Friday, December 29, 2006

Doesn't anybody tape "Check, Please!" ?

Every now and again people ask me if I miss Chicago. It’s a valid question and one that I almost have a canned answer for, though I do try and give it a bit of dynamic thought each time. I know that I miss people -- certainly and without a doubt. The geography though strangely holds little allure for me. I love the skyline and will be the first to assert that Chicago is a world class city, one of the greatest in the world. However, I was amazed how quickly the connection with the tangible city vanished. I love racing there in the winter, but I love it even more when I’m driving up John Nolan Drive and see the Capital on the edge of Lake Monona. I guess I left at the right time, or rather I’m in the right place now.

All of that having been said, man I miss certain Chicago restaurants, and the show Check Please! in particular. I would even watch the reruns, swearing at goofball guests that have really strange ways of looking at dining. But that is the whole fun of the show – the mix of people. I hadn’t anticipated missing a silly tv show, but when I think about it I really do miss a silly tv show. The reason this popped in my head today is because Palermo’s was featured on the show recently, or at least I found out about it recently. I cannot illustrate in words how great Palermo’s sauce is. All of their food is great, but the sauce is the kingpin here. It is so sweet and aside from the obvious sugar involved, the rumor was always that beer made its way in. Knowing a handful of ex employees I can attest to the fact that sauce was always made by the owner, behind a locked door, with ingredients hidden before and after the process – though on one occasion there was a small amount of spilled sugar on the floor. I know every town has a handful of Italian places with secret sauces and the requisite secret recipe story, but this is my story and I say it’s the best. I wish I could see this segment, but youtube is not solving this quandary. They visited the 95th street location, which is near my old stomping grounds, yet I have never been inside oddly enough -- I lived 2 blocks from the original location on 63rd street. I have always wondered how the 95th location became a flagship when the 63rd street location predates it by quite a bit and has always had a large dining room. Maybe its as simple as my old neighborhood getting tougher by the day and Oak Lawn not. Who knows. The sauce is the same at either place. Well, with the Tour Da Chicago looming in the near future I’ll get my fix.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Being allergic to cats, yet having a profound fascination and love for all things Hemingway, I am confused as to which side to take in this story.

The Orbea has been reglued and reassembled, and saw some mileage in Indiana over the Christmas holiday. I was initially disappointed in having a repaired frame – one that I would always glance down at and wonder when the piece would crack again – but now I think all will be fine. I rode it a few times and it feels so perfect and smooth and clean that the whole experience has moved away from a disownment of a betrayer and loafer towards the now embrace of an old friend. All is forgiven and it rides again like a dream. If it breaks again it is still under warranty so no big deal. Take care of it as much as possible but ride it like you stole it till it falls apart. That is the plan.

Salma has graciously yielded and allowed a glimpse of the healed outline of her sleeve. It looks terrific. The design is no Mortiis riding a unicorn, but it looks wonderful nonetheless. Hopefully some of her sleeve incorporates a yin yang and a panther, preferably with the yin yang on the panther. All great tattoos do.

After organizing and bagging/boarding about 500 comics in Indy over the weekend I set aside a small pile for rereading. On tap: The New Frontier (haven’t reread it in a year – so wonderful), We3, Seven Soldiers (yep, I dug out all 28 issues plus the bookending issues 0 and 1 – I’ll blow through it all in a few days in the order Grant lists in the rear of each issue. The Filth read much better when time had passed and I was able to reread it in a flurry, though I loved Seven Soldiers to begin with), Darwyn Cooke’s Solo, and JLA:Classified 1-3 (yeah, the Grant Morrison arc). The net has been flooded with Seven Soldiers decompression articles and I really want to avoid their polluting effects before I reread it all again. Grant Morrison is very dense most of the time, but its always worth the time and there is really no way out of the tunnel but through the other side. 30 books here I come.

I am still living on applesauce more than I’d like, but I have resumed molar usage. No chewing of meat yet, but having made it through the experience without the horror of the whispered and threatened dry sockets I consider myself blessed.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Due to OSHA laws prohibiting the return of extracted teeth to patients, I do not have photos of my 4 wisdom teeth. They're gone, headed for an incinerator, and I left not as wise as I was Thursday night. I did photograph some strawberries, er, gauze pads. So at least I can offer some gore, if you want to click through.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Even at the height of my skating ability and lack of fear I would probably have a healthy respect for Burnside in Portland. Its such a tight and burly course that I would be pleased to have carved it. Unfortunately I had no board when I visited last month, otherwise I would have eaten shit for old times sake. It was without a doubt a religious moment -- just to be able to gaze upon its cement.. Not much more can be said.

I have a strange habit of being photographed with male friends and their children, while their wives are nowhere to be seen.

With any luck there will be bloody photos next week of the 4 wisdom teeth that are to be cut out of me tomorrow morning. Fun.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Dahmer Dash was pure brutality, appropriately so given the subject matter. In hindsight it was a complete blast and very challenging, but at the time maddening and frustrating (mainly due the weather and my bad luck following different groups that didn't know Milwaukee as much as I assumed they did). I would expect it will gather some degree of legendary status for its weather challenges, though it was 10 degrees warmer than the 17 at the start of the Tour Da Chicago Stage 1 in 2005. That was brutal. I wore canvas vans on that race but wisely wore sambas in Milwaukee. Huge difference for my feet this time. Great race all around, and a disturbing shirt on top of it all.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another Dirge

All things come to and end, and in this case, they have come to a sad, unexpected end. My Orbea is currently being warrantied at Machinery Row here in Madison. While talking on the phone a few weeks ago and glancing randomly around the room I noticed the seat stay on the non-drive side looked strange. After closely examining the carbon wishbone’s connection to the dropout I realized it had separated – the glue cleanly popped. No carbon splintering, but a clean break that explains the creaking I had heard the previous week. Annoying, but part of the allure of the brand is that it has a lifetime guarantee. That, along with the wonderful ride it affords, completely justified the price. Still it is sad to see the frame go. There is a slight chance that it will return reglued, but I am more confident that I’ll get the chance to pick a new color. At least it didn’t happen in the summer. So here is a picture from happier times. I’m sure a picture of the new ride will follow in a week or so. Hopefully every fall isn’t a time for a new color. Those 5000 miles were too few…

Dirge for a 9 Speed

Absit omen.
Beatae memoriae,
Consummatum est.
Hodie mihi, cras tibi.
Ego veho, semper!

May this not be an omen.
Of blessed memory,
It is completed.
Today for me, tomorrow for you.
I ride, always!