Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Article for the Onion Newspaper

If I worked for The Onion, this is the type of story I would submit:


We all know that slogan. It’s been pounded into our brains just like everything else out there. “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Go ahead, try and read it without singing that tune. This has been a part of the famous insurance company since ... I don’t know, but it’s been a long time. Probably since the 60’s or something, because that’s probably still when everyone was being nice to each other. You old-timers remember, whenever you needed any help, you could just walk across the yard and ask good ol’ Tom to come over. Then you would share a cold beer with him. And later he’d invite you to a key party or something. Ah yes, those were the days. Things are totally different now.

Don’t act like you actually answer the door whenever your family comes around, let alone your neighbor. If you need a cup of sugar, and there is none in your cabinets, you drive to the grocery store and get some. In these hard economic times, we can’t be carelessly borrowing things from each other. You don’t go knocking on your neighbors door with a measuring cup in your hand asking, “Can I borrow some sugar?” What if they only have a few cups left themselves? You have just put them in an awkward position. If they don’t give you a cup, they’re an asshole. Am I right? So, they give you a cup. Now your neighbor can’t make his or her sons birthday cake for tomorrow. Way to go, jackass.

All this isolation finally came to the attention of the State Farm Insurance PR team. They realized that their once valid slogan had completely lost it’s meaning. Instead of, “If you’re injured in a car accident, we’ll be there to help just like a friendly neighbor would”, State Farm customers were hearing this, “If you’re injured in a car accident, we’ll turn off the lights and sit quietly in the dark until you leave, like a neighbor would”.

The PR team decided on a few different slogans. The first, “We’re better than your neighbors, because we won’t pretend we don’t know you in the mall”. Focus group’s found this to be too condescending. The next, which didn’t follow the original jingle, “State Farm. When we meet it’s all business. We definitely won’t drag you into a long boring conversation about our children being on the honor roll. We know you don’t care”. But the focus group’s thought, although honest, it wasn’t as catchy.

The PR team was just about to give up, when a gentlemen from a neighboring office suggested they go with, “State Farm. We’re there if you need us”. It took him a long time to get the team’s attention though, since he was from a neighboring office and all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who doesn't love animals!

You can't have the remote.
I said, you can't have it!

So you think you're a crazy cat lady? You probably are. Don't fight it though. There's no shame. Here's a little test to see if you actually are one or not:

1. Do your cats have middle names?
2. Do you talk to your cats?
3. Do you take pictures of your cats?
4. And then give them their own photo album on facebook?
5. Or do your cats have their own facebook?
6. Do you get christmas/birthday presents with cats on them?
7. Do you have a tattoo of a cat...

Ok, this is getting too personal. So far I have answered yes to all of these. But at least I don't have 6 pugs...

...oh wait.

Yes, I live with 6 dogs, 3 cats and possibly a possum that my mom insists on giving a name. She calls him Ralph. I'm not complaining. In fact, I really do love living with animals. I've lived with animals my entire life. When I was younger, we had 2 dogs and 3 cats (different than the 3 cats I have right now). I love having pets.
And judging by the incredible amount of animal blogs and a television network dedicated specifically to animals, I can guess I am not the only one. So here's my own little 2 cents for any animal lover out there that cares: the best thing to do for any animal is to rescue them. If you are looking for a new pet, you can find a rescue shelter for it somewhere near you. Dog, cat, ferret, rats... you name it. They all need help. If you have a big heart, and have time to take care of an animal that needs it, please look into rescuing it.
And just so you know, I'm not blowing smoke right now. I live and take care of (with my parents) two rescue pugs. Kissy and MoJo (or Mr. Mosby, as I like to call him) acted as a puppy factory for their previous owner. Kissy had 6 litters in 7 years. When Kissy developed bad allergies and they found out Mr. Mosby had a condition where his eyelashes grew on the inside of his eyelids, causing him to scratch his cornea everytime he blinked, the previous owner passed them on to the animal shelter. When my mom heard about this, she flew over to the shelter. When she saw them, Kissy was practically itching her skin off and Mr. Mosby was running into walls because he was partially blind.
Two years have passed since then. Kissy gets half a children's benadryl twice a day (because my mom doesn't want to cause her any pain with shots once a month) and Mr. Mosby gets eye drops twice a day. They are the most loving dogs and my parents (or me) wouldn't trade them for anything.

