July 11th, 2005

flavored with age

Hi! I'm back!

Did I miss anything? Terrorist bombings in London? White Sox getting swept at home by the fucking Athletics? The whole goddamn Supreme Court retiring, making way for a far-right retooling by George W. Bush's ideological string-pullers?

No?

Good.
flavored with age

Some weekend!

1. Li'l' Duce is two. I say this without malice: just, she's two. Which means that she's now capable of even more intense depths of sweetness (for instance, when she demanded a hug from her car seat and then made a heartbreaking 'disappointed' face when I told her I couldn't give her a hug until we stopped; or when she starts using her brand new, half-whispered 'indoor voice'), and even more intense depths of crankiness. Yesterday, on our way back from her grandparents', she went from actually bypassing her mom in order to cuddle up with me to demanding I leave her presence while in a moving car ("LEONARD GO! LEONARD GO!") to being completely unconcious in the space of about five minutes. She's still the cutest kid ever, of course. Just...two.

2. My amazing girlfriend ninafarina, on the other hand, is not two, which is good, because otherwise I'd be in severe legal trouble. She has moved into her new apartment, which is very lovely, and we spent a good chunk of the weekend doing housework and being productive and indulging in Target/IKEA behaviors. We were outsmarted temporarily by a set of curtain rods, but eventually we exerted our human intelligence and managed to best them, at least for the time being.

3. Still, it wasn't all electric drills and ironing boards. Shauna's parents kindly agreed to take possession of Li'l' Duce on Saturday night so I could take my girl on a real live date, and a sweet little date it was: we had a surprisingly terrific dinner at he Twin Cities Grill, followed by an evening of local bands (most of which were pretty good) at a nifty St. Paul joint called the Turf Club. It was a CD release party for a bunch of local acts, including Twin Cities semistars the Olympic Hopefuls (who have probably now been compared to Weezer at least one billion times, not counting this one) and an extremely rockin' four-piece with a wide-ass Neil Young streak called the Tin Horns. Drinking, dancing, pinball, and just generally enjoying the company of the best gal in the world was the order of the evening.

4. The Twin Cities Grill, by the way, is in the Mall of America. So I have now officially been in the Mall of America. In case you were wondering, it's a big mall. A very, very, very big mall. With stores. It kind of freaked me out, as malls usually do especially when they're the size of the Empire State Building, but people seemed to be having a good time there, as people usually do when you offer them the possibility of shopping at "The Container Store for Toddlers" or whatever the fuck it was. Also, there is a gas station there. Inside the mall. No, I'm not kidding.

5. I continue to be plagued by extremely bizarre mishaps, having crushed my glasses into modern sculpture while at the grocery store on Friday night. Sometimes it's a mixed blessing, being strong like Hulk.

And now, I get to go back to work, speaking of mixed blessings. Boooo having been laid off for a week and having, no doubt, a shitload of stuff waiting for me to do; yay getting paid again. Tonight: we go look at new apartments.
flavored with age

Gas sketch that I probably should have put elsewhere

"Say, have you ever wondered what the difference is in brands of gasoline? Well, we've got news for you: there really isn't one. You yank the oil up out of the ground, do some refining and processing, clean it up a bit for the feds, and stick in in the pumps. It's all pretty much the same. So why pay more for some fancy brand name? Petey's Cut-Rate Gas Company. What you need, for cheap."

"Lately we've been hearing a lot of loose talk from certain discount gas companies about how gas is all the same. Well, we here at Motorco haven't been around since 1918 selling generic products that are just the same as everyone else's. Sure, our fuel costs a little more, but our special processes, not to mention our service, selection and name you can trust, makes it worth it. In this world, you get what you pay for; so pay for Motorco Petroleum."

"Hey, folks, if you've got the time, why don't you fill up your car with affordable, dependable Petey's Cut-Rate Gas, drive it down to your local Motorco Petroleum station, and ask them what exactly they're talking about. Service? You mean the guy who stands behind a counter and takes your money while you pump your own gas, just like everyplace else in America? Selection? You mean regular, premium AND unleaded, or the fancy names they give them to soak you out of more of your hard-earned dollars? A name you can trust? How about this name: CUT-RATE? Like as in, we sell it cheaper, so unless you want to be a sucker, shop here. Petey's Cut-Rate Gas Company. Don't be a chump all your life, my friends."

