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A Moment with Torio (The Intern)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What follows is a blog post from our intern, Torio:

Up until now, all of my knowledge about Chicago came from the song “Homecoming” by Kanye West and Chris Martin.  Which, by the way, is a song about coming home to Chicago performed by dudes who were born in Atlanta (West) and England (Martin).  I think that’s a neat idea.  I can’t wait until I get home to Rio de Janeiro.

As it turns out Chicago has more to offer than Kanye’s raps and those sweet Chris Martin piano riffs.  For example, did you know that Chicago can do an amazing impression of Cleveland?  It’s true. When Chicago gets hit by a blizzard, it completely closes down.  I went for a walk yesterday and I felt like I was walking in a post-apocalyptic movie.  If we hadn’t just come from Cleveland, a city that must have forgotten to reopen after a blizzard they had forty or so years ago, I would have been pretty uncomfortable. 

My experience in Chicago has served as a very startling wake up call.  We take for granted our access to food in this country.  Most of us can walk a block or two, and be at a grocery store or restaurant, eager to fill our needs.  I’m not here to preach to you about being thankful for what we have, or more compassionate for people that go to bed hungry.  That kind of thinking is what lands you as one of those suckers going to bed with an empty stomach.  Instead, I’m urging you to prepare for a warrior culture.  Let’s face it, eventually this easy way of life will come to an end.  Maybe the religious nut jobs who preach of Rapture will be right, maybe the Mayan calendar has it correct, or maybe you live in Egypt.  The point is that when push comes to shove, will you be ready to fight for your food?  I will.  Starting today I put myself on a fierce workout regimen: I did eight sit-ups and half a pull up.  I know I’ll be sore tomorrow, but it’ll be worth it come loincloth season.

 - Torio

 


Day # 33 - Chicago Sucks by Joe Piccirillo

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hey Chicago,

It's Joe Piccirillo.  For years, I've had to listen to people sing your praises: Chi-town is beautiful, inexpensive, and fun.  "It has spirit!" people would say shortly before I would punch them in the ribs or throw their popcorn/catheter across a room.  The problem is that I'd never been to the home of corruption and failure (think Cubs and Perfect Strangers) and I couldn't refute their opinions.  And say what you will about me, I like my hatred when it's based upon facts.

Now I can speak with authority: you fail, Chicago.  We arrived shortly before a blizzard.  News reporters chatted nervously about its impending impact while pedestrians scrambled to acquire foodstuffs for the hibernating period.  All the while I sat in a bar (see previous post) and wrote scathing diatribes against Kathy Griffin.  After one night of admittedly decent blizzard weather, I awoke to find... sunny and clear skies.  The roads and sidewalks had been plowed and all seemed right with the world. 

I decided to celebrate with a cup of coffee.  Too bad not a single business -- restaurant, movie theater, or strip club (replete with breakfast buffet) -- was open.  Most had signs with words that had been scribbled on them in a panic that read: Closed for storm! or Storm forces us to close! or Open! (that was an ER).  So basically, after having realized that the blizzard was over, business owners decided to remain closed rather than re-open and rake in the money.  Had they opened, they could have earned my $5 for a breakfast burrito. 

Well, at least your hotel offered food and services, right?  Nope.  For the past few days, one would be hard-pressed to find hotel guests or hotel workers in the building.  It was like that AMC show Walking Dead only without the hope.  For a moment, I thought the world had been inhabited by zombies.  Then, I spoke to a hotel clerk and realized that it definitely was. 

After some travel, we finally stumbled upon an open bar and grill.  The waitress was an older woman with the sass of someone much younger, thinner, and attractive.  I had asked for some bread and she retorted, "Some or all of it?!"  I shot her the kind of glance the Terminator gives to someone shortly before it throws him through plate glass windows, but she was undeterred. 

In my fantasies, she would have a heart attack and beg for some of her medication and I would respond, "Some or all of it?"  Then, after she succumbed I would hang a sign from her that read: "Closed indefinitely."

Chicago, you have 3 days to make it up to me.  I like coffee, breakfast burritos and sassless waitresses.  Do the right thing.

- Joe

 

 


Behind the Scenes with Pete -- Journey Into the Snow Storm of Death -- Part I

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blog post and movie by Pete Jackson

I’ve been in a blizzard before and it’s not pretty – it’s manageable but not pretty. I was in my first blizzard in downtown Chicago today, and it’s downright ridiculous. Last night we got into town right before the snow started and since we’re in a major city, parking is not cheap – between $30-$40 per night. Using a tip from a doorman, we found $18/night parking that was about 5 blocks away. How is that a problem, you ask? Well, the lot is automated and requires that you go back every 24 hours to buy another ticket to keep your car parked there - otherwise you’ll be towed. What that meant for this troupe is that one of us had to go back to the car at night in the middle of Armageddon to renew the parking.

I didn’t know that the game of “not it” was actually considered a valid way of avoiding duties in adulthood. Apparently Joe and Torio agree that the game holds true for all ages. But I’ll admit it, watching snow shoot through the streets all day at 70-mph didn’t really look too bad from inside. When it came time to put on the old snow jacket and prepare to face the elements I was feeling pretty good.

So I walked outside and the snow hit my face at the speed of a train. The snow was traveling so fast that the flakes literally pierced my eyeballs (seriously, I got a paper cut on my eyeball one time and this was just as bad). So I ducked back inside, secured my jacket hood, put on sunglasses as a makeshift ski mask and went for round two.

It was horrible. By the time I got to the car I felt lucky to be there and that was having traveled with the wind to my back. The car was my sanctuary, the pod of life that would revive me. After sitting in the car with the heat on for a few moments, it was apparent that it was time to go. The snow was starting to melt on my jeans and any good outdoorsman will tell you that cotton is a death cloth in winter. Once it gets wet and you remain in the cold it becomes a freezer for your body.

So I paid my fee and made the horrible trek back to the hotel as wind shattered windows around me. “Never again,” I promised myself. Although the snow will continue tomorrow, it will not be me who has to trudge forth into the wintery night. With you as my witness, I officially declare with great pride, “not it.”

- Pete


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