What the heck are those?

comments.jpg

So you might have seen those little colorful icons under my posts lately… those little buggers are called ClickComments. If you hover over them, you’ll see what each one represents. Each click means that my blog will get featured elsewhere in blogdom for people looking for items that relate to those little icons. And when you click on a subject it will bring up other posts on my own blog that have been rated similarly. It’s another new blogging networking tool, and it’s kind of neat.

So if you think my posts are (in order)  “Cool,” “Fun,” “Insightful,” or if you “Fell Asleep,” are “Confused,” or completely “Disagree” with what I say (and you don’t feel like writing a long, drawn-out comment),  just click on the comment button below the post.

Of course, I PREFER real, old-fashioned comments… but these are cool, too! 😀

Also, if you think this little doohiky is neat and you want it on your blog, click on the guy to the left… he’ll tell you all about it!

Ten Year Anniversary!

August 19 was the ten-year anniversary of this blog.

“What?” you are probably asking yourself, “How is that possible? Blogs have only been around for the last 4-5 years at least.”

Correct you are… but I’ve been doing this much longer than that.

OK, I started doing it ten years ago when I was getting ready to move to Chicago. Back then they weren’t called blogs, they were simply called “Online Journals.” And I started one ten years ago yesterday.

So, if you wanna get technical about it, my blog’s only been here for a little over three years. But I like to think this is a big day for the Launching Pad.

So, in celebration of that fact, I am re-posting the very first journal entry.

SCENE: 1997. I am 26 years old, still living at home with my parents. I had recently been hired as a Sales Representative for Six Flags Great America, and my sales territory is to be the downtown “Loop” area of Chicago. Part of the requisite for taking the job was that I had to move to Chicago– which was the reason I went for the job in the first place.

The Internet was fairly young at the time as well.  Web pages all used the standard 12-point Times New Roman font and had simple, http-based graphics.  Yet I had a web page already.  This was before I owned rcktman.com, mind you… but  it was a web page just the same.  I was using Windows 95 on what was probably a 486DX computer– maybe a Pentium I, I don’t remember.  In any case, it gives you an idea of how long ago 10 years really is.

So I’m 10 years younger, much less jaded, and a lot more upbeat about my life. Think Mary Tyler Moore Show— the male version. That was me.

Here goes:

August 19, 1997

Welcome, I guess… this is my first entry so I don’t even know where to begin. If you have visited my home page in the past, or know me, you know that the past few months have been really hectic for me. I’ve been in flux since July– Interviewing for the job that I start on Monday and getting ready for all the changes that are going to be taking place very soon.

The job at Six Flags requires that I move to Chicago. Presently I live in Kenosha, WI which is only about an hour’s drive to Chicago– in GOOD traffic. However, I am not upset about that.. it was actually a major bonus, if just getting the job in the first place wasn’t bonus enough. You see, I have wanted to live in the Chicago area for the last few years, and have been trying to find a job down there so I could do that. And, I have always known that I would end up working full-time at Six Flags, so this job is really a ‘dream come true’ in two senses.

But there are problems… it doesn’t pay that much in flat salary… at least not much more than I was making at Educators Credit Union, where I worked prior to this. I’m only making about $2,000 a year more. Pennies when you get right down to it. But at least I don’t have to make car payments anymore– I get a company car with the job! 🙂

The money worries me… I think I can afford to LIVE down there, but eating dinner may be a bit of a problem. We will see how that goes. I have done a budget analysis that says I can afford it, so I am not *too* worried about that. I’ll just have to take it a day at a time and see how things work out.

I won’t be moving to Chicago until October, so that gives me some time to save up for the big move. I have so much furniture to buy– bed, dresser, entertainment center, computer desk… all the stuff I have at home right now I’m leaving here. It’s old, ugly, and just not my style anymore 😉

I know I’m going to be IMMENSELY homesick for a while. Think about it, if you lived at home for 26 years, had mom and dad there for you ALL the time… and all of a sudden *BAM* you move out… that’s a BIG change! I am ready for it, but I just know that I’ll be nervous as hell for a while…

I’m moving to the Wrigleyville area in Chicago, a place I’ve always wanted to live.. even since I was a kid! I remember going to Cub games as a kid looking at all the big old houses and asking my mom “Mommy, why are all those houses so close together?” She just laughed at me. I’d never seen that before. I guess I’ve always been intrigued by that for some reason, because now I want to live in one of those places! 😉

Today I am going to go back to my Credit Union (where I worked) to get a Line-of-Credit loan so I can cover 1st month’s rent, security deposits, etc. I am then going to Chicago to meet up with my friend and future roommate Scott and his friend and also future roommate Chris. We are going to do some apartment hunting for the next few days… until we FIND one. Could be a major pain in the ass, or it could be pretty quick. We shall see. We all know what we want, and how much we want to spend, so finding the right place should be fairly easy.

Every Tuesday for the last few weeks we have been checking out the Chicago Reader online on Tuesday nights and downloading listings for the areas we want to live in. We then make phone calls and try to set up appointments. It’s a major pain-in-the-ass, let me tell you… but it will be all worth it if we find a great place.

So anyway it’s 2:00, I have to run.. get to the Credit Union, get a haircut, and get down to Chicago. It’s going to be a busy next few days!!!

Want more of my pre-Millennial woes?  Click here and visit my original journal pages… they’re all there.

Shopping therapy is good for the soul

This was a dismal weekend.

