So, I have a new job (yes, again)

If Howard Stern is the self-proclaimed “King of All Media,” well, then I must at least be a Duke. Maybe an Earl.

Okay, how about Court Jester?

Reason being is that exactly one year after leaving the newspaper biz to try my hand at public relations, I’m embarking this week on yet another media adventure.

I’m joining the cast of Mad Men.

Okay, not really.

But on Tuesday, I am beginning a job as a writer for a suburban advertising-marketing firm. My new company bills itself as agency of innovation, and being the innovative sort myself, I’m excited about the opportunity.

I look forward to embracing this realm of the media industry. Particularly so, because in many ways, it’s my final frontier.

As I wrote back in May after my 15 seconds of fame on E! THS Investigates, I’ve now worked for newspapers, big and small, both in print and online. I’ve written sports, features and hard news. I’ve been a reporter, an editor and a columnist. I’ve done PR, been interviewed on TV (not only for E!, but a Polish television station, as well — long story), had my own radio segment and published a book.

Oh, and yeah, I also blog.

Once I get the hang of this advertising-marketing thing, I figure that when it comes to meida, I literally will have just about done it all.

Except for movies.

Still need to get one of those under my belt some day, I suppose.

Who knows, maybe if Mad Men ever goes to the big screen, I can be an extra.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my mid-morning Scotch and pack of unfiltered Camels handy.

Then again … maybe not.


Kickin’ it with the Bucket Baby

Living near Wrigley Field and attending Chicago Cubs games like it’s my job, I know all too well about the Bucket Boys.

As do my eardrums.

But last Thursday, while while walking past Murphy’s Bleachers prior to the Cubs-Phillies tilt, I stumbled across a brand new drop in the bucket:

Behold the Bucket Baby. (See photo below.)

Perched on a crate next to his, um, mentor (?), the Bucket Baby’s rhythmic skills could still use some work. But, hey, the little fella already knows how to spin, flip and catch a drumstick.

As well as draw a crowd.

So much so that just a few feet down Sheffield Avenue, a rival Bucket Boy duo was sitting idle Thursday as they glumly pondered the new kid on the block.

With the Bucket Baby working it, the two of them couldn’t get any attention.

Or tips.

Even though one of the guys was in a wheelchair.

And had no legs.

At the top of your Bucket List


The end of the World Wide Wait

It took almost two hours and a dozen trips up and down (and up and down) the stairs from my apartment to my building’s alley, storage room and, finally, laundry room — where the cable guy was forced to pop his head through a dusty ceiling panel — but the faulty wire connection that left me with no home Internet or cable for nearly two weeks has been fixed.

Turns out, a Comcast worker likely switched me off while switching someone else on.

At least, that’s what my RCN cable guy thinks.

Maybe I should send Comcast this month’s bill.

Whatever the case, I’m just glad to be plugged back in and turned back on.

And with the flip of that switch, the Wisch List should be returning with new non-tech-nightmare blog entries soon.

That is unless my new iPhone goes on the fritz.

(Let’s hope not.)

Cross your fingers for me, and stay tuned …


(Im)patiently waiting …

One of these days, I’ll be fully functional again when it comes to 21st Century communication at my apartment.

Today, however, isn’t that day.

Neither is tomorrow. Or the next day, it appears.

More than a week removed from the Day Technology Died, I still don’t have a new phone (my iPhone is in some kind of back-order Twilight Zone). I still don’t have home Internet (unless I can swipe it from someone else …. shh … and that’s hit and miss, at best). And, I still don’t have cable.

Check that, I do in my bedroom (although it’s choppy at times).

But I have no TV signal at all in my living room, nor do I have a working channel guide in either room.


I still don’t know — and the tech guy doesn’t arrive until Saturday.

Supposdly some time between 11 and 2.

But you know how that is …


And their boy was named ‘Blue’

In Fort Wayne, Ind., the Johnny Appleseed Festival lists a home address one one of the more peculiar — and amusing — street names that I’ve ever come across. See for yourself. The street is named after a popular former mayor who reportedly had a wife named … “Minnie.” Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.


A Perfect Storm … in more ways than one

So, just how hard did it rain in Chicago on Monday night?

So hard that my cell phone suffered catastrophic water damage when I ran from Cubby Bear to my apartment (about, oh, three-quarters of a mile) just as the late-night monsoon that finally ended the Cubs game for good began pouring down.

And my cell phone, mind you, was inside my pocket.

Sure, I was more soaked than Michael Phelps in that new SportsCenter commercial when I got home.

But still … who knew Razr phones were made of sugar.

