Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rainy Day...where's the ark...

26 January 2010
I just noticed that on my Bulletin (to do list) I’ve still been writing 2009...EPIC FAIL. Today was a bit of a hectic day. After waking up around 5 to catch the Nadal-Murray match that Rafa had to retire from (epic fail on my part for losing two + hours of sleep for THAT), I then waited around for the laundry guy to come and pick up my laundry. I was amazed that I actually got up. If only class could inspire me the way Rafa Nadal does...I guess shouldn’t complain about door-to-door laundry, BUT, he didn’t show up in time for me to leave and get to class on time. Since as I was tired, and because of Mr. Late Messenger I just got back in the bed. I can do that now that the five screaming children that used to live in the house next to me are gone. Before, they would be up at the crack of dawn trying to see who was going to win that day’s screaming contest. I didn’t ever go back to sleep, but just for two hours I laid there and enjoyed the room actually being cold, and the sound of the rain. Around ten I finally schlepped myself out of the bed and got a shower. I then proceeded to watch (on double speed of course!) the two lectures that I just slept through :P I then went to campus, and the rain came down again! I was wearing rubber sandals so I was sliding all over the place in my shoes. My road is not paved, and is riddled with low spots so I was having to dodge them and the cars. If I had half a brain in my head I would have taken a picture because it was really ridiculous.

Class was, as usual, BORING. The DPS lecture was so mundane I was five slides ahead of the guy most of the time. He talked SO SLOW I could have driven to Cleveland in the time it took him to get some words out...I swear people who make their living speaking in front of people who have to sit in a classroom all day should be given some instruction in public speaking. Inflection does wonders for the attention!

After DPS it was back to the apartment where I got changed for Neuro and Phi Delta Epsilon meetings. We had to be in “Professional” attire. As I started to walk back to campus, of course it started to rain again. The meetings were nondescript. We went to Tomato’s afterward where I ordered what looked like an appetizing salad, with shrimp and feta. I was assuming the shrimp would we at least warmed up, oh no, it was cocktail shrimp that looked rather vulcanized. That would have been fine were it not for the lifetime supply of black olives that had been dumped on top of the salad...I hate black olives, and only like kalamatta olives in small doses. I probably spent at least five minutes picking them out of my salad and had an appreciable little pile.

Upon walking back I just got soaked, completely. The rain was STILL coming down and hard. My road--what road! It was a shallow river all the way up. There literally was nowhere to walk without walking in water!

I’m pretty tired so I’m probably going to fall asleep as soon as I get through this lecture on hormones and I’m going to attempt to get through some of the Vitamin lectures...whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Going Under

No, I'm not suicidal or depressed, haha. The song "Going Under" by Evanescence was playing. The song was really big in late 2003/early 2004 when I was a senior in high school (side note: dear God that seems like forever ago). I bought the CD, I don't know, I guess in January of 2004 after it was apparent that they were going to be more than just a One Hit Wonder after "Bring Me to Life" was played about sixty-three million times. I used to listen to it (the CD) all the time when I would drive to tennis drills three nights a week from Lawrenceville to Snellville. The drive would sometimes take forever because back in the day (haha) GA20 was only two lanes and the ONLY cross-county road leading into that area. Anyway, I'm rambling now. I would usually get through at least half of the CD, and often more if I caught the lights wrong.

So, hearing that song brings back those memories of inching my way across Gwinnett County to get to drills. I was so excited and usually got there early to practice serves and hit with whomever might already be there as well. I had just come off a four or five month hiatus from hitting because I had hurt my elbow and every day that I got hit was like Christmas. I would also often hit on the ball machine for an hour or so before going to practice just for fun and to be warmed up. I was a joint enrollment student so I was usually gone from school when we would break for lunch. Sometimes I'd stay for lunch, usually I went home because I was ready to be OUT OF THERE. Anyway, the days I didn't have class I would go hit and then go hit some more, and when we would have Tennis Team practice I would hit before that as well, and then have practice, and was usually able to make it to drills. So I'd hit for like four or five hours some day. My lungs could only dream of such now... It's quite funny to look back at that and remember that my entire world would often focus around hitting that stupid fuzzy yellow ball (I started to type bottle here, what does that mean?!?!?), and pretty much nothing else. How quickly that changed! Now if I get to hit that fuzzy yellow bellow once or twice a month I'm doing good!

Funny the things you remember.


Like a lot of people I've been following this clustergem that is the "Health Care Reform." A lot of people have a lot to say about both sides, and to be honest there are fair points. Like everybody I have an opinion (yeah you know how the rest of that saying goes). Sometimes i wonder how much cheaper our health care would just simply take better care of themselves.

