Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cities and States

Welcome to Chicago!
This is a part of downtown Chicago, a place I arguably don't go much. But, by virtue of living in one of the thousands of villages that
band together to call themselves "Chicago Land" I do get to welcome you here and tell you that should you find yourself here don't panic. The buildings are tall and the sun is blocked out. The traffic is seriously insane, but if you're not in a rush you can get anywhere - ask almost anybody.
In spite of their "In Person" kindness: Do NOT jack somebody up on a big road (I don't know what else to call them. In Wichita I had "The Tall Road" and "The Big Road." One was a north-south and one was a east-west).
What this means is that you must go at least 7 miles over the posted speed limit and you must know exactly where you are going at all times. The Road is not a place to figure it out.
People here scream, honk and flip you off on these big roads. I've sworn off 'em as I only seem to cause angst. And, shoul
d you choose to bravely navigate one of these roads: Look out for the really short ethnic man. He is usually driving a Mercedes or Beemer, maybe the occasional Audi. But, the RSEM will, with absolutely NO regard for you, decide he wants the lane you're in. It does not matter if you are completely in that lane - if he wants it he will take it. Screaming at him and using hand gestures will be of no consequence, as the RSEM will never give you the satisfaction of turning his head and looking at you. It is very much as if you were invisible. This phenomenon happens ALL the time. Just be alert, pay attention.
Another great Chicago thing: FOOD. Portillos Hot Dogs. I'm just sayin' - if you haven't had one, you haven't had a dog. I've heard that the beef sandwiches are beside themselves, too. But, at this posting, have had no need to fix what isn't
Gyro King or Dengeos. OMG. I am a Certified Gyro Consultant, and these are among the best. ever. anywhere. Oh yea, and they each weigh about 3 pounds.
Bob Chinns Crabhouse in Wheeling is well worth what ever you have to successfully navigate to get there. Last I heard, they flew in 2 or 3 loads of fresh seafood every day, and the taste and food qualit
y bear testiment to that. I can personally back the Alaskan King Crab, fresh oysters, all the shrimp and scallops and their Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder will make you do the Happy Dance if you've never had fresh Sea Soup.
Last bit of unsolicited Chicago world tonight: These people party like Rock Stars and take their sports seriously. On the Great Prairie we really enjoyed high school football and summer softball, but Wow. I think everybody should spend some time in a city that has big time sports enthusiasts and learn to stay up till sunrise.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hey kids!
I know it's been a while since I dropped in, but I've been busy conquering the castle and taming the natives. It's been (Seriously) Un (freakin) believably cold here in Chicago, yet none of the natives seem to be deeply affected. I am cold. All. The. Time.

I've figured out a whole bunch of things since we last sat down for a beer and some Portillo's Hot Dogs and my back is killing me.
So, here's a little deal about Geography: Chicago is, indeed, North of Wichita. And, when I say "North" here, I don't mean like, Kansas-City-North, I mean like Canada. Like the Arctic. Like I can relate to my cousins in Alaska a whole lot better now North. For real. Are you kidding me here? This is my second winter here in as many years, and I have to tell you: THIS is ridiculous.
If you live here you have to have good boots
and you have to wear them.
(In KS our boots were a whole lot more Fashion Statement and a whole lot less Frostbite Prevention).
The Full Moons and the days of sunshine are coordinated.
(Not a whole lot of sunshine so far this year).
Temperatures below freezing are tolerated and not discussed in social situations for weeks on end.
I'm just saying. Thasssallllll....
And - planning a train trip is more fun than rustlin' kitties, I'm tellin'ya.
I'm going to KS for a spot here soon.
Thinking about hobos and how they do it.
Don't feel like jumpin freight these days, nor do I feel like surfing CraigsList and gambling on goodness.
Discovered that some p
eople must simply have fresh air (or they'll slowly die inside....) I'm genetically predisposed to needing fresh air on an hourly basis, as was my father. I clearly remeber thinking he was completely whacked for keeping a window by his head open just a bit all winter.
I thought it only fair to tell you. Before we commit. Oh yea.... And, I was raised Catholic, so I'm all conflicted and whatnot...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Social Networks: The Skinny

