Monday, February 1, 2010

One Year

Dear Readers,

I have been writing this blog for just a year and it started as way to commnuicate to my family when in Germany. I became more and more dedicated to the blog and was strongly enjoying the proccess of writing. The realization of my schoolings finale has set it. With large loans looming above me I am beginning to fear exiting schooing. My last few postings were if anything tedious for both you and I. If I am going to write I want it must be enjoyable. I will return to posting when I am in a good place to continue on.

My interest lies with my art, my collaborations, and producing as much as possible. I will be setting up a website this month and my production will be trackable through it. I will continue this blog when I can approach writing without the looming fear of editing. It killed me to step in front of my computer hesitating at every sentence because of my commas or bad grammer. I always thought writing was about the expulsion of ideas straight from the head. I had remarked more than once there is a huge difference between writers and editors. Even though my editing wasn't that good I became exactly what I didn't want to be an editor.

I know a lot of you that read this blog and I enjoyed your support along the way. I thank you, and the blog brought out some qualities in myself I never knew existed. I appologize and hope to be back as soon as possible.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Art Institute of Chicago

Dear who ever will listen,

The first time anyone goes into a museum it seems as if it’s a race against the clock. Scurrying here and there to view as many of the overprized oversized objects as possible. I remember the first time I went to the Art Institute of Chicago. No different than most first time visitors, I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off scrambling to see something. What that something was I was unsure but I was definitely looking for it. As a high school student my knowledge of art was similar to that of a buffoon, but already there was a true passion for the aesthetic object. At the time it was impossible for me to describe what I so enjoyed about art but it just seemed to strike a cord. Even still it’s hard to describe my love for art, but it has something to do with the uncanny feeling of walking through a museum.

I remember going through coat check and trudging up the grand staircase toward what I later learned to be Gustave Caillebotte’s Rue de Paris. As I toured the galleries I remember thinking to myself “I don’t really understand, but I know I like it.” I had seen some of the paintings in books and catalogues before but to finally stand in front of Seurats, La Grande Jatte, or Monets water lilies was something different altogether. It had to do with the lived experience of a painting, and the strange indescribable feeling one gets when looking at something much more than beauty. Being the buffoon I described earlier, I wandered through the galleries in the most counterproductive way possible, jumping from ancient Chinese bowls, to early Christian paintings, down to the miniature houses. But even though I was charting a less than systematic path my experiences grew greater and greater. As the day progressed I was left more and more speechless. It was that day that I wandered down a narrow staircase only to be introduced to the great Bruce Nauman. My first experience with contemporary art was something completely different than La Grande Jatte but oddly left me with a similar feeling. Life had just expanded tenfold and I was about to experience these works for the next four years. I remember thinking to myself as I left that day, “What a wonderful place, a sanctuary for objects and ideas that commingle to create something almost spiritual.”

It’s now been four years and I know quite a bit more about art. Life continues to expand with every visit to the museum. The works of art still hold on to that strange spirituality they did the first day, but now the feeling of a headless chicken is gone. I can appreciate the strange mixture of beauty, knowledge, love, hate, and extreme silliness at my own leisure. Having free access to a museum is a definite perk and I have taken complete advantage of it. By touring the museum almost daily I know the ins and outs as well as any of the curators. Even with museum efficiency I am left speechless. I can speak about what the art does, it’s place in history, what makes it important, and the discussions it has generated, but this is not what leaves me speechless. Once again it’s the lived experience, and the fact that art contains the entire breadth of life within. The museum has given me the gift of art and the gift of art has given me the gift of thought. It gives me a chance to contemplate and question all of life and at the same time forget everything and simply gaze. It is consciousness, absurdity, and passion rolled into one.

