blogs are dumb and so are you

ben chandler
chandler at uchicago dot edu

other blogs
andy (defunct)
jon ryan


miles on the honda
as of 3/21/04


miles on the volvo
when retired on 2/14/04

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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

in a continuing effort to highlight how socially awkward people at this school seem to be, an example:

yesterday i was leaving the computer lab when a girl came slowly running out behind me into the library. she was holding a coat and half muttered something causing me to turn around. as i turn around to look at her it becomes clear that the guy walking ahead of me had left his coat in the lab and she was returning it to him. sounds simple. after a few more yelps this girl manages to get the guy to turn around. when he does, they both stop about 10 feet from each other and stare at each other with me in the middle. the girl makes a series of unsuccessful attempts to hand the guy his coat as they are both still standing 8 feet apart. instead of simply walking towards each other, the girl tries to hand me the coat in a bizarre relay but then retracts the coat as i stretch out my hand. then, as this whole troubling ballet comes to a close, she tosses the coat at the guy but manages to hit another passerby squarely in the face. oh, what a world.

it's that time of the year again when everyone is out of school except us and everyone thinks, "wait a minute, three quarters means three finals weeks. seemingly unrelated (seemingly being the operative word) is the fact that i now rock at mario cart. it may have something to do with the fact that i play it all the time. maybe. anyway, i challenge you all to bring it. also, i'm going to try and take jeff's advice and be less cranky on this page. it could do me good. it's that time of the year where i should be "kicking it into high gear" but considering i don't think i've really even turned the car on this quarter, i may have to settle for just turning over the ignition. maybe i can find a hill to roll myself down. damn this metaphor.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

who knew that the problems of the world could all be summed up through an interaction with me and this selfish girl at the printer:

selfish girl: printing 50-60 pages as i watch and other people behind her in line wait.

me: "excuse me, do you think that you could step to the end of the line and let someone else have a turn?"

sg: "um...well....i just have a few more" in actuality she has 30-40 more pages to print

me: "well, other people are trying to print as well, and you've been here for a while."

sg: "but it's faster if i do it all at once."

me: "faster for you"

sg: "yeah."

things that i have tried to get rid of this sickness that have not worked (although some have helped in varying degrees):

*throat coat (tea)
*sleeping 14 hours
*going to the doctor twice
*a long hot shower
*cough drops (tasty though)
*gin and tea (or rather, gin in tea)
*eating a lot
*eating nothing
*drinking 7 gallons of water a day

man, this blog sucks now. what happened?

Monday, May 19, 2003

does anyone have a cure for "i think my ear drums are on the verge of exploding as a result of the massive amount of pressure building up inside my head"? 'cause that's what i got.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

i have nothing of note to talk about today. besides a few brief jaunts into the outside world (the gym, a whiffle ball game on the quads, a bit of yusra's party last night) i have been just wandering around the apartment, doing nothing, unable to get much of anything acomplished. plus i'm hungry.

i'd like to take this moment to apologize to everyone that i have come into contact with in the past 72 hours. i've been a whiney, whiney bitch regarding this sickness of mine. i am sorry. that is all.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

as a brief epilogue to my sickness story. i am still sick, my throat still hurts likes the dickens, i now have only 15% use of my vocal chords, but i don't have strep. i went into the doctor yesterday to have a strep test, which seemed like a good idea considering had strep so many times when i was little i developed an allergic reaction to penicillin. anyway, the doctor that examined me was very nice, but happened to be the clinic's OB/GYN. as she explained, they were busy yesterday so i got squeezed in between her patients. no complaints, but it was a little odd during the examination when she stopped, looked puzzled for a moment, and said, "i'm sorry, i was a little confused about what to do next because you don't have breasts." anyway, i don't have strep but now i'm just damn sick and sitting at work.

Friday, May 16, 2003

i hate being sick! the past few days i have been slowly getting more and more sick. for days i have been making jokes about how i have SARS or how i am dying. andy is not amused and thinks i am just being a big baby, but i still contend that i may be dying. anyway, this morning i think i hit my low point. i woke up at 8am and spent the next four hours riling in bed, unable to go back into a deep sleep because every 25-30 seconds i would have to swallow, sending a shooting pain all the way down my throat. when i finally did get up, i called the doctor and spent 45 minutes on hold trying to get an appointment to have a strep test. when the receptionist finally came back on the phone, she said, "sorry, we had a little bit of an emergency here, thanks for waiting." i wanted to ask her if someone had given birth in the lobby. damn, my throat hurts.

as for karma, i had a prolonged fight with my mother on the phone yesterday regarding my illness. i had spoken to my dad earlier that day and told him not to tell her that i was sick. of course he did, so my mom called and the phone conversation was like a heavyweight boxing match:

