Monday, October 29, 2012

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I can't believe I've gotten to the point in this blog where I am quoting Tom Petty songs as my subject, that's pretty hacky is it not? Sigh. My mind is a little preoccupied right now as I have a big date tonight with a vicious little minx named Sandy.

Yep. I've been on the east coast for a month and the powers that be have already decided to send a hurricane directly at me. If I was a crackpot or a moron I would take this as some sort of sign that God is trying to punish me for pursuing a decadent lifestyle or some crap like that. Or possibly it's Chicago making a last ditch effort to convince me to come back and stay in the land of Italian Beef and deep dish. Whatever the motivations for Sandy coming to pay me a visit is irrelevant now cause she's coming regardless. Here's the one thing that is abundantly clear to me: hurricanes suck.

I'm from California where our preferred form of natural disaster is the earthquake. I love earthquakes. Now, don't get me wrong, they are horrible and cause terrible destruction. I don't like that. What I love is that when an earthquake hits you have no idea that it's coming and if you're still standing 15 seconds later you know that you're going to be fine. I can't even remember how many times that the earthquake was over before I even began to duck and cover. Not so with hurricanes.

We've known that Sandy was headed this way for the at least the last 4 days. Do you know what that kind of advance notice does to a horrible neurotic like me? I'm a mess. I'm like Jessie Spano on caffeine pills right now. I'm so excited about experiencing my first hurricane, so excited, so excited. . . I'M SO SCARED. I've tried to put up a brave front. I bought a lot of booze and Jesus candles (as well as water and food) and made jokes about it. I told friends that it was nice knowing them when I left the bar after football today. As long as you can joke about something it can't be that bad, right?

Yet inside I'm so afraid that Sandy is going to wreak havoc on everything and my brand new apartment that I haven't even moved into yet will be underwater by tomorrow night. All of the horrible thoughts are in the back of my mind festering. All I keep thinking right now is that I've been super nervous for 2 days already and the damn storm hasn't even shown up yet. Once it hits it will just go on and on for what will seem like forever. I flip out when I don't have a solid internet connection for 20 minutes, I'll be certifiable if there is no power for days on end.

The thing that galls me to my core is that I have all of this time to get upset about Sandy. Why can't it just show up out of the blue like an earthquake or a tornado? Watching the weather channel and waiting for things to hit the fan  is the absolute worst. Of course I'll gladly keep waiting forever if the storm wants to change the direction and leave me alone. So, how about it Sandy? I promise I won't hold it against you if you stand me up and head back to sea.

(Serious note: I'm totally prepared and I'm going to be fine. If things get bad I have friends at higher ground who can take me in. I got this.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Hidden Joy of Alleys

Alleys have a horrible reputation. When I think of an alley I conjure up the image of poor Bruce Wayne watching his parents get killed. If I keep thinking about them I recall all the times I have spent wandering down the alleys of Chicago drinking out of a paper bag. Lastly I will think about El Scrapito diving into dumpsters and throwing every thing of any value into the back of a pick up truck that is made up of 8 different trucks welded together. Never had it crossed my mind that alleys were ultimately the salvation of my beloved Chicago.

Now that I am living in the shadow of New York I understand the true value of alleys; alleys provide a place to store garbage while waiting for pick up. You see, here on the east coast they do something which I find absolutely repulsive, they just stack the garbage on the sidewalk. This is why the entire city smells like shit, especially at night. Since there is no where else to put it every business just throws bags of crap on the sidewalk that sits there reeking until it gets picked up. Do you think every bag stays closed? OF COURSE THEY DON'T. All sorts of refuse leaks out of the bags and stays on the sidewalk until God knows when.

Even worse than the stink and the leaks is the obstacle they provide. The other night I was walking back to the train and I had to cross over the to the other side of the street because there was an actual dam of garbage blocking my way. This is not hyperbole or exaggeration. The entire sidewalk was blocked by a chest high pile of trash. I would have needed to pole vault over it in order to proceed but I forgot to bring my pole that day.

I don't know how people have learned to tolerate this nonsense. It is repulsive. Unfortunately I think the only real solution to the problem would be to do what we did in Chicago; burn the city down and start over. Even a supreme jerk like myself isn't going to suggest doing this. Therefore I have been left to brainstorm a better system. Here is what I have come up with so far:

  • Burn the garbage. Yeah, this isn't a real solution but I like burning things.
  • Have a very small window in which the garbage can be put out so it will only sit out for an hour or so. Since the majority of garbage pickup seems to be in the middle of the night this is impractical.
  • Build some sort of underground dumpster that opens up at the end of blocks. Everyone drops their garbage in it and then the garbage men come by and get it later. Sure, this is probably really expensive but it seems worth it to me.
  • Giant garbage catapults on top of buildings capable of launching all trash to the nearest landfill. It would work.
  • Dump all the garbage in the river of slime that runs under the city as seen in the documentary Ghostbusters II.
OK, so other than #3 none of those are real solutions, and that one would probably be really frickin' expensive.I just think something has to be done to eliminate the stink and annoyance of all the garbage sitting on the sidewalks. Until then I'll just wish I was nose deaf as I wander around my new home at night. I certainly never thought I would be homesick for alleys.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cheeburger Cheeburger? No. No.

