Looking Through The Loop

Concert Season 2011!!!

Ahhhh!!! It's spring (supposedly, you can't tell with this weather, though)... that means the return of flip flops, street festivals, beer gardens, CUBS games, churros at Sox games, jorts, and CONCERT SEASON.

Last year, I think we clocked in somewhere around 15 concerts, not including Lollapalooza and Pitchfork. It was a pricey adventure, but well worth it. You pay for the sound, and the experience. Dave Grohl shredding on the drums? Yes please. Ian Anderson prancing about with a flute? Hell yeah. Voxtrot's final tour? Bittersweet and AWESOME. The brothers of Frightened Rabbit sweating all over themselves...? Gross, but you get the idea.

I'm proud to say that this week kicked off concert season 2011! There are several great, and not so great, concert venues in Chicago. In my opinion, The Riv is the pits. Worse yet, is when you get the notice that your awesome show that was supposed to be at the The Vic has moved there. Boo. Tuesday night, however, I was graced with the good fortune of catching a show at Lincoln Hall. I love Lincoln Hall. The staff is so nice, beer selection is awesome and fairly priced, and the sound is really decent. Hell, I saw The Stars there the night the Hawks won the Stanley Cup, and they're space is so awesome, I got to watch the game (Sorry Stars... you're Canadian... I bet Lord Stanley would approve).

Who did I see, you ask? The Lonely Forest, Mona, and The Joy Formidable. If you haven't looked into these bands... do so. Actually, check out The Joy Formidable now:

Generally, I rate a concert experience by overall experience. I don't nit-pick at the acoustics or whatever. Maybe I should, but that's not why I'm there. All three bands delivered amazing sets. To me, it's all about the energy and interest in what they do. I think I love Lincoln Hall so much because there is something so unpretentious about the space -- it creates for a more intimate show. And, usually they host smaller bands, who are grateful that you're there. Seriously, I will never see Spoon again after watching their Divo behavior at Aragon.

Other thoughts from the show before PICTURES:
- "They're kinda like early Death Cab doing their best Weezer impression, and I love it" of The Lonely Forest
- Lead singer of Mona to a really tall bro FRONT AND CENTER "Well, you've got a really good view" Me: "He's the tallest man in Chicago" Lead singer: "The tallest man in Chicago in front of the shortest girl in Chicago" (I must note this this REALLY peeves me, I'm pretty sure any photos from the show are from the sides, as this guy pretty much ruined an angle for the photographers that were on hand)
- Lead singer of The Lonely Forest, of their show with Death Cab for Cutie in May "We're coming back in May, did any of you get tickets for that?" (crowd answers) "Oh, it's completely sold out... Yeah, I don't think we had much to do with that"
- "You'll see us again this summer, but I'm not allowed to say when!" The Joy Formidable referring to either Pitchfork or Lollapalooza? Maybe?

And finally, my blurry, slightly drunk pictures:

Continue reading...

The Resilient Chicagoan

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned in me that there was an invincible summer." -Albert Camus

Though my familiarity of Camus runs no deeper than high school English, and my mastery of philosophy is strongest after a few glasses of wine, there is something about the juxtaposition of two seemingly opposite sensations within one body.

Or maybe I'm really sick and tired of winter and cold.

Yeah, I'm going with the latter here. Weatherman extraordinaire Tom Skilling wrote an awesome blog entry today about how much this winter SUCKS, and it got me thinking, "Why the hell do I still live in Chicago?".

I am Chicago's number one cheerleader. I will preach the benefits of 4 extreme seasons all day long. I will defend the need for several coats, boots, hats, and scarves. I will boast about how lush our parks and public gardens become in the summer. Hell, I will shrug off the 10.5% sales tax when buying pretty much EVERYTHING. Also, I'm a Cubs fan, there is simply no reason for anyone to be a Cubs fan. But lately, the sunny beaches of Miami seem all too appealing now.

Let's face it, Chicago is this flat concrete jungle with a few crooked rivers and far more crooked politicians. Chicagoans pay an UNTHINKABLE amount of money simply for privilege of being called a Chicagoan. That's messed up. Why do we do it? Year after year, blizzard after blizzard, sports disappointment after sports disappointment, thunderstorm after thunderstorm... WHY? Think about it, our winningest athletes are underagers from Canada that can barely grow beards. We rank consistently high on lists for heart disease and obesity. WE LOST THE OLYMPICS TO A DRUG RULED CITY!

