And Then What?

L.o.L Debate: Michigan Avenue

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

"Love or Loath", or more simply the L.o.L Debates, continues!. This weekly feature will pit Me vs. Me in a civilized debate on one specific subject matter.

Today's topic:

Michigan Avenue

 

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scandist.luther.edu

Opening Statements

Glenn (LOVES): Michigan Avenue is often included on lists of the Great Avenues (Roads) in the world. It is THE defining road in Chicago and houses many of the most recognizable landmarks.

Ryan (LOATHES): Yup, all that is true. But you forgot to mention that Michigan Avenue is also one of the most frustrating places in all of Chicago. It is a scourge on the city and I hate it.

Glenn (LOVES): Alright, break it down for me. This one might not be so easy to convince me.

Ryan (LOATHES): OK, let's take it step by step. Step one, traffic. If we are going to discuss the road we have to mention its impact on drivers.
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The 5 People You Meet at Victoria's Secret

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

As a man (or boy, depending on who you ask) there are few places that draw out my fear as much as a trip to Victoria's Secret. While it sounds like it would be a great place for a guy to be, it is far from it. Now with scantily clad babes filling every mall and downtown area it is almost impossible to spend a day with your significant other without passing one of these lingerie emporiums.

The only hope is that you don't have to stop in.

With this apprehension clearly known, it is time to look at the "5 People You Meet at Victoria's Secret". 

(This time I didn't match up the pictures in the slideshow with the character descriptions. I don't think too many people will mind.)

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Jewel-Osco v. Name Brands: Movie Theater Popcorn

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Not everyone can afford to shop at Whole Foods. Not everyone can even afford to buy the name brand products at the local Jewel-Osco (or whatever the neighborhood supermarket is). Fortunately for everyone involved, generic products supply a worthy alternative to other pricey options.

The problem lies in the unknown. How can you know when to shell out for the name brand and when the generic product would do the trick?

This is where the culinary arm of And Then What comes into the picture. We will look at all aspects of the competing products to tell you exactly which name brands can be dumped and which have no substitute.

Today's face-off:

Jewel Brand Movie Theater Butter Popcorn (JEWEL) v. Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter Premium Popcorn (POP)

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L.o.L Debate: Summer as Chicago's Best Season

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Another new feature on "And Then What?" continues today. It's called "Love or Loathe", or more simply the L.o.L Debates. This weekly feature will pit Me vs. Me in a civilized debate on one specific subject matter.


Today's topic: 

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(via honeymoons.about.com) 

 Summer is the best Chicago season

Ryan (LOVES): I guess I will begin my just stating that I don't know how this is even a debate? Summer is so clearly better than any other time in Chicago that for you to even make this into a point of argument shows your true foolishness. I hope that I can continue to even be friends with you after this. It will be a stretch. 

Glenn (LOATHES): Oh, very funny. If you are going to come into this without an open mind then it might be impossible for me to even make headway into your firm stance. I know you will probably get the votes without even saying a word just because it is the popular stance. 

Ryan (LOVES): It's the popular stance for a reason. You know the old saying about most stereotypes existing because they are usually based in fact? Well, this is the same way. Summer is everyone's favorite time in Chicago because it is the best time. 

Glenn (LOATHES): OK, let me break you off right there. Summer is most people's favorite time because of vacations, lackadaisical work schedules and events that are held. Where I am attacking this from is that summer is not the best SEASON in Chicago. And seasons have to do with weather patterns. 

Ryan (LOVES): That means you are completely changing the substance of the argument! You cannot take away the things that make summer great just because they are man made. 

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The 5 People You Meet at Starbucks

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

It's official. Starbucks has won. There is now no reason to go to any other coffee establishment. Say what you will about the taste of the coffee, Starbucks is now perhaps the most convenient of all stores. It is the ultimate convenience store (although, I wouldn't use this title to their face).

Why this sudden proclamation? Simple -- FREE WiFi.

For years, Starbucks has offered a paid AT&T connection, With WiFi as easily accessible as a public restroom these days (and maybe even more so), I surely was not going to pony up the cash to buy WiFi from the Seattle Coffee King.

Many times I found myself going elsewhere when it came time to pick a spot to read or write or coffee drink. Now it is game over. Starbucks was always the closest option (even if you are in the doorway of a competitor, there will always be a Starbucks lurking. Just look into the reflection in the glass). Mission accomplished Free WiFi Initiative at Starbucks.

With my new found love for Starbucks I can now properly detail the "5 People You Meet at Starbucks"

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(Thanks for checking out the slideshow of this "5 People" list. If you think you know of a sixth addition to this list, throw your thoughts into the comment section. This list is just the beginning and, remember, it's all just for fun.)

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L.o.L Debate: Unlimited CTA Passes

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Another new feature on "And Then What?" starts today (this follows in the large footsteps of the "Jewel-Osco v. Name Brand" feature started on Wednesday). Gonna call this one "Love or Loath", or more simply the L.o.L Debates. This weekly feature will pit Me vs. Me in a civilized debate on one specific subject matter.