The other day I was watching morning television and they had this special segment called something like, "OMG. My MOM is on Facebook!" It was a couple of tweens who had recently found their mother on their social network. They were initially shocked and embarrased, but claimed to be fine with it after a couple nights' sleep
For me, it was the day one of my aunts sent me a friend request.
Yea. My Aunt. She's, like, 20 years older than me AND she's on Facebook.
Truth be told, it's a pretty cool deal. I'm a voyeur at heart and I thoroughly enjoy being able to kinda snoop through everybody's drawers and rifle through their pictures.
I remember my kids getting on Facebook a million years ago (ok. Probably more like 10 years ago) and checking it out and thinking it was great for kids in college. I think that's what the founding fathers were thinking too, but it has taken on a life of it's own now and everybody (and their aunts) are on there now.... Myself included.
But, it has piqued my curiousity about the whole Social Networking world.
My kids tell me that "MySpace is SOOOO yesterday" and they only keep their spaces up there because they don't really want to mess with taking them down. But, they've been saying that for a couple years now, and they still show up on MySpace every so often.
These are the things I have learned recently:
1. MySpace sucks. Why? Because it has all these bells and whistles and music just starts playing on most of the sites you visit. It's come to remind me of those dingle-balls that you see on the front windshields of low-riders. It's like a house packed full of kitschy stuff that nobody really wants (pet rocks, chia heads and the like) but they keep it all anyways... Complaining the whole time about having to dust all this stuff.
2. Facebook USED to be the coolest thing since sliced bread (or so they tell me). Having not really ventured there until about a year ago, I don't know what was so cool and supposedly isn't now. But, from what I gather, it's totally uncool to have so many apps available. It's like flair and e-swag: Everybody has some, but few will admit to it.
3. Tagged (I think it's called) and MyYearbook are officially the bottom feeders of the Social Network strata. I only say this because they are almost exclusively populated by people who claim to be "In a relationship" who are looking for "Fun and realationships" and basically Hooking Up. But, they're IN a relationship. Yea, you do the math. Not totally cool. These sites also come with an unGODly number of add-ons that can make you have the coolest site in your trailer park.
AND, this phenomenon definately deserves mention: Almost every profile I've bounced through has a self portrait that was either taken in a bathroom mirror (What?!?! You don't live with somebody that can take your picture?!?!) and/or are at the very least, suggestive and usually just bordering on pornographic. More crotch shots than you can shake a stick at.
In case I wasn't clear about this: Don't Go There. Seriously.
Or, Do Go There, if you want to feel like you need to take a shower after a few views.
Then there's Twitter.
My daughter turned me on to this and I've become a fan. Twitter is a little feed where you can post updates as often as you want. I've got some people that I follow who post about every half hour with everything from the most mundane ("Woke up. Got out of bed.") to locals posting traffic and weather updates. I like it and it allows me to be a Hover-Mom without a guilty conscience. It's also become a pretty valuable resource for finding things and people and whatnot.
So, if you want to mortify your children, or simply find everybody that you went to high school with - get yourself a Facebook page. You just may find your grandparents there.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Gladness. Cubed.

I could burst with all this goodness. I really love the people that my family has married into. And, 2008 had all kinds of high-points. These are just a few that I'm remembering tonight...

This is Chelsea and Jonathan and Olive. This is their 10th Christmas together. I love that they are such a cool couple and have been one for so long.
Some swell documentaries that made me think... or made me mad... or made me more curious:

- Stupidity
(I may have to write a Thesis on this and get a Masters)

- Young At Heart (Geriatrics singing contemporary songs a capella)

- Meth (aka; How I Lost My Brother)
- Fall From Grace. The Phelps (
Topeka's Shame)
- 7 Up
(I wouldn't wanna be those people, but I love watching them grow up)

- Shut Up and Sing (Never been a big fan of Country Music, but the Dixie Chix deserve kudos for not sucking up)

- Everything I watched that was Anti-Bush and WTF: A War?!?! Seriously?!?

- Hours of study re; Fascism and Consumerism

- Jesus Camp
- Who Killed The Electric Car?

Music and
Google Maps

Craigs List

Free Cycle

New friends and old friends
Cute babies
Indoor Plumbing

Social Networking
Sturdy shoes and good socks
Ace Bandages

Free WiFi


Hitch Hiking
Train Hopping
Thrift Stores
Athiests and Agnostics
Home Brews

Justin Thomas and Chelsea Maureen
(Change Can Happen)
Lou Reed
My Grandson (wow. I'm THAT old)
Helvetica (I once married a Font Freak. Can't Go Back.)
Ipods and Itunes

Sony Digital Cameras

The Pacific and The Atlantic

Planes and 18-Wheelers

Pepper Spray

Downtown Chicago
I-70 from KS to CO
North Carolina
My sister's home
My step-mother the nun
And, what are you grateful for?