This shall be that blog entry where I totally rag on Chicago weather. For those of you who also hail from the Windy City, or have spent even one winter there, you know exactly what I mean. It’s funny because as a kid, I didn’t even realize how much it sucked. I guess ignorance truly is bliss.

Then I got older. Spent a few winters not in Chicago. And just like Eve biting into that forbidden apple, I could never go back once I realized just how awesome other people had it… And how not awesome I had it.

Have you ever felt the inside of your nose freezing? This is not a hypothetical question. Like you can feel the cells of your skin shriveling up and dying? It doesn’t feel good. You might say, “Well, then put a scarf around it.” Sure, I could do that. Then riddle me this – do you know what it feels like to have your scarf glued to your face with frozen snot?

It’s a new kind of hell when you’re the sucker waiting for the CTA with a wind chill factor of minus ten degrees outside. That is why I became so very destitute during my college days in Chicago. I decided that forking over $12 a day to park my car at school was well worth the sacrifice. Ramen noodles are quite tasty actually.

For those of you who have experienced Chicago weather, you also know that though you may wake up to eighty degrees and sunny, it very possibly may be twenty degrees and flurries by nightfall. Such was the case one day at school. It was beautiful when I left my apartment that morning – and took the bus. Yet by the time my final class had concluded that evening, a lovely freezing rain was falling outside. And how far was my bus stop? Eight city blocks… Funny thing about frozen rain – it has a real perky bounce to it when hitting cement. It was delightful walking down those streets, not being able to look in ANY direction because no matter where I turned, little stinging pellets of rain were murdering my face.

In contrast, LA has pretty perfect weather all year round. Granted, we’re currently in the midst of a “winter storm” – i.e. it’s raining right now – but aside from the ten to fifteen days of the year that we suffer such unbearable treatment from Mother Nature, it’s just… nice. Sunny. Warm. Can’t really complain. *

The other day, I heard the song “The Rose” by Bette Midler on the radio. (On occasion, I like easy listening, okay?) I then had an epiphany – that song is about Chicago. True, it’s actually about never giving up on finding love, blah, blah, blah… But the analogy applies. Chicago is that seed beneath the bitter snow that with the sun’s love blooms in the spring. Granted, winters in the city just B-L-O-W (and winter lasts about six to nine months each year, give or take), but how amazing is that place once the snow melts away? The city comes to life with a vengeance. Wrigley Field. The Chicago Blues Festival. The Outdoor Film Festival. The Taste of Chicago. Buckingham Fountain. The Air and Water Show. Venetian night. Navy Pier. The Chicago Jazz Festival. Oak Street Beach. The Chicago Botanic Gardens. Lincoln Park Zoo. Millennium Park. The list goes on and on and on…

That’s why Chicagoans love their city so damn much. They appreciate it. Just like those lucky bastards blessed with good teeth or shiny hair, LA people just don’t understand how fortunate they are. Regrettably, I have now become one of those ungrateful jackasses. Doesn’t mean I’m coming home next year for Christmas. Sorry, Dad.

* Despite the fact that LA is experiencing a major water shortage crisis right now, even the local weather forecasters are beginning to complain about “all the rain” we’ve been having lately. I don’t get it. We’ll see how much everyone loves three hundred plus days of sunshine when in the near future we’re forced to have three-minute showers only twice a week. That’ll be fun.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Saturday night at Three Clubs. My friends and I were hungry like the wolf, in need of our eighties fix, ready to dance to the beat of the rhythm of the night. So imagine our surprise when instead we’re told there would be a band playing that evening. A metal band. A metal band that would be taking over our dance floor. We were crushed, but decided to stick around anyway, hopeful it would all be over soon so we could proceed to get into the groove.

First song of the night? (Warning: Earmuff the kiddies if you’re reading this out loud.) It was called “Motherfucker.” That might give you a little insight as to how the rest of the set went. Granted, I couldn’t really understand anything they were singing – I’m now at the age where it all just sounds like cats in heat to me. However, I somehow found myself becoming increasingly drawn to this strange mix of musicians as the night wore on…

The guitarist was definitely the “rock star” of the group. He was a wee lad, maybe 5’4”, but he more than made up for it in entertainment value. He donned a faded green metal helmet circa WWI and stood on this fabulous light box the entire time. (Smart move on his part, since no one could have seen him otherwise.) Even better? He would periodically take sips from his Bud Light and then spray the audience standing in front of him.

The lead singer was almost as classy. He was in his mid-forties with tatted up arms, black leather vest and the requisite hair halfway down his back. Thing is, though, he kept having to pull up his pants – kind of negates the whole “sexy rocker” illusion when you aren’t wearing jeans that actually fit you. He did it so frequently that I started a little game with myself and kept count – his record was five pull-ups during just one song.

Somewhat amusing was the drummer who dramatically took his shirt off at one point in the night. I’m guessing he thought this would be considered sexy. He thought wrong. You know what’s not sexy? A super-skinny guy with a beer belly. Seriously. To see gut jutting out just mere inches below rib cage jutting out is a little disturbing. Call me crazy, but I’ll take a three-hundred pound dude with a belly any day of the week over some guy who barely tips the scale at one-fifty yet somehow has grown Santa’s gut.

As fun to watch as the band? Their audience. Granted, my friends and I were among them, but we all thought our night would be devoted to showing off our sweet moves and hearing multiple refrains of “I love this song!” This band actually had fans, though, and I’ll be damned if they weren’t totally committed to these guys.

There was this one dude in a trench coat. Just one word comes to mind when trying to describe him, and that word is “heebie-jeebies.” Who the hell wears a trench coat to a club? Even creepier was that he was taping them the entire time. Even creepier was that he had his other hand in his pocket the entire time… Must’ve been a really big fan.

Then there was some dude who would get justalittletooclose to the band members as they performed. He would lean into each of the musicians as they played, eyes closed, head banging in utter bliss. There were a few times when I excitedly thought he was about to lose his balance and take out one of the rockers, but it never happened, dammit. That would have been awesome. The only thing that truly bothered me about this guy, though? The worst posture I have ever seen in my entire life. He was like one of those little old ladies you see in the grocery store who are so hunched over that you’re in pain just looking at them.

But my absolute FAVORITE was the fan channeling Nigel from This Is Spinal Tap. He had it all – the mullet, the leather jacket, the skinny black pants… I swear he was even chewing gum like Nigel. OMG, I wanted so badly to make him do the “these go to eleven” bit just once, but I refrained. He actually was the most subdued of the fans. He just stood there, beer in hand, smiling and gently tapping his foot to the music. Just toe tapping to metal.

I can’t say I was disappointed by the turn of events. This band was definitely entertaining. Their set finally did end, and though legitimately saddened by their departure, my mood soon turned to panic when I heard that yet another band would be taking the stage shortly. That’s when my friends finally said, “Let’s get the hell out of here and go to Beauty Bar,” where we proceeded to get footloose. All in all, a perfect night.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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