Real cost of owning a car in Chicago

When I purchased my car in Oregon, I only budgeted for my monthly car payment, insurance, and a small yearly maintenance stipend. Now that I’ve been in Chicago for just over three years, I realize that Chicago assesses their own surcharges. The screenshot to the right is the additional “cost” of owning a car in Chicago.

Update – 9/15/2009: It appears that, even though I am privy to nearly all of Chicago’s parking tricks, I am still unable to outsmart the long arm of the law.  I’ve been cited 15 times since my original post in December of 2007.  “You can put it on the board, YES!


White people, always good for a laugh.

I eavesdropped on this conversation between a man and his in-laws over the weekend. They were white.

White Guy: “I flipped my car this weekend.”

White Dad: “Really? You didn’t hurt yourself?

White Guy: “No, I was really lucky, no injuries at all. I was just driving along and hit some black guys. I went into the ditch and the car flipped over.”

White Mom: With intense concern, “Oh my gosh, was anyone hurt?”

White Guy: “No, I told you I walked away completely unharmed.”

White Mom: Making sure not to speak too loudly and offend anyone she whispers, “What about the black guys? You said you hit some black guys.”

White Guy: “Black ice!. I hit black ice.”

I chuckled to myself and thanked God for making me mostly Mexican.

Turning the tables on H8R

Four or five years ago I made a friendly wager with H8R.  I believe the wager was over a college football bowl or something similar.  We wagered twenty.  The wager took place in Whistler, B.C.

Why all the backstory?  Because when two gentlemen enter into a wager, no matter where this wager is placed, the currency is safely assumed to be that of their home country.  However, I forgot a H8R will always look for an unfair advantage.  H8R lost the bet and unscrupulously paid me in Canadian dollars which at the time were trading at about 1.5 to 1 USD.  Since H8R paid me when we returned to the States, I faced the decision of finding a currency exchange and losing even more money with the exchange or just keeping the bill as a reminder of my superior gambling skills: I chose the latter.

Fast-foward 5 years, after I return from Munich.  I have about 25 euros leftover from the trip and since the dollar is so weak, I’m definitely exchanging my Euros for dollars.  Then I remember, I have a Canadian 20 dollar bill that has been slowly appreciating while stuffed between the proverbial mattresses.  I take it with me to the bank and exchange it along with my Euros netting a cool 19 USD. 

Take that H8R!

The thief next door.

I suspect that most people would not be happy to learn that they live down the hall from someone with the ability to open their locked apartment door with relative ease. However, that was certainly not the case when my neighbor locked herself out of her apartment.

After returning from work and changing, I left for the gym and noticed my neighbor fumbling with the lock on her door but thought nothing of it as I ran out of the building. An hour later, walking back from the gym, I saw a ladder outside of my building and someone trying to get into her apartment through the second story window. Inside I saw her still fumbling with her lock, this time with a credit card or similar lockpicking utility.

“Are you locked out of your place?”

“Yah,” she answered.

“I have some lockpicking tools. Do you want me to give it a try?”

“Are you serious? Oh my gosh, yes please!”

I’ve never seen someone go from dejected to relieved so quickly. I made sure to temper her excitement since I hadn’t picked a lock in about ten years.

“It’s been a long time but I’ll give it a try.”

After about twenty minutes of raking the lock (technical lockpicking term) I finally set all the pins (another lockpicking term) and the lock opened. Although, she was relieved to finally be back in her apartment, I was just as relieved. My ego wouldn’t have let me give up and I certainly didn’t want to spend all night picking her lock.

Get out of my head Scooter!

I forgot how much Europeans like techno and their version of MTV plays it constantly.  And since I’m tired of watching BBC, I’ll deal with German MTV.  The only problem is that one song, which is played frequently, won’t stop bouncing around in my head and coming out my mouth as a hum.  Make sure you listen to the entire song to hear a really annoying riddle, that you’ll need to Google since the song only poses the riddle but never answers it.  Prepare to be annoyed.