Oh, I guess this is just a list of stuff I hate!

The sickness is a thing of the past, but the 15,000-word-long freelance project I took on for February is still in the present, at least for a couple more days. Maybe by then it will be spring and the world’s surface will return to normal again, and it’ll be just like those nice maps and globes where all the wet parts are clearly marked blue, and the beige parts are dry enough to walk on and are not some filthy medley of concrete and puddle and mud and total LUMPY ICEFUCK. Yes, that is the scientific term, “lumpy icefuck,” for the lumpy fucking exoskeleton of ice that covers the ground this time of year. Lately, whenever my car is parked on the left side of the street, and thus with the driver’s side next to the parkway/expanse-of-lumpy-icefuck, I have to stagger across like a drunken sea hag and then try to fall softly against the side of my car. Ugh.

I need to interrupt this rant to point out that I will be doing this Interview Show at the Hideout on Friday at 6:30. I will sit on a couch and Mark Bazer will interview me and it will be funny but maybe also thoughtful! I will get drink tickets. You will probably be able to tell I get drink tickets! Please come!

Okay, back to hating the ground. And late winter. And laundry, and overheated rooms, and drafty rooms, and sidewalk salt in places that are not sidewalks, and FOX Network, and the City of Chicago for having only a pretend recycling program, and people who call themselves “foodies,” and faux new wave, and being too tired to hate all the things that deserve to be hated, because DAMMIT.


  1. Annie says

    Oo! I have one! How all the news stations in Chicago have just started putting the little snow icon on all the days during the forecast, because there’s a 1 – 50% chance of snow every day for the next 12 days! PS – I second the legitimacy of lumpy icefuck.

  2. says

    I park on icefuck every day too! And I’m constantly nervous as I drive through the alley that the icefuck lumps will puncture my tires. And then sometimes, it’s 40 degrees and the icefuck melts a bit, but that’s just teasing! It’s going to reform into new icefuck shapes overnight, and when I wake up it will be 7 below and the ground will once again be icefuck, only even dirtier somehow.

    Goddamnit I’m sick of winter, is what I’m saying.

  3. Linsee says

    the parking lot of my shitty get-what-you-pay-for apartment is one big icefuck. when it’s in that stage where parts of the icefuck is melting and your foot goes through into the muddy water lurking underneath it makes me scream ICEFUCK. or maybe just FUCK.

  4. solaana says

    Oooooooooooh yes. I don’t have a car, but I get to traverse the mountains of lump icefuck that the assholes on my street have created by not shoveling their bit of the walk. Damn you condo-owners! Just because you can afford to pay Chicago’s insane property taxes doesn’t mean that you don’t have to shovel snow to keep it from turning into one big slab of insanity I will surely slip and smash a hip on. I will sue you! And then drink your milkshake!

    But today it’s sunny. Yay!

  5. says

    I have to write a postscript about the icefuck in my alley, because last night my car got stuck in it! I was perpendicular to the alley (and to the icefuck wheel ruts), and I reversed in order to get a better angle to park in my driveway. Then I felt the car sort of… come to rest. The rear wheels fit snugly in the rut (about 3-4 inches deep), while the front wheels hovered slightly off the ground and couldn’t get traction on the ice slick. It took an hour, two wooden planks, some kitty litter, and three neighbors with ice choppers, but we finally got it out. Fuck you, winter!

  6. Wendy says

    Oh jeez, that sucks. Yeah, our alley is like that, too, and backing into the garage has been SUPER FUN. I haven’t gotten stuck, but I’ve had the wheels change direction on me, which is always a thrill.

  7. Julianna says

    The sidewalk/street in front of my office is LUMPY ICEFUCK ground zero. IT’s like, all icefuck all the time. I’m pretty sure everyone in my office has eaten pavement at least once this winter.

  8. ginna says

    This is when I’m glad I live in Texas. Check back with me in August for a rant about the relentless inferno.

  9. Heather says

    Hi everybody! You should all move to Seattle where we don’t have ice, and if it snows even one inch it’s an emergency and all the schools close and everyone hides inside their house until the blizzard is over! I grew up in Pennsylvania, so I remember ice (and even snow) and find the reaction to a snowflake here very humorous.

