Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorite Albums of 2009.

Year 2009 will be in the history books in a few hours... so this means it is time for my annual list of my favorite music of the past year. A year that I spent completely on unemployment... so music came from friends and also from selling music to buy music. The CD died more this year. The vinyl album rose in sales. But downloaded music is still gaining more and more ground... and sadly since most downloaded music is still not being paid for the music industry is dying more and more (one of the reasons I lost my job one year ago today).

My Favorite Albums of 2009...
1. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart "s/t" (slumberland)
2. David Bazan "Curse Your Branches" (barsuk)
3. Shrinebuilder "Shrinebuilder" (neurot)
4. Passion Pit "Manners" (french kiss/columbia)
5. Tortoise "Beacons of Ancestorship" (thrill jockey)
6. Nomo "Invisible Cities" (ubiquity)
7. Method Man & Redman "Blackout 2" (def jam)
8. Phoenix "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenex" (loyauté/glassnote)
9. Lily Allen "It's Not Me, It's You" (capitol)
10. Rose Melberg "Homemade Ship" (k)

and the +10:
Animal Collective "Merriweather Post Pavilion" (domino)
The Big Pink "A Brief History Of Love" (4ad)
Bill Callahan "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" (drag city)
Bricolage "Bricolage" (slumberland)
Girls "Album" (true panther/matador)
Thee Oh Sees "Help" (in the red)
P.O.S. "Never Better" (rhymesayers)
Roman Candle "Oh Tall Tree In The Ear" (carnival)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs "It's Blitz!" (interscope)
Yo La Tengo "Popular Songs" (matador)


So there you go... another year of music in the books. Hopefully 2010 brings happiness and employment to those that are in need.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Curry explosion.

Cooking lesson: Never blend hot curry sauce. I need to purchase one of those hand blenders.

Friday, December 18, 2009

California.

Oh California how I miss you. Our trip out to the Bay Area reminds me how much I miss seeing my family. Once we leave I am sure Miles will miss the lemon trees in my parent's backyard.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Anchor Christmas.

While in San Francisco why not do something very San Francisco... no, not go to the Golden Gate bridge. Have a lateral tasting of Anchor Christmas beers from 1998 to 2010 with a good group of about fifteen.

My brother had stored at least one magnum bottle of Anchor Brewing's Christmas Ale from 1998 to the current 2009. Supposedly the recipe for the beer changes from year to year, unlike most special Christmas ales released by other breweries (they also change the label each year as well). All are a Porter base, but the spices, and levels of spice change. So we did a tasting over twelve years with only 1999 missing (not sure where that bottle went) to find out if there was much of a difference and if any of it went bad.

The good news: none of the bottles went bad. Each opened with some fizz to it. But we all agreed that some of the flavor must have been lost over the years. As the each bottle was opened (we started with 1998) they seemed to get better and better. Yes there was a difference between the years, but not as much as we thought there would be. The biggest difference we found was between the last two (2008 & 2009). Last year's beer was so heavy and more sip-able (more of a stout), while 2009's beer is the most drinkable in a long time (less spicey, less heavy). The other issue we ran into was we all were getting so full - Anchor Christmas is quite a heavy beer, like many porters.

All in all it was a fun night with a great group of people. In the future I would do the tasting over 5 years and not more than that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November.

I will get back on the horse again... just need to come up with some things to blog about.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Spammers.

It's frustrating enough not getting replies from the zillions of jobs I've applied for... but when I do get an email and it's a scam! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Sadly I know there are plenty of people who fall for them (which really is sad).

It just pisses me off!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

One year near.

One year of being unemployed is getting closer and closer. No leads. No interviews. And all I can think of is that my unemployment checks will end in December. I cannot throw my son the 1st birthday party I wanted to. Our savings is getting smaller each month which means and dreams of buying a house are more and more out of reach. We cannot afford to move... and if I cannot find a job in Chicago where can I?

I just do not know how to get a job. I've tried everything, but nothing seems to work. Recruiters don't want me. My project management skills in the music industry don't seem to be a big selling point. Going to school is not an option since I cannot afford childcare. I dread the idea of working the overnight shift at the supermarket but that is what it's looking like so I can watch Miles during the day.

Being unemployed can really make you feel worthless.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Day.

