Thursday, September 25, 2008

Within the Past Year.

Man that was a great season premiere of the Office. Lots of bombs dropped. I can't get enough of that show. Aside from Curb Your Enthusiasm (which I can't watch anyway because I don't have fancy HBO), best show still making new episodes on TV.

Okay, now that I've got that out of my system, I was thinking yesterday about how different my life is from one year ago. I went through this thing with my friends every summer where we'd talk about how life-changing the next year of our existence was going to be. I had to have had this conversation with Coates on at least three separate occasions. We loved to talk about this shit. You know what though? Not much ever really happened. We continued onward in school or at work and did the same shit. There's nothing wrong with that, and I absolutely love the fact that I have been able to maintain a strong core of great friends that I've had since high school. I actually even had the great opportunity to add a few more good ones. How about that?

Anyway, this past year has been a whirlwind, some good, some bad, and I thought I'd take this time to reflect.

-I haven't played music in like a year. I was in a semi-serious band for five years. We gave a shit a lot more at the beginning, and even gained a little notoriety. But we began going through the motions near the end. This was kind of obvious to me, and it was probably time to hang it up, but I definitely miss it. Our last show was 9/08/07, and I've gotten together with a group of people to "jam" (I loathe saying that) just once...once. This is a bad change from the past year. Time to get it going again.

-I don't live in Cincinnati anymore. Did anyone notice? Partially facilitated by the band breaking up and getting my master's degree (get to that in a second), I skipped town. I had talked about this for a while and just felt like it was something I needed to do for my own peace of mind. Love Cincinnati, always will. Strangely enough, though, I've kind of got it all right up here. Good job at an alternative newsweekly in the music section (don't feel like making a separate entry for this one. I worked at American Apparel and now I work at the Chicago Reader. Biggest difference? I don't have daydreams about stabbing myself in the neck with a letter opener), decent living expenses, enough friends to keep me occupied, and tons more shit to do to the point where it's actually kind of overwhelming. I got to at least one show a week, usually two. I went to three last weekend. Every band worth a shit comes through here. Quite different from Cincinnati.

-I have a fucking my master's degree. This was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever accomplished, and I 'll be goddamned if I'm not completely proud of myself. If anyone ever wants to discuss the epistolary conventions in Shakespeare's King Lear or the masturbatory impulses and metaphors littered throughout the modern American classic the Day of the Locust hit me up. Oh, and that's right I just dropped a bunch of shit that makes me seem academic. Too fucking bad. I wrote one too many 30 pages papers not to at least prove that I know a little.

-I'm actually kind of involved in my community. I loved Riddle Road more than life itself, but did I ever really do anything for it aside from spending thousands of dollars at the neighborhood's mainstay, it's lifeline, the Riddle Road Market? Not really. Tonight, I went to a membership meeting for the Dill Pickle Food Co-Op, a soon to be up and running co-op (just signed the lease to the space!) that I've been a member of since I moved here and volunteer for on a regular basis. It's kind of nice to feel like you're doing things for the community...sounds ridiculous right? I also kind of give a shit about what happens in Logan Square, hence the affiliation with the food co-op. It's the first place I've really known well outside of Cincinnati, and I kind of take pride in that and care about it. Shocking.

-Things that haven't changed: I still know more than you about sports, am still the reigning king of Seinfeld trivia (ask Kenny), still part my hair on the left side, still make a big ass breakfast when I wake up in the morning, still grudgingly exercise, still can't grow facial hair. These are constants. These are forevers.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eating Slop.

I recently went out to eat with Kenny (who decided to visit me because he's great), Zach, and Allison. We went to Ethiopian Diamond, and it was delicious. If you haven't had Ethiopian before, it's basically fantastic slop placed on a huge platter, and you're give skin-like bread to scoop it up utensils required. Zach and I always seem to discuss our collective affinity for eating an amalgamation of different foods in an almost disastrous, gelatinous form, and this was no different. It got me thinking about all of the great food that comes in slop form, and how much I love it.

Mexican food - This is obvious. If you throw a bunch of black beans, onions, peppers, tofu (or meat if you like that shit), guacamole, hot sauce, garlic, and whatever else strikes you into a big fucking skillet and cook win. Then you place it in a nice tortilla shell, and you have Mexican food. Zach and I make this meal probably three times a week because it's quick, easy, and not completely terrible for you. Go out to a traditional Mexican food restaurant and it's really just a bunch of slop thrown together on a plate with each section separated by a thin layer of air. Eventually, everything all comes's unavoidable, and I could eat it all with a spoon.

Indian food - Can't beat it. Give me some rice, and a fine dish of cream, oil, spinach, cheese, mushrooms, and some hot ass spices, and I'll be damned if I'm not going to mix all that shit together and dip some goddamn bread in it and tear it apart. I'm not good at making Indian food, which is a bummer, but I will always jump at the chance to go eat it. One thing I definitely miss about Cincinnati is our regular Friday night Indian food trips to Apna, in which we would all get way too much food and eventually begin mixing all of our dishes together because who gives a shit? It's all delicious slop. I don't know how it's made (and really what's in it) or what the fuck is going on back in that kitchen, but I'll eat it all. Great.

