Friday, February 27, 2009


I don't know what it is about today, but I woke up this morning feeling so incredibly over February in Chicago. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we had flash floods yesterday and now this morning everything was covered in a light dusting of snow? I also felt less excited about my bicycle purchase after learning that the high temperature today would only be 30 degrees. I have to think that any proper Chicagoan will find a way to leave Chicago for a bit of February. It is a terrible month and although I have found ways to try and remedy the situation, I think the only true solution is to getthehelloutta here and be reminded what a warm day feels like.

But, unfortunately, I am a student and committed both fiscally and with time to being such, so my obligations are here. This doesn't really allow me to take off right now... and when you work full time, Spring break doesn't have the same weight as it would when your role was/is just student. So, I'm just going to have to suck it up and deal, Midwestern style.

Last night I had dinner with Ryan at Pick Me Up and then watched Thursday night television. You know, a part of me wonders if 30 Rock is really that funny of a TV show or maybe there is just nothing else on TV that is funny these days. I can't really think of any truly funny shows and I although 30 Rock is one of my favorites sometimes I think I'm not really laughing at it while it happens but rather when I reenact it with coworkers after the fact. Ive always thought this about SNL as well. Never really funny to me when it is happening, but great for water cooler discussion.

This weekend will be the last of my un obligated weekends for quite sometime. The truth of the matter is that isn't even quite true, because I will be doing some writing for my class.. but I've taken a personal day on Monday to combat the winter blues and lessen the blow that is school work.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sticky Fingered Folks

I bought it.

I'm leery about buying a bicycle from the internet, but I've ready reviews about my generic bicycle and I think it will be just what I need. No more and no less. I've been debating about how to replace my stolen form of transportation and initially I thought I'd buy a junker as to not encourage the thieves to strike again. But, now I think I've determined some sort of compromise, choosing and relatively inexpensive generic bike with not much going on. Hopefully, I'm right and sticky fingered folks will keep their hands off my stuff.

We're having a real deal thunder storm right now and it is striking me as odd. Maybe because I can't remember the last time I heard thunder or maybe because it is February, but it's totally crash bamming and booming.

Yesterday at the gym, many people had ashes on their forehead. I realize it was Ash Wednesday and that is what Catholics do on Ash Wednesday, but it struck me as odd to see it at the gym.

Last night, Linsey and I watched Top Chef.
I wont disclose results here as I know some friends would be irritated with me, but I will say that I was somewhat disappointed with the results.

I'm not full of much news this week.
I'll keep quiet.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I'm so on the verge of making this mine:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On Blogging

I've been itching to delete my MySpace account for quite sometime. Jen called it the Detroit of the Internet which gave a chuckle. It does seem somewhat forgotten with regards to social networking... maybe not so for music, but it seems as though many have shifted their efforts to Facebook. As for me, I simply don't use it any longer as a means to keep up with people so I think it best I remove it from my arsenal of social networking. I also think from here on out whenever I add a site I should probably rid myself of another because it all becomes a little much when I think of that which I keep up with.

The reason I have been holding off on deleting the account is because I had about 4 years of blogging that it contained. Today I finally took the time to print it out (Thanks for the paper and ink, work!) so that I could keep the hard copy and delete the electronic. It looks a little something like this.

That's pretty intense! It is a lot of writing. In fact, I wrote my first blog in December of 2004. I joined MySpace just a few months prior to that. It is funny read some of the entries and realize how ridiculous I sound. It also reminds me the ways in which MySpace was a bit of a phenomenon when it first started, actually connecting a lot of people who didn't know each other in another capacity. But alas, I refuse to wax nostalgic about MySpace. So, I've got my hard copy and I'm saying goodbye!

Oh, and on my way out I was reminded about the time this picture popped up MySpace.

Sorry to do this to you again, Jen, but I think these are good reminders of how far we've come!

Monday, February 23, 2009


So, screw the Oscars... check out Michelle Obama!

It seems as though this woman could teach Hollywood a thing or two about a red carpet entrance. Well played, First Lady.

