Operation: Go West

September 7, 2004

The Subscriber Couch

It is clear to me now that we did not so much buy a couch several years ago as subscribe to it.

It was too big to fit in our Chicago apartment, so after an awkward, prolonged incident with the deliverymen, wherein my wife and Landlady tried to convince them that their grasp of the laws of physics was flawed, it had to be returned from whence it came and disassembled. Then it came into the place in three pieces, where it was reassembled by those self-same craftsmen. All for an extra fee of a couple hundred dollars more.

When it came time to move out, we needed to have it disassembled again. But that furniture place went out of business, so we had to identify someone who could take it apart again. (Did I consider doing it myself? Yes. Was I sternly warned away whenever I pulled the sofa away from the wall to even look at how one might make the first incision in the upholstery? YES.) It took some time to identify a specialist who could do this. Like every other request I have made of the world’s vendors, no one had ever ever in the history of time needed precisely what I needed. And the implication was always that reasonable people would never have gotten themselves in that position.

I arrived at the Chicago apartment one day just in time to see a man finishing up on breaking our sofa down into its molecular components. I had hoped to be there to learn the mystical ways of sofa assembly and deconstruction, so that we would not need to identify ANOTHER specialist in California, but I was too late. The sofa was already in pieces, and there were already FAR more of the pieces lying about than I remembered being necessary to get it in to start with. But what could I say? Even though it looked wrong, he seemed to know more about it than me. This was also at a cost of a few hundred dollars.

Now we're in the process of locating ANOTHER sofa demolition specialist. Sofa ownership is a privilege - but also a responsibility.

Posted by Chris on 09/ 7/04

September 2, 2004

Brief Update from Barstow

The desert is beautiful but also a bit depressing after two or three days. It's too hot, it's too bright, the wind tries to blow us off the road, and everything is cars, fumes, and gas station food. It's a big cell phone dead zone; I get a few text messages on my cell phone today that I can't return for hours. Thank God for iPod and David Cross comedy albums.

We've stopped off in Barstow even though Santa Monica is just three hours or so away, the idea being that we'll try to get in a little before lunch time tomorrow. Landlord says anytime is good, that the place will be open, that he'll see us around five. Which is good, because where is the checkbook for that all-important first rent check? I'd estimate about four feet back into the truck.

It could be that I'm just attuned to it, but it seems like every fourth vehicle in the hotel parking lots are rental trucks towing a car.

Posted by Chris on 09/ 2/04

1) are you in fact on Route 66? Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino?

2) Are you getting your kicks?

3) When you say that the movie SPARTAN is about a white slavery ring...is that just something that's mentioned casually, off hand...or do we get to see the inner workings of a white slavery ring VIS A VIS girls tied up, back handed bitchslaps and unsavory eastern european men with cigarettes?

Posted by: friend jessica at September 3, 2004 7:33 AM

and since you brought it up, I watched the 'almost porn disguised as art' movie POLA X last night, because Till is in it for a whole 8 seconds.

Anyway, this is a movie that is French and 'thought provoking' and 'moving' and 'artistic', and it also has FULL PENETRATION VAGINAL SEX and 69 in it. I mean, they weren't fooling around. I felt...like I had been duped by the folger's crystals people.

I'm just trottin' along, watching a nearly incomprehensible French film and BAM...there's the tab A, there's the slot B and I'll be DAMNED if those things weren't WORKING TOGETHER ON FILM.

Also, maybe even worse than "It's been a long time since I've smelled beautiful" by vin diesel in riddick is Catherine "here's my boobs again" Deneuve taking a long drag off of a cigarette and saying:

"I love to smoke" in french.

I mean, it's like a PARODY.

Posted by: friend jessica at September 3, 2004 9:25 AM

When I'm saying to you I'm in Barstow, know that I AM RIGHT ON ROUTE 66. Also know that I live right off that fabled drive as well. GETTIN' MY KICKS.

Re: Spartan. Not so much a deep look into the crazy workaday world of the white slaver, but there's definitely some of the unsavoraiety of that field.

Re: the French with their Nouveau Pornographie - I forbade them to make any more films without first running them by me after "Irreversible" and "Baise Moi."

