Friday, October 25, 2013

Because People Are Pigs, Larry.

Craig to Luke: "You are your mother's son."

There had to be spare punk in the umbilicus which transferred directly from myself to Luke. He had to write a book report on an ALA award-winning book. He did the assignment, as instructed, but felt compelled to add this as an aside: 

"As an aspiring author, I have certain objections to the Newberry Award system and the ALA in general; literature, just like any other fine art, is relative to each individual. If somebody hates Moby Dick, for example, that doesn't mean that everyone does. Having a committee gathered around a corporate boardroom setting discussing how good or bad these books are according to a predetermined set of criteria is completely menial, in my opinion, because it accomplishes little in making the book better than any other book that's ever been produced. But for the sake of this report's format, I will judge the book based on the Newberry Award criteria in the next paragraph."

...which is exactly like something I would've said in 8th grade....


I  seem to have contracted another cold. I fastidiously hand-wash, but it's valid to point out that I spend 6 hours a week commuting on the oxygen-less cesspool that is Chicago public transportation to and from school. It was surreal on my commute home after class to be so freezing in my new heavy coat in a heated "L" train car and sweating at the same time, continuously pulling tissues out of my briefcase. Apart from that, I also took half a Valium because I was so over-caffeinated and under-slept that I could barely blink my burning eyes. Don't tell me I'm not Craig's Very-Best-Used-To-Be. He came to pick up Luke after I got home from school around 1pm, as I begged him to, and I asked Craig to errand to Walgreens to pick up Cold-Eeze and orange juice for me. He called me from the store and, looking at packaging, asked me if I was taking sedatives or tranquilizers. Please. I'm Andrea Miklasz. Of COURSE I'm taking tranquilizers. He decided on the daytime/nighttime dual-pack of (really shitty tasting) fast melts (not fast enough for me) and remembered that I only drink pulp-free orange juice. I diss Craig a lot, but I'll say for sure there's one vow we've never broken, divorce or no divorce--that we'd always have each other's backs. That made me happy and a little tear-jerked about the whole thing, but that could've been from my fever. 

I spent an hour doing field research yesterday morning in Argo Tea, gauging wardrobe habits of douchebags wearing North Face apparel. Downtown Chicago is THE PLACE to be seen in North Face. It's expensive, popular, and screams of mainstream high socioeconomic status. The puffy down fill in their winter line of jackets and coats also makes you look fat, but if your pockets are that full of cash, you probably don't care. 

My friend, Sree, helped me understand statistics last year by coming up with a statistical bell curve index of North Face donners he encountered on the suburban Metra train commutes downtown every day. I.e., depending on the % of people wearing North Face, an index between 1-5 would be assigned quantatively to that population. THAT much I could understand.

But today was qualitative research. I won't bore you with all of my research questions, but essentially, I sat in Argo Tea for an hour asking North Facers buying tea, coffee and vegan muffins why they were dressed like such total douchebags. While I was polite and explained that I was from the psychology school down the street, approximately half of my subjects refused to even turn to look at me while I was asking them questions. All of the subjects were Caucasian  and age-ranged between their mid 20's and mid 30's. Sitting at my table with my laptop, in between interviews, literally every 3rd person who walked by was wearing North Face. So some of the stats, I fictionalized. Because I'm a great researcher, er, writer.

I was busy analyzing data, stop, on my blog tracker. I was explaining my rationale to Very how and why some IP's were blocked and some were released, and laughing heartily at the complete, utter ridiculousness and humor of the Ms. Blog Stalker situation. Stop. Hey, whomever is in Tampa and visits dozens of times a day, look, send me a plane ticket and some beachside accommodations, because it's getting cold up here in Chicago. Ms. Blog Stalker was awfully quiet yesterday, as was traffic from the IP's through which they were accessing me. Stop. Maybe that whole Big Boss having Proof That You're Dicking Around At Work stat is scaring them off a little. That's a shame, because this was getting more and more fun every day, wasn't it, Very? Stop!

So I was on this packed train car this morning and this total businessman douchedad boards with his preschooler, who we soon found out was named and worse, CALLED Lawrence. Douchedad and Lawrence sat together across from me and eventually, while I couldn't see them because of the standing passengers (I always try to get a seat by the door for a quick escape route since I have panic disorder), Lawrence asked his dad the following question: "Why is there garbage on the train, Daddy?" While I'm COMPLETELY for not talking down to your children, as I never have with Luke (see above), I had to snicker at Douchedad's answer: "Because people don't make wise decisions, Lawrence."

"Wise decisions?" I don't think the jag bag who left his Flaming Hot Funyuns empty bag on the floor of the L train was pragmatically considering the implications of littering. 

There were too many people on the train for me to impart my own parental wisdom on this young sprite, but if I was Douchedad, I would've said, "Because people are pigs, Larry." Call him Larry for the sake of fuck, you prick!

People wonder why I don't get sick from my Curious George stuffed animal that nuzzles me every night, seeing as I never wash him. If I washed him, he wouldn't smell like me. He'd smell foreign (not like doesn't-wear-deodorant-foreign, more like fabric-softener-foreign) and not be as uniformly cuddly. I'm sure George is infected or harboring cholera, typhoid, MRSA or malaria, but to his germs, I'm immune, because he's the only object of any intimacy I've consistently had for most of my life. I have a bad cold, midterm papers to write, band this weekend and my son's Holy Confirmation on Sunday, with 26 people cramping into our little townhouse. I really need to feel better SOON. I went to bed at 9:30pm and now it's 5am, so I got a lot of sleep (for me, anyway), but I think I'll crawl back in with George, who no doubt is getting chilly without me, the window slightly open for ventilation.