  10. victoria says

    My husband is a foodie. We will fly to New York and L.A. just to check out restaurants that have recently opened in those cities. When we are in Europe we visit wineries and he has the wines he likes shipped home (at enormous expense). He understands what truffles need to grow and why it is so hard to cultivate them and he knows a guy in Oregon who is trying to do it. He knows when white truffles are in season in the Piedmont region of Italy and is planning a trip there to try them (white truffles cannot be exported). He watches Top Chef and subscribes to Wine Spectator. He knows why wines from the Priorat are the best Spanish wines. He can tell the difference between different types of grapes. He can tell the difference between a good Parmesan and an indifferent one. He thinks about wine & food all the time. It’s his passion. (Also a shared hobby, since I like to cook, though I have nothing approaching his palate and couldn’t tell a white from a red if I were blinfolded.) I think his interest stems in part from his growing up in a small town, without a lot of money, and subsisting on school lunches of sandwiches made with the cheapest ingredients. I think he sort of grew up feeling poor & food-deprived; he didn’t lack for calories, but for quality. I think it’s also because he is a scientist and understands better than most people some of the mechanisms that give food and wine their aroma and flavor. Everybody likes food, but he craves knowledge; accumulating a memorable repertoire of taste experiences is one of his life’s projects. (And he really eats just for taste. He never eats a large portion or drinks too much. He’s skinny.) Anyway, if he’s not supposed to call himself a “foodie,” what should he call himself? “A guy who likes food”? That doesn’t really seem to capture the passion, does it?

  11. Mitchell D. says


    Oh, for Pete’s sake, your husband is a “gourmand,” which may have a whiff of pretension but at least doesn’t sound like something a baby calls his mama’s teat.

    My girlfriend and I moved to Chicago from Denver last August. The things I like about the city far outweigh the things I don’t like about the city: more idiots in SUVs than even Colorado, evidence of a depressing number of building teardowns in the past several years, the largest population of Louts outside of Lower Loutania…

    But, yeah, the recycling. When I looked into Chicago’s recycling program before we moved, I wasn’t sure that I was reading the information correctly. You have to buy special bags at the grocery store? Which you then put in with the regular trash? Where they no doubt tear open and mix with the coffee grounds and banana peels? Seriously?

    Also, Chicago is a place where people actually throw trash out of their car window. The first time I saw it I almost couldn’t believe it, which just shows what an endearing naif I can be…an endearing naif who has to tamp down his instinct to drag the person out of their Explorer and beat them senseless.

    On the positive tip, though, this is the first week you can place holds and renew library books on the CPL website. Welcome to 1997, Chicago!

  12. says

    I live in Champaign, which may be a few hours south of Chicago, but is not southerly enough to avoid the shitty winter weather. I have found myself gazing at the submerged sidewalks beneath my slipping, gazelle-standing-for-the-first-time feet and thinking “Lumpy icefuck…yes.”

  13. says

    It’s hard to imagine, but winter sucks ten times more in Cheeseland than in Chicago, and, yes, FUCK YOU, LUMPY ICEFUCK WINTER!!!!!!!! Enough already.

    No picking on the CPL!!!!! They just got rid of their rotary phone system two years ago. Placing holds online is very futuristic for them.

    And adding to the hate list – hairless pussy, firm tofu, gauze skirts, and excellence in academia. Enough with the excellence already. Boo excellence!!!

  14. Wendy says

    My boyfriend has over seven thousand records in every format imaginable*, including formats I didn’t even know existed (business-card-sized cds?). He’s travelled across the country to see shows, taken pilgrimages to certain record stores, and let touring bands crash in his tiny apartment. He used to take a weekly hour-and-a-half long bus ride down to Hyde Park late at night to do a radio show on WHPK and he’d get back home at 3 am on a work night, and he did all that just to play his favorite stuff. Now he spends his weekends helping to launch a magazine about the music he loves, and he’s writing articles and reviews and copyediting other people’s articles, all of it unpaid work. Everyone who’s ever gotten to know him knows the kind of crazy knowledge and enthusiasm he has for music; it just comes through and it’s so clearly part of who he is. And, well, he doesn’t call himself anything.

    I mean no offense to anyone, I just hate the word “foodie.” I think it’s a cheap shorthand that gets misappropriated. And I never used to hear it. It seems to have come about at the same time the consumer landscape of food became so much more diverse and upscale, so that regardless of your actual enthusiasm or taste you can just SAY you’re a “foodie” and back up that claim with the things you buy and the places where you shop. And I think that’s an awfully reductive way to denote the kind of passion and dedication that someone like… well, like Victoria’s husband has. Does that make sense?

    *Edited to add: okay, I just checked—actually Chris does not own any music released on DAT cassette, reel-to-reel tape, wire spool, or wax cylinders.

  15. ginna says

    That’s cool. There are words I hate, and I don’t even have good arguments. One of them is “veggie.” How hard is it to just say “vegetable?”

