super Bowl pool at work. I'm not much of a sports fan but I enjoyed predicting how many commercials will include monkeys and how often the words "penetrate" and "situation" will be used.

It's also Nate and Jarecki's birthdays today. It was too cold to go out for lunch to celebrate so we ordered sandwiches from Jimmy Johns instead. "And Nate, since it's your birthday, you don't have to call in the order this time."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Drinks at Glunz last night. Meador mentioned that he'd been on a couple dates recently with a lawyer.

Hansen: Tell me how many years she is out of law school and I can tell you exactly what she makes a year.
Meador: Uh...

Hansen then used his blackberry to look her up on her firm website. There was a picture. He passed the blackberry around so we could all get a look at her, while Meador weakly protested.

Our verdict: Cute.

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