Posted by: Chris at September 7, 2004 9:44 AM

Brief Update from Utah

-Yesterday we drove through the Rocky Mountains, and it was a day of immense beauty and tension as we wondered whether Yellow Truck Pulling Red Car would make it. We slowed to 25 mph every time we went up, certain that the engine was about to give out; and then going down we could smell burning brakes the whole way.

-The inside of the Tercel is getting hot enough during the day to make our clothes hot to the touch and our toothpaste melt. The inside of the toiletry bags are a gloopy mess of hair and dental products.

- Sometimes when I look at the two vehicles containing all our possessions I think MY GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE WE'VE LEFT ALL OUR FRIENDS AND A PERFECTLY GOOD CITY FOR WHAT.

-Yesterday we saw signs warning us not to stop on the road due to dust storms. Later, we saw a sign that eagles might be on the road. Either way, I'm not opening the door until we're in Nevada.

- It's taken me 15 years to realize that this is the part of the country I'd like to be in. Of course, soon all this beauty will give way to urban sprawl and we'll be crying, begging for some Angeleno to let us move into the right lane. And then there's this apartment that neither of us have seen. God help us.

Posted by Chris on 09/ 2/04

i miss you...but what's with all the seal pictures dude?

Fix up this blog. How much can it be? $18 a minute? spend money to make money partner.

"Eagles on the Road" seems ominous AND entertaining. What are they doing? beating up passers by like so many street tuffs? playing cards? just...hangin' around?

Posted by: friend jessica at September 2, 2004 11:17 AM

August 31, 2004

Brief update from Nebraska

I am typing this in as quick as I can at an internet kiosk at a hotel. (If this is the future of access, then the future is a strange place of carpal tunnel and strangers looking over my shoulder.)

Brief updates to be elaborated on later:

-U-Haul never called us back with a reservation pick up place. Did you hear me? YES. That means that even though I'd had a reservation for one month, when the day arrived, they simply... blew us off. We had the entire house packed, and ended up sitting there all day, waiting by the phone for the call. ALL DAY. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF SUCH AN OUTRAGE.

- I don't know what "overdrive" means.

- Everyone, from the hotel desk clerk in Davenport, Iowa, to the waitress in Ogallala, Nebraska, to the SBC man who took my order to disconnect service, has assured me we will be victims of Road Rage if we intend to drive a 15' truck pulling a car trailer through mid-afternoon L.A. traffic. Yay! Something to look forward to!

- It turns out that if you took all our possessions and compacted them into a cube, the cube would exceed the area of a 15' Budget truck, by the addition of the exact area of one '92 Tercel. That is, if you subtract a bike, a shelf unit, and a rubber tree plant.

- So far, this trip is the best.

Posted by Chris on 08/31/04

August 29, 2004

Blog Hiatus

Operation: Go West is in go mode, people, repeat, we're in go mode. Doubtful that any updates will come from the road, although you never know.

Everything packed, check. Audiobooks set on iPod, check. Road atlas in handy place, check. UHaul truck and hitch picked up and ready to go, check minus. They called yesterday to tell us our pick up location had changed, and they'd be calling back. Well, it's Moving Day and I'm still staring at the phone like a jilted prom date.

Why, oh why, did I not remember the Rental Vendors Maxim, which clearly states that for critical moves and movies, PICK UP ALL RENTAL EQUIPMENT AT LEAST A DAY AHEAD OF TIME.

In the meantime, while I wait on hold for hours, my neck killing me from holding the phone and taping boxes at the same time, why don't I amuse myself by hitting refresh again and again and seeing how many dogs I can get in the pictures at the left.

While the blog is inactive this week, why not go see "Hero?" Or visit http://www.mcsweeneys.net/? Or American Prospect?

Posted by Chris on 08/29/04

we are already sad with the missing of you.


please to return shortly.

Posted by: friend jessica at August 30, 2004 4:04 PM

we are already sad with the missing of you.


please to return shortly, and tell me:


Posted by: friend jessica at August 30, 2004 4:04 PM

I having the missing of you duty today. I am sad as well. Settle in and blog soon so that we can commence with illusion of you having never left. Make references to Chicago weather and recent articles in the Sun Times. Help your friends, for christsakes.

