There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Ah, the meaning of life. When you spend so much time looking for it, there's a good chance you might show yourself the meaning of being lonely. The idea that we're not alone in the universe, to me, also often comes down to what we define as our universe. It's semantic, it's aggravating, and there's a good chance it could drive you insane. But that's on the supposition that you're sane to begin with. And who gets to decide that is just one more can of worms. Why worms were canned and all that I'm not exactly sure of either, but when you open up that can, be prepared to go fishing. Does that mean vegetarians need not worry?

Okay, that's a touch abstract, and a touch not sensical, but I had to put something together in order to hit my four post monthly quota.

Have I actually said anything, though? And by what means was it dictated and arrived upon within the silly mass of what we call neurons and synapses and other scientific terms I'm blanking on. Hell, scientific is a term, and term is a term. But let's have this get terminal. No, not terminal, since I'm not really adept at programming, terminal, as in rather than this being the place where a flight takes off, or the descriptor for a bad illness except isn't every illness terminal because even if it doesn't off you it at least runs its course, does it not?

But this post has run its course. I like running courses.

Until October then...

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Wheel Deal

I was going to maybe go off on a little tire-ade about cyclists, hence the title, but I realized I did that within the last six weeks or so and as much as I repeat myself, that's a little recent even for me. Even if it wasn't, I'm not sure it was a wheely good idea anyway.

So I've come round to another topic, namely doughnuts. Not many abide by that classic (and more descriptive) spelling, and I'm often tempted to ignore it in favor of the colloquialism that is donut, but I'm going to draw an arbitrary distinction that seems to have been adopted anyway: doughnut=high-end, donut=more mass-produced. That is not to say I prefer doughnut over donut (though I certainly do on a number of occasions), merely that this is the distinction.

Like many, I'd long enjoyed the donut, and there was a time friends and I would wait until 2am for the fresh batch to roll out at a local Dunkin' in order to grab strawberry frosted and other treats. A Dunkin Donut fresh out of the oven? Pretty darn good. But most don't bake on site, and so you get less-than-fresh donuts. This is a recipe for disappointment. The other popular entrant is Krispy Kreme, which I find to be a touch too sweet, but I still can appreciate a soft glazed. The thing is, I prefer cake donuts. Or, to be fair, probably cake doughnuts. That hasn't stopped me from consuming many a Jewel offering  or, further back, Price Chopper, but given a choice I'll up the cost.

In Chicago, there seem to be two choices for high-end doughnuts, though I haven't exactly done a lot of research. They are Glazed and Infused and The Doughnut Vault. I will say, that my preference is for the former, judging only the glazed cake doughnut. Glazed's offering has the distinction of actually tasting of buttermilk, which I happen to enjoy. Doughnut Vault tastes, to me, more like a pancake. But wait, is buttermilk not often a type of pancake? This is correct, and yet because the Glazed offering tastes less sweet, I prefer it.

But from that exciting topic, I was struck by the interesting social phenomena unfolding around me as I waited for a doughnut this morning, in line at DV. Waiting for a doughnut was really foolish enough, but soaking in the ambience was good for me. Plus they brew the Metropolis Spice Island well. As the wait is long, it would be quite natural to perhaps strike up conversation with others around you but, perhaps by virtue of the types of people a boutique doughnut window attracts, none of these interactions came off as natural. The bungling man five people ahead of me who wanted to get cred for identifying the music playing and then giving credit to the women working there, as if his opinion should matter. Just take your doughnuts my friend, and be on your way. Or the girl in front of me who tried so to give off an insouciant cool. Says the asshole who just typed "cred."

Rather than hate these people as I might have done in the past — or simply on a different day — I feel bad for them. I would hope they could traverse the world without great nervousness and fear, especially when undergoing what should be the pleasurable act of doughnut purchase (although I suppose consumption trumps purchase for pleasure). Were that is was so easy.

I was just thinking how there used to be at least a touch more humor imbued in this here old blog. Note to self to bring a bit of that back.

Where has September gone? I simply donut know...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Style With a Smile

There exist bathrooms that have a urinal and a traditional toilet. They are men's restrooms and they lock and they are intended for use by only one person at a time. And yet, in spite of this, it isn't uncommon to see pee splashed across the seat of the toilet. I think this says a lot about human behavior. Maybe peeing in urinals just isn't some dudes' style.

Style is an unusual thing. As with many other things in life, there is blatant borrowing, if not complete emulation, but there is also much that is subconsciously adopted. One such element for me is wearing different colors of the same shoe. I've been doing this since about 2008 off and on, and while it primarily applied to my running shoes, it happens that I wear my running shoes sometimes when not running. But that wasn't the first time I'd seen this. Nike offered two-tone spikes in the late 90s, called the Jasari, a similar, but not identical concept.