Most days I can be found wandering through the galleries. If I’m not looking at the Robert Rymans then I can be found with the Homers, the Gauguin’s or the EL Greco’s. I’m usually somewhere in the museum learning all about life through the process of looking. Sometimes it’s not the art that grabs my attention. I enjoy watching the people that mimic my first day, and the waves of wonder that fill their eyes. Unbeknownst to them they are just as much art as the objects upon the wall. The museum is a special place because it is just as much capsule and vessel for the works as it is a work of art within itself. The general flow of the museum is a thing of beauty, and can only truly be appreciated when reliving the experiences.

Without a doubt the museum has given me a greater education than four years of sitting within stifling classrooms. It’s probably why the museum was founded as a collection for the students. I am truly sad that the time spent within the galleries will be coming to an end. I ask myself how can I keep my education going after school? Am I entitled to the resources I had as student? And can I continue to enjoy the gems of the museum as I once did?

The museum experience is enhanced by the knowledge of free access. Art works can be given the space they deserve without the looming thought of how to receive the best bang for your buck. With uninhibited viewing time the practice of learning through the process of looking can continue. To approach it from a museum education standpoint the most effective tool in delivering art knowledge is through guided tours. With every graduating student comes a mini tour guide. Free alumni access would mean one person free from the burden of entrance into the museum. That incentive might drive families with an Art Institute graduate to frequent more often, in the hopes to bestow knowledge unto non-artists. Loved ones sharing their knowledge of the works of art and the museum can only improve how we think of museum education. People with a higher knowledge of art can create possibilities for the museum to thrive. It only makes sense that Art Institute graduates are given lifetime access into a museum that was originally intended for them.

So with out further ado this spring I will be leading a coalition of students and alumni in a quest to receive their lifetime access. If you are or know a current student or alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago then please pass this on to them. Let them know that a fight for great treasures is on the way. This is the very beginning of the journey and I will be addressing the students and alumni more formally as the process goes along. Understanding the facts and getting the right people on my side will be the first step. Please stay with me.

As of right now the options for museum access to graduating student from the Art Institute is one year.

A hopeful student

Readers let me know your experiences with the museum and how you feel towards it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year

Dear 2010,

2010 brings another year of hopes and dreams, some that will fail miserably and some that will succeed past any of our wildest dreams. I have mixed feeling on the New Year and what to make of it all.

Looking back at 2009 I can say with a smile across my face that all in all it was a pretty good year. It started off with a new President in office and ended with the passing of a health care bill. Personally I feel as if I accomplished a lot. I never imagined some of the success that came my way. It was a year of planning and building, a slow and relaxing year in which I had the time to figure life out. As I step through the door of 2010 I’m a little sad to see 2009 go, but I imagine ten will be just as good nine. I’m not much of a person of resolutions because I generally feel they are goals doomed from the start.

As I sat last night watching the ball drop I thought to myself of the metaphoric passing of time. To be honest it scared the shit out of me. Life seems like a race against the clock and the decision of what to do yearly becomes a daunting task. I think often of Vladimir from Waiting for Godot.

Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for once the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us! What do you say? It is true that when with folded arms we weigh the pros and cons we are no less a credit to our species…

With this in mind I ask myself not what my resolutions are but rather how can I represent worthily. To take on all of mankind would be pointless, that seems so 2011. Instead I can work diligently and spend every moment in the full embrace of life. To define any further seems a resolution. Yes, I too have goals but this New Year I’ll keep those to my self.

I ask you to spend 2010 the same way I will. Whether you will be having babies, or getting married, or just trying to finish school do it with certain determinism. Know that everything you do has great effect upon the world. Don’t think about this as a weight but rather a gift in which great change can be created through you.

So readers really what I’m asking for is response. I write for you. This year my blog will be taking on a little change. My posts within the New Year are going to continue as they did in 2009. They are shorter from now on consisting of five to six hundred words. Occasionally I will write a longer post but nothing will go beyond 1000 words. As well I will be posting more media. I will work diligently to give you fifty-two posts within the next year, tell more stories and to possibly stop bitching so much. I ask you the frequent reader to respond and let me know of your presence from time to time. I hope for my posts to be story forums, I’m interested in how your life relates to mine. And please if you enjoy one of the posts pass it on to a friend. Maybe a posting on Sandwiches can represent worthily the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us better than you think.