But on we go. Like Chicago weather, the city itself is a dynamo. For three months of the year, Chicago is absolutely gorgeous. It feels downright tropical. You can sit by the lake, close your eyes, feel the breeze and listen to the seagulls. Take THAT St. Lucia. The restaurant scene is ridiculously well endowed. How many James Beard award winners reside here? Wanna talk about Michelin stars? Chicago teams boast some of the most loyal fan bases in the history of sport. Dozens of sport legends have worn a Chicago jersey and one point, and always comment about the rich tradition they will be joining. Granted the 21st century has seen quite the slump (and for the Cubs the 20th as well...), but that doesn't prevent us from cheering our teams on. And lastly, the music scene. From small intimate venues to absurd music festivals in Grant Park there is a little something for everyone, and more for people to discover than they thought possible.

Chicago itself is beautiful. The skyline is simply iconic. Chicago is the cradle of modern architecture. We're not the second city because we are smaller than New York, we are the second city of ourself. A second incarnation of one of the most bustling and important points of commerce in the United States. Take THAT LA.

Sigh... see how easy it was to fall back in love with Chicago? I'm still peeved about the cold, but I guess that's the sacrifice for living in a center of awesomeness.

So just in case you forgot, here's a short pictorial representation of why we suffer through winter:

"Oh"

on the road

Driving through Tennessee. Appreciate it.


"Do you still blog?"

"Well, not really, I got really busy with work, then let it lapse, and then never picked it up"

"Oh"


"Oh"... I just got the "Oh, you lazy ass, you are a highly opinionated individual. Start writing"


So, Johanna (whose bloggish stylings can be found here Words to Bumble), this is for you. 


It's been almost a year since the last post. In a nutshell: I moved, got laid off, got a new job, took a few trips, had a few holidays, traipsed around the city with a shopping cart decorated like Legends of the Hidden Temple, and cut my hair.


Road trips. There's an exciting topic! I've driven through Michigan City, Saugatuck, Denver and its surrounding area, Door County, to and through Florida. That's a lot of highway miles on my "city friendly" automobile. Oh well, that's why I have a car, right? To drive?


Did I learn anything on these road trips? Well, I've learned the merits of books on tape, a well crafted playlist, and to not freeze ALL your water. The last one will bite you in the ass when you're parched. More importantly, I've learned that life outside of the city is SLOW. Slow as molasses, slow. I think I'm just so used to rushing to get from point A and point B, that I don't really stop to look what's there along the way. I know what's there. "Oh look how scenic the Dan Ryan is this fine Sunday." "Man, I really love getting off 57 at Halsted. Did that bum get new gym shoes?"


Right? Chicago driving is familiar. I will admit that there is a moment where I gaze upon the skyline on the way home from my parents. "Home", it says to me, then it's back to skillfully maneuvering my way on the Kennedy or Lake Shore. I don't think Chicago has lost it's charms on me, I just think sometimes I'm more focused on savoring a few moments with my DVR before bed. 


Driving in rural areas, though, there is no sense of urgency. But do you really need to be urgent when 5 hours of driving lay before you? Probably not. Maybe I learned that it's ok to just set the cruise control and stop and smell the orange blossoms. Really, US-17 is lined with orange groves, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Check it out.


I also learned about "Waffle House", and that it is possible for two people to eat out for under $11. Granted, you're not exactly eating Michelin Star quality food, but it's sustenance. Seriously, Waffle House is EVERYWHERE. It's crazy. I will say, though, when we stopped in Georgia, the server and rest of the staff were absolutely delightful. I wish some of that transferred up here to much pricier places :::Coast::: cough::: ahem:::.


Waffle-House.jpg

You can't miss this aggressive signage. 

 Even in Michigan and Wisconsin, everyone was delightful, polite, and just friendly. Are people in Chicago total jerks that it takes going out of state for me to realize that, in fact, general populations can be nice to one another? It's kind of a sad thought. Don't get me wrong, I come across plenty of friendly people in Chicago, but more often than not people are somewhat rude and don't try to engage at all.


I don't know... open to thoughts and suggestions?


My Collection of Chicago Area Butts

"Don Johnson called, and he's really pissed that this guy in front of me stole his acid wash jeans". So rude, so hypocritical, yet... so delightfully snarky and accurate. When I was in college, we shared these comments the old fashioned way... racing home from class in bursts and fits of laughter. As we got older, and eventually saw each other less frequently, they came in the form of  text messages... then... THEN... MMS came into being. Jorts ALL THE TIME. IN YOUR FACE. Communication became instant, no longer was the need to describe necessary. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Duh.

