Nice 2 C
When in doubt, some US fading pop stars turn to hits from Europe to jumpstart their career. In this case, Mr. Simpson relies on Take That and their big hit from a few years back. If you like your dance with a pop sensibility, check out the remix HERE.
Maddie's Doin' Fine
After an MRI today (where she had her leg and head shaved a bit), we found out Maddie doesn't have cancer. Instead, she has, in short, a serious case of arthritis that's beginning to pinch one part of her spine. There's not much we can do except give her medication and make sure she doesn't go up and down the stairs over the next two weeks to limit the stress on her body and allow it to heal a bit.
PTT in Miami
Nope. I'm still here. But between my quest for our housing permit, and the trips to the vet for Maddie's inability to walk, my job interview and my last minute excursion to Miami, I haven't had much time to blog. So, I'll make up for it but in as few words as possible.
- We finally secured our Open Plan Review meeting for next Thursday. It took many phone calls of course. And I ended up lecturing our architect project manager, but in the end, we now have an appointment. Soon after, hopefully within minutes and not hours or days, we'll have our permit.
- Maddie has had difficulty walking since just a few weeks ago. And a trip to the vet yesterday didn't clear up our concerns. So, Chris took her to a neurologist this morning. At this very moment, they're running an MRI and CAT Scan to identify what could be anything from cancer to an exaggerated form of arthritis. Not the news I wanted to hear before leaving for Miami.
- Because I found a free flight, and a free place to stay, along with a free cab ride to and from the airport, I jumped on a plane to Miami for five days. I hadn't anticipated going anywhere for the next few months. But when an opportunity presents itself, I said, "Why not?" At this very moment, I'm sitting in my friend's condo on South Beach watching the clouds go by (yes, it's cloudy).
- I met with a marketing agency yesterday and discussed a global communications position. It went well. But, we feel as though a project basis, or a consultancy, would work best for now. From there, we'll see where it goes. So, I may have secured a gig for the next few months - if not beyond.
Our Lucky Streak Continues
I sure hope this isn't a sign of things to come over the next 6-8 months. Our request for an Open Plan Review got "lost" in email (apparently just like our plans - twice). I called the City today, located the one who reviews emails, and was told our request wasn't in the system. He didn't have an email from our project manager. And, I was told not to resend our request because the gentleman said, "...it would be more for me to weed through..."
So after weighing possible outcomes, I decided to send another request from my Yahoo account vs. our project manager resending his initial request. This way, not only will I have more control over the response, the City Hall employee hopefully won't recognize the address. I'd hate for him to say, "I told that little shit not to resend...and he did. I'll show him."
Joel Rush Xposed
The Housing Report - Our Open Plan Review
Here we sit and wait for someone at City Hall to check the Open Plan Review email box. We sent a request for a meeting on Friday and still no word. And since they only have this type of meeting on Tuesday and Thursday, I'm now afraid we're going to get pushed to Thursday and lose another two days. Combine this with the fact that next Monday is a silly Chicago holiday, we're now most likely going to see nothing happen until the middle of next week as once we actually have the review, we have to wait for the information to get entered into the system. Seriously, I'm wondering if they could make it any more difficult.
1. Hugh's opening was brilliant. Maybe I'm bias because he's one handsome dude. Sure, it was very broadway but entertaining none-the-less.
2. What's up, literally, with Goldie's boobs?
3. Whoopi never has been known for fashion. Her streak continues.
4. Dustin Lance Black is now the new gay icon after that speech and with that hair.
4. Must they cut to Angelina every time Jennifer Anniston stops to breath?
5. The Oscar is almost as big as winner Kunio Kato for short animation. "Sunk you. Sunk you."
6. I appreciate how swiftly some of these awards are moving along. Costume and Art Direction for example.
7. We don't care about Romance in 2008. Where's Hugh?
8. Natalie looks radiant in pink.
9. Comedy 2009 with James Franco made me like James even more.
10. The Proposal with Sandra Bullock is now on my list of Spring movie must sees.
11. What happened to Alicia Keys' eyebrows? Somewhat Vulcan like.
12. The lead actor from Slumdog Millionaire never stops smiling.
13. Second best quote of the night so far: A.R. Rahman as he finished his acceptance speech for Best Original Song, "All my life I had a choice between hate and love. I chose love. So I'm here."
