Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I gave someone directions today. Ah, the simple pleasures. Santori time.

Monday, November 28, 2005

I saw a man this morning walking through the rain with a tattered umbrella. I felt sorry for him. He kept trying to mend the broken panels as his soaked bangs slapped about on his forehead. He jammed his right arm out straight hard, pushing the mechanism toward its clicking point, but the joint just came sliding back down the main shaft as the panels crumpled again. He was walking in the street; his lower pant legs were dark and wet. So then he just held his broken umbrella over his head, as if to say "Look at this! Look at this broken umbrella!"

The weekend was fine and good. We took Lauren's mother to Midway on Saturday morning. The traffic was surprisingly light. I drove well for a man who the previous night had had several beers and a cigar during the final leg of good old friend Joe Mellman's bachelor party. The key players had all been out at a casino and so were hemming and hawing about wanting to go to sleep. I could not hide my disappointment. These were young men who used to party properly but now just wanted to take naps and talk about their feelings. With what is that up? I shook my head in disbelief and walked home at 2 a.m. while the erstwhile rogues staggered bedward.

Saturday night, Lauren and I went to see The Ice Harvest. The moviegoing experience was fraught with problems, not the least of which was the fact that tickets for two adults clocked in at $18.50 and a small pop and popcorn cost an additional $8. We'd stopped in at one of those fitness ranches on the way to the theater in an effort to get a pricing sheet. Instead of simply telling how much a membership cost, they insisted on taking us on a tour of the entire gym (which was, to its credit, very nice and the kind of place where someone can get all manner of heavy lifting and cardio done), and then giving us the hard-sell routine, telling us that if we didn't sign on the dotted line on that very visit that we were either stupid or insane or both. But yes, the heated lap pool and basketball court were very nice.

The heat came after the snow came and everything melted. The snow was peaceful on a dark street. The warm followed and it's still warm today. The rain, well, I can deal with it. My umbrella remained intact throughout my morning commute. I started reading an old book by a dead man about a dying man thinking about art. My bus stop. Your bus stop. Our bus stop. Four-block walk.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving, complete with all the trimmings and trappings of this slingshot holiday, the one that shoots us forward into Every Important Subsequent Event from here to Valentine's Day. I look forward to well-crafted turkey cutlets, muffins, sauces, stuffing, bourbon. We shall smile for all hours and toast life and longevity. Here's to me and you, mine and yours. I'll show you if you show me. This, the first of many.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Do you ever forget to e-mail something to yourself and it throws a wrench into your entire day? Like that important PDF on your desktop of the code that unlocks the activation sequence for the mechanism that, when set into motion, will banish all evil from the world while concurrently balancing your checkbook and exfoliating the webbing between your toes? Like that photo of the monkey pissing on himself?

Computers are important. Without them, updating your fantasy football roster becomes a complicated task requiring lengthy government forms and background checks. Thank goodness I am thinking clearly right now. Otherwise, the fact that I forgot to e-mail myself this thing that I wrote would be ruining my day. (By the way, I sneezed on the bus this morning. The guy on my right blessed me while the girl on my left just sat there like she didn't hear a thing. To her I say: "I know you heard me sneeze [how could you not? You were sitting right next to me!] and purposefully neglected to bless me. I hope you rot in hell, bitch.")

That's not the only bus issue I've been having lately. My other issue is this: How do people read on the bus? I would like to know. Signed, me. I tried reading this morning on the bus and I made it through one paragraph.

I am writing this is bits and spurts. Fits and starts. I'll just post it at noon, is what I tell myself, and see how it turns out.

I'm going to be writing for a political blog soon. The two things I'm working on are "Fiction: the new Reality" and "Revealing Your Source for Dummies." I know the "(Blank) for Dummies" construct is pretty passé by now, but, hey, whatter yuh gonna do? I need to workshop both ideas. In the basement. Nude.

It's noon.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

When I put that silly "your blog is worth" sig on the side of the Spree, I was hoping to spark a spirited debate about just what blogs are and what their value is (or should be) and what that value is based on and when, if ever, the market will come and buy the ball and take it home and the game, for all of its useful (and I mean useful as in useful to regular humans who aren't trying to sell you oil changes or diet pills) purposes, will be over. We never got to that point, because I pulled up stakes and relocated and pounded those stakes back in and am still at this point not finished pounding them in. But I will be soon, and then we can have our debate (if you want to), whether you want to or not.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cloudy and Windy
Feels Like
Updated Nov 16 12:00 p.m. CT
UV Index: 1 Low
Wind: From WSW at 22 mph gusting to 33 mph
Humidity: 64%
Pressure: 30.07 in.
Dew Point: 21°F
Visibility: 2.6 miles

It's on, bitches.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I have eaten food delivered by every Chinese restaurant in my zip code. I have done laundry in a basement filled with ill-intentioned critters.