So rescue some animals! Here are some websites: - this website was featured on WGN on October 8th. It is a No-Kill Adoption Center. - you can do quick pet searches to find a ferret, bird, cat, dog or other animal in your area. - this is the website for the Anti-Cruelty Society located on Grand Ave in Chicago. Here you can adopt, donate money or even volunteer (which is really fun because you get to care for a lot of the animals)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I'm stuck at school with nothing to do. For the most part my homework is done. I have commented on everyone's facebook status's and checked out the LOLcatz for today. I can't help but look around the lunch room and imagine what all these people are doing.

Two ladies walk by. One has earbuds in her ears, the other one is talking. Is she talking to her? She clearly isn't listening. Maybe the one lady talking is lonely. She is just rambling to herself. She desperately wants to be heard. And the other lady, with the earbuds, is lonely too. She just wants to listen. She wants to hear everything. So when she sees the talking lady, she walks near her. The talking lady doesn't object, she wants to be heard. People think, "they must be good friends".

There's a guy carrying a box. I see him around sometimes. He perpetually has a pouty face. His bottom lip sticks out and his brow is furrowed. He's checking the vending machines for change. You know, the part of the vending machines that shoots out change when you put too much money in. He's sticking his fingers in there and feeling around. Oh! He found some! Way to go, dude! I am legitimately excited for him. He still looks like he's pouting though.

Whoa. Here's a guy that just walked up with an apron on. Not a cooking apron, but one of those artists aprons. There's paint all over it. I bet he wants everyone to know that he as an artist. A painter. I shouldn't hate. If I had something to distinguish me from other students here, I would totally wear it. ...No I wouldn't. I like being inconspicuous here. I still shouldn't hate. Maybe he is in the middle of something and got really hungry. He probably has to run back to the studio. Yep, there he goes.

There's the guy that works in the GSU library. I see him all the time. I wonder if he's married.

I see one of my former teachers sitting across the way with a guy who, I can only presume, is some sort of big shot. He's wearing a nice suit. Maybe their talking about how former Governor Blagojevich doesn't have his picture up in the Hall of Governors. "George Ryan's picture is up there. He's a crook." "Well, yeah, but Blagojevich is down right nuts!" That guy just said "nuts!" really loud, that's why I think that's what they're saying. Or maybe he was just exclaiming his love for the tasty snack. "What's your most favorite thing in the whole world?" "NUTS!"

There are two gentlemen in the Hall of Governors looking around. They look like they are discussing important business. I imagine them talking about how they should tear it down. "Tear it all down! Just build a mini-mall right here. All the major cities are doing it. Think of all the revenue!"

Still an hour and a half before class starts. Maybe I'll eat another Snickers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's funny what makes you smile.

I've been in a period of self-loathing lately. You know, feeling like you have nothing to offer. I've been feeling like I have nothing to write about. I've been really upset because of my financial state. I owe a few hundred dollars here and there and when you don't have any money (or a decent job) a few hundred dollars here and there seems like A LOT. So for that past three months, I've been silently worrying about what I would do about it while simultaneously spending little bits of money here and there on some of the stupidest shit. Excuse my language, but that's exactly what it is. Do I really need that belt? Do I really need that comic book? Do I really need that pin shaped like a bicycle? The answer is no.
To top it all off, my car recently broke down. I spent the entire day wallowing in self pity. Oh woe is me! Whatever will I do? Whine, cry, whine, cry. Oh, I'm so irresponsible. If I hadn't bought that toy for my cat, I could have put that money away to save for a rainy day, just like this.
My job hasn't really been all that great either. I work at a corporate restaurant as a server (for those of you who don't know) and you really have to be motivated to make money. I am not. I dislike my job so much that when they tell me to go home without making any money that day, I say okay. Being fully aware of the horrible financial state I am in.
I have spent the last couple of days looking for a new job. One that will take me away from the horrible corporate restaurant. So far I've gotten nowhere. BUT, this isn't a rant about how terrible my life is. This isn't one of those things where at the end I type FML and await comments from the few people reading this saying, "Cheer up, Megan! You can do it!" After all, the title of this blog is It's funny what makes you smile. I'm pretty sure so far, none of this has made anyone smile.
Ok, ok to the point. I spent all of yesterday being a girl and crying about my car and my money, because I didn't know what else to do. My sweet, wonderful boyfriend came over last night and tried his hardest to make me feel better, but I wasn't budging. Then today, I walked to the Public Library to fill out an application at the request of a wonderful friend who works there.
The walk took me about an hour. I was sweaty. I was hot. My feet hurt. Halfway through the walk, I was miserable.
I was about ready to text my boyfriend, who, I knew, was busy, and tell him to come and pick me up. Just then, I saw an old man. He was walking down the sidewalk, with a noticeable limp and only had one arm. He was looking up at the sky, then slowly looked down at me as he walked towards me. I quickly looked away, with the sour look on my face that had only gotten worse with each step I took. I looked back at him just as we passed each other and he was still looking at me. He had a giant smile on his face and, without stopping, simply said "Smile!"
I walked passed him, didn't look back, but had the most gigantic smile on my face. The rest of the walk was great. I realized what a beautiful day it was. Instead of being upset at how hot and sweaty I was, I was happy that I was able (due to extenuating circumstances) to have this opportunity to take a nice long walk and enjoy the day.

