Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Overly Long Long Overdue Entry

I'm getting really terrible about remembering to update this..

It's been a busy week since last I wrote in this thing.

I used the Lake Front trail to commute in to class on Monday. On the train from the Morse stop to the Harrison stop of the CTA Red Line it's about 50 minutes. On a bike it was about the same. That and the view is far better than the hobo sleeping across the aisle. I get to watch the sunrise over the lake, see some nice parks, Buckingham Fountain, and I get exercise. Only downside is that I get to look like a goof using a bathroom in the library to change into my pants for work.

The Haslett Men's Ensemble, the nationally renowned choral ensemble that came from my High School, and a group that I am an alumni of, sang for the induction ceremony for the new president of the American Medical Association. His son, Evan Davis, is also an alum of the Ensemble, and so to accommodate him the group was opened up as an Alumni Performance. Eight gents (including myself) joined the Mens for their Tuesday night performance, including our staple, "A Hymn To God the Father" and another classic, "Viva Tutti" which translates (according to the sheet music) as "Hail to Women!"

The gig was at the Hilton right on Michigan Ave. in Chicago, which was a very convenient location for me (right across the street, south of Columbia). They put the men up in hotel rooms there. For meals they got to eat in the South wing of the Executive Suite.

After the performance, that Tuesday, we took a tour of the Hancock Building, followed by a quick desert at the Cheesecake Factory.

The next day the gents were given a brief tour of the touristy side of Chicago. I skipped out on Class and tutoring to join them. Sometimes life just gets in the way. The day began with a glorious breakfast again in the Executive Suite, and then a visit to Shedd's Aquarium. Ben Henri, the newest member of the Music Department Faculty at Haslett was telling me about working at Sea World, and we had a few laughs over the hilarity of the Dolphin shows. Then we were witness to the saddest looking Sea Lion I think we'd ever seen. It was half flopped onto the shore of its cage lying catatonic.

The next part of our venture was to Chicago's famous Navy Pier. I split away from most of the Men's guys and stuck close with a few of the Alumni, David Theis and Dan Voegler. There are only so many times you can see Navy Pier before it becomes really really boring. Needless to say, this time was well past one too many. For the last part of their day I hooked back up with Ben Henri's group on the Magnificent Mile. We spent the majority of the time in the Apple Store (no complaints there) playing the I Spy children's games.

Having people visit Chicago is by far my favorite thing about being here.

Thursday was back to the daily grind. Have to write another essay for my Prose Forms class. This one is about the history of my cabin with the slant that I'm interested in the story behind my inheritance. I need to call my Grandma and get the stories from her because she knows the story the most.

This week is the Taste of Chicago Festival. I went down there today and left fairly quickly because of the ridiculously large crowds. I will definitely be returning when my Mom comes down on Tuesday to spend some time with me.

Next weekend is the yearly bike trip from East Lansing, Michigan to West Branch, Michigan. It's about 150ish miles. We do it over three days. We ride from the Haslett Community Church to the Northwoods Boy Scout Reservation. We've been doing it now for about 4 years, and I haven't missed one yet.

Saw 1408 last night and it was good!

My mom sent me this article, and I laughed uproariously. Read it through and you will too...

And in other news my mentor, Mort Castle, has had his story "If You Take My Hand, My Son" performed by the AMFM Theater as part of their horror audio productions: "The Grist Mill." The production was awarded the Gold Ogle Award. The Award will be given at the CONvergence Convention in July. The Ogle was named for the actor who portrayed Frankenstein's Monster in the 1910 film Frankenstein.

Firefox has decided to stop acting up, which is nice. Now all I need to do is find my digital camera...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

After a brief hiatus I'm back to update!

Last Friday I attempted to do the 70ish mile ride from Rogers Park to the Wisconsin border. It was the first time that I'd been on a bike in a really long time, and needless to say I was feeling very ambitious. I woke up early, had a bowl of cereal and was on the bike. My route was to follow the twisting and weaving paths of Sheridan all the way north. It's a beautiful route on the Lake Michigan Circle Tour. For the most part of the way north it was a fairly smooth ride. Then, just after Highland Park in a small town called Lake Forest, I blew a flat and it all went to hell in a handbasket. I ended up walking about 4 miles back from Lake Forest (who doesn't have a bike shop or a walmart) and then wandered around Highland Park till I found a shop. I replaced the tire, and was inflating it and it exploded. The tire was defective and popped like a gunshot when I put air in it. The second tire was fine, and then I hauled it the whole way home. Defeated but tan.

