Category Archives: General

Sincere Apologies.

Dear fair readers,

My sincerest apologies for my severe lack of posting in the past week or two. I know that excuses are no excuse, but what can I say? My to do list is catching up with me.

This week alone I have one presentation on Hoover’s, another for Humanities class on Scientology, a paper on privacy for my Info Policy class, one phone interview for a job, and one second interview for a different job.

Oy vey!

So, you might wonder, what am I doing to keep completely sane?

Oh Nintendo DS Lite! Your accessibly simple, yet educational gaming saves my sanity every time!The Nintendo DS has oodles of educational games that you can pick up, play for 30 minutes or so, and then go back to whatever things you really should be doing atm. My current favorite is My French Coach.

Through a series of games and quizzes and an excellent “coach”, I can refresh my memory of all those lovely high school french classes with Mdm. Roselle.

So next time someone tells you that video games rot your brain, tell them to bugger off in french. (Va t’en! Tu es tres stupide!) Or your could tell them to read up on their Jenny Levine. She’ll tell them what’s up. 🙂

So again, my apologies fair readers. If you need something to do, I recommend gaming. It’s good for your brain.

Happy Monday!

The Academy of Leah.

Hello fair readers!

It’s that time again. The Oscars are upon us and as usual for this time of year, I realize how many great movies I have yet to see.

This is also that time of year when we realize how very wrong past Academy Awards have been

So very very wrong.

But regardless, they sometimes do get it right

Thank goodness.

But really that’s not what this post is entirely about. This is my version of the Academy. A small, rather insignificant one. But still, my awards for the best of film stuff are as follows:

Best Film of the Year

Paprika

Words barely describe how overlooked and amazing this Satoshi Kon movie is. Creative. Moving. Beautiful. Just hands down and overall my complete favorite film of the year. Plus, what the hell Academy? How come animation is never in the film of the year catagory? Ever? Ugh. Check it out:

Best Animated Film of the Year

So of course I’m starting out with my two favorite categories. 🙂 Would you expect any less? And btw, this one is an insanely difficult decision. It really comes down to two films. Persepolis and Ratatouille. But since I can reuse Persepolis in another catagory (I know, I’m such a cheater) my favorite animated film this year was Ratatouille.

Ratatouille was clever, endearing, and hilarious. It was adorable and cute without being cheesey (please…excuse the rat/cheese pun..it’s unavoidable). And frankly…after catastrophes like this

I was genuinely concerned about the fate of Pixar. Thankfully they have not fallen into the realm of total crap. Thank you film gods.

Best Foreign Film

And here is my cheating cheater ways of sneaking in, yes that’s right…count ’em, three animated films into my best of 2007 list.

Words can hardly describe my joy when I heard that one of my favorite graphic novels was being turned into a movie. And it’s a truly amazing film. Unique animation that I have never seen the likes of and just as striking as the books. I was so pleased.

Best Director

This is another tough one…but for various reasons and some obvious ones…I’m going with Wes Anderson.

The soundtrack alone is enough to throw him into this category. But the film, overall, is one of his best. It was, as usual, poignant without being completely pretentious. Quirky without being annoying. And visually stunning.

Best Actor

Two words. Cillian Murphy.

Ridiculously beautiful. Fantastic actor. And when you pair him with Director Danny Boyle? Well amazing things happen. Murphy was such a commanding presence in Sunshine. So well played.

Best Actress

So I’m was a bit torn on this one…like many of these other categories. But really the one actress who comes to mind is Julie Delpy in her self-directed film 2 Days in Paris. She is a brilliant actress and made a film that was enjoyable without running into the realms of self-indulgent. She managed to balance both direction and acting…something that certain actor/directors (ahem) have a very difficult time managing.

Now I could probably keep going but for the sake of time, I’m just going to end this here. Overall 2007 was not a shabby year for film at all.

Enjoy the weekend, fair readers, and have a lovely time watching the Oscars. 🙂

Is that patriotism I feel?