14. I agree with Danny Boyle about the Oscar set. The crystals are amazing!
15. It may have been a ploy to hide the fact that few wanted to present (and because last year's winners are fairly unknown), but featuring a group presentation for the major awards was quite moving and impressive.
16, How many more times do we have to hear about Meryl Streep? We get it. 15 nominations.
17. Did anybody miss the movie clips?
18. Adrien Brody needs a haircut. Many actually.
19. I'm in SHOCK that Sean Penn won best actor. Good for Harvey and all he stands for. Bad for poor Mickey.
20. It was sweet to see Dustin Lance Black cry when Sean accepted his award. "Equality for all."
21. Slumdog Millionaire wins Best Picture. Not a surprise. Now hong long do you think Hollywood will return to Bollywood?
The PTT Hollywood Report
Is is just me or do you think there's much to see in the way of movies recently? Apparently it's just me as America once again led the box office to one of its greatest February weekends ever by running out to see Madea Goes to Jail which made around $41.1M, followed by Taken with $11.4M and Coraline at $11M. I'm personally waiting for Watchmen which opens March 6. Now that should be good.
The Problem with Facebook
I love Facebook. The social networking site makes it easy to keep in touch with friends, browse through their photos, send them emails and more. However, I'm not a big fan of how those same friends can snap an unflattering photo of you and plaster it on Facebook. Sure, you can "detag" yourself, but the picture remains in their photo album. I personally NEVER upload unflattering pics of anyone - always taking into account their feelings towards the snapshot. If only the same would apply in reverse.
I dropped my 32 oz. blueberry shake in the gym today. It tumbled out of my locker and onto the floor - splashing purple goo everywhere. One man to my left was cordial enough to offer me a towel as I scrambled to minimize the damage. But another to my right, who had just arrived, decided to continue unpacking and undressing even though I was trying to clean up the mess right under his feet. I'd hate for my faux paux to inconvenience him.
Oscar, the Ladies and the Gays
I'll be watching the Oscars tonight in the privacy of our own home. And, as noted by Nikki Finke from deadlinehollywooddaily.com, apparently so will only gays and women as she writes,
"One new idea thought up by the producers that will be seen Sunday? Trophy boys. The result is that very handsome young men will now join very beautiful young women on stage carrying out the Oscar statuettes. If that's not an acknowledgement that viewership for the Academy Awards these days is limited to only females and gays, I don't know what is."
Seems logical to me as a viral video was posted on Friday (and featured here on PTT) of a very buff Hugh Jackman. This blatant attempt to lure the gays only further supports her claim. So, it seems true to say, "Only ladies and gays. Only ladies and gays."
Hugh Prepares for the Oscars
Hugh Jackman is one handsome dude. And with his Oscar hosting gig set to commence in just over 24 hours, his heat factor is sure to rise even more when he takes the stage. If you can't wait until then, check out below some official behind-the-scenes footage shot for a short film being compiled about Hugh's hosting job as he heads into the final stretch.
I'm Happy 2 Report
The city of Chicago has found our building plans and approved the remaining topic to be reviewed. And, coincidentally, we received the good news phone call this morning as I was preparing to enter the government building to hunt down some answers. Sure, it's not the building permit. But, it's the next step in a series of comedic turns that eventually should lead to us acquiring our permit next week after the city completes an "open plan review" with our architect.
My Thoughts Exactly
This guy essentially sums up my thoughts on the stimulus plans.
After just a few short weeks of sending homeowners downtown for residential building permits, the city has decided to revoke the new policy. Apparently, the change caused quite an uproar. So now, if we were to start the process today, we wouldn't get caught up (or rather lost) in all the mess that exists at City Hall.
