Category Archives: Me Being Pissy

The bitties of the barn

Waiting in line at Itty Bitty Burger Barn is a given. And with the cramped space, you can’t help but overhear what other patrons are gabbing about. Seeing that this is Texas, there’s also that auto-invite to chime in, make friendly with other locals, and leave a locale with new best friends for life.

Next to the front door hung a posterboard signed with well wishes, requesting donations. The kid’s face and the dates of his life were displayed prominently. Quick math tells me this death is considered more tragic than others.

No matter the reason, this is a loss of life. We’re all humans — young, old, black, white, American, Japanese, Australian, whatever. Any loss of life is a loss of that one’s potential. His or her output. His or her contributions. His or her being.

So when the people around me started talking about his accident — a single-car incident where he smashed into a tree so hard that it split his vehicle in two — I had to listen in.

“Yes, so terrible.”

“Saw that on the news last night.”

“I think it was right where the road curves over there.”

“I saw balloons at the site.”

And then I knew it was coming. I already pre-judged the man to my left as the curmudgeonly sort. And although I revel in being oh-so-right pretty much all of the time, I held my breath and waited for his crabby comment to be surprise sympathy — if not for the driver who lost his life, then at least for the family he left behind.

Alas, no. Ol’ Grandpa McCrankypants went full in with the criticisms on children today, and I knew it wasn’t going to be my place to sit quietly and let him bask in his false sense of superiority.

“Well, maybe if he wasn’t driving so fast,” he started.

“Sir, do you remember being 20?” I started with. “I know I drove like an absolute jackass.”

I expected a condescending, “You wouldn’t know what I’m talking about, little lady,” but he instead decided to talk about his own driving skills as a teen. After all, talking about one’s specific experiences can’t be refuted with generalizations, no matter how much of a liar you are.

“I chose to drive fast on roads that were flat and open,” he began.

I continued, “Nah, man. You know you drove like a jackass.”

Then the old lady behind me, “Yeah, I drove like a jackass too!”

And then ALL the old bitties in the Itty Bitty chimed in and made sure to proudly use the word JACKASS in their retelling of youthful vehicular mishaps.

He stammered. He hemmed. He hawed. Then in a spectacular bob-and-weave, pick-and-roll maneuver, he changed courses and tried to get the bitties back on his side.

“Well, the drugs these kids do today…”

And — OH NO! — the bitty behind me wasn’t gonna let that stand.

“I’ve been around since the early 40s, and there was a lot of alcohol back then! There might be a lot more choices in drugs today, but we were plenty hopped up too!”

Then the bitties all started nodding and retelling their youthful drunken mishaps. Some even admitted to — GASP! — taking a nip or two these days.

And that, my friends, is how I riled up a burger barn full of bitties.


House hunting will make me get Botox

I recently made the decision to purchase a home in my new city. I’ve officially been here long enough to know what I like about the place. Conversely, I also know what makes me crazy.

After my brain registered the list of cons against living in Chicago, I realized that the negative items on this city’s list are all manageable. I can handle that people drive slowly, that the so-called grid system is a farce, and that I have to drive all over creation to get to the places I want to be.

I’ve since learned to leave with plenty of time, armed myself with a GPS, and started being the one who chooses where we’re going.

That being said, I’ve come across new frustrations. Thankfully these will vanish once I find my future abode, but until then I’m shaking my fist at the city.

Before house hunting, it’s important to get your home’s features in-mind. I know that I want something that’s at least 1600 square feet, has at least 3 beds and 2 baths, isn’t too far from one of the highways, isn’t west of a particular landmark, and either has a pool or room for a pool. It’s an added bonus if I have no grass to mow, can quickly hop on a running path, and have mountain access within a few minutes.

The issue with this is that it describes dang near every house in the central, eastern, southern, and northern areas of the city. Narrowing it down from there has been stressful.

The homes are newer in the north, but I’m father from my usual hang-outs. The eastern homes are a little too close to an area I want to avoid due to untz-untz types. The homes to the south scream “Suburbs!”

The central homes are generally acceptable as far as location goes. However, these also have their frustrations.

First, this city is so hit or miss when it comes to places I’d want to live — down to the street level. I can wander down one street, ooh and ahh over the up-kept homes and landscaping, only to turn the corner and see someone with friggin’ goats in their front yard.