Posted by: fattyfat at August 31, 2004 12:08 PM


Posted by: fattyfat at August 31, 2004 12:09 PM

Although I may leave town soon in shame because I don't have a dog that blogs and I pretended I did and I got punk'd. See you in LA.

Posted by: fattyfat at August 31, 2004 12:10 PM

Yah, well, try sitting in the office now with that empty desk just... just... just... STARING at me.

It's haunted, I swear. I fully expect to see the really-bad-CGI-hyenas in the hall some morning when it's so damn QUIET.

Posted by: AragornSoS at August 31, 2004 4:41 PM

Chris, I told you to clean the mess off the bedroom wall.

I tolerated what I thought were your excremental "sexual adventures" because you're one of those liberals - and therefore the only hope for our nation as it daily sells off more freedoms and bits of its soul to the whingeing American Taliban, right-wing, corporate Christian, anti-sex, anti-freedom, anti-choice, constitution-hating, news-ignoring, thought-avoiding, inner-lifeless, war-mongering, Bush-apologizing, pro-pollution, SUV-driving evil baddy bad bads.

I had no idea the excremental wall patch is in fact a bas-relief portrait of our lord and savior, Jesus the Christ, sculpted with great precision and detail from the accumulated fecal matter of over three years. Complete with real hairs and assorted molds!

I broke two chisels taking it down and threw my back out hauling it out of there. As I looked into His cracked and crumbling face, His sunken eyes and crown of shit thorns, I knew I must forgive you. Good luck in California.

Posted by: Chris' old landlord at August 31, 2004 9:06 PM


I agree with what you're saying. Thanks for sharing the info with us.

Posted by: webcam at March 3, 2005 5:48 AM

pms remedy. pms relief. pms relief

Posted by: pms relief at May 6, 2005 2:01 PM

August 23, 2004

Operation: Go West status - Fastfinding An Apartment

Boxes. Boxes? Boxes! Boxes, boxes, boxes, and box, boxes, boxes.


That is what our apartment is right now. Total boxes. All boxes, all the time. NOTE TO SELF FOUR WEEKS AGO: You're going to have too many boxes. Ease up on getting the boxes.

Also: Our nerves could not take going out west without having a new Landlord to complain about, so we put a partial deposit on a place about a mile from Office, and credit report approval pending, ahem, that will be it. Although new Landlord is perplexed that anyone would even think to rent a place sight unseen, and has called us several times to make REALLY SURE that we want to do this. (I'm ignoring every Impending Doom Warning Bell on the dashboard right now.)

P.S. By the way, if you see a picture of a dog on this blog, then your computer may be infected with spyware. Conversely, if you see a picture of a building, it means you've been pre-approved for a mortgage and we've been trying to get a hold of you.

P.P.S. Regarding the Devil's Search Assistant. What was I talking about below? I somehow transmuted "Fastlook" into "Fastfind." Which is another malware offender, but the difference is that Fastlook simply won't be removed. Perhaps that is one of the malware's defensive techniques, to cloud the minds of their host.

Posted by Chris on 08/23/04

August 11, 2004

Basic Knowledge Gaps

It occurred to me that I could buy a scooter for non-interstate tooling around in Santa Monica, since we'll be a one-ailing-car family. I'd want something that is as efficient as possible while minimizing the dork factor.

What I'm saying is, I'm not looking for an actual motorcycle, but something smaller. On the motorcycle spectrum I'd say this item would be far, far down the scale from the Dennis Hopper Easy Rider-style chopper, and closer to the thing Peter Parker was riding in Spider Man 2. But not a Razor, not something that you stand up on. And not one of these "pocket" bikes which I feel were designed for use by circus performers. Does that make sense?

Jesus, I can already feel the blank look of some Honda salesman burning into me. How can you not know this, he will be wondering. What kind of person could grow to manhood and not be able to state plainly his preference of motor-scooter?

I constantly find myself in the position of seeking out a product or service I feel sure exists, I mean I think I've seen it in a movie, or maybe I heard about someone having it done one time, but I am unfamiliar with the makes and models, cost points, the vendors, what I should be looking for, EVERYTHING. Periodically I seem to develop a need for which no known technology has been developed (making a clear wireless call to someone from the surface of the Earth, for instance), but more often I feel I'm playing catch up to everyone else's complete and encyclopedic knowledge of goods and services available to the average human.

