Saturday, June 26, 2010

Imagining a White City

Here I am., strolling the Midway Plaisance:

It's something my friend, Beth, and I have wanted to do since reading Erik Larson's Devil in the White City. To walk the grounds that once held the greatest fair in the world. To catch a glimpse of what exactly drew Helen Keller, Buffalo Bill, Thomas Edison, L. Frank Baum, and others to visit. To imagine the sight that was the world's first Ferris Wheel and envision the attractions and amusements that saw 27 million in attendance.

The World's Columbian Exposition (1893) introduced Cracker Jack, Juicy Fruit, and Shredded Wheat. It inspired Baum's Emerald City and Walt Disney's theme parks. It had the first commercial movie theater and was where Milton Hershey first purchased chocolate manufacturing equipment. It also was where the "Snake Charmer Song" was written ... you know, to set the mood for the "Streets of Cairo" exhibit (complete with belly dancing).

It was also home to America's first serial killer.

But we'll get into that another time. For now, let's just enjoy the Midway, shall we?

(Photo taken from the east end of the Midway. The railroad was directly behind me.)

To view a map of the Midway during the fair, go here.

And lastly, a photo of the Midway in its glory:

If you would be so kind and are into entertaining thoughts of parallel universes, please take a moment to imagine me and Beth to be but specks in the distance, facing the camera (which I assume was up on the Ferris Wheel in order to get a shot this good) and taking pictures of our own. Mine, I posted above.
Thank you. I do appreciate it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Enemies of the State of Happy Living

I think it’s very good to have a list of enemies. Very handy when you are having trouble knowing who to believe or when you’re bored at night and want to read something that will get you riled up or when you just want someone to know, by passive aggressively saying: “I’m watching you!”, that you’re not happy with them.

I got this idea from President Obama, who apparently has his own list of enemies, and because he's the president, I think it's only fitting that we all follow suit.

Amanda Luedeke Enemies List

1. Mosquitoes - they make us afraid to go out at night.
2. The sun when it's really bright and glaring at you in the eyeballs - it burns our corneas
3. Paper cuts - they ruined postal mail
4. People who don't know how to merge (a-hem, EVERY DRIVER IN INDIANA) - they make
things more dangerous than they have to be
5. Asian carp - they're invading Lake Michigan
6. Giant fish (in general) - they make me scared to live
7. Humidity - misery is its only asset
8. Excel - it insists on having codes instead of buttons
9. BP - it doesn't think animal murder is a bad thing
10. Email inboxes that will never empty - they take away from enjoying time online
11. European cars - they cost more than they're worth
12. Buzz cuts - they don't do anything for anyone's looks (except Justin Timberlake)
13. Shakespeare - he cast a spell on high school teachers and now we all must suffer
14. Mushrooms - they grow on poop
15. Calories - they make everyone feel guilty and then tell McDonald's to stop selling Happy Meal Toys (what's up with that?!)

That’s all I’ve got for now. Can’t keep going without beginning to question the meaning of life …

How about you, dear reader? What makes your list?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'll have the Hubble

I am not a science-y person. I’m a curious person, yes. And I’m relatively good at thinking things through and coming up with creative (though inaccurate) explanations of natural phenomena.

But overall, I am not science-y. In fact, I’d say I’m rather unscience-y. To the point where I look like an idiot on occasion. Like when visiting Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry.

It was one of those days when my I’m-not-afraid-of-anything attitude was leading the charge, and I boldly stepped up to the museum cashier guy, leaving my friends behind me. After finding out that I needed one general admission ticket, he asked if I wanted to do the IMAX movie thing.

Well of course! Who wouldn’t! This is a carefree girls weekend, by golly, so of course we’ll pay the extra dollars to sit in a giant dome for thirty minutes!!

“Alright, which movie would you like to view?” He asked.

Uh …

I looked at the board (where I can assume all of the movies were clearly labeled and explained so that the average joe could find one to his liking and move on), but couldn’t decipher it for the life of me. I looked at my friends. There was some mumbling, after which one of them shouted “HUBBLE!” and I responded with “Hubble??” to their assurance of “Hubble!”.

At this point I internally freaked out, because NO MOVIE ABOUT SCIENCE COULD POSSIBLY BE CALLED HUBBLE … a children’s movie, maybe. Or perhaps a romantic comedy. But not a deeply-involved scientific documentary.

I gave them a few more questioning looks and received a few more nods of assurance and mouthed forms of "hubble" before I turned to the cashier guy and said in the most questioning tone allowed that would still qualify as a statement,

“I’ll have the Hubble.”

Not my brightest moment, but I guess it was worth it, because come to find out, the Hubble is a ginormous telescope that takes super-detailed pictures of really far away stuff.

And the best part?
Its life is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio!

Maybe I should get a little more into this whole science thing.

Monday, June 21, 2010


1. Yesterday, I announced on Facebook that I’ve joined team Jacob, after which I seriously considered dedicating a blog post to my new-found allegiance until I realized how juvenile of me that would be so then I just decided to do nothing until Tad chastised me about liking Jacob over Edward because Jacob clearly does not become a werewolf. He becomes a Dire Wolf. Get it right, Stephenie Meyer. Couldn’t you at least read a Dungeon Master’s Guide or something before writing a bestseller that features sacred folklore? – Tad

2. While we’re on the subject of vampires and werewolves (at this point the out-of-touch crowd goes vampires? I thought we were talking about werewolves!) let me take a moment to lament my paleness:

On Saturday when we decided to take a trip to Huntington to visit a game store, I thought it would be nice to ride with my arm out the window. Thirty minutes later, my arm was pink.