Round I: my mom comes out swinging with a right hook, "why didn't you tell me you were sick?" i immediately put up my defenses, but not in time, and her next blow hits me squarely in the jaw. "i'm your mother." ouch. i make a half-hearted attempt to hit back, "i've only been sick for a day" but she doesn't even let that one get close to her and jabs right back with, "do you have a fever?" I'm on the ropes at this point when finally begin to get a good hit in, "no, i don't have a fever." this sends her reeling back a step, enough for me to catch my breath, but she sees right through my plan of attack and comes in with a series of little jabs to the face,"how do you know? you don't even have a thermometer. go and buy one. it'll cost about 99 cents. ben, you have to take care of yourself." i've covering up my face, defenseless at this point. luckily the ref blows the whistle. end of round I.

Round II: i come out of the corner with a big swing that catches her squarely. "i didn't go to the doctor because i don’t have the money to pay for a test." finally i landed a quality blow and she drops to one knee. but as soon as you can say "shit" she's back on her feet, but a little stunned. her first few punches lack the strength of earlier in the match. "it'll be free. it's can't be that expensive. just go in anyway." i'm about to lay another good one in when my father, shouting words of encouragement from the ropes, screams, "get him." inspired now, she pulls out a haymaker that almost finishes me. "just go and we'll pay for it, whatever it costs. your health is more important than money." wham. i find my self laying on my back and i can hear the ref counting me off. delirious, i stager to my feet and start flailing away,"i don't know if i can get in. they are always busy. they might not even be open on friday" but she dodges everything i have left without even breaking a sweat. finally, she hits me with the knockout punch. "ben, you're the kid who let his toe get so infected that it almost had to be amputated." the next thing i know i'm coming to and my mom is standing over me, her arms up above her head, victorious. even my friends in the first row refuse to look at me. i stager back to my stool, and when she comes over to congratulate me on the fight, all i can do is mutter, "all right, i'll go into tomorrow."

the headlines the next day read, "after 25 consecutive boughts, mom still heavyweight champion." man, at least she didn't try to pull out to much guilt. that always feels like being hit hard, just below the belt.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

happy 42 months, lindsay.

thanks pete for this. does anyone love new money more than me? finally, some color in america money. it's no euro but at least it's a start. i love me some fancy money.

back from st. paul, back at work and back on the "god damn internet."

i was going to relay, in much detail, how andy made an ass of himself today, but he does a good enough job of poking jabs in the correct places, so i'll let you read it on his webpage today. let me just add that i think deep down inside, andy wanted indie rock kids from around chicago calling him as some sort of validation or entrance of him onto the scene.

next, i was in st. paul all weekend (where my girlfriend lindsay just happens to live). i left at 5pm on thursday, sat in traffic in chicago for 1.5 hours, slowly making my way west and north, finally arriving in st. paul around 1am the following morning. not bad considering the rain. the thing that got me through the drive was the book tapes that i rented from the library. damn those things are good, and they now have them on CD. i listened to some trashy john grisham novel that was predictable and trite but kept me going deep into the night. many good things happened while in minnesota, but as always, i forgot to take out my digital camera and take any pictures. damn (seems to be the word of the day). festivities included an end of the year party at macalester (like everyone in america except us, nothwestern and ohio state, the are done with school now) as well as numerous good meals and plenty of sleep. it may be just me, but my life seems to be circling more and more around food lately. maybe someone is trying to tell me something.

i can't stop buying books on the internet. it's an addiction really. i go on the internet, find a book i want, used, for under 5 dollars and then purchase it. 3-5 days later the book is waiting for me in my apartment. i think i've purchased books in this fashion 3 out of the last four weeks. i suppose that there are worse addictions, like crack.

a headline in the maroon the other day said something like, "SARS not a laughing matter." listen, i realize that it's a disease and some people have died, but is no one else amused now when they hear the phrase SARS? it's been kicked around so much lately that it has become one of those buzzwords that seems to have lost all real meaning and no is a stand in for something larger, and much more funny.

i'm going to come right out and say it because i don't really know the person involved here, but these articles by persis elavia have got to stop. week after week she writes shitty articles about the "science of dating at the u of c" or other ridiculously trite issues that just makes everyone look bad. really, they are embarrassing. for god sakes, just stop.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

this morning i successfully bought and installed a new headlight for the volvo. i can never really put my finger on it, but it always immensely gratifying to fix things on cars and have them work correctly. i think i feel this way because 1) i know very little about car maintenance, so when something goes smoothly and successfully, it's that much more of a bonus and 2) it's the opposite of what bothers me about academia. you see a problem, you figure out a solution, and then you go and actualize that solution and then the problem is solved. no endless cycles of revision and contemplation. i found the auto parts store, drove there, bought the correct light, went out into the parking lot and replaced the light and now have two working headlights.