So, to my extensive list of Knowledge Gaps that other people seem to be born without, I can then add:

  1. How to accurately estimate distance in yards or miles.
  2. Car makes and models.
  3. Sports teams and trivia. (All sports, all teams.)

    In retrospect I feel not participating in that second season of tee-ball as a child was my downfall with these first three. Clearly while teaching the kids to hit a softball off a tee, Coach Akins also drilled the basic facts of life - cars, distances, sports - into the kids' heads.

  4. Basic knowledge of flora.

    I'm OK on fauna. Maybe above average! But at this point I feel I'm just now hearing about certain vegetables, and they can't still be discovering them, can they? And when the ladies in my family come up with the name of certain flowers I feel they're actually bullshitting me. NOTE: Not that I really care about this one.

  5. Basic household electrical wiring, plumbing.

    Why does every contractor that enters this office or my apartment expect me to know which walls are load-bearing, or where the conduits are? Am I human stud-finder? Do I study the floorplans?

  6. Universities and their locations around the country.

    I know I didn't take getting into the "right" college as seriously as others, but I also know I didn't see the other seniors drilling on this either. How can people be so conversant in this topic?

  7. Rudimentary fashion sense.
  8. How to handle the threat of physical fights with strangers.

    The "trying to get people to laugh and be your friend" thing worked ONCE. And I think even then it was in an after-school special.

  9. What constitutes a "motorcycle" and what constitutes a "scooter," where you can get them, and for how much.

I tooled around About.com and Ebay yesterday to fill in my motorcycle gaps, and I certainly know more now than then. But I'm still basically flying blind. I have this fear that I'll plunk down a huge wad of cash for something on EBay and then it will end up being some exquisitely hand-tooled die-cast model about a foot high.

Posted by Chris on 08/11/04

man. this blog isn't very good, is it?

Posted by: friend jessica at August 12, 2004 2:56 PM

I read it sometimes, but I find it to be not so good. Probably should list that under basic skills that are lacking: the ability to write and produce a GOOD blog. Geesh.

Posted by: AragornSoS at August 12, 2004 9:08 PM

Yes, I agree, there isn't much going on here - HEY.

Posted by: Chris at August 13, 2004 11:05 PM

ummmm. so just how often do find yourself on the verge of a fist fight with a stranger?

Posted by: kjk at August 17, 2004 4:34 PM

Rarely, but it's one of those things one must be prepared for. You can never underestimate the soccer hooligans. THEY COULD STRIKE AT ANY TIME.

Posted by: Chris at August 18, 2004 5:18 PM

August 4, 2004

Operation: Go West status

We are all on board with Operation: Go West, and everything is going well with it; if you interpret "all" to mean "just me," and "well" to mean "the plan is riddled with unknowns and uncertainties."

Big missing pieces of the move puzzle include:

  • Where I will live. I have no apartment out there yet, and will be choosing and renting one upon arrival. I understand that is the way it's done there.

  • How I will get there. Will my car continue to function long enough to make it worthwhile to take with? It certainly isn't in any shape currently to make the 2,112 mile trip. For a mere $700 to Reliable Auto it can probably be in that shape again; or, for around $1700 I can rent a U-Haul truck vastly bigger than I need for all my stuff to tow it, and it can sputter around in L.A. But only for a while, because there's no way I'm passing a smog test. But I have to have a car, unlike Chicago.

  • Who will pay for all this.

    Posted by Chris on 08/ 4/04
  • July 26, 2004

    Operation: Go West status: Condition Yellow

    A note of interest to anyone that may be moving to the L.A. or Santa Monica area: there are tons of apartments, but their landlords do not know when they will be available.

    Well - this is not precisely true. There seems to be about a five minute period between the current tenant saying "I'm out of here" and the new tenant moving in, when they are available.

    But the landlords can't be sure that Current Tenant is actually moving out until they actually vacate the place. Until then, New Tenants, a group I woefully find myself in, are left to circle like sharks.