So, basically, an old man with a limp and only one arm made me realize how lucky I was and that I should appreciate the things in my life, by simply saying smile. So, at the risk of sounding cheesy I say, to you, dear reader, SMILE! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

5,196 miles later...

On May 15th, 2010, Kelly Wotjczak and Megan Anstrom embarked on a journey. A journey that some could only dream about. A journey that would be remembered forever. But only one of them returned...

Because Kelly was moving to Oakland. When Kelly decided to move, I did what any good friend would do and said, "Yes, I will take this free trip to California." Then, she took it a step further. Actually a few steps further. Kelly wanted to take a giant ass road trip before she settled in Oakland. We stopped in 9 different states, drove through 15 different states and had a hell of a time. Here are some tips we picked up through each state...


Our first stop was Graceland in Memphis. When pulling into the parking lot of Graceland, make sure you are listening to Graceland by Paul Simon. It makes it more exciting. Also, when you're going through the tour, don't listen to the headphones they give you. They're dumb.

From there, we drove to Nashville. If you go to a bar called The Twin Kegs, make sure you play some good music. Kelly won over the regulars playing cards in the corner when she played Long Tall Woman in a Black Dress by The Hollies. That's become our go-to jukebox song now.

Upon leaving Tennessee, if you happen to see the signs that tell you to go to the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Aquarium, be warned! It's about 30 miles out of the way in Gatlinburg! Also, don't distract your driver by yelling "Holy shit, Kelly, look! Ten dollar helicopter rides!" This resulted in a small accident, where no one was injured, but the gear shift in Kelly's car ... shifted. Park was reverse, reverse was neutral, neutral was drive, blah blah blah. We had to manually override the gear shift every time we started the car. EVERY TIME WE STARTED THE CAR.


Our initial plan was to go to Virginia Beach, but we went to Richmond instead. It was raining. Hot traveling tip #1: DON'T GO TO RICHMOND, VA WHEN IT'S RAINING.

South Carolina

I absolutely recommend researching highways and biways before going on a trip. I was the navigator on the way from Virginia to South Carolina and had the genius idea to go the scenic route so we could drive along the coast. The only problem is from Wilmington, North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina, there are so many kitschy, touristy shops built up, you can't see the ocean! We finally got off the state route and drove in the general direction of the ocean until we saw it.

Hot traveling tip #2: Charleston apparently shuts down at 10pm. So if you've been driving for hours, and all you want is something to eat, you won't find it. During the day, Charleston is beautiful. The architecture is very charming and there are tons of old graveyards with pirates' graves!

Folly Beach is also a beautiful place. BUT, even if you're German, Polish and Irish ... the most pale person in the world ... the sun will still get you! I was so burnt after accidentally falling asleep on the beach, that some dude asked me if I even attempted to put sunscreen on. When I got into a bathtub filled with cold water, I saw steam. Hot traveling tip #3: Always, ALWAYS wear sunscreen.


Savannah was probably one of our favorite places. The weather was beautiful, all the trees were covered in spanish moss, there were parks everywhere and EVERY BAR HAD TO-GO BEERS. You walk in, order a beer and they say, "For here or to go?" There was, also, a bar that sold 40's for $5. They even put it in a paper bag for you for proper 40 drinking etiquette.

When traveling from Georgia to Louisiana, you have to go through Florida. Florida sucks. Don't go to Florida. I got pulled over for going 85 in a 70 and the cop gave me a $251 ticket. The price of this ticket is blowing my mind. Florida truly sucks.


New Orleans. Here's what I learned in New Orleans: Never stay in a hostel with a Brazilian woman. Don't let her Euro-charm fool you, she is nuts. This woman told both Kelly and I, at separate times, about her relations with the hostel night guy. She then told us that if he says anything to us, not to tell him that she told us anything... riiiiiight.

We quickly ran off to get away from her because we realized she wasn't going to stop talking. We made our way down to the French Quarter, then back to the hostel. Crazy Pants was still there. She was wandering around in her underwear, packing and unpacking her suitcases while telling us her life story. We made up some excuse to get out of there, and headed for a bar.