I did in fact watch the Oscars last night and I think my viewing group collectively agreed that it was a successful awards show. I don't know when I could last say that, but overall I thought the ideas were well conceived and I thought the flow worked nicely. It seemed like they employed a lot of ideas that many of us who watch award shows (not sure exactly why we do, but...) think (often times aloud) "why don't they just do it like this?" Basic ideas that make sense and make the presentation more personal, relatable, and meaningful. So, cheers to whoever put that show together and "oops!" to the guy who couldn't get that curtain opened on time and had the guy yell at them over live tv "OPEN IT!"

Oh, and I didn't disagree with any of the winners. I thought overall they were all deserving. This year I actually saw most of the films (save Frost/Nixon, Frozen River and The Visitor), so in my humble opinion, those who won, should have.

You know, in unrelated news, this morning I was internally lamenting my wait for the bus, which then turned into silently cursing that I have to ride the bus, which turned into an utter annoyance at the people talking next to me on the bus because I couldn't concentrate on my reading. But then, I had some moment of clarity amidst it all. I actually started to listen to their conversation more closely and I don't even really know how to describe these people or what they were saying other than that we couldn't have been more different. If you were to judge us by appearances, probably profession, socioeconomic position, origin etc. you would not place me in a similar space with these people but as I sat and listened to their conversation after my initial annoyance I heard them talking about things that I would talk about, just framed in a completely different way. After I realized this, I immediately became thankful that I share a bus with people like this... and frankly any and all people that ride the bus because otherwise I could see myself becoming so singularly caught up in my world that I would miss out on the wonderful variety that life affords. And not simply variety, but the realization that we are all the same yet so deliciously different. That sounds cheesy and I'm annoyed that I am not able to articulate this how I want to right now, but let me say it like this: I wouldn't have traded sitting next to that loud and annoying conversation this morning for any quieter and more comfortable ride.

I'm off for now.

Friday, February 20, 2009

As Performance

I'm feeling especially contemplative these days. It started pretty hardcore the other night when I was watching age 28 of the Up Series. It prompted a rather intense conversation at lunch yesterday about where we see ourselves currently and how that lines up with expectations of where we should be etc. I guess watching age 28 really rang especially true for me because I am nearly there and it seemed as though many of the participants in the series had made some sort of arrival at 28. As though they had reached some sort of self realization about purpose and identity. I guess this made me question where I am in the midst of that. I personally don't feel like I've arrived in anyway and I wonder why that may be. I think the only thing I can attest to is knowing myself better. Handling situations better because I know my capabilities better than I ever have before.

This too is confused by a recent discussion in class about self as performance .... which got me thinking that when we say things like "I'm more comfortable in my own skin." maybe we're saying "I'm getting better at performing as me." I don't know.

It is also February, and you know what happens in February. *Waah Waaaaaah*
It was a mere 14 degrees this morning and as I walked to the bus I just thought how eager I am for the tips of my fingers to not be cold any longer.

I'm working on a mix for my friend. It was her birthday the other day and there will be a gathering in her honor tonight, so I'm trying to put together some danceable tunes. I'm finding this a challenge. It seems maybe my acquisition of new music has slowed. I have a lot of old stuff which I enjoy listening too, but may be kind of boring on a mix.

So, I've started to try and do something that I know a number of you will roll your eyes at. I've started to use Twitter. The reason I would roll my eyes at me is because I've been lamenting how I thought Twitter was simply too much information and I'm not interested in sharing or taking in that extra info. My brain is overloaded with useless knowledge already. That being said, I'm going to give it a try and with maybe less interest in sharing more of myself/learning more about others, but rather as a tool for information sharing. I won't explain fully right now, but I've started a Twitter for our office and I wanted to explore it from a personal end a bit too. I may not actually maintain it, but we'll see.

I'm off to Crust tonight, and quite looking forward to it. Let's hope the 6" of snow they say is coming our way, decides to head elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Because Everyone's Mom is on Facebook

As I'm sure many of you have heard me lament, Facebook has reached an all new level of social awkwardness for me. It feels like a social hierarchy has somehow been broken and I'm willingly yet reluctantly participating in it.

