Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The first rule of book club is you don't read fight club.

I want to be in a book club. Yeah, you heard me. For some reason book clubs have been taken over by women which is complete bullshit in my opinion. It is a common fact that women are unable to write good books (I have since been informed that this is not so much fact as it is my chauvinistic opinion. Or I just said it for a laugh) why should they get to have a monopoly on book clubs? As far as I can tell the majority of book clubs consist of a bunch of women drinking wine and discussing The Kite Runner once a month. If I were to join such a club I'm pretty sure I would get a lot of strange looks and feel kind of weird. Yet I yearn to read a book once a month and discuss it with a bunch of people. Everyone takes away something different from each book they read and longs to share them with others. Where as I need to be placed in a situation where I get to hear all of these diverse opinions, drink some booze, and loudly tell these buffoons that all of their opinions are wrong. As a man I am pretty much only allowed to act in this manner when watching sports, which is nice, but I need to broaden my horizons. I want to become a Jack (ass) of all trades.

God forbid a bunch of men get together and do something where they use their minds. If you were to judge men by what is portrayed in pop culture once could easily assume that men were incapable of spelling their own names let alone reading, discussing and understanding literature. Look, I love doing stupid shit more than many. I have an especially soft spot for horrid beer and sleeveless shirts. You know what else I like? Noam Chomsky, The Beats, Chuck Palahniuk and Leo Fucking Tolstoy.

Why can't a group of men get together and have a totally masculine and awesome book club? I'm sure I can find a group of like minded fellas who would enjoy doing such a thing, right? RIGHT?! Instead of reading all of the books that Oprah commands us to read we'll read manly books, like Bukowski and Hemmingway and basically anything about war and shit. We won't sip wine while we politely discuss the literature. No, we'll pound whiskey and challenge those with different opinions to step outside for a few minutes. If a book isn't good enough to get into a bare knuckle brawl over was it really worth the time it took to read it? I say no. Sure, it will be a bit difficult to avoid picking a different biography of Teddy Roosevelt every single month but I bet we can work around that. I can't be the only man out there who wants this, can I? Men in Chicago, let me know if you would seriously be interested in this. I may even be willing to host. Football doesn't start for 3 more months so it's not like you have anything better to do.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I don't care if you're nocturnal, 5 am is not dinner time

Growing up we always had pets. By the time I was 24 a couple of rabbits, a slew of fish, an insane cat and the best dog ever had come and gone from my life. Since then I have been mostly pet less with the exception of some very unexceptional fish who had mere cameos in my life. Although the fish I had that lived in an old 40 oz. Colt 45 bottle (the first being named Colt 45, then Colt 46 so on until 51 I think) hold a special place in my heart they never really required much attention. Then I moved in with my girlfriend and became step father to a cat. Since then I have been super reluctant to mention what a fucking nut job this cat is lest I become that guy who talks about his cat all of the time. I mean, I know I'm pathetic but I don't want to be that pathetic. I know that I have dedicated one blog to the furry jerk and that seems like more than enough. Then I went through a monstrous ordeal last night thanks to this feline fury and I can't help myself, I have to write about her again. Hopefully this will be the last time.

It was roughly 5 am. I was sleeping like a baby. OK, that might not be entirely true as I do like to snore and thrash in my sleep. It is probably more apt to say that I was sleeping like a baby warthog. Anyway, I'm fast asleep and I as I start to come out of my slumber I feel a weight on my neck. Not on my chest, not on my face, directly on my windpipe as if something is attempting to choke me. I awoke with a start to Myrna sitting on my throat staring directly at my face. "Meow!" I toss her halfway across the room and barely contain myself from pissing myself out of sheer terror. She jumps back up on to me and puts her little head right in my grill, "MEOW!" After tossing her across the room for a second time I get up and decide I may as well go pee while I'm up. 

