Saturday, August 22, 2015

Best Grilled Cheese EVER!

I made the best grilled cheese ever over the weekend.  It started out with breakfast, but I didn't know it at the time.

I had gotten some good bacon at the grocery store and decided to bake it in the oven instead of on the stove - hoping to save some of the splatter and mess.  BTW, baking bacon in the oven, on a rack is the best way to make bacon.

Back to my sammich.!  Lunch rolls around and I'm hungry......Along with the bacon I bought some of that Texas Toast because I also made French Toast for breakfast, so I decided to make a grilled cheese....with Texas Toast!

I had been lazy after breakfast and didn't wash the pan that I had fried the bacon in....thank goodness.  Because I used the fat from the bacon to slather on my Texas Toast and then grill to perfection.  I added some of that bacon and two kinds of cheese; some of those Kraft Singles that allegedly have like 3 cups of milk in each slice and some shredded cheddar.

I grilled that baby until it turned nice and golden, then I flipped it over and did the same thing to the other side......then when that bitch was ready I threw it on a plate and sliced it.

Fortunately I took a picture before I scarfed it down.......wish you were here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Six-months too late

I do have a few joys in life:
- watching people run for a train (or a bus)
- reading one-star reviews on Yelp
- and watching trolls just troll

But one of my most favorite things in the world are negative yelp reviews that begin with statements like:  We went here last year and.....or We were here in February (and it's now December).

So I thought I'd start sharing some of my favorite ones.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

In Transit

I feel like a kid today.  I'm waiting for the mail to deliver a package I've been waiting for, for a very very long time.

I got email notification the other day that my "Quarterly Box" had shipped and to just "click here to check delivery status" which is like the worst thing in the world!

Do you remember the first time you ordered something through the mail as a kid?  I think my first mail disappointment were those damn Sea Monkeys.  But oh the excitement of reading the ad at the back of the comic book and then saving money for them.

All the while thinking "I'm gonna have some damn Sea Monkey's man....I'm gonna be da shit."  You're already thinking of tricks you're going to teach them because the advertisement said that they were highly trainable.

Then you've saved up enough money and convinced your mother to take you to the post office so you could get a money order for the exact amount of those Sea Monkeys and their dreaded "postage and handling fee" and you stamp the envelope stuff in the money order and hand it off to the postman and tell him to take "dear care of this, I'm getting Sea Monkeys."

And then you wait.....and you wait.....and you forget....and then you remember.....then you wait.....then you wait.......then about a month in you get nervous.  Did something happen to my order?  Is the mail man conspiring against me?  Did i not include enough money?  Every day you come home and ask "did I get anything?" which comes back with a resounding no!

There's no phone number to call, you can't ask the mail man because how the heck would he know where your package was, you couldn't write another letter because it most likely would pass in the mail and you do not want to piss off the Sea Monkey people because they apparently have the monopoly on the much needed Sea Monkey Food!  So you just wait.

Suddenly in one of those forgetful periods, you come home from school and there's a box there and it's got your name on it and it's all beat to fuck.  But you don't care because you just got some god damn Sea Monkey's my friend!  Suddenly you forgot about the time consuming process it took you to get something, you HAD what you wanted!  Hip hip hooray!

So yeah, I ordered the Digg Quarterly and it's being delivered today via US Mail.  And I've been downstairs THREE times already to see if that mail lady has been here yet!

Actually I think my first "mail order" was actually a disk drive for my Ti-99 4/a.

What did you order when you were a kid?

Friday, May 01, 2015

Other Great Stuff Nearby

I love reading 1 and 2 star Yelp reviews.  I can't help myself, I guess I like to see what really pisses people off - and alot of time, it's just petty bullshit, other times though there's a legitimate

My favorite type though are the months (or even years) late reviews: We came here in 2012 or last time my sister was in town for the holdiays.

But what really caught my eye, was this review on Spark Energy...well, not so much the review, but what came after the review the "Other Great Stuff Nearby"links.

Which in this example included:  The Social Security Office, The Secretary of State/DMV Office and finally the Public Library.

I don't know about you, but only 1 out of those 3 would I consider "Other Great Stuff Nearby"

Oh  Yelp, you always amuse!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

What I learned about working Downtown, Part 2

After working in the Ravenswood neighborhood for 13 years, my company moved to a new space in downtown Chicago.

These are some of the things that I've learned in my short time of working in our new space:

The prices for snacks is too damn high - alright, I know, we're downtown.....downtown is expensive, but dayum!