Top Ten Causes of Death in the States are as follows:

1) Diseases of the heart heart attack (mainly) 28.5%
(2) Malignant neoplasms cancer 22.8%
(3) Cerebrovascular disease stroke 6.7%
(4) Chronic lower respiratory disease emphysema, chronic bronchitis 5.1%
(5) Unintentional injuries accidents 4.4%
(6) Diabetes mellitus diabetes 3.0%
(7) Influenza and pneumonia flu & pneumonia 2.7%
(8) Alzheimer's Disease Alzheimer's senility 2.4%
(9) Nephritis and Nephrosis kidney disease 1.7%
(10) Septicemia systemic infection 1.4%
(11) Intentional self-harm suicide 1.3%
(12) Chronic Liver/Cirrhosis liver disease 1.1%
(13) Essential Hypertension high blood pressure 0.8%
(14) Assault homicide 0.7%
(15) All other causes other 17.4%

People could have largely and for the most part prevented their own problems by simply eating a stalk of celery instead of that bag of potato chips and taking a thirty minute brisk walk after dinner. It's disgusting how simple and preventable these things are -- heart disease, diabetes, many forms of cancer, emphysema, liver disease, hypertension. The overwhelming majority of health problems are lifestyle related (look it up for yourself, you can google it and get a dozen replies in three seconds). That money for a long time usually goes right back out the door to usually--and catch this--THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT with interest (and a lot of it I might add) and to pay for the equipment used to diagnose and treat people, which is never going to be cheap. The government stands to profit even more now that The Dear Leaders have eliminated private lenders to students for loans. Before you jump all over me the comment was tongue-in-cheek and not an actual comparison of Obama to that whack job running the show in North Korea.

Now the people who didn't do anything to deserve their medical conditions are a different story, but it's very hard to feel sorry for people who have signed their death warrant by drinking too much, smoking (which can do much worse damage to your cardiovascular system than your lungs could ever dream of), carb and sugar loading, and being vegetables and then complaining they can't afford to pay for that Lipitor. Sadly this is the vast majority of people. One of things I really want to do as a doctor is hopefully make a difference with people and impress how simple things like eating and walking can make a HUGE difference. That stupid Ben Franklin quote "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" rings LOUD and clear in this case. I remember one night when I was in the ER at ORMC and this woman in her late 30's/early 40's came in. The nurses all knew her very well, I'll call her Sylvia. Sylvia was obviously of a lower income and education bracket, and she smelled like an ashtray -- we're talking Pepe Le Pugh here. She came in with her ex-husband and young son (maybe ten or eleven). Her ex said she smoked four packs of cigarettes per day and had been for years, so maybe forty pack years (which is INSANE).

Well her problem was tightness of the lungs and she was having trouble breathing (shocking), even with a nebulizer. The doctors put her on oxygen and then assigned her to me to talk to and check up on, watching her vitals and what not. One doctor with whom I had a good mentor/mentee relationship told me to go talk to her. Why she did that was probably a mixed bag of nuts. She was probably tired of repeating the same thing over and over and wanted me to get used to talking to and dealing with patients who won't listen, and maybe she thought that I could say something different, who knows. Regardless, instead of the whole "smoking is bad" I asked her how much her cigarettes cost per pack. She perked up and looked at me with an odd look, like she'd never though about that before. Well, I did some quick and dirty calculations in my head, and came to the fact that she spent about $4,000 per year on cigarettes (!!!!!). Her response, "Holy sh*t! You could buy a car with that." At least I brought a new angle, haha.

Drugs are expensive. Could they be cheaper, probably a little, but not much. Those profits go into developing new and better drugs. Not just any Joe Schmoe can walk in off the street and do that. It takes competent and capable people to do this, and they bust their butt to get there and then more when they work. Anybody who's ever worked in a research lab will tell you it's a lot of long, frustrating days/weeks/months for one step of a complicated process. These people are not going to do that for a song, THEIR health isn't worth it.

This whole proposed government reorganization isn't going to reduce costs for anybody. It's going to cost more and ALL of the money is going to go straight into the black hole that is the Federal government for more vote-buying programs that will prop up the incompetent imbeciles pushing those red and green buttons in Congress. For a good example check out the noise made about "high" oil prices the government made until a few people pointed out that the government made significantly more profit off of a gallon of gasoline than the evil oil companies ever will.

