Friday, July 22, 2011

The Cool and Rainy Friday Random Ten

This week's been a heat-fest here in Chicago. I've braved it in order to get our attic, which is a finished attic, and get it habitable. I'll actually be able to have my books out on shelves and not in boxes in the basement.

This morning, a brief storm front blew in and cooled things off-- it's very welcome.

Today, I put in my first application for a nursing job, at a dialysis center. A couple of nursing school friends work at dialysis companies and said they're always hiring. Since I'm a brand new nurse, I need to get my foot in the door somewhere.

In the meantime, I'm eager to move on from the waitering job that got me through nursing school. Not only do I not want to be working as a server at the age of fifty, things are getting weird with the new owners. Business has dropped off drastically, and they don't seem to be doing anything about it. I'm ready to move on.

1. Gomez- Nothing Is Wrong
2. The Call-Up- The Clash
3. Forgotten Years- Midnight Oil
4. In The Summertime- Mungo Jerry
5. They're Coming To Take Me Away- Napolean Bonaparte XIV
6. Just a Song Before I Go- Crosby, Stills and Nash
7. Nights In White Satin- The Dickies
8. Here Comes the Weekend- Dave Edmunds
9. Reason To Believe- Rod Stewart
10. Beginning- The Bubble Puppy

1. These guys had a hit with this one a few years back. Their record company rewarded them by dropping them. Fortunately, they signed with another and are still putting out fine records.
2. From the sprawling "Sandinista!" album.
3. Singer Peter Garrett is a member of the Australian Parliament these days
4. Great 1970 one-hit wonder
5. The ultimate novelty tune.
6. I think this song pretty much invented Adult Contemporary. I still like it.
7. Yes, THAT "Nights In White Satin." I may be the only one on the planet that's seen both the Moody Blues and the Dickies perform this one.
8. Rhino Records should win a Nobel Prize in something, if only for issuing a Dave Edmunds box set, which I got this one from.
9. A nice cover of a Tim Hardin classic. Back when Rod was still a rocker.
10. Discovered this little beauty thanks to Little Steven's Underground Garage

Friday, July 15, 2011

End of One Journey, Start of Another Friday Random Ten

This morning, while I was shopping and trying to distract myself from wondering about the NXCLEX (the test I took Wednesday), I ran into my old counselor, Tom W., at Trader Joe's. Tom figured in this old post about the terrible Our Lady Of Angels fire here in Chicago in 1958. I had seen him for a while in trying to deal with the double whammy of a divorce and the frustration I was feeling trying to get a teaching job. Now I was running into him as I was getting ready to start a new career-- a response to dealing with the fact that teaching jobs were becoming scarce. I felt it was a good omen.

At 2 pm, exactly 48 hours after I started the test (you can get your "unofficial" results 48 business hours after you test-- for a $7.95 fee), I checked the website of the company that administered the test, and it told me that my results were available. I paid my $7.95 and got my results: Pass.

I felt a little lightheaded. I texted my son (he can't get phone calls at work) and called my parents. I joked about my brother's layabout ex-wife, who somehow never finished her nursing degree that she started long before I started mine. They were, needless to say, delighted, as was my wife, who I called next. And then, of course, I posted on Facebook.

It stands as a tribute to the program I was in that so far everybody I graduated with who tested has passed. The program was a ballbuster, but we know our shit.

So now, time to find a job, and start a new journey.

1. Green Shirt- Elvis Costello and the Attractions
2. Castles Made of Sand- Jimi Hendrix
3. Take Me Home, Country Roads- Toots and the Maytalls
4. Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home)- The Impalas
5. Situation- Yaz
6. Jet Set- Joe Jackson
7. Rednecks- Randy Newman
8. It's a Long Way To the Top- AC/DC
9. Personality Crisis- The New York Dolls
10. Cruisin' For A Love- The J. Geils Band

1. Back when Elvis Costello was angry. A disco spoof.
2. A Hendrix song of dreams lost and found. Perfect for today.
3. A lovely reggae cover of the John Denver classic.
4. This was the song the boys kept singing in "Stand By Me."
5. Love this eighties classic.
6. Joe Jackson seems to come out with a great album about every five years.
7. An ironic song, frequently mistaken as racist.
8. First grew to love this song after hearing it at the end of "School of Rock."
9. This was the first Dolls song I ever heard.
10. The J. Geils Band was one of the first bands I ever saw, at the "Superbowl of Rock" at Soldier's Field in 1977. Still love them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here It Is

I've spent the day alternating between running the last errands from the move and studying from a couple books to help with the NCLEX-- the National Council Licensure Examination. If I pass this test, I will be an RN. I take it at 2 PM tomorrow, July 13.

