Archive for August, 2004

That time of Year Again…

It is the end of meteoroloigical summer, as Tom Skilling puts it so nicely. He can pronounce that mouthful of a word better than anyone and does the best TV and newspaper weather reports. You can tell-kids are back in school and not all of them are happy about it. But c’st la vie.

“I am vengeance. I am the knight. I am Batman.”

Sometimes, after a really rough day, something wonderful happens. From the Sun-Times:

“A 6-foot-tall, 275-pound bearded man crashed a children’s birthday party in Oak Forest, identified himself as “vengeance,” then helped himself to a piece of cake, police said.”
“When the owner of the home asked the man who he was, the intruder replied, “I am vengeance. I am the knight. I am Batman.” Then the man went into the kitchen, cut a piece of birthday cake, took it into the living room and ate it.”

AWESOME! Thank you, Sun-Times. You made my Monday worthwhile.


I’ve been half-assed following this whole Dave Matthews Band fiasco, but this headline just really grabbed my attention: Dave Matthews Band Offers DNA To ID Waste.
How does that work? Did they just call them up and say, “We need DNA because we think this poopie is yours?”. And imagine the embarrasment of having your poo identified as your own THROUGH SCIENCE. And who is the poor person that has to run DNA tests on celebrity poo? “No, I never met Dave Matthews, but I did perform some tests on his feces”.
Which just begs the question, how long until something tied to this case makes its way to eBay? I would hate to think there is someone out there perverse enough to put such an item up for auction, but I have no doubt that there is someone out there who would buy it. That makes me sad.

ugly outside, pretty inside

I finally made the trek to the brand spankin new Soldier Field on Friday. I got tickets to opening day against the Packers last year and, much to the disbelief of many of my male friends, gave the tickets to my dad and little brother who were shut out of the ticket sale. I watched from my couch. It SUCKED, but it was what a good daughter and sister would do. I think. The jury is still out on whether or not this was a great, selfless decision or if I am a big stupid sucker.
Regardless, my old roommate CP got 4 free tickets for Fridays preseason game against the Saints. We had a wedding to go to in Graylake at 6, and kickoff was at 7:30. We sat through the ceremony, gave a round of hellos, got a drink, got some food, gave a round of goodbyes, and were back on the road. We made it to the stadium by halftime.
The outside is just downright ugly. The weird combination of old and new looks clumsy. But the inside of the stadium is amazing. The sound is amazing. There is not a bad seat in the house. We were down by the north goal post and could see totally clearly. Since we got the tickets from a company that has season tickets, we were surrounded by season ticket holders who were all trying to get to know each other. We had some great people behind us we kept refering to CP as “Hefner” since he was flanked by my sister and I. They yelled at people trying to start the wave, saying “This is Chicago, not LA. We don’t do no stinkin’ wave here!” (sorry, It was a very “Chicago” experience. I just wish tickets were cheaper. I would go all the time.
So, I’ve been pursuaded. I still think it’s ugly, but is pretty deep down inside. But that wasn’t enough to bring the Bears a win. They still lost. But it was totally on the fault of the refs and a bad call. The Saints SO did not deserve that last touchdown. That was a load of crap.

View from the rail

Ok, I’m going to try to redeem myself from my last blog, where I admitted committing the sin of driving my car into Chicago.
I took the Union Pacific-North line into the city a week or so ago. I haven’t actually taken this line in a few years. Years ago, when it was still Chicago & Northwestern, I rode that line pretty regularly.
Things I noticed on this trip — remember, it has been years since I took the UP-N (I’ve taken the train from Lake-Cook much more recently).
– I can finally understand what stations are upcoming, as the announcements are all automated now. I understand that the GPS system utilized for this had bugs when first implemented, but it seemed all good to me.
– It seems like every square inch of real estate on the north side that is being turned into condos or townhouses. I am just amazed at all the new construction, conversion, and congestion of residences along this line. I am amazed at the amount of residences being built up. It is nice, but it sure is different.
– I had the first occasion to walk along the rennovated Wacker Drive from the train terminal to IBM Plaza. I hear some of the concrete is cracking already, but I didn’t notice this. I did notice all the flower planters, nominally that are benches but really are just excuses to put more taxpayer money into gardening. I noticed too that the stoplights are still timed in such a way that you can pretty much continuously walk along Wacker from Lake to State without having to stop long at a crosswalk. When I regularly commuted downtown, six years ago, this was always the case – amazing that even post-construction, the stoplights retained the same basic timing.
I’m going downtown again this week and guess what — I’m gonna take the train again! (I think ;))

