Touched by a ... Bear

I was recently reminded of one of the most amazing moments of my life.

People want me to blog more and oddly - hilarious shit doesn't happen to me weekly so at times I must tell of a time past.

I was living in Phoenix at the time and my mother and I were traveling via aeroplane back to Chicago.  I call my mother "ma" cause I am from Chicago and I have always called her a quick form of mom.  Because of my accent, mom sounds like mam and I am lazy and leave off the last m and it becomes "ma".  Real hard on that a in "ma".  I remember hollering to her once "MA" and she flipped her lid, demanding I call her mother or mommy or mom.  "alright ma" I said.  Not everyone from Chicago does this.  I do.  Sue me.  I can't help the way I talk.

She is my 'ma' - that is the end of it.  (fun side story - unrelated)

So we were circling Chicago. I wanted to know what was going on so I tuned into the channel where you can listen to the pilot talk to ATC. The weather was shit in Chicago.  ATC told the pilot that we would have to land in Minneapolis (MSP - for those in the code know).  I announced to everyone around us that we were going to MSP.  Five minutes later the pilot announced that we were landing in MSP.  "How did you know that?" someone asked.  I listen to channel 9 when I must know what is up.

We land at MSP.  It is late at night - probably too late for a flight to ORD, but still we must know what to do.  We are all unloaded - hanging out at the airport.

My ma goes to the bathroom at some point.  I get up - I am listening to some tunes on my sweet yellow Sony walkman- y'all owned one.

Paying no attention to where I am going I walk into a man.  I say I am sorry and look up.

You know how when you are in a car accident or something the same - suddenly everything is in slow motion and you go deaf?  Your brain takes in every visual millisecond - recording every tiny moment of the event and lets your remember it scene for scene?

That is what happened.  I said I was sorry, looked up at this large man that I clumsily walked into - bounced off of him...and the second I recognized him as Mike Ditka - there was no sound - except for his words - slo-mo.   He said "its okay" and put each of his hands on my shoulders and physically removed me from his path of travel.  I stumbled a bit - in slow motion - and looked, turned around in amazement.  Then everything returned to normal.

You probably can't appreciate this unless you are from Chicago.  You can't appreciate it unless you remember the absolute hysteria over the 85 Bears.  The Super Bowl Shuffle, Sweetness, having a crush on Jim McMahon and that awesome sweatband. I've shown my age.

I went into the bathroom where my ma was and I said " Ma!!! I think Mike Ditka is on our plane" and some lady from another stall yelled out "Are you on the flight from Phoenix to Chicago?  He is - I was sitting next me - it is great!"

I like to refer to this as the time I was manhandled by Mike Ditka.  Because he did in fact manhandle me. 

Then we were all sitting around waiting to know the status of the flight.  Mike Ditka is standing up, leaning against the ticket counter. Chewing gum like a fucking cow.  Wearing a suit like it was his job.  It was the first time in my life I realized - a man could wear a suit or he could wear a fucking insanely expensive tailored suit.  There is a difference.  He is irate and hollerin' "The crew is illegal - the crew went illegal  - none of us are getting out of here".  He was a cartoon of himself.  He was the image the papers made him to be and it was happening in front of us.  The anger and gum chewing.  Everyone just sat around him like he was our Lord.  Everyone scared to look directly at him but believing his word.  Then randomly some brave - so fucking brave soul would approach his majesty and ask for an autograph.  I remember being frightened when the first one approached - I thought for sure he would murder them with a swipe of his mighty paw.  He signed the autographs in an unfriendly and irritated manner.

I love Mike Ditka.  I love that he actually does chew gum like a cow and has a fiery temper.  I love that I can say that he manhandled me.

When I reported this story to my friends in Phoenix -  my friend, Ted, asked - Did they put the shirt you were wearing in a museum in your town?  My favorite comment ever about this event.  That shirt should be in a museum.  Ditka worship is totally normal in Chicago. 

The Walk Signal

I have no car so - my bike and my legs are my only source of transportation.

I enjoy my smartphone as most do.  This afternoon a man was angry that I dared to cross the road while looking at my phone. 

I have had this happen before.  Years ago a truck driver was beeping at me because I was talking on my phone when I crossed the road.  I was on the phone with some friend when this happened and I got all crazy....I stopped in the middle of the road and was screaming at the guy. "wha? wha? What is your problem?"  This was probably circa summer of 2010 - 2011 - I had a lot of anger then.  Then some -perhaps out of homing man said "I think he is mad that you are on your phone".  "I have a walk signal! I can walk and talk on my phone!" I yelled.  " - you can.  I was just telling you what I think his problem was" he said...fearing me.