    What am I to make of this strange state of landlord laissez-faire? In Chicago these things are carefully mapped out. I am positive any landlord in Chicago knows the date, the HOUR that their Current Tenants will be out. I have not seen it but I am sure that the Chicago Police have been called on occasion to help them find the door if they forget.

    Do they not use leases in Santa Monica / L.A.? Do these documents not spell out the term of vacancy?

    So we saw many apartments, but none were available in September. They were all available RIGHT NOW. If we had been ready to move in RIGHT NOW to just about any place, we could have done so, assuming we passed the stringent application procedure / credit check*.

    And RIGHT THEN is when you need to make a decision if you find the right place, I found out to my heartbreak. In a city where no one tires of telling you how bad traffic is, we came across a perfect and cheap little place around ten blocks from the office. No car would have been necessary for me, no need to ride the bus, (which is apparently horrific). But things were going well at that moment; we wanted to wait a day to see more apartments. None of which were available, and when I called back about Perfect Place... it was gone.

    So now we will either rent a place unseen, or else drive out without any place rented, knowing that when we get there something will be available RIGHT NOW.

    The bottom line is, if you're moving Out West, you don't seem to need to even begin looking for a place until about three weeks before.

    ? ? ?

    *Which is a giant blinking red neon question mark hanging right outside my mental window, keeping me from sleep at night.
    Posted by Chris on 07/26/04

    July 19, 2004

    Operation: Go West - Santa Monica hiatus

    To the two, or even one of you that read this, I'll be in Santa Monica this next week, looking for an apartment. I anticipate little to no updating of this space during that time. Unless of course there is. So check back in occasionally, if only to use the space to sell your generic drugs.

    We have actually spoken to people in Santa Monica by now, making this experience finally visceral and real*. Of course, all these people had to say was, IT'S TOO FAR OUT TO KNOW WHAT WILL BE AVAILABLE. (Apartment-wise) For my part, in my figuring of the budget I have neglected to realize that Landlords generally want a deposit IN ADVANCE.

    Good news, and Dear Jesus don't let me look back at this line in several months' time and laugh at my innocence: Current Landlady plans on meeting us on Move-Out Day to give us our deposit.


    In the meantime, meditate on this: "Innocuous Syrian Band" would make a great band name.

    *Another thing that will make it visceral and real is getting up at 4 AM tomorrow morning to jet out there.
    Posted by Chris on 07/19/04

    I read it.

    G'luck to you two!


    Posted by: Brian at July 20, 2004 9:25 AM

    June 30, 2004

    Operation: Go West - "With Traffic" Edition

    We inch ever closer. Everyone on this end is at condition: green, repeat, condition: green, which is to say that Landlady, Co-Workers, and Multiple Supervisors all think it would be a fine idea and wish us luck. There are even some people in Santa Monica that think it would be a great idea, but none of them are... Landlords.

    And it's still a bit early to be talking to... Landlords... in Santa Monica so we're in a bit of a holding pattern, which I dislike equally whether it be something an actual plane I'm in is doing or just a metaphor for something else.

    And it's a holding pattern filled with unexpected melancholy; every time we do something, we're quiet and reserved about it, since it... May Be The Last Time We Do This In Chicago. I have lunch with a friend and then there's practically a big tearful scene when we part ways... because Who Knows If We'll Ever See Each Other Again.

    I spoke to friend Bill in Santa Monica, who was absolutely ecstatic about the move, which cut through the melancholy a good bit last weekend. But that was quickly replaced by panic as he set my thinking a'right on a few matters of scale. Apparently even though "Pasadena" and "Santa Monica" are just three inches apart on the smallish map I bought, it still takes some three hours to get from one to another.


    Of course, that's With Traffic. Of course, there's ALWAYS traffic, and ALWAYS bad. So I can see that With Traffic will shortly be one of those useless modifying phrases I love most dearly here, like "With Wind Chill" or "Lake Effect." I love, for instance, to hear what the temperature would be without Wind Chill; this being how cold it is in some ideal, Platonic Chicago where wind is not a factor. I'm sure it will be the same for travel times in L.A.

