Archive for December, 2009

Holiday travels in Central Illinois

Interstate 74/Mansfield exit

Interstate 74/Mansfield exit

The end of the years brings about the gathering of friends and family which in most instances means that the residents of Central Illinois will be traveling to and fro. Having been hit with snow and ice that began shortly after Christmas morning, road conditions worsened in some parts and crews have been working to clear the path for holiday travelers; however, caution should always be heeded while on the road despite how clear they might appear.

Instersate 74

Interstate 74

Often times accidents can be avoided if the proper respect is given during in-climate weather. Speed can be a major cause of most avoidable accidents while driving on icy roads. According to weather.com, one shouldn’t assume that all vehicles can handle all conditions, meaning, if you drive a large truck or sport utility vehicle you should handle it much as you would driving a smaller car. Decreasing your speed and allowing as much as three times the space as normal can also help in preventing an accident.

Interstate 74

Interstate 74

Some accidents are unavoidable despite taking every measure in preventing them. If you find yourself in a position where you are stranded along the highway, the most important thing to make sure you have is a means to stay warm. This means ensuring that your car is properly stocked with warm blankets. Hand warmers can also be an invaluable thing to have as well. One tip is to also make sure that even if you are going out for just a short drive that you dress appropriately. A lot of times if we know we’re not going very far we might not bundle up like we should and this can prove to very dangerous, even fatal, if we’re not careful.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve, and I urge everyone to enjoy themselves as they gather around to bring in 2010 and to be as safe as possible.

The Krekelympics: “My boy says he can eat fifty..”

Image courtesy of Krekelympics

Image courtesy of Krekelympics

If you’re a native of Central Illinois, then you’re certain to have eaten at what can only be described as the best burger joint around, Krekels.

A favorite among high school and college kids, it was the place where two years ago, a group of Eisenhower alumni happened to have run into one another while back  from college. Enjoying the familiar taste of friendship and of being home again, they quickly locked in the idea to see who among them could down as many of the famous burgers as possible and to ultimately be declared the champion of the group. After the first year was deemed a success, it was decided that they would all meet back at Krekel’s the following year to propose the same challenge. Only this time, they would have a following of their very own. “The idea blossomed that we should just have a formalized competitive eating (event) at Krekels the next time we all came home.” said Ryan Smith, one of the event organizers. The 2008 Krekelympic games had been opened.

The second annual Krekelympics began today at the Colonial Mall location at 1355 N Illinois Route 48 near Millikin University with a registration time of 12:30pm and a kick-off time of 1:00. Participants, like in 2008, will pay a $30 entrance fee which buys their food. Any remaining money will be donated by the group to the Northeast Community Food Drive. Todd Teel, owner of Krekels, will donate half of the food cost for the event to the same charitable organization.

Just what can be expected at this years Krekelympics? An increase in the number of people wanting to prove their endurance for one. “This year should be quite a bit different” Smith went on to say. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it doubled”. Last year the contest moved around to each of the five locations in Decatur, however, this year it will remain at the Colonial Mall location.

The two main events will be the Sprint challenge, in which contestants will try and eat as many double cheeseburgers as they can within a ten minute period. The second, the Endurance Event, consists of several twenty minute rounds in which each contestant is given a double cheeseburger and fries and continuing on until only one is left standing. Spectators, or anyone not wishing to participate but still want to support the cause, can pay $15 for a lunch.

Krekel’s has been a staple of the Decatur community for decades and with the rising success of the Krekelympics, well, it just goes to prove that the legacy of the small, family owned business will be sure to continue on for decades to come.

You can become a fan of the Krekelympics on Facebook by clicking here.

-Travis Lickey

Merry Christmas and Happy day where we all lie to ourselves by making promises we’ll just break on January 2nd.

Tis the eve before Christmas and as I sit here typing this, in the room next to me a mass of food is being prepared for this evening’s festivities and calorie filled gluttony, I would like to take this moment to wish you all a very warm and happy holiday season this year  I wish that the feelings the holiday’s brought about didn’t leave us throughout the rest of the year and that people could find it within themselves to treat one another as a brother or a sister. At the very least, the neighbor that borrows things from us and we choose to tolerate them because they have a really nice grill and we just love being invited over for cookouts and free beer during the summer.