Over the last month, my classmates who are my Facebook friends have reported that they passed. It's been very cool. My class was fascinating-- amazingly diverse in every regard-- ethnicity, background, age. We studied together, sweated test results, discussed which teachers to take. And in the end, it comes down to passing this test.

It was funny studying-- I stayed focused on content, but each question brought back memories of the people, the times.

Tonight, as I was approaching my limit in studying, my old friend Tim U. from when I got my first college degree, in Political Science, popped up on my Facebook chat. (okay, probably should have had that off). Tim and I were the Ebony and Ivory of Eastern Illinois University's Political Science department around 1984. He was a delegate for Reagan at the Republican National Convention in 1984. I have an FBI file for lefty activities from that very same time. Tim was a good ol' boy from a small town not far from my college town. I was from Chicago. Yet, we became great friends. We talked about politics. We had huge disagreements, but always kept it friendly. It was hard not to like Tim, and hard to be angry at him, even when you wholly disagreed with him.

We got back in touch through Facebook about a year ago. He's just about my age (I'm 50), but has just married for the first time, to a woman from China, and became a father for the first time just about a year ago. I love when he posts pictures of his new family; he clearly loves his wife and is clearly loving fatherhood. Thinking about it all, I had to laugh. For all the differences in our background, we've got a lot in common. Both of us got our degrees in Political Science together at Eastern so many years ago, but ended up in fields completely different-- video production in his case, and nursing in mine. We both parented kids who are half Asian. And both of us completely enjoy fatherhood.

So much work has gone into this, and it comes down to this test tomorrow. I've been pretty good about it-- my classmates have told me that in the end, given the rigor of our program, the test ended up feeling almost easy. Still, having Tim pop up on chat on Facebook was reassuring, as well as his promise to send a prayer my way. I'm an atheist, but I like to hedge my bets. It's funny how life is. If someone told me 25 years ago that I'd be enjoying being a dad to two kids, getting ready to take the nursing exam and still friends with Tim, I'd have laughed in their face. But here it is. Sometimes you have to go where the winds carry you.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Last Piece Friday Random Ten

I finally found that piece I'd been looking for-- the last piece. I moved my old clunker bicycle that got me to and from both nursing school and work for the last few years, from my old place to my new place this afternoon, officially completing the move.

Remember that scene toward the end of "The Blues Brothers" when the Bluesmobile finally gives up the ghost? That's the way I feel about things. That clunker bike is in need of repair. And last night, my little Apple Powerbook that I hoped and prayed would get me through nursing school finally crapped out (though I may be able to revive it by restoring some software).

So tonight I'm up at in my attic office space, at a desk that my great-grandfather owned (and purportedly built) on a hand-me-down laptop. Despite herculean efforts, I still have a ton of unpacking to do, and then after that, I have to move a ton of stuff from the storage space I used to transition the move (books, dvd's, musical instruments, etc.)

I was a little wistful as I pulled away from the old place today. I raised two kids there. But on the way from running one of the bicycles from the old place to the new place, I ran into an old, old friend. My friend Lois, who was my lab partner in high school chemistry class, was out chatting with a friend. She and her husband come into the restaurant once in a while and I knew she lived in the area. I think that it was a good omen. I think my kids are going to love this new place. And I think I am already getting to really like it.

1. Smokin' In the Boy's Room- Brownsville Station
2. We're a Happy Family- The Ramones
3. Just the Way It Is Baby- The Rembrandts
4. Hold On- Santana
5. Lover's Concerto- The Toys
6. Bop 'Til You Drop- The Ramones
7. Hawaiian Island World- World Party
8. Back In '72- Bob Seger
9. Why Me?- The Planet P Project
10. The Girl With the Far Away Eyes- The Rolling Stones

1. Great seventies one-hit wonder
2. "Sittin' here in Queens/Eatin' refried beans..."
3. Hard to believe this song is over 20 years old.
4. Written by Ian Thomas, who had a one-hit wonder in the seventies with "Painted Ladies." He's also the brother of SCTV's Bob Thomas.
5. The melody for this song is based on a classical piece.
6. What's the only thing better than a Ramones song in your Random Ten? Two Ramones songs!
7. World Party was pretty much Karl Wallinger. The self-titled debut album is now 25 years old, and one of my "desert-island" albums.
8. Seger's on my "Bucket List" of performers I still need to see live. He played here in Chicago recently, but it was on the night of my "Turned 50/Graduated Nursing School on the Same Day" party. Maybe next year.
9. The Planet P Project was a solo project by Rainbow keyboardist Tony Carey. A while back, I heard the song on my shuffle and I was thinking about the lines:
The last man to be here was never heard from again
He won't be back this way till 2010

It sounded really futuristic back in 1983, but it was now last year.
10. I wasn't crazy about the "Some Girls" album when it came out 33 years ago, but it's grown on me over the years.