Yeah, I’m exaggerating… But I have seen swing sets in the front yard, a broken down school bus in another, and — I kid you not — a statue of a donkey.

I do not find this acceptable for my neighborhood.

Add to my frustrations that I live in a short-sale kinda city. Foreclosures I can handle. Because the banks already own the home, they know what they want and how it’s going to work. Why they don’t set a number for their short sale listings to expedite the process, I don’t know. But if I come across a short sale property, I need to prepare an offer, wait, hear back that it’s going to be a bit longer, wait, and then hear that I’ll have to wait some more. At that rate, I’ll be in the home by Christmas… if I get in the home at all.

I do not find this acceptable for my timetable.

In sum, I want out of this silly apartment. Sure, it’s nice. Sure, it’s big. Sure, the price is decent. However, I need a sense of permanency. My past year and a half has been such a bounce-around clusterfuck that all I want to do is shout, “Mine! Mine! Mine!” and plop down somewhere comfortable for the next several years.

Bonus points if there are hardwood floors.

Prop 8: Wrong. Unfair.

Prop 8 is something I feel passionately about. However, I can’t seem to write anything coherent on the matter since it makes NO SENSE to me WHATSOEVER why anyone would care who marries whom.

Jake, though, is someone who feels the same way I do. He summed things up both beautifully and powerfully, and it’s definitely worth a read.

Proposition Hate

Dear Jesse Jackson

Dear Jesse Jackson,

So you’ve been busted using the n-word on tape.

You were pretty quick with the apology on saying that Obama’s nuts should indeed remain intact, but this latest revelation about what else is on that tape is even worse.

Personally, I’m curious to where the outrage is.

Don Imus called a basketball team a bunch of “nappy headed hoes,” and the girls went on Oprah for a healing session. Imus lost his job. When he did get it back eight months later, he was rehired with a huge pay cut.

Michael Richards lost it on stage, went on a completely inappropriate rant, and now isn’t going to work again.

But when you — a moral leader whose entire career is based on eliminating racial demoralization — use the n-word, you ask that we “move on to address the real issues that affect the American people”.

Well, Jesse, this is a real issue. And as someone who has focused his career on equalizing the wrongs that are being done, you should know and understand more than anyone just how real an issue this is.

The thing with the n-word is that no matter who utters it, it’s damaging to the entire group. It’s been nearly 150 years since slavery’s abolition, yet the idea that one’s color can determine one’s character still exists.

Using that word perpetuates the ideas and behavior from this time period. When someone with your status uses it, it illegitimates what both you and our nation have been working toward.

Being black doesn’t give you a free pass to say what you like. This isn’t a term of empowerment among you and your friends. This isn’t a way to induce camaraderie among strangers. This isn’t you trying to relate with others who feel that its use is acceptable.

This is wrong.

The double standards you exhibit are also wrong. You took both Imus and Richards to the chopping block for their words. You still haven’t apologized to the Duke Lacross players who you wrongfully accused of a crime that never occurred. And on a non-racial front, you also had that love child out of wedlock while acting as a representative who promotes morality.

You do far less for the black community than you think you do and you receive credit for. As a professional agitator, you thrive off of racism. Without it, you have no career. But when you contribute to the racism that is alive and well today, you too should be taken to task.

Enough already! Will you please just go away?

— ChicagoJo

Dear Uplink Chicago

Dear Uplink Chicago,

Before the end of June, I’d had no problems with my at-home Internet connection. It worked, moved quickly, and wasn’t anything I had to even think about. That’s how I like my Internet connection: I pay the $35, and it magically works.

However, when June started wrapping up, I noticed that my Internet stopped working. I tried the normal troubleshooting stuff like restarting my Windows machine. I then turned off the wireless router, let it sit for a bit, and then turned it back on. I took a cord and attached it from my wireless router to my machine. I unplugged everything and went from the wall directly to the computer. I lugged my work laptop home and tried the cord from the wall to the machine. Lo and behold, none of that worked.

It was at this point that I filed a service request seeking help. When a couple days went by without hearing from any Uplink Chicago representative, I called the phone number on your web site. A blurry message told me that Chicago apparently had an outage, but services were restored.

Alas, mine were not.

