It’s easier to find a job when you already have one.

“It’s easier to find a job when you already have one.” That is an exceedingly simple concept that my entire family has been trying to drill into my stubbornly thick skull for many years now. I am not too proud of the fact that it took me until recently to truly understand what they meant by that little phrase.

First things first: I finally got myself a job. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a job. To maintain anonymity, I will not say what or where the job is, because the point of this post goes beyond how happy I am to simply have employment. The purpose for this post is to express my opinion on the importance of employment in general, especially in a rough economy like that of the state of Illinois, and even more so like the city of Chicago. It’s no secret that things are tough all over, for everybody, and they are considerably tougher for the unemployed. The taxes are brutal; transportation costs are high; rent prices all over the city are ridiculous – it seems like it costs a fortune a day to live in The Windy City. So, in this sense, employment is essential to survival in this, or in any, city.


“Death of a Giant”, or “He Burned With The Force of a Thousand Suns”

I don’t really know what to say here. I mean, a lot has already been said since yesterday.  But I will try and do my own fitting memorial.

We lost a great actor, comedian, and person in Robin Williams.  He was easily one of the most instantly recognizable names, faces, and voices in the world of comedy. His rapid-fire, free-flowing form of comedy was unmistakeable and endlessly influential, and probably will remain that way forever. A chameleon of character, the man was able to illicit gut-wrenching laughs, suffocatingly real tears, and genuine emotional responses from his audiences, often from the same movies.  A versatile performer who could brighten anyone’s day with a wink and a smirk, Williams had the talent of forty men, and the energy of four hundred.  His films read like a critic’s choice list: Hook, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, What Dreams May Come, The Birdcage, Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, and so many, many more.  I still remember watching Hook as a kid, wishing I could just start one food fight – just one.  Or watching Aladdin, and thinking how cool it would be to have a joking Genie. Or watching Jumanji over and over and over again.  I never met a Robin Williams movie I didn’t like.

And if ever his motion pictures weren’t enough, we had his incredible standup.  I still remember the day when my dad showed me Williams’ golf bit.  It had me in stitches, and it always will.  “I’m goona knock a little whi’ ball intae a gopher hole! ‘Oh, you mean like pool?’ FUCK OFF, POOL! I’m no’ goona use a strai’t stick! I’m goona use a little fuck’d up stick! ‘Oh, so it’s like croquet?’ FUCK CROQUET!! We’re goona put the hole hundreds a’ yards away!!!!”  Classic. Always will be.

As funny as the man was, his offstage, off-screen life was anything but.  It’s no secret that, for much of his life, Robin Williams battled with severe depression. He combated it with drugs, alcohol, parties, and endless comedy to stave off his own demons, but it seemed in the end he succumbed to them.  The biggest tragedy is that this end could have easily been avoided.  Too many people in this country have this mentality that mental disorders such as depression, OCD, and aspergers, are not real maladies, and should more-or-less be ignored or medicated & forgotten about.  Because of this stigma, mental and psychological disorders do not get the respect, consideration, or awareness that they deserve.  It seems like the general consensus towards mental illness is if you can’t see it, it’s not a big issue.  That mentality is what leads to a lot of these problems.  People suffering from depression feel like their problems don’t matter, and so they go untreated. So the problem progresses unhindered, until the depression is literally crippling. 

As someone who suffers from moderate depression, I can say that it is way more than just feeling sad for indiscriminate amounts of time.  Depression robs you of everything that is you.  You feel deflated; you have no desire to do anything, the most mundane tasks seem daunting, and even the most benign of criticisms can send you into a downward spiral.  I constantly fear that one day I might slip into an incredible low like what Robin Williams experienced, but I also know that fate can be avoided by simply talking.  Talk about your problems, folks.  DO NOT just bottle them up because you think they are “small” and “not real problems” because they are!

If they’re real to you, they’re real problems.
If they keep you from doing what you want, they’re real problems.
If they’re causing you to contemplate suicide, THEY’RE REAL FUCKING PROBLEMS!