Today's topic: 

 CTA Unlimited Passes

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One pass to rule then all?

Opening Statements

Mr. McBride (LOVES): My goal today is to convince my counterpart of the purely positive nature of having an unlimited CTA pass. First, let us define what exactly we are talking about. Chicago's public transit system offers multiple forms of transportation and, more importantly for this debate, multiple ways of paying to ride said forms of transportation. One can choose to insert exact change on a bus, one may choose to buy a small plastic card with preloaded amounts to get on buses and trains, one may buy longer term cards that act similar to debit cards. Finally, we come to the last option: the unlimited CTA pass. This one, easy-to-use card allows it's holder to pay a monthly fee to use the bus or the train system. Without even thinking about it, the card reloads as it is tied to an active bank account. This one card is all one ever has to worry about when it comes to getting around Chicago. No more planning ways around using multiple transfers. No more worrying about jumping back on a train. No more worries about travel. The unlimited CTA pass is a stress reliever that every public-transport-using Chicagoan should have.

Glenn R. (LOATHES): The argument is solid, I will grant this. In fact, I even had an unlimited CTA pass for some time. Luckily, though, I came to my senses and decided to change to a pay-as-you go model. Now that I have converted, I see the silliness of my previous decision. The problems unfold as thus. Unlimited use of the CTA is what you are given with an unlimited card, but this almost assume that your rides are limited with other models. This is not true. You can ride all you want with the alternative card. The only difference is that you aren't actually charged per ride for the unlimited pass. But think about that for a minute. Is there really a difference between paying a flat fee for service and paying incrementally? In certain circumstances, yes. In this case, not really. To justify the price of the monthly unlimited pass, one would have to use the service very, very often. This was the initial piece of information that won me over. I assume that I would ride the CTA enough that the effective rate for a trip would plummet. Turns out I use the CTA a lot less than I thought. I would push the assumption further and say that most Chicagoans use the CTA less than they think they do. With this said, the front loaded card is more expensive than the fairly priced pay-as-you go card. The economics of it make it a clear choice.


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Jewel-Osco v. Name Brands: Strawberry Yogurt

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Not everyone can afford to shop at Whole Foods. Not everyone can even afford to buy the name brand products at the local Jewel-Osco (or whatever the neighborhood supermarket is). Fortunately for everyone involved, generic products supply a worthy alternative to other pricey options.

The problem lies in the unknown. How can you know when to shell out for the name brand and when the generic product would do the trick?

This is where the culinary arm of And Then What comes into the picture. We will look at all aspects of the competing products to tell you exactly which name brands can be dumped and which have no substitute.

Today's face-off:

Jewel Brand Fat Free Light Strawberry Yogurt (JEWEL) v Yoplait Light Fat Free Strawberry Yogurt (YOPLAIT)

Yoplait Light Strawberry Yogurt, 6oz.jpg


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The 5 Readers You Meet Reading the RedEye

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Who doesn't like the RedEye? As the only (real) free daily newspaper option in Chicago it seems to be the most heavily publicly read news source in the city. It is definitely the go-to option for the young and the hip and the unemployed and the mentally unstable, among other groups

What is interesting is that there seems to be many different ways that people read their copy of the RedEye. And when I say many, I mean five. Here are (according to one man's observation) the "5 Readers You Meet Reading the RedEye".

(Thanks for checking out the slideshow of this "5 People" list. If you think you know of a sixth addition to this list, throw your thoughts into the comment section. This list is just the beginning and, remember, it's all just for fun.)

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The 5 People You Meet on the Lakeshore Path

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

This past weekend I spent approximately two and a half hours on the lovely Lakeshore path. Sadly, my original plan was to spend significantly less time on the winding road bordering the lake. The goal was to get a solid length run in and then cut across town to a friend's apartment to watch the USA v. Ghana World Cup match (spoiler alert: Ghana wins).

Due to my complete lack of understanding of geography, I managed to get thoroughly lost. The "solid run" turned into a "solid half-marathon" as it simply kept extending in length.

Luckily, I eventually found relief in a familiar road side and wandered the remaining distance to the aforementioned friend's apartment.

What this lengthy time on the Lakeshore path did allow for me, however, was plenty of time for observation. After passing thousands of different people, I can safely make a few generalizations about "The 5 People You Meet on the Lakeshore Path".

(Not to be confused with the five runners you would meet on the running path. That is a separate issue that needs its own piece)

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The 5 People You Meet Watching the World Cup

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

One of the great benefits to living in a giant hub of a metropolitan city is the melting pot effect; so many nationalities are brought together under one umbrella, which we affectionately call Chicago. Never is this fact illuminated more clearly than when national pride is encouraged to be worn on sleeves. Once every four years the greatest sporting event, in terms of nationalism, rears its head onto American television. While many (too many) Americans still like to hold stiff in their opinions of soccer, there is more than enough enthusiasm to drown out these naysayers.

