This ‘n’ That

I think I may have bitten off more than I could chew when it came to the 1% Well-Read Challenge.  I got both Never Let Me Go, and Intimacy, and I couldn’t get through either of them.  It makes me very nervous for some of the other books on the list.  There are ten books on the list that I have read and I did enjoy, but I’m not cheating my way through the challenge: that’s just not fair.  I’m also wondering if I should give up the challenge.  I could switch over to a book list of reading all of Les Roberts books on Cleveland.  (I read The Irish Sports Pages and loved it.)

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There is an idea, a theory, among the studies of the occult, that if you call a demon by its name, you give it power.  I have made the mistake of naming my demon….

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I’ve started the process of applying to graduate school…again.  This time, I’m not lowering the bar, necessarily, but I’m definitely going for a goal that is a lot more attainable.  Not that it was silly to apply for a place at OSU in their program, but I didn’t have nearly enough (read: any) experience under my belt in the public administration or the arts field.  At least with getting my MBA, I have a background with my bachelor’s degree, and some experience in the field.

And this time, I’m a lot more mature, more brave, and more driven.  I’m going to study for and do well on the GMAT.  I’m going to make and set deadlines for the application process.  I will get in.

I’m really excited.  It’s been a long time.

Chicago on my Mind

On Tuesday of last week, my company was having a national conference for my department, being hosted in Chicago by a sponsor (another division of my company).  Since my plane ticked was being paid for, I opted to take a Sunday flight back into Cleveland, and take a single day off of work.  I have a high school friend (Miss Mary Kay) who has been living in Chicago since our freshman year of college.

One of the things that I’m struck by is how many people were crammed into the city.  I mean, I realize that Cleveland is not a one-horse town, but at the same time, it’s a Rust Belt town that goes to sleep at 10:00.  I was outside of the hotel on the Tuesday I arrived at 1 in the morning and the streets were still crowded with people who were out having a good time, partying.

I couldn’t have asked for better weather, either.  For three days of the five it was sunny, warm, and clear, even at night.  So wandering around the streets with Miss MK and her friends was bearable in my t-shirt and flip flops (although the 27 blocks to get a $1 sweet tea from McDonalds wasn’t thrilling).  But, I got a warning from The Boy, “Don’t look up at all the skyscrapers: everyone will know that you’re a tourist, and you’ll get panhandled.”

I did not, in-fact, get panhandled.  I was pretty good at avoiding them, except for one gentleman who stood in my face until I gave him a cigarette to go away.

I was able to knock a few things off of my list: traveling to Chicago, visiting a museum in another city, and eating a piece of sushi I’m normally too afraid to try.  When I arrived at Miss MK’s house, I was pleased with the idea of delivery sushi – not only God’s proof that he loves us and wants us to be happy, but they bring it right to your door!  I tried a piece of Miss MK’s spicy scallop, which, although good, was not my favorite.

Everyone’s been asking me if I went shopping, which I did, sort of.  I didn’t have time to explore a lot of the boutique-type shops that were tucked away, but I did have time to wander through the mall on Michigan.  I am such an internet shopper that the majority of the shops I saw at the mall, I can order products from online.  My goal, then, was to eat/do things that I can’t do in Cleveland.

I’ve become a bit of a foodie on the road, I suppose.  On Friday, after my inexpensive haircut at the Aveda Institute, Miss MK and I ate at La Creperie, where I had the savory boeuf bourguignon, which had to be the best meal I’ve ever had in my life.  Not only was I ready to have all of my belongings shipped to the patio of La Creperie where I would live forever like a poor Parisian singing for my supper, I am on the hunt for the perfect recipe of boeuf bourguignon for my own making.

Also, I had the best sushi dish of my entire life on Saturday.  Miss MK and I had another hankering for sushi (really, when don’t we?), and we tucked into a sushi bar called Friends Sushi for lunch.  Not only was it completely chichi inside with white everything and club-style music pumping through the speakers, it also had the most bad-ass bathroom I’ve ever had the privilege of using.  I had the Crispy Creamy roll, Miss MK had the Friends Roll.

I was able to go to both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum during my trip.  I really screwed the pooch, however, and missed the American Art gallery in AiC, and missed all of the quintessentially American works – all of the ones you typically think of when thinking about American art.  At the Field Museum, I got to see the Lions of Tsavo (for the record, the picture in the Wikipedia article is almost a dead-ringer for the one that I took), which were featured in this classic Val Kilmer movie, if you remember.  I only remember because I was super fangirly for Val for a very long time.

And while I had a good time, and I was a little reluctant to get on the plane to come back home, I was very happy to get back onto Cleveland soil.

1% Well-Read Challenge

The goal of this challenge is to read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. For you non-math people, 10 out of 1001 is approximately 1%, hence the title. The challenge will run from May 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009.

