Archive for June, 2005

Big Ticket Items? Head out of the city

The Sales Tax rate in Chicago is leaping up to a whopping 9% on Friday. The smarties will be making a mass exodus to the suburbs for big ticket items, where the difference in sales tax rates can be quite a chunk of change. I like to head up to Lake County to buy my fancy gadgets, where sales tax usually hovers around 6.5%. I bought my iPod in Vernon Hills last year, and saved $12.00 on taxes.

Back Online & Unsolicited Advice for Office Gleason

Hey friends,

Back from a hiatus to see the one thing Richie can’t pull out of his pinstriped trouser pocket: The Atlantic Ocean. Finback whales, seals, horseshoe and hermit crabs. Lobster rolls. Thatched cottages. Gosh, I felt lucky to be there, and will say the the one thing that I will never get used to here is the lack of an ocean. (Sigh.) I’ll always be lured away to get my fix.

Anyway, upon coming back, I’m sorry to read that my friend in blogging, Officer Gleason, has endured some nastiness with a gal who ain’t long for the city. I’ve got one word for you, Officer, when your big heart’s ready to hear it:

Next month, I attend wedding #2 for Chicago couple #5 that I know who met through this vunder-site. Couple #2 met when she posted that one of her favorite folk singers is Garnet Rogers. He searched that term, found her, and took her to a Garnet Rogers concert. The rest will be playing out happily ever after in Hyde Park next month.

Maybe, you too, can find a needle in the dating haystack.

L.A.T.E. Ride

L.A.T.E. Ride 2001

You still have a week or so to register for this year’s L.A.T.E. Ride without the $5 last-minute penalty (though, since the money goes to the Friends of the Parks I don’t even begrudge them that when I have signed up late). The ride is Saturday night, July 10 to Sunday morning, July 11.

The LATE Ride (I’m going to dispense with those egregious periods from now on) is my favorite of Chicago’s mass biking events. Bike the Drive is fun to do once (we’re biking on Lake Shore Drive! whee!) but in the end it’s just a back-and-forth along a straight road. The LATE Ride is 22-miles around the whole northside, in the middle of the night. Zooming through Greektown with 10,000 riders at 2:00 am, surprising all the drunks, is worth the whole ride. And then there’s Lincoln Ave and Foster. And, free bananas!

Nasty Business

This past week or so, I’ve been dealing with some rather nasty business. To be blunt about it, I’m not getting married anymore. Now you, dear reader, are probably thinking why would I bother to write about this here.

Quit simply, my former bride-to-be might as well have been the author of that little gem that Lauren talked about in an earlierpost. Granted, we had a few other problems, but they could all be summed up in her hatred for a city that I love. I find a hatred for a city like this to be incomprehensible.

The best thing about all of this mess is that I am now completely free to rediscover Chicago without any strings attached.



OK, so the Redeye is still theoretically a quarter, but if you ride the CTA, or walk near a CTA stop, it’s hard not to get a free one in the morning, as the red-vested guys thrust them into your hands. For the last month or so Erica would take one, we’d read the back page, which would just remind me that Scurrilous in the Red Streak is much funnier and snarkier, and then Erica would take it to work. But now we grab two in the morning, because we are hooked on Sudoku!

Sudoku is a number puzzle, like a crossword with no clues. Or words. You have to get the numbers 1-9 in each row and column and each shaded 3×3 grid. Very simple. And the first time you realize you have two 5s in a column and that you’ve screwed up the entire puzzle — oh, the exquisite torture.

The Redeye uses a cute lil’ ninja as the Sudoku mascot, which is fitting since the puzzle became popular in Japan in the ’80s and has only recently (November-2004-style recently) spread to the UK and now to the US. The Redeye is one of the first US papers to carry the puzzle.

If you’re having trouble solving the Sudoku, you can bone up on the basic methods of solving these puzzles. If you’re having real trouble, you can always use a desktop or web-based Sudoku solver. And if you want to avoid the Redeye altogether, you can play a new Sudoku every day at The Daily SuDoku.

I’m definitely renewing my subscription to MAD.

With all the head-scratching and outrage that followed the Trib’s Best 50 Magazines list I think the editor of pick number forty-three is the best:

alfred_e_newman.jpgThe editor of MAD magazine expressed outrage today after learning that The Chicago Tribune had named MAD as one of their “50 Best Magazines.” “It’s a disgrace that with 17,500 periodicals in print, this supposedly respected newspaper would single MAD out for, of all things, excellence,” said Editor John Ficarra, barely containing his furor. “It’s further evidence of a growing decline in the standards of our culture in general, and of the lack of judgment of this paper in particular. It’s just the type of thing we’re always railing about in MAD’s pages.”

