Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Me and my trusty old bike are so incredibly happy of late to be spending so many of our mornings, afternoons and evenings gliding along the lakefront path. We’re happy to share it with mom’s (or are they Gold Coast nannies?) and their strollers, walkers, joggers (some of their expressions are priceless!), rollerbladers, police cars, tourists (in those damn bike “cars” they rent from somewhere at Navy Pier, where four people can peddle at once and always get me to imagining that they must be fun for roughly 10 minutes or so before over 75% of the renters think, “Gee, this isn’t as fun as I imagined it would be”), vendors, lollygaggers, sunbathers, etc. Cathy’s heard it’s the most used bike path in the US. I doubt Burnhamwas thinking, “Bike paths, yes, we must have bike paths!” but sir, I bless your crazy ass audacity and grand success!

As I made my exit from the path this afternoon (there’s a pedestrian exit just past Foster ) a man was out walking his buddy, a fat ‘ol wiener dog that quivered out of some path lining underbrush- and I’ll tell you what, it was a Gary Larson-like scene of joyous proportions! We even share the lake front path with fat ‘ol wiener dogs.

It’s my knees that suck. Grrrr, knees. Where exactly did these bad knees come from? I thought this only happened to football players, you know? What did my last doctor call it? Sunburn of the knee? Of course there was a more formal name for it and whatever that was- it’s hampering my style! How am I ever going to be able to cut loose when that testosterone really hits and pace myself with all those Lance Armstrong bike short ‘n shirt wearin’ wannabees?

And look, I’ve positively got to keep riding my bike. It’s so great. This morning a nerdy woman (and I mean that in the most endearing and non-condescending of ways) passed by me with a smile and a hearty “Good morning!” Oh, if you could have seen how her legs were pumping! Like an extra in one of those old Keystone Cop shorts, moving at 16 frames per second. “Good morning!,” I called back. Thank you for being so kind and weird!

It’s the heady fusion of movement, sweat and those magical endorphins that cause my senses to burn like flares. It’s the Annie Dillard effect- where you’re overwhelmed by the poetic grandeur of minutia. The waddle of that wiener dog.

In other news, why didn’t anybody tell me just how good Modest Mouse could be? Kinda reminds me at times of XTC, the Pixies, Mercury Rev and Wilco run through the blender and nicely cracked in all the right places. Not bad at all.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

There Will Come Soft Rains

Or really angry ones! The past couple weeks of weather here in Chicago have been ferocious reminders of just how atmospherically volatile this time of year can be in the Midwest. Numerous tornado touchdowns, wind gusts of over 50 mph, hail (on Friday, chiclet-sized tidbits of hail battered my work window). The kind of volatile where one day it’s 55 with a cold north-eastern wind blowing across Lake Michigan and the next day it’s 85 and humid. I forgot about that humidity and its murkiness. And thunderstorms. We experienced one, maybe two a year in the Bay area and the next day everybody was talking about it, excitedly asking, "Hear that thunder last night?" These past two weeks have been all about thunder and lightning, the ensuing deluge that we’ve all agreed to call “buckets of rain,” the fallen tree limbs and twigs- the violent quickness of it all. We’ve enjoyed all of this tempestuousness and more over these past couple of weeks.

Weather aside, I plan on launching my Summer video project sometime today. Still not entirely sure what the end result is going to be, but I’m leaning toward making some kind of video essay. I’m hoping to explore a few things- community, home, nostalgia and, most importantly, Summer. All in roughly 30 to 45 minutes. It's all terribly hazy, but I'm excited nevertheless. Mostly I’m just looking for a way to have fun with a video camera and iMovie. Back in high school and early college we created a fairly hefty collection of goofy video skits. Our running joke was that someday we’d edit these together into something cleaner, less sprawling and more thematic then the unwieldy collage we then had. But we never did seeing as for a long time the only editing tools we had to work with would have been a couple VHS players. But now over a decade has passed and suddenly there’s this easy to use technology on our computer and it can make all these half-assed ideas I’ve harbored into something tangible. I like the idea of incorporating other media into this project too- clips of those goofy high school skits, for example, and old family super 8 footage, scanned photographs, interviews with family and friends. I don’t know, it’s pretty wide open right now and I’m a little giddy with the possibility. The trick with this sort of thing is to make sure and keep the reigns pulled tight so as to only do what I can realistically hope to accomplish. A big step in the right direction is to begin using the tripod we own to steady most of the shots.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Massachusetts Wedding Bells On My Birthday

It’s a great day. Not because it’s my birthday, though that’s undoubtedly cause for greatness (33 years old and all!) but because of what is taking place in Massachusetts today. There's no overstatement in saying that it's simply barbaric that it took this country until now (and it's still only a single state) to welcome the gay community into what is fundamentally an egalitarian institution. I was literally moved to tears this afternoon as I listened to couples exchanging their vows on NPR. It's about time.

When Cathy and I married a few years back, we made it abundantly clear just how much we were upset by the fact that we were entering into a club, one endowed with over 1200 special rights, that was egregiously exclusive, barring as it did an entire population of stable, loving people access to the instituion because of cruel and misguided prejudices.

There is obviously a long way to go and anti-gay marriage groups are highly organized, well funded and incredibly threatened by these events. They're working each day to smear the gay community as harbingers of the destruction of the family (hell, they can't bring children into the world, and surely even those children they are raising are worse off then children raised by all those hetero couples and their 50% divorce rates, right?)and man on dog couplings. They're mobilizing to pass amendments banning gay marriage in those states that haven't already passed such legislation and George Bush is tossing them red meat by calling for ammending the Constituion to ban it across the nation. Take that, fags! ("Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.")But according to a New York Times article in yesterday's paper, attempts to organize congregations against the threat of gay marriage has been met, for the most part, with indifference. Folks, it seems, are more concerned about finding or keeping their jobs, raising their kids, the increasingly grim situation in Iraq and simply putting food on the table instead of imagining the Sodom and Gomorrah of gay marriage. I hope this inertia only continues to build up steam!

In any case, let the wedding bells ring! Welcome to the club! There's plenty of room for all.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Almost Home

I’m looking forward to having more time to write and post very soon. As it stands, I’ve begun a new (old) job at Northwestern, moved into a new place and been busy with all the extra-curricular consuming activities being a new homeowner obligates one to.

We’re incredibly happy with where we are. Yesterday Cathy and I walked up to Clark Street to marvel at Taste of Heaven’s new and dangerously close location. We ended up at Charlie’s Ale House, deliriously happy to be enjoying a couple Bells Amber’s next to open windows and warm, soft breezes.

It’s good to be back.

The moving truck comes tomorrow!