Hello fair reader!

Every morning when I wake up, make my coffee, and then open my lovely Osaka to read the news, I read articles about the validity of endorsements. From most of what I have read, they just don’t really matter. Despite the fact that people are claiming that Oprah helped out Barack and that Chuck Norris is…well….just being Chuck Norris I guess…

for the campaign of Mike Huckabee….wow that ad is just so strange.

So while everyone is running out to attach their name to a candidate of choice, most people agree….endorsements mean nothing.

And still….I am going to endorse someone. You may be thinking, why? I am not famous in any capacity and most research shows this whole endorsement thing is frivolous anyways. And no, I’m not a secret superdelegate, at least not yet.

🙂

But few things make me feel patriotic these days. In fact I can only think of a handful of things that evoke that emotion in me, like the night game scene in the movie The Sandlot and when Fozzy the bear sings America the Beautiful in The Muppet Movie.

No I’m not kidding. (and I can’t believe I could not find either of these moments online?!)

But as long as I have been able to vote, I have had to deal with this guy

a man who could care less about me, my best interests…or really the best interests of any American. It is hard to get excited about politicians when you have had one drag you through the lying mud for the past 8 years, befouling not only you but your entire countries reputation.

So when someone comes along who is honest

and not just about this….it’s just kind of funny.

But even that…omg a politician is funny. I didn’t even realize that was possible! A genuinely amusing and honest Presidential candidate who supports my and, more importantly, the country’s best interests.

Barack Obama can unite this country. Not just Democrats, but Independents and Republicans as well. And no, I don’t care and could care less about what he said in regards to President Reagan. That is just ridiculous.

He has a world view that I respect and understand. His experience which gets called into question time and time again is fantastic, in my point of view. His experience shows me that he is dedicated to people, not corporations. He believes in freedoms, like that of the press, when many (ehem, The Clintons!, ehem) would rather hold them at an arms length and even go to great lengths to control what can and cannot be said about them.

And I will address this issue, only because some people feel the need to write accusatory op eds on the topic, you can still be a feminist and vote for Barack Obama! I think a core belief of third wave feminism is the idea that men can also be feminists. Barack Obama is a candidate who will protect and enhance the equality of women. I refuse to vote for a candidate based on their sex. That goes against everything I believe in. And that is that.

I am not afraid to say that Barack Obama makes me feel proud to be American.

I have not been able to say that about a Presidential candidate…well….ever.

Register to vote, educate yourself, and then get yourself to a Poll on your election day! And have a lovely Friday fair readers.

My Blogger’s Block

Hello fair readers,

My sincerest apologies, as it seems I have come to a bit of a bumpy blog road.

I have been dealing with a bit of writer’s block. It’s not that things have been dull. Indeed things have been quite interesting and exciting.

I saw Yo La Tengo in concert

and not just saw them but this so happened to be my first first solo concert experience. Alone. And it was really lovely. Hands down my best concert ever.

I also threw a fairly decent, at least I hope so, Halloween party. Stefan and I went as Dwight and Angela from The Office.

My roommate Nathan went as a Jackson Pollock painting

And Shinji spent the night as an adorable rooster

Which he really despised at first and then came to realize that it was just his fate to become the cutest rooster pom ever.

And there were other events as well, like parties on the 33rd floor of highrises downtown…

long drives from Michigan to Chicago using backroads only…

and even Shinji’s first excursion to the pumpkin patch.

So why the blogging block?

Well fair readers, I just don’t know what to tell you. Hopefully this time of crisis will pass over soon enough.

Until then, here is the playlist for a late autumn mix. Listen, enjoy and wish me great topics for future bloggings.