Then just two days ago I decided to go for another ride. This time down the Lake Front bike trail in Chicago. All went fairly well, until about 8 miles into the 40 mile ride (a little more manageable), I blew another flat and was forced to wander around until I found another shop (that took 2 hours). Then I did the rest of the ride. It was very excellent. I plan on using that trail as much as I can to commute to class every day. Good for the heart. There's this great church I found on the south side that looks like some monastary out on the edge of the lake. I didn't get a picture, but when I go back on Friday I'll make sure to snag one.

I went and saw Day Watch. A Russian film based off the book of the same name. It's the second in a large horror series called the Night Watch. Seeing the second in a series is thoroughly confusing. Russian films are even more so. There was a preview for a documentary called The Gypsy Caravan. I'm really excited for this film because I've been really into a lot of gyspy and gypsy sounding music lately.

Today I spent the day up in Evanston with Tricia Bobeda. She was editor of the school paper, The Longboat, while I was a senior. She's now going to school at Northwestern for (you guessed it) Journalism. We wandered around an art fair, and saw a show by many of the students at Northwestern. It makes me miss live shows and musical theater, and wish that I'd remember to get to one more often.

I think I figured out the way to tell Arthur's story. I've been struggling with the method. It's a good story, I just don't know quite where to start. It came to me while listening to Styx on the train home from Evanston. Just to keep it slim, I'm thinking it's going to be in a conversation between him and his sister. It piggybacks off methods used in Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian (which is a book I'm currently listening to now) and the TV show "How I Met Your Mother.

I need to go start laundry so I have something to wear tomorrow...

Friday, June 15, 2007

So I've decided, after much frustrating and creative violation of nouns, that I am going to start posting my blog with my PC. I've never had a single issue with the blog going online. I'm able to access all the features easily, like hotlinks and pictures (which is vitally important for an interesting blog), and I've got this mediocre desktop sitting on my sitar case being completely unused right now. Save the occasional round of Stronghold Crusader.

I walked the nine miles home yesterday to see if I could do it. I knew I could, it was more of an excuse to see portions of the city that I don't usually see. Namely the coast north of Navy Pier. There are a lot of really nice parks and beaches and interesting trails lining the coast. It made for an enjoyable walk. I even got some sun! Rare, I know!

That got me to thinking. I have a bike sitting in the hallway of my apartment that I haven't used at all. And I'm always looking for an excuse to get into quieter areas, away from the city. So I've decided to start exploring what I can of the areas around Chicago. Tomorrow I am planning on riding the 35 miles north to the Illinois Wisconsin border and then back home. Just to say I've done it. I'll take pictures (I promise) and have hotlinks and the like in tomorrows entry.

Last issue of Justice was spectacular.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Chicago is the single most bipolar place I've ever been in. In the winter it blows terribly. It's always gray. People walk around with their heads down, angry at everything, at the world, at you. No one is polite. It's dismal. During the summer it's the opposite. People come out in droves to exercise. They are friendly and excitable. It's almost too much for one to handle.

I went for a walk today from the corner of Chicago and State, out to the Lake and then all the way back south to Michigan and 8th. As I did I had a hard time remembering what exactly it was that I disliked about the city. It was beautiful and warm. I especially love seeing when all the boats are out in the harbor. The countless jolly rogers blowing in the wind along side the different flags for other yacht clubs.

Today has been mostly a homeworking day. Lots of catching up from my weekend at home for Ben and Kate's wedding. I did about twenty pages today. 10 of which I feel good about. The rest is just schlock I'm turning in for a grade. After a while that tends to be what happens. You do things, if only for a grade.

I'm starting to get through chapter two of The Center, and except for some minor changes, which I'll make later, I'm feeling really positive about the direction its going. It drives my teachers nuts when they start asking questions about things in it, and I can only respond with "I don't know." I know it's kind of a cheap excuse to say that, but it's also nice being completely baggage free while writing. If it's going to happen, it going to happen, if it's supposed to happen some way, it will, and if not, oh well, something else will happen. He's about to get some major payback against the guy who killed his wife. I get the feeling that it's going to take a sacrifice to achieve it. And then maybe I can actually start getting him West.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm back in Chicago.