Once I start walking Myrna starts weaving between my legs intent on forcing me to kick her or trip and fall on my face. I go to the bathroom hoping that she won't follow me in, to no avail. For a devious split second after picking her up I consider dropping her in the toilet to teach her a lesson but I assume that will go poorly, plus I'm not that mean. I toss her out of the bathroom and close the door to micturate in peace. "MEOW! MEOW! MEOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!" Normally Myrna is a quiet cat but she just wouldn't shut up. She kept doing the weaving between the legs act and basically herded me into the kitchen so I could see that her food bowl was. . . half full.

"WHAT THE HELL?! You don't need more food you greedy fur ball. I slaved over a can of fancy feast for close to 15 seconds last night, you will clean your plate and love it before I feed you again," I snarl at the cat. Yes, I talk to the cat. Never said I wasn't insane.

 "MEOW! MEOW!" She responds while staring at her food bowl. 

Oh goddamnit. There is no way in hell she is going to let me go back to bed without feeding her. It's 5 am, it is not breakfast time. I don't give a shit if cats are supposed to be nocturnal animals in my house you adapt to my rules, dammit. We all know what happened next as I abandoned my principles and fed the damn thing. She hungrily dug in and I decided that it wasn't that bad. I had just overreacted and if I was hungry and unable to get food I would have done the same thing. Then I felt something furry run past my leg and by the time I got back to bed there was a black thing on my pillow. Apparently those 3 bites of food were all that Myrna wanted. She ruined my entire night/morning for 3 bites of food! Or maybe it was all a complicated ruse (that I fell for completely) for her to sleep in the warm spot I left on the pillow. All I know is that I have never wanted to test just how many lives a cat may have more in my life than this morning. 

Once I cleared her off and fell back asleep I had the most wonderful dream. I was in Red Square competing in a drinking contest against Ivan Drago in the middle of winter. I was shirtless but wasn't even remotely cold. This confused me for a second until I saw my reflection in the ice block that was serving as the table for our contest. I was being kept warm by the most spectacular black fur hat. It was in the typical Russian style except for one little difference. It had two tiny little cat ears on the front.

So heed this warning Myrna, if you ever wake my ass up at 5 am for this sort of bullshit again I will make that dream come true.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My girlfriend's popularity is crushing my soul

For some inane reason I have always loved getting the mail. When I was five years old it was especially thrilling despite the fact that I never got any mail for myself. When I was twelve there was an added element of intrigue as I tried to intercept a notice from school that I had actually been in detention (for using colorful language) instead of at a friend's house playing Warhammer after school the week before. When I was in college we received so little mail that each time there was something it was worth throwing a party for. In summation, I really like getting the mail.

I'm not sure if I would go quite as far as to say that I'm OCD about it but I'm definitely on the borderline. If I hear the mailman you can be damn sure I'll be running down with the mail key within the next five minutes to see what bounty he has brought. It is here that I encounter heartbreak day after day. We receive an ungodly amount of mail. Envelopes, letters, catalogs, bills, junk mail; we get it all. And every damn piece of it is addressed to my girlfriend.

What the hell did she do to become so popular? I know that a good portion of it is due to the bills being in her name but that only scratches the surface. Every single day she has at least 3 envelopes of mail. Sure, a lot of it is junk mail and bills but I feel so inadequate in terms of mail reception that I wouldn't mind getting those. She is so popular that she gets magazines that she doesn't even remember subscribing to. Then when she comes home and I point out that her mail pile is roughly as tall as I am she does nothing about it. HOW CAN SHE CONTAIN HERSELF?! I would leap into the pile gladly and rip open every envelope with reckless abandon as I reveled in the sheer volume of correspondence.  

The question I should probably be asking is what have I done to make the world shun me in the mail department? When I moved it took weeks for me to get a single forwarded letter, maybe there is a secret vault at the post office where they are keeping all of my mail. I bet I have to undergo some sort of quest in order to prove my worth to obtain it. Ugh, who am I kidding. I have no mail. I use automatic bill pay. I have asked to go paperless. I brought it on myself. Yet I still get disappointed every single time I go through all 9 letters that we have only to find none with my name on it. I assure you that I fully understand how breathtakingly stupid it is for me to feel downtrodden because I didn't get a Restoration Hardware* catalog or a "letter" from the local State Farm agent wanting to sell me stuff. I just feel like every letter addressed to the lady is sticking it's tongue out at me and gloating because I'm not worthy of junk mail.

