Archive for the ‘City Life’ Category

Chicago Underground Comedy – $5, Many Laughs

It’s true, I produce this show, but let this video stand as unmistakable evidence of the amazing array of comedians we put onstage week after week. This brief, high-energy clip features all of our current cast members, a few alum, and some of our favorite guests. Got $5 burning a hole in your pocket? Need some comic relief? Come to the Beat Kitchen tonight at 9:30, and we’ll make you forget your troubles.

Chicago Summer, in Under Two Minutes

When summer’s as short and temperamental as this one’s been, you’ve got to make every nice day count. Here’s what life along the lakeshore was like yesterday, at least, from my perspective:


Parking Meter Madness

Parking Meter I’m glad the press release is dated March 31, because otherwise I might think this was an April Fools: The City has “suspended the ability of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM) to issue parking meter violations” until they fix the evidently overwhelming number of broken meters.

Sun-Times: Parking meter hikes, ticket writing to be delayed in areas

Twitter Track the Tamale Guy

187399963_d963dc8d6b_oOne of the best things about drinking in Chicago is the Tamale Guy. A hero to all good drinkers, so much so he has songs written about him. You’re a couple beers deep and getting hungry when in walks this guy with an igloo cooler filled with hot, tastey tamales of 5 for $5. I’ve had numerous conversations with fellow bar patrons expressing our desire to have a GPS tracker on the Tamale Guy. Well, now there’s a twitter page that aims to do just that. According to the page:

Tweet a reply to @tamaletracker when and where you saw the tamale guy and then users could be able to follow the progress by following

Genius. My weekends will now be filled with beer and tamales.

(photo by warm n’ fuzzy)

Chicago Has Too Many Teachers

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Chicago has more teachers looking for work then it does teaching positions. Which is frustrating to me because I’m a teacher who is looking for a teaching position (check the resume). But finding out that there is little to no demand for my elementary/middle school teaching skills is only half the frustration.

I worked on the west side for a year and a half before leaving the school. It was too stressful to teach every subject to a room of 33-38 8th grade students. I worked hard and got some great results, but paid for it with my sanity and blood pressure.

This is the other half of my frustration. I’m hearing that there are no teaching jobs available in Chicago, but I substitute teach in classrooms that can have 30+ kids in it. With all these eager, young, qualified teaching candidates wandering about the city, why are classrooms still over crowded? Why not work to drop class size to 20, and/or hire teaching assistants? I know, I know. Money. But can you imagine the future graduates of Chicago public schools if the students were in a classroom where a teacher could spend tons of time and attention on their learning?

So teachers, what are we doing for work these days? Those teach English in [insert foreign country here] ads are looking alluring, and McHammer, and Ed McMahon seem eager to give me cash 4 gold (don’t tell them I have no gold). Anybody want to go in on a teacher squatter commune?

(photo from Dequella Manera)

Foraging in Chicago

One of my favorite blogs is the Homegrown Evolution blog. It’s about growing your own food in an urban area, and is the reason that I want egg laying chickens (which my neighbors and landlord would love to hear me say). Today they had this recent entry from the wonderful video podcast about Chicago food called Sky Full of Bacon done by Michael Gebert. The subject? Urban foragers Art Jackson and Nancy Klehm. That’s right, people who eat the plants we walk right by on the way to El, or that I have seen only the city rabbits eating. Turns out those rabbits are eating better then I am.


CPL is Netflix for Books

I love libraries and I’ve been a proud Chicago Public Library card holder since I moved here. But while the CPL system has a ton of books, they’re spread out over all the different branches and it seemed that after a short while I had read all the books in my local branch that I was interested in. The central Harold Washington library has the most in one place, but it always seemed difficult to get there before they closed on a weekend. There may have been a way to request books from a different branch, but it wasn’t obvious and so I just… stopped stopping in at my local branch.

Recently, though, I discovered that the CPL has spiffed up their website with some features that make it a snap to get any book (or CD or DVD) in their catalog delivered (nearly) to your door.

You just log in to the “My CPL” section of the website with your library card number and zipcode (if you’ve moved and haven’t updated your info with the CPL, it might be an old zipcode) and then start searching the catalog for books. When you find one you want, click the “Place on Hold” button. It’ll ask if you want it held at your preferred library or a different one and you’re done. But here’s the magic part — “hold” in this case means “get it to my preferred library and then hold it there”. So the system will find a checked-in copy, dispatch a no-doubt-over-worked library employee to fetch it off the shelf, and then transport it to your local library. With 79 branches, there’s bound to be one just blocks, nay mere steps from your front door. (OK, maybe I’m spoiled since I’m literally a half-block from our local branch.) When the book arrives you get a rather bare-bones email (it doesn’t actually tell you which held item has come in — but you can always go back to the website to check) and you have 9 days to stop in and pick it up.

Obviously, there’s still a wait for popular books — on my last visit the librarian informed me that I was number 745 on the waiting list for the CPL’s 121 copies of Twilight. But you can have up to five holds going at once, so I’ve got other books coming while I wait to find out what all the vampire fuss is about.

Chicago Tribune files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The Trib has been looking a little frayed around the edges lately, what with it’s new layout looking like a desperate attempt to copy the competition (in this blogger’s jaded opinion). I also heard they were trying to sell the Cubs, but my utter hatred of sports makes it impossible for me to finish listening to sentences once I hear words like “field” or “ball”.

But it looks like they’re in worse shape over there than most people realized.

Can you raise chickens in Chicago?


There may be an answer, but don’t try to call the city and find out.

(Via City Farmer News, via Boing Boing)

CTA Home from the Rally

If you’re downtown for Obamapalooza, the CTA has you covered. Non-24 hour lines will run until at least 2 am (24 hour lines will run, of course, all night). Note, however, that many downtown bus routes will be rerouted.

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