The wedding was an absolute blast. They always have a tendency to leave me with the same empty feeling I get after things like long book series, emotionally riveting movies, the morning after the final performance of a musical back in high school. It's all this build up and stress and worry and emotion. It all pays off. Then you're left going "ok, now what?" I'm in that phase right now. It's this desire to sustain that emotional high. To sustain that time with friends, and that bond.

The service was at The People's Church in East Lansing. The service was quick and very nice. Ben and Kate looked great. The reception was more than exceptional. The open bar definitely helped with that. Loosened me up, and got me on the dance floor (which is a very rare occurrence).

It was so much fun getting to see Sappy and Paul and Woody, Ben's three roommates who I made really tight bonds with during my two weeks in California. I'm really missing having them around. It helps to remind me why I am so jazzed about going out there in the first place.

The reception was only vegetarian food, and so afterwards Ben's roomies and I went to Applebees and got chicken fingers. We had a craving for the flesh of dead animals. The evening ended with us belting (terribly) along with Meatloaf, the song "I Would Do Anything For Love." It's things like that I feel like I'm missing in Chicago.

It's back to the daily grind on Monday. Tutoring and Class and Work. Nothing to really look forward to until after July. It makes for a really long month.

Wow this post got a little more depressing than what I meant it to be. I'll cut here and keep unpacking, and come back some time later this evening and try again.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

wedding was good.

I was in rare form and actually on the dancefloor tonight!

I'll compose something a little more thorough tomorrow on the train. I know, it's a cheap cop out of actually being thoughtful and reflective.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Just a quick pop in to say "hi!"


I just got home from Ben's bachelor party, where we all celebrated in a very Irish manner.

Tomorrow is more celebrations. Leading up to the ultimate Saturday celebration where we all get teary eyed as Ben walks down the aisle and then leaves his reception early to finally go get it on with Kate. ha ha. It's weird to think about.

Ben's roommates came in to town, and I've spent the past 24 hours hanging out and entertaining them. It makes me remember why I love California so much.

I promise there will be an in depth entry over this weekend's insanity when I hit the train to go home.

Until then.

Dinty out.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Just a quickie before class starts.

I had an extra hour to kill, so I went to the library (big surprise there). Figured I'd drop a quick update.

I got my baritone tuned up and jury rigged a really cheap connection to our stereo system in the apartment so I could get a basic idea of what this monster sounds like. It's beautiful. I need to talk to Forrest about what kind of Amp I should get it. And I need to ask Brandon about the effects, and about why they aren't working. It's probably a battery thing, but yeah. Definitely need to get it looked at. Either way, it sounds beautiful.

Managed to get the rider out of his situation. I let it sit for a couple days, and then it came to me while I'm at work. His dead wife started talking to him. And he's taking a quick detour south from his westward ride to kill the brother of the jerk who killed his family. I figure that'll toss another great battle scene in and then give me some leverage to put him westward.

This makes me really nervous. Thank god we are down to just a little more than a year left.

World War Hulk starts soon. Very jazzed for that.

Heading home to Ben and Katie's wedding this weekend. Pictures sure to follow.

Still dealing with sucky blogginess. It seems that this computer likes changing text into some Hindi dialect or whatnot. I really hope blogger manages to get this figured out.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The rider got himself in a bit of a situation tonight. He was leaving DC and got pulled over by the police. He knifed one in the back and is using him as a human shield. The other is crouching behind the open car door with a shotgun trained on him.

It's fun working with a character and having no direction or desire, other than that he has to go West. It gets a little nerve wracking when he gets into situations like this. The brain suddenly kicks on, and I have to figure out how to get him out so his story can keep going on. I could kill him, but that would end the story. I'm not quite at the end yet, so that option is something I want to avoid.

I love this snippet of dialog between two unknown characters (who will remain nameless because I know who one is, and not the other).

"I am free you say?"
"Yes. Go. The wolf is coming."
"I bet."

I dunno. maybe I'm being a little too self conscious and tooting my own horn, but that exchange gets me excited.

This is the first weekend in over a month that I haven't been driving somewhere or actually somewhere other than Chicago. It's kind of weird. I sat for the first time today in my new apartment, and I felt restless. I felt alone and restless. I wanted to go do something, but at the same token I was really lazy and didn't do anything. At least tomorrow I have to cram a whole bunch of homework. I travel again on Wednesday for Kate and Ben's wedding. Should be fun.

I've been trying desperately to get Blogger working properly on Firefox. But it is all to no avail. Maybe if I upgrade Safari I'll be able to do everything I need to on that. Then we'll have pictures and links, and clicky goodness.