As the 2010 World Cup  swings into a nice month long rhythm, do yourself a favor and try to make it to one of these bars to get a sense of atmosphere. Who knows, maybe you'll fall in love with it?





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The People You Meet Celebrating the Blackhawks Stanley Cup

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

The hangover from the Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory and celebration is over. Now it is time to look back and see just who we all became in the celebration.

Here are the different types of people you met celebrating the Blackhawks' accomplishment.

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The 5 People You Had to Meet in Chicago This Week (06/11)

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

New feature here on "And Then What?". Each Friday you can expect a little bit of a summary of the week that was. I am going to focus on the five people, celebrities, ChicagoNow bloggers, athletes and regular people who you, the reader, should have heard about in the week that past.

Please leave your feedback in the comment section and this feature will improve. Thanks for reading!

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The 5 People You Meet Sunbathing in Chicago

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

I will never go to a tanning salon. It is just a principle that I live by, I guess.

I certainly should go to a tanning salon. My pale complexion is one that necessitates preparing my skin for the onslaught of the summer sun season.

Instead of using the controlled environment of a tanning bed, I subject my outermost covering to the fates of the sun. In the end I get my rays in two primary forms: running and laying out while reading (read: sunbathing).

My preferred way of getting sun is running. Sure this method does not provide an even distribution of exposure, but it is one of a very few ways to actually feel like you are doing something while tanning. Most methods of getting sun involve little more than being completely dormant.

This leads to scenario number two in which I get sun and this is by going to the local park with a book or something to read and simply laying there. There is a simple joy in taking a book, a towel and nothing else for an afternoon of Vitamin D intake.

Later in this series of "5 People", I will get to the characters one meets on the Chicago running paths, but for today I want to examine those interesting souls one meets whilst sunbathing in Chicago.


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The 5 People You Meet at the Chicago Apple Store

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Just another Monday, huh?

Oh no, wrong you are. Today is Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. You casual technology readers may recognize this event as one of the places you have come to expect the seamless Steve Jobs' Keynote addresses. You tech buffs will know this event by simply the WWDC abbreviation.

(I find this abbreviation to be confusing every time I see it. The first thing that always comes to my mind when I hear "Double-You, Double-You" is WWJD. WWDC just fits into the holier than thou atmosphere around Apple events, I guess.)

All signs point to a new iPhone at this iteration of the WWDC, but who really knows outside of the Jobs' inner circle. We might see a new iTunes interface. We might see a new Apple TV roll-out. We might see a new toaster that can actually make good toast. The possibilities are endless.

And these possibilities are for the uber-geek sites to tackle. Feel free to switch over to the better tech blogs at this point.

Here at "And Then What?", I am much more concerned with our Chicago installment of the Apple store. Located at a cozy intersection of high culture and deep pockets, the Apple store can be found on Michigan Avenue.

As you read up on all the excitement from yet another Steve Jobs announcement, keep the following in mind.

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ChicagoNow Radio: The Dark Secret of the Green Room

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?



This past Saturday I had the pleasure of sitting in with Alex Quigley (@alexquigley) and Amy Guth (@amyguth) for a few segments on ChicagoNow Radio (listen to my awkward foray into radio by clicking here). It was a surreal experience and, hopefully, I didn't scare away too many listeners and I'll be allowed back at some point.

The WGN Radio studio, as most of you know, is right on Michigan Avenue on the bottom floor of the Tribune Tower. You might walk by there from time to time looking in on the opened studio on your way to work. Unfortunately, this marquee location was stripped away from us by something involving the Blackhawks and Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals. Who do these Blackhawks think they are? How dare they steal my thunder?

Instead of being able to showcase my youthful good looks to the world (read: joking, it was an early Saturday morning. I'm glad I couldn't be seen by passers-by), the crew and I were relegated to a back closet-type studio that no one from the show had ever worked in. They were true professionals, though, and seemed to be right at home in the new studio. I was new to it all so it had no impact on me.

The entire experience was a whirlwind and seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. I loved being included and hope more of you can take time out of your Saturday morning (or more realistically, downloading the podcasts to listen to later) to listen to Alex and Amy and the bevy of guests they bring in each weekend.

With the serious stuff out of the way, let me now pull back the curtain slightly and give away the dirty secret of WGN Radio.

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The 5 People You Meet on Memorial Day

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

I hope this post finds you enjoying one of our national days of remembrance in good spirits. If you have any connection to the brave service men and women defending our country, make sure you keep them close to your hearts today. A nation thinks of them all and gives thanks for all they do.

For many people, however, Memorial Day acts as the official start of the summer season. It also acts as a much needed break from the monotony of the workplace. As you take time to yourselves today, try to notice if you fall into one of these types of people.