One more smoke, then headed back to the lonely, single sack.

I wish Ms. BS would stir up more trouble, stop! Very and I were having so much fun, stop! Well, Very hypothesized that Ms. BS has a thing for Guy, and always has, but I sort of doubt it. She's all up his ass working his shiz, but she's not his type. I, on the other hand....... 


Rob Cheney said...

We have the North Face tribe over here there is an intertribal crossover with the Superdry and Joules tribes

Andrea Miklasz said...

The latter two brands I'm not familiar with.

Rob Cheney said...

Joules is a Horsey/Country/boaty brand and Superdry is a more street version of north face.

Anonymous said...

I'm partial to Arc'teryx and Mountain Hardwear, myself.

FWIW, TNF (The North Face) gear is aimed at the mainstream urban demographic, not true climbers and outdoors people. Take it from someone who knows.

Miss Thang II

Very Moon said...

I'm a sucker for the REI gear stuffs. Those powder puff jackets are horrible, they put on another 100lbs on you and since they are down filled, and thus filled with dust mites and allergens. Stop!

I get where the dad was coming from, but yeah. That's just over the top. Too much!

Andrea Miklasz said...

Miss Thang II, I trust you.....what's the WARMEST brand out there....????

Anonymous said...

"Warmest" depends on the garment. But, Marmot's "8000 Meter Suit" can't be beat, and is distinctively flashy, too!,120,149,222&ft=149-222

Stop! Don't miss how the seat unzips so you can answer Mother Nature's pesky calls without disrobing.

Seriously, a dedicated outdoor shop like Mountain Gear, Eastern Mountain Sports, etc. can guide you as there are so many options. You may pay top dollar though. There are some good values to be had although none will ever be "cheap". The stuff does wear like iron.

My best advice for "warmth" is do what outdoors people do and dress in layers that trap heat. Don't go "heavy" -- go "layers". I've summitted glaciated mountains such as Rainier, Hood, Shasta, Baker, Adams, the Grand Teton, Athabasca (Canada), & Popocatepetl (Mexico) dressed in the following combination: Patagonia's capilene Zip-T turtleneck as a base layer, over which I wore a Patagonia pile (fleece; PolarTek) jacket, plus a Mountain Hardwear Gore-Tex hooded jacket. Plus, a pile neck gaiter.

On the cheap, I suggest staying away from cotton. Wear synthetic or wool clothing plus add in a Polar-Tek (fleece) neck gaiter or even a scarf to whatever jacket you have now. The neck gaiter traps heat from leaking out of your jacket, and can be pulled up over your mouth on the coldest, windiest days. It also keeps the blood vessels in your neck warm. Neck gaiters and scarves make a HUGE difference, and are cheap plus easily tucked into your purse if conditions warm up.

For your locale, consider getting a neck gaiter with the "WindStopper" option, as simple pile/fleece does a lousy job of blocking wind.

Shopping wisely online, you can pick up a Mountain Hardwear neck gaiter (without WindStopper) for as little as $15.

Final note: if I were you, I would start by adding a warm scarf to whatever you have now. My scarves are ones I bought on the streets of NYC (fake? Pashmina) for a paltry $4.00 each. Do you have any warm scarves? Have you ever tried that? If not, see what a difference scarves can make and go from there.

A pile or knit toque (think ski hat, etc) is another option, as so much heat is lost through the head. REI has great ones.

Miss Thang II
who fondly remembers the infamous "Yak Suit". Stop!

Rob Cheney said...

Good advice Miss Thang! I used to work offshore delivering boats and in bad weather we used to wear a 3 layer system Underwear, pile fleece and marine goretex outer layer all supplied by musto. The climbing clothing sounds very comfy

Andrea Miklasz said...

Miss Thang II:

I am looking for THE WARMEST 3/4" length coat that's not puffy and fat looking for this winter. I have a Burberry cashmere scarf that's delightful, and I wear fingerless gloves, or my Kate Spade wool knit arm-warmers. What do you think of that Under Armour stuff? I want to layer, but I can't beat too much weight w/the weight of my briefcase and all the crap I carry around. Thanks,
Freezing Miss Thang I

Andrea Miklasz said...

Miss Thang II,

Also worthy of note is my extensive collection of cold-weather, insulated, knit dorky animal hats. I wear them to school and don't take them off. (Hat head, you know.) I just got a new "winter" coat but it's not terribly warm, though long, and hooded, which is good, but I definitely need a scarf and a hat (and gloves of some nature). You know what they say about Chicago weather....

Very Moon said...

OOOH! Marmot is delicious. I forgot about Marmot. YES!!

I totally want some arm warmers. So much so that I'm willing to butcher some wool socks to make it look like it happened. I'll do it!!

Silk is really warm for some reason, I think, THINK, that's what the UnderArmor stuff is made out of, no?

Andrea Miklasz said...

I thought about getting some Under Armor tops for the winter commutes as a layering piece. It's pretty expensive. It's not silk, it's a tech fabric.

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