July 3, 2013

The Solipsist Rides Again: Sports Edition

(For The Solipsist's previous works, see A PSA for aspiring Nobel Laureates)

So as you may or may not know, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.


You may or may not also know that they previously won the cup in 2010 (and at the time we also said hooray!). What you may or may not know, however, is that prior to that, they had not won the cup since 1961. Perhaps you may or may not recall that about a decade ago ESPN dubbed them the "worst franchise in professional sports".

(At this point, as you begin sketching out a rough timeline, it may be useful to note that we moved to Chicago in the fall of 2002.)

I'm going to assume that you are aware that the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005 (it was a super awesome 4 game sweep that I hope you watched). I am going to also assume that through your culture of choice - sports, cinema, literature, or gambling - you are aware of the whole Black Sox Scandal of 1919, the subsequent curse, and thus a very very long losing streak.

(Again, if you have yet to, please note we were residing in Chicago at that time - and to be more precise, on the South Side.)

Now the Bears didn't win the Super Bowl, but they did actually play in the Super Bowl in 2006 - a thing they had not done since 1985 - and considering they were essentially playing sans quarterback, I think it's fair to put it in our "win" column as well.

(Fun Fact: Future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher retired a couple months ago. He told the Chicago Tribune, "I don't have a desire to play" ...we are leaving Chicago and moving to DC before the 2013 season will begin.)

How 'bout them Cubs? Well, as with the Bears, I think we should get some credit for their 2003 postseason series win - it was their first since 1908. But man, that NLCS was a sad debacle.

(And before you naysayers start furiously scribbling your rebuttal hinging on the Cubs continued poor performance, I'd like to refer you to your notes - we live on the South Side, and if push comes to shove, we are Sox fans.)

Finally, having come of age in the age of Michael Jordan, it is hard to put the Bulls in the same beleaguered category that the rest of Chicago's professional sports teams languished in prior to our arrival. Nevertheless, they had some disappointing years post Jordan, and it wasn't until 2004 that they starting making the playoffs with some regularity, and they got close in 2011.

(Thinking about it now, I realize it is possible that I have had an unconscious grudge against the Bulls, particularly John Paxson - Bull's GM 2003-09 and a current VP, for that last second three pointer and consequent victory over the Phoenix Suns in 1993 ...so, my apologies Derrick Rose.)

I guess that covers our residency from 2002-present. Pretty impressive, huh? No need to thank me Chicagoans; it was a pleasure.

(Chicago also has a professional soccer team, but they're not really on my radar - and if you're not on a solipsist's radar, well...)

Tune in next time to see The Solipsist dabble in politics. Sneak Peek: In 2008 the Presidential candidates were a) a man who lived a couple blocks away and b) a man from my home state; In 2012 the candidates were a) again a man whose home is a couple blocks away and b) a Mormon.

April 15, 2013

Don't Call it a Comeback

...cause seriously, this is not one. It's just that the other day I remembered a conversation on naming children that my sister and I had a few years ago in which I brought up the formerly popular trend where you simply take the whole name of an historically significant/renowned/honored person and then just add your surname - e.g. George Washington Ferris (inventor of the Ferris Wheel), George Washington Carver (agricultural innovator) ...and yes, you're clever - since those men became significant in their own right, someone in the subsequent generations would theoretically name their kid George Washington Carver Affleck. However, by "formerly popular" I meant well over a century ago, so unfortunately that ship sailed before they (and we) could enjoy such a poetic eponymous opportunity. Oh, and to clarify, it wasn't just George Washington's name - but that's all that's currently coming to mind. Anyway, as is our wont, my sister and I directed the dialogue into the ridiculous, and I eventually composed:

George Washington Irving Berlin Wall Street Lights ...People Oh Oh Ahhhh

January 13, 2012

One Poor Correspondent

(I actually won a bet with The Archaeologist regarding that line in that song – which, I only mention because I am routinely mocked for not knowing the actual lyrics to songs …and perhaps why The Archaeologist felt it safe to bet against me – it’s plagued me my whole life – as a child my family thought it was so hilarious that I sang that song from Mary Poppins as “sisters who forget” rather than “sister suffragette” – yeah, I was like 7 – and maybe that’s why I studied a lot of Women’s History in college)

So as 2011 came to an end, I realized there was much I meant to tell you that I just didn’t – but my response after my sister related her recent pat-down experience at the airport due to a piece of paper she left in her pocket was to scoff: "I never empty my pockets cause I never have anything in them". So, you know, we're not at fighting weight here, and clearly I should be hesitant to commit anything to print.

Nevertheless, there are a few things that I’ll venture to mention despite my addledness:

First, that upon my return to the States, I quickly (though systematically) concluded that In-N-Out is better than Five Guys (possibly swayed by the fact that never once did Five Guys give me the bacon and mushrooms I ordered each visit – but really, I think if you’re honest with yourself you’ll agree). But then I had a Whataburger not even considering it would be in the same league as the above burgers, and it was super delicious. However, I figure that most of that is nostalgia since The Archaeologist pretty definitively dislikes them, so we’ll stick with the In-N-Out verdict (I was pregnant for a good part of the year).

