Ah, Christmas movies.
When reflecting on a past relationship, one song can bring back a tidal wave of memories.
You go to a party with someone new; and just as his hand reaches for yours, the turntable clicks to a song that your first love used to play for you on lazy Sundays.
You have a record that you used to enjoy, but now resent; every chord reminds you of her.
You're picking up milk at the grocery store when you hear a song that you danced to at a wedding once, and that stab of recognition is enough to make your lungs gasp for air.
"You're the reason why I'll move to the city/You're why I'll need to leave." - Sharon Van Etten
When I met you, I was all of 18. I liked Coldplay and Damien Rice. You introduced me to Bob Dylan, Spoon, and Nick Drake. To the tune and timbre of your records, I fell in love.
We cooked pasta to Andrew Bird. We fell asleep to Iron & Wine. We sang in the car to The Avett Brothers.
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.