You know you have issues to deal with when you are standing in the middle of the road challenging a semi to run you over and a homeless man is trying to diffuse the situation.

Now - I am not saying I am without fault with my phone use.  I was trying to text and ride my bike once and nearly ran into a lamppost.  These things happen.  BUT - I can look at my phone and walk.  I look up every few seconds.  I am fine doing it.  I am WALKING - I am not going to hurt others.

SO - I can walk...on the WALK signal across the street while looking at my phone and WHO are YOU- person trying to make a right on a red to say I can't?

Blind people can cross the road on a walk on a walk signal.   So guess what?  I can too! I can look at my dandy phone and never look up and do it.  I can be fucking blindfolded while taking pictures of your irate honking ass and crawl across the street!  Sorry I am impeding your right on red - but do you see that lit up man in the international sign for walking?  That is for me!  I GET TO WALK before you get to turn. 

I can do what ever the fuck I want in this crosswalk while that illumitaed man is up saying I can go and YOU right-on-red must wait.

Maybe I'm going to juggle.  I am going to juggle as I cross the road.  Is that going to piss you off? 

Maybe I will get a catfish and a sharp knife and fillet that fucker as I cross the road.  Is that cool?  I am going to fillet a fucking fish as I walk across the street.  It is my god damn American right to do so.

I am going to create and then eat the most amazing ice cream sundae EVER as I walk across the road (time permitting).

Next time I cross the road I will get a peacock, put it in a bird-hold (whatever that is) and de-feather it as I cross the road. 

I am going to bring my laundry and pre-treat any stains with SHOUT.  I am going to SHOUT it OUT in the crosswalk.  You like that better than me looking at my phone?

You into origami?  I am going to stop in the lane closest to your turning and make about 10 origami cranes of various colors

Is all that shit cool?  Great looking at my phone shouldn't be a big deal. 

5 for a 5k

Today I ran my first 5k in about 4 years.  A sad performance but least I am more cool than some people at the race.  I might be slow, but I am friggin' awesome.

I was pleased to see that none of my old 5k annoyance have changed...such as:

1.  Nerds that wear their 5k shirt to the 5k.  Yes - this is my most bitchy complaint so it is first.  I just think it is nerdy.  There it is off my chest - now get that shirt off your chest.....
That was a nerdy joke for a nerd complaint.

2.  I line up in the back of the pack because I recognize that I am a slow runner.  In this particular race they had it clearly marked where to line up by your mile time.  A sign for 7 minute milers in the front...then a sign for 7.5 minute milers, etc.  These are not decorations celebrating the different times it may take to finish a mile but I guess that is what people think....or they are super dumb and believe they can walk a mile in under 10 minutes.  (which - I probably could.  I am an Olympic speed walker.) There is no reason my slow fat ass should be passing your walking body 3 blocks from the start line.  What is going on here? 

Perhaps next time I will bring a clipboard and pencil and wear one of them old time reporter hats and interview these folks.  Did you strain your quad out the gate?  Did you get a block and say "fuck it, I'm walkin'"?  Is this a protest to society and the way we are constantly discriminated against and pigeonholed by mile time?  I can't tell you how many times I have been turned down a job because a simple Google search revealed my slow running.  Curse the man!!!  Or....are you just a fucking idiot?  

The most SUPER annoying is when there is a gaggle of ladies chatting about nonsense while they push their strollers.  FOUR OF THEM IN A ROW - taking up half the road.  COME ON....why did you not start in the back? 

I don't mind passing people - it feels better to pass than to be passed, but when I am trying to pass the mom-stroller road block it is annoying....mostly because it forces me to run more.  My lazy ass wants to run 5 kilometers.  NOT 5.1 kilometers.  Out of the way.  Orale!

3.  The stinkin' announcers at these things.  Is it a joke?  They sound like parodies of radio dudes.  I run the fastest in the beginning just to get away from it.  Then I find myself running to it at the end which I do not like!  That is not welcoming!   I kinda wish the dude would be hiding with a megaphone at every turn - I would shave a good 10 minutes off my time just trying to flee from his voice and stupid adages.

4.  My favorite and a favorite of my good friend Liz:  The hydration belt.  IT IS 3.1 MILES DUDE!  What the hell?  You are not going to dehydrate in your 3 mile run...for cryin' out loud... you are a fool.  Did you mistake this for a 50k?  Only reasonable explanation.  In fact I think they should get rid of the hydration stations in the 5k, unless it is super hot.  Let's make this tiny race a real challenge!  They certainly should not be handing out Gatorade...really?  Your electrolytes have been depleted after running 1.5 miles.   Forgo the race and see a doctor.