Here are "The 5 People You Meet on Memorial Day in Chicago"

1.) The Barbecue Savant

Description: Forget Christmas morning, for these people Memorial Day is the great moment that marks the beginning of the long-awaited BBQ season. The meat has been purchased and has been marinating for 46 hours by the time they awoke this morning. Usually, this person will have coordinated some sort of get-together to showcase their wares later in the day. Today is special for the griller. Let your charcoals burn bright and your food be plenty.

Outfit: Shorts, sandals, polo shirt and the always present funny-apron. Hopefully it makes a wonderful grilling pun like "Grill Sergeant" or "Licensed to Grill"

Degree of sunburn: This depends on the BBQ Savant's location. If they are at home, grilling on their porch, things might not be so bad. If they are at a park, or any outdoor location, they will be ending the day with a burn to match the food they prepared.

2.) The Beach Bum

Description: Hopefully, the weather will be cooperating in Chicago for this Memorial Day. Without the sun, the Beach Bum is rendered impotent. There is no backup plan. It is beach or bust. As the sun begins to reach the height of its trek across the sky, this person will be sufficiently lathered up and waiting on the lake-shore for the beams of delicious ultraviolet rays.

Outfit: The less clothes the better. More skin equals more possibly tanned skin. 

Degree of sunburn: This correlates directly with the previous level of skin-tone before this day. Those of the pale completion (of whom I can relate) will certainly need to take extra precautions to avoid a damaging burn. The lucky segment of the population with a natural tan can casually enjoy the day and not worry about a full-body skin peeling event the next day.

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The 5 People You Meet on the Blackhawks' Bandwagon

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Check out "The 5 People You Meet on Memorial Day in Chicago", by clicking here.

The entire city is behind this Blackhawks team...to various degrees.


Remember in December when the entire city was a-buzz about our beloved Blackhawks? No, you don't? Really? Oh, that's right, 3/4th of the people concerned with the prospects of a Chicago Stanley Cup victory were nowhere to be seen during the dregs of the regular season.

Any Blackhawks function now is filled to capacity with rowdy hockey fans. Jerseys are everywhere. Sports talk radio hosts are being bombarded with calls from fans. Duncan Keith's teeth are now part of Chicago sports lore. It's a revolution.

The ride has been nothing less than exhilarating. Luckily, I have had the time to stop during all this madness and look around. This is what led to a list detailing "The 5 People You Meet on the Chicago Blackhawks' Bandwagon".

(For the uninitiated, the "bandwagon" is often used to describe the groundswell of excitement surrounding a team. To "jump on the bandwagon" is to become a fan after the good times are already rolling.")

1.) The Casual Fan

Description: This is the biggest chunk of the fan-o-sphere following the Blackhawks right now. Personally, I probably fall into this group. These are people who are normal sports fans (some, like myself, follow other sports like a fanatic), but never truly dove completely into hockey. Be it reasons of never playing the game before, growing up in a bad hockey town, being turned off by the work stoppage or any other reason, these are people who have never put hockey as their highest priority. This is not to say they had not been keeping an eye on the local team, not at all, these people would gladly watch a game once in awhile. Just as long as Modern Family wasn't on.

Favorite Blackhawks memory from this season: Dustin Byfuglien's overtime goal in game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks. While these fans were getting more and more invested in the team, going up 3-0 in the Conference Finals was the last piece to convince them that this team had a great shot at winning the entire thing.

Jersey: Jonathan Toews. No one will look at you strangely with a Toews jersey, he has been playing very well in the playoffs and his name if fun to say. What more would a casual fan want?

2.) The First Timer

Description: Here are the people that most of the crowd get angry with. They are the one's who didn't know Chicago had a professional hockey team until two weeks ago? "Blackhawks? Are they the soccer team?" Now they are the world's biggest fans. They surely would never miss a moment of any game. Despite not knowing any of the players or the rules of hockey, they will cheer their lungs out whenever they think they are supposed to. At a game, these are the fans that react to the Noise-Meter gimmick. "Nice shot Bye-fugg-lee-ing! Oh, what a pass by Toes!"

Favorite Blackhawks memory from this season: The third period of game 4 of the Western Conference Finals victory. Possibly the first period that these fans sat through in its entirety. They made sure to catch this moment so they could gloat to their friends that they watched as the Blackhawks made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Jersey: Patrick Kane. "He's popular, right?"


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The 5 People You Meet in Chicago Grocery Stores

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

A typical representation of what if feels like at a Chicago grocery store.

I walk to get my groceries. My apartment is only a few blocks from the nearest Jewel-Osco. I do not own one of those fancy grocery-wheeling carts. Thus, I make small purchases multiple times a week.

With this grocery schedule that I keep, I have been able to make some general observations in regards to how Chicagoans shop. Here are five of the characters who you have surely seen wandering the aisles of your local store.