So, let me know what the New Year means to you and what is in store for 2010, and please don’t tell me January gym time.

Happy New Year your faithful writer,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Music

I have posted a song that will aid in reading my posting.

Dear Carolers,

Stop singing on my front porch, in my house, on my radio, and in my car. I hate Christmas music. I don't mildly dislike it, but rather despise it with a passion. It's not that I hate Christmas or even Christmas cheer but I cringe when I hear those twenty five songs that are played over a million times each year. I come home to my mother who believes our family must have Christmas music in order to feel Christmas cheer. I don't know what Christmas cheer means but if it involves Christmas music I want no part of it.

If you're one of the strange beings that actually like Christmas music, you're probably asking yourself, "why such strong words for such a harmless thing." This is why.

I would be fine with Christmas music if I had a choice. Or; if I listened to Christmas music only once or twice during the holiday season. But I don't, I can't escape the thing. My mother believes that when I come home rest is not what I need, rather non-stopped Christmas music. Every day from about the 25th of November to the 24th of December I listen to Christmas songs.

When I’m back home, it starts at about 8:30 in the morning. It's not good enough that the music is just played to her self; she feels the need to spread the cheer. Absolutely anywhere you stand within the house or really anywhere on the property the cheer will be spread. Since I'm home for the holidays she feels the need to spend every waking moment with me. Which is fine. But... we go to the store or to the mall or out for lunch, and the car has to have Christmas music. Once again it's not quiet, rather so loud the cheer is spread to the entire state of Michigan. But... it doesn't stop there. She not only listens to the music but she also feels the need to sing along. Now, I love my mother, but she can't sing. Well she can, but she can't sing well. Thus inevitably we will be stuck in holiday traffic listening to those ear-piercing songs while my mother half sings half hums due to the fact she has forgotten the lyrics. Just when I think things can’t possibly get worse, they do. We finally leave the car to accomplish our shopping and immediately step into a store which also thinks Christmas music is a good option. Not only do I have to deal with it at home and in the car but also everywhere I go in public. Christmas music in small town America seems almost unavoidable.

To be honest, I technically would be fine with that, except for the fact that Christmas music is limited to a total of twenty-five songs. That’s right twenty-five. I know it seems like a lot but twelve to fourteen hours a day listening to only twenty five three minute songs can get old fast. I know your saying, "it has to be more than twenty five." And it is, but the rest are renditions of those twenty-five. Every year some musician thinks to himself or herself it might be a good idea to put out a Christmas album. So they do. But they don't actually want to spend the time writing Christmas songs, so they stick to the twenty-five predetermined song lyrics. If it not Celine Deon or Clay Aiken or even the Backstreet Boys, its Kenny G, the Rat Pack, or the East Harlem Boys Choir. They all put out Christmas albums, not because they feel like they can offer something new. Christmas albums mean cash because, people like my mother buy their rendition as a way to “spice up the holiday season”. So, every year I’m stuck listening to another mediocre musician put they're heart and soul into the Twelve Days of Christmas or Silent Night. It however doesn't stop there. Not only do crappy pop musicians come out with Christmas songs they also find people who will do renditions in different accents. Yes, this is the worst. Just tonight I listened to a Caribbean calypso choir sing White Christmas, as if they actually have seen snow.

I know I sound bitter. But I like my headspace. Frankly Christmas music doesn't give me that. I have been subjected to this torture for twenty-one years and now know all twenty-five songs by heart. For a period of about two to three weeks not a thought can pass through my head due to all the Christmas music. All I can think of is how I am having a Holly Jolly Christmas, whether I want to or not.

