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Dear Suburbs,

Let me start out by saying this: I’ve truly enjoyed the 20-something years I’ve spent with you. Your safe neighborhoods, public schools and wide open spaces are just a few of the memories of you that I will cherish forever.  Over the years I fell in love with you strip malls and corporate chain stores, your lack of public transportation and the way all of your subdivisions – full of McMansions – look identical.  Even your flaws: the lack of diversity, those cult-like megachurches and the ridiculously long commutes… I think I’ll miss those most.  But the truth is, I’ve outgrown these things. I hate to sound all cliche and use the phrase, it’s not you, it’s me, but I just did.

I think (hope) at this point you see where I’m going.  I just want you to know that I’m not blaming you.  You see, I’ve changed.  My wants and needs are not what they used to be.  I thought that after that fling I had in Champaign (I still feel bad, btw) I could come back to you and we would pick up where we left off.  But I was wrong, and you know how I hate to admit that.

I’m sorry it took this long for me to realize all of this and I really am not trying to toy with your emotions, but we are just not meant to be together.  At least not right now. Maybe someday when I’m ready to settle down and start a family things will be different, but right now I just need my space – and that space is not a 1/3 acre corner lot in Naperville.

I hope we can still be friends.  If you ever wanna hang, I’m just a train ride away.  But do me a favor and don’t embarrass me by showing up with your country friends.

No Longer Yours,

Ryan

So, in case you haven’t realized, I’ve slowly started making the transition from my old blog to this new one.  Well, I suppose it’s not so much of a transition, considering I stopped updating the old one about six months ago, but regardless I am writing again.

The first few entries have been rather random and sporadic, the title is a working one and I haven’t really bothered to edit the layout much, but hopefully within the next couple of days/week I will have things a bit more organized.

One reason I stopped updating my last blog was just that: I stopped writing.  I never really updated it on a daily basis, but at least a couple time a week, which eventually became more like a couple times a month and in the end, never. So, this time around I’m trying to keep up by writing something at least 2-3 times a week.

I’ve decided to carry a few ideas I tried out on the old site over to this one, and make them weekly features.  For instance, yesterday was “Mad Monday” which was not much more than a semi-organized rant, but the feedback I got seemed to be decent, plus I always enjoy reading other people rant, so hopefully that idea sticks.

One of the other semi-regularly entries from the old blog which I enjoyed writing most (probably because it required very little creative effort on my part) was sharing a bunch of cool links and such from around the interwebs.  This is basically compiling a list of sites I’ve tweeted about, posted to Facebook or others have shared with me throughout the past week or so.  It is also something I kinda stole from other sites, but my links are way cooler than others’ so if you have a few minutes, check them out:

In case you missed it yesterday, start with my link to PassiveAggressiveNotes.com.

If you enjoyed the type of WTF humor from Passive Aggressive Notes, and have any familiarity with Etsy.com you will most definitely get a kick out of Regretsy.com.  One of my favorite posts is this one.

Yet another hipster site, but this one has puppies!

Get High Now is not exactly what it sounds like it is.  I was never really able to make sense of those “Magic Eye” things back in the 90’s and I’m not really a fan of optical illusions, but this site is pretty far beyond the old woman/young woman image.  I especially like the “Audio Highs,” specifically Holophonic Sound.

If you enjoy that one, you’ll dig getting your virtual haircut.  You’ll wanna wear a decent set of headphones for both of these.

With a lack of hours at work and seemingly endless time on my hands these days I’ve really gotten into the “make money online, at home” sites.  Trust me, I’m not trying to reel you into some pyramid scheme here.  It’s actually taken me a good amount of time to weed out the bad sites from the good ones and make some decent money, so I’ve basically done the hard work for you. I’ve been taking surveys, reading emails and even answering questions for ChaCha, but I won’t bombard you with all of the links at once.

For starters try out YouData. It takes about five minutes to sign up and you can earn about five bucks by Friday. They pay automatically through PayPal with no cashout minimum.  The best part is all you have to do is click a few ads: no surveys, no BS offers and they don’t even spam your inbox, so give it a shot. (Tip: you can use up to two emails/accounts per PayPal, so between me and my dog, I’ve made about ten bucks for ten minutes worth of work in the last few weeks.)

*Edit: you will have to do a few initial surveys for youdata but that’s just so they can effectively target ads. Again, only a few minutes of your time is required.

Anyhow, hope you enjoyed this weeks links. I’ve only been saving links for a few days, so next week there should be more, but again I promise I won’t load it up with survey site referrals or anything.

So after having a friend stay with me this weekend I received a nasty note from my landlady (who unfortunately lives/practices gypsy magic upstairs).  And when I say nasty note I mean one of those really nasty, passive aggressive and even semi-threatening notes.