This is when my attempt to get tech support started in earnest. My first message was a friendly “Hi, this is Jo with service request #69. Please call me back to help resolve the issue.” The next day was met with silence, so I updated my service ticket to say that the issue was still not resolved. The next day had the familiar quiet, so I left a still-somewhat-friendly phone message. I have alternated between the phone and an online service request update for several, several days now.

Today I decided to hit Uplink’s tech support ghost line with both a voicemail and an online update. I informed them that their lack of response was not only ridiculous, but that I noticed today was my billing date and had just changed my billing information so I could not be charged anymore while services were not being rendered.

Wouldn’t you know that the company’s representative finally found time in his busy schedule to call me back?! What an amazing coincidence!

Despite being annoyed that it took me suspending payment to get a simple call returned, I was extremely annoyed when he tried to tell me that my service outage was fixed at the beginning of last week and that all should be working just fine.

Uplink Chicago, riddle me this: Why would I continue to contact you daily if my connection was indeed working?! Do you not think that the first time I got your fuzzy answering machine message saying all was in the clear that I didn’t go home with a little skip to my step with hopes that my connection would again be working? Do you not think I didn’t repeat all of my troubleshooting after service was supposedly reinstated?

Alas, I now have your service representative’s cell phone number saved in my cell phone. And believe me when I say that if I find out that my Internet goes down at 3 a.m., I will be calling Raj to let him know.

— ChicagoJo

Dear Cirque du Soleil

Dear Cirque du Soleil,

As a member on the Cirque mailing list, I always look forward to shows coming to Chicago. I enjoy the shows so much that I recommend them to my friends. In fact, this time I’m bringing a large group — myself and eight others.

Whenever I go to purchase tickets for a show of any sort and see that Ticketmaster is being cut out, I’m always pleased. Purchasing tickets with their exorbitant fees takes away some of the excitement of planning to see a show.

This being said, you can imagine my displeasure in the fees charged through the Cirque website. A $7.50 convenience fee? With no other option on how to purchase tickets, this is hardly “convenient”. And the $5 E-Ticket delivery? This is an auto-send program that involves no manual labor after the one-time technical setup.

I expect this tomfoolery from the jerkbags at Ticketmaster. It’s how they make their money. But when your company charges nearly $70 a head, adding another $12.50 per ticket is just fleecing your customers. This is not only ridiculous, but it’s also disappointing.

Your company should be embarrassed by its taking advantage of customers with these ticketing antics. Since my friend has already made the group’s purchase, I can’t do anything about this for the upcoming Kooza show. However, do not expect to get another $82.50 from me.


Dear Greenpeace

Dear Greenpeace,

I like trees. I like whales. I like clean air, clean water, functioning ecosystems, and animals not being in the way of danger. In sum, I dig this save-the-environment thing.

However, I am totally not with you on the personal solicitations your group does in downtown Chicago.

The college students in their light blue shirts have become a fixture on street corners. It’s hard to miss them. Attempts to talk with me range from “Got a minute to help save the environment?” to “Want to save some trees?” It’s cute, kitschy, and leads me to believe that those kids really and truly will only take one minute of my time before asking for money.

My problem is that I can’t leave my goddamn building without being asked four times if I want to save the goddamn trees. It would make sense that if I am on Clark and heading east, I just came from LaSalle. Ya know, where there was a swarm of 20-year-olds asking for my time to save the environment. Seeing that they’re similarly blue-shirted on Clark as they were on LaSalle, I assume they’re in cahoots.

Being asked four times in two blocks if I can spare a moment to help their cause doesn’t wear on me in a way that I get to the fourth kids and say, “Hmm, wow. You’re really committed. Let me go ahead and give you a moment and see what I think about opening my wallet then.”

No siree!

The constant solicitations make me want to vote straight-party republican with hopes that you’ll lose all funding and will get the fuck off the streets.

In truth, I wish these kids success. I really, truly do. However, I also recognize that when they succeed, other groups will follow suit. You’ve already got Children’s International out there doing the same schtick. How long till I start getting hit up for AIDs, cancer, human rights, and the unicorn preservation fund?

I’ve got a good decade being marketing whiz, so please take this suggestion. Chicagoans have money, are socially aware, and like booze. Get off the streets, invite us to a do-gooder event with an open bar, and I promise we’ll write you a big, fat checks for your efforts. That’s how Chicago rolls.

Now, kindly get off the streets, and leave me the fuck alone.

Many thanks,