Wake up some time between 4am and 6:30am.
Coffee.
Breakfast.
Help LP get her bags ready for work.
Go to snotty park before anyone gets there.
Feed Miles.
Nap #1... check Facebook, look for jobs, apply for jobs, try not to get down about being out of work.
Go for a walk... usually to the grocery store.
Feed Miles.
Play with blocks and toys.
Nap #2... either get on the computer or read or start prepping dinner.
Feed Miles.
Play some more... work on walking, keep Miles from getting into things.
Maybe go for a walk or go to one of the other parks for a swing session.
Feed Miles.
Miles starts getting really tired and cranky toward the late afternoon so spend time being goofy to make him smile until LP gets home.
LP gets home so start dinner.
Work on budget and bills plus work on grocery lists, Target lists, lists, lists, lists.
LP puts Miles to sleep so I clean up all the toys and books.
Eat.
Clean kitchen.
Watch some TV and hang out with LP although we are usually too tired to talk much.
Asleep around 9pm.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Park.

I live by three parks. One of them is named Fellger Park. This seems to be the cool hip spot for parents on the Northside of Chicago to bring their children... children under eight. I have seen people drive up, park on the street, pull out their stroller, strap the kid(s) in, and walk twenty feet into the park. And not any stroller will do... it must be the Bugaboo. This is the Northside park to be seen. It's where to show off your kid, what your kid is wearing, and chat with your lady friends about what car you should buy since your Mercedes is getting old (2 years) and your husband should make more money. If your lady friends cannot make it that means you just need to play with your iPhone and ignore your kid.

How do Miles and I fit in? We don't. We try to avoid this park since it tends to be over crowded and the people are not very nice to us. We don't have a Bugaboo. We don't have our group of lady friends. We don't want to hang out. We just want to spend some time on the swing and do a little crawling around. We get the snotty stares. We've been told that it's surprising Miles is not walking yet (and how many 8 month babies do, and even if he was 16 months is it any business of yours?).

Miles and I tend to only go in the early morning when the park is empty. This morning's trip actually had a nice encounter with another dad and his daughter. They actually spoke to us. They actually were having fun. It was a nice surprise. Then they left and the regulars came in and soon Miles and I went home.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Not Giving Up...

No I am not giving this blog up, I am just not finding much time to type... and not many exciting things going on to post about. Lately my posting has been limited to blurbs on Twitter and Facebook.

I did try to start a second blog at the beginning of 2009 about my life and times on unemployment. With every day being the same... and getting absolutely nowhere on the job hunt I realized it was just so depressing (not therapeutic) to write about. The winter months found me learning to be Mr. Mom... and trying to stay sane being inside all of the time. Landing no job interviews since being laid off was just not good (and still is not)... but writing a blog about it seemed to make everything worse. So myunemployedlife* got the axe.

Hopefully there will be a brighter future for this blog and for me...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Paczki Day!

Today is Paczki Day! So LP and I, along with Miles for the first time, made our annual trip to the Pasieka Bakery to buy some paczki for LP to take to work. This is the first year I did not get to take some to share since I don't have a job. This all means that Lent starts tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

81st Oscar Wrap Up.

Slumdog Millionaire... did not see it.
The Reader... did not see it, but own the book which I never read.
Milk... did not see it.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona... did not see it.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button... did not see it, but almost did.
The Duchess... did not see it, but it's in my queue on Netflix.
Man on Wire... saw it and though it should of been a short.
WALL-E... saw it, and thought it was good, not great.
The Dark Knight... saw it!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Miles loves bouncing.



This marks the first video I have ever uploaded to Blogger... I guess there is a first for everything. Miles is now 16 weeks old and loves to jump in this jumpy-swing-thing. The tunes on the turntable in the background are by Breakestra. I highly recommend this album... it's great for parties, and for kids who love to bounce!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chicago Photoshop.

When there is no time to post... then why not post a photo of Chicago taken from my phone and reworked in Photoshop.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

60 In February.

The one plus about being unemployed is being able to take my son for a walk in the neighborhood on the first 60 degree day of the year. By the weekend it will be back in the 30's with some flurries. The sun did us both well today.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Confessions and Thoughts.

I am totally hooked on the television show "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." I know, I know - it is truly awful (is anything on ABC Family good?), but I just cannot stop watching. I was actually surprised that it was renewed for a second season. All of the high school kids have sex or want to have sex, yet none of them drink or do drugs because that would be bad. Yep.