If we really want to implement some change let's repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments and impose some term and payroll limits on Capitol Hill. It's pathetic to the point of ludicrous that through all this squawking about how people at home and on Main Street are feeling the pinch of the purse both houses of Congress repeatedly give themselves pay raises, which we get to pay for. And you want to turn your well being over the these people??? Between insurance companies or the government I'm not sure who's worse. When has any program the government has implemented not gone underfunded and/or over budget? Walk down to a VA or minimum standards nursing home and then come back and tell me how you want to hand the rest of your life over to the politicians on The Hill.

It is absolutely amazing how really vapid/bubblegum songs like "I Should Be So Lucky" get stuck in your head. I should be so lucky...lucky lucky get this blasted song out of my head. The Singing Budgie strikes again!

And My Canuck, I love you but whatever it is you're eating from Bob's right now smells like roadkill. I can smell the stickiness of the rice. Maybe I'm pregnant?

Aussie Open!

Like an rabid obsessed tennis fan I've been following the Australian Open this past week. Thankfully, the scheduling of the matches and the time difference actually allows me to watch without sacrificing much studying. The matches are usually televised around 10/11pm when I am scholastically impotent, so cool, right?!?

I've been thoroughly enjoying watching Justine Henin. She was always one of my favorite players before she retired in '08 and women's tennis was really boring without her. It had nobody grounding the dramatics of the Serena-Sharapova diva machine or anchoring the musical-chairs do-si-do for the No. 1 ranking. I wonder though how her little body can hold up until she gets more matches under her belt...

Tonight/tomorrow morning is what should hopefully be a really good match between Rafa and Andy Murray. Nothing against Andy Murray's style but it's one of those boring I'd-rather-watch-paint-dry styles. He just lollipops the ball back and 3/4 and waits for an odd angle and the commentators just SWOON and trip over their tongues for him. Well, it's effective and a smart way to play but it isn't the first time we've ever seen anybody play like that. Michael Change or Lleyton Hewitt anyone? There's a reason Murray hasn't won any majors yet and it's because of his patticake style wears HIM out by the later rounds. Oh yeah, and did I mention it's totally uninspiring to watch. So, my plan is to get to sleep a little early tonight (we'll see if that ACTUALLY happens) and get up early to catch the match.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Shock" Over GOP closing in Massachusetts Senate Race...

A lot of the news lately revolved around the special Senate election in Massachusetts to fill Senator Ted Kennedy's seat. Aside from the fact that I think Ted Kennedy deserved to be in jail and ranks right up there with Strom Thurman in the Should-Never-Have-Been-Reelected-but-Has-Idiots-for-a-Constituency category. Dixicrats anybody?

Aside from the fact that I can NEVER spell Massachusetts correctly without the aide of spell-check I'm not really sure why this is a shock. Why do people (aided by the media of course) always look at things in isolation? Historically, midterm elections have almost always favored the minority party. To boot, the Democrats won 2008 with grandiose promises of "Hope'' and "Change" and "Believe" and all that nonsense setting them up for inevitable failure when they've been unable to meet them. Add to all of that the fact that Obama to many of us hasn't done any better/different of a job than his predecessor -- the Gallup poll puts him today at 49%. Zogby had him at 45% in August and between 45 and 49% since (on par with the last two years of Dubya's term. Contrast this with numbers in the high 60's just one year ago.

Where Dubya went to one extreme with his idiotic policies Obama is going to the complete opposite extreme. What's worse? In my opinion, they're both terrible. As much as I disagreed with Dubya and many of his policies (such as a dartboard military strategy) and scare mongering with Homeland Security and all that rigamarole, he at least was capable of making a decision. Obama looks like a fish on a bicycle.

Having said all of that I will now forever associate the song "We Don't Need Another Hero" with the Obama/Pelosi/Reid trifecta!! Ok, maybe it only makes sense in my head, but keep in mind all the rhetoric and noise about "HOPE" and "CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN" as you read the lyrics to that song. It might be a bit of a stretch, but it's cracking me up. It might make more sense if you've seen the post-apocalyptic action move Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, but I digress.







I just continue to be astonished that the leadership of the Democratic party up until now really thought that force-feeding an incredibly contentious bill chock full of payouts, and organized with backdoor meetings and concessions to special interests groups in a time when EVERYBODY is looking at this bill was going to fly. I'll say it again -- it just boggles my mind. Obviously they, to date, have made a gargantuan error of judgment. Why that is I can arrive at only one conclusion -- supreme arrogance coupled with healthy side dose of stupidity. Did they really think closed door meetings that everybody knew about weren't going to tip off those of us with brains that something was rotten in the State of Denmark??

