Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nostalgic (?) smell

Way back when I started this blog I was working at a food research center on the south west side of Chicago. Now that I've been gone for nearly 8 months I find the things I disliked have faded into the mists of memory and I miss some of the folks I used to work with.

This morning I was reminded of one of the things I do not miss about working down there. Our building was originally part of the Corn Products International plant. Corn Products, as it's name implies, is a huge plant that processes corn. That one plant in Summit-Argo is responsible for around 90% of the world's high fructose corn syrup. (If you've got a bragging point, stick with it!)
Because it works around the clock, non-stop, it often looked like the pic below. (note that it's winter in this pic so the stacks look even more productive)

Because of the round the clock production, the area always smelled like the processed corn it worked with. The closest thing I could compare it to was that the area always smelled like a chicken coop. Except for the days when they were cleaning then it smelled like bad bleach in a chicken coop.

This morning as I got off the train at Harlem, that smell, albeit faint, was waiting for me. Because I have such a strong sense of smell, often I find that a familiar smell will be a strong trigger to memories. Stepping off the train was like stepping off the 63W in Summit and being battered in the nose by chicken feed stank. I always wondered how people lived down there, but I'm sure you get used to it. When I lived in Charleston SC, if it was humid (which it usually was) and the wind was right, you could smell the paper mills and you got used to it. But this smell is there... always...

But I miss the folks I used to work with. If you're still reading, miss you - but not the smell.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And it's tasty too!

One of my co-workers grew up and still lives on the west side of Chicago. A few weeks ago we were all talking about different tastes and what some people would think would be odd, we liked. She told us that she'd grown up taking a full dill pickle, biting off the top and shoving a peppermint stick into the pickle. After the laughing died off, she was still swearing by it and threatened to bring them in to work one day for us to sample.

Today was the day. Unfortunately she wasn't able to get a dill pickle and brought in one sour pickle and one hot/spicy pickle. Not a good way to try to convince the skeptical folks. It was, obviously, nasty and the face Lucy is making above doesn't come close to what I did. But I told my coworker that I'd still hold out judgement until I could taste it with a dill pickle the way she intended. I went downstairs to grab some chips for lunch and noticed they had dill pickle slices for their deli board and asked for one. I tried it with some peppermint chunks and have to say.. not an entirely terrible taste. I couldn't finish an entire pickle, but I can appreciate it would be a good taste if you were used to it.

This led me to think about what other odd tastes are out there that we might like, but know others may make a face about. Share here and let me know. Here are some to start:

- dip Wendy's fries in a Wendy's Frosty
- cold hot dog wiener with peanut butter (only one per year)

Skeletons in the closet

No, not talking about Gay Halloween either (get it? :) LOL)

This morning I've been chatting with cb and out of the blue he asks me what I think about Xanadu the movie.

I can't lie... I love it. It's cheesy 80's ilk, but I love it.

I can still quote lines from it left and right, and while I'm making fun of the moves, I can probably (if forced) dance along with the skating Xanadu finale number at the end.

It was Olivia Newton-John at her leg warmer wearing finest! The music was, I think, a great transition from what was starting to wane about the 70's but starting to come into music fashion for the 80's.

If you've not seen the movie... go ahead, you know you want to. If you can't wait to rip on the movie, I ask you to ask yourself one question first. Did you like Grease 2? If you did... you better NOT be mean to Xanadu....
XANADU..... XANADUUUUUU... In Xanadu... now that I'm here, now that you're near... In Xanadu.

See, told you.. Skeleton in the closet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And the winter begins.....

I woke up this morning and the news said the temp was 31 and the slight wind chill took it into the high 20's.


I'm sure this chill isn't here to stay, but honestly... It was up in the 70's just a few days ago wasn't it?

I know, I know... I choose to live here. And there's plenty to offset the cold.

But still...

Monday, October 27, 2008

ahhhh Monday....

After a self imposed clear liquid diet over the weekend and not getting off the couch except to refill the liquid, get rid of the liquid or shower once.... I am feeling much more myself!

With all the sleeping I did this weekend you'd think I'd be set for sleep for the next few weeks. But if I put my head down on my desk, I'd fall asleep within minutes!

Now I need to go back through the work I did on Friday and make sure I didn't do anything wrong in my ick state...

God Bless Ginger Ale and Saltines!

Meanwhile, enjoy my new little fun toy of useless knowledge!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm never eating again....

I have to give up solid food forever. If the risk is having to put up with the rare case of eating something poorly cooked, that would be OK I guess. But twice in two weeks? I can't take it anymore! UGH! If you know me personally, you know what a whiney-ass I can be when I don't feel well (no comments beyond that folks... ) so you can imagine what an absolute joy I would be to be around right now.