After a few hours of drinking, we made our back to the hostel. Thankfully, Crazy Pants was gone! Kelly and I climbed into our bunk beds and tried to fall asleep. We realized a few moments later that we wouldn't be sleeping any time soon because the other lady that was sharing a room with us was snoring sooooo loud. Hot traveling tip #4: When staying in hostels, it's probably a good idea to bring earplugs.

I do remember dozing off for a moment, but was awakened when Crazy Pants stumbled into the room with some guy. She was rambling about taking her medicine to help her stand up, when both her feet came out from underneath her! Then, the police showed up, shining their flashlights into our room, telling Crazy Pants that she either needed to leave or go to bed! Everyone that was in the room was clearly awakened by the noise, because Saw Logs McGee stopped snoring at this point. But we all kept quiet and pretended to be asleep so Crazy Pants wouldn't talk to us.

For whatever reason, the police and the dude left, leaving our dorm door open and the light on. A few moments later, the dude came back! He said he just wanted to check on Crazy Pants. She asked him to get into bed with her, which he declined, then she asked him to take off her pants, which he THANKFULLY declined. She went on about being scared for her life because of some other guy, but when the dude left, she asked him to leave the door open... There must be some sort of cultural difference. Maybe if a Brazilian woman feels threatened by someone, she makes absolutely sure that she feels the opposite of safe and secure. Maybe it helps them keep their guard up so their not vulnerable.

At this point, I could take no more. I finally got up and shut the door. I told her we were all awake and we heard what happened and that we all needed to go to bed. She informed me about the guy trying to kill her... uuuhh, whoever that is ...and I assured her that no one would do anything to her with four other girls in the room and with THE DOOR SHUT AND LOCKED. I crawled into bed and tried to quickly fall asleep but the Snore Queen beat me to it.

After about an hour of sleep, Kelly and I woke up and gathered our stuff together. As we were on our way out, Crazy Pants asked if she could come with us.

When traveling from Louisiana through Texas, that's it. You only go through those two states. The Southwest portion of Louisiana sucks, too. Kelly got pulled over going 83 in a 70, but her ticket was only $139. And then as the police officer walked away, he said "Keep it under 80" with a real thick, deep south southern accent. This made us giggle. Then we held a baby alligator, which made us pretty happy. I guess the Southwest portion of Louisiana isn't too bad.


After driving around for hours on I-35 in Austin, Kelly and I got a 12 pack of Coors Original, found a Motel 6 and watched Bring It On. The second night was much better. Kelly found a show to go to at a place called Stubb's. It was a band we both liked, and the bar had free beer for a limited time! We decided Austin was probably a great place to live, but a horrible place to visit.

When we were heading out, we took state routes the entire way and listened to Old 97's. The small towns we passed through were pretty weird, but everything in between was beautiful.

New Mexico

Hot traveling tip #5: DON'T GO TO THE ROSWELL UFO MUSEUM. It sucks. I got the stink eye from the old man behind the counter because I wanted to buy a ticket with my credit card. The museum is filled with old newspaper articles and X-Files posters. Oh, and a framed VHS copy of the made-for-tv movie 'Roswell' starring Kyle Maclachlan of Twin Peaks. To quote Kelly, "There's not even a shirt that says, I got abducted by aliens and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Albuquerque seemed to be a cool place. There is a very nice hostel called Route 66 Hostel. If you go to Albuquerque, stay there. This is a serious recommendation.


As soon as we hit the Arizona state line, we saw signs telling us about a dinosaur park. Don't get your hopes up, there isn't one. There is, however, a 20-foot tall paper-mache T-Rex next to a paper-mache ostrich that is probably 15-feet tall.

Here is another serious recommendation: if you're driving west on I-40 in Arizona and heading towards the Grand Canyon, get off in Flagstaff. Head north on state route 89 then head west again on state route 64. It's real puuuurty.

Hot traveling tip #6: Try not to get lost finding the biggest canyon in the United States. Kelly and I wandered for awhile before finally stumbling upon it. No joke.


Our first stop in California was Escondido, a northern suburb of San Diego. Hot traveling tip #7: When staying with friends, listen to them when they tell you to go out the front door. Kelly's friends, Amy and Jonathon, had gone to work early one morning. Kelly and I woke up around 9am and decided to go out to the car to grab our laundry. Against Amy's advice, we made our way towards the back door. As we walked through the kitchen door, into a pantry-like room, Kelly noticed the antique french doors leading outside could only be opened with a key. I did not notice this and shut the kitchen door behind me, locking us inside the pantry-like room. We did not have our phones, Kelly was not wearing her contacts and we were still in our pajamas.