Merry Christmas,

Readers please let me know what you’re up to this holiday season, and what if anything bugs you about the holidays and or holiday cheer.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Corn Fed Freedom, and half a Christmas cookie

Dear Americans,

I grew up across from a cornfield and rode in plows at early ages. Corn and I have been attached at the hip for pretty much forever. It surprised me that this however is true for the rural farmer and city slicker alike.
I recently found myself engaged in watching the documentary King of Corn. The documentary notified me that the chemicals in hair will show how much of a particular food one eats. The tests the filmmakers took showed they consume large amounts of corn in their diets; due to processed foods and meats. It was concluded that more than 50% of their diets were corn. (King Corn) After seeing these astonishing results, I inquired about my own state of corniness. Instead of dealing with expensive tests that informed me of the given; I decided to monitor my diet for a week. It turned out as I speculated that I too am a corn fed boy. I was aware I ate corn products but still was taken back by just how much of my diet was corn. In the documentary they present a challenge to go corn free for a month. I decided to see how difficult it was for a week and then judge from there.
Before I go into my personal story it’s important to talk about the corn industry, and why it’s in all our foods. American corn is a subsidized crop, which makes the farmers money whether or not there is a demand. The result is an over surplus of corn in our system. Michael Pollan an ecological food writer, explains this leads to, “more and more highly processed food,’ ‘adding value to that commodity (corn).” (Pollan Michael, The Way We Live) It creates a perpetual growth of the corn industry, making corn a product in all our food. It’s in our bread, yogurt, chips, cakes, and sodas and it’s fed to most of our livestock. It makes us corn fed boys and girls.
But the fact that we eat so much corn is not a reason to go on a diet such as this. It would be like stating, I’m going to go on a rice free diet if I lived in china. There are underlying reasons why a corn free diet may be beneficial.
Corn production needs fertilizer to help promote growth. However the fertilizer contains nitrogen that is hurting the environment. One source explains that a, “significant portion of such fertilizer is still making its way through the soil and water to the sea. As a result, algae and other microorganisms take up the nitrogen, bloom and, after they die, suck the oxygen out of coastal waters.”( Biello, David) The oxygen sucked from the coastal waters creates dead zones that span up to 7,700 square miles. I.E. a large area where nothing can live! “Scientists warn that a boom in crops such as corn for biofuel will only make matters worse.” (Biello, David)
On top of that an article put out by the GMO Compass estimates that, “about 80 percent of the maize produced in the US is genetically modified.” (Maize) That equals out to about 72 million acres of genetically modified corn produced in 2007 alone. (Biello, David) The result is large portions of corn in our food and livestock. This is scary because GMO corn has only been in mass production since 1997 and the possible side effects are unclear.
With so much corn in our system we have found a way to give it to everything. Most livestock including farmed fish are on corn diets and as Michael Pollan explains the logic is sound, “Calories are calories, and corn is the cheapest, most convenient source of calories.” (Pollan, Michael, Power Steer) Even though it’s the cheapest, this corn is found to be harmful to the animals. Corn fattens cattle much quicker than grass but cows are still meant to eat grass; when they’re fed corn, problems arise. In cattle it can lead to cow acidosis and bloating. If a cow is kept on a corn diet for too long it will die. If a corn diet for a cow is unhealthy, what happens when the unhealthy cows are fed to us? As Pollan explains, “A growing body of research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with corn-fed beef.” (Pollan, Michael, Power Steer)