"Petey's Cut-Rate Gas seems to think you, the American consumer, are some kind of a chump or sucker. We here at Motorco Petroleum have a lot more respect for you. For example, we have FIVE different kinds of gasoline, including Diesel and our brand-new Citrus Berry Blast, instead of just three. And, contrary to popular belief, we don't just sell the same gas as everybody else. We put chemicals and additives and shit in it, so it, you know, makes your car go better! We have real scientists who do this. Does Petey's have scientists? The fuck they do. They have that retard who works in the tire department who can't even spell 'car'. Motorco Petroleum. With science!"

"Science, bullshit. Look, people, if you wanna live the rest of your days being a mark for some smooth-talking sharpie in a hundred-dollar suit, be our guest. You go ahead and pay a nickel extra per gallon because the hustlers at Motorco hire some dipshit from a land grant college chemistry department to throw two bucks' worth of fuel injector cleaner in every tankerful. Enjoy your new life as an easy target for East Coast smoothies. We'll just be here, selling cheap gas and fixing your car before you go off and buy some goddamn magic beans or something. Petey's Cut-Rate Gas Company. Our mechanics didn't go to some fancy finishing school, so they might not be the world's best spellers, but they can actually fix a fucking car."

"Have you, or someone you love, been insulted by a cut-rate discount gasoline vendor? Have you missed work, gotten behind on your bills, or suffered serious injury because Petey Magursik or someone in his employ has called you a chump, a mark, a sucker, or an easy target? Have you experienced mental anguish and humiliation because a gas commercial used impolite words in its advertising? Then you may be due a large cash settlement. If you'd like to join a class action suit against Petey's Cut-Rate Gas Company, call the trial attorneys of Jazzman & Houlebeque and ask for the Motorco lawsuit by pressing '1' at the prompt. Jazzman & Houlebeque: because you have lots of rights!"

"PETEY'S - CHEAP GAS - NO LAWYERS"
flavored with age

Whorin'

Hey! Do you have nothing to do on Sunday? Are you easily amused? Are you willing to travel all the way the hell to the suburbs to hear people read poems about how their forefathers used to have to eat rope? Well, then, the Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival is for you!

Yes, your fateful correspondent has somehow finagled the city of Evanston into cutting him a big check to read frivolous and offensive stories in the direly named "Spoken Word Tent" at the 20th Annual (!) Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival this Sunday. It's in Evanston's Dawes Park on the lakeshore, at Sheridan Road and Church Street. Google it for driving directions, public transit, and all that, but know this: it runs from noon to 7PM Saturday and Sunday, it features good food and great music, and it's free, free, FREE!

As for the whoring part, as I say, I have somehow connived to sucker the good taxpaying citizens of this Chicago suburb out of some cold cash to stand in this "Spoken Word Tent" and speak some words. If you want to hear them, I pity you, but you can do so by showing up on Sunday the 17th between 2PM and 2:30PM and opening your ears. I'll be the one right in between the "participatory Jewish storyteller" and the "Peruvian/Mexican travel poet".

Come see me ply my desperate white-boy trade by telling whimsical jokes in between sincere, heartfelt ethnic folkways! Come hear my made-up stories go over like an adamantium hang-glider! Come check out the writer an anonymous e-mailer this weekend described as a "low life piece of shit" whose "time well come in hell one day"!

SEE YOU THERE.
flavored with age

Yet still more things

- FREE SLURPEE DAY! FREE SLURPEE DAY! It's free Slurpee Day, people. You wanna be part of the solution, don't you? The Slurpee Solution? FREE SLURPEE DAY! I know where I'm goin' after work.

- More whorin': Here's the Chicago Craigslist listing for my patio sale.

- Even yet still more whorin': Here's the summer reading list thing I did for the Tribune a week or so ago.

- Yet again even morer whorin' than ever: excerpts from pieces in the new UR Chicago about summer film festivals, the new Keren Ann album, and others.

- This, the first day I am at work after the one-week layoff, is not shaping up to be a glorious return to my place of employment. No details (prying eyes), but to give you a sense of it: when I got here this morning, my desk was covered with dead mosquitos, and that's been the high point of the day.