We were trapped for eight hours. But it wasn't so bad. We began trying to send Amy and Jonathon psychic messages, trying to tell one of them to take a half-day and come home. We tried to nap on a linoleum floor, using big CostCo bags as blankets. We played Apples to Apples, but played like it was the card game War. We talked about our trip. There would be short silences that would be broken when one of us would start laughing and saying "I CAN'T BELIEVE WE DID THIS".

As soon as 5pm rolled around, I was up on my feet, staring out the window. When the car pulled up in the driveway, I told Kelly and we both were dancing around clapping our hands. We were like two puppies locked in a cage all day, excited for their owners to come home. That was probably the most ridiculous thing that happened on the trip.

Remember the accident that happened two days after we left that had Kelly's gear shift all in a tizzy? Well, Jonathon asked if we had thought about pushing the gear shift all the way down to L, to see if maybe that would knock it back into place. We had thought about it, but were nervous to try. He did it, and the car works fine now.

After a few days there, we made our way up to Los Angeles. We spent a few hours tooling around, then headed to Santa Monica to see more friends. Our friends, Kindra and Bill, took us around the town. Hot traveling tip #8: Wear super comfortable shoes when walking around Venice Beach. Bill figured that we had walked 9 miles, which resulted in me having to walk on the sides of my feet because I had blisters. The drive from Santa Monica to Oakland is beautiful. We drove along state route 1, which took us right along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Hot traveling tip #9: Don't get gas in the mountains. Or if you do, only get a little bit. I paid almost $5 a gallon!!

Finally after two weeks and three days, we made it to Oakland. Oakland is a pretty cool place. This statement is meant in both ways. It's awesome and quite chilly. The entire time I was there, it was in the upper 60's. I loved it, but Kelly is a true Midwesterner and missed her super humid days in Chicago. I kept trying to remind her that when we're all freezing our asses off during the ridiculous Midwest winter, mid- to upper 60's and non-humid days won't be so bad.

After 10 days, it was time for me to say good bye. It was quite bittersweet. I missed my family and friends back in Illinois, but as soon as I got back, I knew that I would immediately start missing Kelly! Right before I left, Kelly was chatting with her mom. She told Kelly that before I left, we should talk about our trip in case there were things that one of us forgot. For the rest of the time, and even still now, we said things like "Hey, remember when we found that cat in New Orleans?" or "Remember when we went to that A's game?" It started off as a joke, but it makes me smile every time.

So, now I'm back, safe and sound. Kelly and her boyfriend, Jordan are settled into their new apartment in Oakland, CA. The trip was a success. Lots of things went wrong, lots of things went right and everything was awesome. This trip (here it comes, here's the cliche comment) changed my life. It changed who I am as a person. Hot traveling tip #10: Do it. Take a ridiculous trip and let it happen. It's the best thing that could ever happen to a person.

My favorite "Hey, remember when..." from Kelly: "Hey, remember our road trip?"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Feel Good, Feel Bad, Feel Something

The other day, I was in a terrible mood. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to go to work. I didn't even want to listen to music on the way to work. I scrolled through my iPod, and tried to find a song that would put me in a better mood. But instead, I found a song that made me feel worse. Which in the end, made me feel better.
Have you ever done that? Purposely put on a song that you know will make you cry or make you more angry than before? I absolutely love that feeling. I don't enjoy making myself feel like shit or anything, it's more ... catharsis. These songs help me get out those pent-up feelings that I have without taking them out on anyone else. You know you do it.
On this particular day, I came across an EP that I had downloaded months before by a woman named Samantha Crain. I turned it on as sort of a background sound on the way to work. But then, Beloved, We Have Expired came on. There is a part in the middle of the song where the lyrics are ... "I want to be held again, To be close or dead, Sung to sleep again, That would be the greatest thing". Gut-wrenching! I had tears in my eyes! Before I knew it, I was full on crying! (Note: This is not a pity party... I'm just expressing how I love songs that move me this much) By the time I got to work, I felt great. I had gotten this negative feeling out of the way without taking it out on someone.
I have a list of songs that I listen to when I'm feeling shitty. I guess I could call it my shit-list. But I mean that in the best way possible. These songs, literally, move me to tears and eventually leave me feeling refreshed. Here's a short version of it:
1. Don't Be Scared - Andrew Bird
2. Biggest Lie - Elliott Smith
3. Saddest Vacant Lot In All The World - Grandaddy
4. We Crawl - The Polyphonic Spree
5. Rest Of My Life - Rilo Kiley
6. Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space - Spiritualized
Now, let's not focus on songs that make us sad/cry. Here's my list for songs that can, usually, no matter what make me feel amazing:
1. Glad Girls - Guided By Voices
2. The New Style - Beastie Boys
3. O My Soul - Big Star
4. The Party's Crashing Us - Of Montreal
5. Money In The Afterlife - Saturday Looks Good To Me
6. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone - Sleater-Kinney