You may change your list at any time and cross-posting to other challenges is permitted. The only requirement is that your ten book choices must be on the ‘1001 List‘. Another helpful tool is an Excel spreadsheet by Arukiyomi that is found here.

1% Well-Read Challenge

Top Ten
Intimacy – Hanif Kureishi
Written on the Body – Jeanette Winterson
Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
Choke – Chuck Palahniuk
Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
How the Dead Live – Will Self
Silk – Alessandro Baricco
Perfume – Patrick Süskind
The Piano Teacher – Elfriede Jelinek
The German Lesson – Siegfried Lenz

Backups
The Unconsoled – Kazuo Ishiguro
Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
An Artist of the Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro
Atonement – Ian McEwan
A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro
Surfacing – Margaret Atwood

Setting My Mind to World Domination

Remember how I mentioned that I fell off the jetski over 4th of July weekend?  Yes, well, I seem to have suffered some damage to my knee – or at least, reaffirmed that I have a shitty right hip and knee.  When I was a kid, I would pop my hip out of the socket for jollies, and now I have horrifying arthritis in it that on some days, I can’t even walk.  I had to quit my running program (okay, more like, slow smokers jog, but still…) in college because my knee would kill me, no matter how well I wrapped it.

So now, sitting for long periods and trying to walk around aggravates it.  It feels “loose”, as if it were just one of those classroom skeleton knees – all wiggly and pinion-y.  Actually, it’s damned unpleasant.

In other news, I’ve been messing around with setting up a Flickr account, and you can go see the photos here.  I plan on adding a sidebar to this page so you can see my latest uploads.  I think this might qualify me for completing another task from my 101 (for the record, there have been goals that have been updated, check to see).

I also set up an Etsy shop, but I haven’t put any of my wares up there.  I’ll keep you posted with a link when I start to sell things.

I’m actually amazed at how a lot of these hobbies have fallen into place so easily: I thought that it was going to be a lot harder.  That said, I know that a lot of the follow-through is going to be the difficult part – it’s easy to sit at a desk and make websites, and upload photos, and whatnot.  It’s going to be a lot harder to keep my shop stocked, and make sure that I’m on top of ordering/sending things.

I’ve been doing a lot of these types of things, lately.  I “work” part-time as DF’s personal assistant (he would tell you that I’m falling down on the job; I, of course, will deny that), and I amaze myself at how easy it is to get things done.  I’ve found some ridiculously hard things to find, gotten quite a bit scheduled and accomplished for him.  I’ve watched my mother do exactly this for years, but it never occurred to me that I could do this as a practical application – that I could actually get a lot of things done.

I guess it just amazes me that I can actually get a lot of my 101 done this way, and it never really was that hard to do.  I really just had to sit down and get it done.

4th of July and Greg Behendahert

Since the rained out Summer Solstice festival, I have been pretty busy.  Work has still been as busy as ever, and I’m spinning my wheels.  At least today, I felt like I accomplished something.

On the 27th, The Boy and I went to see Greg Behrendt at Hilarities down on E4th street.  I was casually listening to the radio, and he’d moseyed into one of the morning zoo’s radio shows and was talking to the host (they’d worked together years ago).  That’s when I found out that he was going to be doing a show.

The seats I got put us literally fifty feet from him. I totally impulse-bought the tickets (and paid pretty good money for them), but it was really worth it.  It’s been forever since The Boy and I went on a date, and the show was hysterical.  We rode the train down into downtown Cleveland, and walked the two blocks to W4th.

I didn’t get any pictures inside the show.  I didn’t want to be that jerk who gets thrown out for taking pictures and selling them on the Internet.

The week after was pretty slow.

I spent my 4th of July at The Cabin with The Boy and the rest of the in-laws.  Radio Edit (formerly known as “The Pretty Twin”) recently moved down to Cincinnati after he got a job.  He’s temporarily (?) living with Officer D and his fiancee (Tizzle) down there.  I know that The Boy is a little bummed out, as am I; we miss Radio Edit, he was a lot of fun…but he needed the change.  Now, the only time the brothers get together anymore is on major holidays.  So, this 4th of July was pretty major in that it’s something we all have to get used to now to get together as a family.

We stopped at Lake Milton’s cemetery, and found people buried there who had died serving in the revolutionary war.

In addition there was jetskiing (in which I nearly broke my neck), fireworks (in which we nearly burned down the neighbors house, and dressed Radio Edit in “shirt ninja” to go set up fireworks in the volunteer fire departments yard), karaoke (in which I got hammered with Tizzle and sang “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child – not nearly the disaster I thought it would be), a lot of food, good company, and a trip to the beach and played “Goal Line” in the lake (in which I got thrown by three large brothers playing “defenders” and nearly lost my bikini top).  It was a good weekend, and I look forward to the next time I go back.

This week: more mundane – getting new brakes put on my car, going to an office party sponsored by some insurance wholesalers, hookah bar, and talking to a dear friend who lives too far away.  I currently have no plans for the weekend.