I've been listening to way too much UB40 lately. And for most, ten seconds is far too much. I am a sucker for crap.

I think Pepsi ripped-off Obama's logo.

I am so tired of winter this year... and that's huge for me. I love the cold and snow but this January being the coldest in 25 years for Chicago - yeah, I've had enough. Global warming my ass.

I don't think Cherry Ride will ever post again. I think he's done with blogging.

I often hope for bad things to come to the company I use to work for. I know this is not right, especially since I have good friends who still work there and do not want to see them lose their jobs too... but I still find myself hoping the company will go out of business. Thankfully I usually realize right away what I am doing and stop myself because it is not healthy to wish bad things on other people. I need to use my brain for better things.

I do feel the February 3, 1959 was the day that the innocence of music died. Sure, the music did not die that day... but that clean cut All-American image seemed to die soon after.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Groundhog Day.

I love Groundhog Day... and yes, I even dig the movie.  Although I can't seem to find my copy of the movie.  Grrrrr... Hope Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow this morning.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sleeper Bowl.

This year I skipped watching the Super Bowl... I took a long nap which I really needed.  It was very satisfying.  Although I did not eat any of the junk food (chips & dip) we bought to munch on during the game.  I think the Steelers won.  I got up in time to see the new episode of The Office.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Box of Dub.

I have been completely absorbed with the two Box of Dub compilations that Soul Jazz put out a little while ago... 2007 maybe? Dubstep is the only electronic music I have been listening to, with the exception of Lindstrom. I'll probably be completely sick of it in a few days... but right now it seems just right.

A good place to learn more about Dubstep is: dubstep.fm/

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mommy Friend.

Last Thursday Miles and I had our first play date.  This couple that LP and I met at a wedding a couple weekends ago has a new baby who is two weeks younger than Miles.  Score!  Meeting people with a new born too!

So Mom & Baby Girl came over for a play date on Thursday afternoon.  Our kids are too young to actually play together, but it was just nice to be able to talk to someone about daily boring things... diapers, poop, spit up, feeding, Target, etc.  We drank some coffee.  Ate some cookies LP had made.  Changed some diapers.  Got to know each other.  And all of a sudden three hours had passed and it was time for Mom & Baby Girl to go home.

A simple get together which ended up making my afternoon so much better.  We are going to try it again this week.  Yea!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Eloise.

Just a good day for a kitty photo...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blue Monday.

I was never aware that the third Monday of the year was referred to as "Blue Monday."  Did you?  I was only knew of the New Order song by the same name... a pretty darn good song.

Blue Monday is supposedly so depressing since by the third Monday of the year we are already failing at our resolutions, getting tired of the winter cold, and trying to pay off the debt we incurred over the Christmas holidays. I am sure a lot of us are trying to lose some weight, or at least wishing it would just go away. Many of us are thinking about family we saw over the holidays and wish we lived much more close to love ones... or further away. And I am sure some are remembering the hopes we had on New Years Eve for a better 2009, and already think the new year blows.

I was not focused this year on if I was depressed or not on Blue Monday... mainly since I did not discover this until the day after.  Also it was MLKJ Day and LP was at home... which was great.  It was also the day before the inauguration of Obama so there was too much time spent focused on the television and not on measuring depression. Excitement was in the air.

Next year hopefully I'll be able to take a few minutes to pause and reflect and see if I am truly blue on Blue Monday.  Hope you weren't... and if you were... I guess that day is the worst it can be for the year so things are looking up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Frustrated.

Yesterday was a very trying day for me. Being Mr. Mom sounds like a lot of fun, but yesterday was one of those days I wish I had of been at my old job. My old job seemed like a walk in the park compared to yesterday. And if it were a nice Spring day I would of gone for a walk in the park, but with it being only in the teens outside there was no way I could take Miles outside.

Yesterday was full of crying, screaming, and fussing. Nothing I tried seemed to work. Miles did not want want to be held or rocked. He did not want to be put in his crib, swing, or bouncy seat. He did not want to eat. He did not want to sleep. He was just not sure what he wanted... or at least I could not figure it out. And when a baby cries at you on and off all day (no he did not cry for eight hours straight... although it seemed like it) you just feel defeated and sad. Defeated because you cannot seem to find the solution, and sad because it's hard to see a little baby so upset.

