Wednesday, July 30, 2014
July 29, 2014. My friend Rick is the director of Austin's Paul Green School of Rock, and also oversees the annual All-Star tour featuring the top performers from all the country's schools (of Rock). This means I get to see him and some fantastic shows from his students. The first Chicago show was today, and by the end of this week they will have played four more in Chicago, two of those at Lollapalooza.
July 27, 2014. I did one of the important things in a persons life - washed dishes. It's especially important when you cook yourself a delicious bunch of breakfast tacos, as I did. The mug in the sink came from my friend Jenny, whose birthday party I missed out on at the same time. I'm sorry, Jenny.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Saturday, July 19, 2014
July 19, 2014. I should have had a photo of Eamon the Demon on his nineteenth birthday, but visiting him wasn't in the cards for me this weekend. Having rejected all the other reasons for me to leave the house, I was alerted to a KISS concert live online by my friend Ted, who I played quite a few KISS songs with back in high school. Time was running out for making a daily photo, and I decided to set one up with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, the only members of the KISS I loved still in the band. I don't mind that others are in the band, and haven't minded since Eric Carr replaced Peter Criss in 1981. But something about seeing other people play the characters of original members creeps me out a little. I was struck by how I seemed to be simultaneously experiencing my youth with this band and these songs while seeing and hearing mistakes, and flabbier rock stars, and substitutes, and being less mystified by the rock and roll show, having become a musician myself (thanks to KISS, actually).
July 15, 2014. Just imagine what could happen in the sequel to The Hunter with open drawbridges and another fugitive taking a faster car up one of the towers at Marina City. Big ramps! I don't know who could replace Steve McQueen, though.
July 13, 2014. My birthday kicked off with brunch and the World Cup Final with a few friends, followed by an evening at the Flat Iron Bar with more friends and delicious cake and pie from my friend Marissa. Also, tacos. Don't forget the tacos. This, and most of the photos from that day were taken by Martin Martinez, who occasionally commandeered my camera (Thanks!).
July 12, 2014. Despite the rain, I made it to Tour De Fat with several friends for bike stuff and entertainment - and tacos and cupcakes - in the mud at Palmer Square. This granny dancing through the mudpit in front of the stage is helping to choose contestants for a dance contest, the winner of which left with a new bike.
Friday, July 11, 2014
July 11, 2014. At Jackson and Michigan again on my lunch break, I encountered the same brass quartet for the third day in a row, the second with this drummer. They've been killing it each time I heard them. The first day, not too far from Dorothy Robeson, the Tina Turner impersonator I posted the other day, they were tearing up "The Chicken," by Jaco Pastorius. The tuba player was doing a fine job with that bass line, no small feat. Yesterday, with the drummer, they were playing the Jackson 5's "Never Can Say Goodbye," when I first went by their corner, and "Spottieottiedopalicious" from Outkast a little later. I loved it, that being possibly my favorite Outkast song. Today, I think it got even better. I watched them play the JB's "Pass The Peas," at probably double the tempo. The drummer was grooving, the horns were tight, and the trumpet solo was thrilling.
July 10, 2014. As I usually do when the Fabulous Ladies of Fitness have a party, I went to their Kenny Loggins/Caddyshack themed night at Cole's Bar. Also there were my friends Travis and Seung-a, celebrating her birthday, which falls on the day before mine this weekend. For more fun photos of FLOF parties, go to their facebook page, or this flickr set, for a small selection of my photos of them.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
July 9, 2014. I walked over to the entrance to Taste of Chicago on my lunch break and found a group of excellent horn players on one side of Jackson Street, and an excellent Tina Turner impersonator on the other. "Tina" probably had the bigger crowd, but then she is Simply The Best.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
July 7, 2014. Mike Regan was the kind of friend you brag about, and he wasn't even a very close friend of mine. He seemed to do everything well, and it seemed effortless. He had talent and craft and skills that I marvel at. I first knew him as a chef who led a kitchen staffed with friends to an amazing Thanksgiving dinner just three months after I moved to Chicago. Seriously, I mean amazing, and that feat was repeated year after year for other holidays as well. He was a fantastic musician, who built several of the instruments on his band's stage (his drummer and decades-long friend Jason is speaking of him in the photo above), because he was also a highly skilled woodworker. That's the kind of stuff I suppose you tell other people about when trying to describe someone, but what made me proud to have him among my friends was being able to see what he meant to his friends. And that was apparent in life. I didn't feel a terribly different sentiment at his wake than I would have at a party the living Mike would have attended. There was far more talk about himself, and there were far more tears than should be at another party, but I don't think any of us felt differently when he was alive, and a great many of us will miss being able to see him again.
July 5, 2014. Bruno is the dog I watched over the July Fourth weekend. He lives with two cats, and I am watching two other cats for almost two weeks. Bruno likes long walks, tug-of-war, backrubs, biscuits, and the German language. He can sniff a single spot outside for longer than I can wait, and I'm a very patient man. Oh, he also lives with two people, but I didn't have to take care of them.
July 4, 2014. There were fireworks all around me as I sat on my balcony after nightfall on Independence Day. I still feel bad about passing up an invitation to spend the evening with very dear friends, but this is where I settled, for the most part. I did some visiting, though, with two apartments full of animals that I was petsitting.