Blogger’s Block Mix. For late Autumn.
1. The Way You Look Tonight – AIR

2. Anticipation – Blonde Redhead

3. Set the Ray to Jerry – The Smashing Pumpkins

4. Recommendation – Mirah

5. Lullaby – The Cure

6. Videotape – Radiohead

7. Cortez the Killer – Neil Young

8. Parallelograms – Linda Perhacs

9. Alyda – Yo la Tengo

10. Treehouse Song – Nina Nastasia

11. Masterfade – Andrew Bird

12. Company in my Back – Wilco

13. Scenic World (version off Lon Gisland EP) – Beirut

14. Strings – Asobi Seksu

15. Kids Will Be Skeletons – Mogwai

Have a lovely Tuesday everyone. Enjoy these dying days of Autumn. Aren’t they just so precious?

Marathon…err…I mean fun run

Hello fair readers!

On Sunday Chicago celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Chicago marathon. In the past the marathon is usually a chilly, exciting Fall event. This year it was slightly different.

This year there were record setting high temperatures, leaving the marathon organizers to be some-what unprepared.

Stefan and I rode our bikes down to meet up with a friend of ours who was running the marathon for charity. I was then going to run as her support for basically as long as I could take it.

The heat was overwhelming. By the time we were at our meeting place, it was becoming evident that something was slightly off. A girl came up to us in tears asking if she could use our cell phone. Volunteers were running around like chickens with their heads cut off, yelling about not having anymore water.

And I noticed that people looked…well…kind of awful. People looked tired, exhausted. And barely anyone was running, which I found strange since this was a marathon and all.

Still there were certainly scenes to see. Like the people in costume…

He had a sign on his back that read “Go go Mr Testicles”. Ha!

But most people dressed up looked completely miserable. Like this poor fellow

I do have a hard time feeling sorry for this guy. Who wakes up on the morning of a marathon, knowing full well that it will be 90 degrees outside and thinks “gee, I should put on this heavy, warm chicken costume”. Seriously.

Then things began to get kind of ugly again. I overheard angry runners, cursing at the volunteers without water. And some people were just stopping.

Unable to take anymore of the heat.

But from that point on I put the camera away. I’m fairly sure that angry people who are dehydrated and bordering on exhaustion do not appreciate their pictures being taken. I didn’t want to run any risks of pissing off overheated marathoners.

Then a woman comes out with a bullhorn announcing “The marathon has been canceled because we have run out of water. It is now a fun run. You will be routed to Grant park“. It wasn’t too much of a surprise. But I did find the choice of words here to be oddly inappropriate. I certainly wouldn’t call that a “fun run”. More like a “hellish run”.

However shortly after that they started forcing everyone to walk and a helicopter was over head announcing “Due to extreme heat, the marathon has been canceled”. The opened up fire hydrants so people could cool themselves. Eventually they started loading people onto buses, no longer even allowing them to walk.

We found out they started taking these drastic measures with pretty good reasons. 300 people ended up in the hospital. They ran out of ambulances and water. One guy even died. Kind of chaotic.  And sad.

Fortunately our friend Heather was just fine, despite the fact that she couldn’t finish the race she had been preparing for for months on end. Hopefully the organizers will learn from this experience and try to not run out of something that runners need a whole lot of….water.

Have a lovely Tuesday everyone. And stay hydrated. 😉

Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire.

Hello fair readers,

This morning I woke up, made some coffee, ate a small breakfast and decided to read the newspaper. The article that truly peaked my interest was this one.

Rape Epidemic Raises Trauma of Congo War

Certainly not the light reading I had been expecting but I am glad I read this article just the same. It is devastating that commonly in times of crisis, women both young and old end up bearing the brunt of brutality.

I think anyone who believes that rape is about sex should just read that article.

In my life I have always tried to support causes with the little amount that I can. The past few years the charities have varied from library advocacy to Environmental groups but after this morning, I know where my money needs to go. According to this website: Run for Congo Women there don’t appear to be many organizations aimed at this specific issue in this specific region. After a bit of research, I have decided that to send a little cash towards Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign. I like that the campaign is not just about helping victims but actually stopping women from being victimized in the first place, world wide, including the women in Congo.

