Archive for July, 2004

Four Wheels Bad, Two Wheels Good

I finally got my scooter back up and running from it’s unfortunate flat tire. I once again get to enjoy the testosterone fueled, SUV road rage that is Chicago driving. Now, before you all write in accusing me of sexism, remember that women also have testosterone coursing through their veins. If we didn’t, I wouldn’t have to wax my upper lip nearly as much.
Road rage I understand. After all, who wouldn’t get angry at the sheer audacity of some drivers? Since I cannot operate a cell phone while I drive my scooter, I have the unique opportunity to observe you automobile operators in all of your distracted glory.
Like the one rush hour when I was behind a gentleman in a minivan who decided that he absolutely had to shave his head at that very moment. And shave his head he did, for about two miles. Never mind that he almost killed a pedestrian, side-swiped a bicyclist and ran a red light at Addison. None of this matters because his head looked fantastic!
Another morning, I drove behind a man who had multi-tasking down to an artform. He was eating breakfast, smoking, talking on his cellphone and reading his mail, all while supposedly driving his car. He ran two red lights and cut off a school bus.
My favorite distracted driver story is about a man and his truck. It was a Friday rush hour, about 6:30, and I was driving home behind a gentleman in a ratty old pick-up truck on Western Ave. He had apparently just purchased something at Walgreens, as it was sitting in a bag on his dashboard. He tried to leave the bag alone, but he obviously just couldn’t stand it just sitting there, mocking him, because at every stoplight he would take out whatever was in the bag and look it over. I became very interested in what was in the bag as well and determined to find out what exactly it was.
I edged closer to the back of the pick-up so that I could see exactly what he was so enthralled with. Then he started picking up pieces of whatever it was he was looking at and reading the labels. I was finally able to see what it was that was so interesting. It was a perfume/cologne gift set! I invented scenarios in my mind, perhaps he was on his way to give this to his wife or girlfriend. Suddenly I thought this has to be the sweetest communter I have ever seen.
That was, until he started opening every container and either spraying or squirting the contents on himself. Apparently, my sweet truck driving dude was not so much sweet as sweet smelling. That man used more products on himself in 20 minutes than I currently own. I’m not sure, but I think the cab of that pick-up might have had it’s very own greenhouse effect happening due to his liberal use of aerosol sprays.
So, enjoy your commute home and remember, just because you are surrounded by sheet metal and glass, it doesn’t mean that nobody can see you. Yes, I did see you pick your nose and yes, it was pretty disgusting. Now pay attention and drive!

Going Completely Wireless (SBC SUCKS)

Our land line phone serivce has been down since Tuesday. Apparently, the phone company (who shall remain nameless) spliced a phone cable by our house and our phone service has been non-existent since then. Hubby who worked for the godawful phone company a few years back, did some checking on our phone line and determined the problem was on the phone company’s side. We’ve called them several times and have YET to see a technician. Mind you, according to FCC regulations, the phone company must give the customer $25 for every day that phone service is not available. I think they owe us $75 as of this posting.
The funny thing is that we always use our cell phones. The only reason we have a land line is because of our DSL service and for the doorbell. But, as much as we love our DSL service we’ve decided to move to cable. And, now the doorbell rings to one of our cell phones. So, really there is NO need for the dinosaur service that SBC provides. I spoke to a couple of my friends and they asked me what took so long. Apparently, a lot of people no longer have land lines. All this leaves me wondering – How many people out there still have land lines and if so, why?

this whole poker phenomenon.

When did playing poker become this big sport? When ESPN dedicates 4 hours of continuous programming to it, thats when. There are so many shows on TV now that revolve around poker my TiVo is having trouble keeping track of all of them. World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker, Celebrity Poker Showdown, Celebrity Home Game, Playboy’s Strip Poker, Spice TV’s Poker Fuck, etc.. the list just seems to grow every month. I’ve played poker its seems like forever, and the only thing I can see that makes this game so attractive is the ghatsly amounts of money you can win by just lying to people. On national TV no less. And as they say, anyone has a shot to win, because the cards make it anyone’s game. I’m really hoping that the olympic commitee gets their collective heads out of their collective asses and make this an olympic event. Its more exciting than curling for sure, and can you imagine, they would have to build a poker room (with a bar of course) as part of the olympic village! Would it be played in the winter games or summer games? Hmmm.. let me get back to you on that one.

Scrabble as Sport

I went to go see Word Wars at Facets last night, and highly recommend that anyone else with a loose sense of humor go as well. It looks deep into the underbelly of competitve Scrabble and is HIGH-larious! Hurry up, as it is playing daily through the 31st, with one extra showing on the 7th.

The motorcycle parking story

Fuzzy's 1986 Susuki Intruder

I often park my motorcycle like this. I don’t even want to know if it’s legal in Chicago. I see lots of other people doing it and I only park between two cars when there’s plenty of room — both because I’m polite and because I don’t want a car knocking my bike over trying to get in or out of a parking spot.

And, seriously, parking is one of the main reasons I ride a motorcycle in Chicago. It takes 15-20 minutes off any journey that involves trying to find parking. It took Shaun half an hour to find a parking spot near our house last night.

So… on Saturday night my friend Paris Green asked me to come take some pictures at the Belmont Burlesque Revue. I showed up at The Playground just before midnight and parked right out front, about 4 feet in front of a big old Buick with custom plates — “WAKE UP 9”.