It was pink for an entire day before it settled to a slightly darker shade than my other arm.
I hope now people understand why I am pale by choice.

3. Tad is on team Edward.

4. He does not allow me to break out into the Broadway musical’s “Jacob! Jacob and sons …” song when Jacob comes on screen. In fact, I think he has put that on the list of things I’m not allowed to say. That and “I don’t like Robin Williams”. (There's more, but I can't keep track of all of them ...)

5. And finally, I would like to say something to everyone who has ever said that I’m too critical and I need to lighten up and actually enjoy a movie or a book (or even life) every now and then without making fun of the dialog or predicting the plot line or hating on the characters …

(If you're wondering, yes, you should click there.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Life Tip (likely the first and last)

Once upon a time, I envisioned passing wonderful household tips on to my readers through this blog. My first tip, if I must say, was quite exquisite. My second tip turned out to be more of a confession (although it DID change at least one person's life). And now, almost a year after my first tip hit the blogosphere, I'm spent. I got nothing.

Needless to say, I am NOT the abounding information source for all things Mr. Clean and Aunt Jemima. However, I do know a thing or two about opening a CD (cd as in compact disc ... not that weird financial thing that takes your money).

So here goes what will probably be my final household tip. (And to be quite frank, it's really more of a life tip).

Household/Life Tip #2
Ever purchased a CD, looked at the sticker that runs along one side and mentally berated yourself for not going digital? It's true, those sticky stickers can be a pain to remove! They leave some nasty residue, making the CD case unmanageable and unstorable.

But have no fear! For I have the secret to removing the sticker, residue-free! (And, it's really really fast).

(There it is, that annoying, sticky sticker. Whatever shall we do?!)

Well, we can start by removing the top flap of the case. Unhinge it at the bottom (opposite of the sticker side).

And unfold it. See how it's still attached by the sticker? Not for long!

Peel one side off carefully. As in, don't be careless! But you don't have to be super slow at it either.

Once the one side is free, you peel the sticker off the other side, pulling downward as such.

Put the pieces back together.

And there you have it. (Because I was doing this with one hand, some residue DID get on my case. But it was wimpy enough, I was able to easily rub it off).

You're welcome.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Envisioning the Future

Yes. I will be one of those parents. One of those pushy, obnoxious parents who wants nothing more than to see her children fulfill the life dream that she could not fulfill herself.

But my children will not be doctors or lawyers or beauty pageant contestants.

They’ll be rock stars. Like this:

I’ll name them rock star names, like Bjorn, and make them have emovers (or just plain messy hair) and take away television privileges so they can spend their time being creative. My left-handed son, the chosen one, will be gifted my left-handed Ibanez on his twelfth birthday, and we’ll all participate in family RockBand nights and car sing-alongs to Bloc Party and Kings of Leon and Coheed and Cambria and Death Cab.

Granted, there is the chance I won’t have sons. And there’s also the chance they won’t have a lick of musical ability. And I suppose there’s the chance that they’ll disown me and move to Las Vegas where they’ll become vegan taxi drivers. But I’m willing to risk it.

I suppose there’s a more likely chance that my sons will end up like this:

And I’m ok with that. I really am. So long as they have winning personalities.

And give the rock star thing a chance.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

a trip to the dentist

Going to the dentist for the first time in fourteen years is much like waiting until the end of the summer to mow your lawn.

It simply can’t all get done within an hour. And even though the hygienist tried her best, I know she broke this thing down into phases, telling herself she could finish up when I came back in in 6 months.

I’ll spare you the details about the blood that shot up onto the hygienist's face mask and how I could actually feel tartar chunks flying off my teeth. I mean let’s face it. All of that is a little gross and unnecessary.

But the worst part about being 26 years old and not having had a dentist appointment since 1996, was that I had no clue what I was doing. The hygienist would hand me stuff and I’d just stand there like an idiot. She’d point to something and mumble and I’d hurriedly lean when I was supposed to sit and close my mouth when I was supposed to keep it open.

She should have treated me like a child. Instead, when I looked at her blankly, I could hear her reminding herself, Oh, she doesn’t know what she’s doing BECAUSE SHE’S NEVER BEEN TO A DENTIST IN HER LIFE.

Hence the blood. And the flying tartar. And the most brutal flossing I’ve ever experienced. And the comments about how small my mouth was and how Dr. Matt will probably recommend surgery on my wisdom teeth and yada yada.

It was as though she was teaching me a lesson. Payback for ignoring my teeth.

So, when Dr. Matt’s verdict came that the pain I had been experiencing was actually from my wisdom teeth growing and getting situated, I was relieved. I may have ignored my teeth, but I didn’t sentence myself to death.

And THEN when he proceeded to say that it looked as though I had enough room in my mouth to try and keep them all, I skipped out of there victorious and as happy as could be.

And ate two pieces of candy.

Come on, she had to have seen that coming. Payback is a two-way street.

And come to find out, it’s sweet.