It is easy to feel helpless after reading articles about rape. It is easy to feel helpless when you hear stories about women being raped. And it is easy to feel helpless when you have been raped. But what makes me feel strong is when I can stand up and say that I actually feel like I’m trying to instigate change instead of just standing by and closing my eyes. With a topic this ugly, it is surely easy to do. But read that article. Educate yourself. And maybe think about what you can do to help end violence against women. Need some suggestions? Sonas housing organization compiled a list of things you can do. Here are a few highlights:

1. Violence against women is a crime. Take action if you see or hear violence happening.

2. Expect and give respect in relationships. If someone is treating you with respect you feel:

Safe and not afraid of your partner

Free to express opinions and beliefs

Free to say no to things you don’t want to do

Free to end the relationship

3. Violence against women affects everyone. Find out how physical, sexual and emotional violence against women affect you and the people around you.

4. Take action to end violence against women.

Do something.

And have a lovely weekend.

Reflections

Hello fair readers.

This morning I feel groggy. Why? Perhaps there was a little sangria last night. Just a bit. So while I drink my morning coffee I have been going through my photographs from the summer and listening to music.

Good morning.

But I thought I would share with you what I think are some of the better pictures from this summer and it’s corresponding song. So here we go:

We can begin with this one

(Currently listening to Mama, Won’t you keep them castles in the air burning? by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)

I took this picture on May 30th, which technically is still spring. But it was such a hot day. I had just moved into my new apartment and felt like exploring. And commonly when I feel like people watching, I head over to the Faces fountain. It is hands down one of my favorite places to be in Chicago on a hot summer’s day. For those who have never been there, children and adults alike run around in the fountain, waiting for the faces on the screens to make their “oh” face like this

and then they run under the stream of water, screaming and laughing. I love it.

Next photo

(currently listening to The other side of Mt. Heart Attack by Liars)

(I had to shrink the photo to fit. please view the original here)

I didn’t take this picture. My boyfriend Stefan did. And I will always be in his debt for it. I love my older sister. Colleen is hands down my best friend. You will always have fun with her. Probably get into some kind of trouble but be giggling the whole time. She lives back in Michigan and every now and again, she will last minute drive down to Chicago. And it is always a good time. This night my two amazing cousins, Lauren and Nathan, Colleen, Stefan, our friend Caitlin and I all went out to eat Italian in Wicker Park. It was one of those nights where you are the only people in the restaurant. Aren’t those amazing? And we drank wine, ate lots of food. Ended up at the tiniest little bar called Danny’s. Long and short of it, it was ridiculously fun. And my older sister is awesome. The picture was taken on May 31st.

(currently listening to Theme by Jon Brion)

(view original here)

I took this picture on June 10th. This summer my sister (in the middle) married Nate (on the left). I took this picture of my mother, Nate and Colleen in front of the Detroit River on the day of their bridal shower. It was a beautiful day. When the wind is perfect, not too hot. People were fishing off the pier, although I wonder how edible the fish from the Detroit River could possibly be. Regardless, it was a good day. I actually had to turn in a paper that day for one of my graduate classes. The whole day I was thinking “copyright law…need to think of ideas for copyright law paper”. I had a portion written but I’m one of those people that leaves things until the last minute. I cannot help it. It’s just how I work. And it seems to work out for me quite fine. This was one of the few moments when I wasn’t so concerned anymore.

(currently listening to Tommib by Squarepusher)

(view original here)

I took this photo on June 14th in New York City. Stefan and I were sitting in his apartment about a month before. He just looked at me and asked me if I was interested in going to New York. Of course I said yes. I love this city. I’m not quite sure what it is but I am attracted to it. It’s big and it’s dirty and people are constantly moving. But there is a beauty in that. So many people on such a tiny island. We had an amazing time. This was taken on top of the Met.

(currently listening to Age of Consent by New Order)

(view original here)

On June 24th I went to my very first Pride Parade. It was such an enlightening and amazing experience. It was like a sensory overload. Everywhere people were laughing and singing and drinking and shouting and dancing. Oh yeah…and there were some floats too.