No, I’m not back to being my old sad-sack self again… it was just… dreary. Rainy, cloudy, gloomy, blah. Dismal.

It was so crummy this weekend that they canceled the yearly Air and Water Show in Chicago on Sunday. And that NEVER happens. Unless, of course, it rains so much that the ground turns into quicksand… which isn’t too far from the truth this weekend.

Anyway, I spent most of Saturday holed up in my apartment because it just didn’t make sense to do much else. I thought about doing some laundry, but changed my mind about that because the sidewalk from my back staircase to the basement has been broken up since early July, awaiting paving, and it was nothing but a rocky, muddy river this weekend. I wasn’t in the mood to navigate that mess.

So when Sunday rolled around, and I woke up with yet another sore back from my squishy, saggy 20-year-old mattress, I decided it was time to partake in some Shopping Therapy.

I knew I had some extra money in my possession and I thought to myself what I should do with it. Of course, the obvious thing would be to save it, but I came up with a list of possibilities anyway, and they were as follows:

1. I don’t need a computer. I have a computer. It works fine.

2. I don’t need a camera. I WANT a new camera, but the one I have works fine.

3. I don’t need a TV. I have a good TV, and it works fine.

4. I don’t need an iPod or any other type of fun toy. I have an iPod and it works fine.

5. I need to do some work on my car, but the work that I need to do won’t cost me all that much.

6. I NEED a new bed.

It was amazingly easy to narrow down the choices after that.

Just to give you an idea of how lethargic I was feeling, it took me a good 2-3 hours to get my shit together and walk to the END OF MY BLOCK to the Bedding Experts store that has been there for just over a year now. Luckily, because of the weather, it was a slow day; and the nice guy that worked there was fully available to answer all of my questions. Not to mention he was kinda cute.

I laid on a few Sealys and tried out some Stearns and Fosters before I came across one that fit my price range (a Sealy Posturpedic) and felt oh-so-nice. I also looked at some headboards (since I haven’t had a headboard since I was in high school), and looked at a catalog of bed frames. I found one that I really liked a lot. It’s a platform bed, which means I wouldn’t have to buy a box-spring, and it’s sleek, sexy and just what I was looking for. It looks a little like this, but that one is a Crate & Barrel bed, which would cost me twice as much– or more. Also, the one I want has a walnut finish, which is much more versatile than the chocolate one in the photo.

I purchased the mattress by itself and told the guy I’d give the bed some thought for a little while. After all, I’m getting paid in a few days and I’ve already paid off everything else for the month. So I have a little flow to work with, here.

I took my laundry to the laundromat, because it had to get done. I couldn’t wait another minute. While I was there, I thought everything over and talked about it with my Mom on the cell phone. By the time I got home, I decided I wanted the bed, too– but by then the store was closed. I’ll call him on Monday and make the arrangements.

It felt SO GOOD to do all of this. I have been putting off buying a new, “grown-up” bed for far too long, and today I finally checked another important thing off my list of things to do.

The mattress arrives on Tuesday and the bed will probably take another couple weeks after that. I can’t wait to sleep on it that first night!!!

Yes, shopping therapy IS good for the soul. It’s also going to be very good for the back. 🙂

YouTube Hilarity

Well, Hello! One of the best things about YouTube is that once a video achieves that echelon of “cult” status, and has everyone talking about it, people begin to make their own versions of the same video. Sometimes that’s done through re-enactments, and sometimes it’s done through pure parody.

Last week on Feast of Fools, Fausto and Marc interviewed Tay Zonday, the young grad student who wrote and starred in the video for his song “Chocolate Rain.” The song has spread like wildfire all over YouTube and the internet community, making something of a star of the unlikely musician-slash-director. Feast of Fools listeners were greatly divided over the relevance of such videos– but in a culture like this, where just about anyone can be a star overnight, it doesn’t come as such a great surprise to me.

The success of “Chocolate Rain” has brought about hundreds of parodies, and there are probably many more to come. But “Chocolate Rain” isn’t the only video being parodied all over the internet. Not by a long shot.

If you haven’t seen the clips of Brenda Dickson, former star of the daytime drama The Young and the Restless, in her self-produced, self-directed, self-written and completely self-promoting video entitled “Welcome To My Home;” you have been missing some true camp hilarity. The video was produced in the late 80s and shows the actress in her over-the-top glory. Here is Part One of this unavoidable train wreck:

Needless to say, it’s obvious that this video just SCREAMS to be parodied! Next is Part 2 of “Welcome To My Home” with a hysterical voice-over. Warning: I would recommend that you not eat or drink anything while you watch– you may either do a major spit take all over your computer, or choke yourself to death.

Finally, here’s a gay boy’s take on the World of Fashion a-la Brenda Dickson.

With gems like these, who needs television? What are some of your favorite “viral” videos? Have they been sufficiently parodied? Share them here and let’s see what other craziness is out there!

The Streets Were Alive…

…. with the sound of *THUMP* *THUMP* *THUMP*

…. with miles of shirtless men

…. with tons of food and drinks

…. with artwork and chintzy doo-dads at inflated prices

…. with all of my friends and a few people I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Here are some pictures of Northalsted Market Days 2007. It was hotter than hell, but it was a damn fun weekend!!!

Twister Fun

Arnie as Ugly Betty

Ian and Adam looking cool

Work It, Sal-E!

Boys in the Crowd

Steamy Fausto

Jeremy gets Twistered