As I say this, I must wholly admit that 50% of the time I probably look like crap, 40% of the time I look moderately acceptable, 5% "put together", and that rare rare 5% where I think I look absolutely fabulous. That being said, this simple fact does not stop me from pretending to "check the time" and shadily snap a pic of something that I MUST share with friends. The following is a recent collection of such finds... that which I really must share with the world.

* Names have been fabricated to perpetuate stereotypes *

Crystal Lake Constance
 
As you can see, although it is cold enough to be wearing a winter white parka, Connie doesn't let the "Don't wear white after Labor Day" rule inspire her fashion choices. No way. She will gaily gander about Macy's on State in skin tight white pants. Talk about empowerment!

Lucy Lakeview
 

Although in the super packed Congress Theatre for Passion Pit, in the midst of spring, Lucy sports knee high, heeled, boots, and a white balloon dress. Not pictured, two massive silicone chestal accessories. Really? This is an all ages show. The number of "Lane Tech" hoodies was obscene. Fabulous.

Heidi Hickory Hills
 
Heidi takes a classic commuter look and instead of rocking white walking shoes, spices things up with classic red crocs. And no, I checked, she is not a nurse.
 
Billy Barrington
 
As you can see, Billy is wearing a red and blue hoodie at a Sox game. Yes, this is a SOX game, he is clearly the guest of the boy to his left. They should have left this kid with two singles and a quarter at 35th and Wentworth and said "Sorry bud, try getting out of this neighborhood dressed like this". This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves.

Ugh. And Lastly...
 
Champaign Chamanda
 
Oh yes. Yes yes. Do I need to write a commentary?

Now, after this, I should probably spend an hour before going to the store... but... huzzah to the one that finds me in Whole Foods in Paris themed poodle capris and a 42nd street hoodie...

First Cubs Game of the Year

"Are you going to blog about this? You should totally blog about this. I'm ok if you blog about this". And so it goes. The words of a slightly drunk best friend whom you've lost to marriage, the suburbs, and lastly (gasp) a mortgage. Meet my friend Jo - high school classmate (MIGHTY MACS), fellow child of off-the-plane immigrants, college roommate (BRADLEY BRAVES), and another Southside Cubs fan. It would be a mortal sin if we were not friends.

Much of who I am, and what inspires me can be traced back to our humble (and admittedly sheltered) roots on the "dirty Southside". I can recall at a young age her saying to me, "Screw guys, Chicago is my first love". And together we'd explore the city. The orange line or Rock Island Metra into downtown, and we'd branch from there, taking pictures of everything, and of course massive amounts of running commentary. I believe this is where my tendency to observe and ultimately create assumptions came from.

I can recall rather brilliantly in college when we adopted the "So and so called... they want xyz back". Lady with the velvet short-waist coat: "Um... Santa called, and he wants his elves' uniform back". To the sir rocking jeans and a denim jacket: "The Prime Minister of Canada called, he wants his formalwear back."

The reason for all this backstory is simple - the inner monologue that runs through my head every day is exactly how I would to to Jo were she beside me. Most of this gets played out through text message or the occasional phone call.

Yesterday, I shared one of the most momentous occasions and Cubs fan could experience with her: the first game of the year. For the record, I'm at a personal 3 games on the year, two Sox games, and the first night game at Wrigley last night. It pains me that on average I attend more Sox games than Cubs games, but thus is life.

And so I met Jo last night at Sport's Corner. Sport's Corner.. ahh... Sport's Corner. Remember when Sport's Corner was a dive bar? Before the roof deck, before the Cap'n and his band of shot wielding wenches bothered to stop by, Sport's Corner was a place that you could meet a friend and slam a beer before entering a stadium. It's a bar we've both brought our fathers to, the bar that we take potential husbands to see their reaction (sadly, I've missed that boat). Whilst waiting for me to arrive I receive this text, "The Captain just walked in, I'm getting rowdy". Shit. I race to Wrigley.

I arrive. Sport's Corner is not even remotely a shred of what it once was. There is a faux texture on the floor, TV's plaster every inch of wall space, and the amount of North Face worn rivals that of a ski lodge. Whiskey tango foxtrot... where am I? We order two "big guys" of Miller Lite, and grab seats outside. It's cold. Really cold. We briefly catch up on the details of our lives. Her pending move, my pending... nothingness... Then we spy our first Canadian tuxedo. There is no need for words, one glance says it all.