So, what's your list? Songs that make you feel good, feel bad or feel something... anything. I really want to know.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Recent Obsession

Friday night, my two friends, Kelly, Kristina and I went to the Metro to go see Dr. Dog. I had been excited for this show for about two months. Dr. Dog has been my most recent obsession. I'm not sure how most people are with their music, but about once a year, I get really into a specific band. Like, REALLY into them. The day Dr. Dog's new record, Shame, Shame came out, I bought it. (It's available on iTunes, if you're wondering) I listened to it everyday in anticipation for this show.
Why was I so excited, you might be wondering? I had seen Dr. Dog, probably about a year ago, at Taste of Randolph Street. Fate, the album before their newest one, had been out for a few months and I was pretty into it. Me and my boyfriend at the time, stood in the rain for two hours, just waiting. And it was worth the wait. Because of the rain, many people had left, so Chris and I were able to stand right in the front. The band came out in full force. What a show! They might be one of the best live bands I have seen in a long time. There's nothing really flashy about them. They all dress normal, with the exception of fedoras and sunglasses. But when they play, do they play. The energy that they have fills the crowd and makes you want to dance/cry/laugh/scream. Toby Leaman, the bass player and one of the lead singers, is amazing to watch. You can see he has a passion inside him that goes nuts. I guess it's not just him, it's all of them. They all have ... soul, I guess. Maybe soul isn't the best way to describe it, but they've got something. And it's working.
The Metro was completely sold out. The band came out and opened with Stranger, the first song off their new album. It's a sad song that tricks you into happiness because of it's beautiful harmonies in the background. That is, until you hear the lyrics "The good old days have passed and the good times after that", insinuating a lonely road ahead.
The soothing harmonies Dr. Dog is known for are apparent in the song Where'd All The Time Go. A four part harmony fills the background as Scott McMicken, the guitar/piano player and other lead singer, yells the chorus. Even though the album is filled with dark themes, the emotionally charged lyrics combined with the clear sounds of pianos, guitars, bass, and drums make you feel warm inside.
The night went on as they played a mixture of songs from their other two full length albums, Fate and We All Belong. The lights flashed different colors as each song climbed to a climax. The guys danced around the stage, like they do, letting their energy flow throughout the crowd (I swear, I'm not a hippie). Once they were finished and walked off stage, it only took about thirty seconds for them to come back.
They started their encore with the title track off the new album, which is explained as a "...harsh self-critique [...] a gnarled admission that sometimes it's best to admit your mistakes and move on..." on their website. (Just a small side note about the song, Jim James from My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk sings on this track) They followed it up with my favorite song, "Jackie Wants A Black Eye", a telling tale about a couple "falling apart". I'm not going to lie, after that song was played, I was in some sort of euphoric state. I can't even recall what other songs were played.
I do know that I left the Metro completely satisfied. I haven't stopped listening to Shame, Shame since the show (yes, I am listening to it right now). If you like chamber-pop folk rock, I recommend this album... THIS BAND to you. Get it! Get the album and tell me what you think. It's okay if you disagree, opinions are welcome here.

If you are like me, and you start to become obsessed in a ridiculous way, Dr. Dog has a facebook, a myspace and of course, their own website:
Be sure to check out the Daytrotter Session video. It's awesome!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This one time, I met a famous person...

