Thursday, February 22, 2007

Two-Bit Manchild (The Windy City)

Chicago is know as the Windy City... also the Second City, and the City of Big Shoulders. But for today let's just focus on the the Windy City (it's in italics because it makes it look windy). Focus.

In elementary school I learned that Chicago was named the Windy City not because of the actual wind but because of the "long-winded and boastful speech of Chicago politicians" during the late 1800's (I also learned that Columbus discovered America). But later on Neil Diamond would teach me that "The wind is where I got my roots nah nah nah nah"... whatever that means. Focus.

Very eloquently I would like to say: My Ass. This city is windy. Super windy. I walk to work every day so I would know. Only those annoying Santa Ana winds in Southern California come close. Sure, the politicians are screw balls (Todd Strodger being at the top of the current crap pile) - but before politics were here I am sure the winds were... and I am sure people were bitching and complaining (in their native tongues) about the winds. In the winter it makes the lovely windchill get down to -30, and in the summer it makes the heat feel like a convection oven. It's WINDY in this WINDY CITY.

So if you live here in Chicago you should just let everyone know that age-old politician story is a bunch of crap, and it is really windy here... sometimes.

* OK, I was listening to Neil Diamond while writing this.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bogus Science Boulevard

Within a three block stretch on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, there are offices for both kabbalah and scientology. My apartment is right in between the two. I live on Bogus Science Boulevard!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Liar's Club Blegger

The Liar's Club has a friend from the UK coming to visit Chicago next month. Loaf has expressed interest in meeting some of his favorite Chicago bloggers, so I think the time is right for the Liar's Club to host our first kegger party for Chicago bloggers to get together and socialize.

We're* coining the term "blegger" (get it? - blog + kegger) and are thinking about throwing one soon. Stay tuned.

* Of course, when I say "we" I am really referring to just "me" since I have not discussed this in any detail with the other Liar's. But they'll totally be game. I mean, who wouldn't?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Today was a big milestone for me. It is the first time since probably May that I have taken public transportation (in this case the Brown Line) both to and from work. Until Sunday, I lived close enough to my office that I could walk or (through November) ride my bike. There were days were I might grab the bus home or take it to work, but never both ways. It was a nice luxury.

I also had the luxury of getting a ride to/from work most days from Richard. That's been a sweet gig.

But now that we're up in Lakeview, and because it is winter, I need to take the bus or train each way. And (as of yet) I'm not complaining; it may seem weird, but I enjoy the walk to the station, the crowds, the waiting in line -- it makes me feel like I am a part of something. It is an experience that most Chicagoans share that up to now I've not related to, sorta like the person who misses their high school prom.

A few years ago when I first moved from Portland to DC I went from working in a big office (300 people) to a small one (3), having lots of friends to having almost none. There was talk of me working from a home office which I think would have been lonely and disastrous. For those first few weeks, the only time I was surrounded by people is when I'd take the Metro to/from work. And again, I enjoyed it because it made me feel part of a bigger machine, and there's comfort in that. Without it, I would have been a social outcast, a hermit.

I hope to begin riding my bike again in April. But until then I'll be joining the ranks of morning and evening commuters, reading the Red Eye, listening to my iPod, cramming for a small little square among the rush hour crowd on the Brown Line train. I say Bring It On; I'm ready to go to the big dance.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Don't Want a Sign This Dumb Anywhere Near My House or . . .

. . . I might get dumber.

The sign is in front of a locksmith shop, and it reads as follows: "Keys That Work."

Wow! I was hoping for some keys that don't open a damn thing, so that I can make a decorative, bling, tripped-out necklace.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Can Lock All My Doors . . .

I went to the Chicago Auto Show this past Sunday at McCormick Place. In sum:

1) Chicago does not mess around when it comes to its conventions. There was over a million square feet of space utilized for the spectacle. The carpeting was extra cooshy. They are still expanding McCormick place, I think at one point it will be connected to every household in the Chicago Metro area through those overhead tunnels.

2) It was fun talking smack at the Lexus display where they were doing a demo of the car that parallel parks itself. It only took the person three tries (no joke) to get the thing to work. Basically, you have to line up the sensors and then engage the function, but they were having a really hard time with the sensors. The space they were parking the car in was huge and it took forever to get the thing to back up. By the time you got that car to park itself in Chicago, someone would have already stolen your spot or car jacked you.

3) I searched diligently for a Ryba's chocolate nut sundae. For me, it was the highlight of the auto show comprising of vanilla ice cream dipped in homemade chocolate then rolled into nuts and served in this oddly boob-shaped cone. I couldn't find a picture of it, but here is a shot of their fudge shop on Mackinac Island in Michigan when I was an employee there.

4) The cars overall with were cool, but nothing really stood out to me. There weren't a ton of concept cars and the ones that were there weren't anything too crazy. The Chevy Camaro concept car was sweet, but perhaps I was just swayed by the atomic orange color and black racing stripes. I really dug the Porsche 911 GT3 and said hello to my two dream cars, a Subaru WRX sti and Mitsubishi Evolution. They were happy to see me.

5) I didn't get to meet any of these three guys. Shoot.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hot Dougs.

Last Friday my friend Stephanie took me on a lunch adventure with some of her friends to show me Mecca... the mecca of hot dogs. Hot Dougs is the Encased Meats Emporium and Sausage Superstore. Located on the Northside of Chicago at the corner of California & Roscoe this is by far the best hot dog I have had in Chicago... and the best dog I have ever inhaled.