(currently listening to Like Gold by Erlend Øye)

This picture was taken by Stefan on July 14th at the State and Lake El train station on the way home from Pitchfork Music Festival. While it may not be the best picture structurally, it is perfect for me. This night was one of the best of the summer. We watched music all day. In the picture with Stefan and I are Andrea and her boyfriend Jon, two fellow librarians. We all went back to my house very drunkenly and drank beer in the park across from my house. People just happened to be setting off massive amounts of fire works. And they were awesome. We played on playground equipment and ended the night watching Kung Fu Hustle. It was beyond fun. One of those nights when I feel so lucky to be alive.

(currenlty listening to Good Morning by Punjabi MC)

(view original here)

I took this photo on July 21st at my older sister Colleen’s bachelorette party. In the picture are my new sisters in law (that’s what it’s called right?) Niki and Maija. We had so much fun. But I must tell you. Organizing 21 drunken girls throughout a night on the town in Chicago is….complicated. So much that I really didn’t get drunk because I was constantly thinking about the next step. But! The most important thing is…well…just look at Colleen’s face. She loved it. 🙂

(currently listening to Let’s be Still by Yo La Tengo)

(view original here)

When it comes to pictures of the wedding, it is extremely hard to just pick one. I could have done this one or this (because seriously that child is adorbable). But I chose this, taken by Molly Boyette on August 4th, because it is a really beautiful moment. Just when my dad was done walking Colleen down the aisle. Good shot Molly. Seriously.

(currently listening to Með Blóðnasir by Sigur Rós)

(view original here)

September 3rd. Back at the fountain. Just perfect. As always. Makes sense to end where I began, right?

Now the summer is over. And Autumn is setting in. I’m ready, camera in hand.

Happy Saturday fair readers.

Guide for bad tippers.

This article:

this one

made me think.

First it made me think: that’s nice. Bloomberg is an interesting politician.

Then it made me think: I’m glad he included tipping on there.

And I am. People who don’t know how to tip properly are infuriating. So let’s go over this once and for all. Here it is. A guide for bad tippers.

Warning!

This blog will now take a slightly condescending tone.

Warning!
Hello you. Have you ever wondered why you get treated badly at your favorite restaurant that you like to go to? Maybe it’s because you think leaving 10-15% as a tip for your server is a good thing.

Well it isn’t.

In fact, that is AWFUL.

You should always leave servers/bartenders and the like, at least 20%!

Otherwise you will embarrass the people you go out with, piss off servers all over, potentially get something nasty done to your food next time, and just overall look like an insensitive person.

Look at this website:

Revenge Against Bad Tippers!

or this one

Badtipper.com

and this:

Bitterwaitress.com

When you tip badly, people pretty much hate you. And you want to know why, bad tipper?

Because servers make usually anywhere from a whopping $2-$3 an hour. Did you realize that? Repeat this with me:

Servers live off of tips!

So just cough up a few more dollars. The difference between$3 and $5….not that much. But it does mean more to the server. It means you recognize their importance and value their hard work and just simply, you are not an idiot.

So let’s all remember service industry workers and their extremely difficult jobs next time we go out to eat. Because serving is hard. Bartending is hard.

You know what isn’t hard?

Calculating 20% of your bill.

Don’t be a jerk fair readers. Learn how to tip.

Happy Wednesday.

Love. Lovely love.

On August 4th, 2007 my sister, Colleen, was married.

It was amazing. And stressful. I freaked out the entire morning for a myriad of reasons. But all these things ended up working themselves out. Someone was watching out for me.

Issue #1: as one of my previous posts mentions, my dress was in trouble. Being strapless, it wouldn’t stay up alone, which required some Leah-made alterations.

Resolution:

Enter my mother to save the day. She whipped up some safety pin magic, along with all the other insane things she had to deal with that day. She is truly amazing.

Seriously.

In fact, both my parents were pretty amazing.