The 5 People You Meet in Chicago Grocery Stores

1.) The Self-Checkout Jerk

Typical behavior: The self-checkout is my savior. Without this handy little marvel of technological prowess I would be forced to stand in line with the masses. I would be forced to sit and watch as a middle-aged housewife buys bulk loads of Fruit Roll-Ups and Pop Tarts, all the while I would be staring at the register operator as they took their sweet time swiping each item. Needless to say, I need the option to use the self-checkout. Now, there are two types of Self-Checkout Jerks. Luckily, it is as easy as opening your eyes to find them. Type One is the jerk who brings a full cartload of items to the express self-checkout line. Type Two is the jerk who "doesn't notice" that there is a line and tries to simply jump into the first available spot.

Food comparison: Cranberries. Just like these jerks are always in the wrong place and no one really wants them around, cranberries have been invading foods for years. It is time that we stand up to these jerks/cranberries. No more cran-apple juice!

Annoyance factor: Very, very high. If you are a person who just stopped into the store to grab a loaf of bread and you get stuck behind this customer who is seemingly buying the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner, you will be enraged.

2.) The Unaware of Aisle Spacing Customer

Typical behavior: One of the most noticeable differences between a big-city grocery store and their small-market brethren is the size and spacing. The first step into a Chicago grocer is a step into a cramped environment. Most people have accepted the limited space and adjust their behavior accordingly. There is a group of customer roaming out there, however, that just will not recognize the importance of working together in the small space. The Unaware of Aisle Spacing Customer believes that they are the only person in whatever aisle they are in. They will place their cart in the middle of the walkway. They will stand back and try to pick out the best melons. They will get in your way at each turn.

Food comparison: Frozen Yogurt. If only the frozen yogurt would look around, it would realize how out of place it is. Get with the program, frozen yogurt, and act more like the ice cream around you.

Annoyance factor: It all depends on the reaction to trying to get around these customers. If they are regular human beings, they will notice that they are blocking the way and apologize while moving. If they are mindless drones, they will notice that they are blocking the way and simply make that small move where they shimmy their cart a quarter of an inch before going back to picking their flavor of Campbell's soup. This second reaction makes the blood boil.


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The 5 People You Meet at a Chicago Dog Park

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Chicago is for the dogs. No doubt about it.

Last spring, I was overwhelmed by just how many city-dwellers had a pooch (and sometimes even two or three pooches). Where were they keeping these rascals during the winter? It was as if they all appeared out of thin air. Was it this nice weather that brought out this sudden spontaneous-dog creation? I felt like early man who hypothesized that worms can from rain, because worms only arrived after a rain storm.

This past winter, my girlfriend and I decided to jump head first into the dog-owning club. She perused Craigslist and other puppy-centric web portals to find the perfect little angel. After a few months, we had out sights set on a tiny Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mix (or Cockapoo, for short. Can I use that language here?).

I will one day write about the adventure of buying, raising, and caring for a pup, but that is for another day. Here is just a shameless use of her picture to make you more interested in reading this post:

margaret.jpg


For today, I want to focus on the culture surrounding the many Dog Friendly Areas (DFAs) in Chicago. This past weekend acted as the unofficial grand opening of Dog Season. Sure, the dogs have been on the prowl for many weeks (as soon as the snow melts, it seems), but not until the temperature cracks eighty does the explosion of mutts appear at the various sites.

My experience is primarily taken from trips to the Montrose Dog Beach (highly recommended if you are anywhere near this area), but I'm sure the following applies more broadly to the entire gamut of DFAs.

Here are the Five People You Meet at a Chicago Dog Park:

1.) The "Uh-oh, I was talking on my cell phone and lost track of my dog and now he is wandering the park on his own, pooping where he pleases" Owner

Signs of this type of owner: Ever see a dog on its own going from dog to dog and owner to owner with no one in sight? This is the best sign that the owner has better things to do than watch the little troublemaker. Other dead giveaways are aimless barking dogs, uncleaned waste remains and dogs that are in the water just staring off into the distance.

Worst Case Scenario: For the owner, the worst case scenario would appear to be a lost dog. No other owner is more susceptible to a runaway dog. Worst case scenario for other dog owners is stepping in the droppings.

Best way to handle this type of owner: Be nice to their dog. It is obvious that they are not loved or cared for.

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BP Oil Spill Cleaning Method or Wile E. Coyote Strategy

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Wile-E-Coyote.jpg


In the past few weeks, BP has been trying anything to stop the oil spill. Most of us are not oil-spill-cleaning experts, so the methodology has been rather strange.

Here is a test of your knowledge.

Can you decide whether the following are ways that BP has tried to clean up the oil or if they are tricks Wile E. Coyote used to catch Road Runner? (View the slide show for the answers)

1.) The Junk  Shot
2.) The Dehydrated Boulders
3.) The Top Hat
4.) The Smoke Screen Bomb
5.) The Giant Suction Cup
6.) The Earthquake Pills
7.) The Rocket Sled
8.) The Insertion Tube
9.) The Double Drill
10.) The Sure Thing

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Facebook Privacy is Overrated: How narcissism is driving the outrage

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?