And speaking of City Hall, I'm still on the hunt for a project manager to tell us what's up with our permit process. I spent today on the phone with not only an Ernest who turned out not to be our Ernest (black vs. white actually), but also a supervisor who said we were "on his radar" but knew nothing specific about our application. Of course, he said he'd call me back. But I have a feeling I'll find myself downtown tomorrow morning, walking around, trying to find answers to many burning questions such as, "WTF?"
Quote of the Day
House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Republican Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., sent the president a letter asking (in regards to the latest stimulus plan), "What will your plan do for the over 90% of homeowners who are playing and paying by the rules?"
The PTT Hollywood Report
New charity single from the "other" girl group in the UK. You get all three versions, not available stateside, HERE! I just can't get enough. A perfect track for Winter Party's beach blowout, at around 4 p.m., when everyone is enjoying the music, the weather, and each other.
Ah, Good Times
Watching Girls Aloud perform The Promise at the Brit Awards made me miss living in Europe. The song brings back good memories of Munich - our friends, our flat, and the pretzels. Check out below a performance of the song that scored Girls Aloud the Brit single of the year.
The Saga Continues
For those of you who are thinking about remodeling your home in the city of Chicago, think again. It's not easy.
Today, after mulling it over, I decided to call and follow up with Oscar at the city of Chicago City Hall office. He said yesterday he'd check on the status of our permit. Well, apparently he didn't. And he had no idea where it was. So he referred me to his supervisor whom I left a message with immediately following my conversation with Oscar.
As my frustration mounted, I received a note from our architect firm letting me know that since our project manager, Ernest, was no longer at City Hall (he was relocated to the South side), our project probably was in limbo. Just what I wanted to hear. I was at a loss. That is until I spoke with my friend Tom who mentioned I should call the South side office and speak to Ernest directly. "He might know where it is," Tom said. Which is exactly what I did.
I got Ernest on the phone and explained my situation. He was very helpful and promised to call City Hall to hunt down my project. I apologized for being a pest, but he replied, "You just want to get your permit." So all of this is good news. But here's the kicker. I don't think this is the Ernest I met with downtown. The Ernest I met with three weeks ago was an old man. The gentleman I spoke with today, well, sounded different. So I have a feeling it might be the FIRST Ernest our architect met with in December - the very one that lost our information in the system thus forcing us to begin again in January.
Here's to hoping someone, anybody calls me back tomorrow with good news. I'll take any news actually. Because in this circumstance, no news really isn't good news.
The PTT Hollywood Report
ABC's The Bachelor is enjoying its highest-rated season in five years with 12.5 million viewers. As I'm sitting here working, Days of our Lives just came on. And THIS guy is hot. So is this ONE. They may not be the best pictures, but believe me, live on NBC they look good. Taylor Swift's Fearless returns to the top of the album chart this week while Flo Rida's Right Round debuts on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart with 636K units sold which means it will be number one tomorrow on the Hot 100. And now that another Days scene just popped on the tube, I've decided THIS guy is good looking as well. Yes, the show is bad. But the men are hot.
On My Soap Box
Obama unveiled his $75 billion mortgage relief plan this week. And not only does it sound like it's going to cost tax payers more money, it's also now hitting us below the belt in regards to our stock portfolio. So quite honestly, I'm tired of the prospect of continually shelling out money to save what appears to be an unstoppable train. In that regard, call me a Republican of sorts.
And according to Obama, the mortgage relief plan will, "...rescue families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly," Obama said. "It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans." That, I seriously doubt and don't believe.
My question is this, "When and where will the bailouts stop?" It seems to be a never ending stream of bills. And for those of us who work hard to save and protect our investments by making smart choices, these rescue efforts are insulting.
The Housing Report
Considering it's almost three weeks since I visited the city for our building permit, I called them this morning to find out what's holding up the process. Of course, our contact has been moved to the South side so he's no longer in the main office. As a result, I talked to Oscar. He actually seemed surprised that our project hadn't been completed yet. He said their supervisor was distributing projects - which could explain the delay. Ours probably got lost. So, he said he'd check into the matter.