So, along this theme you know everyone (if you're on Facebook) was doing this 25 "random" things about themselves, which I didn't do... but now I've given in. I'm going to buck the system though. I'm going to post them on my blog rather than Facebook. I also have to say that this was kind of an interesting exercise in self reflection.

1. Each morning I get up, turn on NPR, start my coffee and take a shower. This really never varies.

2. Speaking of coffee, it sits right up there at the top of my favorite things in the world. The thing about coffee is that for me it goes so much deeper than taste, and more into ritual. A cup of coffee to start the day or a cup of coffee for an afternoon break. And then, there is the after dinner cup. Love.

3. "Thank you" is huge with me.

4. I have a hard time buying jeans that are the right size because when I was young my mother used to preach that it was best to buy one size up because you never know what will happen. Subsequently, I think this is part of a bigger fat kid complex that I deal with.

5. I moved to Chicago thinking that I would live here a year or two. That was five years ago.

6. My laugh is absolutely ridiculous. It is high pitched and my body typically contorts. Oddly enough, I don't feel embarrassed about this. It seems like appropriate ridiculousness.

7. I often regret my inability to engage in the moment. I'm usually spending time being afraid I'm wasting the moment and planning for the future. As I get older, I do get better about this.

8. This is my fifth year of vegetarianism and I count it as one of my better life decisions. I'm not married to it as an identity but I really can't imagine eating meat… but who knows. I pretty much love everything about being a vegetarian, accept when I have to explain it at dinner.

9. I'm only on number 9 and I'm afraid that this whole thing is rather narcissistic.

10. I've somehow managed to keep friends that represent each different segment of my life. Early childhood to now and I am often reminded that it is rare and something I am thankful for.

11. I guess further on this theme, I have friends that are in different corners of the country and I often feel frustrated that I can't hop on a plane more freely to visit them. It seemed about a year ago that a large chunk of friends up and moved all at once. This is how life works and is something I tried to expect, but you can't replace those relationships.

12. Sometimes I can't stop relating everything to everything. For instance, if I'm reading a book it will invade every conversation. I think this is probably a bit annoying for those who spend any sort of significant time with me.

13. I have a terrible time watching movies at home. I typically fall asleep even though I want nothing more than to stay awake. This is one of the ways in which I know I am my parents' son.

14. I usually try to do too many things at once.

15. Number 14 makes me think that I've turned into exactly what my Father warned me he had become: a Jack of all trades and a master of none. I think I might be ok with that, though.

16. I'd like to be a bit more of a foodie.

17. That being said, I've begun to try and cook more as I think that process and ceremony is pretty special as well. I'm not that good at it, but I'm committing to keep trying.

18. I'm glad for the art of critical thinking.

19. I think in some ways I'm the ultimate consumer. I don't mean this with regards necessarily buying but I often feel obsessed with consuming some sort of media or information. To what end? I don't know.

20. I've had almost everything you could name stolen from me and I'm totally ok with that.

21. I take that back. I want the second bike that was stolen from me back. (and maybe that first laptop)

22. A mix CD is often part of my getting to know you process.

23. I broke my nose when I was 4, while running in a sprinkler with my eyes closed. I ran into a kid who was shorter than me.

24. I would like to convince everyone I know to dance and sing. I'm pretty sure that nothing feels better than doing one or both of these thing unabashedly and if you don't let yourself go there, you're missing out.

25. Ok, I think that is enough about me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Get up!

I've been using a French Press the last couple of days. I bought it on Sunday rather than a replacement carafe because I thought even if and when I do buy a new pot, it'll be nice to have a french press to switch it up a bit. I quite like the taste, but I think the process of making the coffee and cleaning up afterward may be a bit more cumbersome.

Last night after class I made my way home to do some late night cooking. I'm finding I have such limited time these days that I really have to plan ahead, so given all my delicious purchases on Saturday I wanted to make myself some lunch for the week.