I was delighted today to read headlines like this "Pelosi: House lacks votes to OK Senate Bill". If we're going to have pass this monstrosity let's at least pretend to take into consideration both sides of the coin. I would also love to see a third party come in and really knock a few politicians on both sides of the aisle on their proverbial butts. The third party would more than likely result in the real reason I'm delighted about this result -- a Senate that is not filibuster proof. I did not want a filibuster proof Senate when Bush was office, and I don't want one while Obama is in office. In short, I don't want a filibuster proof Senate. I especially don't want a filibuster proof Senate of the same political affiliation as the boob occupying the White House. Here's why:
Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it
~ William Pitt

Friday, January 15, 2010


Every time I hear the word "pons" the song "Pon de Replay" starts going through my head. WHY WHY WHY!?!?! I can't stand Rihanna...stupid music association. My brain for some reason or another can conjure up a song for just about any word/idea/color/circumstance. Sometime's it's cool but other times it's really annoying.

I was just now sitting in PBL 5 and heard a train whistle. What's the big deal you ask...well, Dominica has no railroads -- much less trains. Imagine my confusion. Are people here so bored or feel so left out that they have to create the illusion that this island is big enough to warrant having a train to hear????

"The Jews are in the room next door doing their...JEW thing..." -- ~ Pillow Pants, just now

I feel like a heel. For several years I persistently made fun of the "Mac is better crowd." I now have to count myself as one of them. It's pathetic... However, the PC is saying "don't send me to the grave just yet!" I have a 1TB external hard drive that I had been using to back up my PC (essential, I have learned!). Apparently that function has made it impossible to write to the external hard drive on any other computer. Since said PC is in the States, I can only pull information off the hard drive, but adding or changing the stuff directly on it is impossible at the moment without reformatting it. Since I don't want to reformat it without the other computer near me (remember it's the one whose backup files will be deleted) I'm going to have to wait until that computer gets here...AHHHH FRUSTRATION!

Now that I have the computer I would really love to find the notebook of X11 commands that I had when I was doing a lot of work with Dr. Metzker. All her systems were Mac-based and everything was done on the command line instead of the GUI which was really cool. Now, I don't know what I would NEED the command line for when I love the Leopard GUI, but the fact that I was once stupidly competent at it means that a) I could do it again and b) I could get better at it. Mostly I'd like it just for the novelty of it, but whatever, lol. I would love to say I'm willing to figure it out as I go but I'm well aware that one futz key stroke and EVERYTHING I've done is GONE! I just keep thinking of that scene in The Net where Jack Devlin hits the escape key and millions of files are eaten through in I really need to elaborate further on that? Sidenote: I love that movie. I still remember the first time I saw it. I was sitting in my parent's den watching TV when I turned to HBO, and the movie came on during a scene where Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) was driving an at the time brand new BMW 5-series (I was really into cars at that age), so I stopped just to check out the car, haha. Then the cops pull her over and blah blah blah the movie goes from there. I've loved Sandra Bullock ever since.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just milling about...

Ah what to say, what to say. I don't have any snippets of profundity, but I have several humorous moments.

* Somehow, someway, I managed to lock myself OUT of my bathroom. It's a door that never gets locked, and rarely gets closed, yet somehow I managed to get it closed AND locked... epic fail. I was closing it because at that time of day the sun comes in the bathroom window and I was trying to keep the room a little cooler. Either the little man who turns the refrigerator light on and off had was feeling frisky or I'm a complete retard... You be the judge. I rescind from voting.

* Yesterday I was in class, and had put my scrub bottoms on over my shorts because it was subarctic in this room. I didn't, however, tie the knot. I sat like this for about a half an hour, and thus forgot about my failure to tie the bloody knot. I promptly stood up to talk to my Canuck who was a few seats down, and by the time I had gotten to her seat the scrub bottoms were around my knees. Hot, right? It was awkward and funny at the same time. I mean, I still had my shorts on, but nonetheless...OOPS.

* I realized I've become a juice snob since coming here. For all the lackluster food Dominica has to offer the juice is fantastic. When I was in Chicago a few weeks ago the hotel had guava juice as art of the breakfast buffet. Well, I love guava juice. this juice, however, was a poor imitation of what I now know to be "guava" juice. I thought to myself Dear God this place is leaving it's mark on me. AHHHH! We can't have that happen ;)

* We had our first dissection yesterday. Once again I'm placed into the A (of A, B, & C), so we get the first dissection. Oh goody. Put 150 people in the same room who haven't the foggiest idea what's going on -- recipe for success, no? Well, the first assignment is to remove the brain. Oh sure! No problem. Never mind that the skull was still intact...they had initially wanted everybody to use a freakin' hack saw to take the skull off but the saws were dull and there weren't enough to go around...nobody wanted to be there all day... SO...we ended up having to wait while a proctor game around with SuperMan's Dremel 6100 and saw off the skull. That of course was an adventure in and of itself. Everyone who's been to the dentist for anything other than a cleaning knows that wonderful burned bone smell...multiply that by a factor of two hundred or so, and then multiply it again for 30 skulls...BLEGH! Throw in for fun dodging a few bone fragments and it was a real time! One person who was at a table already de-braining (what do you call that process? Should I know this??) their cadaver can pelted when a bone fragment right in her temple. Rather funny.