Inside the stadium, we assess how desirable the company of certain individuals could be. Ideally, men. Hot men. That love baseball, and girls who may be a little rough around the edges. However, this is not a perfect world and we will settle for the following: girls our age that love Old Style Light, older women who love Old Style light, or a couple who hates each other and has a nothing fight which we can cleverly (and drunkenly) insert ourselves in somewhere around the middle of the 5th. Least desirable, "that couple" that displays SO much public affection you want to pull out the "Get a room" cliché.

We get none of these. Instead, we get the rookies who are most likely at their first game trying to decide who the home team is. Awesome. We hear a story about how peanut vendors "totally get a bigger tip if they throw the peanuts RIGHT AT the people that want them". Astute deduction, pal. In the words of Jo, "Move over Moses, yours is no longer the greatest story ever told".

What is it about Cubs games that bring out such a... colorful... blend of characters? Everyone was present: Joliet Jane, Donna Des Plaines, Wendy Wheaton, Emily Elgin, Peter Palatine, Andrew Aurora... Yes, that is the beauty of a city like Chicago. This sprawling metropolis of neighborhoods, suburbs and folks of all shapes, colors, flavors, and sizes. But please, your White Sox Starter jacket at Wrigley is in poor taste.

I'm not going to recap the game. I'm not a sports analyst. And, let's be honest, it's hard to take notes in the freezing cold, beer in one hand, bratwurst in the other. And there we sat, cheering on our mediocre team. All we wanted was to sing "Go Cubs Go"... we're "those" girls that know all the words. I'll pause and let you think about how awesomely badass that is.                             Thanks, I know, it's impressive.

I look back and I think of all the Cubs games I've been to with Jo. It's quite the roster. And I must say, I hope this tradition continues. In the future, I envision this: a ginger-haired toddler with a tray of nachos, her, myself, and a dark haired toddler (preface: not that I'm seriously thinking about what my kids look like, but let's be honest, those Asian genes are STRONG, and certainly my children will inherit my dark features), also with a tray of nachos. I an see us teaching them how to fill in scorecards, when it's appropriate to yell "Let's get some runs"... but the thing that I envision the most is "Shhhh.... honey.... Auntie Jo is trying to show mommy a wicked pair of jorts".

In conclusion: here's to Chicago, this melting pot of culture with a stark sports identity, and the losingist sports franchise in the world.... Pass me another Old Style, please.









Coed Recreational Sports: How to feel young in your mid twenties...

I am in a kickball league. I am also in a flag football league. Am I athletic? Hardly. Do I have the body type that dictates being a BEAST on the field. Not in the least. So why, do you ask, do I play these ridiculous sports. Duh. For the social and exercise aspects.

Don't get me wrong, I am competitive almost to the point of being obnoxious, I care about my teams, about winning, and about playing as a team.

This week most Chicago sports rec leagues started their spring seasons. It's a pleasure to see a group of young, professionals suit up in outrageous socks, gym shoes, shorts, and game faces. Game play is outrageously positive. Everyone cheers everyone else on. It's sort of a throwback to my grammar school soccer days. Jokes are often shared with the opposing team, although once in a while you get "that" guy or girl that you know just missed the cut for whatever sport they tried out for in college.

Case in point, yellow team girl... let's call her Eunice, is covering first base as if she's Lou Gehrig reincarnate. She is here to WIN, damnit. Well, Eunice, it's hard to win when your team is down 12 runs... so at some point, it's ok to relax. Not Eunice... oh no... she will win or DIE. As with any rec league, it's self reffed. Players from other teams stay behind to officiate. It's FUN, remember? The ump at first base was casually talking to one of the players on our team. All of a sudden, there is a bang bang play at the plate. Classic example of pure kickball prowess... little bunt, and run like hell to first. Instead of being a class A a-hole, a la CB Bucknor, the ump casually says, "I think she was safe". Eunice can't handle this "You think!" she bursts, "Maybe if you weren't talking to the [expletive] guy you'd know!". All right... someone get this girl a Xanax, stat.