The note was so upsetting I thought about starting a website dedicated to these sort of passive aggressive notes that we’ve all received at some point in our lives, usually from a roommate, landlord, co-worker or any other fellow human being we are forced to share space with.  But, a Google search yielded this little gem of a site which I spent a good three hours perusing while angrily shaking my fist in the general direction of my landlady.  It actually made me feel a whole lot better and I’m seriously considering submitting the list of grievances the gypsy woman left for me.

Because this gypsy landlady has put a curse on my camera (plus her broken English and chicken scratch make the two-page note harder to get through than War and Peace) I won’t be posting the actual letter here.  But she was basically calling me out for having a friend “who doesn’t pay rent” use my shower “making the water bill so high.”  She goes on to bitch about “having to sweep the place” and that she can’t get “new tennent [sic]” because “place is messer [sic]” than when she rent to me.  Also, “doing laundry once a week or two” (that’s one load every week or two) “is abnormal for one person.”  Finally, she threatens to put gypsy curses on me if I don’t move out early. (Okay, that last part is not completely true but she does tell me I “need” to move out early due to these crimes against humanity.

First off, HOW DARE YOU call me abnormal!? I’m not the one practicing witchcraft in the suburbs. More importantly, I sweep up the insect carcasses all over this dungeon of an apartment DAILY. Plus, oh  yeah, it’s MY apartment.  I’ve never had a landlord or signed a lease which required me to keep up to a certain level of tidiness.  (Editor’s note: I’m actually a really clean person and have always kept tidy living quarters.)

This wasn’t the first complaint I received from, whom my weekend guest referred to as “a horrible woman,” and it wasn’t going to be the last.  The morning after she left the note she came banging on my door at about 8am, screaming my name until my guest finally answered.  His car was parked behind hers and apparently she had to get to the gypsy store in a hurry. “You’re never to park in my driveway!” she scolded my guest.  Technically, it’s MY driveway seeing as that a parking space is included in my rent, but because I don’t drive she started using it.

So, lady, I’m sorry for having an overnight guest ONCE in my four months here.  I apologize for having to wash my pants that your retarded dog got full of mud because you haven’t bothered to train him to sit.  And I will happily move out early if you refund me half of my damn rent.  Then again, you’ve probably already spent it on gypsy supplies, so how about I just stay and promise not to scare off any potential tenents who dare rent from you?  I mean, I can always stand in the driveway and yell at people who think they can park there.

So I got a call from my dad tonight and he asked me what an MP3 is. I’m pretty sure I laughed, and had he not preceded with “you’re pretty tech-savvy” I would have thought he was joking.

This is the man who taught me how to fish, how to use a hammer and how to ride a bike!  How could he not know what an MP3 is?!

Before I could get over my shock he went on to ask how much they cost.

“99 cents,” I said, and suddenly he seemed more puzzled than me.  With both of our jaws on the floor we sat in silence for what seemed like an hour.

“No, I mean the… the…uh, you know, the…” (And this was the most comprehensible string of words he spat out since, “Hey Ry.”)

” The player? Like an iPod.”  I was finally making sense of things.

“Yeah, is that what I need, an iPod?”

Dad, I barely even understand what you are talking about. How the hell am I supposed to know what you NEED?

After some painful probing, I figured out that he and my stepmother were vacationing on Lake Michigan in a couple of weeks and didn’t want to pack a bunch of CD’s, which is apparently a huge burden. It’s not like Dad’s got a 6-CD changer in his car or anything. (He does.)

So I explained to my dad that an MP3 is a type of file, stored on those crazy machines called “computers” and that what he was referring to (needed) was an MP3 player.  Of course this led to Lesson 2 – How to transfer music from a CD to the computer, and Lesson 3 – Which MP3 player is right for me?

While I am – er, was pretty sure of my dad’s competence, I KNOW that in a day or two I’ll get another phone call asking how the [off brand MP3 player] connects to the computer, and more than likely will have to go over to his house and show him how to add music to the damn thing for him.

Now, this whole thing wouldn’t really bother me enough to write about if I was born in 2003, not 1983 and my dad was 76, not 56.  I mean, I get weekly calls from my mom asking whether “the page goes face up or down” in the fax machine, but at least she knows how to add songs to her iPod. (Then again, I think I taught her how to do that too.)  This just makes me wonder: in 30 years am I going to be as out of touch as my parents are?

It’s pretty scary actually.  I—

Okay, this is laugh out loud funny.  In the midst of writing this post the phone rang. Yeah, it was Dad.

“Hey Ry. So I bought this uh, er, Sony uh, er Sony, iPod, er…”

“MP3 player?”

“Yeah. And I can’t get the goddamn thing to work. I plug it in the computer and….”

