Friday, July 28, 2006

Digital errand boy

Oliver Seeley has been making a film for Markus Oliver, who in turn will give the film to Ryan Seacrest.

Markus Oliver gave Liliana Seeley an iPod.

It's of the slim, black, 30Gb, video generation and now all our music, all our videos are on it.

Markus Oliver is a giving man.

Ryan Seacrest is not a giving man; he took all the rights to Oliver Seeley's film by making him sign the document seen above.

At least we have the iPod.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I think the world should judge the quality of films by my opinion.

I think the world should judge the quality of films by my opinion.


Not because I am the greatest film critic in history, but because I never see films until years after they are released. I didn't see The Big Lebowski until 2001, Empire Records until 1998. It took me two years to finally see Bring It On in 2002.

My opinion can not be swayed by the media buzz that told us Titanic deserved all the Oscars and that Ben Affleck could act, because when the media is talking about Jonathan Taylor Thomas, I'm still on Corey Haim; when it's talking about Scarlett Johansen, I'm watching Demi Moore.

My opinions are pure vintage. My opinions are reliable...accurate even.


I say all this because I've just finally seen Sin City and it is beautiful.

His news show is news

Steven Colbert is everything that is right about America, and I'm not just talking about his character's politics.

Watch this segment and let the truth juices run down your chin.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Back to school, back to school, to prove to dad that I'm not a fool

Yeah, that title was a Billy Madison reference, and you loved it!

Anyway, sudden new development in the Ruiter Seeley household: Angela is going back to school for her master's in the Fall. That's four weeks from now.

I'd been pondering doing an education degree with an English as a second language (ESL) certification, but that would really just certify me for teaching in elementary or secondary schools here in the US. That was not practical seeing as we plan to go back to Spain and also not practical since I don't want to teach elementary and secondary school.

Lately I've been thinking I'd love to just study Linguistics, but I thought I only wanted to study it for fun, not work with it forever. Then I realized that the Linguistics master's degree at UIC is a master's in teaching ESL to adult learners. This degree combines linguistics/language theory with a certification in teaching language that is highly regarded worldwide. They even provide job placement assistance in college, university and business settings around the world.

But the application deadline was past. I could have applied to be a non-degree student (a "trial" student), which is a very easy application process that just requires you to then apply to be a "real" student the next semester, but that deadline had just passed as well.

So I wrote a lovely email to the director of the program, who had me call him at home, talked with me and decided to write me a letter to the Graduate Admissions Office extending the deadline for my application.

Classes are in the afternoons, but Al, my boss, said I can adjust my work schedule.

Oli and I spoke about it and it seems like a good thing that I want to do; it will mean postponing Spain by one year and will require us to be creative parents, but our remaining here for a little longer will also give Oli the opportunity to do a degree if he likes, once his permanent residence is approved. He's thinking to do training with a social service organization here in Chicago before moving ahead with a degree, though.

Anyway, I'm excited and did I mention this education is all free since I work for ye olde University of Illinois?

P.S. - Eat it, Colin. I'm going back before you! :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Word authentimacate, people

I have had my self esteem falsely boosted.

Note that all of our posts have recently had one extra comment added, all of which say something like, "I love your blog. It's at the top of my list," and are labeled "anonymous."

Now, Megan Edwards recently commented on the Grabblin post and logged in as anonymous, so when I read the first of these comments, I was like, "Aw, that's nice, Meggers. Thanks for the boost of blog confidence." I did find the wording, much like that of an English-as-a-second language student, to be odd as Megan is a former journalist with a strong command of of the English language, but my ego allowed me to overlook this discrepancy.

Then I noticed more and more new comments stating almost the same thing, each with little arrow links >> that lead to various financial institutions' websites.

The reason this happened is because we accidentally had the word authentication turned off in our blog settings , which allowed spammers to automatically post a dozen adds on our site, but does anyone find it ironic that this flavor of spamming occured after I had recently lashed out at credit institutions on this same blog?

Do you think Chase and Citibank received my letters at New Card Services and then sent them over to New Advertising Methods who proceeded to spam my blog? I wouldn't put it past 'em.

In any case, the word authentication is now on and computers cannot talk to us anymore. So please ignore those links and refrain from patronizing any company that uses such advertising methods....or be active and write them a letter....or don't since that may lead to your blog being blown up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

chemical weapons

It's not a new thing to be puked on by Lily. In fact, she's very good at it and does it between 6 and 8 times a day. She has various methods of attack. Sometimes she does it so quitely that you don't know you've been taken down until you find chunks of sour crust over your back and shoulder, or you find a trail of slippery white slime on the floor of the apartment. One of her more annnoying methods of attack is when she parks one in your pocket, belly button, mouth or ear. These can be difficult to clean, and the warmth is not comforting.

The most destructive type of puke attack is the 3-prongued blitz assualt. It ususallly begins with a particularly messy diaper, followed by piss all over the changing table and then at some point, when you're distracted, she'll slip one out covering her face, neck and back. She's a real pro and she knows when to perform, like when the camera is filming.