Eunice continues to bitch and moan... not the best way to make friends... but eventually settles down. After the game, we line up as the teach you to do as a child, and exchange niceties with the other team. There are no doughnut holes and Ecto-cooler juice boxes in this league. There are two arms of competition in our kickball league, on the field, and at the bar. We kick and field large red balls, then later drink some beer and flip cups. Simple formula. Eunice jokes, "Well, we lost here, but we'll totally kick your asses at taps". Firstly... no. Bad form. Secondly... "taps"? What is that? I'm a southsider... sometimes you call it canoe, but "taps"? Where is this girl from?

So we head to the bar... beers are poured into plastic cups, tables aligned, and cups start a'flippin. Our team is good. Really, we're good. The girls especially. We are masters at the table, one flip wonders. Eunice... is having trouble. "I hate these cups!" she exclaims. You hate the cups? We're all playing with the same cups. Relax. And needless to say, the yellow team was... once again... OWNED.

Cockiness, and animosity towards Eunice aside, rec sports leagues are the best way to meet new people and stay active. All the pretense is stripped down. It's not about what you're wearing, what you do, or where you grew up. It's fun -- people sharing a common interest. It makes you forget about that stack of files on your desk at work, or that pile of laundry waiting to be folded on your bed. For a few hours, the outermost shell of "adult" gets to be discarded to the side, and it's acceptable to wear long socks and round some bases.

When I was 6, an orange slice and Caprisun hit the spot after sports. At 26, it's a discounted Jimmy John's sub and a pitcher of Miller Lite. Maybe at 36 I'll come full circle and start slicing those oranges? Who knows?   

 

fUNemployment: A Time to Properly Observe

Let me preface this by saying that unemployment is only "FUNemployment" when you know you have another job on the horizon. I am very grateful that I was given a new opportunity, and in no way mean to mock those that are genuinely unemployed and suffering financial difficulty in this piss-poor excuse of an economy.

That being said, my last official day at my previous employer was Tuesday, April 6th. Around 3:30, I could be randomly found yelling "FUNEMPLOYMENT" throughout the 35th floor. At 5PM on the nose, a group of us left en masse to celebrate.... and so begins any typical weeknight "occasion"... needless to say, Wednesday was spent supine on my fabulous couch, save a trip to HOT DOUG'S (more on this in a later post...).

Today, Thursday, however, I vowed to be productive and venture outside my high rise bastion of a building. I made a much needed trip to the grocery store, as well as Target, which, is pretty much any woman's Achilles's heel. Normally, I visit these places on the weekend or after work. I dread going shopping after work or on the weekends... seriously dread. If I have to drive, I act as if it is a tortuous act. Nothing is worse than battling coupon carrying, SUV driving, oversized Lill bag carrying women in the South Loop when ALL I want is a bit of delicious delicious cheese from Whole Foods. It's a nightmare. Saturdays outside the actual loop mean hordes of people EVERYWHERE. God forbid the weather is nice... ugh.

Looking at my shopping list today, I mentally planned my routes in these giant stores. Remember, I'm used to the weeknight/weekend rat race. I like to do it sans cart, like it's "Supermarket Sweep" every time. I'm a freakin' shopping champion. I drive to Target, and get an outrageously awesome parking spot. This bodes well. I walk in...Target is empty. Um... what?! Are they out of product? Are the about to close? No, Kim, it's 9AM on a Thursday morning, most people, like you were last week, are at work.

Seriously, it was bizarro world. People were friendly. I was able to meander through the aisles, actually take the time to read nutrition labels on Target brand fruit snacks (best things ever, by the way). I know, common sense... prime example of common sense. But geez, I have to share this miracle with the world!

While still in shock over how freakin' nice people were whilst shopping, I took the positive vibe into exercise. I had a few more errands to run in the loop, so I figured I'd take the dog for a jog and get stuff done. Once again, I usually run before or after work. I have this sort of sissy path defined... up the river to the lake, to the Museum Campus, and back west down Harrison. Not a particularly long run, but enjoyable. In the mornings and evenings, however, I'll admit, I'm "that asshole" trying to jog/navigate my/my dog through the throngs of people trying to get to/home from work. I'm used to the dirty looks or the "ugh... she has a DOG in the CITY" looks. Whatevs. My City of Big Shoulders and Thick Skin.

Today I got waved at 4 times by other runners, 3 people wanted to pet my dog (Payton, like Walter, Sweetness etc... NOT Manning), and at least a dozen bemused glances by tourist types. I saw one woman tell her daughter "Oh, isn't that so sweet?". Was I in Chicago? Is this the same downtown that I know? I wasn't sure, but I liked it. This event was so dramatic, I might have to change my harsh position towards Joliet Jane and Wanda Wheaton.

