On the road again

Hitting the road again today, this time to Iowa.

But quickly before I go, I learned yesterday that one of my aunts now has the best address ever.

She lives on Prince Valiant Dr.

I shared this with Tara, who informed me that one of her old friends now lives on Gobbler's Knob Rd.

Happy New Year, everybody. May your 2009 bring as much joy as those two things brought this apartment.


85 percent of my love

Still doing things Texas style. Rebecca and I head back to Chicago this afternoon where we'll enjoy a one-day respite before hitting the road again, this time to Iowa to see the other half of her family. It's like we're home, but WE JUST CAN'T STOP TRAVELING.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I did, and now I'd like to talk briefly about Chuck Klosterman.

Rebecca's mom remembered that I had put his book Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story on my list for last year but didn't receive it. I then, for whatever reason, completely failed to read it in the entire following year. This made it a lovely surprise come present-opening time.

(I also received some very sharp knives that will definitely not make it on the plane. They will be have to be mailed.)

Anyway, I've had some time to read quite a bit of it over the last two days. It's Klosterman being Klosterman - incredibly analytical and surprisingly self-absorbed about subjects that normally require neither of those things. Really good if you enjoy him.

My only beef with the book, and really the thing that I've thought the most about so far, is the blurb on the back cover. From author Bret Easton Ellis, it reads as follows:

"I can't think of a more sheerly likeable writer than Chuck Klosterman and his old-fashioned, all American voice: big-hearted and direct, bright and unironic, optimistic and amiable, self-deprecating and reassuring - what a captivating lack of fuss or pretension."

This quote makes me seriously doubt whether Mr. Ellis and I have been reading the same author at all. Of the 13 descriptive terms used in that blurb, I see merit in exactly four.

I consider the following to be possible explanations:
a) Mr. Ellis made this quote ironically.
b) Mr. Klosterman used this quote ironically.
c) The publisher liked it.

I'm leaning toward option c at this point. Options a and b are unlikely because there is a small kernel of truth in the quote, or at least 4/13s of one.

The final option is that everyone is being sincere and it's actually intended to be 85% of an ironic back cover blurb.

And really, the entire purpose of writing this was to get to that last sentence because it was so clever of me to think of it. You're welcome, Internet.


Deep in the heart

I'm down in Texas for a week with Rebecca and part of her family.

It got up to 50 degrees today, with promises of 70 in the next couple days. This is a nice break from freezing Chicago where on Sunday it was quite literally colder than the North Pole.

This just in: People in Texas are really quite fond of Texas.


Saga of the lamp, continued

Those of you who were reading this blog around this time last year might remember the Saga of the Lamp, wherein some maids broke my cool lamp and, instead of reimbursing me for it, just bought me a new lamp.

This is an update to the Saga.

I have broken that lamp.

I was wearing some big clunky shoes and standing at my desk, then just took an innocent little step backwards. It was enough to catch the bottom part of my nightstand and send the entire contents crashing to the floor. Needless to say, the frosted glass was not made to withstand such an impact.

So we bid farewell to yet another lamp. I have purchased another one from Target and you may notice that it is much less breakable. I intend to stop this curse in its tracks.


It's really tracking well

I'm getting used to some of the changes that have happened around here while I was gone. The new CTA Bus Tracker was just getting off the ground as I was leaving and since I primarily used the El back then, I really had no use for it. Now that my destinations are slightly more varied, I've enjoyed trying it out.

Basically, through any computer or "web-enabled mobile device," you enter where you are and which way you're headed and they'll tell you when the next bus will be along. It only works for certain bus lines currently, probably because putting that information up for the 22 Clark bus would involve a branch of hyper-mathematics that hasn't been invented yet.

The upside of this is that when it's really cold in Chicago (i.e. now until late April), you can use the Bus Tracker to time your departure to spend as little time in the cold as possible. I tried it the other day as I was headed to the 8 Halsted bus.

Initial verdict: It has completely revolutionized the way I barely miss buses.


Home again

It should come as a surprise to very few that I seriously neglected this blog in the waning days of our contract and the subsequent return home. For anyone who has followed the writings contained herein for any length of time, it is a pattern that should be considered inevitable.

Now that I'm back and settled in, I shall endeavor to be more faithful in writing. This too, is part of the aforementioned pattern.

I fear that my life currently will yield very little in terms of exciting updates. I am unemployed and still trying to figure out where groceries come from. The most exciting thing happening at the moment is the fact that it is snowing quite heavily outside. See? Fascinating.

So if I occasionally dip back into the archives and bring up a photo from our overseas adventures to discuss, you'll have to forgive me for the lack of continuity.

But to start things off, it's nice to be home. Below is a clip of a band I just discovered. I love that I live in a country where this is a valid aesthetic choice for a musical group.

The fact that they recently opened for Electric Six should surprise no one.


Coming home

Republished from The Jade Journal

The funny thing about finally going home after four months at sea is how everything is pretty much how you left it.

Sure, some things are different. There's a new president-elect. There are two new haircutting places within a block of your apartment. And instead of parking meters on Clark Street, there's some sort of new-fangled electronic parking box. (How long were you gone? Is this what the future looks like?)

But most things are pretty much the same. Your room looks like you remember and you still hear sirens go by with unsettling frequency. The #9 at Jimmy Johns still tastes great. The guy at the dry cleaners downstairs is still very friendly, despite the fact that you are both uncomfortably unsure of each others' names.

It's just weird to think that you've had all of these amazing experiences jam-packed into four months while the vast majority of people were going about their normal routines. And you wish you could explain it in some way, any way that makes sense and doesn't take four hours and hundreds of pictures.

But you can't. And that's okay. Because the only thing that's really changed around here is you.

And I guess that's the point.

(Thanks to my fellow castmates, especially Jessica for starting this blog and encouraging us to write. And to everyone at Second City for this amazing opportunity. And most definitely to Rebecca for not killing me despite four months of too-close quarters and too-violent video games.)