But when he calms down, and finally falls to sleep, I look at him and know all of this frustration is worth it. It really is. Now only if I could find a job so we could have a more secure future.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Negative Coldness + A Rumor.

I know there are plenty of cities in this world that are a lot colder than Chicago, but waking up to -17 degrees was brutal for most of us in this city. Plus we had a lovely windchill to add to the misery. It was so cold that when I drove LP to work I really wanted to pick up every single person outside waiting for the bus. I am glad that by tomorrow we will be 30 degrees warmer! Below I have attached a few photos from the cold day.

There are rumors that a certain blogger is coming back... a certain blogger who has not posted since September. I am very excited about this - that is if I can find time to read that blog (I've not been so good about catching up on the blogs I like to read).


This is Tracy Butler... we watch her every weekday morning on the local ABC.

COLD!!!

Ice on the tree in our backyard.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

my unemployed life*

I started a new blog this year. It's not very exciting, but it is a good way for me to reflect on my current situation. It might be a tad bit depressing, but I do not mean it to be. I really would like to just have a record of this trying time in my life. I am going to keep the fun stories of my life to this blog, but I am sure my new blog will have an occasional rant about my last job.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tomorrow.

Gee... tomorrow is going to be fun.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mr. Mom.

My new role this year has been Mr. Mom.  Now that I am unemployed, and LP had to go back to work, I get to spend my days with Miles.  This has been such a joy.  I feel absolutely lucky that I have been given time to spend with my son.  My son... even saying (or typing) it is still foreign to me.

Now these days of "such a joy" have been a lot of work for me.  See I am one of those people who never cared for babies.  I have always been uncomfortable around newborns since I have not a clue how to care for them.  So I jumped in the fire and I am learning each and every day.  I have down the feeding, changing diapers, and playing.  I am not so good at calming and soothing.  Miles sees me as his buddy who plays, so he has not bought into the idea that I can also be the one to rock him to sleep when he is cranky.

I start each day with a huge list of things to do... and some days I get a lot done, and some days I get zero accomplished.  There are these days were Miles just wants complete attention, and that means I cannot find time to do anything else.  In stead of being frustrated I try to just go with the flow and give Miles the attention he needs.  Those days we play with stuffed animals, look in the mirror, and flip through pages of the many books we have.

We are planning to go to a Friday morning Mommy playgroup... which I am sure I'll be the only Mr. Mom.  

Being unemployed is rough, it really makes me feel worthless.  But as Mr. Shain pointed out - I am lucky I get to be Mr. Mom.  I am enjoying this time with Miles, because many parents don't get this time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Unemployed.

Being unemployed is one of the worst feelings I have ever had.  It is a feeling of worthlessness and not being wanted or needed.

I was laid off at the end of 2008 by the small company I was employed with for nearly nine years.  I worked extremely hard at being the best project / production manager for all of my clients, and was very proud at the loyalty they showed me.  Sure I probably got a little too comfortable at times, being that my job was in the music industry and it was probably going to come to an end at some time because of declining CD sales.  I brought in the most money for the company and was with them for the longest amount of time - and I was rewarded by getting let go.

I was not only let go, I got the official word on the day LP and I were going into the hospital for her induction for the birth of our first child.  Although this was a very hard pill to swallow I also realized that this was a true and clear sign that I no longer needed to put so much hard work and effort into a company for a boss who could do that to me.  Oh, and it got worse since I had to sit on a conference call a week or so later where my boss let the rest of the company know that they were all getting raises and how things would be so great in 2009.

I know... I am better off not there.  But my ex-coworkers (who I miss) still have a job... and I don't.  And my boss keeps calling and emailing to check in with me.  He just wants to make sure I get a new job soon so he can stop feeling bad for himself.  He took the big risk by getting rid of me, and thought all of my clients would stay (hint: they didn't).

Being unemployed in a city where my network for getting a new job is slim is rough.  I am struggling to find leads, and I am struggling to understand how I am going to get a job.  I am trying so very hard to stay positive... but it difficult when my former boss keeps contacting me.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

1994, Part 2.

One of the books I recently grabbed off my bookshelf to finally read was a book I bought in the 1996 (the receipt was still in it) and I never read - not even sure I opened it. The reason I made the purchase was because one of the authors was one of my professors in college, a professor that I thought was the coolest teacher I ever had... but that is a story for another time.