Now I'm home, back on my awesome couch, caught up on all my DVR'ed shows, and still at a loss. As much as I'm appreciating this time off, I'm getting a bit cabin fevery. I'm thisclose to throwing the remote and Giada's big dumb bobblehead. 

I'm sure this will pass, and in a few short weeks I'll begin my "I don't WANNA go to work" whine...

GiadaSucks.jpg


 

NCAA Tournament, Opening Day -- Springtime in Chicago

The first week of April is probably one of my favorite times to be in Chicago -- most peoples' brackets are shot, and cheer for some random team they know ZERO about (Yeah! Butler! woo!); Cubs/Sox rivalries heat up, and there are always those few people that hang on to dear life to that one warm day and insist on wearing flip flops and cargo shorts until November. Personally, I'm guilty of all three. I had Ohio State taking March Madness by storm (still shaking my fist at Evan Turner), rocked a backwards Cubs hat with pigtails at work, and the yellow havianas have made an appearance or two... three... four...

I'm going to make two admissions here: 1. I don't know much about college sports. I pick my bracket based on colors, mascots, and schools that have beat schools I liked in the past. My college made one really really good run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2006, and that is my fondest memory of the tourney. 2. I am a Cubs fan that grew up on the southside. I know, it doesn't make sense. Wah wah. I feel these two factors seriously tint the view I have on springtime in Chicago.

Springtime in Chicago is when the fairweather fans make their first major appearance of the year. There, I said it. Before March Madness began, how many people do you think could locate Duke and Butler on a map? Butler? Is that in Ohio? Duke, somewhere on the east coast, right? Don't get me wrong, I cheered for Butler, I really did. It's hard for me to watch sports of I'm not backing a team. It's ok to watch and get into a game, but I just can't stand people that think they're on a first name basis with the players. Ugh.

On to baseball... Go Cubs! This year is our year! Um... Screw the goat.. what other clichés can I come up with? Opening Day in Chicago was truly a battle of the pitchers. Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. The perfect pitcher, and the hot head with that one no hitter a couple years ago. The stand up classy guy, and the guy that whips off his belt when the benches clear. Yep. I'm a Cubs fan, but I can differentiate talent and crazy when I see it. And, true to expectation, Zambrano throws a hissy fit on the mound, and Buehrle makes probably the best defensive play of the year.

That being said... why is it that in Chicago some people take more pride in hating on the other team than cheering for their own? The "Gay Bar" Wrigley Field jokes and "Crack House" Comiskey (U.S. Cellular is a bad telecom service provider, it doesn't deserve to be attached to a baseball stadium) jokes are a bit old, and a tad too easy, non? We get it... haha.... Wrigley Field is near an area with a large pocket of homosexuals, and yes... haha, Comiskey Park isn't in the most economically burgeoning community in the city. Jokes!

Even social media is riddled with this crap. "OMG BEST DAY EVAR! SOX WIN AND CUBS LOSE!" Um... what?! Oh em gee, your day is made because a team you don't like lost the first game of a 162 game season? "OH WELL! CUBS MAY HAVE LOST, BUT AT LEAST WE'RE NOT IN THE GHETTO. SNAP" Great spirit there, champ. Not everything south of Madison is public housing. (Actually, as I type this, I'm sitting 50ft south of Madison)

I'm ALL about taking pride in your team. I'm a Cubs fan, for pete's sake! Three generations of Chicagoans have been disappointed by this team. I'm not going to jump ship, but I'm sure as hell not going to wish ill will upon the White Sox. Let's all agree, America, that that sort of hatred is reserved only for the Yankees and Packers.

I digress.    

But I think the thing I love most about the first week of April, though, is that the Midwest is emerging from the cumbersome hibernation that winter imposes. People are outside again, spots are cramming the sidewalks with tables and chairs, those double decker buses are shuttling Marty and Mary Michigan up and down the city... and so it goes. Spring is a time for regrowth, new beginnings, and blah blah blah, psycho-babble bullshit. Although it's a change, it's a dependable change. In a weird way, I find the change of seasons comforting. I can always rely on the fountains turning on, or State Street being clogged in the afternoons. Consistency. So crack open the Old Style's/PBR's/High Life's and let's celebrate the middle of fiscal.

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