Seriously though, at Ogillvie Transportation Center there is a bookstore that sells small packages of Swedish Fish, a 5oz bag mind you, for $5.19.  Woah Nellie!  That's expensive, I'd really need to be jonesing for some Swedish Fish to pay that price!

Fortunately there are regular stores around here (Walgreens, CVS, Walmart) so if you take the time you can get good prices, but if you're in a hurry and want it now - well god damn it, you're gonna pay for it!

But still, I'll just go to Target in Evanston and get my fill for the cheap and stock my drawer!

I enjoy riding the train to/from work - I've been taking Metra (the commuter train) to/from work for about 2 months now.

It's nice to just jump on the train, find a seat, pull my Kindle out and read uninterrupted until we reach our destination.  Yes I may need to move my knees to let someone get by, but not having to worry about traffic, or speed cameras or anything road related is the most calming thing of all.

Plus I've been reading like CRAZY!  I've always liked to read, but as I get older the only time I read is when there is NOTHING else to do.  The train is perfect for that!  I'm embarrassed to admit that I am almost finished reading The Maze trilogy, which I just started reading about 6 weeks ago.

I've got 25 minutes of uninterrupted reading going both ways - and yes I go both ways!

You can eat lunch at a different place every day - WOW much food, such choices, so good!

In Ravenswood, where our office was before, we had limited choices for lunchtime - really limited.  But now that we're downtown we could eat at a different place every day for a year and never have to repeat - there's just that many.

Want Cinnabon for lunch - Check!  Want Chinese for lunch - Check!  Want Greek for lunch - Check!  There's everything and anything you want to eat and even more stuff you want to eat but you know you can't eat - yes Garrett's Popcorn - I'm talking about you!

The food choices is beyond amazeballs, the best thing though is that we found out we're only 10 minutes to the gym.  So even if I eat like a little piggy I can make sure that I work out and not take on the shape of a little piggy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

What I learned about working downtown, Part 1

After working in the Ravenswood neighborhood for 13 years, my company has moved to a spectacular new space in downtown Chicago.

There's been a big learning curve about what it takes to work downtown, a BIG learning curve, for example:

Some people just can't merge - whether they're driving a car or walking down the sidewalk, some people just can't merge. It's like their brain throws up the blue screen of death and they just walk right into you.

People on the Metra though are usually pretty good about merging, we're all going the same way, we're all gonna get off the train eventually so people will let you out in front of them. On the street though it's a totally different story.

Just this week some woman walked right into me, even though I was on the correct side for my direction of traffic and she was coming in at a 90 degree angle - she just couldn't merge! I have a feeling she may drive the same way.

Some people are just oblivious to their surroundings - our new office is not really in the touristy part of the city, but it is right next to Union Station.  So there are a lot of touristy-esque people arriving via commuter train, mega bus and Amtrak who are making their way "through" the business district to get to the tourist district.

You can usually tell who they are because they're lugging a suitcase (without wheels) and walking three-abreast on the sidewalk having a three-way conversation that is way too loud and WAY too personal to be having on the sidewalk.

The best though is when it's lunch time and someone has just arrived and they feel the need to have their picture taken on one of the bridges, in front of a non-descript highrise all while blocking pedestrian traffic both ways while they try to see the screen of their phone to get the perfect shot.  It's even better when they don't apologize for holding up traffic because everyone else has the common decency to not walk through while they're taking a picture.

It's not as easy to navigate a revolving door as you think - Revolving doors are easy, right?  WRONG!

If you're the only one around then YES revolving doors are thuper easy, but if there is a mass of people it's almost pandemonium.

Imagine you're approaching the revolving door, as you get closer you see someone on the other side of the door trying to get in.  You've got to time it perfectly so that when you (or they) push the door to get through that you're not blocking the other person - that's just an asshole move!  You've also got to make sure that you don't push the door too fast, in case the person behind you, in front of you or trying to get in doesn't move as fast as you do.

Finally, if you're like me and you're going through a revolving door with a lot of people, it's better to just pretend that you're pushing the door when you put your hands on the rail, just put 'em there and enjoy the ride.  Let those other suckers spin the door for you!

Friday, September 12, 2014

What a way to shame me ComEd

I got this letter in the mail today from our energy carrier ComEd of Illinois, shaming me into using 673% more energy last month than my neighbors.  How in the world could I use 673% more electricity than my neighbors?

