Reasons to be Cheerful Part 3

I haven’t done of these posts in a few weeks because I’ve been busy at work. I’m cheerful that work has been busy these last several weeks. As a lot of customers deal with the pandemic, there are novel situations arising which means novel solutions for me to design and I’m cheerful to not only have a job, but to have steady work, and to work at a company who’s at the forefront and is a thought-leader in how we return to work. More on that in a coming blog post.

Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

But let’s talk about the food I’m cheerful for as that’s how all of these posts start. My mom made a gluten free pineapple upside cake, and it was amazing. Pillsbury makes a great and dependable gluten free yellow cake mix, and the pineapple and cherries are incredible. Smother it in whipped cream and eat in mass quantities.

Speaking of food, one source of a lot of cheer for me has been Dunkin’ Donuts. I’ve been going to this Dunkin’ location for decades and it is by far the most consistent and dependable Dunkin’ in all of DuPage County. I’m thankful that they’re open and still serving that sweet, caffeinated nectar that I love.

A lot of these blog posts are about the material and commercial things I’m enjoying during this quarantine. I think of myself as not being materialistic, but I must confess that I am stress-buying things. However, with items not shipping immediately, I am second guessing many purchases. This has caused me to pause and abandon many carts. If I can’t get it in two days, and it’ll be here in two weeks, do I really need it? This is something I should ask myself more often.

I’ve written before about my grey hair. As the only days are today, yesterday, and tomorrow, I find that identifying more grey hairs during this quarantine is really helping me identify the passage of time.

I recently spent a night exploring the history of The Carpenters, a group I know very little about. I discovered Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story and it is surreal. Highly recommend watching it. Full video here.

Another thing that brings me immense joy is this GIF I made a few weeks ago.

And lastly, music is helping me through this. So let’s rock.

Delay and Table: Opt-Out Naperville’s Empty Rhetoric Strikes Again

Even after being defeated in the March primary, the crusade against the sale of recreational marijuana in Naperville continues to be a nimby zombie.

An upcoming city council meeting is slated to take place, albeit virtually, to “provide direction regarding the roadmap that will be used to facilitate the creation of zoning regulations for adult-use cannabis facilities.”

Opt-Out Naperville believes that because the meeting is virtual, “many residents and businesses require transparency and this item is no exception, as the city looks to propose a citywide map identifying locations for marijuana stores. [We] request that this item be tabled indefinitely until a safer time, with a workshop so people can learn and understand the proposal.¬†¬†Transparency.”

As someone who files a lot of Freedom of Information Act requests, I agree that transparency is more important now than ever, as elected officials may not be subjected to the scrutiny of their constituents, and there are unprecedented measures being taken by governments that should have a light shone on. But to Opt-Out Naperville, there is never going to be a good time to discuss this.

Their email goes on to say that we should call the city council and argue that “This matter can reasonably be postponed as it is not a core service of the City.¬†Tabling is appropriate to safer times, as is a workshop.”

The core business of the city is to keep running and be fully operational, even in a remote setting. Tabling this topic or any topic will be detrimental to the city’s well being and governance.

Their talking points are full of filler about democracy and transparency. Again, a majority of people in Naperville voted in favor of this, and as a Naperville citizen I believe the process has been fairly transparent. Even if we weren’t in a pandemic, these conversations would still be happening. To opponents, there will never be a safer time and arguing to table and delay this conversation means indefinitely, and that is the antithesis of a democratic process.

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 2

The last post started with food so I’m going to start this post with food. Being gluten free I’ve become used to sub-par substitutes for things I used to enjoy. I’m happy to report that the everything bagels from The Essential Baking Company are divine. Not only are they delicious, but the surface area of the bread is comparable to a regular, non-gluten free bagel. I have been eating this every day for two weeks now and they bring me much joy.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to play guitar more. I could probably be playing guitar more, but even with the limited time I do play, it makes me very cheerful.

The main reason I’m not playing guitar as much as I’d like is most of my time in the evening is spent playing Super Mario Maker 2. I like making simple and dumb levels. What I didn’t know when I started making levels is just how hard these simple levels can turn out to be; all of my uploaded courses have clear rates of less than 10%. Find my courses under the name Lolodada.

The mayor Naperville threatened censure against a city council member, who has atavistic views on drug policy.

The last thing that makes me cheerful is I rediscovered this DJ set from the late, great Blu Jemz. It’s not the best DJ set, but it’s a great and memorable set because Jemz goes off the rails. He’s playing after Gaslamp Killer, who is a beast behind the decks, and he’s trying to salvage the crowd. It really starts to turn about 20 minutes in, when Jemz gets on the mic and encourages the audience to dance. Then it just implodes and he plays 15 minutes of Tupac straight because “I didn’t come to LA to play Tupac for nothing.” It keeps going as he requests “more Hennessy to the DJ booth” and then he cuts out the music and raps on the mic doing everyone’s verses. He’s his own hypeman and he just doesn’t care what the crowd thinks. Every time I listen to this set it makes me smile. I really miss him.

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 1

The world is pretty awful right now. To fight this gloom, I’m writing about a few things that make me cheerful to help power through these challenging times.

As readers may know, I’m gluten free. Finding gluten free substitutes doesn’t mean that the flavor or texture will match what you’re used to. That being said, I unequivocally recommend King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Pancake Mix. Pancake mixes for me used to be instant; this requires the mixture to set for ten minutes. I assure you dear reader, that these 10 minutes are worth the wait. These pancakes are succulent. Recently we’ve been dairy free in my house. Using almond milk with these pancakes really elevates the flavor and the flapjacks seem more tender than ever.

Politics has brought me some joy this week. Naperville voted yes, on a non-binding referendum vote, to approve the sale of recreational marijuana in the city. It’s good when nimbyism is defeated.

Speaking of defeat, Dan Lipinski lost his re-election bid to Congress this week. He’ll probably become a lobbyist like his dad, but this made me happy.

The Bears got a new quarterback. I won’t be happy unless we win more games than last season, but right now this is some optimism to look forward to.

Governor Pritzker said FOIA officers would keep processing requests.

I made a Depeche Mode reference on a call with over a dozen attendees from a customer.

Lastly, I’ve been enjoying memes more than usual. This scientist meme is my favorite at the moment.

And if you need to feel cheerful right now, you better listen to this.

Blagojevich

13 years ago on the campus of Illinois State University, I came across then Governor Rod Blagojevich signing books on the quad. Thankfully I had my camera with me that day, grabbed a picture, and wrote down what happened.

Gov. "Hot Rod" Blagojevich @ Illinois State University

This is taken from my Flickr account 13 years ago:

I was walking to class and it looked like a press conference was being set up [on the quad]. So after class was done I came out and saw all these black Suburbans and guessed that it was some politician. I asked the guards what was going on, to which one replied “Nothing, just enjoying the weather.”

Then I saw a mob of people and recognized Hot Rod’s mop of hair. Although he doesn’t have my support, I probably should have stuck around longer so he could have signed one of my textbooks. I just wonder if the re-sale value would be higher with his signature in it.

The circus of Trump and his politics has now landed in Illinois. The man who went to jail for trying to sell Obama’s senate seat, is now a private citizen in a state currently governed by one of the people he spoke to about selling the senate seat to [J.B Pritzker].

I’m disappointed that Blagojevich was released. There are too many people in the prison system in this country, but I really do not like how white collar criminals are the ones being freed, especially one who shows no remorse or atonement. Guess we’ll just have to wait and read the inevitable book deal or docu-series to see who he’ll throw under the bus. Realistically, he’ll probably just work at Fox News as the token Democrat talking head for the 2020 election.