In the meantime, we're slowly inching our way into deconstructing the house without overstepping our boundaries due to no permit. Hopefully by the end of the week we'll have that piece of paper in hand so the dumpster can arrive and demolition can begin.
Mr. Nissim has been missing on the remix circuit lately. So when I found a new one by the DJ with a Farah doo, I had to share the wealth. Go HERE to check it out. Three versions are featured. I prefer the original but you can chose for yourself.
Lady Goes Crazy in Hong Kong Airport
I don't think I've ever missed a flight because I was late. But if I did, I don't think I'd throw a tantrum to get onboard. Check out the hysterics of Asian woman who arrives late to her flight in Hong Kong below.
Using My Writing Skillz
As our quest for permit enters its third week, I've promised myself that once we have the piece of paper in hand, I'm going to use my writing skills to call attention to the process. My Tom convinced me to bring light to the difficult process of acquiring a permit.
My biggest complaint comes from the fact that there is no timeline set for a project. So, depending on holidays, personal days, or lunch breaks, your permit could sit for days on end. Besides that, in my letter to both the Mayor, and Building Commissioner, I'll identify the fact that nobody seems accountable.
Of course, I'm waiting until after we receive our permit. I'd stir the pot now, but I'm afraid we'd be pushed further down the line by someone pulling a power trip. And that's one excursion I'd like to avoid.
30 Rock Pimps McDonald's
Did you catch last week's episode of 30 Rock? In "St. Valentine's Day," McDonald's and its McFlurry are featured in 113 seconds of the show - 9% of the show's total running time. And apparently, the creative community, and fan zones, have got their panties in a bunch over the product placement. Sure, I found it a bit over-the-top, but it seemed to fit the quirkiness of the show. And if it pushes a few more customers into the restaurants, then I'm all for it. Again, we've got a house to build.
The PTT Hollywood Report
Considering I'm an entertainment whore, I suppose it's appropriate that I not only update you on the top dance tracks in America, but also the movies as well. And for the weekend ending Feb. 15th, can you believe Friday the 13th banked over $48MM? Not only that, the prez weekend is the best ever on record. I guess people need to be entertained, even though they don't have any money.
Five Hours Later
Last Thursday, after my Craigslist contact collected his appliances, we talked about him returning to relieve me of the kitchen cabinets, pedestal sinks and anything else he could find throughout the house. So today, at 10:30, he returned with cash in hand to gather his things. Five hours later, he was done. He made note that he somewhat got himself in too deep, but appreciated our hospitality.
For us, it was a win-win situation. Considering we were planning on ditching all the items in a dumpster behind our house, the little money we collected was pure bonus. And, now that our contractor doesn't have to remove the items, he can begin to focus on another project within the house (though, we're somewhat restricted as we're waiting, of course, on the city of Chicago to approve our permit).
Stories I Shouldn't Read
Stories like THIS make me never want to fly.
Top Dance Trax
Since I'm such a fan of dance music, and obviously many of you are too as you check out the links I provide in Club One, I thought you might find it interesting to know the top 5 dance tracks as noted by Billboard magazine - the leading music industry publication (and the basis for most top 40 charts).
And though some of tracks aren't for sale, it's important to know play time is a big contributing factor to it's ranking. In addition, many are featured on "promo only" compilations available to industry professionals only. As a result, the song rises to the top even though you can't buy it through such outlets as iTunes or Masterbeat.
The Housing Report - Our Quest 4 A Permit
It's been over two weeks since I visited the City of Chicago for our building permit. At the time, Ernest told me we should hear something back from the reviewers in one or two weeks as they weren't busy. But sure enough, it's now day 16 and we're still waiting on our architectural review. Nobody answers the phone. And nobody can tell us when we can expect finalization. It's as though they have an open ended job with no deadlines. How would they like it if other services operated with no sense of urgency. I'm sure if they were to go to McDonald's and it took them 30 minutes for a cheeseburger they wouldn't be too happy - that and they wouldn't return. We don't have the latter option.