Lily can be seen above plotting her next strike.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Jedi mind tricks

Those English among you will know who and what I'm talking about, but for you Americans forget David Blane and check out this guy: Derren Brown. He is an English psychological illusionist and skeptic of paranormal phenomena.

See him in action:
Person swap
Russian scam
Kung Fu

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Need a name for your band?

Go to, close your eyes, click to a page, point your finger, open eyes. You now have a name for your 80s punk band such as:

- benign girl
- fortunate hammer
- deep-sea hooker
- happy pet
- flesh drink
- repaint version
- armor bike
- deluxe tense up
- Jude Low
- ground mother
- tuff mug
- living heater
- environmental disruption
- pet bottle
- diss club
- feeling kettle
- beauty checker
- irreplaceable persons
- pleasant with vigor

just a sampling of the many great band names waiting to be discovered on the world wide web,,,,

Friday, July 07, 2006

Megan gone grabblin'?

Is that Megan Edwards on the right?

I hope so.

A film with a last

After a stunning series of debut films, all of which demonstrate a preternatural understanding of film and most of which demonstrate why brevity is the soul of wit, here at last is a work that combines Oliver's visual mastery with Angela's writing genius. In their first collaborative work, you'll see why the Seeleys are a match made in Logan Square.

The first film from the Seeleys:

The Lily Monster
Toys are supposed to be fun. This one's deadly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Also new from Oliver Seeley:

A baby discovers that her hands can do things.

Laughing Lily
Lily laughs and so will you.

Theo and Simon
Two brothers, one mom, one dinosaur. You do the math.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lazing momentarily

I'm feeling a little ill at work this afternoon and have taken a ten-minute break to read Mr. Sun....which led to the previous post and this one.

See this for a semi-explanation of this crazy photo.

Lip my stockings.

Stop it!

Stop evil mail:
Stop evil phone calls:
Help stop evil emails:

The first letter

Citibank New Cardmember Services
P.O. Box 6168
Sioux Falls, SD 5717-9720

July 5, 2006

To Whom it May Concern:

On July fifth, 2006, I received a letter from Citibank. The envelope said simply: “You’ve earned it. [See details inside.]”. Without opening the envelope I knew that what I had earned was the Citi Diamond Preferred Card or one of its brethren because I had received just such an envelope twice weekly for the last several months. I'm beginning to doubt Citibank's patriotism as it seems determined to terrorize the good citizens of this country, even on the anniversary of our independence.

Let me be brief:

Citibank’s advertisement bombardment has not and will not work on me. I am sure that Citibank’s database shows that I have opened up a few credit cards in the last year, but please be aware that I have no intention and no need to open another. I don’t care that I am being offered 0% APR for a generous period of time and a low balance transfer cost. Advertisement is meant to make those who need a service aware that it exists. I HAVE NO NEED FOR CITIBANK’S SERVICES. Repeatedly telling me about them will not change that reality.

I understand that you who are reading this letter work in the New Cardholder Services department, which may or may not be responsible for sending me these highly irritating advertisements that I simply throw away because Chicago does not have a recycling program, and Citibank is thereby POLLUTING THE EARTH with junk mail. I digress. Whoever you are, please, please save me, save the Earth and contact whoever has my name on a list and tell them to stop sending me these advertisements and applications.

If you need any more reason to help me, know that by stopping these mailing, you will actually make me more apt to utilize Citibank’s services in the future if I should find a need for them. In the meantime, rest assured that I am well aware of what those services are and how they work and that no, I am not interested in learning about any new programs that should be developed after Citibank kindly stops sending me their advertisements.

For even further motivation, be aware that for each Citibank letter I receive in the future, I will send another to you, each meaner and angrier than the last, perhaps culminating in some kind of class action lawsuit supported by indebted people and environmentalists from around the globe. I don’t have much time on my hands, but I am vengeful.

Whoever you are, if you succeed in ending the onslaught of colorful glossy paper, my husband and child, who have to bear my looks and sounds of despair every time I go through the mail, will be forever grateful.

With kindest regards,

Angela Ruiter Seeley

Simplify: write nasty notes to credit card companies

Sometimes in this post-wedding, post-baby life I feel that there's not enough time for anything! Luckily, I don't always feel this way, just sometimes. Like when I want to read my book about the Spanish Civil War, study a little Spanish from today's Hoy newspaper, knit a winter hat for baby Theo...but have to clean house, pay bills, call insurance company, order silly wedding photos (finally) and look up some new recipes because we're bored of our food choices (all of this after Lily's asleep, of course).

When this feeling hits it's usually because I'm doing something I feel I have to but don't really enjoy, or feel I have to do NOW but don't have enough time to concentrate on and do well.

Oliver and I talk about this horrible feeling when I feel it, and when I do I get nutty, and therefore I don't want this to be a regular occurence for the rest of my life! So I'm making efforts to think about life and the things in it differently. I don't want to think life is what happens when I finish taking care of all the responsibilities. Rather than thinking, "I have to get these thank-you notes out today or everyone will think I'm ungrateful," I am trying to wait until I feel like writing to one of the recipients of said thank-you notes and taking the time to write a heart-felt message to them. I've decided that a belated meaningful message is better than a punctual empty one.