Les Goblet went one further in the fall of 1998, wearing two different colors of Adidas trainers. Les Goblet is not his real name, but Les Goblet is a real person. Speaking to his shoes, I believe one was red, and one was blue. I can't recall the name of the shoe, rare for me, but I do remember that a teammate of mine had the same shoe in yellow. Why do I remember Les Goblet's name? Was it his unremarkable personal best in the 800m of something near two-minutes, his I'm-not-trying-but-I'm-totally-trying-at-trying-not-to-try archetype (is that even broad enough to be an archetype), or his shoes? I think it was none of them. I just happen to remember a lot of insignificant details. As for insignificant details I don't think Les Goblet would remember me. That's okay, I was shit at running then, and I was a sophomore while he was a senior at a nearby school.

But Les' shoes. Les is more sometimes. I thought that was a cool idea. I wanted to emulate it, and if I were ever asked, I like to think I would have given credit to Les, even though the name would mean nothing to most. But it took me a decade to do it, and when folks ask now, I never bring up Les, even though I'm known to be odd enough that inclusion of this largely superfluous detail might be expected.

In my years of doing this, I've received plenty of looks, commentary, and feedback, and strangely it has all been positive. Just as strangely I've not seen anyone else emulate it, but I've heard it's out there, as one my coworkers said recently he saw a kid wearing mismatched Jordan's in a neighborhood you would expect to see this kind of behavior. My neighborhood is also one where you would expect to see this kind of behavior. And it would be in the spirit of both hoods to want to stop doing something because someone else started.

That's dumb.  

It's too bad that the Emperor's new damn clothes has taught us nothing, and we can't live free of the perception of idiots. But then, it's my perception that they're idiots. And since this is growing tangential and at the risk of lines not directly touching, let's just agree not to pee on toilet seats and remember that if anyone says they're the authority on something, they aren't.

Anyway, I wonder what kind of shoes Les is wearing these days.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Reigning in the Rain

Ah, the relationship with rain. I actually like when it rains, because you need a good gloomy day now and then. And, providing it's not too chilly, little is more invigorating than a run in the rain. But when you need to get somewhere and all around you have umbrellas, well, I've spoken of umbrella etiquette before. Without entirely rehashing my gripes, I'll just say that umbrella use is a great microcosm into the selfishness of an individual. Don't want to get wet and/or have important things you don't want to get wet? I totally understand. But others don't really want to either, nor do they want to be decapitated by your unwieldy wielding of an umbrella.

But that's small fry and, rain aside, for however sunny life seemed in Chicago on Family Matters, the fact of the matter is, these days — as a friend put it when I shared the numbers — Carl Winslow is not doing his job. It's really not anything new, which makes it more disturbing. Yes, there are surges in the murder rate, but there are consistently a lot of murders in this city. Is it because they're on the South Side that they get less coverage? Wouldn't that be a shocker...

Since I don't worry about transitions, how about Andy Roddick retiring? This is not a subtle distraction from bigger issues, it's blatant. But Roddick, I have to say I enjoyed press conferences like this one after Roger Federer annihilated him at the 2007 Australian Open. And I liked to watch the guy play. It's true, he wasn't on the level of Federer and then Nadal and Djokovic. Tennis, in this era, is unusual, in that those are the three guys winning everything [that matters — Slams]. And rarely are they being eliminated from tournaments by anyone other than each other. And yet, even though I never really thought he'd do it, I would root for Roddick to win tournaments after that 2003 US Open.

Who can say why? Sports and other allegiances are an odd — and fickle — thing. It's hard enough to pass judgment on people you actually know, but then toss it through the lens of athletes or other celebrities who we get to know through tabloids and [sometimes] legitimate news sources. "Gee, that guy seems like an asshole." Or, "Seems like the kind of guy I'd want to grab a beer with." Or even, "I hate you, but goddammit do I respect you."

And hell, I remember sitting in my sister's apartment, begging the fifth set to go to Roddick at the 2009 Wimbledon final. This one was different as I always thought he'd need luck, or Federer to be off his game to win. But that day he outplayed Federer. That day I really thought he might win. It's a testament to Federer that he hung on anyway. I feel as if, in America, we root for the underdog, but we also want to be the dominant force. It's at odds with itself. And because Roddick rose to the top, ever so briefly, and then hung around, well, I think it made me like him more. It hardly effects my life whether he won or lost a match, and yet it affected it here and there.

Party on Roddick.

Finally, a couple of quick reminders: don't be afraid of the weird hairs growing on your back. This doesn't have to be awkward backhair if you just own it. And yes, sometimes deaf people are jerks. Sometimes, deaf people are assholes. Why am I saying this? Well, I've slipped through the rankings for these search terms, so I'm just doing some low-grade SEO.

SEO you later.

Thanks for stopping by…you stay classy Planet Earth.