Posted on November 1st, 2015
No need to put on pants, because a PANTS-FREE Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Angel. If you skip past everything else on this page... if you read just one of my links this Bullet Sunday... the story of Ruth Coker Burks should be it...
Photo by Brian Chilson & The Arkansas Times
What an amazing, amazing human being.
• Vegetarian? IT'S PEOPLE! VEGGIE DOGS ARE PEOPLE! DELICIOUS, DELICIOUS PEOPLE!
Guess I like people after all!
• Sexual Chocolate! And speaking of hot dogs... Chicago's famous Wiener's Circle restaurant dressed up as Coming To America's "McDowell's" for Halloween!
Photo by Mina Bloom
Epic. And now I've got to see that movie again.
If you haven't heard of Weiner's Circle before, they're famous for char dogs and the abusive staff...
Intrigued? A visit to their fan site is in order... which is probably safer than visiting in person.
• Chew! And now you know why I hate gum-smacking whores, cereal commercials, and any other time somebody CAN'T EAT AT A RESPECTABLE DECIBEL LEVEL! It's because I'm a frickin' genius!
• Yay? The World's Largest Fast-Food Chain Is Going Antibiotic-Free—and Not Just for Chicken? Way to go Subway! Almost makes up for the fact that you KNEW Jared Fogle was a child-raping psychopath yet did NOTHING because he sold a lot of your shitty sandwiches. Oh... wait a second... no it doesn't. You're a horrendous company and I will never buy another one of your fucking sandwiches ever again. I don't care if they're made of rainbows and you're give them away.
And now for something entirely different... I bid you adieu!
Posted on May 21st, 2014
My last day in Chicago.
A pity I had to spend my entire morning working.
Well, not my entire morning. I was able to take a minute to meet with the Hot Coffee Girl herself for a meet-up at Hancock Tower. They have a new attraction called TILT! where you get to stand against a window, then be tilted at a 45° angled off the side of the building...
Not so scary as if they laid you out at a 90° angle, but still very cool.
They don't let you use a camera or a phone to take pictures... apparently they are worried about the safety of the glass (WTF?!?), but this is kinda what you see if you look straight down...
A little heart-stopping but, again, still very cool.
After checking out of my hotel and returning to work for a while, it was time to head home (with The Spirit of St. Lewis working my flight!) on a new Alaska Airlines livery for me... the Portland Timbers plane!
Layover in Portland. Layover in Seattle. A quick flight to my local airport. Then a half-hour drive home. Well, it would have been a half-hour... if not for having to wait for a stupid train.
I hate trains.
They always end up blocking my route no matter what time I'm trying to get somewhere... even past midnight, like tonight...
And as if that wasn't bad enough, you have to listen to their stupid-ass train whistles at all hours of the day and night.
Oh well. At least I'm home in my own bed at last.
Wish I was tired enough to fall asleep.
Posted on May 20th, 2014
Today started out so badly, but ultimately ended up being a really good day.
Mostly because I got to go to a huge candy show with Jenny (of RunJenRun fame) and then drop into a sugar coma.
And because I got to make my own custom box of Tic Tacs...
I called mine GREEN PASSION... and it's a mix of Green Apple and Passion Fruit...
After work I went out for dinner and saw that Disney is pulling out all the stops to promote Angelie Jolie's Maleficent...
Trump Tower Chicago is such a pretty building. But I guess The Donald must have run out of money because only the "T" and the "R" are up on the building... and only the "R" has the lights on...
On the way back to my hotel, I spotted these two lonely Safety Men... guarding nothing...
But at least they have each other.
Which is nice, because then it started to rain.
Which made sleeping a bit of a challenge.
As if insomniacs didn't already have it bad enough.
Posted on May 19th, 2014
Well today was pretty much a crap day.
In that it was a gorgeous day out and I had to stay inside working.