As I couch surf my way around the fine metropolis of Jersey City I have been subjected to some things that have made my blood boil. I have a great deal of pride in my adopted hometown of Chicago and I tend to get a little defensive about her. I understand that I need to adjust to some new things but a few of them have been more difficult than others. An absence of Italian Beef is particularly disheartening, flat greasy pizza is equally troubling.None of these experiences rankled me more than learning of the existence of a burger place called Cheeburger Cheeburger.

I was watching the YES Network (whose horrors will probably be a subject for a post in the future) and an ad for this wonderful burger joint came on the screen. The second I heard the name I wanted to storm down to the nearest location and set it ablaze. There can only be one "Cheeburger Cheeburger" and it sure as hell doesn't come from some chain in New York. It comes from the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago. That's it, that's the list. 

Sure, everyone loved the skit on SNL back in the day. I even understand why someone would be tempted to name a place Cheeburger Cheeburger. If the skit wasn't based on an actual location I think I would even give them a pass. Before I decided to unload on them I did a little due diligence and looked at their website. Maybe, just maybe the place would have an iota of the character of the Billy Goat.Wrong again idiot. It's a Fudrucker's rip off. That's it. 

There are no pitchers whether they be on the walls or of beer. There is no double chee, the best. There is certainly no VIP room or pictures of Royko on the wall. This chain bastardized the tag line that made the Billy Goat famous without taking anything away from what actually makes the Goat so damn great. I bet this has been very successful for them as well. I bet a bunch of morons go out of their way to hit up Cheeburger Cheeburger because it brings back fond memories of the SNL skit, and it's not there fault. They've been duped by a clever marketing man who has no respect for history. The creator of this abysmal chain should be hit in the face with a bat and dragged down to the bowels of Michigan Avenue to experience the real thing. And when they try to order fries with their burger I hope they bring down the full wrath of the Sianis family upon themselves.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Eastern Time Is the Worst

On first consideration one wouldn't assert that a certain time zone was superior to another. For the most part very little is different. Sure,  it might suck adjusting to the new schedule when you first travel somewhere but I never believed that it would matter once your body clock was adjusted. I was wrong.

The Eastern Time Zone blows. Nothing brought this to my attention more than this past weekend's football games. I have no idea how in the world people wait until 1pm for football. It's the worst. Ideally I want to wake up, throw on a "semi clean" Bears jersey and be watching the game within 20 minutes. As I get older this has become less possible as I wake up earlier and earlier. At least it's a possibility on Saturday's when the games are an hour earlier but not in this wretched time zone. One of the best things about tailgating is getting to drink breakfast booze. Yet when it's 11:30 I can just start drinking beer, I don't need to ease my way into it with a bloody mary or mimosa (I'M A MAN!) that late in the day.

It's even worse when it comes to the night games. I don't want to wait until 8:30 for the games to start. What if I wanted to eat dinner at the bar while watching the game? By that hour I will have chewed off my own leg. I'm a night owl and even I want to go to bed before the end of these games. Unacceptable.

Don't think that my football watching skills are the only thing the Eastern Time Zone destroys. Oh no, it has found a way to ruin all aspects of my life. I hate missing out on things. It drives me insane. I'm the kind of person who is always the last person to leave a party because I'm horrified that something super rad will go down right after I leave. Now I have to adjust to the fact that the entire rest of the country goes to bed after I do. AND IT ENRAGES ME. What if something really cool happens but I miss it because it's 11pm out here. I probably would have completely missed the OJ chase had I been cursed by the Eastern Time Zone.

So, it appears that I'm left with three options: 1. Stop whining. This entire blog is founded on the basis that I will never stop whining about trivial things so I'm pretty confident we can cross this one off the list. 2. Move to the west coast. Now, I don't feel like I'm the one that needs to chance. This time zone thing must suck for everyone out here even if they don't realize it therefore it would be selfish for me to leave them in such a a horrid situation. Therefore it looks like we only have one real option: 3. Reverse the Earth's orbit. Hear me out on this one, it'll be totally cool. Everything will change for everyone and it will be exciting and new. The Earth has been spinning this way for a few billion years (or 7,000 if you hate science). Isn't it time to experience something new? I feel that things have stagnated and we need to spice it up. So I think it's time that we get our scientists on this. We can build some super engines to change things up. Or we'll just get Superman to do it. And then, finally, after billions of dollars of efforts I will be able to enjoy football at the appropriate hour and our long national nightmare will be over.