Before ever coming to Chicago I was always a fan of the hot dog. In most cities people poo-poo the hot dog... they are too good for it. Not in Chicago - and that might be my favorite thing about this city. Almost everyone here eats hot dogs (not all the time - that would kill you). There are so many hot dog eateries and so many choices. I have become the fan of the true Chicago dog (boiled with tomato, pickles, glow-in-the-dark relish, celery salt, and mustard). Yum!

What makes Hot Doug's hot dog so good? Simple enough: choices. You can get any kind of dog any kind of way which will make anyone who likes to partake in encased lips and assholes (and veggie lips and assholes too) jump with glee. These are some of the dogs that were on the menu this past week...

The Game of the Week:
Smoked Rattlesnake Sausage with Blueberry-Port Sauce and Smoked Gouda Cheese

The Dog:
Chicago-Style Hot Dog with all the trimmings: 'nuff said.

The Elvis:
Polish Sausage: Smoked and savory - just like the King.

The Paul Kelly:
Bratwurst: Soaked in Beer – sort of like Paul.

The Jennifer Garner (formerly the Britney Spears):
Fire Dog: Mighty hot!

The Madonna(formerly the Raquel Welch and the Ann-Margret):
Andouille Sausage: Mighty, mighty, mighty hot!

It was a truly Chicago experience that I will partake in many more times and you should to. My only tip is that if you order the cheese fries, get the cheese on the side. I was told about this after I placed my order and my stomach was coated with cheese the rest of the day... which is not always a good thing.

And Pink's in Hollywood is over-rated.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Bears . . . Bears . . . Bears . . .

After a night of drinking and being saddened by the Bears losing the Super Bowl, I woke up drunk to hear, on my alarm, the following exchange in an interview.

Some Dude: What did you learn from this game?
Bears Tight End Desmond Clark: I learned that when you lose the Super Bowl it feels like crap.

Crap, indeed, desmond. Crapadoodle-doo.

I want a time machine

So I can go back and erase the utter bs that was the Superbowl. I almost had a heartattack during the opening kickoff and then almost committed suicide after the defense couldn't stop the Colts' running game and Grossman kept getting picked off. All right I am being dramatic, but seriously, I almost left the party I was at during the fourth quarter. It was one heck of a party. Trays of deep fried chicken legs and venison. I had some schnapped up coffee. It was delicious, but I couldn't handle watching the game any longer.

To top it off I ended up at a bar on the North Side and there were Colts fans there. I wanted to puke and punch them in the gullet. Maybe both at the same time.

Chicago is one sad city today. We are the walking wounded. I wonder how long they are going to keep the blue and orange lights up on the Sears Tower and Hancock buildings. I wonder how long it's going to be until we snap out of it.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sports & Weather.

Last night I some how made it to the Beat Kitchen to see Maritime (from Milwaukee) and Chin Up Chin Up (from Chicago) . Both were amazing... and the club was over packed / sold out. Maritime played lots of new songs making us all very excited about their upcoming album.

The funny thing about the evening was the topics of conversation on everyone's chapped lips were so not what most hip indie rock kids talk about at shows - Sports and the Weather. Really. Since the Chicago Bears (Go Bears!) are in the Super Bowl today, and because Chicago is such a football city, people had their Bears gear on and their football talk on too. Also it was -5 degrees outside, and the windchill was around -25... so people were also talking about the weather and how cold/hot their apartments were.

It was a refreshing experience. And I must say that the Beat Kitchen is a great place to see a show, even when it is sold out. Good room with good sound, and a separate bar that you can escape to.

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Liar's Club

Jeez! I need to post more on this here rag. Well, I promise to update with great Chicago stories, as soon as something interesting happens to me. For now, check out a post I did about The Liar's Club, so you can learn more about the bar that gave our site it's name . . .


This past Thursday evening I went out to see The Narrator (from Chicago) play with the Oxford Collapse and Thunderbirds Are Now! at Subterranean. The Narrator was fantastic... they played all new songs and they were great. The Oxford Collapse completely won me over - A must see. But I was tired and it was really nasty and cold outside so I just wanted to get home before it got worse. I mean what could I miss... right?

I missed George Wendt! Norm! I guess he came to the show minutes after I left so he could see Thunderbirds Are Now! George is in town preforming on stage in Twelve Angry Men.


Thursday, February 1, 2007

O Red Line.

Red Line, O Red Line
You are so nasty.
Your seats are stained.
I never want to touch anything.
And your floors are way past gross.
Red Line, O Red Line
You are never on time.
You seem to stop between stations.
Stops all the time, for no apparent reason.
And the cars usually smell.
Red Line, O Red Line
This construction work is the worst.
I thought the stations were fine.
As long as the heater works in the winter.
And did I mention your cars usually smell?
Red Line, O Red Line
I don't want to catch a disease.
Please install sanitary wipes, or just clean.
Why can't you be more like the Brown Line
And less like the Blue.

Schuyler Fisk and Joshua Radin at Schubas

Richard and I caught the Schuyler Fisk and Joshua Radin show last night at Schubas. Schubas is a nice change of scenery from some of the other venues in town - very intimate (yay) and smoke-free (yay).

Both sets were good and Joshua (the headliner) was excellent ("These Photographs" is one of my favorite songs from 2006). But for me Schuyler sorta stole the show. She's only written a few songs (her EP is only six songs) so her set was short, but she has an incredible, sorta-smokey/bluesy voice all wrapped up in this cute petite package. She also gets extra points for playing the girlfriend in Orange County - an extremely kickass movie, btw.

After the show was over and we were weaving through the crowd, a girl stopped Richard and said, "That was a really good show!" Which was weird until we realized that she confused Richard with the band's guitar player (they don't really look anything alike, except they were both tall and wearing beanies). That was the other highlight.