A Five Hour Tour
Craigslist amazes me every time. Just five hours ago, I made a post selling three left-over appliances in our home. We were going to throw them out, but then realized we should try to grab something for them. It's now 11:14 p.m., and the gas range, microwave and dishwasher have been picked-up and paid for.
Of course, I had my friend Joel stop by so I wasn't at home alone with the buyers showed up. You just never know. They could have been mass murderers. And since Maddie's limp would stop her from being too vicious, I thought I needed more back-up.
In the end, I didn't need the help. Ty and Bob were very nice. And they may return this weekend to collect the kitchen cabinets, countertops, pedestal sinks and random light fixtures - all for a minimal price however. With the costs soaring for the new house, I can't let a buck pass through my nubs.
Protein Does the Body Good
My friends made note the other night that Billy from True Beauty, and his conversations about protein, remind them of me (now if I only had his body). I took it as a compliment of course as I pride myself on knowing what you should, or shouldn't eat, to achieve and maintain a lean body. So of course I was interested in this protein article on usatoday.com.
Watching the $ Float Away
After the stimulus bill was approved yesterday, I feared there wouldn't be enough information in the bill to keep the stock market happy. And sure enough, today the market opened up to low levels we haven't seen since November. All of which is bad timing for us because tomorrow we're issued a few gifts stocks. The lower the stock, the less money we pocket.
So today, as I see the stock tumble, I watch the dollars float away. And in our current housing situation, we need every dollar we can grab. Though, as I told Chris, we should be fortunate we're getting anything extra in today's economy. Isn't that looking at the glass half full?
McDonald's Fosters Talent
Have you heard about Julio Osegueda, a 19 year-old from Fort Myers, FL who flips burgers for McDonald's? He's now become a celebrity of sorts. Once again, McDonald's proves it knows how to foster talent.
True Beauty Tanks
Yes, a few of us are hooked on True Beauty. I sometimes ask myself, "Why do I watch this crap?" Though, I don't think there's any hope of the show returning as last night's episode only garnered a 2.4 rating and 4% share which equates to about 6 million viewers. Considering the evening's number one show, American Idol of course, pulled in over 26 million viewers, you can understand why ABC most likely will pull the plug on Ashton and Tyra's train wreck.
Red Means Stop, Green Means Go U Idiot
I thought it was somewhat irritating that in Germany, you didn't cross the street until the light turned green - no matter if there was any traffic or not. In addition, you didn't even think about crossing if you wouldn't make it across in time. Now I'm appreciating this cultural difference as here in Chicago, it seems nobody cares what color the light is - red, yellow or green. People will cross when and where they want. As a result, I was only inches away from running over someone today as she slowly made her way across the street when the light was green for drivers to go. I tried to teach her a lesson by honking, but she probably assumed I was just bitter. Next time, maybe I should give her a nudge - with my bumper.
My Gift 2 U
Many dance tracks aren't available for purchase (hence why I feature links I find on the web here on PTT). But there is one site that sells some of the latest dance tunes in a digital format. And, to promote themselves, they've just sent out details on a free Kristine W track remixed by one of my favorites Ralphi Rosario. Go HERE for your free copy of Kristine W's Love is the Look (Ralphi Rosario Mix).
Having a Rep 2 Protect
This morning when I opened the house, I felt a warm breeze. So, I decided to wear my gym clothes to the gym instead of dressing for the day. Of course, this goes against one of my new rules upon returning to Chicago: no gym clothes in public. Because in Europe, the people frown upon you wearing your "club de sport" outfit en route to the gym. But since I wanted to enjoy the warm weather, I caved.
So of course when I walked into the club, the front desk ladies commented on my outfit. They had never seen me in gym clothes and thought it was odd. On one hand, it was a compliment. It just reinforced why I think it's important to save the gym clothes for the weight room. On the other, I felt somewhat exposed. As a result, I found myself explaining my actions. Which of course means that won't happen again. I've got a rep to protect.
The Saturdays R On a Roll
It seems as though The Saturdays are catching the attention of everyone these days! Perez Hilton has them featured today. Oh La La Mag does also. But PTT was the first to make note of their sugary goodness last summer. Now The Saturdays has hit the streets with a remake of Depeche Mode's I just Can't Get Enough. Check out the charity single below.
