Instead I've decided to use my time responding to users on Yahoo Feedback tonight. 
Enjoy.
Oh, and in case you couldn't tell, I'm Jay Fergs.
I'm not sure what Victoria was trying to say here. Was she employing her own form of sarcasm, agreeing with what I wrote or am I the acne ditching impressionable young American man? Also, how does one, "ditch their acne," I know the fourteen year old version of me would love to know.
This Idea Sharer will have to learn the hard way that waiting around on a forum site will take days to do what Google would have done in seconds.
I've been using Yahoo for quite some time now and I have yet to see this spinning blue ball. My suggestion is... Don't do drugs.
I just couldn't stand the thought of an entire nation being disregarded by the Idea Sharer.
Hold on... Does he want people to stop getting pregnant? I'm confused. Maybe the "article 'reporters'" can figure this one out for me. So this guy just really doesn't like celebrity "Pet Names" or the word Baby Bump. What about other people in the public eye? I guess sports "reporters" and Chicago fans are immature and think they are "cool" when they refer to Mike Ditka as, "Da Coach." 
 
 
Hello, my two and a half faithful readers.
Let me start by saying I haven't written anything since the Hawks won the Stanley Cup because I've been waiting for this.

NEWS FLASH:
Macaulay Culkin is in a Velvet Underground cover band called The Pizza Underground.

DOUBLE F'ING NEWS FLASH:
It's has to be the most offensive thing I've heard in all my years of listening to music.

Allow me to elaborate:
When I say offensive I don't mean it's riddled with vulgarity and graphic descriptions of grizzly scenes, I mean it sounds like someone throwing up into my headphone jack with such velocity that it actually makes me cringe and tear the phones from my head only to pitch them through the nearest open window or into the the nearest blast furnace.

Gone are the days of a homeless looking Culkin gracing the pages of tabloid magazines at the grocery store checkout. Now we are forced to face him in a much more unflattering light.

I haven't even gotten to the most obnoxious part. The Pizza Underground has redone famous songs by Velvet Underground and turned them all into songs about, you guessed it, pizza.
If you haven't clicked the link here's a track listing of the bands album, recorded at Culkin's home, November of this year.

1. Papa John Says
2. I'm Beginning to Eat the Slice
3. Pizza
4. I'm Waiting for Delivery Man
5. Cheese Days
6. Pizza Day
7. All the Pizza Parties
8. Pizza Gal
9. Take a Bite of the Wild Slice

Yup, this is a real thing...
Perhaps I'm a bit overly critical of The Pizza Underground.
They make no secret about what they are and I'm sure they weren't taking themselves too seriously when they recorded their demo. There is an unapologetic air about their demo recording which leads me to believe they didn't really spend a lot of time fine tuning anything.
I know, I know, "That's why they call it a demo, Jay."
I did chuckle a few times at some of their lyrics including this one from Waiting for Delivery Man, "comes from Dominos, 1,2,3. more than thirty minutes and that pizza is free"
As I listen to the demo (hopefully for the last time in my life) There are a few lyrics I am impressed with and there are others that felt forced.
All in all I would say if the hidden tracks off a Blink-182 album are your choice of tunes to jam to, then you should pick this album up.
Maybe Ive been too quick to judge. Maybe  Lou Reed would actually appreciate it.


 
 
The Chicago Sun-Times has fallen from reputable newspaper to tabloid joke in a matter of weeks.

Compare any recent Tribune front page with that of the Sun-Times and you will know what I'm talking about. Trading in their seasoned veteran staff of photographers for job blow with an iPhone has made a laughing stock of the Times.

Maybe you're saying, “It can't be that bad, Jason.”

To you I say, “Really... REALLY!

If you're not getting my point it's because you haven't clicked on one of the 'Really's in the last quote.

Let's talk about that link for a moment, shall we? First off, how about that photo on the front page of the Times? I'd call it more of a thumbnail but I get it. You can't really expect a smartphone to capture a moment in all its vibrant intensity like a Cannon 60D or a Nikon D90, let alone have the megapixels to be properly displayed on the front page of your morning paper.

This doesn't begin to scratch the surface of my disdain for this photo. Apparently with the Sun-Times photo staff went everyone in the building able to use Photoshop. Look at that photo. I mean seriously, look at it. We have children around the world who know how to tone their photos so they look better than whatever that steaming pile was someone left on the front page of the Times Wednesday morning.