Some of us have lost loved ones this year while others have loved ones that won’t be able to make it back home at all, and they will be missed. Unless of course it’s that one relative that always comes around wanting charity. I would be a hypocrite though if I didn’t tell you to go ahead and give of yourself, even to the people that don’t deserve it, because when it comes right down to it, none of us really deserve anything at all, and that’s where the true spirit of Christmas can be found.

I had planned on this post to be me somewhat more profound and lengthy, but I’ll let the simplicity speak for itself, that, and more family is pouring in and I’m freakin’ hungry..forget the presents.

I bid you farewell and and again, the warmest of holiday cheer to you and your friends and family. My nuts are burning.

 

Chestnuts.

Number two doesn’t have to be second best.

BathroomMore often than not, when my pants are down, I find myself settling for second best. I’m talking about bathrooms, of course. I choose not to use the term restroom because I have never rested while on the toilet. In fact, I always seem to find myself in the position of working harder than I normally would during any other part of the day and it’s usually the only time that you will ever find me breaking a sweat. I hope you never find me breaking a sweat while in the bathroom, unless you’re an old blind man sitting near the sink  ready to offer me a warm towel and relationship advice. In that case, watch me all you want to. You’ve earned the right.

Public bathrooms offer nothing more than disappointment. Dirty floors, dirty sinks with empty soap dispensers, magical automatic paper towel dispensers that never work, cramped stalls with locks that don’t lock and toilet paper that couldn’t soak up the tears of a small child. It’s already bad enough being forced into the position of needing to befoul yourself in a public place and hoping to the good lord above someone doesn’t grab your ankles mistaking your groans as a sign of flirting, but having to preform such a vile act in such a vile place simply makes you feel even worse about yourself than before you walked in.

To begin with, I’m the type of person that prefers making poopie in the comfort of my own home. Sitting atop a familiar bowl instead of some foreign toilet with a cold welcome. Sitting in a seat on an airplane or in the back of taxi is bad enough with you replacing the recently vacated seat only to feel the fresh warmth of strange ass, but to realize that your naked flesh is about to come into contact with a surface that was just in contact with a complete stranger’s under carriage? I’d rather be stopped up for days with no relief in sight. Nevertheless, sometimes the deed must be done and so you find yourself swallowing your pride and expelling the pride you swallowed the night before.

This leads us to the exciting part of this blog, for me anyway. Earlier today I was walking through our local mall and the urge hit me and I knew it was time. Normally my body affords me a few warnings before the big event, but not this time. I was like a woman whose water had broken during a romantic dinner out on the town with her husband; leaping up, knocking over glasses, grabbing my stomach and yelling “My god, Frank! This is it” while everyone around suddenly stirs into a quiet panic over the miracle that is about to happen. Except, no miracle would be coming from me this day. All things sin and damnation? Yes.

I walked into the public restroom just off one of the wings near the food court. Instantly I recognized this as a poor decision on my part. Too many people were around thus giving way to the chance that I would not be able to find the solace that this expulsion from paradise required. It was then when I was reminded of what I now affectionately refer to as, The Secret Room. The Secret Room isn’t really a secret at all, but in a way it is because it is a distinct part of this particular public bathroom that goes mostly overlooked. A few minutes walk from the bathroom that I was currently in and I soon found myself standing in front of the place where a king’s bathroom had been made. Bergner’s.

BergnersWhen you’re in a department store you don’t really give too much thought to the idea that they have a public bathroom unless you either really need to go or you have children. Bergner’s has it’s bathrooms located on the upper level, but unlike most department stores, their bathrooms are not located near customer service or those swinging doors leading into the backrooms. Instead, they are located at the back of the bedding department. Despite this convenient location in relation to the comfort of bedding, I will still not be calling it a restroom, so don’t hold your breath.

When you walk past the memory foam pillows and down comforters you come to a narrow hallway which leads to a single door. Upon opening the door your experience in the bathroom could be like any other in any number of public bathrooms unless you are fortunate enough to notice out of the corner of your eye that fortune has presented you with the multiple choice. Option A: The aforementioned cramped, pseudo-private stall(s).

Option A.

Option A.

Or, Option B: The luxurious and spacious bathroom quarters of…the wheelchair accessible room. That’s right, a room. This ain’t no stall, baby.