Now here's what had happened:  The room where the electric meters are had a lock changed in November....unbeknownst to us, ComEd was no longer able to get into the room to read the meters so from November '13 through almost June '14 they were estimating our monthly bills

Yes, for almost 7 months they were guesstimating what our usage was....usage history from last year, the year we didn't have a horribly cold and treacherous winter, and it was grossly under estimated. That's ok though because we're using Budget Billing and it really doesn't matter to me - it all comes out in the wash.

We finally had the issue corrected, they got access to the room, they read the meters that day and our next bill was Actual instead of Estimated - hooray!

Because of the long period between actual readings and ComEd's gross under reporting for estimated use, it appeared as though we used 1794 kWh for the month - which is a shit load of electricity!

So they send me this "Home Energy Report" showing that last month the average of all my neighbors electricity use was 232 kWh and the "most efficient" neighbors barely used 112 kWh, all the while I used a whopping 1,794 kWh for the month.  I'm awaiting a knock on my door from the authorities to bust me for having an illicit grow house in my spare bedroom (which by the way I don't), but if the electric company thinks that my absurd electricity use is worth a letter - who knows what anyone else thinks.

I just hope that the police look at next months bill to see that I'm not using all that much energy before they come knocking.

**UPDATE** Uhm yeah, about that next month thing.....we waste energy....I'm expecting a knock any day now!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A fond farewell to Ravenswood

A fond farewell to Ravenswood:  Newark has been at the corner of W Lawrence and N Ravenswood Avenue for more than 30 years.  As of close of business on Friday, we are officially a "Downtown Company".

I've enjoyed working in this building for 13 years, but I won't miss working here.  It's been close to home, but the new office is only a 10 minute longer commute by train.

This week has been bittersweet as we've been forced to pack up our belongings by tossing in orange crates going downtown or gray dumpsters on their way to the trash.  It's been cathartic to get rid of things, to question the validity of others and realize "you just don't need this anymore so toss it gurl!"

Pictures came off the walls, drawers were emptied, files were purged and it all ended with taking my nametag off of my cubical wall and putting it with the others I've collected along the years.

We said our goodbyes to neighbors, people we see on the street everyday or that serve us our coffee or lunches.  We went to our favorite haunts to have a last hurrah, we made peace with the idea of maybe never stepping in the neighborhood again.

Come Monday, it will be an all new adventure.  I've been joking all along that we're gonna be like the Beverly Hillbillies on our first day, looking up at the skyscrapers, can't believing there's that many people on the street.  It'll be fun in our new home, finding new places to eat, places to sit, places to drink, places to visit.

Although I'll fondly miss the view out the window, behind my cube, of the beautiful Golden Nugget Restaurant, I know that I'll love my 22nd floor west side view everyday.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Way back in 2005 I conducted an unofficial poll to find out what Jolly Rancher flavor was the most popular.

One of the results of that poll was also finding out what flavor was the least popular.

The other day as I was walking back from a friends house I stopped in one of the little bodegas and they had this big container of Jolly Ranchers on the counter, only a nickle a piece.

But what got me was the predominant flavor that was in the container was GRAPE - the same reviled flavor that I discovered way back when.....only now, here it was in real life.

People had the choice to get whatever flavor Jolly Rancher they wanted and almost everyone has left the poor little Grape one in the container.

It was just funny to see the Jolly Rancher Experiment on a larger more public scale and they came to the same results as I one likes Grape.

But we like Grapes and Grape Jelly, so why not Grape Jolly Ranchers?

Why don't you like Grape Jolly Ranchers, you need to explain yourself?

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Why do you torment me like this

F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5

That's what runs through my mind ever afternoon about 3:30....that time when it's a few hours after you've eaten lunch and still quite sometime before dinner.

That time when you've got a rumbling in your tummy but there's nothing to eat at your desk, well besides Jolly Ranchers and Hershey Bars!

That time when you think you're just going to fall over because the pains in your stomach are causing you to fold in half to hide the noises emanating from deep within you.

Damn you Little Debbie, I hate you for being so crunchy and oh so delightful!

Why do your crisp wafer layers have to be separated by smooth peanut butter and dipped in a light but ever present chocolate topping? WHY?

Why can't you taste like a stale tortilla chip dipped in rancid guacamole?

I hate you for being so convenient as well. Why do they have to put you in the vending machine where I can easily obtain you? Why don't they only sell healthy things in that damn machine? WHY? That's all I'm asking, WHY?

I hope you burn in hell Little Debbie, that's all I pray for every day. Well that's what I wish for every day when I'm munching on your lovely sweet goodness (uhm, get your mind out of the gutter please).

Rot in hell Little Debbie, Rot in Hell!