i don't mean to wax poetic about the value of manual labor (but i guess i will). people really should be bale to take care of simple thing them selves. using tools, building things, knowing how to sew and repair clothes (something i don't really know how to do. yet) are all very basic things that some people seem to have stopped caring about. maybe not, maybe it's just because i live in such an isolated, insolated atmosphere in college. but it seems to me that we all need a balance in life and that is what seems so frustrating about school sometimes, the balance is not emphasized. exercising the body helps the mind. the same can be said for actually accomplishing things, it seems an important component of thinking. well, we'll see how i feel about all of this after another summer of hard labor.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

so, today i'm sitting outside reading a book for my us labor history class called "work and community in the jungle: chicago's packinghouse workers 1894-1922" when aaron walks by and takes a look at what i'm reading. he thinks for a moment, and says, "oh, the book the 'jungle', by upton sinclar. 'cause i was thinking, there aren't any jungles in chicago." good one aaron.

Monday, May 05, 2003

in a happy epilogue to yesterday's bank story: i called the bank this morning as was instructed by the ominous message left saturday night. as it turns out, they were just check to see if my bank card was stolen, because it had been used roughly 4,376 times in the past week. i assured the woman that it was indeed all due to my activity, i've had to purchase a shit load of things this past week, few of them associated with anything "fun." good old local bank. i bet citibank wouldn't have the courtesy to call you at home and make sure things were going all right.

last night, justin and i went to the empty bottle for customer appreciation night, meaning that the show was free. el guapo opened for ted leo and the pharmacists who put on a much better show than i remember from the last time i saw them. ted leo is a remarkable show man, really commanding the audience. for those of you in chicago who missed the show last night (which i assume is everyone i know because i didn't see anyone i know there last night) both the pharmacists and el guapo are playing on tuesday (tomorrow) at the fireside. go. unfortunately it won't be free (unless you are mike, who works there now).

this week i have to (in no particular order):

1. get my hair cut, it's really getting bad
2. replace my front right headlight on my car. andy's dad pointed out to me the other day that it was out. thanks mr. martin. now the only problem becomes finding a store that will sell me one without me having to drive all the way into the suburbs.
3. study for a midterm
4. try and not spend money
5. retain my sanity
6. find a job for the summer

on a complete tangential note, watch this kid pretend to have a light saber battle. look, i know that there are a million "funny" things posted on the internet, and i avoid most of them like the plague, but this is really hilarious.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

last night after dinner i came home to this message on my answering machine:

"hello, this is [name] from university national bank. this message is for ben chandler. i know that it's now past business hours, but if you could please call me monday morning, this is really quite important. thanks."

what the hell is that? what could i have possibly done. man, i hate banks.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

i'm going to see x-men tonight with a whole load of people. i have little to no exposure to x-men outside of the first movie (which i think i may have fallen asleep during. lindsay?) and the guy on the bus who took one look at my white hair and screamed, "ROGUE!!!!" mostly i'm going because i have not been to a non-doc movie in forever.

it seems to me that someone should write a book with a list of rules outlining "how to live in a modern society." i don't know if this list holds true for only metropolitan areas, maybe not, but there are some definite things that people should be doing that to help our society run a little more smoothly. this is the beginning of a list that i came up with while bored in class the other day.

*always pull over for ambulances and fire trucks when driving around (this one has been discussed here before)
*when walking three or four abreast down the sidewalk, one of you must yield to on coming pedestrians walking the opposite direction (case in point: yesterday, i was walking on the very edge of the sidewalk as four econ--grad-student-looking-fucks approached all walking side-by-side. i had two options, step of the sidewalk and into a puddle or ram my elbow into one of their ribs as i passed, allowing me to get by and them to get the message. i opted for the latter. i realize that it was not a very nice thing to do, but if they had made an effort to share the sidewalk, i would not have been forced to such actions.)
when you go over to someone’s house for a meal/get-together, always bring something, anything. as my mom always taught me, "never go over to someone’s house empty handed."
*if you are young and able, stand up on full busses/trains and let other people sit down
*hold the door open for people when entering/leaving a building if they are following you
*always say "excuse me" if you bump into a stranger
*don't skip in line, wait your fucking turn
*don't litter (i make this point not for environmental reasons, really. the city space is a man-made space anyway and throwing paper on the sidewalk doesn't really damage the "environment" per say. but, it looks really shitty to have garbage everywhere. so, don't litter for aesthetic/community reasons)

i'm sure that i could think of more, but this is a start. anyone else have any good ones?