The entire intraweb is exploding in reaction to so-called "evil" moves by Facebook and their privacy controls.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO/Founder of Facebook/Polarizing figure, has been taking it on the chin in both a business sense and a personal sense. Bloggers, podcasters and message board commentators are all throwing harsh words around about how Zuckerberg is immoral or lacks any sort of ethical fibers.

May 31st is an organized "Quit Facebook Day" (although it looks like the popularity of this event will not make much of a dent in Facebook's numbers).

Some high profile tech insiders (ex. Leo Laporte) have deleted their Facebook accounts.

It is getting ugly out there.

And yet, Facebook claims that this is just a media overreaction. They claim that their users are very happy. Well, as a regular guy with no real media connection, I would say that these statements are only half true.

It is getting to a point now that the media rabble rousing is actually rousing some significant rabbles. I judge the impact of these types of reactions by my social circle. If something is not a major deal, then it won't enter the discussion of my circle. Sadly for Facebook, this issue has tipped. Whether it is a buildup of anger, a reaction to the recent poorly-received Open Graph changes or just a loud minority inspiring the masses, Facebook has an issue on its collective hands.

This is not really up for debate.

What can be debated is why this is such a big deal. Why are users so outraged about their information not being locked away in a safe place? What are we hiding? What are we so scared about?

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Tales From a Girlfriend-less Weekend

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

I cohabitate.

My girlfriend and I live together in a cozy (read: very small) apartment by the lake. She is by far the best roommate I have ever had. With this said, there are certain things that just don't come as naturally when you live with your significant others. A level of courtesy and manners must be considered.

So when my wonderful girlfriend packed up and went home for the weekend, it signaled a change in behavior. It signaled a shift from civilized living to one of barbaric proportions.

These are the tales from 53 hours on my own:

One of the things I love to do when the girlfriend leaves town is to alter my eating patterns. She is a picky eater and there are many times that I see a drool-inducing restaurant or dish but she finds it to be off-putting. With these culinary restraints off, I always use these times to plan out various exotic places around town.

My goals were to try a Mexican place down the road from us (Glenn loves burritos) and to go to Falafill for the first time. These were the guiding food principles of the weekend.

In my mind, I mapped it out. Friday would not be the best day for either dish as I wanted to have a light meal in preparations for my first morning training session for my marathon. Saturday would be a perfect night for the burrito and Sunday afternoon sounded like a falafel-type scenario. And so I would think.

As I waved goodbye to Amanda on Friday afternoon, I quickly shifted into weekend mode. Almost immediately I went to the Jewel-Osco down the road to stock up. This is where the plans began to change. My stomach began to rumble as I went down aisle after aisle. In my mind, I was going to have a small dinner. A healthy dinner. Instead, I couldn't resist the siren song coming from the frozen food section.

Gallery sneak peek (8 images):

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10 Lies from the New iPad Commercial

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

The iPad launch and subsequent weeks of sales have all led up to one question:

What is iPad and why do I need one?

Well, Apple has heard these questions and released a new commercial to answer everything. Unfortunately, the spot takes the truth out of the equation time and time again.

Here is the clip:



A seemingly clear case of overstatement, hyperbole, half-truths, buzz wordage and overall unseemly marketing. Let's go through the top lies from that 30 second commercial (In chronological order)

1.) "iPad is thin"
Sure, it isn't as bulky as carrying around a full laptop, but the thing is a little bulky for certain tasks. I know I wouldn't want to hold it for over an hour as I read a book or the latest release of a magazine. Other e-readers can claim to be thin, iPad is just normal.

2.) "iPad is beautiful. iPad goes anywhere and lasts all day"
Not as much a lie, just creepy. Is this a description of the latest Apple product or is this the ideal woman for all the Mac fan-boys out there? The start of this commercial, without the images, sounds like an introduction for the new Cupidtino site (the all Apple dating site).

3.) "There's no right way or wrong way"
Unless, you know, the way you want to use it is not the Apple way, which in case makes it  illegal. If there is no wrong way, why can't any app be put on one of these things?


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The Best Movie Deal in Chicago

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

Every time I see a movie in a theater these days I feel like a VIP. I walk down the typically ugly carpeting, maneuver through the felt ropes and reach the ticket booth, which is invariably manned by a less than enthusiastic young worker. All around me I see and hear others buying tickets for the same movies. The strange thing is that they are all paying more than double what I will be paying.

What's the trick?

Well, I'm not a veteran or a local student or a senior citizen. I don't get cheap tickets by going to some third-party's shady website. I am clearly not a film critic who gets preferential treatment. No, it is something much more simple.

I am a happy holder of a Kerasotes Five Buck Club card.