Ok – so there’s the hamburger decision. In other news, we have a new baby boy. He was dubbed Chip-O in utero, so we’ll continue that moniker in blogosphere. He’s almost 3 months now – at 2 mo he was 2 ft long, almost 13 lbs. Here’s my favorite picture to date:

As you may have deduced from the above pic, Half-O did not responded to the new family dynamic with, as they say, great aplomb – fits and bits of fury seem more apt. She loves him, mind you – she’s just taking the whole not-center-of-the-universe realization a little hard. Fingers crossed, I think we may be through the worst of it – we’ve slogged our way back from megalomania to simply willful.

In addition to encountering a significant stage in early childhood development, Half-O spent the year pretending she and we were various fictional characters, various people we knew, and/or each other. She began this back in 2010, but in 2011 she went whole hog. The Archaeologist was a bit concerned that she was predominantly living different personas, but I responded that I remember pretending like that – didn’t he? He looked doubtful, so I said that perhaps he should just pretend that he did.

Here’s a collection of some of Half-O’s alter egos (yes, a good part of my day is spent fashioning costumes – it’s not a bad gig):

(can you find a nun, an owl, mater, the kung fu panda guys - as well as debbie reynolds as tigress, daisy duck, a number of cowgirls, the statue of liberty, princess leia, a hipster, a princess, grandma, and a one-eyed nautical cat?)

Back in July we took some family pics:

Then there were the holidays:


(I made those chaps - and am inordinately proud that I managed to make them while mothering a 2 week old and an adjusting almost 3 yr old, and that I figured out how to make them without having to sew a thing - just cut them out that way ...I didn't make anything for Chip-O)

and Christmas:

(That's not what yours looked like?)

So, Happy New Year from the Chases. If I were a New Year's Resolution type of gal, I suppose I'd resolve to post on this blog more than 3 times a year.

June 9, 2011

Things I've Neglected to Tell You: the German Expressionist version (you know, something with a circus, disfigurement, and disconcerting lurking)

As our time in Peru draws to a close, I realize how remiss I've been in my reporting. Thus, I am introducing a new series of posts entitled "Things I've Neglected to Tell You." Here is the first installment: the German Expressionist version (The working titles for future installments are Things I've Neglected to Tell You: things related to the radio, Things I've Neglected to Tell You: Half-O update, and Things I've Neglected to Tell You: I'm five months pregnant).

Act I

We went to a dog circus some months back. It was there in the parking lot of a frequented supermercado, and Half-O was intrigued. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't:

Act II

The Archaeologist broke his pinky. He broke it hiking down from his site in the dark while carrying lots of equipment. He thought he had just dislocated it so had someone from his crew pull it out to set it. He had him try again. He then asked another crew member to give his askew pinky a pull and try to set it straight. Are you queasy yet?

A few days later he came home from the mountains with a swollen black and blue hand …and crooked pinky. It wasn’t just dislocated:

(and Half-O casts her solidarity)


Back in the beginning of 2010, The Archaeologist came down to Peru a month before we did to get going on a bunch of bureaucratic bunk and also find us a place to live. He found us a little house with a little yard for little rent.

A month later when we all arrived in the wee hours of the morning, we went straight to sleep, but the next day I got the tour and saw this:

It hangs in the room where Half-O sleeps (the other day I was asking where one of her toys had gone, and she said it was by Tom – it took me a while to realize she meant Tom Cruise). I figured I should finally mention/document it on the chance that, years from now, she moves to California and decides to try out a new religion where she needs to identify the traumas of her past … in, say, a dianetic audit, or something. The fact that she slept below this poster for over a year may come up. At the very least she can use it as an ice-breaker at the parties.

As for my Tom Cruise trauma: once, as a freshman in college, a guy came up to me in the cafeteria and asked if anyone had ever told me that I looked like Tom Cruise. It was unclear if he meant to insult or flatter me – or if he had had like a doppelganger eureka moment and was looking for confirmation. There was some Lost in Translation to it all too. I don’t recall any conversation following my “uh-uh” – I believe he left and my roommate and I returned our attention to Simpsons and our dinner. Oh – but later, I was relating the encounter to my aunt, and her response was “Well, he should have at least said Tom Cruise’s sister.”

March 19, 2011

We interrupt the regularly scheduled not posting anything on this blog for an overdue apology

So I don't recall why, but while The Archaeologist and I were talking tonight, I was reminded that in like 7th or 8th grade I rewrote the words to "Sounds of Silence" for a book report/project on 1984 . The Archaeologist, thinking I was just relating a random childhood story, complimented my bright idea. I proceeded to tell him that I then asked my dad to sing the new song into a tape recorder for me so I could then turn the tape in to my English teacher. The Archaeologist, thinking as the father of a daughter with a lot of my genes, looked at me with disbelief and a bit of horror in his eyes.

As all who are not 7/8th grade me can imagine, my dad was reluctant to do it. But as a kid I saw my parents do all sorts of unpleasant things all the time - plus, a lot of evidence seemed to indicate that they weren't prone to embarrassment. And he sang in the church choir ...and he kinda had a Garfunkel-fro back in the day - so no big deal, right?

