Shot a video over at Charley's Sunday. It was a lot of fun.

Um... there was some fake blood.




Tuesday morning, I woke up nice and early. It was pleasant out, I had a nice healthy breakfast, and I decided to go work downtown for a while.

I rode the Brown line to Belmont, and an improv friend happened to be on the same car. We chatted. I transferred to the Red line and continued toward the Loop.

Just before North/Clybourn, however, the train stopped so abruptly that everyone who was standing had to move quickly to avoid falling. (A few fell anyway.)

Then the air shut off.

Then the lights died (except for the emergency lights.)

It got warm, then very warm. It was a full car.

A recorded announcement told us that there had been a medical emergency. Then a live announcement told us to pull the emergency exit and move towards the station. We were on the second-to-last car, and were therefore still in the tunnel.

Our train had 'brushed back' someone who was standing too close to the incoming train.

He was on a stretcher with his head covered in bloody bandages as we exited the station.


Mr. Postman, check and see.

A few open letters on a fine summer morning:

Dear CNN,

YouTube wants you to quit beating around the bush and just ask it out already. I mean. It's really obvious. Everyone knows.


Dear YouTube users involved in last night's Presidential debate,

Thanks for being involved in politics. That said, stop saying what you did was revolutionary and that it's the first time it's ever happened. If we, as a nation, have waited until 2007 to actually let the electorate ask questions to the politicians, we'd be in a bit of trouble.

That's kind of... um... what that whole democratic republic thing is about.

That is all.


Dear Dell, Motorola, and OneTouch:

I don't know what iPod told you, but having your laptop, cell phone, and glucose meter come in different colors is no substitute for having actual features.

Work on that.


Dear Fiber,

Thank you.



Summer-so-far Scrapbook

I found my camera! Here are some bits and pieces that were kicking around on it that can teach us some lessons about summer.

Lesson 1: Here's what happens when you REALLY decide to put an anti-smoking label on some cigarettes (straight from London).

Lesson 2: Here's the difference between a Fowler Family group shot:
....and a Fowler Family album cover.

Lesson 3: Here's what happens when you get a severe eye infection on a Saturday. Lovely ER.

Lesson 4: Here's what happens when you go to Six Flags on a weekday when they are working on the Batman roller coaster, causing them to only run one train at a time.

Lesson 5: Here's what it looks like when you pack more beer than water in your Six Flags lunch to help alleviate the frustrations of said long line.

What happens? Fun.

It's been a good first-half-of-the-summer.


My Parents.

Monday, the Daddy Man turned 52. He paints houses, prefers short stories to novels, and blasted us full of REM and the Pixies from the moment the albums were released.

Mom turned 51 today.

She hates cooking, loves her sons ferociously, and may or may not know what a blog is.

Happy Birthday, folks.

In Gauge Mints

I suppose it's that time of year.

In the last week, I've been informed that two of my friends have decided to take that big next step towards marriage. (.... two couples, anyway. In one case, both are friends of mine. So I guess it's three friends. You get the idea though.)

It looks like between Shelby and Joe, Adam and Nicole, and Amy and Ricky, I'll be down south for at least three separate weddings next summer. That's cool, though. Should be good times all the way around.

Anyway, congratulations, everybody!




Speaking of surprise parties, some friends of mine weren't around for the first round of birthday festivities, so they threw me a surprise shindig.

I'd never had a surprise party before. To those who think I've been drawing out the birthday thing (ahem...), rest assured that if I had any inkling that the party was being planned, I'd have had none of it. It was, however, a good time and a great gift. Thanks to Charley, Amber, and the rest for the yuks and the cake and the beer and the joy.

I snagged these pictures from Sarah and Lindsay's blogs.


Grandmama's 80th.

July 2nd was my Grandma's 80th birthday. I went down to SC to help her celebrate it, and a huge portion of my family made the trip as well. All of my brothers were there, as were all of Grandma's living children and a huge number of her grandkids and great-grandkids.

Grandmama raised nine children, and has, as far as I can count, 24 grandkids (plus 7 grandkids-in-law), and 11 great-grandkids. While raising this army of children, Grandmama also got her masters in education and taught public school for 30 years.

She makes the best pork chops, macaroni and cheese (casserole style), chicken salad, potato salad (she makes mine without the hard-boiled eggs), and (insert dish I forgot here) in the world.