This little piece of heaven in the form of a cheap plastic card has saved me many handfuls of money. My girlfriend and I can usually be found at a theater between three and four times a month. This cost can accumulated pretty quickly and take up a large percentage of a struggling young couple's budget.


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Fine, I'll say it: The Betty White SNL wasn't that good

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

By this point the fervor surrounding Betty White's host job on Saturday Night Live has died down a bit, so I feel safer saying what I am about to.

(Looking around to make sure no one is stalking me)

The show on Saturday did not deserve the glowing praise heaped on it from every conceivable source.

There I said it. And I will not take it back.

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Listen, I thought the Betty White episode was very good. But there was clearly some writing problems throughout the skits. Let's quickly walk through the run down of the show to get on the same page. Maybe I can convince a few people to agree with me.

(Feel free to follow along with the videos by clicking here, if you were one of the 18 people who has yet to see all the sketches)

The Monologue
This was the best of Betty White. She was composed, but showed a sense of excitement and honest appreciation for the fans. More importantly, the jokes were well constructed and well delivered. The Facebook material was golden. Sure, the obvious punchline to most of the jokes were age related, but she is 88 1/2 after all. What viewers could walk away with from this monologue was the White still had her comedic chops. At this point in the show, I was excited to see what she could do moving forward.

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The Slippery Slope of Social Situations

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

(I wrote this after a visit back to my college campus after almost a year away. On second read, it comes across much more whiny than I had hoped. Still think there is some merit to most of the words. As a disclaimer, I feel much happier with my Chicago social situation now than at this point. Sorry for the "woe is me" approach on this Friday morning post. Happy Weekend!)



Everything is much more complicated these days.

"Which days?", you ask. The days occupying the space between college and when a married couple decides they have had enough of the social scene. This social space has been investigated most recently by the movie Date Night. In said movie, the audience is supposed to believe that Steve Carell and Tina Fey are a couple of workaholic forty-somethings with two rowdy kids. Their lives are over at this point. Luckily for them, and I guess for the audience, they get in the (preposterous) adventure of a lifetime. Guns are drawn, cars are destroyed and the mob gets involved. This is all it takes to reignite the spark in their relationship.

But this takes a view of life so far away from my point of view that it doesn't even seem like the Fey-Carells occupy the same world. I am much more interested in the beginning of the previously mentioned drift away from social connectivity.

Leaving college presents a terrible situation that most students never realize. Graduates (or drop outs, whichever) think about their college Exodus in one of a three ways:
1.) "Awesome! Time to get a job." (This was me)
2.) "Wish I could stay and party more." (Many of my friends took this option)
3.) Mindless, meandering lack of opinion either way

I have now discovered, after a year out of the college incubator, that the real tragedy in leaving college is not the lack of partying, it is not the hard job market, it is not the constant challenge of a new course, it is not losing the endless supply of co-eds of either sex making their moves into relationships. No, the thing to miss is the ever present stuff to do.


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The 5 People You Meet in Chicago Recreational Sports

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

(With any luck, this article will be just as popular as Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet in Heaven". I'd say it's a fifty-fifty shot.)

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Chicago is a vibrant sports town. Not only in the sense of the ability for one city to support two Major League Baseball teams, a National Basketball Association team, a National Football League team, a National Hockey League team, a Major League Soccer team, a Women's Flat Track Roller Derby team and many, many more (Please do not email if your favorite team was not mentioned), but also in a sense of participation. Chicagoans love to be active in competition.

To fill this need, various organizations and clubs have set out to create recreational leagues in almost any sport imaginable. Judging by the offering of one of the major players in Chicago rec sports, Chicago Sport and Social Club, everyone from soccer enthusiasts to amateur dodgeballers can find a place to play. This ability to find an outlet for athletic pursuits is a treat for anyone who develops "city fever" and needs to break out of the seemingly closing walls of the concrete jungle.

As a veteran of a many rec leagues, both in Chicago and otherwise, I have noticed a trend concerning my fellow competitors and teammates. While stereotyping and early judgments are often a one-way street to embarrassment, in the context of casual sports leagues most people can fit into one of five easily discernible categories.

(A quick disclaimer: I have played in both male only and co-ed leagues and found that the roles are not gender specific. For the purposes of clean writing, I will refer to all of these hypothetical "role models" as males. Just don't forget that it works both ways.)

1.) Captain Glory Days

Attire: Full blown professional equipment from head to toe. He has the Under Armour shorts, the wristbands, expensive footwear and any additional accessories that most people would deem unnecessary.

Demeanor: Like a soldier who returns from battle, but never truly forgets what he saw, Captain Glory Days will never forget what it was like playing in the State Semi-Finals. Even though this game was 12 years ago, this person will continue to approach every game, no matter how inconsequential, with the same intensity.

How can you know you are playing with Captain Glory Days?: If you are playing softball and the score is already out of hand and a player steals third even though no one else is even really focused anymore, you have yourself a Captain Glory Days.

