Friday, July 31, 2009

You know there's a bomb scare when.....

The title of this blog was originally "You know the president is in town when...." and I talked about the huge production that has to happen every time the president goes anywhere. After reading this article, I realized that the cop I talked to was lying to me. They blocked off two blocks surrounding the studio and had police lines where no cars, bikers, or pedestrians could cross, creating complete and total gridlock in the neighborhood. Fortunately, there was no bomb in the bag. The question is though, why couldn't he just tell me the truth? Am I going to start screaming through the streets and incite a riot? Of course not. He just wants to be in a position of power to know something that I don't, at least for ten minutes until I read it on the internet. He could have just told me "there was a bomb scare" and I would have gone about my way instead of waiting around for 15 minutes trying to catch a glimpse of the president like an idiot. I hate being lied to. As this is my second negative experience with a police officer in a short time, though not as bad as the last one, my distrust of them continues to grow.

Song of the Day:
Phoenix - Lisztomania

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What the...

I found this anatomically correct sweet potato at the grocery store. I clearly have a lot of growing up to do still. It's actually kind of scary.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rubbing Elbows with Muffy, Malcolm and Pendleton

Made it out to the mythical Hamptons for the first time last weekend, courtesy of my boss, who graciously hosted us on his boat. Got to tour pretty much everything, some parts more glamorous than others. Say what you want about the scene, but there's no getting around the beauty of the area.

Then, while on Shelter Island, which is officially my favorite portion of the Hamptons, we found this thing just chilling on the side of the road. Normally, I would never do something like this, but the fact that it was so randomly placed, wasn't near anything else of note, and most importantly was free, makes it a lot cooler. Ok maybe not but still it's funny because sharks aren't normally this happy with a hook in their mouth.

Some observations about the Hamptons:

1) It is really difficult to get there, especially from Chicago and especially when dealing with Laguardia.

2) It is truly the place to see and be seen.

3) Is that Ivana Trump?

4) People will wait in a line down the block at the bar to see a cover band when the bar next door has no line.

5) Prettier and more charming than I thought it would be even. It's not even all posh, which was different than I imagined.

6) Virtually none of the opulent mansions can be seen from the street.

7) A woman on our bus ride to the airport flipped out and tried to refuse to pay because her dog didn't have its own seat. It was priceless. And to think, I almost went through the entire weekend without an obnoxious New Yorker story. Thank God.

Song of the Day:

Metric - Help I'm Alive

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Drunken Rickshaw, etc.

Just a couple random pictures. This one is from last weekend. I was biking around at around 11 pm on Saturday night and saw these three college kids riding in a rickshaw down Halsted. Two of them are passed out. College is awesome. This was at 11 pm. They could have taken a cab but they took a rickshaw. God bless them.

Then, on Tuesday, Carrie and I went to see John Legend at Ravinia. The crowd was an interesting mix of wealthy suburbanites who live in the area with season passes to Ravinia and the people who have heard of John Legend and wanted to see him in concert. The lady in this picture fell into the former category. The picture is a bit grainy but she was basically dancing with a scarf tied around her head covering her eyes (because of the bright lights I guess?). Her husband, who looked like Larry David, was doing a sort of lasso motion with his right hand as he danced (if you can call it that). The whole thing was way funnier to watch live than I can convey with a picture (esp one this bad). Going to Craft for dinner tonight in New York! Tom, it's me, Sean....

Song of the Day:

Janelle Monae - Sincerely, Jane

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Definition of Hipster

The Pitchfork Music Festival (which I very sadly did not attend) was this weekend. Since I missed it, I really wanted to see one band, Blitzen Trapper, play an encore at Empty Bottle Sunday night. I was in hipster central (i.e. weirdville). For those who don't live in New York, Chicago or on the West Coast, you may not be as familiar with hipsters as I am. In that case, just check out this great website and you'll start to get it. While in hipster town, I saw these two places within a block of each other. I really have no explanation for what the second place might be.

As of last night, I am convinced that I have now seen every kind of hipster there is in my young life. So, I thought I would share my take on this unique, non-conformist breed of people. In my mind, for the most part hipsters fall into a few distinct categories:

1. Arty Hipster

Arty Hipster is in the know about all the latest gallery openings and probably creates art in some form himself. He fluctuates between happiness (10%) and extreme melancholy (90%). He smokes parliaments and frequently ponficates on the meaning of our drab, pointless lives.