So, At 10pm I got down to cooking two meals. One was a fake lamb dish with brown rice, red peppers, and snap peas. Nothing fancy, but all good tastes. I also made huge bowl of pasta salad because I think it is something that holds up well over a few days. The salad has flax seed pasta, green beans, snap peas, cucumbers, red and green pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and some Parmesan cheese. Also, nothing fancy, but fresh and crunchy and delicious. I'm looking forward to eating at lunch.

Upon everyone's recommendation I've begun to watch the "Up Series." I've only made it through two the of DVDs and it is blowing my mind. I keep thinking about the ways in which these people's lives may turn out and then I can't help but wonder the ways in which my life might look documented in this way. I recommend spending some time with these DVDs if you haven't already.

I have to go run errands.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I've got a cold coming on.
I can feel it.
I didn't sleep well and then this morning I began to feel it in my throat.
Now it is in my eyes and I feel generally tired and sickly, so I imagine I will have a full fledged cold in a day or two.


Let's assume otherwise, because I don't feel in the mood for a cold.

Ryan and I made our way to the Asian supermarket this weekend where I picked up some more of the semi magical faux ham that Robin introduced me to. It really blows my mind and I know that people who aren't vegetarian like to make fun of vegetarians for eating things that are supposed to taste like meat, but I don't actually care. I don't care, because this stuff tastes awesome and it allows me a flavor without ingesting all the junk that comes along with eating meat. Anyway, that rant aside, I also picked up a number of other delicious ingrediants, mostly Vietnamese and I'm nothing but excited to cook with them. I already made myself a delicious soup last night.

Actually, before we made our way over to the market we enjoyed one dinner at what I think may be one of my favorite restuarants, Tank Noodle. It is incredible and for some reason on Saturday evening the combination of noodles and vegetables and broth... well, it all just hit the spot. I'm getting all hot and bothered just thinking about it right now. Follow it up with a bubble tea and it is just one helluva meal.

I'm well into my Anne Lamott book and I'm realizing I already read it, but I don't mind. I'll read it again. I'd like to think that if I were to synthesize some of my thoughts on faith more clearly they would come out like hers.

I have one final abbreviated story/confession to end my my post today.
Last night, I deleted my friend's DVR.
The truth is, I didn't do it. The DVR fritzed out and I had no choice but to take action that resulted in deleting all the saved programs and I'm feeling monumentally guilty about it.
The funny part is, that when I tell people this they all seem to say something like "Well, Steve was able to recover Giles and Mimi for Miranda..." and I have no choice but to respond that these shows are in fact deleted. Gone. Poof! And although I can imagine worse offenses and I don't know how much responsibility actually situates itself with me, but but but I'M SORRY, LINSEY.


Friday, February 13, 2009


I don't think I've mentioned here yet that my carafe to my coffee pot is broken. I don't even know exactly how it happened but I imagine it had to do with me being careless with the dishes in my sink. This is one of those things where I feel caught in the middle of investment and immediate purchase. What I'm saying is, that I have a nice coffee pot that was given to me as a gift and I know the replacement carafe will not be cheap. Therefore, it seems like I don't even want to look into ordering a new one... but if I don't it will only be a matter of weeks before I have spent just as much on buying coffee shop coffee.

I hate foresight.

It is actually Friday today. I'm feeling good about that.
I want to do some catching up this weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cheeky Monkey

Some press photog is quite the cheeky monkey.

I keep finding myself a day ahead all week. I was telling my coworkers I was expecting to watch 30 Rock last night, only to realize it was Wednesday ant then even worse I was walking to lunch expecting to talk about 30 Rock with all of them only to remember again that it hadn't actually aired.

So, today is Thursday and I'm wishing it were Friday but apparently it isn't.

I don't have much else to add at the moment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To accommodate a shift

It would be easy to be down today. I can kind of feel it in the cold and rainy February air, a kind of begging for a come down after the last few days of sun and warmth. Personally, I am also just very tired. The last two days were 9 to 9 days and then last night I couldn't exactly sleep, doing a bit of wrestling with the ways in which life is complicated. Those kind of nights frustrate me because it would seem I could spend daytime hours thinking through that sort of stuff, but for some reason it creeps in at night until it finally wears you out.

