Chicago has long been dubbed "The City that Works," come Snowpocalypse or high water.
Our springs begin late with constant drizzle, melting in to hot summers that end too soon. The crisp bliss of fall is even more agonizingly brief, with winter nipping at November, setting its icy talons by Black Friday, and casting an inescapable grey pallor over the city from December through March.
Chicagoans then transition into their preferred roles.
With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, many Chicagoans are already preparing to travel home and spend time with their respective families, whether they be tucked away in the suburbs or scattered across the United States.
But for the significant number of college students and transplants who may not be able to afford a plane ticket home this year, or for those who have no family to go to, the holiday most commonly associated with food, football, and family can certainly extend to friends as well.
As a Texas transplant who has spent many holidays away from home while pursuing a film degree at Columbia College Chicago, I have had the pleasure of attending and hosting many "Friendsgivings" with similarily displaced twenty-somethings.
Some of my fondest memories have taken place around those makeshift holiday tables, as we laughed over the smorgasbord of dishes we had miraculously cooked without the use of a microwave and realized, perhaps for the first time, that adulthood wouldn't be so scary after all.
The titular frontman of the popular web series "Nostalgia Critic" is not the most warm and fuzzy of characters.
On the contrary, Chicago-based writer, comedian, and filmmaker Doug Walker plays the Critic as a bitter and maniacal loose cannon, reviewing mostly nostalgic films and television shows, sometimes old commercials and video games (often of the cheesy 80s and 90s variety, but recently contemporary works too) with frequent sarcasm and bursts of rage.
Yet Walker's satirical lashing of everything from "The Care Bears" to "Catwoman" is also the very basis of his appeal, and the reason why millions of Internet viewers keep tuning in to watch his videos week after week.
The episodes — available for endless hours of free viewing on That Guy with the Glasses.com — are consistently smart, fresh, and funny, with plenty of clips and expertly-edited footage to keep Walker's signature brand of comedic timing both delightfully nerdy and satisfyingly sharp.
Marvel Comics' newest superhero is more than just a symbol of diversity and a deviation from the white, male norm that Spiderman, Wolverine, Captain America, and countless other comic book heroes occupy.
Kamala Khan, a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City, also looks and sounds like a real person, albeit with extraordinary powers.
In a universe where most female superheroes are impossibly stacked and Barbie doll-proportioned (to draw ogling male eyes) Khan is a refreshing change of pace. She is pretty, yes, but rock-hard body "hotness" is not what defines her.
Chicago has long been a bastion for local music, thanks in large part to the independent labels, record stores, and pop-up venues that have provided support to artists every step of the way.
But what may be surprising is the sheer number of women behind that scene. Many of the organizations powering the local industry today — including several record labels, stores, and other businesses — are female-owned and operated.
Melissa Oglesby is the outreach director of Girls Rock! Chicago, a music camp for girls ages 8 to 16 that aims to foster creative expression, self-esteem, and community awareness through rock music. She says that not only are girls in the program empowered to find their voices, but they also have the opportunity to gain inspiration from female volunteers and mentors.
"It can be hard out there for girls," Oglesby adds, "But at Girls Rock, the volunteers really support each other.