If that’s not enough to keep you from eating corn consider that most processed foods in the grocery store contain high fructose corn syrup. There are differing results on whether high fructose corn syrup is worse than other sweeteners. But tests were done in which mice were fed diets similar to the average American. The results showed, “It took only four weeks for liver enzymes to increase and for glucose intolerance - the beginning of type II diabetes - to begin." (Dixon Rachel) These tests showed there is, “evidence that suggests fructose actually suppresses your fullness, unlike fiber-rich foods, which make you feel full quickly.” (Dixon Rachel) This makes sense when you look at the ballooning rates of obesity and health problems associated within America. Mayo clinic posted a warning on sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup stating that, “Regularly including these products in your diet has the potential to promote obesity which, in turn, promotes conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.” (Zeratsky Katherine)
With the votes in on corn industry, I want to turn back to my own situation. First, it’s important to present the kind of person I am. By writing this I can inform others similar to me that it’s possible to limit corn intake. My demographic is the poor college student, excited about their health with no time to cook. In my life I try to stay healthy and keep away from sodas, chips, and high fat foods. If I want a soda I buy a soda and if I want a hamburger I buy a hamburger. I don’t drink a soda everyday or even every week, and the same goes for hamburgers. I rarely eat chips and try to stick to items that are more nutritionally sound. Being on the go, I find myself eating food items such as sandwiches, and pasta. I don’t have the time to cook, nor do I have an oven that works, so I stick to the quicker meals. Navigating a world that supports the unhealthy approach is difficult but still possible.
After the first weeks monitoring I came to find out that more than half my diet had corn in it. The cereal, bread, cheese, meat, milk, and beer all had corn products in them. I did notice that even though my diet was packed full of corn it contained very little high fructose corn syrup. I highlighted the corn items in yellow and the high fructose corn syrup items in red. (See figure 1) Seeing that high fructose corn syrup is thought to be a large part of obesity, I was proud of myself. But in order to effect environmental change, support food diversity, and animal welfare I would have to cut back on the rest of the corn, even my corny jokes (drums).
After some research I realized eating out, drinking beer, and consuming animal products would be out of the question. Except for wild caught fish I was going to practically become vegan. I knew of milks, cheeses and meats labeled as 100% grass fed, but I also knew these options are more expensive. Being a college student I need to keep costs down and expensive grass fed options become non-options. A $6 dollar gallon of milk compared to a $3 gallon of milk just isn’t an option. And the room for error in grass fed labeling is too high to risk.
The day before my diet started I went to the grocery store. Trader Joes is my grocery store of choice for their healthier food and cheaper prices. I grabbed my basket and got shopping. I started with bread; I found in the past that all my bread had corn in it, so I was hoping they would have a solution for me. I label read for a good fifteen minutes before I found a corn free option. My solution was Trader Joes “Organic Bread with Flax and Fiber”. Next stop was sandwich toppings. I was determined that I was not just going to eat peanut butter and jelly all week (Natural peanut butter, Smuckers simply fruit). Besides a large array of vegetables I bought two packages of wild caught smoked Coho salmon. Even farmed fish are corn fed! I then stocked up on a healthy amount of pasta, pasta sauce, and copious amounts of dark chocolate. I was set…
Except for my bill. Fifteen dollars more than usual, and… I was still without all of my vegetables. For this week it was ok, but I was not going to be buying salmon in the future. The first few days were excellent and going well, but about half way though a week of no corn I realized failure. I was looking over my food diary and saw the problem occurred my first night. Saturday. I was at a gallery opening and somebody came up to a friend and said, “the Christmas cookies are amazing.” We immediately went to the kitchen and saw the kind my mother made. Sugar cookies with frosting… my favorite! We analyzed the situation loosely and rationalized it probably had corn in it. My friend however claimed, “no, its ok they’re homemade”. At the time it seemed like pretty good logic, so with out questioning anymore we split one. A half a week later I realized those cookies had three ingredients that are most likely side effects from corn: milk, butter, and eggs. I had failed and my failure was hinged upon half a Christmas cookie. Oh the misery.(see figure 2)