Getting back into the groove of studying isn't any fun, I don't care who you are! Breaks are a sick joke. It takes a whopping three days to get out of your study rhythm, but it can take two to three weeks to FIND that groove again. Same rule applies for your forehand by the way...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to the grind...

As of 8 January I'm back in Dominica. Yippee, right? The first few hours were completely awful. With my entire being I did NOT want to be here, and I couldn't have cared less why I was. Just take me back tot he airport and let me go home. I'll figure something out for the rest of my life. Of course, after a massive whine fest that would give any three-year-old a run for his money common sense prevailed. What would I do when I get home? Answer -- nothing worth leaving. It's temporary, hopefully when 2011 rolls around I won't have to come back here and I'll be THAT much further along to achieving my goal. So I did/will continue to just eat it and deal with it -- as will everybody else in my position. This isn't home, and three weeks of doing nothing but what I wanted to do was, in retrospect, guaranteed to result in a let down or feelings of morose. Of course, a nasty stomach bug that manifested itself the first night in Puerto Rico didn't help either!

My brother and I went to Puerto Rico for a few days to just hang out and see a little bit of Puerto Rico. All good and well. Around 7pm the first night I felt like I'd been on the losing end of a chicken fight with a Mack truck. Around 9pm I made myself acquainted with the toilet bowl. Due to violet circumstances we maintained our close bond for the next 8 hours. Yippee, right? The next day I felt like I'd been run over by two Mack trucks, but Michael was there and so was I so I set my jaw and tried to make the best of it. We had five to six hours where we went to the Bacardi factory and Old San Juan which was fun. After a while though I was aching all over and had to go back to the hotel. We had planned to head back in the late afternoon/early evening because Mike wanted to watch the National Championship, so this was about an hour or so earlier than planned. Oh well. We got back and I took a two hour nap. This was not food poisoning as I originally thought!

Flying down here was an infinitely more pleasant experience than either my flights to or from Dominica last semester. Dear Lord was it better! Last semester I had to fly LIAT inbound and outbound because there was no other choice. I promptly swore that I would do everything in my power to ensure LIAT was never an option ever again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who willingly goes to Chicago in January... I DO!

After a fantastic New Year's (though the last 90 minutes I would have happily traded for sleep!) it was time to head to the airport. I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking when I scheduled a 10 am flight on New Year's Day. That, of course, means BEING at the airport around 8. Add in that I live an hour away from the airport and chose to spend New Year's Eve an hour or so away from home... do the math. I got to bed at 3, only to have to drag my tired tuchus out of bed at 6:35, and left the house at almost seven. Yeesh! Note to self, do NOT get SO caught up in medical school that you lose your ability to add two and two...

So, with all that, I got to Redd's place around 7:10, she was outside waiting for me, so we spent about five minutes getting the car loaded, doing one last check for the tickets and we were on our a way. A quick hop down 316 to merge with 85 and we were dropping our bags off at curbside around 8:15. All in all it was rather painless. Security was annoying because they didn't have enough lanes open, and the schmuck who said my laptop had to go through again wouldn't let me take my glasses out of the bin. I can't see bozo and you won't let me pull JUST my glasses out of the bin, ahhhhhhhh rant!

After security we trained our way down to the B Concourse, where we had about an hour before boarding began, so we decided eating some breakfast would be a very good. Our gate was B24, so logically we looked for something breakfast near there. Unfortunately there isn't a Paschal's in B concourse, so we moseyed over to Cafe Intermezzo. The waiter, though thorough, probably isn't best suited to working in an airport where people are on the go. He took five minutes just to greet us and take our DRINK order. He then took three steps to a table one away from us a literally spent at least twelve minutes (after at least five when I started to count) bumpin' his gums with that tables' occupants. He then came back and prattled on and on and on and on... Really pal, I just wanted my French toast... I got the feeling that he wasn't yammering just to be friendly, but rather that he was BORED and felt that if he had to endure such a lousy existence he was going to make his customers' experience as excruciating as his own. Anyway, the French toast came as did my Coke, and they were both satisfactory. While we were eating Mr. Short-for-Words-but-not-for-Yarns found another victim at another table and we overheard him saying how Concourse B is the "gem of airport terminals for shopping." Now, I'm not sure if he was comparing it only to ATL's concourses, or airports in general, but still, I thought what an idiotic thing to say!. Atlanta isn't an airport in BFE or anything, but it certainly isn't Dubai or Singapore...Some people you just have to shake your head and laugh at!

