Friday, December 29, 2006

How to date a Chicago Bears fan, Part III- Impress her.

Not with your knowledge of Bears history, or NFL stats, or anything like that.

That's boring. And not terribly impressive.

This is:
Last week I received an e-mail from the MS Society telling me that the highest fundraiser through midnight, December 27th would receive two tickets to this Sunday's Bears-Packers game.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I was that top fundraiser.

So, Sunday night, before we hit up the two New Year's parties we're supposed to go to, we're going to Soldier Field for her first ever professional football game.

That, friends and neighbors, is how you score a lot of points.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Movin' on up.

Got my first paycheck from the new job today. I promptly walked to my nearest bank and deposited it.

I feel all grown up again.

I'll feel more grown up when my direct deposit kicks in.
And when my 401(k) kicks in.
And when my insurance kicks in.

More later.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Rough day.

It wasn't that I had a long, hard, day on the job, but time sure as hell wasn't on my side.

I stayed at A's last night, and she doesn't believe in having a clock in her bedroom. This is usually fine for me, as I don't really care when I wake up in the morning. Nowadays, however, I have to care. Well, I have to care, at the very least, Monday through Friday.

So, at about 1:30 this morning, my phone started making noise, so I jumped (quite literally) out of bed and grabbed my phone, where the alarm was. I checked the time, saw that it was 1:24 in the morning, got mad at the person who sent me a message, and went back to bed. This process, minus the message, repeated itself at about 4. I, friends and neighbors, did not sleep well.

When I finally did wake up and it was actually the appropriate time to do so, I had to hurry. I actually took a cab to work this morning, which cost me a whole $20. Mind you, the ride itself wasn't $20, but the value of it was. What a nice guy- I hope I ride in his cab again. So, I got to work, and had a training session right away in the morning, followed by some other work, lunch, then about half an hour of busy work before we all left for our company party. It was a big fancy party, where pretty much the entirety of my company was squeezed into one ballroom at the Sheraton. There were speeches, awards, some roof-raising applause, the general bravado of a successful company's employees congregating all in one place.

Afterwards, I was talking to another one of the new hires. She found our CEO's accent distracting- how he said out and again and against, to name a few key words. Me, I already knew not only where he was from, but that we lived in the same town in Ontario. "I lived there when I was a kid, and I have several friends from Canada, so I didn't have any trouble." Tough luck for her. Personally, I haven't hung out with any of my Canadian friends for a couple weeks, so I guess I was secretly craving to hear it again.

I didn't stay long at the party- the fact of the matter is I was very tired, and I wasn't in the mood to hang out with a bunch of folks I had only known for -count 'em- four days. I walked out of the hotel and over to State Street, hoping to find a cab or that traffic wasn't too busy or something like that. I wasn't thinking straight. My ankle hurts for some reason, and the 2 1/4 Sam Adams and 2/3 Budweiser I drank weren't helping me. I stopped, bought a pack of gum and a lottery ticket. Now, I figure is as good a time as any for me to win, after all.

Eventually, I headed down to the Chicago Theatre, where I caught the train home. I sat down, realized I had forgotten my book, and looked out the window. That's when I heard two teenagers talking. I call it talking, but that may be giving them too much credit. One sounded like a combination between Ted "Theodore" Logan and Jeff Spicoli, the other, well, must have been Dumber.

The first thing that got me wondering about the IQ of the future of America was the discussion about what downtown parking structures they wanted to "longboard" down. It was followed by a story about someplace in Milwaukee. A few stops later, one said "I want to name my kid Sedgwick." I rolled my eyes so far I thought they were going to fall out of my head.

Next up, one started reciting an old comedy routine, probably one of my favorites. Of course, he got it completely wrong, even getting the title character's name wrong, then got the premise wrong, then got the final line wrong.

Again with the rolling of the eyes.