Another symptom of depression is high highs and low lows, and this can be clearly seen in the life of Robin Williams.  This is something that I think many of us can relate to.  When you’re on a high, you feel like nothing in the world can touch you, and that even the harshest words cannot phase you in the slightest.  It is a really great feeling. I’m not even talking about a drug high, either; the high I’m referring to is far more powerful because it comes from the brain, and it is an unbeatable feeling.  But when you’re on a low, it is the opposite.  You feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, and even the kindest words can feel like an ego-shattering insult.  It is this feeling that inspires a lot of people to turn to drugs and alcohol in order to get that high back.  But that effect is temporary, and the come down inevitably makes the low even worse.  So the people keep taking the drugs, until they develop a dependency.  It’s a terrible and vicious cycle that sometimes leads to overdosing or suicide. 

And it is all completely avoidable.

If you have a problem, it doesn’t matter what that problem is, go talk to someone!  Big, small, it doesn’t matter – go talk to someone!

I’m not saying that simply talking to someone will magically make your problems go away – it won’t – but it will help. It will absolutely help. 

Regardless of his ailments, however, Robin Williams left behind a legacy of amazing works unmatched in range and talent.  It is impossible to sum up his life in a blog post, but I believe I can wrap this up by simply saying, “Bangarang!”

First FOOD review: The Billy Goat Tavern

I actually wrote this on facebook a few weeks a go, but I felt it would gain a better audience here.
The Billy Goat Tavern
I walk in to the unassuming hole-in-the-wall beneath the goat that graces the façade of the famous Billy Goat Tavern. I look around at all the satisfied customers chatting about as Tom Jones’ “It’s not unusual” plays on the jukebox. It had a decades-old den of deliciousness has been a favorite spot for Chicagoans to grab a burger and a beer since 1934, and it is easy to see why. In 80 years, this restaurant has changed very little. It has the same food, same friendly service, the same smiling customers that Greek Burger slinger Sam Sianis envisioned all those years ago. After taking a look around at the hundreds of photos of all the celebrities that have graced these seats, not to mention the countless newspaper clippings from Chicago columnist Mike Royko lining the walls, I stepped up to the counter to place my order, only to find out that the restaurant is cash-only. Fortunately, they have an ATM next to the jukebox. So, with cash in hand, I return to the aforementioned counter and I ordered a bacon double cheeseburger, chips, and a coke. My meal was ready within minutes. After the addition of some diced onions and a little ketchup, I sidled up to the bar, where they had “Wayne’s World 2” playing on TV. It was a great atmosphere for a meal.
Upon my first bite into the sandwich, I quickly realized what made it so great: simplicity. Nowadays, there are a lot of restaurants and food places getting creative with the hamburger. I’ve had Hawaiian-style burgers, turkey burgers, deconstructed burgers, and over-priced “specialty burgers” containing ingredients I’ve never even heard of. But the amazing flavor of the Billy Goat burger comes from the fact that it is exactly that: a burger, plain and simple. No frills, no special additives; just two beef patties with American cheese and bacon, saddled between two buttery kaiser rolls. You want pickles? Onions? Relish? You can add it on at your leisure at the stand next to the grill. With nothing extra to get in the way, it’s much easier to enjoy the mouth-watering flavor of the historically famous Billy Goat Burger. I finished my coke, and ordered a house beer, a Billy Goat Dark. It was incredibly refreshing. Bitter with a splash of caramel, it was certainly a great way to cap off a great meal.
On my way out, the friendly busser bid me a fond farewell, and I left feeling satisfied.
If you’re visiting Chicago, moving to Chicago, or have lived here all your life, The Billy Goat Tavern on Michigan Ave. is not to be missed. Sit down and stay awhile.

Post Number One: Why am I doing this?


I finally worked past my laziness & procrastination and started a blog. What’s this blog about? I don’t really know yet. For now, I’ll just say I will be writing about things that interest me.  After all, there are 7,000,000,000+ people on this planet, nearly 400,000,000 of whom live in this country, so statistically speaking, if something interests me, it will interest somebody else as well.  So I suppose that’s what I’m going for – common ground through trial and error; making friends through whatever may tickle my fancy.

I’m going to talk about food, shows, movies, music, current events, existential bullcrap, jokes, more food, friends, life experience, rants, ramblings, etc.

Nothing is off limits.

This blog will be as ADD as I am. As my focus shifts, so will the focus of this blog.  Hopefully, that will keep it interesting.

As this blog progresses, perhaps I will find a more solid topic of conversation, but until that day, this will be the domain of Ross The Rambler.

To start things off right, here’s “Bad Motor Scooter” by Montrose. Yes, that is a very young Sammy Hagar on lead vocals.