Monday, November 22, 2010

"It's Kabletown...with a 'K'"

Is that Ikea? Very nice. 
Cable TV is both ubiquitous and, if you don't count TLC, innocuous. That is, of course, until you live alone in a partially submerged cave that has never been fitted for cable lines and is protected by historical building regulations that disallow satellite dishes.  Being locked out of the system is like not having a brain hole to plug into the Matrix with.  What are you supposed to do? 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

So You've Survived the End of Days

"Nothing bad could come of this!... D'oh!"
Wow, human society can collapse pretty quickly, huh? Like in a week! A friend of mine convinced me to watch AMC's new hit, The Walking Dead, a story set in the Atlanta metro the Zombie Apocalypse (whoops!). I'm addicted. If riding a horse into a concrete jungle only to have your trusty steed eaten from under you by a zombie mob isn't a city danger, I don't know what is.

New obsession aside, zombie flicks have never been my thing. I'm pretty ignorant of undead lore. However, The Walking Dead is also an 'end of times' tale and, MAN, do I heart a good end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story. Actually, it doesn't even have to be good. Independence Day, Children of Men, War of the Worlds, The Matrix, District 9...and the granddaddy, The Day After Tomorrow. All tremendously entertaining.

Sure, we could probably draw deeper lessons on human nature from the CGI terror of alien invasions, nation-destabilizing infertility, and global megastorms. But I couldn't care less about morality metaphors when I watch an Apocalypse movie. I watch for one reason: "How would my survival technique compare to these idiots'?"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Chicago Easy Button

If you press the red button, you will get your
heat, but a person will die
somewhere in the world.
Today is November 3rd, which means one crucial thing has changed in Chicago since October. New political leadership, you guessed? True, but like that makes a difference! Nope. Far more importantly, it is Day Three of the El platform space heaters being turned back on!

I speak for myself, but I project that every Chicagoan must have a love/hate relationship with the Easy Button. I love that I can stand under the toasty lamps with my pigeon colony friends and have a buffer from the frigid wind. Especially valuable given that my office El stop is perhaps THE COLDEST PLACE IN THE WORLD. That's saying a lot considering I spent four years in Siberacuse.

But I hate that I have to use it at all. Its reemergence each fall means that deepest winter is around the corner and pretty soon I will be pushing that button like a cocaine-addicted mouse in a lab experiment.

The first rule of Easy Button (and the only one) is that if you are standing nearest the button, your sole role in life while on that platform is to reset the heater the split second the timer kicks off. Preferably a second before it turns off. Count in your head if you have to. Yesterday, I stumbled into the button keeper job and let a whole two seconds pass after the lamps turned off before several people's heads whipped around at me, as if to say, "W.T.F.? Do your JOB, woman!" My reflexes will improve. By February I will be an Easy Button Ninja.

He Who Rules the Mob

Morning, readers! I am pleased to report that all City Dangers bloggers survived The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in D.C. this past weekend. Despite the estimated 200,000-strong crowd, and the huge potential for disaster, the day was a certified success... filled with sunshine, media-skewering jokes, and naturally, Ozzy Osbourne & Cat Stevens performing a duet.
A moderate and sane bottleneck.

While the politeness of the masses was appreciated at the time, it created a gaping void of topics for a new blog post. I was so sure we'd have a brilliant lesson in danger come out of the day, but in the end we were only moderately inconvenienced by a bottleneck upon exiting. Even then we had hilarious signs to entertain us. I'll leave it to my fellow blogger to hone in on any other slight Rally dangers.

But to take a cue from Stephen Colbert's fear theme, good-humored masses could VERY easily turn into an unruly mob at any moment. In fact, I encountered a much more dangerous group scenario at Reagan National Airport on my way home to Chicago.