Mondays start a new week 52 times a year.
Well, I guess Sundays technically do that, but stay with me here.
What does Monday get in return? Grief.
Today wasn't so bad. It's terribly cold. My hands have hurt all day. Also, I was downtown and told some people to give me a call if we were going to be meeting for work. Unfortunately, T-Mobile's downtown network went down today, so I missed the calls. That's pretty great. Thanks, guys. Oh well.
Tomorrow is a teaching day. That's always fun.
There was this one time when I attended a regular season game between the Bears and the Panthers. We were cheering for the Panthers, which was no huge deal until the guys behind us went from drunk to wasted and the Panthers really started to lose. Soldier Field is not the place you want to be while cheering for a losing visiting team.
While I hate confrontation, sometimes when I have angry drunks hurling insults at the back of my head, my mouth just starts going. No real destination in mind. Just going.
The game ended as things really started to escalate. The guys threw some punches, though none of them really connected. Security escorted us all out of the section, and the guys told us they'd be waiting for us in the parking lot. They weren't. Or maybe they got lost. It's a big parking lot.
Anyway, I was telling this story at a bar in Old Town one night, complete with details and physical reenactments when I look up and see the very same guys. It was amazing. What are the odds? This was at least a week later and in a totally different part of town.
They didn't see me, and none of the people I was with seemed to believe that it was actually the same guys. But there they were. Strange.
SO I BUSTED A BOTTLE OVER ONE GUY'S HEAD!
Or. You know. I would have.
Ok, so that's a lie. I just found this guy on google images. There's no WAY anyone in this town would part with a spindly and clearly frightened dog wearing a Bears sweater on a day like today! The Bears are headed to the Super Bowl!
Now I'll be honest. I'm not that excited. I like the Bears, but they aren't my 'team'. They are my number two team, and who wants to be number two? It would be disingenuous to play the fairweather fan now. Don't get me wrong. That's not stopping EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN CHICAGO, but I opt to not go that route.
There's a real sense of guardedness among many of the Bears fans. I'd say that's especially true for the fans who really seem to follow football and are fans of the game, and not just the team. They all say we're going to win, but it doesn't feel like most of them believe it.
Still, if they pull it off, look out. It's never too cold to riot.
I actually left before Sunday's game was over. It was a thrashing, and I'm no gaper. I went to the movie theater around the corner and caught Children of Men. It was a real stunner. The acting was pretty excellent, the cinematography was gritty and realistic, and the dystopia presented in the movie seemed alarmingly possible. Go see it.
After that, I had a midnight show at the iO Cagematch. Our group, Hell Hath No Fury, is composed of people who have all been cut, dropped, passed over, or otherwise disrespected by iO. What a fun group. Seriously. We've performed together twice, but never really rehearsed. The shows have still been north of solid. I hope we can stay in the race. The cagematch has a bracket system based on audience votes. We've advanced to the elite 8. Fun times.
There are certain songs that really make me miss certain places I have lived. These aren't necessarily songs I've loved forever, though I tend to like them a whole lot. They also aren't songs that I was incredibly keen on the entire time I lived in the place. In some cases, I don't even discover the song until I have lived in a place a while, or even moved away. Some tunes that jump to mind are Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show, which makes me yearn for the mountains of North Carolina, and Carolina in my Mind by James Taylor, which remind me of my childhood in the swampy midlands of South Carolina.
Lake Shore Drive is turning into that song for me for Chicago. Until now, the closest I had come was Sweet Home Chicago, which is fun, but not quite 'it'.
The song feels like something out of "A Mighty Wind" in spots, has the sort of cutesy drug references you might expect from a lot of folk songs, and sings the praises of a road on the shores of Lake Michigan at a time when the winds off the lake make it pretty inhospitable and the city seems bound and determined to ensure I never drive again. Still, I dig the tune.
Anyway, if you don't know the song, here are the lyrics:
There’s a road I’d like to tell you about,
lives in my home town.
Lake Shore Drive the road is called
and it’ll take you up or down.
From rags on up to riches
fifteen minutes you can fly.
Pretty blue lights along the way,
help you right on by.
And the blue lights shining with a heavenly grace,
help you right on by
(Chorus) And there ain’t no road just like it
Anywhere I found
Running south on Lake Shore Drive
heading into town
Just slippin’ on by on LSD,
Friday night trouble bound
And it starts up north from Hollywood,
water on the driving side
Concrete mountains rearing up,
throwing shadows just about five
Sometimes you can smell the green
if your mind is feeling fine
There ain’t no finer place to be,
than running Lake Shore Drive
And there’s no peace of mind, or place you see,
than riding on Lake Shore Drive
And it’s Friday night and you’re looking clean
To early to start the rounds
A ten minute ride from the Gold Coast back
make sure you’re pleasure bound
And it’s four o’clock in the morning
and all of the people have gone away
Just you and your mind and Lake Shore Drive,
tomorrow is another day
And the sunshine’s fine in the morning time,
tomorrow is another day.
Anyway, here's a few random highlights and lowlights:
-The City of Chicago is close to losing a resident. I love this town most of the time, and am its fiercest supporter. Still, in the last week, I have been taken for close to a grand by the make-the-gestapo-proud tactics of the Department of Streets and Sanitation and the Department of Revenue. I pay your stupid inflated taxes. I buy your stupid city stickers. Give me a damn break every now and then, Chicago. And by the way, even a mild Chicago winter could be a little nicer. Don't do me any favors.
-I got a new part-time job. Document management for a bank. Is it super-compelling? No. However, I do get to work a TOTALLY FLEXIBLE 15-20 hrs a week for a decent hourly wage. While I am there, I never have to answer a phone or talk to anyone. I get to scan and organize documents while listening to music and daydreaming. Not bad for a part-time gig.
-I had a blast a sketchfest. Both shows were a smashing success, and it was a fun environment.
Anyway. Times are a tiny bit tough. Lean, but never bad.
Every year, some comedy types here in Chicago host SketchFest. Folks from all over come to perform. Most of the groups are from the US and Canada, and I’d bet that the largest chunk of those are actually from right here in Chicago.
For the first time, I’m taking part in the festival. Twice, actually. Fowler Family Radio Hour performed opening night to a very warm response, and Cowlick performs tonight.
One thing that gets a little old about the improv/sketch scene here is that it gets a little insular. You end up getting the same folks through the door for event after event. The audience gets jaded. Things stagnate.
Sketchfest brings in a lot of fresh blood. I hardly recognized anyone in the crowd, and they seemed to really enjoy the show. That was fun.
As you can see, Mom made a visit to the App State bookstore before Christmas. I nabbed Bailey a Cubs outfit, too. We're doing our best to indoctrinate her nice and early.