Anyways, thus began my week: A Perfect Storm begatting a Perfect Storm of technological collapse.

And, really, it still hasn’t stopped raining.

Not in my world, at least.

Because, four days after my phone went belly up and my home cable and Internet did the same — for inexplicable reasons (those failures occurred pre-storm) — I’m still living in the veritable Dark Ages.

Two trips to an AT&T store and two more to the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue have resulted only in an iPhone that’s at least a week away from arriving — and the knowledge that phone warranties don’t cover water damage (thank goodness, my brother had an old phone to loan me during the interim).

Meanwhile, two phone conversations with my cable company have resulted only in the knowledge that they absolutely have no idea why my service is still out (the rest of Chicago is apparently working just fine, thanks) — and that the earliest they can get a tech guy out to my apartment is Saturday.

Next Saturday.

Yeah, the 16th.

(What is this a “Seinfeld” episode?)

As a result, I’m writing this blog from a Panera.

I certainly can’t post anything from my place, which was a technology wasteland worthy of the 1940s when I awoke on Tuesday morning.

Imagine if you can — and, believe me, it’s not going to be easy — what it’s like realizing that you’ve lost phone service, cable service and Internet service simultaneously.

You can’t find the right phone numbers to call for help, because, well, you can’t get online. And even if you could get the numbers, well, you can’t call them because — oh! — you have no phone.

So old-school was my place on Tuesday that I felt an urge to turn on the radio, sit down in front of it Indian-style and twist the dial in search of “Little Orphan Annie.”

If only, my phonograph player wasn’t in the shop …

With encouraging words, my friends and family — chatting with me probably while they shopped online and watched TiVo — have told me all week long that things would get better.

And they will. They already have, in fact.

After all, they couldn’t get much worse.

That is unless, you get me started on the bogus parking ticket I received and the permit sticker I now need for my car.

Grr …

Really, though, have a great weekend, everyone.

Shoot me an e-mail or post a comment if you get a chance.

I’ll probably get to read it someday.

I guess.


Morning sickness

So, here’s my morning so far:

1.) I wake up and realize my cell phone no longer works.

(Yet it worked fine at 11:30 p.m. when I made a phone call and set my alarm. What the …?)

2.) I then turn on the TV and realize my cable is not working.

(And this has nothing to do with last night’s wicked storms. The cable was out when I got home at 6 and went to the Cubs game. It’s still out.)

3.) I then attempt to get online and realize my Internet is not working.

(Same deal as the cable.)

4.) When I leave for work, I find a $60 ticket on my car for illegally parking in a residential zone.

The car is parked directly in front of my building.

A zone doesn’t get any more residential for a guy.

I then realize that at some point — when? — my street has been turned into a permit-only zone, but no one told me that.

5.) It’s only 9:30 a.m.

This does not bode well.


Taxi Cab Oppressions

About eight years ago, one of my buddies from high school was working for State Farm Insurance and dating a girl who worked with him at the Bloomington, Ill.-based corporation.

While out with the two of them in Chicago one night, I recall my friend’s girl telling me how a recent work-related travel screw-up had forced her to take a cab all the way from O’Hare Airport to Bloomington.

Total distance: 135 miles.

Total time: About 2 1/2 hours.

Total cost: I can’t really remember, but I think it was about $150.

Since then, that ridiculously long haul has always stood out as the craziest cab ride story (distance-wise, at least) I’ve ever heard.

Until today, that is.

Because this afternoon, my brother told me how last night his girlfriend’s flight home from Denver to Chicago was canceled, forcing her and a co-worker to instead fly into Detroit.

Landing at Metro Airport sometime after midnight, the girls had no bags (somehow, those did fly to Chicago) and no accommodations. It was no matter, though, as for some other work-related reason, the co-worker needed to get home to Chicago that very night.

So, with connecting flights unavailable and no desire to rent a car and drive their exhausted selves all the way home, the two took the only option available to them.

They hailed a taxi.

And took it from the Motor City to the Windy City.

Total distance: About 285 miles.

Total time: Nearly 5 hours.

Total cost: a flat rate of $450, which was billed to the client (You better believe it!).

After hearing this mess, I have a Taxi Cab confession:

The next time my cab gets caught in traffic on, say, Lincoln Avenue, I promise not to complain.

After all, I could be riding in it all the way to Lincoln, Neb.


Eternal Bliss(ter)

Quick Question: What happens first? 

a.) The Cubs win the World Series.

b.) Kerry Wood’s finger blister heals.

c.) Brett Favre (really) retires.

d.) None of the above.