I really hope you understand what you've just done, Sun-Times. You dropped the puck on what should have been a fantastic front page with an amazingly beautiful spread to follow inside. Instead the words. “Complete Coverage Stanley's Homecoming Inside,” elicited shivers throughout my body. I mean this is an event that apparently happens once every three years. (God willing) I should be excited about it not terrified of it.

I did not open the Sun-Times that day to figure out what Etch A Sketch doodles accompanied the stories of the Hawk's victory. Those horrors were left to the darkest parts of my imagination.

I can only say, Hawk's, you're lucky any press is good press because you, not to mention the rest of Chicago, didn't deserve that train wreck waiting for them on newsstands and front porches around the city. People won't put up with these shenanigans for long, Sun-Times.

 
 
You may already be aware of this (I mean you as in singular not collective because I'm sure you are the only one reading this.) but I work as a videographer for a local newspaper.

“Jason that's so bizarre,” you might be saying to yourself. “I wasn't aware our technology had advanced to the point that we could actually watch videos in a newspaper. Or maybe the paper you work for is similar to the Daily Prophet from the wildly successful Harry Potter series.”

To you I say. “It's digital video to be shown on a website.”

You would more than likely reply by saying, “Oh, Of course it is. Did you think I was an idiot, Jason?”
“I didn't think you were an idiot. I apologize if I came off that way. I hope we can move past this.”

As a videographer who shoots both editorial and commercial pieces I have the daunting task of dealing with clients.

A client I've been dealing with for a particularly long time, let's call him Jerry, has been jerking me around for months now. I am constantly being put into uncomfortable situations with this man.

A long time ago in December of 2012 I came to his place of business to shoot 2 minute long commercials. I brought with me the necessary camera equipment and the scripts I had written. We sent the scripts back and forth via email to make sure everything was to Jerry's liking before I showed up. Upon arriving he tells me he isn't sure he likes the script and proceeds to tell me I need to sit down with his PR person in an office and rewrite both scripts. 2 F@#*!NG hours later we have the scripts finished.

What should have been a two – three hour shoot was turning into five – six hours. The shoot itself went relatively smooth, aside from the fact that he forgot to tell anyone I was going to be there that day and that there faces would be on a commercial. Thankfully there were only several people who were uncomfortable with this and it was easy for me to work around them.

This videos are cut in two weeks time and I am very pleased with them. Jerry reviews the proofs and tells me he isn't sure about the graphics at the end. No problem. I tell him to let me know what he's looking for and I can change it with very little hassle.

Let's skip forward to May, 2013. What should have been a quick two weeks of post production to turn this video around has now turned into almost six months of waiting to hear back from this guy.

I am finally able to get in touch with Jerry and he asks if I can meet him in person to go over the changes he wants to make. I meet him in his office and he explains to me that he has two jingles he'd like me to incorporate into the two videos respectively. He also goes on to tell me the jingles are thirty seconds so I will have to rewrite the script to fit the first thirty seconds of the commercial and then play the jingle over the last thirty seconds.

Keep in mind I had already had these videos cut and polished months prior to these changes. Now Jerry was asking me to redo everything I had already done.

In only a couple days I have the scripts rewritten, the voice overs recorded and the jingles incorporated. I attempt to call Jerry with the good news.

“Hi Jerry, it's Jason. How did you like those videos?”
“They look good but I need to get my internet guy's opinion on them. Why don't you call me back tomorrow.”
“Umm... OK. Well, get his opinion and let me know. Have a good day.”

Internet guy? What? So, does he need to contact Comcast?
I'm imagining a hilarious scenario in which this man calls Comcast and sets up an appointment for a technician to come out to the business

Tech: “What seems to be the problem?”
Jerry: “It's this video. I mean I think it looks good but can you give me your professional opinion. I mean it's going to be on the internet and since you're an internet guy I figured you would know best.”
Tech: “Umm... Sure. I guess it looks good. Is that all you needed?”

I mean unless his internet guy is some technologically advanced version of Rumplestiltskin who spins Ethernet cables into bandwith, I just can't figure out what else it he could be.