The rest of the week, I was smooth sailing. I must say however, it was pretty hard keeping away from certain ingredients. Half way through the week I started to crave $1.60 cheese pizza made right across the street from my bedroom window. As my stomach rumbled all I could think was, “I can just not put it in my diary.” They’ll never know it will be my little secret. I can sit in my closet gorging myself on all the pizza, ice cream, and corn tortilla chips I want. My closet stayed pizza free. But I can promise you the longer the week went on, the more I thought about it. The constant thought, you’ve already failed what’s the point, was a nagging sore spot. (see figure 2)
But these thoughts bring me to my conclusion. Even though I failed, corn was brought into a new light. I like corn or at least corn byproducts. I sure do like Christmas cookies, cheese pizzas, omelets, ice cream, and pork sandwiches. For the week that I ate no corn, I switched to fish, which I thought was a good alternative. I quickly found out its only an alternative every now and again. But it’s definitely not an alternative for ham and turkey sandwiches. My conclusion was to go back to corn. But, I will try to reduce my corn intake from now on. Being so strict in a diet, especially for a person who likes food, is agony. However, there are still ways I can be proactive. Switching to the bread I bought for my no corn diet and eating more vegetables is one way. I found that when I knew I would be eating no corn I bought more vegetables, which was much appreciated in my pasta and sandwiches. I also ate at restaurants less, which saved me a bunch of money. The extra fifteen dollars spent at the grocery store was still less than the few sandwiches and beers I buy weekly. But I will still go for pork sandwiches and pizza across the way. And there is no point turning down friends who want to grab a beer and fries. If I find a cheap grass fed solution, Ill buy it. But more than just avoiding the problem while everyone eats away at their corn, Ill join in. I’m a natural born follower, a conformist.
We can however push to have subsidies for corn eliminated so we can create food diversity, and lower nitrogen pollution. We can also push food companies into keeping high fructose corn syrup out of our foods. Or as the eloquent words of Michael Pollan say, “The political challenge now is to rewrite those rules, to develop a new set of agricultural policies that don't subsidize overproduction and overeating.” (Pollan Michael, The Way We Live) Corn isn’t evil and in moderation a little corn is ok for the environment and us. But getting to that moderation will be the challenge. I ask you as a reader, to record your eating habits for a week. Examine as I did what parts of your diet have corn in them, and what you can take out. If you drink soda a lot, maybe reduce your soda intake to once a week. If you eat lots of breads and grains with corn products, switch to a brand with no corn. Try drinking beers with no corn syrup in it. Even though Bells brown ale is officially connected with corn, its only prepared with corn flour. That’s much better than a PBR or a Miller High Life that contain corn syrup. In my own diet I noticed half of the corn products were cereal and bread. Cheaply and easily I can avoid this by buying a no corn alternative. By doing this alone I will reduce my corn consumption by close to half and that’s a step in the right direction.
Ill leave you with a quote from the makers of King Corn, its similar to how I felt at the end of my week. “The honest truth is that it’s hard to change the way you eat. Visiting a 100,000-cow feedlot and home-brewing corn syrup did make fast food a lot less appetizing. I can’t eat a hamburger now without hearing the nutritionist from the film, Loren Cordain: “Hamburger meat is really not meat. It’s fat disguised as meat.” But still, it’s hard to avoid the stuff. Industrial food tastes good — it’s salty and fatty and sweet — and it’s almost irresistibly convenient and cheap.” (Ellis Curt)