The only time I could escape was for a quick lunch downtown after making a trip to Dick Blick. Much to my surprise and delight, Chicago has been flooded by Pret A Manger, so I indulged in one of their Mediterranean Salad Wraps. Oh how I love Pret's fresh approach to fast food. They've only just arrived on the East Coast... but their move on Chicago has me hopeful that they'll reach Seattle eventually.
In other news that's unrelated entirely...
Is it just me... or is $50 a shockingly inadequate amount of money to pay for puking in somebody's taxi? It costs at least that much to take a taxi from O'Hare to the city once you add a tip! I mean, come on, if somebody puked in MY taxi? Ain't no way $50 is going to cover it. The smell alone would make me puke all over my own cab... so there's at least $100 in charges right there.
Vomiting in a Chicago taxi is such an incredible bargain so far as entertainment is concerned, that I'm almost tempted to try it. Here's hoping that if I'm drunk enough to puke in a taxi that I'm drunk enough not to feel any shame afterwards.
Because isn't that the real price you pay?
Posted on May 16th, 2014
My entire day was a build-up to returning to the restaurant I had eaten at last night to see if the veggie burger I had eaten was as good as I thought it had been.
Because when you've eaten the best burger you've ever had, you want to be sure, right?
Especially when you look back through your Facebook feed and see this...
And so, I went back for another late-supper veggie burger...
And it was indeed the best damn veggie burger I had ever eaten. Again.
I'm told that it's soy-based, but they add in roasted sweet red peppers, a bit of jalapeño peppers, and shredded beets (which makes the patty look blood-red when you bite into it). I still have no idea where the bun comes from... but it's got a texture that's amazing and a bit of sweetness to it.
Anyway... if you're ever in Chicago and have a hankering for a really good burger, 25 Degrees looks like it's the place! Though, fair warning, it gets really loud, as there's a bar in the middle of the room.
They also have locations in Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, and Bangkok.
But I have a feeling Chicago will always be my favorite.
Posted on March 8th, 2013
Just one day in Chicago.
A really pretty day in Chicago.
Posted on March 7th, 2013
And so it begins again.
For the past three months I've stuck pretty close to home. Sure, I flew to my sister's house for the holidays in December, made a quick trip to Spokane for work in January, and took a wonderful trip to Oakland to visit friends and get a tattoo in February... but the bulk of my Winter was spent taking a vacation from travel.
Now the vacation is over, and the next nine months are back to travel as usual.
A part of me is sad about that. It's just so nice to stay in one place for a while... but, on the other hand, holy crap am I happy to get back to big city living. I've only been in Chicago for three hours now, and I already feel a change coming over me. This is normal. This is the way life is supposed to be. This is where I belong. At least until I've been on the road for nine months, at which time I'm sure that I'll feel the same way about being home in Redneckistan. But until then, I'm quite happy to be metropolis-hopping.
One of the things I love about being in cities like Chicago is the food. But perhaps not in the way you think.
It's not because the city is filled with five-star fine-dining options... though I do enjoy treating myself to five-star cuisine from time to time... no, it's the variety of things I can get here that I can't get back home.
Case in point... can you guess where I was dying to eat in Chicago the minute I landed?
Not a five-star restaurant, but instead a local fast food chain of Mexican grill restaurants in the Chicago area. Heaven only knows I can get pretty good Mexican food back home... but I can't get Burrito Beach. And I love Burrito Beach. Their grilled rice & bean burrito tastes amazing, and I'm a huge fan. It costs under $5. And it was delicious.
Another thing I'm craving? A Chicago-style vegetarian hot dog. Can't get a veggie dog back home... and certainly not Chicago style for $4.18... or any price. Tomorrow is the day, and this is what I'll be dreaming of tonight...
Yet another food I'm dying for? A falafel sandwich. Just a simple, $4.99 falafel pita sandwich. Back home, most people don't even know what the fuck falafel is. It's one of my favorite foods on earth, and yet there's no place that serves it in all of Redneckistan.