I'd also like to address the fact that I've been calling this guy back “tomorrow” for about a month now. Every time he answers it's some new lame excuse. “Oh hey, Jason, I'm not in the office. Oh hey, Jason, I'm following the Stanley Cup around Chicago and knew you would be calling for me to rub it in your face. Oh hey Jason, Lavos has finally awoken from his slumber directly in the center of my gym. Oh hey, Jason, my internet Rumplestiltskin guy just opened a vortex to a parallel dimension where they use excuses as currency. Needless to say I'm now a very rich man.”

I can't express just how frustrating this is.

Tune in next time when I'll be complaining about how much I miss the 90's X-Men cartoon that aired on FOX and how some of this new animation makes me want to strap myself to a Mack Truck that's about to rear-end a Pinto.




 
 
My wife and I didn’t win the Lotto. This has prompted me to write a blog entry having absolutely nothing to do with the Lotto.

I recently started using Spotify and I’ve fallen completely in love with it. I jumped on the lag wagon a little late. I’ll admit many of my music loving cohorts and cambria, colleagues and classmates tried to inform me of all its awesomeness.  Alas, I was too firmly robert planted in my ways to make the journey over to Spotify.

How could Spotify be more fun and trump the format of music streaming sites such as Last.fm, Pandora, and Grooveshark? (Rhetorical question)

Spotify, you have opened my bright eyes. To all those who tried to tell me, I now know the error of my ways. Every music site I had used before seemed to offer less than jake.

Just as sure as I grab my black keys, put on my morning jacket, and head to my cars every Thursday during the long winters, I’ll be sure to keep using Spotify.

(Sorry about that. Some of them were good, some of  them were reaching, and some of them seem to work too well making them seem unnoticeable.)


My wife believes I'm obsessed with Spotify. She's not far off in assuming that. We recently had a discussion about our favorite movies. I said to her, "Ok, top five favorite movies, go." 

I said top five simply because I know that lurking somewhere in both of our top five movie lists is High Fidelity. 
(This story has a point and it will all come together I promise...Also...not an intentional use of a Beatles song title.)

So I got to thinking I make some awfully long playlists that could play for days, sometimes even weeks. What if I had to pick just top five songs for all these playlists?

This just gave me an opportunity to create playlists for almost anything. 
Top five songs about breakfast.
Top five songs about pets
Top five songs for the DMV line.
Top five songs for breaking and entering

I'm not doing it because I think I've got some outstanding taste in music either. I mean just yesterday I listened to several offspring albums, post Americana. So, yeah. 
I do know I'm going to have fun doing it. 
If you're interested in seeing what I put on the list you can subscribe to my playlists once I publish them. Unless of course you're not using Spotify. Then you can't, and you'll just have to take my word on the part where I tell you about how much fun it's going to be.
 
