It's not sweat… I'm GLOWING

It’s hot.

I’m not just saying that because it’s been cold up until a few days ago. It’s just plain hot. As in heat and humidity. As in sweat. Lots of sweat.

Yep… summer has arrived early in Chicago.

And my apartment, which is outfitted with two air conditioning units, is sweltering. Oh sure, they’d be doing a great job… if they COULD do the job they were supposed to be doing.

One of my A/C units is a monster thing that saps enough energy to cause the second coming of the eastern seaboard blackouts of 2003. I had to run downstairs four times yesterday to switch one of my measley 15 amp circuits back on because it kept tripping it.

When I moved in here, I had only the smaller unit, which I kept in my bedroom. It worked great, but the rest of the place was uninhabitable. I don’t think I used my living room until winter arrived. Last spring, I purchased the larger unit, and put it in the living room. But when I started using both of the units, I realized that I had to move one of them, because they were both on the same circuit, and would trip the circuit as soon as I turned them both on.

So I took the small one out of my bedroom and moved it to the dining room which adjoins it. This seemed to work OK last summer, but my bedroom never got very cool. And I like it cool. VERY cool.

So this year, when they installed my new windows, I switched the units– the smaller one went in the living room, and the larger one went in the dining room/office. I figured this would work great– the big unit could easily cool both the dining room/office and my bedroom, and the smaller one would cool the living room.

Wrong. I seemed to forget that the circuit being used in the dining room/office also operates everything in the kitchen (including the refrigerator) and my computer (which as you can imagine is just chock full of stuff that saps electricity). So when things heat up, and big mama starts wanting to cool things down, trip goes the circuit.

So I’ve moved the small unit back into my bedroom, and the big one is just kind of sitting here. Doing nothing. And my apartment is hot. VERY hot.

All this makes me ponder this bit of trivia… if you have a three-floor apartment building, and are outfitting said three-floor apartment building with electricity (as well you should, in this day and age), would you put the higher-amp circuits on the bottom floors, which don’t get nearly as hot in the summertime and therefore don’t require as much electricity to keep cool, or put them on the top floor apartments? Apparently, my landlord wasn’t thinking about this when she (or he, whoever does the electrical work in this joint) put 20-amp circuits in all the 1st and 2nd floor apartments, but 15-amp circuits in all the 3rd floor apartments.

Now, I will admit, I know nothing about electricity. In fact, I had to browse Google just to understand what the hell I was talking about in the above paragraph. (What did we ever do before Google?) But I do know that you need higher-capacity circuits in order to run things that need more power. Believe me. I know this. Because I’ve run down into that nasty, dusty, spider-infested basement more times than I care to remember in the last three years to turn my power back on.

And I’m getting sick of it. I’ve asked my landlord to upgrade my circuits many times, but nothing has been done. Is there any way (short of bribery and/or begging) that I can make her do it? Or do I just have to suffer until I move (which, since I just signed a new lease in May, isn’t anytime soon.)

It’s gonna be a looooong summer, folks.

Lactivists

This fun article was posted on the news section of my Firm’s intranet today. And I had to laugh. It contains what I believe will be the best new word of the year.

I wanna be a lactivist too.

And on another note… do they really pay these people to talk about this stuff? I want their job.

Nursing moms protest ‘The View’ comments
NEW YORK, June 7 (UPI) — About 150 “lactivists” nursed their babies outside ABC’s New York City studios to protest comments made by the women of “The View.”

Barbara Walters had said she and a companion felt awkward sitting next to a nursing mother on an airplane, the New York Daily News said.

“It made me very nervous,” Walters said on the May 17 show. “She didn’t cover the baby with a blanket. It made us uncomfortable.”

Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who is nursing her daughter, Grace, said she was “uncomfortable breast-feeding in general.”

Then the hosts appeared to celebrate when Hasselbeck said her daughter had her first bottle of formula, sparking nurse-in protests in four cities, the Daily News said.

Women protesting in New York Monday said they feared the comments may keep some mothers from nursing and some even demanded an on-air apology.

Walters said she was surprised by all the fuss and said all the hosts of “The View” support breast-feeding.

I Have Been Changed For Good

I’m flying high, defying gravity tonight. That’s right… I saw “Wicked” tonight. And I loved it. Every. Single. Moment.

So call me a dork, call me a musical junkie, call me a gayboy, call me whatever you want. I loved it and I am not ashamed to say it. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, right? Right.

I never got to see Wicked in New York… in fact, I have never seen a Broadway show ON Broadway. (It’s time I change that, don’t you think?)

