Monday, February 26, 2007


About 6 years ago at Chicago hardcore fest the headliner was supposed to 25 Ta Life. I had not caught that band before but I had seen Comin’ Correct at the Fireside, so I knew Rick’s presence and appreciated it. While I dug CC, I much preferred the songs from 25 Ta Life so I was pretty excited about this show. If I remember correctly it was most of the reason I even went to the fest (Envy from Buffalo was the other one I believe). The band wasn’t on tour so the plan was to drive straight from NYC to Chicago. It being winter and all the chance for tough weather certainly was omnipresent. As it happened, a big snowstorm hit NYC about 4 hours before the band was to go on in Chicago, but strangely enough this snowstorm shot out of the northeastern seaboard. The point is that 25 Ta Life would have cleverly dodged the snow by being on the road extremely early Saturday morning or even Friday night, which were the times they would have needed to leave anyway. It was a random snowstorm and an even more random way to dodge it. Talking with the promoter at the door he told me Rick and co. were not coming due to the weather. His frustrating conversation from that afternoon went like this:

“Hey, where are you calling me from? Are you on the road?”

“Blizzard, yo.”

“You’re still in New York? Did you try to leave? You would have dodged it.”

“Blizzard, yo.”

“You’re my headliner.”

“Yo, sorry but this is a straight up blizzard.”

I saw them a year or so later and the show delivered and they were cool guys. Rick’s merch/flea market is something to behold. Every time I am in the middle of a big snowstorm I endlessly hear ‘Blizzard, yo’ looping through my head in a New York accent.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Trek X01

Aside from giving cross racing a try in the fall, I hope to use this as my full time commuter, errand bike, and poor weather bike. It just might replace the track bike...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars and say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."

What is the best way to approach art, writing, film, etc? Do you decide on the theme, thesis, political objective, or concluding dynamic of the characters and then write towards it? Or do you pick out some interesting characters, place them in a situation/time/place and then just write as you follow them to their own conclusion? I support the latter, though unavoidably you need to keep the former in mind. Lean on the characters first and you'll get to the end properly. Otherwise you'll risk ending up with a cultural artifact that rapidly becomes dated (Easy Rider). Lehane's comment on the writing of Mystic River is an excellent example of the right way (I think):

And for about seven years the title and the neighborhood and the main character stayed with me, just lightly rapping on the door every now and then. About three years ago, a sentence—"Brendan Harris loved Katie Marcus like crazy, like movie love. . ."—started echoing in my skull, and it merged with some of the properties of the Mystic River idea (which had been sort of elbowing its way into pole position in my head) and everything coalesced, I guess.

Monday, February 12, 2007

We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may

Salma mentioned that she is attempting to take a picture a day as an interesting exercise, so I’m going to try and take more pictures than usual, knowing full well that the photo a day is not going to happen. I’ll keep my digital camera with me more often and try and post some of the more interesting pictures. This morning we started getting some snow around 5am and by 6:45 when I began walking to work this is what it looked like. I believe the open ended subject or frame of reference of the “revolt” perfectly works for Madison – there is always something people here want to revolt against in their own little way, so perhaps it’ll stand as a snow riddled mad-lib. I’m revolting against the red crossing flags.

Raced in Chicago yesterday and it was very cold and very fun (as always). We ended up with a 14 degree starting temperature on our roughly 30+ mile loop through the city. Cruising north from the final checkpoint in Sherman Park (in Englewood – yes, that Englewood) we cut over from Halsted onto Archer, turning north again onto Canal. We knew we were not in the top half of finishers but also knew that we had a few people behind us so we kept a hurried pace. I caught a flat around 20th and Canal, rode on it for a few blocks, and ultimately ended up fixing it at 17th after riding on the rim for a few blocks. Scott and crew had already zipped ahead out of earshot. No worries – that’s why I carry a tool kit. My fingers were numb fixing my rear wheel (so much more of a pain than the front on a fixed gear), but since my truck was up around 2400 north even limping to the finish at 500 W Madison wouldn’t change the need to ultimately fix my flat. Freezing on Canal was the same as freezing on Madison. At least with freezing ahead of time I was ensured winning DFL. I was awarded some fancy cycling socks for my placement that eventually went to Clare as they fit her much better. According to J9son a later DFL stumbled in after I left but that sounds like a scam to me. He can fight me for DFL if he thinks he has a right to it.

In Hockey on Thursday night a kid (19 or so) ran into me in the neutral zone. He was skating with his head down, as opposed to on a swivel (the way it should be), and plowed his head cleanly and firmly into my chest, mainly right into my heart. I didn’t move but he stumbled back. Game on was called immediately and we all continued uninjured. Starting Friday morning I have noticed that any pressure on my chest in that area is a dull, deep pain. I’m sure this is simply a bear of a bruise, but it did have me worried until I remembered the collision. “Hmm, I keep having a pain in my chest, right over my heart, should I be worried….oh yeah, somebody speared you, smart guy.”

Friday, February 02, 2007

Alea iacta est

Nothing left to do but nervously embrace the -11 temps this weekend (without wind) and hope for the best Sunday night. People keep laying it at Rex's feet, but I believe Brian will determine the outcome for the Bears. Go Bears!