 
This is embarrassing... So, I get to Soldier Field after what seems like hours of driving around and feeling like the biggest ass in the world asking people how I get to the gate ten entrance of of the field. Turns out I was at the wrong entrance and I actually needed to reroute myself and enter the field from a completely different area. No problem. How hard could that be?
A continuous  loop  started at the end of an off ramp from Lake Shore Drive. This loop allowed vehicles to turn left onto a road that lead to a multitude of different entrances, parking lots and garages designed for specific attractions. Soldier Field, The Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium and The Shed Aquarium were all accessible from the road I was on.
I had to stop, holding up the only lane of traffic available for the looping stretch of almost and entire mile, to ask for directions more than a dozen times. 
Just because someone has a vest that says Chicago police department and a flashlight with an orange plastic attachment on it you should never assume they know anything short of their own name and occupation.
I know a few people employed by the Chicago Police and based on their intelligence and professional demeanor I would have previously thought the Chicago PD was only hiring people of a higher caliber. (That wasn't supposed to be a gun joke, but it kind of turned into one)
After encountering the majority of the officers directing traffic at Soldier Field that day, I would have to say my theory has been thrown directly out the window. 
If you are hired to work at a function in a city your presumably live and work in on a daily basis, in an area you've been to probably more than once. I would expect a better response than, I don't know how to get there.
I'd like to say, I am not a sports fanatic, by any stretch of the imagination, but upon working for the Northwest Herald I've taken a shine to shooting sports, particularly football. I have a lot of fun while I'm doing it and I almost always have some great footage to show for it. I'd never been to Soldier Field though and I've certainly never had to drive through that much of Chicago without specific directions on how to reach my destination.
One person told me, "Yeah just go down Indiana until you hit Roosevelt then go right on Lake Shore Drive and do that part where you go underneath. It should be around there."
Great! Why don't I keep driving down Lake Shore Drive and do the part where I veer off the road into Lake Michigan. That should get me just about as far as these directions you've given me.
This wasn't even the worst part of the journey.
I have finally found gate ten and the will call ticket window. Everyone kept telling me I had to find Will Call media. Even the people at will call had no idea what this was, nor did they have any idea where my media pass was supposed to be located. 
"Follow this guy to Gate 2, That's where you gotta go." Said the balding man with the grey mustache behind the will call window.
Excellent. I'll finally make some progress, right? Wrong.
Two young ladies stations at plastic folding tables were waiting for me as I approached Gate 2.
"Hi, I'm Jason Pfrommer with the DeKalb chronicle and Shaw Media. I'm here to cover the game."
The girls look at me, completely dumbfounded by the words spewing from my mouth. I might as well have spoken Mandarin. It would have warranted the same reactions. 
"Ummm... Yeah, Well what's yer last name." As she clearly stares at the press pass hanging around my neck. My first and last name boldly stamped into the rectangular card within its plastic sheath. 
"From-er. But it's spelled with a PF at the beginning."
"Umm... I, like, don't see it. Do you think maybe it's, like, under 'F', or something."
"Yeah, sure, check it. That's a possibility."
"Yeah, I don't, like, have a 'P' or and 'F' You're gonna have to go to gate 14 I think they might have the press passes."
Oh, you've got an 'F' alright, lady... 7 letters, 2 words...
So I go to Gate 14 and ask for my media pass. to a person I've already spoken with. So, I know I'm going to get absolutely no where with the conversation that's about to unfold but I initiate it anyway.
"Hey. The girls at window two said you guys should have my media pass. I was just wondering if I could get that."
"Oh, yeah, there were some people here earlier, but I mean, they're not here now..."
Ok, well that makes absolutely no sense.
"So, you can't call your boss, or someone, and ask where the passes are."
"Naw. Like I said, they were here earlier and now they're not."
"So they left for the day?"
"No. they're probably around here somewhere."
This was the most frustrating conversation I've ever had with a human being. I've had conversations with children who will repeat, "but why?" to everything you say. These conversations were no where near as infuriating as the one I was having with this grown man.
Mind you that was my second encounter with this man. The first one went a little something like this.
Now that no one is reading my extremely long post I'll just go ahead and tell you I didn't get in. Almost a hundred dollars and a whole entire day wasted. Because some incompetent employee at Soldier Field told my supervisor not to worry, they'd have a pass for Jason Pfrommer. 
You lied Soldier Field. Rest easy knowing you successfully kept a young journalist from fulfilling something he was really looking forward to. Next time you slip up you better hope it isn't a kid from the Make a Wish Foundation. 
 
 
At the end of this week Northern Illinois University will lose an incredible asset and long term confidant of its newspaper. Jim Killam, advisor of the Northern Star, will be taking his leave and moving on to bigger things.

Not everyone who reads this will understand where I’m coming from but I’m sure those of you who know Jim will agree with me.

My time at NIU and the Northern Star was a drop in the bucket when you stack it up against its history and the history of those who have come and gone. I’m sure any and all work I have done will long be forgotten by the start of next semester.

I can say, with great confidence, this doesn’t bother me. Leaving my mark at the star was not something I really wanted to achieve. Rather, I wanted it to leave its mark on me. I didn't know it at the time but my wish came true the first day I walked through those doors at orientation and saw the tall thin man standing in front of the news room. He preached the importance of truth and going the extra mile to be the best journalist you possibly could be. He told us why we needed to push ourselves and question everything if we didn't want to end up becoming a spoon fed publication.

He didn’t discourage the employees of the Northern Star from asking tough questions, digging deeper into stories to find the truth behind them, even if that truth was not the popular view. 

I’ve never worked for another school newspaper, so I’m not sure how it works anywhere else, but I know Jim would fight, tooth and nail, for what he believed in. I knew what he believed in was the Star and its employees.