Tonight, my dear friend Ben invited me to a show at the Empty Bottle to see a band called Pet Lions. The reason we went to see this band is because Matt Dahl is the drummer for the band. Matt is the son of Steve Dahl (remember Disco Demolition?) a local radio DJ. Ben loves Steve Dahl, I do not. We have gone back and forth on this for years, I'm a Kevin Matthews fan, Ben is a Steve Dahl fan. I don't know about any sort of real rivalry between Matthews and Dahl fans, but there is one between Ben and I (in a joking way, I guess). ANYHOW, I sort of followed Steve's radio shows, mostly because of Ben. I found out that Steve had three sons, one of them having a show that followed Steve's when he was still on WCKG. This was Matt Dahl.
So, Ben and I (mostly Ben) followed Steve from WCKG to JackFM to his podcast that he does from his house in Florida. To avoid a long story, that no one really cares about, we'll just say his son, Matt, followed suit and is now doing a podcast, as well. Both of these you can get from the iTunes store, if you're interested.
To get back to the main story, we saw Matt Dahl in person tonight. But before we got to the show, we (or maybe I) were interested in talking to Matt Dahl. Ben had heard a story from Steve's podcast that Pet Lions were on their way back from SXSW when their van broke down in Southern Illinois. After hours of waiting, they finally got a tow truck to tow them and their van all the way back to Chicago so they could play their free show at the Empty Bottle.
Let me tell you, it was NOT a disappointment. The place was packed for all three bands, which were Radar Eyes, This Is Versailles and Pet Lions. All I can say is Dance Party USA. It. Was. Awesome.
BUT, half way through the show, I began to think, would it be weird if we went up to Matt Dahl and told him that we knew about this show NOT because we were actually fans of the band but because we were fans of his dad... therefore becoming fans of him and his podcast? And because of this, we knew about his band's crazy van towing story? I mean, these podcasts reveal intimate details. For example, we know that Steve lives in Florida now. He does his podcast in his basement. We also know that Matt's nickname on the show is 'Mad Dog' because of some weird incident with a producer that couldn't really speak english. And his producer, Brendan, has been nicknamed Doc Rhubarb because of his love of rhubarb's as a child. Is it cool to reveal those things? I mean, at one point, we were seriously two inches away from the band. Ben and I, chatting away about some obscure reference or something, with Pet Lions right behind us chatting away about their own obscure reference. For some reason, I just couldn't bring myself to turn around and say, "Hey, which one of you is Matt Dahl? I listen to your podcast. You're funny." Because, that would be lame, right?
I think I felt this way because he isn't a HUGE celebrity. You know what I mean? He's a guy, who is in a band, and does a podcast from his or his friend's apartment. Maybe he would have appreciated it, but who knows? I thought about the other times I met some of my favorite musicians and sucked it up just so I could say hi.
Years ago, I met the bass player and the lead singer for the Old 97's. My friend, Dana and I watched their show, saw them backstage, said hi and took pictures with them. Not awkward at all. Then, this one time, some friends and I saw Rufus Wainright play and as we were walking back to my friend's apartment I saw him on the corner waiting to cross the street. I didn't even think about it. I just walked right up and shook his hand. I told him I saw him that night and he was great. He said thanks. He was pretty nice.
This other time, I met the other guitarist for Old 97's. He told me some crazy long story about how I reminded him of some girl who broke his heart back in Texas before the band went on their first tour. Awkward? NO WAY.
AND one time, I was outside the Webster Place Barnes & Noble in Chicago, where I worked at the time, with one of my manager's. We were taking a lunch break, when all of the sudden Jeff Tweedy walked out. We both gasped! And I think he heard us, because he turned around. We waved. He waved back. No awkwardness whatsoever.
So why did I feel so awkward about asking this guy about his personal life when he talks about it so freely in his podcast? I think it might be because I don't really know how to talk to normal people.

If you have any advice for me, or an awesome story about meeting someone famous, please do post it in this. I would love to hear about it!

And here are the websites that you can find info on Matt Dahl or his band:

Seriously though, all these bands tonight were pretty good. I danced a lot.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

No fun in Kankakee? Pish-posh!