July 2, 2014. This Curbee was installed on a corner in Chicago next to the bike lane. While I'm all for bicycle amenities, and I do use it when there is space for me at that red light, I'm not sure it's significantly beneficial. Then again, my feet aren't clipped to my pedals, and I can easily get my feet on the ground with my bike's height - something not as easily done with a lot of bikes. I do wonder if it has a tendency to keep cyclists stopped at the red light, rather than wobbling in a track stand until they see a hint of space between oncoming cars. That would be a benefit, but it would only apply to two bikes at a time, where I regularly find myself sitting with a pack of six or more.
July 1, 2014. The US played Belgium in the first knockout round of the World Cup, and someone saw fit to drape many of the sculptures in this park with red, blue, and silver star-spangled tinsel. One grumpy jerk took exception and had to talk to a few people about it, including us. He pulled two of them off and threw them angrily at the ground. I hope he stubbed his toe on a curb shortly after.
June 29, 2014. Chicago's Pride Parade hit the calendar again, and it was a spectacle as usual. The way I felt the sun beating on me, I expected to be bright red and in considerable pain, but my sunscreen did the job and kept me from burning. Afterwards, I cooled down in a nearby pub and watched Costa Rica and Greece battle through an elimination game in the World Cup that went to a shootout won by Los Ticos.
June 28, 2014. Treat of the weekend was a visit from the Vibrolas, probably the most rocking band in Kentucky. My lame ass fell asleep at my desk Friday (neckache!) and missed them in Chicago, but I rode to Waukegan with them Saturday to see them level the Burgundy Room after Modern Advances and Fastplants battered it a bit. If you're moved by high-octane rock and roll, listen to some Vibrolas NOW.
June 27, 2014. Many of us, especially those who work somewhere centered around food or drink, have customers we see nearly every day. One of ours is Terry, the mayor of our establishment. He's part of the family at work, and it's a strange day when he doesn't show up.
Monday, July 7, 2014
June 26, 2014. The United States Men's National Team played Germany at the 2014 World Cup, and I had to work, so I didn't get the chance to blow off watching the game in Grant Park. Of course, I also couldn't watch the game at all. On my lunch break, I still found several fans out on the street.
June 24, 2014. Dearborn Street's bridge over the Chicago River was scheduled to be raised for a week for continuing work on the Chicago Riverwalk. This made bicycle commuting more challenging, since Dearborn has a two-way bike path. State Street turned out to be my preferred route.
June 23, 2014. Since I was still housesitting, the Lakefront wasn't too far out of the way for my trip home, so I rode from Monroe Harbor up to North Avenue Beach. From the pier at North Avenue Beach, I saw this guy on a standup paddleboard paddling around in the water east and south of the pier.
June 22, 2014. I considered going to Grant Park to watch the USA v Portugal game, but decided against it in the end. I did watch, though, and it was intense. The final run by Portugal, resulting in the tying goal, had me screaming at the TV even before Cristiano Ronaldo passed the ball into the box to become a goal. So here's my photo: Blue Line trains going each way between Division and Damen.
June 20, 2014. It would have been my tenth anniversary with my ex-wife, if we hadn't divorced last summer. So, of course, I began housesitting for her while she left town to visit her parents. Is that weird? I had a lovely weekend with our cat and the World Cup.
June 19, 2014. The kitchen crew (including me behind the camera) hits Brando's Speakeasy in the South Loop after work. We witnessed some terrible karaoke, and maybe one decent karaoke singer. One group of businessmen bought $72 worth of Tito's vodka shots (plus who knows how many other rounds of drinks), and I walked in on the one girl who could sing in the bathroom. Somehow, she didn't think to lock the door, and her reaction indicated it wasn't intentional.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
June 18, 2014. Walking up Michigan Avenue on my lunch break, I found myself navigating crowds of senior citizens. They were coming from Symphony Center and loading onto buses from retirement homes. I've had this experience before, so I'm guessing the Chicago Symphony has daytime programs for seniors (and students perhaps), from time to time.
June 16, 2014. The first World Cup game for the US took place against Ghana, and there was a massive viewing party in Grant Park. These fans are on their way there, and I'm on my way past the park to meet Shereen on the bike trail. We watched the game at her house, but I'm sure it was a blast in the park with the US winning 2-1.
June 12, 2014. I took a look at the construction site for the Chicago Riverwalk again, at the Clark Street Bridge which was raised for several days. This pipe, about seventy-two feet long, was part of the work being done beneath the bridge, necessitating its being raised.
June 11, 2014. On my lunch break, I discovered this sculpture being installed in Millennium Park. It is one of 1004 Portraits by Jaume Plensa. One thousand portraits of Chicagoans rotate on the faces of the Crown Fountain, while this and three other sculptures have been added in celebration of the tenth anniversary of Millennium Park.
June 10, 2014. There was a ridiculous rain storm going on when Tara and I left work, made worse when she discovered a nearly flat tire on her bike. There was a leak that was slow enough to barely show an appreciable loss of air seven and a half miles later, but that needed to be attended to nonetheless. We stopped at a bike shop on the way home (she lives a few blocks north of me), where they brought us what we needed near the door, thanks to the copious amounts of water pouring off of us, then proceeded to my house to put the new tube on her bike. The back stairwell provided cover from the rain and a safe place to drip, and I found the leak in her tube, close enough to the valve stem to not bother patching it. Tara rode her last half-mile in the rain and I went in to shower and get dry. The severity of the rain proved my backpack was not quite waterproof. I had film negatives that I had just picked up in it, but they seem to be well-salvaged with just a hint of water spots. This nude photo is one of the images from that roll of film.