I came to NIU with no direction. I had no idea what I wanted to accomplish or learn while I was there.  I took a journalism class and thought to myself, this seems like fun. I could do this. From there I pursued a job working for the school paper. From that day forward I knew I had a new passion. I can say that this was due largely to the fact that I had someone better than a professor in the classroom. I had Jim Killam.

His inspiration, harsh yet understandable critiques, convictions and general sunny attitude taught me a number of things: Hold people in a position of power accountable for both the good and bad things they do. Don’t always take things at face value; look deeper to find the underlying truth or unseen angle. If you mess up people are not going to let you forget it: so you better be ready to step up, deal with it and not let it bring you down too much. News can be very depressing; don’t let it turn you bitter or destroy your faith and hope. We are nothing without faith and hope.

I could trade my time at the star for any number of journalism classes and I’d never learn as much as I did from Jim Killam about being a real journalist.

Jim, I don’t think I can repay the debt I owe you. Thank you for all of the wisdom and knowledge you’ve granted.

 
 
If you've returned seeking sympathetic tales of old ladies, rebellious youths and holiday mascots, you'll find none of that here today. No. Today, I turn my attention to a new topic. A topic which has yet to be tackled by my blog.
Many a time I found myself revisiting these topics through We're in Dekalb, How are You? I am speaking, of course, about politics.
I'd like to say I play the field of politics in a pretty objective way. I approach politics the same way I approach an algebra exam trying to focus on only the facts. In algebra there is a clear reason for everything that happens. It's not like an English essay when you might be able to play upon the subjective elements to come out on top. It's important to look at all the facts. X always equals something and there's always a logical way to figure out X's value.
Right now there is a clear left and right decision when it comes to the upcoming presidential elections. Among the facts of the left and right sits a topic that is becoming increasingly heated along the campaign trail. 
Should same sex marriages be legal?
Well, we were recently informed of where the current president, Barack Obama, stands on the issue. The only thing confusing about the release of his stance is the timing in witch the information was released.
All of the sudden we have a republican candidate who believes same sex marriages are abhorrent and should be abolished. Let's completely disregard Willard's (Mit Romney's) bigotry and lackluster ideologies, that essentially contained a Jim Crow thought process, and focus on something a little less appalling but equally callow. Romney didn't even have the balls to talk about his ideals in a place where he might be met with some resistance. Instead, he addressed a room full of catholic republicans about his views on gay marriage.

Dear Willard,
Really!? Go to a public college and say that shit. Let's see how long you last on that stage before the majority of your audience becomes so frenzied they actually begin to throw fresh organic produce at you. If you're going to run a country stop standing in a flock of your own sheep and have the courage to speak to everyone.

Dear Obama,
Nice job releasing your stance on gay marriage when you knew it would help you the most. If it was something you really believed in why wouldn't you have come out earlier and just said it. Did it really take you four years in presidency to decide if you were for or against gay marriage? Like, this was the first time you'd ever heard of it and needed to sit on it for a little while.
(Yes, I know Obama was a known supporter of civil unions and the like. I'm speaking strictly of gay marriages.)  

But seriously, if your convictions are that strong and you want to be the president of the United States, have the courage to speak out about your beliefs wherever and whenever you can even if you're met with protest. 
Show a little resolve, backbone, and resilience. Maybe more people will take you seriously.
This goes for both candidates.

I'm not going to argue my view on the matter. I believe people should be allowed to love whoever they want. I love my fiance and if someone told me I couldn't marry her, I'd be pissed.
 