I could go on and on (don't get me started about the amazing pizza here).
People make fun of me because I travel all the way to big cities and, for the most part, don't take advantage of the haute cuisine that's available. But it's not because I'm cheap... or can't appreciate it... or am opposed to it... it's because I'm too busy stuffing myself with all the simple foods I just can't get when I'm at home.
Hell, it used to be that my favorite restaurant in all of New York City was McDonalds Times Square because they had a McVeggie Burger.
When it comes to the food you love, the price doesn't really matter.
Even when it means the price is five dollars.
Posted on September 7th, 2012
The story burning up the internets today is about a letter written by Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe in support of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (who is vocal advocate of marriage equality).
Making a long story short, Maryland Democratic politician Emmett C. Burns asked the Baltimore Ravens football organization to make Ayanbadejo shut up about marriage. Kluwe (also a supporter of marriage equality) thought this was bullshit, and decided to write an open letter to Burns to tell him how he felt.
The letter is sheer genius. Go read it immediately.
I'm guessing this image of Kluwe is a team photo, courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings?
As you might have noticed, the letter is filled with colorful language which has raised some criticism of Kluwe's choice of words.
This really hit home with me, because I struggle with whether or not I should use swear words most every time I write in this blog. When I first started blogging I swore constantly and didn't think anything about dropping
It was a practice that was destined to be short-lived. I use swear-words in real life when I'm fired up. So it's unavoidable that I'm going to use swear-words on my blog when I'm fired up. For a while I tried to disguise it... typing out things like "F#@%!" and "B#LL$H!T!," but comedian Suzy Soro commented that this is kind of stupid. Since absolutely everybody knows what you're trying to say anyway... why not just come out and say it?
She was absolutely right, and I've been cursing in my blog ever since.
Though I admit that most times I do regret it.
Somebody once told me that swearing is a sign that the writer is unintelligent. They don't know how to express themselves properly, so they foolishly have to resort to curse words to make their point. In some respects, I agree with this assessment.
In other respects, I'd argue that there's no word that can adequately take the place of "fuck."
And so I use it. Probably more often than I should... but definitely not as often as I want to. "Fuck" (and dozens of words like it) are forms of expression that I find helpful in communicating exactly what I'm feeling in a way that "shucky darn" doesn't quite reach.
Today I managed to get in my essential visit to America's Dog so I could get my Veggie Chicago Dog...
It was, as always, delicious.
Oh... and speaking of delicious food... I never check a bag when flying into O'Hare so I can grab a veggie burger at Johnny Rocket's before I exit through security. But yesterday as I approached the restaurant, I was horrified to see that IT WASN'T THERE!
WHAT THE FUCK?! Shucky darn!
I hate it when that happens.
Posted on May 29th, 2011
It's Bullet Sunday from The Windy City!
• Forecasting. And when I say "windy" I actually mean "stormy with torrential rains." This afternoon there was thunder, lightning, black clouds, and a literal flood pouring from the sky. What's so odd is that the forecast for tomorrow is "mostly sunny" which is almost impossible to believe. But, then again, looking at the extended forecast, impossible weather seems to be a continuing event here over the next week...
Make up your mind, Chicago!
• Thor. Back in the 1980's I was mostly reading DC Comics, with only occasional dalliances with Marvel Comics' stable of characters. All that changed when I got hooked on Walter Simon's absolutely brilliant work on Mighty Thor. His critically acclaimed run on the book was the stuff of legends, and I instantly became a massive fan of the epic stories he was telling there. Eventually Simonson left the book and my interest in the series waned, but I never lost my love of Thor as a character...
Fast-forward to earlier this month, and Marvel has released a massive tome which collects Walter Simon's work and called it the Thor Omnibus. It runs 1200 pages and is almost too big to hold comfortably (it should have been a 2-volume set!). The interior is absolutely stellar, having been completely recolored. They also added 50 pages of bonus material including drawings from Simonson's sketchbook...