I figure that in order to save what is left of my self esteem I need to take one of two drastic measures. I can intercept all of my special lady's mail and change her address to somewhere in Siberia, thus we will get far less mail but it will all be for me. I'm sure this plan will backfire on me leading to a chain of events where I won't receive any mail at this address any more since I will be living elsewhere. So that's out, not changing anyone's address. Which leaves us with a more drastic solution, I will sign up for every free newsletter there is. I will get rid of my automatic bill pay. I will start sending weird fan letters to D list celebs with self addressed/stamped envelopes begging for singed head shots like I did with Tom Jones back in the day. I will start becoming pen pals with guys in the joint. Sooner or later I will be getting so much mail that it will be like the court scene in Miracle on 34th Street. It will be glorious. My self esteem will return and it will be a new day. HUZZAH!

Or, you know, I will do nothing and eventually learn to stop being neurotic about stupid shit. Something tells me that is far more likely.

*Have you seen this fucking thing? It makes the phone book look like a pamphlet. I was terrified that if I knocked it off the table it would fall through the floor into the basement, it's that heavy. What in the world can be in there? All they sell is crap. Sure, it's kitschy and fantastic crap but it's still crap. Why do they need to have the world's largest catalog?

Sunday, May 20, 2012


It's been a very exciting weekend here in Chicago thanks to our idiot mayor thinking it would be a good idea to invite NATO to have their little conference in the Windy City. I hate this on so many levels it's going to be difficult to even remember to cover all of them here, some of my hatred is so inborn that I might not be able to consciously recall it. Normal people never have hatred that intense, it is all too common for me. Let's kick it off by attacking our friend Rahm, shall we?

Every time NATO has their summit the location become inundated with protesters. Why would anyone ever want to invite this trouble into their city? Rahm, that's who. Primarily our mayor has given two reasons for wanting to bring the NATO summit to Chicago. The first is that it would cement Chicago's place as an international city. Bullshit. Chicago is already internationally known and it wasn't for hosting a bunch of politicians. There have been things like The Camp David Accords that Rahm compared to the possible history that could be made by NATO this weekend. Imagine if there was a Chicago Accord. All that does is make 7 people around the world name check Chicago when bitching about something they disagree with politically, if Rahm thinks that boosts our rep he's a moron. Chicago is known for having one of the most amazing skylines in the world, fantastic food, shady politics and according to everyone I met in China for having Michael Jordan. NATO is going to do jack fucking shit in changing our reputation internationally unless something terrible happens. The other reason Rahm has given for wanting the summit is that it will bring an immense amount of money into the city. Really? Where is that money coming from? As far as I can tell everyone who has half a brain has gotten the hell out of the city this weekend. Downtown looks like a Romero movie; it's completely empty save for a few mobs of slowly moving zombies, er, I mean protesters. Does Rahm think that we're making a ton of money off of all the protesters who have been sleeping in parks? Is he that stupid? When you end up shutting down half of the city it's not going to give much of an economic boost, sorry pal.

This leads us to the protesters themselves. Goddamn do I hate me some protesters. The awkward thing is that often I find myself agreeing with them politically or at least I agree with the less batshit crazy of them. For example, I hate the idea of the city closing multiple mental health facilities. Yet I understand that I'm not going to change that by sleeping outside of Woodlawn. And I know that I'm damn sure not going to accomplish anything by protesting out side of Rahm's house when HE ISN'T EVEN HOME. (I'll admit personal irritation about this protest. Rahm lives in the next hood over and news copters were circling overhead around 7:30 waking my ass up way too early. Then when I tried to take the bus somewhere the assholes were marching around and blocking Irving Park. Argh) There are so many more productive things one can do to fight the power than protest. In my opinion all protesting really does is piss people off because you are creating an inconvenience. I respect the passion, I often agree with the stances, I just think that protesting is the wrong tool to accomplish the goals.