I just finished a conference in New Orleans that went from Sunday to Saturday. On or around Tuesday, I ate something that must have had year old, bacteria infested vulture poop in it because it hit me and it hit me hard. I still had to continue with the conference, and it was hell having to run around a convention center feeling like that and still having to keep the perma-smile on for attendees.

Then, just a week after getting back from New Orleans I had a sandwich from the deli downstairs where I work that had chicken in it that maybe wasn't cooked through, or had also been cut and processed by the Vulture Poop Meat Packing Company.

Having these two episodes brought about some observations (and not ALL are from experience):

- When you move into the convention center, learn where all the bathrooms are and plan your room sets and sign changes keeping them in mind

- What is it about me, walking fast, fists clenched, sweat on my brow and pale as a ghost making a bee line for the bathroom that makes you think "Hey, now looks like a perfect time to stop him and ask that inane question that's been bothering me for 2 years..."

- Keep that little bathroom trashcan within arms reach of your toilet. If the problem is coming out of both ends, no matter WHAT choice you make, you're cleaning up the losing vote. And if you're taking care of the back end and suddenly find you need to stand up to get that little trashcan to take care of the top end... that doesn't mean the back end is going to stop doing it's thing while you make a stage set change.

- Don't watch Surgery Channel... Period

- Your idea of bland food and a hotel in a city known for spicy Cajun food's idea of bland are ENTIRELY different.... Stick with oatmeal, hold the hot sauce please.

I'm back at work today and feel a little better, but it's coming up on lunchtime. I'm a little bit hungry, but each time I think about what I can eat the choice is followed up with "what's that going to look like if I have to see it again soon?" I think I'll stick to the protein shake and a banana for right now.

One last, completely unrelated bit for fun. I saw this over at Down the Rabbit Hole and had to borrow it. Thanks Bunny!

I really really hope he wins. The alternative makes me want to reach for the little bathroom trash can....

Monday, October 20, 2008

i love it!

I'm no fool, nosiree...

If you know me, you know two things:

1. It doesn't take much to amuse me sometimes
2. I can connect with or remember the most obscure things from my past. (it's what connects me with my brother & sister I do believe)

If you're around the age of 40, you should remember these little nuggets from film day in elementary school....

Pretty much sums it up....

This was my weekend.

I did break up the naps with the occasional venture into cleaning. But otherwise it was a pretty comatose weekend. It did help me get up a little earlier this morning though. I need to start getting up a bit earlier so I can get back into my regular morning routine. Cross your fingers and don't let me have a soda after 5pm.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The other geek topic for me...

Another movie I'm anxious to come out.

Star Trek with Heroes' Zachary Quinto (Sylar) as a young Spock. When I heard they were making this prequel and had chosen Quinto for the part... it was perfect. You can still see his characteristic slight underbite when he's playing angry, but from what I've read... he's got Nimoy's Spock pretty much down. Can't wait to see it come to the screen.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Because I love me some Ann Hathaway

Just Kevin sent me this movie trailer that looks like it will be a hoot. Kate Hudson is a good laugh too and I can see this movie being made with her mother Goldie Hawn and someone else too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brain sucker....

As I said below, my own creative juices are depleted. What do you do until your tank is full again? Go siphon a little out of other creative people while giving proper thanks along the way....

Thanks VoenixRising!

Yeah, Yeah, I know....

I've been Blog-absent for a while. I was in New Orleans managing our national conference. Somewhere along the line I got food poisoning along with a bad cold. Run a week long conference with that without complaining (I promise) or ripping someone's head off and you'll know what true endurance is.....

I returned to Chicago on Saturday, but continued to be out of work on Monday & Tuesday still afraid to wander too far from the safety of a close bathroom and just wanting to curl up on my bed or couch and not move. I was chastised for not blogging but I'm still slightly medicated and my creative juices are flushed and down the toilet while I've been sick (go ahead... make the connection... I'll wait)

Today I have been doing some work, then taking a brain break since my concentration seems to wander now and then. In the process I have been enjoying some of my fellow blogger's work and found this video at Voenix Rising. What a hoot!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Email signatures and warm regards

Professional pet peeve time:

Email signature areas are meant to include your contact information, not to serve as your static "good bye" because you're too lazy to type something. And guess what.... "Warm regards" sounds as inviting as cold oatmeal or a limp handshake.

You can see it in people's email like you could see it in their eyes. "yeah, I'm writing you, but I couldn't give 5 more seconds to you to come up with an original closing line like "thanks for your help" or "Have a great weekend" so I'll just leave you with

Warm regards,

Lazy Fucker,
Bladie Blah Company

It used to be that emails were the standard for quick answers and confirming details, but we still wrote real letters where the courtesy and professionalism was kept. These days emails are becoming more and more accepted as the standard communication so the same professionalism should be applied. Believe me... we can see the lazy and apathetic approach in emails just as we did in regular letters.

OK, morning rant over.

Cold Oatmeal,