Option B. aka Heaven.

Option B. aka Heaven.

I know what you’re probably thinking right from the start. I’m not in a wheelchair, therefore I don’t have the right to use this facility. I freaking beg to differ. Besides, considering the nature of the act itself, I’m not going to overstay my welcome in the bathroom any more than I need to. It’s not like I’m parking my car in the handicapped spot and taking my time inside of Wal-Mart trying to find the best five dollar movie in the bin. Well, giving that a second thought, and seeing the fine, fine quality of the option b, I might grab the Wall Street Journal, bring in a cup of coffee and sit a spell. Okay, okay, so this is what I will call a restroom. Can you blame me, though? It’s private. I’m sealed away from all manner of outside interference. Short of being sound proof (which it might as well be) I can make sounds that I feel comfortable enough to make and not worry about the contorted faces they will impose on those standing at the urinals just beyond a thin wall made of  particle board wall. I mean, look at this place:

Look at the leg room!

Look at the leg room!

There's enough room to even do your dishes!

There's enough room to even do your dishes!

If you’re going to be one those people who strongly opposes my right to freedom of bathroom choice because I am not physically challenged, I present this little fact to you. Walk back down the mall about halfway and walk into Von Maur. Von Maur 1Von Maur is another department store within the same mall that also has public bathrooms for its clientele, however, one need not to be in a wheelchair or have any sort of physical limitation to enjoy the luxuries that await them when Mother Nature calls. No physical limitation that is unless you happen to be a man.  It’s a common misconception that only women would prefer bathrooms that offer more than just a toilet. Men, if ever given the chance, might also enjoy the chance to sit comfortably, perhaps even have a television where they can sit around and watch sports while their lady-folk are off and about. Stick in a vending machine, and ladies, your husbands will beg to go shopping with you.

In reality, though, Von Maur probably has taken the luxury of their bathroom too far:

The crapper on Air Force One isn't this nice.

The crapper on Air Force One isn't this nice.

I shouldn’t complain though. Yes, yes I should, because if you walk to the other side of the store and into the men’s room this is what you’ll find:

Guantanamo Bay?

Guantanamo Bay?

I’m kidding, of course. It actually has a door on it.

-Travis Lickey

I think I love you. So much, even.

TLThe freshman post of any new blog is always touch and go, much like many of my first dates. Naturally, I want things to go smoothly and I hope that I won’t come across as being an awkward, socially inept, psychological case study who is fumbling around for the right words to say in front of a pretty girl. You the reader, you are my pretty girl. All that I ask is that you please be patient with me and don’t get up halfway through reading this to “use the bathroom” only never to return. That’s a silly thought, isn’t it?  It is your computer, after all. Of course you’re going to come back. This date is going great so far!

While sitting there in your fancy dress (did I tell you how beautiful you look tonight, by the way), you might be wondering where exactly is this date going. “What’s this guy all about? Does he work? Does he still live with his parents? Has he killed anyone?” you ask. Well, allow me to put those worries to rest. Yes, I do work, and no, I live on my own. Now that we have the formalities out of the way, let’s move on to the part of the date where I insist that you are very thirsty and you really do need to drink that glass of wine I just placed in front of you.

If you have read this far then hopefully that signals that our date going very well and that there will most likely be a second date. That, or you’re simply going to wake up next to regret in the morning. Either way, I am glad you’re still here because that means we can get to the intimacy of this post.

This website (where we’re having our date) is my new place, my bachelor pad, my studio apartment and I’m inviting you stop by as often as you would like and even when you might not feel like it at all. I might cheer you up, I might not, but you’ll always find one thing on this site that will remain true: my willingness to entertain, and I’m only willing because I’m actually getting paid to write for this website. If I wasn’t, hey, there’s always the Dave Barry section of your local newspaper. I am your host, and you are my guest. Let’s keep it that way. Yeah, you can stop by, but really, let’s just leave it at that. I mean, if you get too comfortable then it’s really not my place anymore…it’s both of ours. I may say you can always call this place home, treat it like you would your own, but beyond that, keep that damn front door closed and don’t touch my thermostat. I’m not paying to heat the entire Internet here, you know.

I got off onto a tangent. I apologize. It’s getting late. Can I refill your drink?

-Travis Lickey

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