Specifically let's talk about that special little slice of the protesters that fancy themselves "anarchists." I know that the vast majority of protesters are going to be peaceful and just wave their signs and chant monotonous and unoriginal chants. This hatred isn't aimed at them, it's aimed at all the jackasses who rode buses to Chicago for no reason other than to start some shit. They'll be wearing hoodies, gloves, and bandannas to cover their faces while protesting in order to protect their identity. Here's the thing, you aren't going to try and stay anonymous if you aren't intent on causing trouble. Sorry, that's the truth. So you come to our city to fight our police and wreck our streets. Shockingly your behavior isn't going to woo me into agreeing with your stance that we need to smash the government. Look, I really like listening to old Anti Flag and Against Me too but that doesn't change the fact that anarchy would be fucking horrible. Across the whole world there is one constant among every culture, they have all established a society because living in anarchy is horrifying. There is always going to be someone bigger (or better armed) than you and they will destroy your ass, is that what you really want? It's such a short sighted and idiotic way to perceive the world. I hope these morons remember that if they had their precious anarchy the police that just arrested them wouldn't be charging them with a misdemeanor and letting them go after a few hours, they would be getting rid of them for good.

All of this hints at a bigger question, what's so wrong with NATO anyway? I understand from a strict anti war stance there are plenty of reasons to despise them. Although I think that it can be argued that the majority of actions that NATO has participated in were justified, I don't see a lot of people arguing for Milosevic. I don't understand the demonization of the group. Would I prefer if we lived in Candyland and there were no wars, sure. We don't. I have no problem with an organized world effort by NATO doing what was needed to get rid of Ghadaffi or the Taliban. It would have been nice if military action was never needed but that's insanely naive.

I'm going to be extremely happy on Wednesday morning when we have our city back. Hopefully everything will stay peaceful as it has so far. I hope everyone enjoyed their visit to internationally renowned Chicago and refrained from burning it down, we have a little problem with that from time to time. Feel free to come visit some other time, just leave your bandannas and pithy signs at home. Oh, this is a little uncomfortable, but can you please, PLEASE take a shower before you come back? Thanks.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Riding in Cabs: A Manifesto

On the surface there is nothing about a cab ride that should be unpleasant. It's a nice private ride from once place to another that you pay a premium price for. One would expect that because of that premium price that the experience would also be top notch. Haha, you naive imbecile. While a cab ride is almost always faster than public transportation it is fraught with agonies that are far more infuriating than what you find on the train. The combination of these atrocities and the excessive cost almost always make me wish that I chose to leave earlier and taken the bus. I've taken the time to break down each element of a cab ride that makes me want to pound my head to a bloody pulp on the glass divider between the driver and myself.

The CTA is not world renowned for smelling like roses. Yet I would rather endure a faint smell of stale hobo piss over the all encompassing incense smell of most cabs. In the winter I find myself rolling the windows down immediately lest I start coughing my fucking lungs out thanks to the burning patchouli flanked by pine tree air fresheners sitting on the dash. I don't know what exactly cab drivers are trying to accomplish with this but every cab I've ever been in smells like the bedroom of a 15 year old trying to mask the smell of pot with every goddamn scent imaginable at once. It's hideous.

The Driver's "skills"
 I feel like this is such a well known fact that I don't even need to cover it, cab drivers are horrible drivers. Whether it is because they do not understand that the pedals do not need to be smashed to the ground in order to function or because they believe that sidewalks are a "bonus lane" every cab driver makes a mockery of the rules of the road. Despite having a steel stomach I have found cab drivers capable of giving me car sickness. I'll never understand why it is that the few people whose entire livelihood is based on their ability to drive CAN'T DRIVE. I can't help but giggle at that irony.

Refusing to turn around
Every once in a while you will run into the most bullheaded cab drivers on Earth. I've had drivers refuse to pick me up because I wanted to go the opposite direction of what we were facing. Now, I understand the annoyance of this, I hate backtracking, but it was at 3 in the morning and I had been looking for a cab for 20 minutes. And you know what happens while the cab drives around the block? I pay more money on the meter. Shut your goddamn mouth and make a little extra money you crybaby. 