Fantastic Find

My sister and I ventured over to Chief O’Neill’s Pub on Elston yesterday on strict orders from our dad to get a feel for it. We have family coming in from Ireland next week and he wanted to show them a good Irish bar in Chicago. I told him that was lame, and how would he like going to France and having someone take him to McDonalds and ordering Budweiser all the time make him feel? He told me to shut up and check it out… he’d heard it was quite good.
So we drove over there last night, just planning to go in and take a quick look around. We realized we would look like total idiots just walking into a bar and not getting a drink. So we argued who would talk to the bartender to find out if they take reservations (we get nervous and embarrassed VERY easily). Turns out the first guy we talked to was the owner. Then the bartender came over and offered us a free drink because he had made too many. It was like Bailey’s, but better. We explained that we would have about a party of 20 – 25 coming in, and what is the best night to do so. They have live music on Sundays and Tuesdays, and the owner plays the Irish version of bagpipes (which I titally can’t remember the name of). He pointed to them laying out on the table.
They also have a kickass brunch on Sundays to go along with the music. This Sunday, they have about 20 kids from some Irish School of Music coming in to rock out.
They gave us a free copy of the menu, and we promised to give them a call as soon as we ironed out all the crinks. I found my new neighborhood bar, and I feel like an ass for never going there before. So if you find yourself over in Avondale or Roscoe Village, I highly recommend stopping in for a Guinness or 5.

Another one bites the Dust

A second store closed its downtown Evanston location this week…I wonder whatnis next. There are now about 11-12 vacant staorefronts total. One is a restaurant that never opened. The construction permits are still there. The restaurant next door closed abruptly. One just a few doors down did likewise and has been vacant for ages.

(Do Not) Steal This Post

An item of note for “bloggers” everywhere:
Caroline Dwyer (edit: link deleted because it’s gone) has been pissing off a lot of internet writers (see Tequila Mockingbird and our city’s own Sour Bob, to name just two).
It appears her website consists entirely of other peoples’ online journals and claims them as her own. To paraphrase (not plagiarize) someone else’s confusion: why? There’s no money in this. Is her life really that nonexistent or lame that she has to pilfer others’ lives?
Plagiarism isn’t her only (illegal) hobby. A lot of people went to a little trouble to find out she’s also an au pair who has been ripping off unsuspecting parents, recently right here in Chicagoland. Look out, parents. She may still be in town, looking for another job.
Incidentally, does this mean Sour Bob has come out of hiding? If so, welcome back, Bob. We missed you. (In case you were wondering, I asked the owner of that site if I could quote her. In the end, I just linked to her.)
Feel free to pass this information on to others. IN YOUR OWN WORDS.
In other unrelated thoughts, I still love the word “Chicagoland.”

The new skateboarding?

The trib has a somewhat interesting article on Le Parkour. Le Parkour seems to be skateboarding without the skateboard mixed with Urban Spelunking.
The wierd thing is a friend and I were just having a conversation about skateboardings continued rise to mainstream acceptance. We were postulating about what could be next for kids coming up thinking that they wouldn’t hang out with skateboarders for the same reason we wouldn’t hang out with football players…..
I’m the overly paranoid type. So my first thought was that this is some sort of made-up sport created by some lame-ass guerilla marketing company in hopes of getting more people to see Spiderman 2. Or maybe it will be just as lame as extreme pogosticking. But who knows…. It would be pretty cool to see kids running around downtown jumping off of crazy shit.
Anybody seen anybody doing frontflips between the roofs of skyscrapers?

At The Drive-In

First, I’d like to apologize for disappearing off the face of the blog. I’ve been sick for the past few weeks and I know for a fact that nothing sucks more than to have to read about someone’s miserable illness stricken life. So, I’ve refrained from posting anything in an attempt to keep you all from hating me. Here’s hoping it worked.
Now that I’m on the mend, I have to tell you that I managed to drag my sorry ass out to Indiana (gasp!) last weekend, to one of the last true drive-ins around, The 49er Drive-In. It is in Valparaiso, probably about an hour or 45 minute drive from Chicago, depending on traffic and your level of driving insanity. I’m a big fan of road trips and my friends just happen to own a late model Cadillac (read:serious old man car), so off to the drive-in we went!
The 49er originally opened in 1956 and was completely renovated in 2001. The speakers you can hang on your car still remain on their posts at every parking spot, but now there is FM stereo sound when you tune your radio to 88.5. The concession stand sold pretty much every conceivable form of junk food, not that I was able to eat much. My friends assured me that everything was extremely tasty and even reasonably priced.
The 49er was showing “Alien vs Predator”, probably the only movie that actually persuaded me to venture out to a drive-in last weekend. After all, it wouldn’t be much fun watching Garden State or Farenheit 9/11 at the drive-in, would it? As I expected, it was horrible, but I’m sure you already guessed that. Not even horrible in a campy “Freddy vs Jason” way. Though I’m pretty sure my friends and I will be quoting “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” to each other for months and then collapsing into fits of maniacal laughter. Those of you who’ve seen AvP will understand.
Collateral was the second feature, which we stayed to watch in spite of my intense dislike of Tom Cruise, my great love for Michael Mann winning out over Cruise-in-a-ridiculous-gray-wig in the end. All in all, not a bad night.
So, if you are so inclined, please take a trip and visit the 49er. I’d hate to see drive-ins become extinct. Hell, you might even see a shooting star or two. I did. It was great.

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