Thank You, Thank You


Ah, Thanksgiving! The time of year when I get to swallow not only my body weight in sweet potatoes (with the family looking disapprovingly on) but also my pride. I can get all soft and squishy about the things I'm grateful for and no one can say anything about it. Plus, the food coma usually kicks in shortly after my emotional outburst of the day. Feelings? Without consequence?!

Thank you:

1. Scrabble on Facebook. Decreasing my productivity at work by 1000%, but increasing my overall satisfaction with sitting at a desk all day. Also, expanding my vocabulary with trial & error words like "wangled" and "nixie." As in, "I wangled my way into that nixie's fantasy pants."

2. TBS for putting The Office on for 3 hours a night. JIM. Everytime I decide to turn on the TV.

3. My impending layoff, for getting me motivated to find another job, though it my just be another big soul-suck. I'll take my chances, and a few unemployment checks too.

4. Boat Captains. Future profession?

5. An amazing term at school that reestablished my confidence in my work. It is right and good that I'm doing what I'm doing, though...more school? On to an MFA? Delay my life a little bit more? I will take the American Literary Canon by day.

6. The impending education of my youngest brother in the ways of The Pixies and 30 Rock. Holy shit, I have only hours to accomplish this, but I will succeed. Commence indoctrination!

7. Technology, though grudgingly. Back on the Facebook bandwagon, Twitter, etc. I'm turning into just another social media whore. But this turn of events has rendered some good, from the obvious "getting back in touch with lost friends" stuff to discovering the naughty potential of Skype. The tiny eyes of Jesus on the crucifix above the dinner table this Thanksgiving will burn straight into my black, unrepentant soul. What Grandma? You want to read my novel outline? With the homeless chick giving a blow j? Well sure! Note the dog-eared pages, where the sexiest stuff happens.

7. Lastly, to my urban family. The last year has been a bit of a soap opera in the best and worst ways - weddings, break-ups, moving in, moving out, deaths, babies, disownings, scary diseases, losing jobs, trips, risks, etc. But nary a betrayal. If I had to put my heart through this paper shredder o' life all on my own, God only knows what kind of human wreckage we'd have on our hands. We chose each other, most importantly, and I wouldn't change it.

Tryptophan - activate!

Why I'm a Hipster #2


Reason #2: I really love music. I really do. And the music that I love should be loved by everybody because it's that good. I'm not one of those people that throws out the overused "they're early stuff was better" rebuttals, contrary to what some would have you believe. I'm just passionate about discovering a new sound, listening to a perfectly constructed album, showing up at a concert and dancing my inhibited white girl dance for awhile before the beer kicks in and I do my uninhibited white girl dance. So yeah, I see how me getting drunk and lauding the many glorious works of Dan Auerbach all over your face might make you think I'm a hipster. Maybe. But I won't stop. Dan Auerbach is the beardy god of soul. Listen.

Here in the city I've reached the Golden Age of my concert-going. I have the means to spend a little too much on tickets and I have so many shows at my fingertips any day of the week. In a place where it's easy to get lonely and easier to just melt into your coffin-sized apartment, there are places to go and feel something extreme.

So call me a hipster. I will not be ashamed of preaching just how fucking much the Pixies rocked a few days ago. (Rocked so much, in fact, that I've been wearing the tshirt for something like 4 days now and blathered at a Trader Joe's cashier about the details of the concert well after my transaction was completed.) And I will also not be ashamed to tell you that you should be going to see Brighton MA play at Lincoln Hall tonight. Do it. I know what's good for you.

Oh, and please accept my gift of a playlist. It's been a beautiful lazy weekend. Folk Lite.

Meat Candy


There have been a lot of questionable products married with bacon. Bacon Vodka. Bacon Jelly Beans. Bacon Air Freshener. (speaking of, one of these should be floating around my apartment...) But here is one that is oh-so-right: Jalapeno Bacon.

A) You can eat it.

B) You can eat it and not gag, as the jelly beans proved can actually happen when something is supposed to taste like bacon but merely imitates it poorly. There is an Uncanny Valley for bacon taste; who knew?
C) You can eat it for under $10 at T's and then get hammered on their miraculously cheap booze.
D) It's spicy bacon people; I don't have to explain myself any further.


Red Red Wine


I'm on a roll with the posts this month. And no, it's not because I enjoy this with all my heart. It's because there is a grade contingent on my compulsive internet usage. And you thought you were special.

We here at TWSSC have a great fondness for alcohol. Most of our waking hours are dedicated to learning it's ways. So when I saw this, I nearly wept with joy. Who knew so much could be gained by watching anything posted on YouTube? (See the magic around :55!)

Get this man a medal.