The Chatty Cabby
I'm not the world's friendliest person. I don't enjoy making small talk with strangers just to do it. I'd much rather stare out the window and think about whatever it is that runs through my mind. Yet every once in a while you get the cabby who cannot shut up to save his life. Fine, I'll talk with you a little as long as you have something interesting to say. The problem is that this has happened twice ever. Actually, one of those was a limo driver who picked me up instead of a cab because he was bored, so really only once. And that guy had a tracheotomy and told me a story about shooting heroin and fucking hookers in Mexico City. Unless you're going to come strong like that please just shut your mouth. Yes, I'm going to the airport. I know it's terribly exciting and I am aware that Florida is warm this time of year. . . I should start offering to tip triple to get them to shut up. Don't make the mistake of keeping headphones on either, this just makes them yell louder.

Slowest routes ever
It is almost imperative that if you know the city you are in that you tell the cab driver exactly how to go. If you don't they will take the slowest possible route, even if you simply ask for the fastest. I have yet to meet a cabby in Chicago that doesn't try to drive through Boystown or Wrigleyville when the bars are closing, even if you are going nowhere near there. They just know traffic will be godawful and that means more bling bling for them. Also beware the driver who always says that it's better to avoid Lake Shore or the highway. He's frickin' lying.

The Shocking lack of Shocks
I've always wondered if cabs were even allowed to have shocks. In a city that is more pothole than road there is nothing more terrifying than a cab ride home from the bar when you trying to hold in a few gallons of recycled beer.

The Credit Card Debacle
This is by far the most infuriating situation of all. All Chicago cabs are required to allow you to pay by credit card, but you can rest assured the cabbies are going to make you wish you hadn't. Every time I start to use the card machine I start getting yelled at. "CASH! CASH! Please pay cash, machine is, uh, broken." When I explain that I don't have any cash this usually leads to the cabbie wanting to take me to an ATM. Come on dude, just let me pay with a card. "CASH CASH CASH!!!" After a few heated minutes they always relent and by some major miracle the credit card machine works perfectly fine! I know that they get charged a little for using a card and that's why I always, ALWAYS over tip when I use a card. I even tell them this. Of course, if they fight me about it than I undertip if I tip at all. There's no excuse to fight about this every single time, get over it.

There you have it. All of the reasons I hate Chicago Cabs in one nice organized list. Ah shit, I'm late. I spent too damn long writing this blog, now I'll have to take a cab to dinner. . . . and the vicious circle continues.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The one in which I shamelessly beg for money

Hey! We're going to take a few minutes away from all the anger if you don't mind. I can't help but notice that this blog is getting a pretty hefty amount of hits, although I assume most of them are from me obsessively clicking on every link I post to make sure they work. The point being, I may have a wee bit of an audience and I should try my best to use that for good. Every year a group of my friends gets together to form the New Jersey Grabowskis and we play kickball. One reason we do this is so that we can destroy Greg Olsen, Matt Forte, and Brian Urlacher at sports. The other reason, and the real reason, is to raise a bunch of money for cancer research. Cancer sucks and everyone I know has had it mess up their life in one way or another. Science has made a ton of progress fighting cancer already and hopefully with our help they can keep marching down that path until a cure is found.

So, in a fun way of combining raising money for our team and my upcoming journey to the Kentucky Derby I have an idea. For every $10 someone donates to Kicks For a Cure I will purchase a $2 win ticket on the horse of their choice with the winnings going right back to the charity in their name. Or the horse's name if you want to be cute about it. It seems like a lot of fun and a way to trick people into donating money through their degenerate gambler tendencies. :) I'm posting the link at the bottom here and don't worry, super angry post about the shitheads next door coming up by the end of the day.

Thank you so much for any donations, y'all are super rad.

Click here to donate! The Grabowskis appreciate it.