Two bits of news.

•August 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment


1) Catherine and I are planning a road trip through the South exploring what we love/fear/hate/don’t yet know we love or hate about America in December.  More on this soon.

2) We’re actually, officially, honest-to-God recording our first record.  Much, much more on this soon.  I’m developing an official website with song clips, pre-order info, and random weirdness which will be up soon.  10 or 12 songs.  Crazy stories and straight-up love songs.  Johnny & June meets The New Pornographers.  You’ll dig it.  I swear.


Overheard in the city today (part 2):

•August 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

From one business guy to another: “Just eat the fucking donut.”

Without a context, one can’t help but wonder.  Blackmail, perhaps? 

“Just eat the fucking donut, and I’ll sign the contracts”?

“Just eat the fucking donut, and your wife and kids will make it home safely”?

“Just eat the fucking donut, and we’ll take care of the Batman”?

The mind boggles.

Overheard in the city today:

•August 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“You know what?  He can do his own goddamn drywall!” – 30ish man walking with girl who was too good for his hipster ass.

The family that Youtubes together…

•August 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

…posts their acceptable family videos on Youtube for friends and fam to see!

Right now, it’s Wilbur TV, but it will branch out to feature other programs like “Let’s Spy On the Neighbors” and “What the Fuck is That In My Yard?”

Enjoy and subscribe if you’re so inclined:

All my neighbors are drug addicts, dealers, and crack whores.

•August 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Okay, no.  But…we’re back in a house, ladies and gentlemen, as opposed to an apartment, and yes, this is how I instinctively view my neighborhood.

What’s wrong with that?  Well, for starters, the fact that the neighborhood is nice, well-maintained, centralized in Downers Grove near all sorts of lovely amenities, and populated by the friendliest people we’ve lived around for quite a while.  So no, obviously I don’t really think this.

But being in a house again makes me at least consider it.

Why?  I don’t know.  There’s no good reason.  It’s totally asinine and I know it.  Maybe it’s flashbacks.  If you’ll all recall, quite a while back on here I told the tale of our Macomb neighbors who considered domestic violence a sport worthy of Olympian efforts, and their property, from corner to corner, was their playing field.  (They’re probably all dead or in jail by now, which I guess was bound to happen, if it has indeed happened.)  Maybe it’s the fact that one of our apartment buildings was broken into (Berwyn).  Maybe it’s the fact that Catherine was once bullied by some bitchy pre-teens during trick-or-treating hours and we were vaguely concerned for the well-being of our house (again, Macomb).

Or, maybe it’s none of those things.  Maybe it’s this: living in a house brings out every territorial instinct in a guy, good and bad, and now that we’re in our second house, I realize that it’s not coincidence.

Here’s what I mean: I don’t own this house, yet simply because others do not live on the property as with an apartment, I’m fiercely and laughably protective of it.  Every car horn, I’m at the window.  And if you’re an idling car parked along the curb across the street, I already have my phone in hand to call the cops on your idling ass.  Either go inside or go home.  But don’t idle.  That makes me suspicious.  It clearly means you’re staking out my garage filled with treasures.  You’re after my Christmas decorations.  Dishes.  Unused short stories.   Weed killer.  Shovels and other heavy, potentially-lethal tools.  Or my hedge trimmer.  Don’t even think about my hedge trimmer, you shady motherfucker.

I thought this was crazy until I realized that everyone does it to some degree, and here’s the really ridiculous part: there’s a weird pleasure in it.  When that car pulls away, it means I won.  I smoked them out and they’re off to defile some other neighborhood with their…pizza or whatever.  Catherine and I once called the cops on our Macomb neighbors four different times for partying next door, and we were furious pissed until we realized that, lying there in the dark, we could hear the cops arrive and verbally bitch-slap the Lords of Keystone.  And the cops got angrier every time they came, much to our delight.  It culminated in a supervised dissolution of a completely over-the-top party on a weeknight, and we were so thrilled with what we’d accomplished that we damn near didn’t want to go to bed after that, effectively rendering non-existent our reason for wanting the party to stop.  I remember how my stepfather and I once sat in our TV room, cracked the blinds, and opened the windows just enough to hear our neighbor across the street being arrested for statutory rape.  It was better than reality TV.  It was reality on North Prairie Street, which was infinitely more interesting.  I don’t want to be the old man who watches the neighborhood and forcibly maintains the peace, but on the other hand, I do have a borderline unhealthy desire to own a police radio and my ears prick up like a blind cat every time I hear neighbors chatting behind fences.