But fortunately for me, Chicago has a pretty decent stream of Broadway-bound shows that premiere here, as well as well-known Broadway hits, such as “Wicked,” that play either short or extended runs here.

We’re really lucky with “Wicked,” because after this current cast, which is a touring production based on the Broadway show, we are going to get our own, permanent cast (starring, interestingly enough, Ana Gasteyer from “Saturday Night Live” as Elphaba) that is going to say for an open run. Needless to say, the city is abuzz.

The current cast is not represented on the poster displayed here… that, of course, is the original Broadway cast that everyone knows. But this cast was really superb. Stephanie J. Block (Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West) was simply outstanding. She easily gives Idina Menzel a run for her money. And Kendra Kassebaum (Galinda/Glinda) was also fantastic, maybe not as vocally strong as Kristin Chenowith, but every ounce as perky and entertaining. Other strong performers were David Garrison as the Wizard, who you may remember playing Steve, Marcy’s first husband on “Married, With Children;” Barbara Tirrell, who was the understudy for Carol Kane in the role of Madame Morrible, and Jenna Leigh Green as Nessarose.

My only disappointment was with Fiyero, played by Derrick Williams. He was a little cardboard in his presence, and at times I wasn’t happy with his voice… but when he and Stephanie Block dueted on “As Long As You’re Mine,” it was pretty electric.

But the show belonged to the leads… and they were wonderful. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house during “For Good,” the final duet between them. And when Elphaba lept and flew above the stage during “Defying Gravity,” the audience was stunned.

Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics to “Wicked” has long been one of my favorite composers. Ever since I sang “All Good Gifts” during a production of “Godspell” in my sophomore year of high school, I’ve been hooked. Hell, my cat’s name is Pippin… you don’t think I named him after the former Chicago Bulls star, do you? 馃槈

Some say this isn’t his best score, but I say it is. There are some downright gorgeous songs in this show. And one of them– probably my favorite of all– is “For Good.” The words are as moving as the melody. And they fit so many different situations, and mean so many different things to so many people.

So I am sharing some of them with you. Because they express how I feel about many of you out there… and I just want to thank you for all you’ve done for me in the last year. (Can you believe it’s almost been a year since I started this blog?)

Of course, these are copyright of Mr. Schwartz, so I must give credit to him here… so please visit his website at www.stephenschwartz.com.

For Good from “Wicked”

I聜脛么ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don聜脛么t know if I believe that聜脛么s true
But I know I聜脛么m who I am today
Because I knew you…
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I聜脛么ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good 聜脛露

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You聜脛么ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend…

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I聜脛么ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you…
Because I knew you…
I have been changed for good…
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I聜脛么ve done you blame me for
But then, I guess we know
There聜脛么s blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore

For the full set of lyrics and other good stuff about “Wicked,” visit this link: http://www.musicalschwartz.com/wicked-lyrics.htm

Essay in Cubdom

Today I received an Email from the Chicago Cubs telling me about an essay contest they were holding with Swedish Covenant Hospital, one of the zillions of hospitals in the city of Chicago. The instructions were to write a 250-word or less essay about an unforgettable moment that made me a Cubs fan forever.

The Grand Prize winner gets to throw out a ceremonial pitch on “Swedish Covenant Hospital Day,” July 15, 2005 at Wrigley Field; Four tickets to the game; a tour the Press Box; and their winning essay published in the Chicago Tribune.

I bit.

Here it is. Wish me luck!

Growing up in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the 1970s, my allegiance to baseball teams could easily have gone in any number of directions, but my father made it easy. He told me that I could either be a Cubs fan and get presents from Santa at Christmastime, or be a White Sox or Brewers fan and get coal. I quickly chose the Cubs. I was no fool.

My first trip to glorious Wrigley Field was on a sunny August 22, 1977. The Cubs were playing the Giants. Rick Reuschel was pitching against Jim Barr. I remember this clearly because I distinctly remember a plane flying overhead with a banner attached, saying 聜脛煤GO JIM BARR AND GIANTS,聜脛霉 and thinking, even at the ripe young age of 6, how strange it was for someone to be cheering on the Giants at Wrigley Field.

My hero at the time was Bobby Murcer, who was having a miraculous first year with the team. He ended up being the team leader in Home Runs with 27 (which seems like small potatoes when compared to the Sammy Sosa years). My hero Murcer was also the game聜脛么s hero that day when he hit a home run and solidified the 3-2 win in the 8th inning.

After that first visit to Wrigley Field, witnessing my first Cubs home run, and my first Cubs win, I never again had to choose my favorite baseball team. I was a Cubs fan from head to toe, and nothing would ever change that.