  16. Jena says

    I take a bus to work as I refuse to drive in this city, but doing so means I must traverse what must be the largest swath of lumpy icefuck around. It stretches from corner, with maybe ONE patch of sidewalk peeking through, across an alley and then becomes a solid sheet of lumpy icefuck all the way to the other corner. No one EVER shovels it. When it gets warm outside and then freezes overnight again, it gets worse. Luckily I have managed to not fall, even when leaving work drunk. Ummm…. I work in a bar, that’s why I sometimes leave drunk.

  17. Spikat says

    Don’t forget the icefuck with cigarette butts and other commuter detritus under the Metra viaducts. The snow melted just enough to expose all of it, and then freeze again to make a semi-permanent sculpture of it all. Makes me so proud of this city

  18. victoria says

    Mitchell D: a “gourmand” is someone who eats too much. My husband never does that (though I do, alas). I suppose one could call him a “gourmet,” but that word suggests he likes to cook, which he never does. I don’t think there’s a better word than “foodie.”

  19. victoria says

    Kay: yeah, my husband does look down on people who eat fast food, you have him pegged! I don’t eat fast food, but he still looks down on me if I eat store-bought sweets or any foods that are high in calories without being very high in quality. But I can’t complain too much because he does take me to nice restaurants. :-)

  20. says

    Victoria, a gourmand also means an aficionado, connoisseur or epicurean. You portray your husband as quite the elitist snob who “looks down on people” when they eat fast food, and scorns you for purchasing sweets or high-calorie foods that are of the “sub-par” variety. This in exchange for nice restaurants? Does your husband also assume that people who are not of your socio-economic status have access to high quality foods and nice restaurants?

  21. Wendy says

    Hey, I’d rather this not become a discussion about who’s a snob and who’s not, even if we don’t all agree on whether “foodie” is the right term to describe someone who’s passionate about food. I was making a pretty big generalization when I brought it up in the first place, and if anyone wants to keep talking about it broader terms, great, but let’s not make it about anyone specific.

  22. Mitchell D. says

    As someone who both loves good food and often eats to excess, I prefer to be known as “first world sybarite, red in tooth and claw, standing at the end of history with fork in fist.” Or, if that’s too long, “DJ General President Skeletor.”

    Yeah, “gourmand” no longer means “glutton,” in the same way that “longhair” no longer means “a guy who listens to Shostakovich.” The French language may not be as splendidly bendy as English, but it does change.

    Things I hate: “Incentivize.” “Authentic” as a synonym for “good.” The way that so many people on teh internets write “loose” when they mean “lose” (a loosing battle, I’m afraid).

    Also, the crazy proliferation of open floor plans ala Dwell magazine, even when they make nonsense of a building’s interior. That’s right, gut that classic brownstone! Tear out all the walls! I’m certain that you’ll still love it in five years!

    And I’m with bibfash–hairless pussy is for porn-addled frat boys. Let it grow, sisters.

  23. says

    First of all – Wendy, I love this blog and your book, and in the least stalkerish way possible, I think if we’d met at some previous point, we’d have gotten along famously. Either that or hated each other. But I’m going with fast friends on this one. Anyways…

    I’m totally with you on the list of things you hate. Have you ever seen that supposedly eco-friendly substitute for salt that looks like someone crapped out rock candy and smells like sweet baby vomit? Plus it’s sticky – as if there weren’t already enough factors to inhibit my walking abilities in the middle of winter already. That stuff would definitely be at the very top of the list for me.

    About the “foodie” thing – I can’t stand it either; it always sounds a bit snobbish to me and kind of like a fetish. Whenever I think of it, I can’t help but also thinking of “furry”. Although I do think you can be a “foodie” without being a total snob. It’s all about food appreciation, I guess. I only use the word because there’s no shorter alternative.

    Also, in case anyone cares (probably not the case, but I’m saying it anyways), the change in the meaning of “gourmand” in French came in the 16th or 17th century (I think 17th) when a greater importance was placed on food and its presentation in noble houses and, of course, the royal court. Officially, “gourmandise” was (and still is, along with “glutonnerie”) the deadly sin (gluttony), but now, like Mitchell said, gourmand really just means someone that appreciates food and wine and anything else of the edible variety.

    Hey, any way you put it, people just like to eat!

  24. says

    Totally hating late winter too. It’s practically April for gosh sakes! Plus, nature was like HAH, Chicago, I’m going to dangle spring in front of you for a few days then slam you with snow. No fair.

    Hi, first time commenter here. I read your book awhile back and just found you in Chicago Bloggers. I will definitely be sticking around!

  25. says

    hey there, longtime reader, first time commenter – i just wanted to let you and other readers know that i just started a new blog at


    where i post about Chicago, restaurants, food, weight loss efforts, birds, and reality TV like Top Chef!

    love ya!