Product of the Week
I was excited to see in my local Jewel today Dannon's introduction of Activia in Vanilla and Cereal. It was my favorite in Europe. I haven't tasted it yet, but I hope it doesn't have an odd unnatural vanilla flavor. Well, considering it's time for my 5 o'clock feeding, maybe I'll dig into one now. Please hold.
Yep, just as I feared. The vanilla is strange. And the cereal isn't as flavorful. Which gives the new Dannon Activia Vanilla and Cereal a bizzare, somewhat sour taste. I should know by now things just won't be the same. I guess the bigger question is "Will I buy it again?" Probably. I'll just have to get used to it.
It's always great to hear that McDonald's continues to swim upstream against this sagging economy. Whitney Houston made yet another "comeback" appearance at Clive's party on Saturday night and again on Sunday's telecast of the Grammys. But she seemed a bit "Paula" as she mentioned her mentor. Just as I made note a few weeks back, one of my faves in the UK pop scene, The Saturdays, is getting noticed in America.
Today's Club One Secret Affair is a bit unusual. Forget the divas. This is a progressive tune by an unknown artist with minimal, yet heavenly, vocals. Check out the track that will crawl under your skin HERE.
Note: The link is via Sharebee. So scroll down, select your option to listen, and double click.
Chris Sees Monkeys
Happy Birthday 2 Me
Today is my birthday. And after reading all the birthday wishes on Facebook and email, I'm sitting here smiling, appreciating all my friends and family.
All of which emphasize how I felt last night - that it's good to be home. Because as I was on my way home from Chipotle, after socializing at the gym with Patrick, Doug, and those I haven't seen in years, and then bumping into Colin on the street, I thought to myself, "This is why we returned." Happy birthday to me.
Winter Party is just three weeks away. So if you're going, you're lucky. If you're not, at least you'll have the tunes Tracy Young and Tony Moran will be spinnin' to keep you happy - like the latest from the "diva" herself who likes to hang out with the "single ladies." Check it out HERE.
The Housing Report - Our Home's History
Because we're applying for a historical tax freeze, we had to meet with a historic consultant to discuss our home and its history. Here's what we learned:
Our home was built in 1907 for then owner, Oscar Holmgren (sounds Swedish to me!) The permit was for a two story frame residence at a cost of $4,000 (if only it cost us twice as much). And though there's no builder named on the permit, it's believed that Oscar constructed the home for himself as he was a building contractor by trade. Oscar (age 42) lived there with his wife, Mathilda (age 41), and their children Robert (age 14), Effie (age 11), Edith (age 8) and Gordon (age 9 months).
Let's hope I don't hear children's voices when I'm in the house all alone. I shouldn't as Chris consulted a witch at McDonald's who scrubbed the house for spirits. "All is good," she said.
Jim Parsons Returns 2 PTT
I made note of Jim Parsons on PTT a few months back. It was a small mention, but apparently it caught some attention. I just received a note today from Brittany, his press agent in L.A., thanking me for my support of Jim as well as to let me know that he's got a new video on Funny or Die. And since I'm such of fan of his work on Big Bang Theory, I'm happy to feature Jim once again on PTT. Check him out in Eulogy Punch-Up Artist below.
Celebrating with Coraline
Tomorrow is my birthday. To celebrate, we were going to bowl. But when we thought about who to invite, it became too much. Because where do you draw the line on who to invite? One name leads to another. So at the end of the day, you've invited 20 people. As a result, now we're going to see Coraline in 3D. It might be less social, but that's the beauty of having dinner beforehand at an Irish pub across the street. That, and everybody can get drunk so the 3D becomes even more entertaining.
Fortunately for Jesse, Lifetime has just renewed his show DietTribe for a second season. I gave up on the show after the first episode as the producers didn't feature enough of Jesse. Maybe in the second season, they'll get a clue on what sells: Jesse without his shirt on. Now that's a reason to watch. I wonder if Lifetime has a suggestion box?