We meandered over to the gate and boarding started shortly afterward around 9:35. This flight was on an MD-90, a first for me. In reality, it's just like the dozen MD-88's I've flown, but the geek in me gets excited by the two-number differentiation! Unfortunately there was no window to snap an image of the little gem. Well Scheisse!
The flight was full to the gills, which makes one wonder how many other idiots like us were flying this early on New Year's Day. We had to sit at the gate area for a few minutes because the first fifty or so passengers who boarded took up all the overhead bin space with their small steamer trunks. I realize $20 bag fees can be annoying and nobody wants to pay MORE money, but when you're trying to cram a week's worth of two changes a day into one bag, you're going to be stymied. Delta has (smartly) extended the bins on most of their aircraft, so this usually isn't a huge deal, but the MD-90's had the nonextended bins (you could tell just be looking at them). As a result, most of the rolley bags had to go in sideways, as opposed to long ways. This means that where you could before put up to three bags, now only one will fit. Something had to give, and the passengers who boarded later weren't even permitted to bring their rolling suitcases on board. They were checked at the gate, much to their annoyance I'm sure. Redd and I had checked our bags because I knew mine was shaped oddly and wouldn't fit without severe squishing. I had a suit in the bag so this was a non-option. Redd being a woman...let's just say cramming everything into a carry-on is also a non-option ;). The manner in which they got the bags from the gate to the baggage hold was pretty cool, I thought. They drove a belt loader over to the jetway and placed the bags onto the belt, then drove the loader over to the plane. Pretty clever!
We pushed back and taxied to the North runways, where we waited for about ten minutes in line. We took off and I grabbed a few minutes of shut eye, though it was more a ten minute power nap than anything else. We were sitting in seats 11A and B, the pair of two on the left side of the aircraft. Being in the front we got "refreshments'' rather early. The Flight Attendant serving our row had a pretty good sense of humor. He asked Redd what she wanted to drink. She said "I'll have a Coke." On cue, the FA said "Please?" You might have had to be there, but it was hysterical. Of course, when it comes my turn I had to ham it up. "I'll have a Coke, PLEASE." The FA of course rubbed it in. Why am I always called upon to make people feel like an ass??lol I'm the perfect accomplice!

The remainder of the flight was uneventful. We approached over Lake Michigan, North of Downtown, and flew just over Wrigley Field. Much different than my other two times landing at O'Hare where we came in from the West. We landed and turned off the runway almost at our gate, E12. We deboarded fairly quickly and made our way to the baggage claim. Terminal 2 (where Concourse E is) doesn't look that large on a diagram, but my grief! it's a walk from the end of E to the baggage claim! We still had to wait twenty minutes for our bags. After gathering our bags we made our way to the CTA where we took the Blue Line into the city. The main reason for using the Blue Line other than cost savings was that we landed at 11:30, and our hotel wouldn't be ready for some time, why not kill some time absorbing "local culture" on the subway. On the platform at the airport I brilliantly managed to break the handle on my suitcase. This meant that I would have to carry the thing. UGH! The train ride was uneventful. We changed lines, but genius me remembered the stop incorrectly, and we got off too early. Down the street I saw the Arts center at Millennium Park, which meant, that OOPS! we had gotten off on the OTHER SIDE of the river from where our hotel was (I had stayed at the hotel before so I knew the area well enough to know that we weren't around the corner). Once that was established we hailed a cab. We probably could have found the hotel, as we were only about ten blocks away (not even a mile) but it was too cold and I didn't want to carry that blasted bag or run the risk of getting turned around. Oh well, it was a five minute diversion that apparently annoyed me more than it did Redd. After examining the CTA map, we got off one stop too soon, oh well. Live and learn.

We get to the hotel and our room isn't ready. Apparently New Year's partiers trashed the place. Instead of waiting around we went out and grabbed a DELICIOUS hotdog at Portillo's. And did some shopping on the Magnificent Mile, about two blocks away from the Hampton Inn and Suites where we were staying. About 4:30 we got back and our room was ready. In a strange twist of fate our room was the same room I stayed in when i was in Chicago in March 2007, although the room had been remodeled. We had a two room suite. Though there was only two of us, I've learned a long time ago that extra space is well worth it no matter what, as long as the price isn't ridiculous. For an extra $20 a night the extra space was a no brainer. The bathroom was bigger, we had two sinks (which is huge when you're trying to get more than one person dressed for a wedding or conference, etc.) and we had plenty of space to dump our crap such as our huge coats and my suit bag. These items would have cluttered up a conventional room, though of course we would have managed. It was nice to be able to spread out, and having two TVs was also good.