Man, am I worried about the karmic comeuppance.

Especially because he did it. He actually sang a 13-yr-old's lyrics into a little tape recorder while the original played in the background knowing I was going to give it to another adult to listen to.

Since I haven't thought of this since Jr High, I've yet to apologize. The Archaeologist said I should make that apology a priority (and at some point in the story said that my dad better have a special place in heaven). So, dad: I am very very sorry! I now realize how much you really, truly, definitely did not want to do it. It is astounding that you did - knightly and selfless and frankly making me rethink trying to be like you as a parent because I so don't want to sing into whatever recording device is available 10 years from now to help Half-O with her school project.

(and no, I do not remember any of the 1984 lyrics - sorry. If, by chance, my Jr. High English teachers have found this blog and continue to read it despite my poor grammar, do one of you still have that cassette? and if so, could you please send me a transcription, and then destroy the tape for my dad? Thank you.)

January 22, 2011

The Seymour Chase Blog: Posting like it's Nov. 2010

I neglected to post about interesting or "interesting" events back in November and December. I plan to rectify that now - not as part of some New Year's Resolution to stop procrastinating or to be more organized. I'm not actually a fan of New Year's resolutions, except my sister Natalie's - but we can talk resolutions in March when I post about January. On to November:

My sister Natalie (of the good resolutions) came to visit for a couple weeks around Thanksgiving (which we didn't really celebrate - not because we're ungrateful or dislike the New World - I'm a Mayflower descendant - I love America - but The Archaeologist was up in the mountains and Nat had to catch a plane, so we ate at a gourmet sandwich shop - neither of us got a turkey sandwich). The visit was wonderful. We like when people visit us - you should visit us - especially those of you who live in Chicago and are currently concerning yourself with the very real possibility of frostbite if you leave your house without hat/gloves. Remember, it's summer here.

Likely the most post-worthy activity was our boat ride to some islands off the Callao port - one of which was teeming with sea lions - like thousands. As you can imagine (and I hope you are), it smelled awful. Then I donned a wetsuit and jumped in the Pacific Ocean to have a quick swim with them.

I believe the one furthest from the sea lions is me - though I thought better of that at some point - worrying that if I hung back too far, they might try to pick off the stray. In my defense, the sea lions were bigger then me and making all sorts of barking noises and defensive maneuvers to keep us from getting any closer to the island. They didn't want to swim with us, so I respected their space. It was pretty cool at any rate - less cool when I felt one swim below me.

And here's Half-O doing her best Kennedy-off-Hyannis-Port:

We did other stuff and there are other pics, but blogger or my connection is slow on the uptake tonight.

Next up: "Yule See"

December 21, 2010

Half-O turned two ...allegedly

As mentioned in the previous post, Half-O turned two (back in the beginning of November).

She had a good day: read in the backyard tent with The Archaeologist, channeled Cinderella til lunch, got to ride in a tow truck, ate dinner one-handed so she wouldn't have to let go of her new calculator, rode the merry-go-round, and blew out her two candles all by herself.

{Yes, her two gifts were an elaborate Cinderella gown (+ crown) and a calculator. No, not because we are ham-fisted parents forcing some sort of toy balance, but because that's what she wanted. She has very decided ideas regarding her gifts. Today she walked up to the Santa at the grocery store and repeatedly told him that she wanted a pink book and a Kermit for Christmas - just repeated it over and over as he stared down at her. Then he finally gave her a candy cane, looked at me and asked, "de que pais son?"}

Throughout these two years of her life, I have been increasingly suspicious that Half-O is not just the infant/toddler she ostensibly ought to be. On more than one occasion, she seems to have forgotten the ruse and almost blown her cover, like last month:
We were singing that song from The Sword and the Stone - the to and fro one - while playing with her animal dominoes. There's the line with "thin and stout" and I stopped and asked her if she knew what stout meant, entirely intending to define it for her in the next breath - but, she absently answered "fat". Now this isn't a song we sing often - she doesn't really know it. I don't remember previously defining stout for her, and if I had, I don't know that I would've said fat - but even if at some point I did, it would have been quite a while ago. She may have deduced that the song was explaining the existence of opposition in all things - but is that less fishy? So I incredulously asked how she knew that and she suddenly became very interested in her dominoes, and then when I asked again, "so, what does stout mean?," she did some non-committal mumbling.

Or the other day:
We were doing some coloring and I asked what color the horse should be and she said, "gray - like a winter day."

Then there are these cleverly couched comments, like back in the spring:
We were standing in line at the store, and I was holding her on my hip when she proceeded to knock on my head and ask "anybody home?".

Or last week:
She said something was very funny, but I didn't catch what that something was so asked, "What's very funny?" and she responded "Look in a mirror."

Seriously she said that.
She doesn't have older siblings, she doesn't play with kids who speak English, and we don't have a TV. So how is she throwing out insults at a 3rd-grade level?

changeling? G-Man? a result of all that protein I ate in the last trimester?

Looking forward to year 3.