Twenty minutes, and probably two Vodka-Sprites later I ask my dad when his next day off is.

I’ll see ya Tuesday pops.

I must have been adopted.

December 2009: With a win over the (1-10) St. Louis Rams, The Chicago Bears kept themselves in playoff contention, improving* their record to 5-7.

(*term used loosely)

Every NFL team plays 16 regular season games a year, so with 12 in the book the Bears were three quarters through their season. Yet, players, coaches, fans and even the Chicago media were still confident their Bears could clinch a playoff berth.

To be fair, it is possible. If the Bears were to win-out in 2009, they would have finished one game above .500 , repeating their 9-7 2008 season (in which they failed to make the playoffs), but still possible…

They would have to start by defeating the Packers…

A week after the victory over the mighty Rams, Chicago hosted Green Bay, and lost. The Bears would go on to finish 7-9, still third behind Minnesota and Green Bay.

What the hell’s my point (other than I HATE THE BEARS)?

It’s this: As of now the Chicago Cubs are nine 8.5 games back in the NL Central. It’s June. It’s the NL Central. The All-Star break is two weeks away. And every Chicago newspaper, sports blog and talk radio station has thrown in the towel. As early as June 11th, even CBSsports.com was reporting that “the season is over.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no Ron Santo, but aww, geez…

Alright, alright. Between Zambrano’s latest hissy fit, Ramirez, Fukudome and even Lee under performing, and a lack of enthusiasm in the dugout, this team shows no signs of a turnaround anytime soon. But hear me out. Not only have stranger things happened (see the White Sox four weeks ago, or these 14 teams that overcame the odds), but more importantly, WE ARE CUBS FANS. I’m just as sick and tired of the “lovable losers” as you are, but WE ARE CUBS FANS.

As you may or may not know, I’m a Notre Dame fan. And a Packer fan. (You can punch me next time you see me.) I also hate the Bears. I have for as long as I can remember. (When the Bears went to the Superbowl in ’86 I did dress up as Jim McMahon, but this was against my will, and I don’t remember it.) I can justify all of this, but you’re still allowed to punch me first. (I’ll explain while icing my bruises.) At a very confusing point in my life I was also a Sox fan. Seriously, it was a very confusing point, I was also a vegetarian.

That last paragraph probably has nothing to do with the rest of this entry, but my backspace key is temporarily disabled, plus I have this weird fetish about being punched. Ugh, you probably won’t punch me now. Damn backspace key.

Anyhow, back to the Cubbies. The truth of the matter is not that I’m upset about the fans and the media giving up so early. Well, I am, but what it really boils down to is that I hate the Bears, and I hate the fact that the lack of talent from Bears players and coaches was COMPLETELY ignored by all of you idiots sporting Urlacher, Hester and Cutler jerseys. The Bears have SUCKED for years. They’re the Cubs of the NFL for all I’m concerned. No, the Pirates of the NFL – a modern-day suck machine. All of their wins are flukes, with the majority of points scored by defense and/or special teams. They haven’t had a decent QB since I was forced to make-pretend that I was the punky one (who is a pothead btw – ask me for details). Lovie Smith is a COMPLETE fucking MORON. The team would be better off with a high school girls tennis coach. Mr. Hester might run fast, but the dude can’t hold onto a football. Robbie Gould has a hell of a foot, but you can’t win games 3 points at a time. Virginia McCaskey is a dumb old bitch, a hoarder (when you ask about the pothead, I’ll explain) and belongs in a damn looney bin. Since they LOST the Superbowl, the Chicago Bears are the most overrated team in NFL. The team sucks. <— PERIOD

Okay, but back to the Cubs (for real this time)…

I’m not going to argue that the Cubs are the most underrated team in the MLB, or even that they have the talent, chemistry or drive to make the playoffs. But once again, the season is far from over. Even if LeBron decides on Chicago, we’re four months away from the start of the NBA season (and the NHL season). And not that it matters, but if the White Sox make the playoffs they will not win more than 3 games in the postseason (I’m willing to bet money I don’t have on this. Takers?)

At this point, you might as well root, root, root for the Cubbies. Am I the only one who still gets chills every time they play that damn “Go Cubs Go” song? I know I’m not. That old lady in the stupid visor they show on WGN during every seventh inning stretch… maybe it’s the Old Style, but even when the Cubs are down 10 runs, she’s belting out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

So what I’m trying to tell you Chicago fans, is this: Drop the whole fair-weather bullshit. Get behind your damn team and stick with ’em.

Yeah, I’m back. Deal with it. Or don’t, it’s really your choice, but if you’ve made it this far you might as well read the next post. I mean, honestly, what else are you doing right now?

Seriously, what are you doing? And more importantly, what are you wearing? Please comment.