We chilled (actually warmed) for a little while before getting ready for dinner. Redd asked for a cab to dinner as she was wearing a dress and had just done her hair. A reasonable request. So, we went out front to hail a cab. One taxi had almost driven by the hotel but I stuck my hand out anyway. The cab stopped RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Of course, another cab ran into his rear bumper. He paid it no attention and asked us "are you coming??" So we got into the cab and made our way to David Burke's Primehouse. The food was delicious! I had a 55 day aged ribeye, and paired it with a nice Shiraz. We had asparagus, "mac and cheese", and basil mashed potatoes with our steaks. Fantastic! You have to eat steak when you go to Chicago...I mean really. Afterward, it was about nine, and we decided to try and find a nice place to hear some music. We had passed a place called Red Headed Piano Bar earlier, and knew it was three blocks away on the same street, so we decided to give it a try. It wasn't too bad. The crowd was a little older, but the music was still good. We stayed a little while and as sleep was catching up to us we decided to head back and relax in the hotel and then get some sleep.

The next morning we got up and moving about 8:30 and had had breakfast and were moving by 9:30. Redd wanted to do ice skating, just for novelty of it, so we bought a day pass and went back to Millennium Park (remember we inadvertently started our trip there...). We got skates and did our perfunctory laps and after about ten minutes decided that the novelty had worn off. It was indeed fun, but I was quickly rendered a fish on a bicycle as Martha Washington was doing triple Lutz's and Figure 8's all around, I could feel a spot on my foot that would undoubtedly have a blister if I kept this up. So we decided to move on. At least I did not fall!!

After our adventures in the Ice Capades we headed North for Wrigley Field. We walked around it, took the cool pictures and grabbed some food nearby. I had a gryo, it was pretty good.

After Wrigley we went further North to check out the Baha'i House of Worship. I heard about it as Nasty, a former colleague, had mentioned it when talking about her ex-husband. Since it was relatively convenient we checked it out. It was a beautiful building, ornate and decorated. I did think, however, that having a Star of David interlinked with a Swastika is questionable, even if the faith stresses understanding and a world government.
After Baha'i it was time to head back to the hotel. It was about 2, and we were going to a wedding, so we needed to get back. I nodded off a little bit on the train ride, but it was a long ride!! Baha'i is at the end of the line and we were staying downtown. The ride back took about thirty minutes. We got ready and then grabbed a cab to the wedding. It was located about a half hour from the hotel. At first we weren't quite sure if this was the place, but a sighting of a Georgia plate with Lowndes County (deep south Georgia, near Valdosta) quickly confirmed we were in the right place. Spotting two other Georgia plates was even better...

The wedding was organized differently than any other wedding I've ever been to, in that the reception was held first. We arrived about 30 minutes after the stated start time, and the wedding party was seated. After that there was an open mic where all the friends and relatives came up and offered a little story or piece of wisdom. Then the ceremony began. The ceremony had a few elements that I'd never seen at a wedding before either, such as a mime to the song "Your Love" (NOT the "Josie's on a vacation far away" song). We left after the cake with most of the guests around 8pm. I would like to take this brief moment to thank our wedding hosts for hosting their Chicago wedding in January, when it's only -12 windchill as opposed to February...when it's regularly -20...

Finding a taxi in that part of the city proved to be a little bit of a challenge! Unlike downtown where you waited three minutes tops there weren't any around. We had asked the people we were sitting with the best place to catch one, and they advised that we walk up a block or so, and they also gave us a number of a service. Well after that block we were FREEZING, so we decided to go into a 7/11 on the corner and call the service. Well lo-and-behold if there wasn't a cab with his light on sitting right in front of the 7/11!! We gratefully jumped in and were whisked back to downtown. Score!

