Friday, February 25, 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story: 2/25/11

Neither Amy Pond nor the Dalek behind her has a cup of coffee for you, I'm afraid. If you're very nice, though, Amy may give you a Kiss-O-Gram...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snowmageddon 2011: Aftermath

After the snow subsided and the winds calmed down, cold air slid its hand over the city and squeezed hard, ensuring that the tall piles at every corner and narrow paths temporarily standing in for sidewalks would be around for a while.

To be fair, most sidewalks in my neighborhood were passable after a couple of days, with the notable exception of one stretch alongside a yellow-brick warehouse that, apparently, contains zero shovels, turning a walk along its side into something more like flying through one of the canyons on the Death Star--treacherous and nothing even remotely resembling fun.

During this time, the city lopped a couple of tenths of an inch off of the official storm total, which downgraded it to an even 20 inches and fourth place on our all-time blizzard list. (At the same time, the Blizzard of 1979, which shut down Chicago Public Scolls for a week--I was a high school freshman at the time--and chased mayor Michael Bilandic out of office a few weeks later, was upgraded slightly. Don't ask me how you remeasure a 32-year-old snowstorm--I couldn't tell you.)

Also during this time, the city finally wearied of citizen marking their parking spaces with lawn chairs, storage containers and baby carriages long after the flakes had stopped falling. trucks were sent up and down residential streets, gathering the markers and carting them away.( And rightly so--I abhor the practice to begin with, but keeping the markers out there two weeks after the fact is seriously overly territorial.)

Finally, after about a week or so, temperature rose first above freezing, then above normal, then way above normal, topping out last Thursday at an official high of 58 (a few degrees shy of the record high for the day) and unofficial highs exceeding 60 degrees in some areas. This went a long way toward melting what remained from the storm, reducing the mounds the height of my head to little more than smallish blackened Rorschach tests of the pavement.

Is that the end of the story? Of course not. It snowed last night. It snowed this morning. It can snow here well into April and even early May.Winter's not done with us yet--even if we were done with it some time ago.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 2/23/11

Friday, February 18, 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story: 2/18/11

It's not that chilly this morning. It is, in fact, unseasonably warm. However, this Dalek would still like you to have this steaming, fresh cup of cof...OK, let's be honest: This Dalek doesn't care whether you want this cup of coffee. or not. He wants to burn your ass to a crisp and piss on the ashes. Still, before all that!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Best Thing to Happen All Week

I know, of course,that it's only Tuesday, but this has already been a craptacular week. Let me count the ways:

I'm coming off yet another bout with "the office cold," a particularly tenacious mutant that necessitated time off from work, lengthened an already long week into a marathon and transformed a three-day weekend into a festival of mucus-gurgling pain.

Monday was Valentine's Day, and even though I took the day off from work to hide under a rock until it went away, the media still found ways to shove my perpetual singleness in my face. Even when I turned on the radio to the one "all-news" station we have left in Chicago, I got smacked with celebrity V-Day greetings wedged right between reports on "real" stories. (Do I really care if Shaq or Carrie Underwood wishes me a Happy Valentine's Day or not? No. I don't. Well, maybe if Carrie were delivering her wishes Not even then.)

And, as if V-Day and congested sinuses weren't enough fun and frolic, I got the news yesterday that Mom lost her job. (A long story--and one I might relate at some future date--but not just now.)

So back at work Tuesday, short-handed and irritable, I felt the need to scout around for chocolate. And what did I find? Leftovers from Valentine's Day. Much as I love Hershey's Kisses, they don't taste nearly as sweet when they're wrapped in Pepto-Bismol pink.

I lamented this lack of untainted chocolate to a coworker (and fellow chocoholic), who quite appropriately rolled her eyes at the mention of the V-Day leftovers. After patiently listening to my lament, however, she turned in her desk chair, reached into a bag on the floor of her office, and pulled out this: "Take it," she said. "I'll just eat the whole box." I understood the sentiment--put a box of Samoas in front of me and watch them disappear--but the kindness of the gesture was nonetheless appreciated.