A few minutes later my friend Beth came inside and said, “the guy whose car you parked in front of is all worked up about how close you are to his car. I told him me had plenty of room on both sides of his car. He asked if I knew whose bike it was. I said I did, but that it was irrellevant because he wouldn’t have any problem getting out. He asked if I worked here. I said ‘no’ and that I was going to stop talking to him because the whole conversation was ridiculous. The kicker was that he said he wasn’t leaving yet. Gah!”

Beth didn’t say so explicitly, but I assumed that the guy had gone on his way following his conversation with her. So I wasn’t thinking about him at all a few minutes later when an older man walked slowly across the front of the stage towards the bathrooms. He was walking slowly and rather hunched over, but wearing a brightly patterned short sleeve short and a bad wig. “Wow,” I thought, “burlesque shows sure draw out some creepy audience members.” He was peering around looking for something and it looked like he was either looking for the bathrooms or trying to peek into the dressing room where the girls were changing. “Creep,” I thought, “he’s probably trying to peek.”

Some of the guys from the show were hanging out back by the dressing room and I heard Mark say, “Can I help you, sir?” A short conversation ensued and then Noah was leading the man towards me. “Fuzzy, you’re parked in front of this guy…”

Gah, indeed. I instantly decided I didn’t want to repeat Beth’s conversation, so before Noah was even finished with his sentence I had grabbed my keys and headed out the door. Fortunately, the cycle started right up (nothing more embarrassing than a non-starting motorcycle when you’re trying to be snotty) and I zoomed the bike 30 feet down the street and parked 5 feet behind a different car.
“Sorry to be a problem,” I said to the guy as I headed back into the theater. Dammit. I really wish I could be a jerk sometimes. “That’s alright,” the creepy jerk mumbled.

And the show was delightful (how does Tomas swallow that balloon?).

And of course when we walked outside after the show, WAKE UP 9 was still parked in the same spot. I shook my fist at the sky. “Damn you, creepy jerky mumbly guy, where ever you are.”
We hopped on the bike and headed north. And there he was! Standing on the corner of Halsted and Roscoe, right out in front of Roscoe’s, his floral shirt gleaming under the street lights, just standing and staring his little hunched eyes straight out into the street, surrounded by the swirling gaiety of the 1am happy boys of Boystown.

I had 5 seconds to yell out something mean or sarcastic or wittily biting. And I choked. The light changed and off we zoomed into the night. Good night, creepy jerky mumbly staring guy, good night.

like the cannonball run, but with less racism

On Sunday August 8th, The Modernist Society will be putting on a road rally/dance party called A Century of Progress.
Which century? Why, the century of 1905-2004, of course. At 6pm we’ll set out from Jinx on a two hour trour celebrating the grand progress made in the fields of architecture, motor-driven vehicles (motorcyles/scooters/roadsters), liquor distilling and beat-matching.
So you have just under two weeks notice to get some form of internally combusting engine on wheels together and join in.

Cure Concert Clearance

Ticketmaster, in a totally historical and unparelled move, have actually lowered the price of tickets for a show and offered the super special bonus – NO SERVICE OR CONVENIENCE CHARGE!!!
Get you Curiosa Festival tickets (The Cure, Interpol, The Rapture, Mogwai) for just $15.00 for lawn. That’s it. No other charges. I think this a special thingy, that only lasts until this weekend. I promise you, there will never be a ticket this cheap for anything at Tweeter Center ever again. And if there is, it certainly won’t be as cool as The Cure AND Interpol.

It Wouldm’t be a Chicago Summer Without…

I just read that we are due to get some ‘real’ heat next week. Well, I expect that. Just as it wouldn’t be a Chicago winter withoutna good cold snap, so it follows that we have to have SOME heat in summer. Hopefully, it won’t be really bad.

Oh, the Humanity!

I was very very very upset visiting the Target on Elston last night. The master plan was to get kitty litter and paper towels, and then pick up some food from the “TacoHut” (Taco Bell & Pizza Hut combined). Instead, the entire food section was boxed up with a big Starbucks logo on it. I cried. I was pissed. What an injustice. Jokingly, I said “Watch, they’ll take out the Taco Bell to make room for the Starbucks, just like the crappy Target on Addison” (which our household is boycotting for 3 months for reasons unrelated to the lack of a Taco Bell). We paid, started walking to the door, when my sister burst out laughing. A building permit on the wall specifically stated “Remove Taco Bell, Install Starbucks Facilities”.
Damn you Starbucks! Why do you spite me!!!!
We decided that Taco Bell must have found out that Pizza Hut was having a hot affair with Starbucks at the other Target, and called it quits. Further research proves otherwise:

In select Pizza Hut multibrand sites, Pizza Hut’s delivery staff will begin delivering food made by its sister brands, which include Taco Bell and KFC.

The day when I can have 2 bean burritos with extra sauce and onions delivered right to my front door will be the greatest day of my entire existance.

Andrew Bird at Summer on Southport

Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird (with Kevin O’Donnell) @ Summer on Southport, 7/25/2004

Thanks to Chicagoist pointing out that you don’t have to pay the suggested donation at street fairs we got in for the $6 Erica had in her wallet. The woman at the gate told us that all the money was going to the school but the poster says that the street fair benefits the Southport Neighbors Association. Sounds like a giant scam that I’d investigate… if I cared.

Anyway, spending so little left us enough to get meat on a stick. Oddly for meat on a stick, Erica was complaining that it seemed almost too healthy.

I only know a few people in Chicago who blog and we ran into a bunch of them (well, 3) at this show: Allison and Michael of Kady Ditch and Jessa and Kenan. Kenan took a much better picture and wrote much more intelligently than I would about Andrew Bird’s music.

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