Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thankful Thanksgiving (Pretty Much)

I'm sitting at my computer at 12:43 PM on Thanksgiving in Chicago. For the first year ever, I'm not celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. There are various reasons for this, and they're all understandable. With that being said, I'm pretty cool with it and looking forward to this Thanksgiving more than any other in recent memory. Loren (also not making the trip back to New Jersey) and I are going to prepare a feast consisting of Lasagna, Tofurkey, cornbread, mashed taters, and broccoli. We're going to cook, devour, drink beer, watch football, and go to the movies. Pretty stellar day if you ask me. Plus, I saw Baroness last night and will once again behold the glory of the Jesus Lizard this Saturday.

Anyway, I feel like it's important to compile a rundown of things I'm thankful for (a rarity). While many may see me as a sarcastic, dry, paranoid, rigid, and pessimistic person, I am actually thankful for various people, influences, and relationships in my life. All that being said, I refuse to make this list a sappy lovefest of bullshit.

First off (and because they're both loyal readers), I'm thankful that this man and his wife are moving to Chicago. Justin got a job with Teach for America, and I supported him through the painstaking phases he had to endure. It was not an easily accomplished task and we're all very proud of him. What makes this so amazing is that things like this don't happen. Justin and I tend to share a brain from time to time, and yes I know I hold an overall advantage because I beat him in a push-up contest, but the point is that while this moved seemed imminent, neither of us felt truly confident it would come to fruition. We're just not lucky like that. Well, now it's time to keep our fingers crossed that the July 2010 doesn't get jinxed. Regardless, I'm pumped.

I'm thankful for my job. Given, work is work, and it can straight fucking blow balls, but I kind of lucked out (aside from compensation). The advantages of my job at the Reader are as follows: No rules on clothing (see these four year old jeans with the whole in the crotch? Yeah, I'm wearing those to work), everyone I work with pretty much rules, cursing is well-accepted and often encouraged, perks upon perks (mostly music related), and the Reader's a goddamn respected institution in this city with brilliant writers and editors. I often want to complain about my job, but I really just can't.

I'm thankful for sports and all sports-related programming, podcasts, magazines, and discussion. We can just leave it at that.

Not really. I'm also thankful for commercials that air during football games. Not because they're good or intentionally funny, but because I love how blatantly they target what is deemed the typical football watching crowd (married men ages 35-60). My personal favorite is a Viagra commercial where a middle-aged man is confronted by his "other self" during a trip to the doctor. The man seems flabbergasted and embarrassed by the "other self's" suggestion that it's time to discuss his erectile dysfunction with the doctor. Although initially shocked by the proposal, the old fart is easily convinced. Leaving the doctor after talking about his wiener problem, he high fives his "other self" gives it a content nod of the head and meets his wife in a pleasant-looking park for an early evening stroll and dinner. I can only assume that they later go home, and he bangs the shit out of her. Viagra and cornball Kay Jewelry commercials have more unintentional comedic moments than most commercials on television, and they each revolve around some doofus showing his wife or significant other either his boner or a big fat fucking diamond--they usually seem more excited about the diamond.

I'm thankful for my two mopeds, two bikes, motorcycle, and car because it's obvious that I need each one of them. I'm not even going to lie--I love to look at all of my two-wheeled modes of transportation. I fucking love it, and I want more.

I'm thankful that I've maintained long term (and basically lifelong) friendships. I've know one Michael Short since I was eight and have been super tight with Russell "The Love Muscle" Vance, Michael "Juggernaut" Coates, Zach "Spazz" Thomas, Kenny Roa, and Billy Hartmann for over a decade. I greatly appreciate this, not because they are good people, but because the amount of joke material I have on each one is recyclable for eternity. They'll never go away and neither will I. And although I've only known him since 2007, I'll also include Justin Bragg in my list. Mainly because he's so damn exhausting to be around, it feels like I've know him for practically twenty years.

Finally, here's a quick list of things I'm thankful for that don't warrant their own paragraphs: My ability to find amazing parking spots, my chiseled jawline, Heidi's butterscotch cookies, my superior amount of Seinfeld knowledge, Logan Square, my mom's never ending tolerance of me and my brothers, adrenaline, never having gotten pulled over on the highway, Peyton Manning, my TV series DVD collection, my awesome apartment, Chicago brunch, and recliners, among many other treats that are escaping me at the moment.

P.S. I am not thankful for the way that Brett Favre and Vince Young are currently playing quarterback. Justin and I have been talking shit on them for years, and they're currently taking a crap on us. Stop it! Stop playing well and making us look like we don't know what we're talking about. We've always seen ourselves as trailblazing thinkers and great sports hypothesizers.

Favre: I'm going to need you to go to your Mississippi farm and run over your right arm with a tractor.

Young: I need you to go flunk another test so we can continue to make fun of how dumb you are, dummy.

You guys suck.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Indiana Cabin Weekend and Halloween: A Polaroid Story.

So, I've recently become a big fan of Polaroid photos, and I decided to lightly document my last two major weekends using Polaroid film. A couple of weekends ago, a top-notch group of us went "camping" in Who the Hell Knows Where, Indiana. Actually, as I was driving through the local sticks listening to the radio, the area was being referred to as Kentuckiana, a more objectionable, awful description I cannot recall. Anyway, we spent the weekend playing cornhole, drinking beer, hiking, playing cornhole, listening to Kenny make crude comments, basking in a campfire, watching Justin grill things, and slurring curse words together. It was a goddamn delight.

Note: I mistakenly left Zach Thomas's name off the "posse" Polaroid. It should read "Posse minus Russ, Zach, and Brian." My fault, Robert Zachary Thomas.

Click on the photos for larger versions.

This past weekend contained the best day of the year. The one day where it's socially acceptable to walk around in a cheetah leotard or flaunt an obscene amount of cleavage. Does it really matter what you even do on Halloween? As long as you're at some party, bar, or random gathering where people are dressed up and maybe slightly intoxicated, everyone's fantastically happy. I know, I know, I went as zombie. Cliche as hell, right? Well, fuck off. It was my and Carley's idea because she's been plowing through her fear of zombies and we had a good "makeup artist" to take care of us (Ricki). Regardless, it was a blast of a night. I ran out of film much too early to document much of the debauchery that ensued. Bummer.