But today I'm choosing to keep my head high and get my job(s) done.

I've finally sent along my taxes, hoping that this year wont come along with the hefty price tag that other years have. This is one of the ways in which I don't love being a for contract musician. This makes my money making much more complicated than many of yours.

In two hours I will register for my next quarter of classes. This too, makes me nervous because I fear it will all be a bit more than I can handle... this Spring. It seems as though the date of my parents 50th anniversary celebration is in flux and given the tight set of dates that I'm already keeping, along with class and jobs, I don't know exactly how I can accommodate a shift. But, I will. I'd do anything to celebrate this for/with them.

Tonight is my night without obligations so I will attempt to make my way back to the gym.
I was doing so well last week.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Two posts, One day

I've been on a bit of a music kick lately, and I thought I'd share. There seems to be a lot of neo soul/funk stuff making its way into the audiosphere and I have to say that it tickles my fancy a bit. I would say it was a neo-soul movement, but that happened a few years back when the likes of D'Angelo, Anthony Hamilton, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill etc were in their hayday. This stuff has a bit more retro vibe. Think throw back quality. Less r&b/hip hop and more doo wop/funk.

Here are a few examples that have been making their way through my iTunes lately.

Janelle Monae

How cute is she? Seriously, and it only gets better when you see her dance!

Take a listen here:

or download: Sincerely Jane

Next up we have my boy Raphael Saadiq. I'd known about Raphael for a while, but I hadn't given him ample time until recently. He is a former member of Toni Tony Tone. I think his album The Way I See It was one of the best of the year.

Take a listen here:

or download here: Big Easy

So then in a game of six degrees of separation, I give you a familiar name in Q-tip. This year, Q-tip (formerly of a Tribe Called Quest) released his album The Renaissance which employed the talents of such previously mentioned artists as D'Angelo, Raphael Saadiq and the odd choice of Nora Jones... which reminds me of that track she did with Andre 3000 which I quite liked. Anyway, The Rennaissance is a fantastic piece of uplifting hip hop. I don't know that I've heard a hip hop album in a while that I thought was quite so engaging.

Take a listen here:

or download here: We Fight We Love

Finally, I want to take us on a bit of a real throw back journey with my recent obsession, Andy Bey. I think this is one of the more unique and special voices I have come across... part Billie Holiday, part Barry White, part Antony and the Johnsons... all amazing. It seems that Andy recorded this kind of trippy psychedelic called Experience and Judgement which I kind of enjoy in its obvious Seventies ness, but he also recorded all of these jazz standards that I just can't stop gushing over.

I want to share two wonderful examples, so listen here:

and/or download here: Prelude to a Kiss or Aint Necessarily So

I think he is a gem.

Hopefully this will sugar coat your ears on this sunny afternoon. Yum.

Don't toy with me, you!

I'm actually shvitzing a little bit in my office, here. That is how warm it is today. A high of 64 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of February, I tell you. It's either a blessing or a curse because now we shall be tempted for Spring when it is not truly upon us. I think the Midwestern winter to be the most cruel of seasons, and today's heat wave is a perfect example.

Don't toy with me, you!

I gotta tell you that there is a downside to a big melt like today. Now although I no longer have to look at all the dog urine lining the snow banks of my sidewalk, what lies under those snow banks is now revealed and it is typically garbage and dead leaves. I think this is one of the more unpleasant parts of being in a city this time of year. In the country, we just had to deal with mud. I was ok with that.

It also reminds me that I don't have a bicycle. I with I could do something about that.

I've been a bit absent from blogging for a few days. I don't have a particular out of the ordinary reason other than that I've been busy. Yesterday was actually a day of notable accomplishments, getting into work and getting things done. I devised the appropriate lists and started checking them off in a quick like fashion. It felt good, really. By the end of the day my email in box was nearly empty and my desk pretty much paper free. I should follow this pattern more often, but then maybe days like that wouldn't feel so good?