We decided to grab a small dinner at OYSY, where I'd had my first taste of sushi almost three years before. In a sense of nostalgia I also ordered the first roll I'd ordered from there. Yes, I realize I'm a huge dork, but I don't care! After the sushi we asked our waiter where we should go for good jazz music. He directed to a place called Up Close 2. Ok, well, technically he directed us to "Clarke and Congress, but I don't remember the name"... Ok, so we were taking a little bit of a leap of faith! We get there and the first thing I see is a "men only" hotel. Great, he sends us to the seedy side of town was my first reaction. However, just beyond the signage of sin was indeed a sign that said "Jazz." We head in, deciding to check it out, and the band was REALLY good. They also had good martinis which Redd partook of, though I stuck with my ritual gin and tonic and a glass of pinot noir. Ahhh, can't get much better than that! Redd's martini was about a foot tall! Use the wine glass as a size comparison!
We thoroughly enjoyed the jazz! I'm not a huge jazz person -- my repertoire goes about as far as knowing who Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday are -- but I enjoy good music, and this was good music. We unfortunately had to head about about 11:45 because we were PLANNING to get up around six to be at the airport between seven and seven thirty for our 9:00am flight. Ugh, too many early mornings.

We get back to the hotel and promptly fall asleep pretty quickly. Thankfully we packed before we went to sleep. I have preset alarms on my phone, and I turned on the 5:45. Genius me, however, forgot that those were "Weekday" alarms. Of course, this being Sunday, it wasn't going to go off! So I roll over and it's 7:01...nominally the time we should have already been at the airport. BONK! Insert picture of Mr. and Mrs. McCallister going "We slept in! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" here Somehow we both managed to shower, get downstairs, and check out by 7:29. We were going to hail a cab when the bellhop informed us that we could simply take the hotel's Town Car. I asked how much it was -- it was $7 more than a cab would have been (we had already priced out a cab the night before as to make sure we had enough cash). SOLD! Seven extra bucks for a much more comfortable car that didn't have that felon shield, that I didn't have to hail and watch get rear ended. DUH!

We get to the airport and through security about twenty minutes before boarding is due to start. Another first: my first DC-9! In this case a DC-9-50 bound for Detroit. Ok, airplane geek go away. Why, you ask, were we going through Detroit to get to Atlanta? The answer is -- $$$$$$ It was about $100 cheaper to fly through Detroit -- two evenings meals/entertainment. We sat down for about fifteen minutes before boarding began, a very short time for me, I'm usually through security at least an hour early -- which gives me enough time to eat! Well that didn't happen today!

Upon boarding the two unaccompanied minors immediately caught my attention. After all the hoopla about Delta losing an 8 year old how could it not be?? The flight was pretty much uneventful with two exceptions. 1) One of the Flight Attendants wore more eyeliner than Elvira, and 2) something about this aircraft/flight made my stomach flip flop -- a lot. I usually have a rock solid stomach on airplanes minus those delightful incidences whereby the plane just decides to hit a pocket of air and drops fifty feet...bit I digress. All throughout the flight the way the plane would turn or ascend, the angles were just bizarre. I was glad when we finally descended and landed in Detroit. We decided that since we had two (as it turned out three) hours before our flight to Atlanta that grabbing a bite to eat was probably in our best interests. It was around 11, so why not. Finding a place to eat in the Detroit airport proved a little more difficult...the blasted terminal is THREE MILES LONG! And people gripe about Atlanta being too big...

We finally settled on a place near our gate A34 and I hate some sort of salad with a lot of fruit on it. Mental note: apples + cranberries is too much tang. After lunch we acted like dorks oohing and ahhing at the tram that ran overhead. Just to solidify our DORK status we rode the bloody thing from one end of the concourse to the other. Then we had had our fill of that we sat down at the gate. The 777 that was supposed to leave at 1:30 was apparently still being cleaned... FYI it was ship #7006. Apparently the passengers from either Shanghai or Seoul had TRASHED the airplane...who knew, eh?

So we finally get on the plane and then sit around as the dead heads bicker about who gets to sit in first class...I mean lame. We also had to wait while they called no less than fifteen names three times...apparently all of those individuals decided they didn't want to take that flight. I know one name was called at least six times from the time we sat down at the gate area until pushback. AHHHHHHHHH!

Once we FINALLY took off the airplane was creaking overhead. The FA seated in the jump seat across from us said it was normal for the 777. This was ship 7006 for anybody who cares. We struck up a conversation with the FA for a few minutes while she was seated. We talked about where we had travelled (though mostly where I had travelled) and she just as pleasant as she could be. She was a Dallas-based crew member, and that was her only segment of the day. When beverage service began she said "Happy hour is on me guys" to me and Redd. Woohoo! She gave me two bottles of wine. I only drank one of them while playing Trivia. The rest of the flight was uneventful and we landed without incident and deboarded at Gate E26. Again, our bags took FOREVER to get to the belt, and this after was had to come from Concourse E. Once we retrieved our bags we went to the car, where I had to jump start somebody (strangely enough I would have to do it again two days later at Moe's). Then we were on our way. Thankfully traffic on the roads wasn't nearly as hectic as traffic at ATL!