    Posted by Chris on 06/30/04

    June 21, 2004

    Operation: Go West status report

    All critical flags are green for Operation: Go West, with an arrival date in Santa Monica of September 1. I spoke to Landlady a few days - WAIT. WAIT. Did I say September FIRST? OF THIS YEAR? Holy shit - that's just two months and a week away! What the hell am I doing? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON, THIS IS ALL HAPPENING TOO FAST-

    OK, wait. Panic is normal, panic is natural. Let it pass, it will all be OK, don't focus on the fear, fear is the mind-killer that eats the soul, I will let it pass through me, OK, I'm fine.

    I spoke to Landlady last week (well in advance of her deadline) and said why YES, we can be out at the beginning of September. And without hesitation she replied good, that she had it rented for that date. So. Just like that, we're out of that particular apartment. No matter what happens to Operation: Go West.

    And: A more careful examination of the financial spreadsheet gave me the happy news that I'd calculated wrongly, but in my favor; so it turns out that why YES, there will be enough money for the U-Haul, and perhaps even enough for a trailer hitch for the car, which we reason may last longer in L.A. if it is not forced through another cross-country trek in its twilight years.

    Did I say will be? Well, yes, but not without some pain for a few months.

    And wife Ami has just this morning informed her company, given notice at her job of seven years and HOLY SHIT WHAT ARE WE DOING, SHE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A JOB OUT THERE YET, SHE HASN'T EVEN GOTTEN HER RESUME UPDATED, and I'm asking her to quit a perfectly good job that she's worked so hard to advance in? For seven years? I've NEVER held a job for seven years!

    OK, the panic is normal, it's natural, let it pass, it will all be OK. OK, I'm fine.

    Did I say ALL critical flags were green? Actually, no - some flags are the more ambiguous color of beige, which means while we have located several promising-looking apartments in Santa Monica (and also in many places adjacent to other places) online, we have not actually spoken to anyone at all in California. No one there knows we're coming. That seems like something we should "close on" very quickly. To that end we're taking a scouting trip there in two weeks. Let us pray for no heavy reality-adjustments.

    Finally: As I have considered this Operation for so many months, nay, years, I've really only focused on the enormous effort of paring down our possessions, of finding cardboard boxes all over again, of the inevitably clumsy Landlady Endgame, and the tremendous pain in my ASS of packing and moving; I was sure I was ready for it. But I neglected to consider the most difficult part of all - taking our leave from the people we've come to love so much in nine years in Chicago. So far I have already had difficult conversations when I informed two friends. There are more to come like that. Oh dear.

    Posted by Chris on 06/21/04

    emoticons take over where words fail:

    : (

    Posted by: Mary at June 21, 2004 4:52 PM




    :: cleaning out dining room of saddened guests ::

    Posted by: friend jessica at June 22, 2004 11:56 AM

    June 16, 2004

    Operation: Go West status report

    Operation: Go West is almost dead out of the gate, I am sad to report. Our efforts to move to Santa Monica are consistently butting up against reality.

    It embarrasses me to say it, but I VASTLY UNDERESTIMATED the cost of renting a U-Haul for a one-way cross-country trip, and that, amazingly, could be the undoing factor. I was basing my estimate on all previous truck rentals; which is to say, renting a 14' truck for 24 hours to move across town. U-Haul's site helpfully pointed out my error in judgement, however, bringing my wild imaginings down out of La-La Land.

    Incidental costs keep mounting, too. Did I mention I lost my cell phone in Cambridge? And will need to buy another? Yes. Did I blithely train my way to N.Y.C. this last weekend, although it was a fairly economical trip? Yes. It isn't looking good. Operation: Go West is turning into Operation: Stay Where You Are, Jackass.

    VOICE OF OLD CANCELLED CREDIT CARD FROM THE GRAVE: You know what occurs to me? How this would be easier if only you hadn't cancelled me back then.

    ME: Shut up.

    VOICE OF OLD CANCELLED CREDIT CARD FROM THE GRAVE: No, seriously. Wouldn't it have made sense to hang on to me? And poor Suze tried to tell you.

    ME: I said shut up!

    VOICE OF OLD CANCELLED CREDIT CARD FROM THE GRAVE: But you were so proud of yourself! Remember how excited you were?

    ME: I'm not listening.

    VOICE OF OLD CANCELLED CREDIT CARD FROM THE GRAVE: Just hang on to it for a little while, everyone said. In case something comes up. Well - something's come up, hasn't it?