Just when I thought they couldn't say anything else to make me want to injure them based solely on their stupidity, they went there. They started misquoting the greatest movie ever set in Chicago, The Blues Brothers.
"1405 Sheffield."
"1405 Sheffield, isn't that Wrigley Field?"
For the record, Wrigley Field's address, as is properly quoted in the movie, is 1060 W Addison. 1405 N Sheffield would like in the North Branch of the Chicago River, somewhere around Goose Island.

Had it not been for my superb luck finally showing through at that particular point, and their stop finally coming up and them finally exiting, I might have had to hurt, or at least yell, at them.

I almost didn't have to do either, as then they finally departed the train, they exited out of different doors, and then started wrestling on the platform, nearly knocking a woman onto the tracks.

I fear for the future. I didn't used to.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Scenes from a Mexican Restaurant

Friday night, A and I were hoping to meet up with my sister, who is shipping out to San Diego this week for whatever the next phase in her training is. I have to admit a small bit of envy, as she's going to be in warmer climes much sooner than her big brother, who will have to wait until mid-January to be somewhere where it isn't shitty cold. Not that I mind the cold, I'm just looking forward to taking a real vacation.

Because of the hostage situation downtown, the trains weren't running, so she couldn't come down from Great Lakes, but A and I went to dinner anyways, and my favorite local restaurant, with the best margaritas I've had in the city of Chicago. This trip marked the first time we have ordered margaritas. We sat down, looked over the menu, and she said "pitcher of margaritas?" I, naturally, answered in the positive, then a moment of silent tension fell across the table, as both of us made inquisitive faces at each other and said, almost at the same time:
"Frozen or on the rocks?"
I swear, that somewhere in the distance, I heard the whistled theme to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. I swear a tumbleweed rolled through the restaurant and out the door. I swear, a couple at another table looked our direction, froze in panic, then upended their table and hid behind it. Because I always wear black, I must be the bad guy, so I drew first:
"On the rocks, of course."
Three of those five words defined what is, be definition, a fledgling relationship. A smile broke across her face, and a sigh of relief came right after. The waiter nervously approached the table and asked for our drink orders. "A pitcher of margaritas on the rocks please."

It might not be much of a hurtle to overcome, folks, but keep in mind, we are two very different people. We had a similar moment yesterday afternoon, as we were rushing out to my friend's 40th birthday party. I asked if I should pick up fries or onion rings with lunch. "Onion rings- I hate their fries."

Well now, ain't we a pair?

Friday, December 08, 2006

That's a lot of candles.

A sent me one of those birthday calculation things, where you can determine handy things like when you will turn 1,000,000,000 seconds old and shit like that. I turned a billion seconds old last June, and as of right now, I am 1,046,967,615 seconds old.

And I don't feel a second over 1,000,100,000.

The Iraq Study Group Report

I just finished it. If you want to read it like a murder mystery, guess what?

The W did it.

There's some good ideas in there, there's some really bad ideas in there. One of which was to increase the number of embedded US Military Advisors in the new Iraqi Military. We tried that strategy once before... anyone else remember Viet Nam?

It is worth reading, friends and neighbors. I feel more informed, but still rather disillusioned in my government. Oh, and angry that things have progressed as far as they have. I wonder if W has finished reading the report yet. Maybe he needs to see it in pop-up format before he'll give it a shot, though. Who knows?

My baby buys me things...

Last week I was over at A's house after hanging out with friends most of the night. She presented me with a bar of soap.

Ordinarily, I would think she was trying to make a crack about my personal hygiene, you know, telling me I stink. I asked her. She just really likes the soap from that particular store and thought I would like the scent, which, as a matter of fact, I do. I flipped it over, only to find the tag glaring back at me where it was written, in large, friendly letters:
Demon in the Dark Soap
Peel the wax, lather & wait for your dark side to appear.
I liked it. It makes bathing sound so sexy. After that, there's the UPC code, then the weight and price information. This particular bar of soap weighs .450 pounds, at $33.79 a pound, making what I held in my hand, a bar of soap worth $15.21 before taxes.