In this same vein, I don't want my in-person experiences with friends and family to be had out of duty. Sometimes I feel like we used to spend time with my family because we felt we had to fill a quota. We said yes to every engagement and enjoyed about 13% of them. Now I'm trying to say yes only 13% of the time. In many ways, I think Oli's family gets the better part of us. We may only see them a few times a year, but when we do, it's a solid block of quality time spent on holiday. My family gets us more often, but usually only for a few hours smashed between errands in one of our homes where one or more of us is usually missing half the time doing something in another part of the house. When we see the Seeleys, other things are generally set aside and we get to enjoy each other whereas time with my family always seems fragmented. I want to explain this to my family but am not sure they think about things the same way. The way I see things: if you're important to me, I see you and I have a good time, I write you and share things with you, whether that's once a decade or every week.

All of this discussion is why I always feel like simplifying our lives, or perhaps keeping them simple since they're not too crazy yet. Things I'd love to dispose of: car, credit cards, cell phone, junk mail (Tonight I have begun writing notes to the credit card companies that send me applications by mail biweekly- two of whose cards I already have!). If you try to call my phone and its says it's disconnected, you'll know I've gone straight edge.

Anyway, I guess the main thing is that I will not guilt myself for not doing things I "should" because when I do things just because I should, the emotional results are not pretty and life is slipping away too quickly to melt down over thank-you notes.

Not knowing what else to do, family watches soccer

That’s right. We spent the Fourth of July watching soccer. Can you think of anything less patriotic?

But alas, it was perhaps the best Fourth ever. Ididn't have to listen to "Proud to be an American" even once!

At 1:30pm Lily, Oli and I were in Small Bar in Wicker Park and the place was half full, preparing itself for the Italy-Germany game. We just barely got seats with the new buddies we’ve made down at the pub. As the pre-game was coming to a close we all vied for one of the three servers’ attention. All together we were one Brit, a duo of Germans, a Mexican, a bevel of new people from around the States, a bi-national baby and the usual urban family members (Colin, Cassie, Jay, Nate Luman, Katie, with a surprise visit from Libby). Eventually everyone got their liter German beers, hummus and pita, coffee ands strange Swedish cherry beers….and the match began.

Everyone was supporting Germany and I went with the intention to support the Germans as well, but as play began, I found myself cheering involuntarily when something happened in Italy’s favor or against Germany’s. Thus, for two hours I had to mask each shout of glee as one of despair and vice versa. That is, until Italy scored their first goal in that second-to-last minute. The sheer despair of the German players and fans broke my heart and made me see that I had been supporting the wrong team. Despite all the foul fakery on behalf of the Italians, it was only these forlorn faces that made me see the error of my ways. My deepest apologies to my fellow World Cup watchers.

Lily, on the other hand, could have cared less about the game. She was too busy being passed around and cooed at by every person who could see her through the mob of viewers. Then she got bored with that and fell asleep in my lap and slept right through the shouts of “Viva Italia” and that thing that the Germans shout but I don’t know how to spell.

After the game everyone had about 10 minutes of sadness and then we soon forgot the game as we basked on the sidewalk out front of Small Bar watching Colin and Nate Luman get drunk and have ridiculous conversations with our new soccer friends. At one point Colin was playing with Nate’s hair.

After making a stop off at the Hartrich’s to pass off my breast pump for Laura’s use (they had a second baby two weeks ago), we headed to the Janice/Megan back yard to meet up with that crew of people, who had been at the Sox game. All of this naturally led to barbequing which meant lots of cheesy hotdog consumption. Kinda delicious and kinda disgusting. All the same, thanks to Nate for providing.

On a side note, reading Laura’s blog about her creepy Fourth-of-July past made me think of that Onion article printed after September 11 titled, “Not knowing what else to do, woman bakes American-flag cake”. Read, enjoy, and have a happy July 5th.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

a kick in the balls

Rooney: raw brilliance fused with brooding menace. According to sports scientists, the optimal range of testosterone for an athlete is between 600-900 ng/dl. Rooney's veins overflow with the stuff. He is the ultimate grunt - the sort of man that future generations will clone to go to war - a player you would always want on your team, even though you know he's always primed to explode. Today he did (Sean Ingle). The Guardian newspaper has given some amusing coverage of the World Cup with headlines such as "Lampard injury hopes quashed", meant as insult to Lampard for his continued poor performance in the tournament. Despite being utterly crushed at our loss today, the game was a 2-hour nail biter of epic proportions and easily the best performance by England so far. And perhaps it was better this way, rather than continuing on dismally. We can be proud of England's sterling display whilst a man down with nods to Owen Hargreaves, Ashley Cole and Aaron Lennon for some notable performances.

The World Cup is not over for me yet, though. I've made some German friends down the local and it is with them that I'll follow this tournament to a glorious Germany victory.

Gehen Sie Deutschland!