    ME: Please... leave me alone. You're dead, you can't hurt me.

    VOICE OF OLD CANCELLED CREDIT CARD FROM THE GRAVE: Hey - forget about me! I'm just a ghost! But... you can always... apply for another one, right?

    (The music rises in an ominous crescendo)

    ME: No... NOOO...

    VOICE OF OLD CANCELLED CREDIT CARD FROM THE GRAVE: Hey! If it makes you feel better, when you make the call you can always use your Sydney Greenstreet voice!


    I dreaded my talk with Landlady because I'd put it off for so long. We needed to extend our lease with her, but by months only. But the problem was, we weren't exactly sure when we'd need to leave. I'm lucky enough to have a job there already, but Wife Ami has to do the needful and find one. Landlady was very understanding, though, and indicated we could extend, as long as we gave her two months notice, and let her know as soon as possible.

    Then I came back from Cambridge to find a notice on my front door that my apartment would be up for rent on August 1st.

    A quick phone-call to Landlady revealed what has always been revealed about her when the rubber hits the road, which is that she is a nice person but let's not ever mistake her for the kindly old inn-keeper type. She hadn't heard from me, so she protected her interests. Fine - it's only fair. Well - let's not say fair, but let's not act like we've been woefully wronged.

    I left it with her that we were shooting for September 1st, and she left it with me that we couldn't go any later than that - or we'd have to sign on for another year. Again - it's fair.

    (As I go through this with her, imagining the travails yet to come, and who are we kidding, why don't I just go ahead and create a category called "I Sue To Get My Deposit Back, '04 Edition," in the forefront of my mind is the notion that waiting for us somewhere across the country is her counterpart, who will be identical to her in every respect, or worse, I will wish he was. The entire saga is here: Our Feudal Lords.)

    Another little fact revealed to me yesterday: after two years or so of stalled talks, rumors, speculation, the occasional burst of activity, and mainly a lot of sitting around doing nothing, the real estate division of the company I work for has finally pretty much decided on when we'll be moving the Chicago office over to the other side of the building. That date: September 1st.

    I am determined to manage this Operation with grace, despite these and other little clues the Universe keeps sending my way that it ain't gonna happen this year. iPod's first selection yesterday was "Sweet Home Chicago." This morning it was "Say Goodbye to Hollywood."

    Posted by Chris on 06/16/04

    I am sad to hear of your trials, but I must say that there is a glimmer of joy in "Operation Stay Where you Are Jackass" if only because you are such a good friend, so funny and smart and I always have fun hanging out with you and Ami, and I'd miss Camping, and New Year's Day, and Playing Golden Eye and being in your movies and all that shit. I was so sad to hear of your moving, I literally cried a little bit. I don't even say that to be funny. You're one of the first people I really liked in Chicago, (which is why I picked on you the moment we met) and I would hate to have our friendship dissolve because of uncrossed miles.

    Anyway, I hope you find happiness and relief from all this stress.

    Posted by: friend jessica at June 16, 2004 10:50 AM

    It's simple. Don't go. Chicago loves you. California is full of jerk-heads.

    Thus endeth the discussion.


    Posted by: Brian at June 16, 2004 12:12 PM

    NOOOOOOO! Now begins the me feeling awful about even wanting to leave. What good friends I have here, with the leaving of the warm and friendly messages, and the precious dog.

    By the way - get V*I*A*G*R*A for cheap!

    Posted by: Chris at June 16, 2004 4:47 PM


    Posted by: friend jessica at June 17, 2004 9:36 AM

    Yes, don't go west. It's naf.

    Go east! You might find your cellphone again. There's history, there's culture (not Mickey Mouse/painted cow rubbish statues on State Street). Some of those states are also thinking about having democracy reinstated...

    But Chicago's nice too. Come to think of it, it's the only good thing about Illinois.

    Posted by: isaac at June 17, 2004 4:47 PM

    Yes, go East. Massachusetts is small, beautiful and dedicated to protecting the sanctity of the American marriage.

    Posted by: Maggie at June 17, 2004 10:51 PM

    Massachusetts is Chicago's bitch.

    Posted by: friend jessica at June 18, 2004 9:33 AM