Happy New Year loyal readers!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the past eleven days as much as I have.  It’s not so much that I did all that much awesome stuff per se, but I found it to be rather restful and relaxing more than anything.  Nothing like a good recharging of the batteries to gear up for a new year. 

Heading into my brief hiatus I was a little concerned about exactly what a layoff of this length would mean to my writing.  For those who click through Chi-Guy.com on a regular basis I’m sure that you’ve noticed that some posts are the result of more effort and innovation than others.  It’s not for a lack of trying but it’s quite difficult to bring the “A” material three times a week – week in and week out.  I’ve found that it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things after any extended break between posts in the past.  The good news is that over these past eleven days I’ve found myself thinking about the website as a whole as well as prospective writing subjects more often than during any other sabbatical. 

In order to dive back into the fold I thought I’d turn back to the tried and true Quick Quips model to get a lot of those ideas mentioned above into the public consciousness to percolate a bit.  Some of these may have another whole column to back them up in the days to come while this may be the final resting place for others.  Without further ado…

  • The Lincoln Park Zoo has better zoo lights than the Brookfield Zoo does.  It’s a fact.  It’s also free (which is a nice touch on ComEd’s part).
  • The day before Christmas I had an opportunity to play hockey with Blackhawk great and current NHL Hall of Famer Stan Mikita.  It was fantastic.  After my first shift (during which I stole the puck from him) he sat down next to me on the bench (normal rules of sitting with your own team don’t apply to living legends) and asked who I played for.  I spent the rest of the afternoon try to play through a fame boner.
  • A few weeks ago I wrote a piece debating the merits of Christmas lights and decorations in one’s yard.  I forgot to mention that the only thing worse than those who completely over do the exterior illumination effort are those who do nothing at all.  Really?  You can’t put a few strings of lights up on your gutter or hang a freaking wreath?  Even if Christmas and Christianity aren’t your thing, write it off to a community participation thing.  For three weeks a year your neighborhood gets dressed up for a party, don’t be the household that stays dark and is too cool for school.
  • Despite this article (and several others like it out there) I’m convinced the shuffle mode on my iPod is rigged.  I’ve had the same iPod for 5+ years and there are some songs that seem to come up in shuffle mode on a weekly basis while others have still yet to be played once.  Oddly enough my iPod seems particularly fond of the non-musical tracks of Broke Phi Broke on Kanye West’s Late Registration album as well as Eminem’s awkward spoken word skits on the Marshall Mathers LP.  It’s very strange.
  • I was saddened to hear the Bears let Lovie Smith go after the season (for the record I had the Bears losing that last game in Detroit so both the Bears and I finished the year 10-6).  Lovie appears to be a good man who had the full support of just about every player that’s ever put on the pads for him.  With that said the NFL is a results oriented business and making the playoffs once in the past six years isn’t cutting it.  I wish Lovie the best going forward and you can color me Intrigued to see what Phil Emery has in mind for the franchise going forward.
  • In reviewing my last few months of posts I realize that I have not put pen to paper in order to discuss the NHL lockout nor the Chicago Bulls current campaign what-so-ever.  The act of ignoring the lockout is intentional as I don’t want to give this collection of assholes any more attention than they deserve.  Eight years ago the league shut down for an entire season because the system was so broken that they needed to rebuild the thing from the ground up in order to create a sustainable business model.  My vitriol knows no end in seeing them completely waste yet another campaign as they once again find the system too broken to continue with.  As for the Bulls, what can I say?  I think all of Chicago has written them off with a collective shrug until Derrick Rose returns.  (In my best Forrest Gump voice) That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
  • Speaking of hockey however, I have been getting my fix via the World Junior Championships currently underway in Ufa, Russia.  Katie Baker from Grantland.com (@katiebakes) just headed over there to cover the elimination rounds and it is safe to say that I’ll be spending a good bit of attention following what all she reports.  It’s been a great tournament with all the countries playing up to their stereotypes – the US as a feisty bunch of grinders with a good goalie, the Russians as a bunch of speedy individual talents who don’t play defense, and the Canadians as the best all around squad which is peppered with a handful of future NHL all stars.  For the truly dedicated hit me up via Twitter for the 4am puck drop (on January 2nd) as the US takes on the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals on the NHL Network.
  • The grab bag is the best way to handle gift exchanges for parties of eight or more.  If you can incorporate drinking all the better.  Buying individual presents for every relative that you see once a year is a pointless exercise. 
  • This year was The Wee One’s first Christmas.  We now have seventeen different ornaments to commemorate the event and her favorite gift that she’s still playing with a week later is a single jingle bell that was part of the wrapping of one of the Wife’s gifts.  New parents, consider this a lesson; invest whatever you were going to spend on your infant next year and then give them the interest on their eighteenth birthday.  They’ll thank you for it later as gifts to those who measure their age in months are pointless expenditures.
  • On the topic of young children, it should be noted that The Wife and I made it all the way to 12:25am on New Years Eve.  The times they are a changing…

I think that’ll do it for the time being.  It’s good to be back and I’m looking forward to a great 2013.  As always, I cannot thank you enough for clicking through and investing your time and offering your feedback.  Chi-Guy is back on the job to officially begin the time period we’ll someday awkwardly look back and refer to as “The Teens” when speaking to our grandchildren (not my teens obviously, the decade in time not the time period in my life…).  Good times.