That's What She Said


Debating what time I should drive into the Loop to pick up some plants, while Megan was at work or after, I say to her: I just think it makes more sense for me to come when you get off.

Slam dunk. That's one for the record books. Also, it's a fitting introduction for this commercial I saw in my ad class tonight:

Evidence to the Contrary #1


Reason Why I May be Categorized as a Hipster #1: I attended a small liberal arts college. And I have not one but TWO majors the world at large deems useless: Creative Writing & Studio Art (focus in painting, bitches!). Do you know how many years I suffered the "You gonna work at a McDonalds with that there learnin? I'll take fries with that! Hyuk Hyuk! Supersize me! HYUK!" joke? Do you know how many punches I withheld?

And it doesn't stop there. I'm halfway thru my Masters program. In writing. The head shaking at the dinner table around Thanksgiving...the glazing over of eyeballs when I refute Dan Brown... The internal self-loathing at Starbucks today when I recognized the trochaic tetrameter and delightful rhyme scheme of my order: TRI-ple GRAN-de NON-fat LAT-te. I gave a lecture in my head about prosody walking down the street, reminding myself all the time that if I was going to be accepted as a normal human being, I could never utter this lecture to another living human being.

so i might be a hipster. and i'm not proud of it.

Reasons Why I Am Not A Hipster #1, #2


Some backstory: For weeks now I've been trying to defend myself against a constant onslaught of hipster accusations. When my arguments failed to be accepted by the slanderer, I sought comfort in the opinions of my friends, who turned out to be a pack of Judases. Reader, I cannot stress this enough: I am no such trendy thing. It's a filthy lie. And so, with all the internet as my witness, I unveil a new feature on "That's What She Said": Reasons Why I Am Not A Hipster. I hope you enjoy.

Reason #1: I can easily put my hands in my jean pockets. Even the tightest pair. Suck it, nerds.

Whachu gon' do with all that ass? All that ass inside yo jeans?

Reason #2: Why yes, that was a Black Eyed Peas reference in my blog post. Thanks for noticing.

(Look forward to my companion pieces "Reasons Why I AM A Hipster." Coming soon!)

Get Yourself Together Darlin, Join the Human Race


This dose of daily hell brought to you by the CTA

Chicago is thick with Crazy. Crazy in varieties you never imagined; Crazy you quickly learn to ignore because Crazy pulls punches and usually carries a bottle for smashing and throat cutting. So you do. You act nice and quiet and usually it leaves you alone. Because there is no way to completely avoid it here or anywhere.

The Red Line is a straight line between the extremes of the city (literally running the economic/social/cultural gammut from the cusp of senselessly wealthy Evanston to the bowels of the super impoverished southside, Murder Capital '08 and doing a bang up job this year too) and my/several million people's primary way of getting around. So there is never a shortage of batshit insane.
Going home after work today. On the train, over my shoulder, some fool is shouting gibberish. This is usually what's happening over my shoulder, no big deal. Everyone on the train visibly slouches further, pushes their noses deeper into books, casts their eyes out windows, turns the volume up on their IPods. Because this pained, drunk man can be ignored away if we try hard enough. Then he's hitting on some poor girl. Then he's wailing, over and over, "You've never had an ooooooOOOOrgasmmm" and launching into his qualifications to provide said item. His delivery changes in degrees from flirty (ha.) to adamant to irritated to fucking pissed off. By now, the other passengers are getting restless. The girl has split. At least one old woman abandons the train at the next station. I stay turned away, pretending to read but listening and on edge in case he starts moving from his end of the car to mine. (I took about 2 months of tae kwon doe when I was 10 and I was more impressed with learning how to count in Korean than mastering a round house kick. Skipped the warnings to carry pepper spray too. Haven't figured out if I'm a pacifist or just lazy...) In any case, physical confrontation was going to end badly for me.
The anxiety in these situations is about taking action; the fear is about having to do something in front of all these strangers. Sure, part of you is worried about getting your ass kicked. But its almost taboo to consider doing something outrageous on the train, even in self-defense. It's the unspoken etiquette, and I'm not sure I've ever prescribed to something so powerful without even knowing it. I'm not proud.
A man speaks up, not eloquent, not even loud. He ignores the threats. He ignores this drunk bastard calling him "Nigger," drawling the ugly hard "rrrr" at the end of the word. He even manages to shake this same man's hand right before security comes and escorts him off the train. The man who spoke up mutters something about praying for him. And I'm not even sure I believe there's something to pray too anymore, but I'm impressed. And I'm overwhelmed with respect. And I'm ashamed. And I hate to think of where I misplaced my humanity and courage in the last few years. But today, there was a man on the train smiling quietly to himself as we rode express to Granville. I'm thinking about him, at the end of the day, not about one more amusing/pathetic/sad tantrum thrown on the El.