I was impressed. 🙂

Issue #2: I was worried about crying through the whole ceremony because my only sister was getting married.

Resolution: I cried through the whole ceremony. No kidding. Ask anyone who was there. Here is me trying my best not to shudder and start sobbing….

Not sure if you can tell. But I was freaking out.

Issue #3: the speech. Oh me. Oh my. THE SPEECH! I had anxiety dreams about doing my maid of honor speech for about a month straight. It’s not like I haven’t done any public speaking. I have to do it quite a bit to be honest. But good god, I was freaking out….again.

Resolution: It went just fine. As soon as I got the microphone, I just kind of knew what I wanted to say from the hours of thinking and revising in my head. I made people laugh and didn’t cry.

Mission accomplished.

After this, everything was completely fun. The reception was in a barn at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, which was so beautiful.

We danced

and drank

and were very very merry.

So overall, it was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Which is a word that, according to Stefan, I used many times that weekend.

Wonderful.

La Modista Ltd. on Clybourn.

Be prepared. I am about to rant. I’ve been scouring the internet for reviews sites to rant as publicly as I can. Because I’m just vindictive that way. So I’ve ranted here, here and even here. And here. Oh yes, and here.

And here.

So now I’m going to rant on my blog. Because I want to. And because, fair readers, I don’t like being treated like garbage.

Or even this kind of Garbage.

Because they both suck.

So let’s just get to the story, shall we?

My sister is getting married on Saturday. My super cool, awesome, totally amazing older sister Colleen.

(She’s the one of the left)

And she chose me to be the maid of honor, which is wonderful. So I buy the dress she picks out for the bridesmaids and I like it. It’s cute. Like this:

but in Lilac…

Very pretty.

And, as most bridemaid’s dresses must be, my dress needed to be altered. So! I decide to take my dress to….. *insert evil, sinister music* la modista ltd. on clybourn!!

I made my appointment for about a month before the wedding, plenty of time to take in the bust. At least I thought so. So I go in for my appointment and they tell me that they don’t have me written in their appointment book.


I tell them I called a week ago…and they basically imply that I’m lying to them but that they can manage to fit me in.

How kind.

So they measure me. Pin the dress. And tell me that cannot get it back to me until August 1st…and they know damn well that the wedding is on August 4th because I had just told them that. That seems fine to me. They take my number and I go on my way.

And this wasn’t all that awful. I still was feeling like I had picked a nice place. Everything would be fine. la de da.

Well, I go back yesterday and try on my dress to find that, low and behold, it will not stay up. They didn’t take the bust in enough. I walk out of the dressing room and tell the owner (who wasn’t the woman who originally fitted me but this time was helping me). Right away she calls over the woman who did fit me, as she’s pinning the dress so that it will stay up. When she shows her what she did wrong, the woman (and I’m not even kidding) points to my chest and says, “Well that’s why I didn’t pin it so tight. Look at that pudge”.

…..

…………

bitch.

At the time…I was so stunned that I didn’t yell. I didn’t scream. I just dropped my mouth in utter surprise. I know I’m not tiny but I certainly don’t consider myself chubby. Which is what she was implying.

I just looked at the owner and who was saying that she could have it ready for me by Friday. I told her I couldn’t do that. I wanted to just take my dress and leave.

So essentially I paid $35 for some stupid woman to tell me that I don’t look good in this bridesmaid’s dress. Grrrrr.

Honestly, I like the dress. I think I look good. And that woman was probably just trying to cover her ass because she didn’t do a good job. But seriously, who does this? Insult the customer? Is that really a good idea?

So basically this means that I have to whip out the old sewing kit and make myself some straps.

It will certainly be simple. But it could have been avoided if some people did their job correctly.

So! What have we learned?

  • Don’t go to La Modista Ltd. on Clybourn.
  • Don’t tell the customer that they are fat.
  • Don’t go to La Modista Ltd. on Clybourn!

Lesson learned. They suck.

Have a lovely Thursday everyone.