I'm taking this class right now at Governors State University called Television Production. Sounds interesting, right? Well, it's not. It's awful. The teacher is unorganized, has a weird lisp and talks for a really long time. The upside is that it gives me a chance for my mind to completely wander. So today, I was thinking about how I was at the bar last night and this guy I was chatting with said he had to skate this weekend. I assumed he meant skateboard, but then realized it was too cold for that and he said ice skate. I didn't really go into the conversation anymore than that due to the fact that I had knocked back a few too many PAAABBBBBSSSSSST. (side note: One time, my friends, Christine and Betsy, wondered if they called it Pabst because PAAABBBBBSSSSSTTTT was the noise it made when you cracked open a can.)
As I was slowly putting the night back together in my brain, I remembered this conversation. It was almost like an electric shock went through me. I thought, "Wait a second, there's an ice skating rink in Kankakee?" When I got home, I got on them interwebs and checked it out. And sure enough, there is one! It got me thinking... "Is there actually fun stuff to do in this town besides drink and be merry?" This inspired me to do some research and find out some more things that are fun to do IN Kankakee for cheap. One-and-a-half of them is FREE. (The one-and-a-half will make sense later.)
First things first, ice skating rink. This li'l fun spot is located in Oak Orthopedics, 1601 River Road. They have a public 'regular' skate on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm-4pm. It costs adults $6 plus a $3 skate rental fee. Now, I don't know what they mean by 'regular' skate, but I'm hoping it means that after 4pm they put on that sweet single by Whodini, The Freaks Come Out At Night and people skate-dance like fools. If you want to know more info about this awesomeness go to
The next cool thing in Kankakee you might not know about is the Feed Art Center/Gallery. Feed is the art baby of Christopher Clark and Michael Costanza, both residents of Kankakee. It's located in the Majestic Center Towne Mall, 150 N. Schuyler Ave. Michael and Christopher hold workshops that anyone can attend. It does cost some money, but the awesome thing is that they have a showing for the artists. So, you pay some money to attend the workshop, but then you can sell it and make your money back. How cool is that? This is considered the 'half' in 'one-and-a-half'. For more info on when the next workshop is coming up or the center hours, you can check out their blog at and/or become a fan of Feed Art Center on facebook.
Now here is something that is totally free. The Kankakee Public Library. Duh, right? BUT, Nicholas Garcia, a cool guy that works at the library, holds a book discussion there once a month. This past month, he held a book discussion on Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. If you like books, and like to discuss books with intelligent people, I recommend talking to Nicholas. He also does special viewings of thought provoking films. Recently, he had a showing of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. To keep up with the happenings at the KPL go to
And finally, drinking and being merry isn't all that bad, right? (What would this post be if I couldn't do a little shameless plugging??) Do you like reminiscing about old movies from your childhood? Do you like doing a sort of MST3K-esque thing when watching these old movies? Do you like beer and pizza? If so, the first Tuesday of every month, yours truly and Hayley Anderson host an Interactive Brew & View at MacAmhlaoibh's Irish Pub, 12 Heritage Plaza. This month, March, 2nd we will be showing Ghostbusters. It's going to be un très bon moment. (I've been obsessed with the French language lately, I blame you, Kelly.) Next month, we will be showing Back To The Future. Just imagine all the things you can yell at the screen!! "Flux Capacitor ... fluxxing." FLUXXING!!?? To know when things are going on here, become a fan of Interactive Brew & View on facebook.
So there you have it. Just a few fun things to do, right here in your very own neighborhood. If you have any other suggestions of some fun things to do, please feel free to post them. If you don't have any suggestions, still feel free to post. Like you could tell me if I suck or not. You know, whatever.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Let's Talk Some Comedy

Well, here I am. Writing a blog about some stuff that I like. I thought it would be fitting to write about comedy, since that's what I enjoy the most. Is that how you do this? I write about things that I like... right? Whatever, let the narcissism begin!

So, anyway, about me: I really like comedy. I think I'm pretty funny, I can make some people laugh. However, I can usually only make some peeps laugh when I am making fun of myself. My friend, Michael said one time, "You save people the trouble. When you do something dumb, you immediately make fun of yourself." At first I thought that was cool, then I was like, "Wait, people really think I do dumb things as much as I think I do dumb things... This is not good."

But then I realized I could turn this into something. Maybe self-deprecation is my thing. I can put together a whole routine making fun of myself! It's perfect. I can tell stories and just make fun of myself the whole time. I've been greatly influenced by some podcasts I've been listening to lately. The Moth and RISK! podcasts are all about people getting up and telling stories. The Moth Podcast usually has some humorous stories and some serious stories. But the funny ones really make you LOL (as the kids are saying).

The Moth does these things in different cities called StorySLAMS. And guess what, there is one in Chicago! It's the last Tuesday of every month. And anyone can participate! The last Tuesday of February has passed, but the end of March will be here before you know it. Just go to to get all the information you need, if you're interested. This tells you about the storySLAMS in Chicago, but also gives you a link to the sweet podcast that comes out once a week.

RISK! is all about the funnies, ya'll. For real. It's hosted by Kevin Allison, a member of the now-disbanded then-hot 90's comedy group, The State. I am not joking when I say that this stuff is hilarious. People do not hold back when telling stories on this podcast. Hence the name. Most of the stories come from their live shows in New York and are told by comedian friends of Kevin's. So, you occasionally hear old State members like Ben Garant (Deputy Junior on Reno! 911) Kerry Kinney-Silver (Trudy on Reno! 911) Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black (Michael and Michael Have Issues). I cannot get enough of this podcast, it's a shame it comes out every other Tuesday. If you want to know more info about the live shows or you want to download the podcast or whatever, here is the website for that:

So, if I ever have a one woman show about me making fun of myself, it will definitely be in the style of The Moth storySLAM and/or RISK!. I strongly recommend that you check out both of these podcasts. Now that I've talked about comedy, and built myself up to be a 'funny gal', I feel like I need to end this on a real funny note. But I got nothing...