5.  I don't have a 5, but this dude was holding a sign along the race that said "YOU ARE ALL REALLY GOOD AT EXERCISE" and that was the highlight of my race.  Hilarious!

Die Hipster Scum

I fucking hate hipsters.

This is not interesting – everyone but hipsters hate hipsters.

As in any major city we have hipsters galore in Chicago … but I am relieved that I do not live in the part of town that is super-saturated with them.   If I did my eyes would be permanently locked in the mid-eye roll position from constantly being annoyed by skinny jeans on dudes, out of season stocking caps, stupid eyeglasses, careless yet deliberate facial hair growth, brightly colored tights, and faux Zooey Deschanel quirkiness.  Stop it.  It is fake.. all fake.

I have made several analogies to hipsters over the years:

My first:
Ok – you know how at ASU a very small part of the population is Greek and basically if you are Greek you think Greek people are cool but if you are not you are like “what the fuck loser?  Way to fit into a stereotype” that is what a hipster is.  Transfer that to a large city.  That is what we are dealing with.  Now – people that played rugby at ASU? Awesome mother-fuckers.

The above really is not fair to my friends that were involved in the Greek system at ASU because they are actually cool and would never lower themselves to being hipsters so I have adjusted that.

The thing about hipsters is – they are frauds.  They are judgmental fucking frauds and they are rude and generally assholes.   Maybe this is part of their “thing” and if so – I got news – NO ONE IS IMPRESSED.

No one on planet earth likes hypocrites – which is what a hipster is.  No one likes judgmental people – which you must be to be a hipster. 

Hipsters remind me of that Cake song – Rock ‘n Roll Lifestyle.  TOTALLY describes hipsters. 

Shut your traps – I know what you are thinking – that I AM JUDGING.  Yes I am – but with license.  I am judging them for being dicks that think they are better than everyone, smarter than everyone, more in tune the world.  Yes – I am judging them because the fact is – I know more than them!  I am better and smarter than them….it is a fact and not a judgment.

Like any group in the world they think they are original when in fact they have clearly opened up a handbook on hipsterism and are adhering to it.  Sure – perhaps the fact that I dress like the norm makes me a follower – but YOU – YOU YOU FUCKING HIPSTER are going out of your way to consciously follow a path.  Sure – I am influence by what I see but the fact that I don’t consciously seek out that path makes me a bigger individual than your sorry ass follower self.

Groups like to say they ‘go against the norm’ and what not…that they will not be a follower.  But who is the follower when you are in a group that consciously decides how they will look and think?  Are we, the common people, followers?  Mmmmmmm no.  You are.  We all follow society and the norms.  We all have smart phones and have jobs and fall into our society.  Until you join a god damn Amish community – do not tell me how you are an individual because you are wearing some retro shit.  I want to see some god damn butter churned by you!  Churn me some fucking butter!

Hipsters are brainwashed.  They judge those that have not been brainwashed.  They are idiots.

So…on a scale of 1 to 10 on being a judgemental-hypocrite (10 being the most) – 10 is definitely a hipster.  NO ONE is more judgey and hypocritical. 

Evengelical – Christian – Right wingers – they register a 7 on the scale…far more tolerable people. 

Correct me if I am wrong – but I assure you, I am not.  

Hipsters!  Your time is up  - find a new identity, the rest of us are bored of the current one.


Natural Disasters

People are braced in the northeast for Sandy.

People are being told to evacuate.

They closed down the stock market...that is some serious business.

So please - evacuate and take care.

People are insane when it comes to natural disasters.  They want to ride shit out and protect their property.  WHAT? 

When I lived in Arizona and we had insane fires all over the state people would refuse to evacuate - they wanted to stand their ground.  DUDE - it is an insane ravaging fire...not a calvary of Indians on horseback.  You can't reason with a fire.  You can't wave a gun around and scare it off.  So - just get the fuck out before you die.  The fire shall take you.  Do you want to go the way of Bambi's mom?

I am passionate for taking proper precautions... but I am a hypocrite.

I have felt an earthquake three times in my life, all times while laying in bed and just couldn't be bothered to take any sort of action.  I just laid there....shakin'

When I was watching TV one night a tornado siren went off and I was annoyed.  It took me ten minutes to get off the couch.  The only thing I did was put some pants on.   I don't like wearing pants sometimes...ok.   I figured if I was going to be tossed a couple miles via wind I should at least have the decency to be wearing pants.  Then...I got in my car and drove to Target.  Yup - took that seriously.