2. Nerdy Hipster

Nerdy Hipster is, was, and always will be the biggest dork around. He could never really fit in until he found other similarly dorky people once he made the move from semi-rural Indiana to the big city. For this reason, Nerdy Hipsters, male and female, tend to travel in packs with their brethren. They have intellectual conversations chalk full of geeky jokes that are so high level they're not funny at all. Their relationships are purely platonic as they are not blessed with sexual instincts of any kind.

3. Elitist Pretentious Hipster

This is the saddest, and worst kind of hipster. Elitist hipster condescends on everyone and thinks everything sucks. He describes how much everything and everyone sucks by using words like "bourgeois" and phrases like "they would have been better suited to..." or "it's a blatant contradiction to the fundamental premise..." so that no matter how good something is, they can always try to pose as the most educated person among the group by being the only naysayer. They secretly hope in debates or discussions (usually post-party, post-concert or regarding an album) that the other parties to the conversation will question their own views and wonder what Elitist Pretentious Hipster knows that they don't. Truly nothing makes the Elitist Pretentious Hipster happy except raining on everyone else's parade.

4. Biker Hipster

While biker hipster can exhibit traits of other hipsters, the most distinguishing trait of biker hipster is riding his (or her) crappy looking beat up bike. The biker hipster bikes with no regard for traffic or their own life, doesn't wear a helmet, rides with their bike lock in the back pocket of their super tight jeans for some reason, and most importantly has a completely unexplained ability to be extremely unathletic yet ride his or her bike way faster than you can. A rare instance where you can pass a biker hipster on the road then see the look of shock on their face is truly special....until they run a red light at a busy intersection, passing you again as you sit at the light and watch them weave through crossing cars. This picture is what it looked like for blocks around Pitchfork.

5. Fashion Hipster

Spends lots of money on fashion in order to look as unfashionable as possible. Extra points are given for looking impoverished (ripped shirts, jeans).

6. Homeless, Drugged Out Hipster

These hipsters aren't really homeless but exhibit a few distinguishing characteristics. First, they wear dreadlocks despite being white. Second, they are usually extremely smelly and have otherwise poor hygiene because they forgot to shower due to being on a lifelong acid trip. They have a general indifference towards the world that is passing them by as they smoke pot and listen to Pink Floyd's The Wall over and over and over.

7. Foodie Hipster

Foodie Hipsters fulfill their counter-culture urges by going to dive bars with extensive draft beer options (a la Quenchers or Map Room) and finding the latest BYOB or late night food stop. They don't go to the big name restaurants downtown where you have to dress up. Rather, they go to the trendiest restaurants in hipster neighborhoods with equal or better food, but with a less white collar atmosphere. They exhibit a disdain for standard bar food and bar atmosphere and instead talk about their last experience with tripe or sweetbreads.

8. Yuppie Hipster Wannabe

The Yuppie Hipster Wannabe has elements in common with hipsters and exploits these commonalities as part of an attempt to escape, if only for short periods of time, the dregs of his day to day life in the cubicle. Don't be fooled though. A few things disqualify the Yuppie Hipster from being a real hipster. The Yuppie hipster wants to be in a band but has no discernible musical talent. The Yuppie hipster is probably athletic, and was probably popular in high school and college as a result. The Yuppie hipster still practices normal habits of hygiene. Lastly, because they have generally had it pretty good in life, the Yuppie hipster harbors no real resentment towards society as a whole. Any resentment towards society is only generated by the fact that we Americans are stupid and fat. The Yuppie hipster is a walking contradiction who makes fun of hipsters despite admiring their non-conformist ways and wanting to be seen by them as credible.

9. Music Hipster

Music Hipster has a genuine love for music and may be in a band. Music hipster pretty much boycotts the radio and looks down upon or feels sorry for people who have their musical tastes force fed to them by the record company corporate machine that churns out meaningless mass marketed crap in droves. Instead, music hipster does his own research and stays up to date on all the upcoming concerts, constantly on the look out for the "next big thing" in the indie music world. Music hipsters are in constant competition with one another to be able to say "I heard or saw them first." Warning, music hipster can go too far and become closely related to Elitist Pretentious Hipster if he's not careful.

10. Other

These freaks fall into no real category other than "weird" or "scary." Their parents are forever shamed.

That about sums it up. I'd say I'm a combination of 7, 8 and 9 with a high dose of all three. Here's a picture from the Blitzen Trapper concert. They were fantastic and the guy on keyboards below was a superb example of #2 with a little #6 and obviously #9.