Thai food - Same deal. Just add noodles. I'm just trying to pigeonhole cultural dishes here as much as possible...right? Anyway, it's just a big wilderness of spicy shit intertwined between tender noodles. Pad thai? Yep, give it to me, and add as many nuts as possible. I like fried tofu, egg, mushrooms, peppers, and some authentic spices prepared by an old Thai woman and tossed on a big pile of carbohydrates...who doesn't?

Breakfast food - This may be different for others, but when I wake up, I like to make a real breakfast. Not much of a cereal guy. I basically wake up an hour before I have to for the sake of breakfast. The whole deal...hashbrowns, fake sausage, toast...maybe some faux bacon too. Whatever. It doesn't matter. Because guess what happens? I really just mix it all together, so that I can solidify my love for slop on a plate. Isn't mixing a bunch of things together better than eating them separately. Would I rather have three or four good sides, which I can eat individually and enjoy, or construct a massive cornucopia of euphoric ingredients that I can eat as a whole? I choose the latter.

I love eating food.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Can I Not Talk About It?

Football. As another disappointing Reds season winds down, football begins to take precedent. Let me preface this, however, with the fact that the 2006 year was probably the best in most recent memory for Cincinnati sports. Particularly because the Reds played over their heads most of the season and made it interesting to be a sports fan in late August/early September. It was enigmatic year for Cincinnati sports. The Reds were in the hunt for the Wild Card (before they choked it away), and the Bengals were coming off their first playoff appearance in years. I dispel this as a fluke though, which will now allow me to continue towards my initial discussion. Football.

Football brings out the fake sports fans, God love them. People who just can't handle the vicious ups and down one must endure throughout the entire sports year in order to truly call himself or herself a sports fan. Football's one day a week (well two...well three), and doesn't take as much plot deconstructing. That's cool. It is. Because if any sport warrants an all-out flurry of fanaticism, it's football. As intense as it gets, and that's why I love it. Regardless of the posers that come out of the woodwork when the season begins (that's right I just climbed up that high horse and am now confidently perched at the top), I still love it.

However, I've run into a bit of a snag since moving to Chicago, well aside from Cubs fans (see the reference to "posers" above), I have to now seek out the Bengals game. No more rolling out of my bed at 10:55 AM to begin the pregame festivities. Oh and by "pregame" I don't mean drinking. I mean getting ready to coherently watch eight full hours of football. That's what it's all about. Anyway, the Reds season hasn't been that bad because they suck, and I canceled my subscription a while ago. I mean I'm kind of looking forward to going to a bar or something to watch the game because I think it'll be fun, but that also means that I have to go to a bar at noon and watch football for four hours. That could get old really quick. Hopefully it doesn't because I'm definitely the type that will watch the entire game, regardless of the score. I always hold the hope that my team (football mind you) can orchestrate some miraculous comeback.

Another thing that bums me out about being in Chicago for football season is that there will be no more football get-togethers, which I absolutely fucking love. I really can't remember the last game I watched alone because friends will always come over and listen to me rant and rave at the players, announcers, or commercials for hours on end and not seem to get too annoyed. This brings me great pleasure, and that will be missed. Well, I will get to subject Carley to it...poor sap. I will still be back in Cincinnati for the Super Bowl though because there is no way that I will miss out on throwing or being involved in the fantastic Super Bowl parties we have been hosting for going on four years. Aside from finding parking spots, it's one of the best things I do and is always a fucking good time.

Now on to the Bengals. I hold hope for this season for several reasons, many of which have recently been occurring. First off, no more Rudi Johnson. Hooray! Never bought into him from the get-go and I have witnesses who can attest to my consistent doubts concerning his running back abilities. He's a poor man's Sean Alexander, and dear God that's not saying much.

Number two, we got Chris Henry back. The analysts on SportsCenter have to lambaste this Bengals maneuver (meaning it would look bad for ESPN as a whole to do otherwise) because he's had so many run-ins with the law, but they all fucking know that Henry is a goddamn great receiver and shows flashes of brilliance. It comes down to this...I want my team to win, and if that means taking chance after chance on a troubled but great be it. Ray Lewis murdered someone and Jamal Lewis snorted cocaine out of a hooker's butthole and they were forgiven and seem to be doing okay.

Third reason, Carson Palmer...enough said. I want him to be my roommate and make me pancakes in the morning. I bet he'd be awesome to sit down with and watch an episode of the Cosby Show. He makes me happy because he's awesome and keeps the team a quiet manner.

Final reason, Chad Johnson has to play well because if he doesn't, the city of Cincinnati will tear him to pieces as a result of what happened in the offseason. If he plays well...okay then, we can deal. If not...fuck you, you worthless piece of shit. You don't want to be here? Take a fucking hike. He basically has to win a city back, and the only way he's going to do that is to catch everything all of the time. I rate this as being good pressure.

My prediction for the AFC North? Bengals 10-6, Browns 9-7, Ravens 7-9, Steelers 1-15

Steelers subplot: Hines Ward is killed in a freak skeeball accident, Willie Parker shatters both of his kneecaps simultaneously after falling off his roof while in the process of re-shingling, and Benny Burger realizes that all he has to throw to is a pretty okay tight end in Heath Miller, a rookie wide receiver, and Santonio Holmes who will be on the verge of suicide all year from a crippling depression sparked by USC's utter annihilation of the Buckeyes at the Coliseum. Burger will therefore break his own right arm with a sledgehammer because he knows he's fucked without Hines or a running know, because he's not really any good. Get it?

I fucking hate the Steelers.