What was this literary purchase?  Revival: Spoken Word From Lollapalooza 1994.  Yep.  What a relic from a time gone by.  What a piece of crap.  If you do not remember 1994's Lollapalooza - well it was easy to forget, but it had this spoken word stage where almost anyone could sign up and spew out some random words (with tons of potty language) and call it poetry (or art?).  It was so 1994.  Maggie Estep and Jennifer Finch have entries in the book which right there makes it very 1994.  I think I ate up the spoken word stage at the time, but cannot recall... I mean it's not like I was an avid poetry slam attender (I've never been a fan of poetry), but I was way into being "cool" back then.  The kind of cool that gets attention.  What better way to grab attention than a mediocre poetry slam.  

So this book is full of "highlights" from the open microphone sessions that summer.  And it is so bad that I cannot seem to put it back on the shelf.  I must finish it.  Ug.  

Just in case you wanted to refresh your memory... Lollapalooza 1994 was:
Main Stage: The Smashing Pumpkins,
Beastie Boys, George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars, The Breeders, A Tribe Called Quest, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, L7, Boredoms, Green Day.
Side Stage: The Flaming Lips, The Verve, The Boo
Radleys, The Frogs (first six dates only), Guided by Voices, Lambchop, Girls Against Boys, Rollerskate Skinny, Palace Songs, Stereolab, Fu-Schnickens, The Pharcyde, Shudder to Think, Luscious Jackson, God Lives Underwater, King Kong, Charlie Hunter Trio, Shonen Knife, Blast Off Country Style, Souls of Mischief, Cypress Hill, The Black Crowes.

Monday, January 05, 2009

1994.

During the Christmas holiday season I found some time (due to the cold ass conditions outside) to catch up on some movie watching. Reality Bites is one film that I just never got around to watching. I know I owned the soundtrack (mmmm... Lisa Loeb) but never saw the movie. I had a feeling it might be one of those films I could not recall seeing, but when I finally got around to watching it my brain would click and I would remember having seen it. Nope. I really had never seen it, or my memory is going.

I was so surprised by how many big name actors/comedians/celebs are in the film [Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn, John Mahoney, Evan Dando, David Spade, Andy Dick, Renée Zellweger]. And I was surprised by how much I liked it. Or maybe how much is grabbed my attention and took me down memory lane to 1994.  I watched it twice.  That Gen X slacker mentality which was so cool. And everyone smokes in the movie. After about thirty minutes I wanted to run to the corner shop and get a pack of smokes because it looked like so much fun... but I didn't because I don't smoke and I think cigarettes are like $9 a pack in Chicago.

Reality Bites makes 1994 life seem so simple.  I remember writing checks for pizza deliveries back then.  Can you do that anywhere anymore? Life was focused around buying tons of 7"s and then listening to them over and over again. Bands like Velocity Girl, Eggs, Love Battery, The Spinanes, Hazel, Heatmiser, Further, Lois, Pavement, Beck, Tsunami, Urge Overkill, Unwound (college indie rock... if you did not get the picture). It was the slacker generation - and it got the best of me.  I was the slacker...  Working on things like the radio station not my classes. I wanted so badly to be these slacker characters, but not realize that they were soon to be headed to nowheresville too.  I spent money on buying all of the cool Gen X books never to read them.  I still own them, and have finally been getting to them.

1994 was the year I should of graduated college, but I didn't (it took me well more than four years to get my B.S. - but I did get it!). I was so wrapped up in being busy with unimportant things. I kept believing that life was so complicated and I just needed to figure life out before I should do my homework... or maybe I should just swing by the record store to make sure there aren't any new 7"s out so I can play them on my radio show.  All of which I have a tad bit of guilt about, but I was young and needed to do a whole lot of growing up.  Lucky for me my move to NYC was coming and I did a ton of growing up there.

Wow... what memories one film opened up. And you know, I've never seen Say Anything either.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Books.

The past week or so I've been finding time for myself... which is hard to come by when you have a newborn. My time is right after the 10:00pm news when LP and Miles are sleeping. I have found that I can get thirty minutes to an hour to myself to read a book or magazine before falling asleep.

There are so many books on our shelves that I have purchased but never got around to reading. Some nights I get a page read... some nights a chapter... some night more. But it is relaxing. It is calming. It reminds me how reading can help you clear your help, or even help you focus.

There are so many books to get lost into... I look forward to my new found time.