Song of the Day:

Blitzen Trapper - Sleepytime in the Western World

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Roommate weekend 2009

Last weekend, a bunch of the college roommates came into town for a Chicago weekend.  I'll let the pictures tell the story but basically everybody shacked up at Carrie's mom's house and we reverted back to our old ways - Brad with the eyebrows....

...bodily injury being inflicted for no other reason than because we happen to be friends with Niemz when he's got a few beers in him.....

...and KC being under the table (literally)....

Graham may be the first person in Cubs history to play backgammon at the game.  He bought this at a yard sale on the way to the game.  Vintage Graham.   

Other random fun pictures from some great times...I love my city. 


Also, Brian and Alli found this banana on the table randomly in the bar.  Weird.  

Song of the Day:

Telekinesis - Coast of Carolina

Friday, July 10, 2009

In memory of a dead record....

For whatever reason, I've always been a big tennis fan. I grew up being all about Pete Sampras. In a similar fashion to Barry Sanders, my other childhood idol, I loved how understated he was. He did his business, often in heroic fashion (this is one such occasion that comes to mind) and just went about his way. It gets really good around the 4 minute mark. The announcers just go completely silent for long periods of time in awe. That never happens. Pete was just a class act and did the most spectacular things in a remarkably understated way throughout his career. The reason why I bring this up of course, is to point out my displeasure with Roger Federer having broken this record last weekend. It's not that I'm upset that the record was broken, it's that I'm upset that the record was broken by a guy who dresses and acts like this:

Gag me.  I've been trying to figure out why I despise him and I think SI captured it:

"While the rest of the field lodged in modest apartments and townhouses in Wimbledon Village, Federer stayed in a sprawling manor a mile or so from the All England Club.  He strode onto Centre Court wearing a Rolex, a Sergeant Pepper-style blazer that covered a gold-trimmed shirt and belted shorts, and gold-accented Nike shoes bearing his initials - all the while clutching a gold and white man purse."

It was also gut-wrenching to see Andy Roddick give everything he had and come up short like that. He just can't get over the hump. Back to Federer, I won't lie. I absolutely can't stand this guy. When I look at that quote and his "RF" clothing and general smugness, I can't help but think that he is the Princeton Football to Rafael Nadal's Harvard Football. How's that for an extremely biased, unfounded comment? Regardless, nothing made me happier than to see the Australian Open this year, when Nadal beat him (again), and literally broke him. Federer was balling like a baby and Nadal patted him on the back at one point, as if to say, "It's ok. You can't help it that you don't have as much heart as I do." He may have the most majors, but he's not the greatest ever. For the majority of his career, he's been a great player, but one who has played in an era of weak competition. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Song of the Day:

Manchester Orchestra - I've Got Friends

Monday, July 6, 2009

Searching for Inspiration....

I've been at a serious loss lately for anything inspiring to put up here.  I guess writer's block happens to everyone.  The good thing is I went back to Columbus for the second time in a month this weekend and got lots of inspiration.  Still waiting on some of the photos, which I will post when I get them but I'll put in what I have so far.  I was in town for my mom's __th birthday.  I surprised her by showing up as did her two sisters.  It went great and we followed up the surprise by going to a 4th of July parade in the short north called "The Doo Dah Parade."  Talk about a cast of characters.  Weirdos showed up from all over Columbus to put themselves on display.  There were a lot of kids there (including my nieces and nephew) and I was told it was kid appropriate....not so much, though I'm sure most of the jokes went over their heads.  The low point came when a bunch of hippies on an acid trip just kind of rubbed themselves on each other while chanting some incoherent nonsense.  The crowd went silent.  Not even the furthest reaches of my liberal, tolerant side understood these morons.  Here was one of my favorites though:

The other funny part about being at home was that I flew this time.  That meant I had no car.  My dad helped correct this problem by setting me up with my 93-year grandma's former car - a 1985 Nissan Maxima that has roughly 87,000 miles on it.  It was a little bit of a surreal experience as I looked in the rearview mirror and imagined my 4-year old self sitting in the back strapped in a car seat.  Weird.  Anyways, it brought back some good memories, especially the hi-tech sexy voice that warns me "key is in the ignition" or "door is ajar."   Then there were the power windows, power doors, and power sun roof....the epitome of technology.  Here is a picture of the vixen herself.  And yes, those are jumper cables.  

Roommates from college are coming into Chicago this weekend.  Gearing up for a hell of a time.  

Song of the Day:

Hockey - Song Away