Growing red in the face and pounding his desk for emphasis, Ficarra continued, “Frankly, it makes us distrustful of anything that The Chicago Tribune reports. Are their headlines legitimate? Can their sports scores be trusted?”

After several more minutes and the administering of a sedative, a groggy Ficarra concluded, “And we only ranked #43?!? Behind Time, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker? What’s THAT all about?” (full story)

Fire update

Going back to the unexplained smoke and sirens from last night, apparently ComEd had one of their transformers burst into flames! My boyfriend and a buddy headed over to check things out and reported that there were flames pushing through the manholes. WHAT THE!? I thought ComEd was supposed to have fixed all this crap by now!

So then this afternoon I got a “friendly” automated call from the City of Chicago to notify me of the power failures in my ‘hood and that I was welcome to head on over to one of the emergency cooling stations. We had power, but apparently much of Pilsen did not.

Oh yeah Chicago. We are officially into summer, ComEd style. Remember that? Uh huh, it’s all coming back to you now, isn’t it? Calling around at the last minute to your friends, trying to find out who still has air conditioning and an available couch so that you don’t die in a puddle of your own sweat.

God I can’t wait to see Daley’s famous bulging forehead vessel at the next press conference. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a good ComEd railing.

Open Road Tolling: Not to be confused with Congestion Relief

tolling.jpgLeave it to the state of Illinois to take a totally awesome idea and turn it into a stupid and irritating nightmare. Welcome to the world of Open Road Tolling. If you have an iPass, breeze right through. For the millions that don’t, be prepared for even more bottlenecking at the already plentiful tolls on our fine roads. I especially like the fact that the highway authority was smart enough to realize that Open Road Tolling is, in fact, not Congestion Relief. That is a different “Current Project” on their website.

Don’t get me wrong, the iPass is a great idea. But only for the people that use it enough to offset the fact that it costs $50 to get one.


So, let me get this straight. We have to pay money to have more money taken away from us efficiently? iPass saves money for the state by allowing them to have fewer booth workers and people doing the actual money counting. So why the $50? I understand that it covers the cost of the transponder, but what ever happened to “spend money to make money”? If the state just gave people the iPass after they fill out an application to link it up direct to their bank account, then bajillions of people would be lining up for their iPass. They could cut down on even more manual toll booths across the state, surely saving themselves a butt-ton in labor costs. Besides the fact, we are already pretty much being good citizens paying tolls in the first place; there are plenty of other states whose roads are just fine and they have an absence of toll roads snaking everywhere you drive.

Open Road Tolling has bad news written all over it. Construction on the first phase just started at the Edens Spur up by Deerfield, and it is already a wreck. Driving back to the city after visiting my dad tonight, we had to wait a good couple minutes to get through the 2 open manual lanes. And this was with no traffic at 9pm on a Saturday night. I can’t even imagine what 8:30am on a Monday must be like.

Straighten it out, boys.


They just finished construction on Broadway this week. I think the last thing left was the yellow lines. Think they wanted to finish in a hurry?

There’s No Reserved Seating at Flash Taco

Last night found me at Flash Taco on North and Damen at 1:30am. I know – you can burn me in the comments. Where else are you going to go after a show at Subterrannean?

Oh yeah. Home. Right.

We were lucky enough to arrive just as a table opened up, so we got our food, sat down and enjoyed our meal, or should I say, tried to enjoy our meal. As soon as we sat down, this yuppie girl approached my friend and asked us if she and her boyfriend can have our seats after us, then stared at us the entire time we were there. After a while, she actually had the nerve to mouth to me, “Are you done?”

Damn, you suburban yuppie-freak prima donna B**CH. LET US EAT OUR CRAPPY FOOD. It’s hard enough to keep it down without being made uncomfortable by someone staring over you like vultures! If you wanted a seat that badly, why didn’t you go down to the basement floor where I’m sure there were plenty of seats? Or are you that much of a little princess you had to have the front window seat? Did you see the twenty other people who were content to stand and eat their tacos and not bother the other customers? Did you notice how embarrassed your boyfriend looked because you were so RUDE?

In the future, if you happen to find yourself in Wicker Park late on a Friday evening, do us all a favor – Get back in your SUV and DRIVE TO A WENDY’S.

Oh, and as an aside, don’t order anything from Flash Taco’s dollar menu. I barely got two burnt nibbles wrapped in corn.

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