I finished my book this weekend. I think Mary and I have decided that overall the book was a nice pat on the back for the ways in which we currently run our lives, but I also took away some new ideas about what qualities I might posses or be inclined to grow that would have more commonly perceived value than I feel they do now. It was interesting, because after finishing the book on Sunday I heard a piece on NPR yesterday morning about called The Tyranny of Dead Ideas which, I thought sounded fascinating and might serve as a good follow up.

I saw Coraline this weekend. In 3D! which, I have to say was a pretty great experience. I can't recall seeing a 3D movie since I was last at Disney World. Other than the little girl next to me continually saying "I want to go home!", I was able to suspend my usual disbelief with regards to animation. It was dark and fantastical and overall really enjoyable.

I also spent some time with Ryan and Linsey at the new coffee shop that has opened up down the street. We each did our respective readings, Ryan and I for class, Linsey for pleasure and I was just so glad to have this space to be in. It seems as though the neighborhood is finally taking off with a new Thai place having just opened just three blocks from my house (which tastes quite delish and brought out all the neighbors whom I hadn't seen) and now a perfectly typical coffee shop that harkened back to the Filter of old.

Tonight I embark back on my rehearsal journey with the William Ferris Chorale. It reminds that spring is a busy time, but I'm welcoming it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I want to be...

this guy.

I'm serious.

Breaking Patterns

Yesterday I took a health/mental health day. The truth of the matter is I've been feeling a bit run down and when you combine that with the overall winter blahs, it was best for me to just take a day and regroup.

Overall, it was a really nice day to myself. I did my best to not do things that I felt like I have to do because I am typically only afforded one true day off and week and that day I usually am required to dedicate to do things that I have to do... you know, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. But yesterday I did my best to not do these things and do things that were for me and not out of obligation.

My frustration today is that I don't necessarily feel renewed or restored. I felt great yesterday, but today I feel right back where I was.

I think the body learns patterns... well maybe the mind and the body learn patterns and my patterns are frustrating sometimes. I don't always know how to break them. This is why sometimes I try and make lists and check things off because if I can make sure I will complete certain tasks then maybe it can break certain patterns.

I watched No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain with the ladies last night. It was the Chicago episode and I was thinking about the ways in which I really am glad to be in this city. I sometimes grapple with living here for a number of reasons and I don't know that Chicago will always be my place of residence, but as I watched Anthony wax poetic about the city which I have occupied now for over five years I couldn't quite think of myself anywhere else. There is an embodiment and energy here of a lot of things I stand for... for better or worse and it was fun to hear someone, not from here, be able to articulate those things. I would argue that some of these notions are largely midwestern, but I think when you add the global ness of living in a metropolis it synthesizes something that is in my head.

In other completely unrelated news, I loathe biting into a "mealy" apple.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two more filled.

I had two more cavities filled yesterday. I convey this information with a sense of slight pride because the dentist told me we are nearing the end of my seemingly never ending dental work. I would be curious to know in total the number of hours and the many dollars I have logged through the last two and a half years of consistent dental visits. Yesterday alone cost me $164 which, when considering the over $600 price tag of my visit, it aint that much. But regardless, I'd rather be spending it on something else.

I did watch the Superbowl this weekend, maybe as another escape mechanism from completing school work, but I watched it and I enjoyed it. Especially the end. Those are moments in sports that I can relate to. I don't need to be invested in either team to know that there is a lot on the line and participants are planning and hoping to have their desired outcome. Wow. If I weren't me right now, I'd totally beat me up for just explaining it like that. But yea, it was a good game and I was in good company with good beer, veggie chili and delicious brownies.

I didn't end up taking in The Wrestler. It is as though that movie does not want me to see it. I can't seem to get there. Saturday ended up being a night of good company and delicious sushi at Mirai. Charlie and I ventured in even though I've always felt a bit intimidated by this place. I think in my head sushi should not be that expensive and I've always heard this place was. Turns out, not too bad. Honestly, the only thing bad about the evening was our service.

Today, I'm kinda not feelin' it. Yesterday every spare moment was commited to writing a paper and today I find myself not doing much and wishing I had a warm trip to look forward to, but alas all I can see is a big tax payment.