M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, August 13, 2002  

One of the tenets of my personal code is, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” It’s a pretty easy one, actually. It’s not that I can’t say anything nice, it’s just that I generally choose not to. Big difference. Gives me a lot of leeway.

And I’m ready to prove it, in case yesterday’s entry wasn’t enough. Here are a few things I really dig, and why.

Simon Delivers: It’s like Netflix with groceries, except you don’t have to send the food back when you’re done with it (which would be pretty gross, now that I think about it). You log in, select your groceries, and on the next delivery day there’s a stack of green plastic bins on your doorstep. I haven’t seen the inside of a supermarket in two years, and I miss it not at all. The only way this could possibly be more convenient would be if they put the food away for you, then waited around in the kitchen to cook it for you when you’re hungry. But that would be a little creepy. It’s a bit more expensive than getting your own, but we had to ask ourselves: is it worth four or five extra dollars to not have to drive to the store, navigate aisle traffic using a rickety cart with a wheel that’s stuck sideways and leaves a long black mark on the floor tracing your movements like Billy from Family Circus, load up several weeks worth of provisions, stand in the checkout line for seven hours, bag everything up in the five-second window between the garden slug ahead of you and the walking aneurysm behind you, load it out to the car, drive it home while trying to keep the bags from tipping over, and load it all into the house? We really think it is. Of course, we’ll starve to death if anything ever happens to our Internet access, but we’ll worry about that when the time comes.

Bonus: they pack the frozen food with dry ice which you can drop into a pot of water on your stove and then play mad scientist. Bwa ha ha.

IKEA: We don’t have IKEA in this town, so I really didn’t know what to expect. When we drove up to the Schaumburg, IL store, I had two thoughts. One: nothing that big has any right to be that blue. It’s, like, hyper-blue. It’s blue all the way down to the subatomic level. It’s so blue it makes the surrounding sky look yellowish by comparison. I mean, holy cow, it’s so blue it actually bends time. Two, obviously that can’t all be store, so most of it must be factory or something. Wrong. No factory. Just three sprawling, airplane-hangar-sized floors of things I didn’t even know I needed, but which became an absolute necessity the moment I laid eyes on them.

Yes, I’ve heard all the complaints. Their stuff is cheap, the stores are elaborate shrines to a cult of acquisition, the company is a front for the Swedish Mafia, whatever. Whether those things are true or not, I don’t care. We spent most of a week there and escaped only thirty-seven dollars poorer. Our friend Bitter, who just moved into a new apartment, was able to buy shelves, lights, kitchen stuff, wall art, a dresser, some chairs, a bed, and a leather sectional sofa with a fold-out, king-sized bed for less than a hundred dollars. Try that at Target.

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: One of my favorite things to do in Chicago. A handful of ridiculously talented men and women who call themselves “Neo-Futurists” perform thirty plays in sixty minutes. You heard me. No, that’s not a typo. These people write thirty complete plays, list the titles in the program, and the audience yells out the number of the one they want to see next. When the hour’s over, the show’s over. It’s like punk theater or something. And it’s hilarious. On any given night, you might see a ninety-second version of Hamlet or the complete works of Jane Austen, get pulled up on stage, hear something inexpressibly sad, see the funniest thing you’ve ever seen anyone do, and watch any number of theatrical and storytelling conventions turned unceremoniously on their ossified ears. And in the unlikely event that you don’t like one of the plays, it’ll be over in two minutes anyway. So I think you can hang in there. The roster of plays changes constantly too, which is why they say that “if you’ve seen the show once, you’ve seen the show once.” Normally I’d give you details here, but I don’t have to because you can click on the link. I will tell you this: get there early, because it’s a dinky little space above a funeral home that fills up quick. The space, I mean, not the funeral home. You’ll love it. If you’re in Chicago, see it. If you’re not in Chicago, go to Chicago so you can see it.

Did I mention that some of their alumni were behind the Tony-award-winning musical Urinetown? Well, that’s only because I couldn’t figure out a smoother way to work it in there, not because it isn’t true. Because it is. True, I mean.

See? I can be nice. Don’t worry; I’ll try not to do it very often.

posted by M. Giant 3:32 PM 0 comments


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