Maybe that’s what it boils down to: the fact that whatever is happening, I’m now a part of the dialogue.  My status as a suburbanite has been elevated to a new level of the caste.  It’s not like an apartment where I’m one of 300 people who will never see each other, cross paths, or care to do either one.  Now I’m one of like, twelve.  If some “Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” shit goes down with lights flashing and people get stoned to death and cars getting overturned because invisible aliens are jacking around with my Comcast, I’ll get to be one of the stone-throwing nutfucks in the mob!

And holy crap, man – are those hedge trimmers going to come in handy then.

All new ThisMarriedGuy music blog! “ALIVE AND 35”!!!

•June 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Update: I’ve decided to make my music section of this blog its own site.  Soooo…subscribe to this folks, and wave your lighters as you read it.  If you’re going for the full arena-rock experience, have someone spill a lukewarm beer down your back, too!

ThisMarriedGuy’s Rules For Metra Travel

•May 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

BNSF Riders:

Should you find yourself needing to take the Metra, particularly on a daily or semi-daily basis, these are rules that are now mandatory as a result of unacceptably stupid behavior.  Not following them to the letter will result in your ejection from the moving train somewhere in the neighborhood of the Congress Park overpass.

1. You have friends.  I have friends.  We all have friends.  Further, many of us have friends on the Metra.  Talking to these friends is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged.  However, if your friend is standing in the entryway between two cars, and you are standing in the aisle of a car blocking the doorway so that your fellow patrons cannot pass you due to your inconsiderate positioning and your (ahem) girth, you will be summarily bludgeoned with a tiny laptop.  And your remains will be placed somewhere in which you will not hamper anyone in their attempt to simply get home to like, his hot wife and delicious lasagna and an ice-cold Guinness.  For example.

2. You have friends.  I have friends.  We all have friends.  And when you have a friend, you tell your friend stories of your life.  But if these stories entail your being a bastard to one or more members of your family, you will be removed and dealt with.  For example: if you’re a curmudgeonly old prick who feels the need to expound on how much time it would take you to get to your grandson’s school to see his play, and therefore, why this isn’t worth your time in spite of your friend’s obvious and horrified protests, you’ve pretty much contributed all you have to contribute.  See above.  (Note: if you fit into both #1 AND #2, you will be bludgeoned with a tiny laptop, an aging Motorola Razr, and a tightly-rolled Chicago Reader.  Twice.)

3. If your speaking voice is louder than an iPod at high volume or the screeching, roaring gears of the train itself, refrain from talking on the phone.  Something about not having the other person’s voice to temper yours is utterly unbearable, particularly when you’re discussing your menstrual cycle and your boyfriend’s shitty taste in restaurants less than one inch from my ear. Dump the asshole and see a doctor.  Quietly.

4. If you are taking up more than one seat because of ALL YOUR SHIT, freshly purchased on Michigan Avenue or not, you will be forced to pay for two seats.  You will also be forced to serve drinks to the rest of the riders who have been at work all day.  And possibly sandwiches.   And the Garrett’s popcorn you’re eating.

5. If you are eating the aforementioned popcorn, let me state the following in no uncertain terms: it does not matter to me how you eat popcorn when you’re by yourself.  You could strip naked, fill your bathtub with fifty pounds of Orville’s finest, dip yourself in butter, and flop around like a dying salmon on the fluffy mounds.  I truly don’t care. But I am begging you.  When you’re in public, do not lift the bag to your mouth, tilt your head back, and dump popcorn into your face until it’s falling out and filling your lap.  It looks disgusting, and no one will be surprised, sir, that you’re not wearing a wedding ring.  No one.

6. And finally:

If it is raining.

And if you decide to carry an umbrella.

Do not.



Carry this umbrella in ANY FASHION other than point down, at your side, without exception.  Unless you want to arrive at your destination looking like you could be turned upside down and hung from a hook due to the umbrella handle sticking out of your ass, do not, goddamn it, oh, lord, do not poke me with your umbrella because you can’t juggle your raingear and your fucking iPhone at the same time.  (Apple is not to blame here.  But people need to calm down.  Your apps can wait until you’re seated.  No one’s solving that Sudoku for you, okay, genius?  You’ll have time.)

Adhere.  And no one gets hurt.  Thanks for cooperating. Note: “Metra” reserves the right to amend these rules whenever necessary or whenever blatant idiocy calls for such an update.