Maybe she saw that I was having a rough day. Maybe she concurred with my lack of warmth toward the 14th day of February. Or maybe she really didn't just want to power through that box of Thin Mints herself. Whatever the case, the cookies are at my desk, being casually nibbled on from time to time and elevating my mood ever so slightly.

Thank you, kind coworker. Thank you ever so.

Today for Lunch...

The PB&Js of Practicality. (Not nearly as bad as the Minestrone Soup of Misery, the Pineapples of Poverty or, worst of all, the Bologna Sandwiches of Woe, but not nearly as good as a couple of wieners from America's dog, either.)

Every Picture Tells a Story: 2/15/11

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snowmageddon 2011: More Dibs

More of the crap Chicago drivers are using to illegally mark the parking spaces they dig out.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 2/11/11

I found this unused candle in a bag of Christmas stuff (decorations, knickknacks, etc.) set out in an alley near me--oddly enough, well before Christmas--and thought it neat enough to light. It's not scented, but it does throw a warm glow on a cold Valentine's weekend.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snowmageddon 2011: Dibs

As just about everyone knows, I'm a big fan of tradition, especially cherished Chicago traditions. Eating Fannie May candies? Gimme some. Watching Hardrock, Coco and Joe at Christmastime? All for it. Marshal Field's? Wish it weren't Macy's now, but we can still stare at the holiday displays, right?

One Chicago tradition I can't hold, however, is "Dibs."

"Dibs," for the uninitiated, is a dubious custom that crops up every winter once a snow worth shoveling has fallen. Drivers dig out their cars and mark the spaces for themselves with whatever they can find around the house. Usually, chairs (either kitchen or patio, it matters not), but it could be just about anything that won't blow away in the stiff winter breeze. I've seen everything from vacuum cleaners to bags of cat litter thrown out in the streets to protect parking spots.

(I must mention that, as Svengoolie--a.k.a. Rich Koz--correctly points out on his blog this morning, nobody in Chicago really calls this practice "Dibs"; the term is a relatively recent media invention. For the purposes of this and future blog entries on the subject, "Dibs" it will be.)

There are many reasons I despise this "tradition," like:

1. All those chairs, milk crates, traffic cones, etc. make our streets look garbage-strewn and cluttered, like we don't give a shit how our city looks.

2. Parking spaces on public streets don't belong to individual homeowners or renters--they're property of the city. They don't suddenly become private property once the snow starts falling.

3. There's an implied threat behind those lawn chairs and chaise lounges: "Fuck with my space, and I'll fuck with you." We've all heard the stories of what happens when someone parks a car in a space that someone else cleaned out--everything from keying the finish to reburial via snowblower to having a hose turned on it and caking it under inches of ice. I've never seen any of these things done, but just knowing somebody could get so worked up that they'd bash your windshield in with a sledgehammer just because you moved their "dibs" marker out of the way and parked in "their" space is enough to keep most drivers searching for an unmarked spot.

4. Not all drivers wait until we have a major event like Snwomageddon 2011 to start marking their territory. I've seen "Dibs" called as early as the first flurries in November, when there's nothing to dig out.

5. It's illegal. Not that the city has the will to enforce the law, especially with a mayoral election just a few days away.

Much as I loathe "Dibs," though, the practice does make for, um, interesting photography.

On the Way Home Last Night...

If this alley looks frigid and desolate, that's just how it felt.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 2/10/11

It's a particularly frosty February morning. Curly Howard would like you to have a cup of coffee. Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story: 2/4/11

It's a frosty February morning. Captain Kirk would like you to have a cup of coffee. He'll even reheat it for you with his phaser.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowmageddon 2011: Troy Street

Most side streets in the neighborhood were more or less passable to varying degrees after Snowmageddon 2011 had ended, with many being cleared by neighbors who took up shovels and snowblowers and did for themselves what they knew the city wouldn't get around to until at least Thursday morning, if even then.

Not Troy Street. It had some foot prints, but no tire tracks could be seen in the knee-deep (and, in some places, waist-deep) snow.

Snowmageddon 2011: Baby, You Can't Drive My Car

...Because it's buried under a snowdrift.