When the blizzard struck Chicago - I walked myself down to the local bar.  Staying indoors was not something I took seriously.

I HATED having building fire drills when I worked downtown.  UGH!  I got better things to do than skip down all those stairs and stand outside for a period of time.  PLUS - I am big.  I don't need a fucking drill.  If shit goes down and I need to get the fuck out of somewhere I will knock down the small and weak to save myself.  I have NO problem admitting this.  Drills are for the little people and they shouldn't be drills to exit the building.  They should be drills on how to defend yourself from the giant people of Northern European decent that will come barreling down the stairwell and toss you aside. 

Really we have all become desensitized to tornado sirens and drills and warnings.  The weathermen are typically such alarmists that we don't think much of these warnings. 

But I guess when the TODAY show is telling you to purchase kitty litter to poop in and the President is telling you to listen to local should take action.  I am not sure what I would do in that situation....probably go to Target or a bar. 

Things I Hate - Sunglass Edition

Hate is a strong word.  I use it freely and unnecessarily.  It is bad.

My friend, Cara, suggested I make a blog of things I hate.  This could be reoccuring as I am a hater.
This focuses on the inappropriate use of sunglasses:

1.  Sunglasses Indoors:
Stop it.  You are a jag.  Two choices:
  A.   You want to look like some celebrity- this makes you a jag or Italian, most likely both:

  B.   You are a celebrity trying to go unnoticed:  REALLY?  You may as well be wearing a giant hat that says "I am a fucking celebrity!  Look at me....but don't notice me".  Fool:

2.  Strangers that try to talk to me while sunglassed:

  I actively ignore these people.  Ask my friend Kelly - I did it with her present once.  Take off the glasses and look at me with your eyeballs.  If you don't, I do not know if you are actually trying to communicate with me. You could be talking on a Bluetooth, criminally insane, or wanting to rob me or splash acid in my face while protecting your identity. is fucking rude.
You want to know how to get to The Bean from here?  I am sorry sir, if you remove your sunglasses I would know you are talking to me and not Siri.  I will be more than willing to help once you have indicated you are talking to a human.  That involves eye contact.  

3. Sunglasses and a baseball hat:

  One or the other dude.  It looks silly otherwise.  The purpose of the baseball hat style is to provide your eyes shade from the sun.  Wearing both at once - well that is like me skipping through the rain with an umbrella while wearing a wetsuit. This double protection is not needed unless you are robbing a bank.
  Double offense for wearing a baseball hat backwards with sunglasses.  Biggest douche look on the planet.  Or you went ahead and went Greek during college and took the whole "it isn't 4 years, it is 4 life" WAY TOO SERIOUSLY.
4.   Anyone thinking I would purchase sunglasses that cost more than $9.99

  I lose sunglasses like it is my job.  Just lost a pair last week.  It is my talent.
5.  The intentional sunglass tan:

  Oh look!  You are so outdoorsy!  Were you being active outdoors all weekend?  Fuck you.  Put some sunscreen on your god damn face and you wouldn't look like a tool.  Oddly you think this makes you look cool.  You are wrong. 

NATO melee II

I can't stop, these images are fantastic...

I really hope these guys were not protesting anything to do with capitalism.  HE IS WEARING an Abercrombie & Fitch shit.  For fuck sake dude....get it together.

WHAT are you doing?  Chicago is full of beautiful parks.  Why would you get all zen in the middle of a street?  You are stupid.  AND what..what?  The police are telling you to move and you won't?  It is typically never a good idea to sit in some meditation position in the middle of a street.  You would be told to move along regardless of NATO or crowd control measures.  The point you are trying to make is asinine.  I hope that club met your head after this was taken.

Sir - you are donning denim overalls and a Pokemon backpack....this may be why you were detained.
This is the Chicago PD rain gear?  Seems....odd.
For real....why are these people wielding thin plywood sticks?  A paint stirrer would be more effective.  Really?  You couldn't stop at Home Depot or The Crafty Beaver to pick up a real piece of wood?  You are so lazy you just went to the Blick Art Store on State Street.  If you are really going to assault a police officer and deal with the charges....make it count!

This was the scene in my neighborhood as protestors walked to the Mayor's home.  Hey - guys - he is probably not home....just sayin'....

Horses are large.  Don't mess with horses.  What are these people doing?  Not sane.
These folks are probably protesting the battle of Fort Dearborn.  IT IS OVER.  It was 200 years ago.  LET IT GO.  Some Indians died.  Get over it.

Seriously...why are you dressed like that?
The Amish are being arrested?  Perhaps this has gone too far....