We are making a turn toward colder climes. My hands are cold. The typing is difficult. I am woefully unprepared for winter, my wardrobe having been cultivated for six years on the warm range of Central Texas.

I own gloves, but they provide minimal protection. I need the thick-fingered gauntlets of the Great White North — the ones that make picking up pennies impossible. I need the high-collared, down-filled, torso-swallowing coats of the Tundra — the ones that make a hazard of narrow doorways, that preserve my temple's vital operations when the Canadian winds steal the nerves from my chin. I need knit hats knitted by Wisconsin retirees who knit hats between morning and afternoon Bingo. I need boots that contain ream upon ream of space-age insulated fabric, that have industrial-engineered treads to prevent slippage on ice, water infiltration, slush over the tops and into the boots (the worst, the absolute worst). I need goggles to keep my eyes from welling up in a head wind, tissues to stem the tide of viscous post-nasal ejaculations, throat-soothing candies manufactured in the nether regions of the Netherlands, Chap Stick, earmuffs, wool socks, and long, cozy underwear.

A warm cup of cocoa? my hands tingling back to life on white ceramic decorated with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Christmas tree, snowball fight? moistening my nose in fragrant steam? sipping too soon? swallowing a luxurious chocolate burn?

Stir up the Campbell's. Sit on the couch, under a thick blanket. Remote controls these days, if you keep the batteries fresh, can work from beneath the blanket, so you don't have to stick your hand out and click, and you can stay cozy and still and generate a lasting warmth that permeates every susceptible end of every last appendage. Television schedules. Fresh new shows. TiVo, if you're lucky.

Hear the furnace groan back to life. Ignite. Whoosh. Feel the hot, dry air whirling around your ears before you pull it down and in. The soft cheer of the vents. The frost inside the window. Lick your finger. Draw a picture. It will be there when you clean in spring.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Money is tight and my car needs brake work. But since I don't anticipate driving much once the serious business of Chicago winter sets in, I stashed the little devil on an undisclosed side street somewhere in the metropolitan Chicago area. No zone sticker necessary. No meters. I lucked out. My car needs brake work and is now covered with yellowish stems and leaves.

I'm not sure how to wear a scarf. Do I twist it under my chin? tie it? let it hang loose? I didn't anticipate this problem. I am hyperaware of any inadvertent signal I might give off that would indicate to all interested that I am gay and willing. I recall that Alberto would wear a scarf year-round, and that he had a knack for throwing it around his neck with Windsorian intricacy and having it look completely natural, nonchalant and hetero. But then I remember how often he was hit on by men. I'm not saying it was the scarf. But why take chances?

Today I begin production on a magazine. I am a producer. I eat produce.

See that stride over there? I think I might hit it. Make it mine.

Monday, November 07, 2005

It will hit 70 again this week, and the greatness of that fact will wend its way through my nervous system, and I will go out into the streets without underwear. I will wear pants, of course, because it is customary to wear pants. No one needs to know about the underwear. Or lack thereof. They will see me in my pants and turn to each other and have the following conversation:

"That fellow is wearing pants, as is the custom."

"Surely, he is wearing underwear beneath those pants."

"Such a gallant stride!"

"A fine citizen!"

It will be my big secret. Our big secret.

A group of between twenty and thirty Asian tourists walked down my block yesterday afternoon shooting photos with impossibly small digital cameras. I walked outside and took pictures of them taking pictures. They in turn took pictures of me taking pictures of them taking pictures. We all found it very fulfilling. Smiles were exchanged. International gaps were bridged. Diplomacy took a step forward.

This is how things work in my neighborhood.

I got my first parking ticket Friday night. I vowed it would be my last. I walked into the pub at block's end, threw the door open, held my parking ticket aloft in my fist and shouted "I vow this parking ticket will be my last!" I ate several peanuts at the bar and was asked to leave. I vowed to return.

Much has been made of the leaves. They cover the sidewalks and get slippery in the rain. It's a hazard. A beautiful hazard. You learn to take the good with the bad. The leaves are brilliant, blanketing the city, amaranthine, sweet & bright.

There will be plenty of time for plenty of things.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I'm sitting on my front stoop. It's 70 degrees outside.

The apartment is taking shape. Everything is falling into place. I start working next Monday at a nice little office downtown on State Street. I'll post more photos later today.

A leaf just fell onto my keyboard and typed the last few sentences.