If you are a Thor fan, this is essential. If you are not a Thor fan, this book will make you one. Highest possible recommendation.
• Thorified. Which brings us to the brand new Kenneth Branagh-helmed film Thor, a faithful and wholly amazing adaptation of the comic book series. It is a massive, brilliant, totally EPIC film that I simply didn't want to end. Everything from the acting to the special effects to the design to the story was near-flawless...
If I have one complaint, it's that the story seems oddly rushed. What should have taken months to unfold seems to happen in mere days, providing an unrealistic edge to the character development. I don't care who you are, you don't completely change your entire outlook on life in two days, and yet that's exactly what we're given.
Anyway... the movie tells the story of an ancient race of Norse gods who live in Asgard, one of the "Nine Realms" of our universe. One of these gods is Thor, a vain and arrogant warrior who is due to succeed his father Odin as king. But all this changes when Thor makes a big mistake and ends up being banished from Asgard to "Midgard" which we know as earth. Love, loss, and adventure ensue.
I gotta hand it to Marvel Comics here. First Iron Man came along and blew me away. Now Thor. Next up is Captain America, which looks even more amazing. And then there's X-Men: First Class which looks like it's going to kick all kinds of ass and finally make up for the totally shitty X-Men films that came before. All this will culminate with The Avengers in 2012 which has the potential to redefine the word "epic"... especially with Joss Whedon behind it. All in all, this is a great time to be a comic book fan.
• Bridesmaids. Even with all the critical acclaim and internet love, I was still wary of going to see Bridesmaids. Too many times the things other people think of as being "funny" I just think of as being "stupid" and a big waste of time. And then along comes Kristen Wiig's answer to The Hangover. And it's actually funny. And more than a little touching. But mostly entertaining...
Wiig plays Annie whose best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married and wants her to be her maid of honor. Hilarity ensues. And while there are moments where it felt like an SNL skit that goes on way too long had been shoehorned into the plot, overall I really enjoyed the story. Probably because it went for "funny-smart" instead of "funny-stupid." Add to that a really good cast, and you've got a movie actually worth your valuable time.
Assuming you're an adult who can appreciate an R-rated movie with occasional lapses into gross-out humor.
• Pasta. I seem to be going through a ravioli renaissance. I stopped eating the stuff (despite it being one of the things on an Italian menu I could eat) because it always ended up being gummy and squidgy. The last Wednesday I had some of the best cheese ravioli in my life at Piccolo Sogno... followed by an amazing dish of butternut squash ravioli tonight at Prasino. Apparently the greater Chicagoland area knows how to make the stuff. Which is little help as I head back home where nobody seem to know how to make it very well at all.
And speaking of home... I suppose it's time to finish up my work, pack my bags, check in for my flight, and post this blog entry so I can fly out tomorrow. Hopefully in better weather than today.
Posted on May 27th, 2011
When you walk through downtown Chicago, there's yellow banners on the streetlights saying "GODO GOOD" along with giant banners on buildings... and I even saw a metal "GODO GOOD" sculpture in a sidewalk planter. It's all part of an urban art installation that's a collaboration between artist Kay Rosen, the Chicago Loop Alliance, and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago...
What's a "Gohdoh?" OH... that's supposed to be GO DO!
An unfortunate font choice... all I see is GOOO GOOO!
As an art installation, I think it's kind of boring and obvious, but I do like the overall message behind it, which is encouraging Chicagoans to do 100,000 good deeds by summer (which you can read about at their website).
The only problem is that I'm a cynical bastard at heart. So every time I see all those banners, there's just one thought that goes through my head. How awesome would it be to hijack the installation to at least try to make things a little more interesting...
This would at least make people feel good.
Meh. I just think this sounds funny.
It's what he does.
Our country's only hope, really.
It's 2:30am and my brain is mooshy... if you can think of a better hijack with your fresh brain, feel free to leave it in the comments...