To honor her, we had a surprise party and took photos of the kids, grands, and greats. We also went to church with her on Sunday (Pinewood Baptist was filled to the gills) and had another feast at the lake on Monday, which was her actual birthday. I even wrote a poem for her. Reading it in front of the family was terrifying.

It was a great time.

Sunday, July 1, was also my Uncle Harry's birthday, and this is the first birthday that he hasn't been alive to celebrate. It was good for our family and our Grandmother, to spend this day with the rest of the clan.


Map of the Online World

This map is fairly funny and interesting. If you are a dork. Which I am not.

It came from the strange maps blog (here), which is awesome. Very cool blog.


'Appy Birthday to Me.

(I stole this picture from Sarah's Flickr. I'm a thief. Who can't find his camera.)

For my birthday, my swell friends took me to Ravinia to see a taping of 'Prairie Home Companion.'

I've always been a fan of Garrison Keillor (if you're even remotely progressive, but still respect personal responsibility, his 'Homegrown Democrat' is a great read... and an even better audiobook read by the author), PHC, radio shows, NPR in general, and anything kinda old-timey. While PHC wasn't necessarily a direct influence on 'Fowler Family Radio Hour', the old radio variety show format was, and both FFRH and PHC use such a format, so PHC was the most relevant contemporary example of what we were going for. Shelby and I were taking notes like crazy.

It was really great. We took Sheridan all the way up, which runs along the lake through the ritzy North Shore suburbs. The cicadas were crazy in the trees and we had the top down and some good music.

We brought wine and cheese and crackers and popcorn and Italian Blood-orange soda. (Which is amazing. I had it in Nice and fell in love. They have it at Trader Joes. w00t. )

The music and the stories were great. We relaxed on the lawn and ate and drank. We took Sheridan back home just as dusk started to settle in, and it was a beautiful ride.

Then we went to Gio's, sang karaoke, and got snookered. Good birthday, everyone. You win.


My trip to France was followed immediately by a trip to Charleston. Actually, the timeline went like this:

Friday, May 18: Cowlick performs the last night of Cowlick: The Musical.
Saturday, May 19: I teach a morning class and hit the road by 2pm. I drive to SC.
Sunday, May 20: After getting into Sumter in the wee hours of the morning, I go to Charlotte and get on a plane and fly to London.
Monday, May 21: I arrive in London, go from Gatwick to Victoria Station in Westminster, and mill around. Then I fly to Nice.
Thursday, May 24: I fly back to London. I crash in the airport.
Friday, May 25: Back to the states. Drive back to Sumter. Finish copy for issue of magazine. Drive to Charleston.

It was a long one. The Charleston time was amazing, though. We stayed at the 'Notso Hostel' (God, you're cute, Charleston), which was cool because it was in an old Charleston house with a big front porch adjacent to our room, complete with rocking chairs and a rope hammock.

Our shows were well received (review) and we ate and drank well.

It was a blast to have my family and friends from back home actually able to see my work. I'm used to assuming that no one will see me play outside of Chicago, and that's a long haul from SC.
We also met a girl who knew/ knew of all of us thanks to Arnie's blog (which is linked right over here ======> and worth a read if you aren't familiar).

She did the sheepish thing of "Well, I don't actually KNOW him.... but I read his blog."

Ah, strange internet world.

Anyway, I can't find my camera, and forgot to take many pictures anyway, but you get the idea.


France... at last.

Well, for the seven of you who haven't totally given up on this blog, how about an update? First thing's first. Let's talk about France.

I went to Nice for business. Most of my time was spent in a convention center (which was just like American convention centers, only with good croissants and decent coffee.

My nights were spent at a tiny hotel/hostel called Hotel Wilson. I highly recommend the spot. Delightfully inexpensive (3 nights in a room with a double bed and a single bed, a private bathroom and shower, a great breakfast of toasts and muffins and croissants and fresh baguettes and coffee, all for around 140 euro. That's around 180 bucks in a place where hotels are usually very expensive. Awesome.) No frills, but I dig that. The owner, who lives there, speaks 6 languages. The whole place has a homey feel. The TV only gets 6 channels and only 2 of those are in English, but that includes CNN International, which is way better than the CNN in the US. Who watches TV in Nice, though? Go eat and drink.

No AC, but this was my window:

And these were my cacti. They lived on my window. I named them all Jean-Pierre.

My hotel was on this street:

This is the sort of thing that you can see in Nice. Lovely. This was carved into a cliff face right by the sea.

This is what was immediately behind me as I took that last photo.

Amazing. I can't wait to go back.

Do stay tuned. More updates are coming.