In all my life, the most expensive thing I had ever used in any form of self-grooming was an electric razor, which probably cost about the same, pound-for-pound, as the soap. I have since started using the $15 bar of soap, and I'm impressed. Not so impressed that I'm going to become a regular patron of these stores, but I'm not complaining- I smell pretty damn nice, as a matter of fact.

Last night we had plans to spend time together, and I was thinking of heading out, so I text messaged her to see if she was off work. She was at Border's doing a little shopping. I asked her if she could pick me up a copy of The Iraq Study Group Report, as I am a curious American with gobs of opinions who loves to be informed. I started reading it this morning, as she was in the shower, and her brother and I were watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. I'm only a few pages in, but something caught my eye and made me wonder about the integrity of what I was reading:

Authorized Edition? What the fuck? There's another edition somewhere, perhaps one with more truth to it? Perhaps one that isn't quite as objective? Or is this just all a ploy to sell more books, much like George Lucas' releasing 18 different versions of the Star Wars Trilogy, because he knows idiots like me will buy it, just so I can, if the mood strikes me, see the deleted scene from A New Hope where they go back and digitally add Jabba the Hutt?

Sadly, only time will tell. Me, I'm going to get back to reading. More on all this later.

Monday, December 04, 2006

How to date a Chicago Bears fan part II: Us vs. Them

My phone rang at about 11 yesterday morning. "You were supposed to call me so we could go watch the game together." I knew this call was coming, even though I had, the night before, said that I didn't really want to watch the game in her presence. I had a funny feeling it might lead to either a) our first fight or b) the end of our romantic relationship or worse, c) someone hurting someone else physically. "You're coming over right? I'll order some food for lunch."

She's pretty convincing.

I took a shower, got dressed, and headed over to her condo. I was talking to her doorman, trying to get him to call her to let me in, when she emerged from the parking garage, wearing her Brian Urlacher jersey and carrying the Sunday paper, which has quickly become a routine for us on Sundays, crosswords, ads, and football. What she doesn't know is that's exactly how I like my Sundays- lazy days spent doing the crossword and watching football. Occasionally, she'll make one-eyed sandwiches, better known, apparently, as eggy in the basket. She also doesn't know that I have immense respect for Brian Urlacher. Just because I am a Vikings fan doesn't mean that I can't respect other players. Especially the really good ones.

When we got to her place, the Vikings were already punting, and I had a bad feeling about the whole game. It wasn't for a few minutes before we found out my boys had forced her boys to fumble on the opening kickoff. Of course, in true Vikings fashion, they couldn't convert a turnover into any points. We watched for a while, sometimes sitting next to each other, often times at opposite ends of the couch. The pizza delivery guy arrived, and she answered the door. I followed, as I was paying for said pizza. The delivery guy saw her jersey, then my classic John Randle jersey. "Looks like you guys are going to have an interesting afternoon."

I'm sure everyone knows that the Bears wound up winning the game. This was of no surprise to really anyone, even with a quarterback that couldn't have beaten a pee-wee team on downers. There was no gloating, no crying, no argument, and nobody got physically hurt. At least, not in her condo, I'm sure someone, somewhere did get hurt, but it wasn't her, and it wasn't me.

We did, however, avoid any and all post-game discussion or highlight reels. There was nothing for either of us to see there.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I've been watching this show, albeit via Netflix, for some time now, and I got a big kick out of an episode that I saw last night. The episode is called College.

I, of course, am not the greatest student. My mind does not like to be confined to what someone else wants to teach me. That's probably why I have so much fun writing my pub quiz, because I have the freedom to decide, week by week, what I want to read and write about. Not a bad gig, eh?

In one part of the episode, they pull in an "expert" on college, a person that I'm sure Wendy will recognize as quickly as I did:You see, he's my old company's nemesis, and Wendy's old boss.

Enough about him though. I want to thank everyone who's written and called me with congratulations on my new job. I'm still looking very much forward to it, and I'm sure you'll hear more about it as soon as I'm there.

Trust me.