Slightly less corn fed.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Dear Chicagoans,

This is a call to action. Lets stand and fight. Fight for global warming. Lets break out the aerosol cans and raise the temperatures back to livable conditions. It’s a crying shame that we should have to deal with this and so lets fight back.

Every year I put up with it and frankly I’m sick of it. Winters, ugh. Chicago winters, ugggghhhhhh. We arrive at it every year the exact same way. September will come and people start asking whether or not you’re prepared. In most places September is one of those months in which you can enjoy the end of summer. But no, for Chicagoans we live in fear. September signals the coming of six to seven of the worst months. Once October hits, the sun never shines. And what sucks is October isn’t the worst. It’s mild in comparison to the coming months.

Yes, November starts it off with day light savings time. The time of the year in which you realize the sun sets at four. I go to school in the dark, and get out of the class in the dark. If I get a chance to step out over lunch, I shouldn’t need to worry about seeing the sun, because the clouds take care of that; November through April. It’s one big gray mess. November is also the month in which the cold is the main focus of any conversation. Veterans hail their survival stories to Newcomers. Newcomers make jokes about how it can’t be that bad. But what they don’t know is that it can. November comes and goes and everyone complains how bad the weather is, but it’s nothing like December.

The only thing that makes December enjoyable is Christmas. The month of December is supposed to be cold, it’s Santa’s month. So you deal with it. But you still curse under your breath. You walk huddled up face down arms crossed from destination to destination. December is the month in which your breath becomes solid, and even your parka needs layers. Often in December I find myself dressed with four to five layers, two tee shirts, a flannel, a cardigan or sweater, a fleece jacket, and a heavy-duty winter coat. Assembled I can barely put my arms down. But at least in December you’re warm from holiday cheer.

January doesn’t have holidays, at least not important ones. There is nothing to look forward to in January. The temperatures in January are always fifteen to twenty degrees colder than December. People die in January, and I tend to feel physical pain when stepping outside. It’s one of those months in which you start to contemplate suicide because of how cold it gets. Those layers that helped in December no longer help. Nothing feels good. It’s just plain miserable. Chicago makes it all the worse because there’s nothing to do in here. It’s not like this cold is accompanied by snow or winter sports. Just cold and wind. Ah, yes the windy city. Whenever the temperature says -8 it forgets to take into account the loop is a man made wind tunnel. Chicago wind chills have been known to get as low as -82 degrees. And even though this sounds bad were forgetting one major part.

February. February is the exact same as January just colder. Last February it was -18 F without the wind chill (-27 Celcius for my European friends). No sun, ever. Nothing. In February I truly believe God hates this place. It’s the only reasonable explanation. Science hasn’t been able to prove why Chicago gets so cold. There is nothing good about February except for the slight idea that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

March, the false light at the end of the tunnel. It gets warmer but 6 is not a suitable temperature in my book. You still cant put your arms down because of all the layers, and you still feel physical pain, a slightly less amount of physical pain. By the end of March the sun actually starts to come back and you remember that hope is on its way. Soon enough your gas bill will no longer be a six digit number. March is ok not because its warm, but because its not so bad. This however, is a terrible way to think about life, I thus hate March.

So friends. Take to polluting. It’s the only solution. I hear all this about global warming and then I experience October to March. I understand how I feel generally is not a scientifically sound argument, but I dare you to live in Chicago for a winter. As far as the icecaps go, its ok, we can grow more; it sure as hell is cold enough here. If you don’t want to pollute then possibly hibernation is the answer. I would be down for not leaving my warm little abode for six months out of the year. It would be better than standing outside thinking about survival as I wait for the train.

Sick and tired.

Readers please let me know where you live and what winter offers for you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tale of two cities

Dear Holiday Travelers,

If you’re like me then this holiday season you will be returning to your childhood home. You may be traveling across the world, or down road, but either way the realization of change will be drastic. I can only speak for myself but I personally enjoy the contrast both places provide.

Just before Thanksgiving I spent my time in Chicago enjoying "the smaller things". I would go on late night walks down Lasalle Avenue marveling at the tall buildings and amber glow. I would smile upon my morning commutes in which private space became public. I took the time to see the last minutes of the golden 4:30 sunlight hit some random high-rise window. It was enjoyable even to watch small commanding children lock eyes with sleepy eyed riders on the EL. It's the times in which big city life is put into small prospective that makes life so enjoyable.

But in the country it’s never the small things that make life worth it. Everything is small. Banal stories of leaf raking and dog haircuts fill the conversation. Long thoughts regarding the weather, and snowstorms fill the voids. It’s a little slower and a lot smaller out here. What makes it worth it is exactly the opposite; small town life being placed into big perspective. Hope is the name of the game. It's what gets us through when the jobs dry up or when the schools have leaky roofs. Its what I try to keep in mind when I’m home. I’m not out looking for the "smaller things", rather the best moments are when life seem so big. Its those shimmering frosty stars that are missed in the amber glow of Chicago that make it worth it.

For me I latch on to the contrast both places provide. The conversations about leaf raking, are just as good as that 4:30 Chicago sunlight. Both make life a little greater.

Thoroughly pleased

And readers please let me know about what holiday travel presents for you.