 
I was in line at Aldi waiting to check out. I only had a handful of items, which I set down on the conveyor belt as quickly as possible. An older woman, pushing a cart, slowly crept up behind me. I wasn't sure what she was attempting to accomplish, or even if she realized she was doing, but her cart was almost on my heels. I inched forward, making sure I kept an acceptable distance between myself and the woman in front of me. The cart inched even closer to me. At this point I was all but pressed up against the older woman's shopping cart. 
Many thoughts raced through my head. Should I say something? Maybe if I just turn around and give her a quick but menacing glare. I didn't know what to do and I was starting to panic. I didn't want to be pressed between a shopping cart and the upset woman realizing her debit card isn't working.
I did what I knew I was going to do all along; I turned and offered to help the woman place her groceries on the conveyor belt. The gap between me and her cart was minuscule but there was no way this woman would be able to maneuver around her cart to remove its contents. 
She thanked me and I placed a divider between her goods and my own before emptying the cart.  
She was very kind and appreciative of my services. By the time she finished thanking me it was my turn to make my purchase. I exchange pleasantries with the cashier and pay for my items. 
Those of you aware of how Aldi stores work are familiar with the ever-present shopping cart that stays next to the cashier. In an unfortunate turn of events there was no cart when my checkout time came. 
I fumbled to open my reusable shopping bag as the cashier precariously stacked my items at the waning edge of the checkout line, like some carnival barker demonstrating how easy her game was. You too can be a winner as long as you don't spill this gallon of milk, break these eggs or smash this bread. Dammit.
How did she so elegantly organize my items in a vertical fashion? I can't even fit them in this bag without worrying I'm going to smash or break something, or worse yet, the bag itself will give way and leave my groceries a mess on the floor.
The sweet old woman was about to check out as I scrambled to remove my items, making way for her own.
It was about this time I heard the woman begin to speak to the cashier in a tone that seemed unattainable for a woman of her stature.  She began to howl and scream about being charged fifteen cents more for an item she purchased last week. Te cashier explained she'd be happy to refund her. The woman was either not hearing her or not satisfied with this outcome because she began to produce a receipt.
Waiving it violently in the face of the woman behind the register she made wild accusations about being stolen from.
What could I say or do at this point? The inconsolable woman ranted on. The outcome of the dispute was left to my imagination. I gathered my things, haphazardly stuffed my belongings into the bag and exited the store. 
 
 
I started writing about this the night it happened. I got a little sidetracked when I came home and never had a chance to finish.

A few nights ago I headed to the grocery store to purchase an obscene amount of blackberries. They were only a dollar a carton. For those of you unfamiliar with produce, it is nearly impossible to find them for such a minuscule amount.
I saw a car parked in the spot reserved for expecting mothers. I then realized the spot immediately next to it was opened. 
I knew it was a spot reserved specifically for one demographic because of its strategically placed sign. Printed clearly upon the sign was a picture of a stork in mid-flight carrying an androgynous infant balanced within a bundle of swaddling that hung precariously from the bird's beak.  Apart from the fabled image of baby delivery, were a series of letters that formed a sentence any person with the ability to read the English language would have been able to decipher. "This Spot Reserved For Expecting Mothers." 
That's pretty easy to understand. I mean, it wasn't a spot for someone with a handy cap. I don't believe there would be any kind of fines involved if the police were to discover someone less than pregnant had been occupying the parking spot.
"What luck!" I thought, as I realized the spot directly next to the vehicle of the supposed pregnant person was available.  To my dismay I quickly became aware this person was not only careless with their birth control, but also careless with the resting position of their automobile. The car had been strategically placed in two parking spots with complete disregard for the guidelines so thoughtfully painted about the blacktop.
I wasn't entirely upset about the fact I had to walk a little bit further, more so that the person carrying another living being inside of them was being so careless.
I turned my keys and pulled them out of my ignition. The expecting mother's car was half a parking spot to my left. Exiting my vehicle I thought about how much I wanted to taste the literal succulent fruit of my labor. 
My joyous thoughts were interrupted as I noticed the owner of the vehicle parked in a spot promised to some presently pregnant person.
A young man, no more than eighteen, approached the vehicle, triumphantly holding a twelve pack of Pepsi Throw Back.  My mind immediately moved in two separate directions. In one direction my mind thought, "What? Pepsi Throw Back? No way!" In the other direction my mind thought, "Why, he's not a woman at all. He's just some punk trying to bend the rules." There were no women around him, in his car or following close behind him.
I stopped and watched as he walked to his car and I couldn't help myself. I shouted at the youth, "Oh my god, you're pregnant? Is it going to be a boy or girl?"  
I half expected him to shamefully slink into the driver seat of his poorly placed vehicle and think about his actions as he drove home with this weighing heavily upon his conscious. Instead I was met with, what I could only assume, was this young man's attempt at a witty remark. 
He looked at me for a second after opening his car door, then he yelled back, "You're fucking pregnant, douche!"
A truly impressive display of wit. His zygote must be very proud.
Needless to say, my blackberries were delicious.