Annoyance Factor: In a competitive league, where most of the players fall into this category, it is not annoying. In a co-ed, recreational, casual, just-for-fun league, these are the guys that make you want to never play sports again.


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Takin' It Black: How coffee explains the universe

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?



My love affair with coffee began in the modest offices of a financial advisor. I was a senior in high school. It was certainly not love at first sight.

Kids grow up faster these days, so for me to have held out until I was 18 to take my first sip of the lovely bean creation was a stretch (while it is a joke, check out Manny from Modern Family. That kids is 12 years old and he loves the Joe). Coffee is scary. I mean look at how it is made. You dump some powder into a filter, pour some water into a compartment and turn on a dripping/heating mechanism. The end product is dark brown scorching hot magma. Not so much to like as a coffee virgin. I finally took a sip of back-office coffee for the same reason I think everyone gravitates to coffee. Caffeine. I was falling asleep at my desk. I knew the stories about what coffee does to people. I needed the jolt. So instead of turning to Jolt Cola, I took down my first cup of 100% Arabic ground coffee. The only other experience which was quite as jarring (in terms of tasting something for the first time after listening to millions wax poetically about it) was my first sip of beer a few months later. Neither experience was a positive taste moment.

I took my first cup with a splash of creamer and one Equal packet of sugar. This was not enough to mask the flavor that I could most easily equate to eating a cigarette. Now I had never smoked a cigarette at this point so I couldn't really make this comparison. It was more like the taste of how I assumed raw cigarette tobacco would taste. I was not impressed.

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Jewel-Osco Brand v. Name Brand: The Battle Begins

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

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I am poor.

Wait, this is unfair to poor people.

I am below poor. When I quite my job (approx. 2 months ago), I effectively took my household income (which includes my girlfriend and I) from break even to way, way into the red. Add to this my lovely girlfriend's student loans she continues to pull in to finance graduate school and this leaves our combined balance sheet in a laughable situation (interesting note: I am a finance/accounting scholar with 5+ years in the personal financial services industry, if anyone realizes how unbalanced this situation is, it is me. You can hold your financial tips emails to yourselves, thank you). With said situation understood, we have had to make some concessions.

One of the biggest expenses any person/people face are groceries. We all gotta eat. As the current homemaker, I usually do all the shopping. Our closest option is the Jewel-Osco on North Broadway. I love the place. Sure, the aisles are cramped and the lines are usually full, but there is something about a grocery store that I just love. More than anything, I think I love the choices. As Americans, we have the ability to choose between thirteen different types of peanut butter. The world is good.

For a poor person, the decision on which brand to get comes down to simple dollars and cents. Sometimes, however, this method leads to some terrible results. Other times the decision is easy because the generic brand is just as flavorful (almost) as the name brand, but for significantly less price-wise.

My goal in this series of ongoing posts (perhaps weekly or bi-weekly depending on how I feel and if anyone else cares) is to to identify which types of food are worth upgrading to name brand and which types of food are masterfully recreated by the Jewel generic brands.

As a starting point, I will leave you with two examples (the real breakdowns will start next week):

One example of a Jewel-Osco brand success: Jewel-Osco Instant Oatmeal
One example of a Jewel-Osco brand failure: Jewel-Osco Toaster Pastries


Stay tuned for the battles.

If you have any suggestions for great Jewel-Osco brands (or terrible ones), please email me at glenn.r.mcbride@gmail.com or message me on Twitter @glennnmcbride.

I has iPad (for 5 minutes)

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Glenn McBride

So this is like a longer Twitter right?

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I was stumbling down Michigan Avenue last weekend when I finally did it. I went into the Apple store to play with the next generation of electronic device, the iPad. Few products can create the same level of hype as a new Apple venture. Whether you are an Apple fan or not, one thing is unquestionable, Apple markets, packages and creates a sense of wonder around their products better than any company in the world right now. As I entered the Apple store (why aren't they called iStores by this point?) I had zero desire to actually purchase an iPad. All my girlfriend and I wanted to do was to handle the iPad. I can't remember ever going to a store specifically to see a new product, so on this front Apple succeeded. They sucked us in.

Being a weekend, the store was to its normal level of crowded. This was not surprising. What was surprising was the makeup of the people playing with the iPad. The store has two tables filled with sleek tablets, perhaps ten each. Of the thirty-five or so people who were either using the device or waiting for their turn, at least a third of them were young children. For all that has been writing about the iPad, I feel like this demographic has been overlooked. Everyone has tried to put a purpose to the iPad. Will people use it as a media center in their living rooms? Can business men use them for mobile office work? Will housewives gravitate to it? Do hospitals have a demand for them? With all of these postulations, one thing may have been under-appreciated. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are set with their current video game consoles and it appears that consumers will have to wait an extended time for the next generation. Something has to fill the space in kids minds that constantly wants the "new cool thing". The iPad apparently is this "new cool thing".

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