Thursday, June 28, 2007

Yesterday, it was this.

Today, it's this.

What the hell is going on?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Outside my office window, the Fabulous Tuckpointers conduct their grind orchestra. This has been going on since Monday morning and it's beginning to drive me a little bit crazy. I counter with stoner rock, but to no avail, as the non-delicate operation causes the kind of high-frequency din that easily infiltrates my headphones, sending my inner ear bones into overdrive.

I'm taking a couple days off this week. I just need to make it through these next few hours. And then tomorrow. And then I'm free.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Our kickball team lost its first game last night. Our fate was sealed as the orange sun sank westward into the plains. We had kicked to the best of our ability, yet we could not overcome our poor fielding. We disappointed ourselves, our families and our country. We repaired in utmost haste to the Ravenswood Pub, where we drank cupped beers and dined on chicken and beans. We filled our stomachs, but could not fill the sudden vacancy in our collective soul.

Because that band sucks.


The tree leaves sound like a ball of loosening cellophane as I walk to the car. Porch lights fade on lush lawns and a backyard pond fountain babbles its best. I don't know the names of the trees in full bloom, but its flowers are everywhere and the white buds crush into khaki underfoot, turning the sidewalk into the surface of a rich cake.

Cake. Yes, cake.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oh, hell yes.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Last night, when the hurricane-force winds began to bend the treetops eastward, I was again reminded of my childhood on the mean streets of an affluent Chicago suburb.

I remember a white-haired man who lived around the corner who had a German Shepherd named Augenblick. They used to play fetch with a Frisbee in the alley. Augenblick, a good dog, would hurl the disk skyward and the white-haired man would dart down the alley after it with the quickness and intense focus of a jungle cat and, just when it looked like the disk had completed its flight and hit the pavement, the man would lunge his head forward, scoop it into his mouth and shake it like captured prey.

Back then, my friend Damien and I would have rock fights near the interstate canyon with the kids from the next block over. Damien had curly hair and deadly aim, but limited range. I, on the other hand, had a rocket arm and was thus able to stay well out of our opponents' range. One day, shortly after a spate of street renovation left a pile of fresh stones near the battlefield, we again took up arms against our adversaries. Damien bravely crept toward the demarcation and nailed young Kiko in the upper torso with a chunk of pointy limestone just as four mercenaries from zip code unknown emerged from a nearby bush and laid him to waste with their own arsenal. As Damien clawed at the pavement and cried out, I realized our folly. We were outnumbered by crafty interlopers and the outlook was grim.

Our only hope rested on the high-tension tendon and sinew of my right arm, which at that moment directed my hand to the largest, flattest wedge of white concrete within reach. I reared back and released said wedge with all my might, letting out a guttural battle cry that echoed through the streetscape.

For a moment the world and its occupants moved in slow motion—the flat spinning stone cut a majestic arc against the cobalt blue sky of late afternoon. The group of kids on the other side stood gape-mouthed, their faces directed upward at the hard rain to come.

Seconds elapsed. Minutes. More.

A white-haired man emerged from the alley, scrambling forth on all fours, his fingernails clicking furiously on the fresh pavement. His hind legs coiled, released and he shot forth, arms stretched and then spreading as in a dive from great height. His chin jutted forward, his teeth closed on the spinning stone. He continued, gliding over the rail, over the interstate, landing finally on a hill in the distance. The corners of his eyes crinkled in happiness. And he shook the stone until it was reduced to rubble.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I'm pretty excited about this weekend's Printers Row Book Fair. Last year, I scored a first edition hardcover (w/dust jacket!) of "Infinite Jest" as well as dozens of vintage Barnes & Noble bookmarks.

The key to success at the book fair is to do a full walk-around before you purchase anything. That way you don't weigh yourself down too early and burn your hamstrings out by noon. Also, this allows you to formulate a plan whereby you go back and get the smaller books first and the big ones last (I recommend drawing up a series of maps and pie charts as you wander along—and maybe bringing a Bunson burner just in case—so you can remember where it was you saw that hardcover collection of Balzac's lesser-known horse d'oeuvre recipes).

But then, you have to be careful you don't pass up on a book someone else will want, lest you leave empty-handed. If you fear this may happen, surreptitiously move the book you covet into the Mary Higgins Clark section of the bookseller's tent. That way most people will never see it, and those who do will likely be functional illiterates.

And most importantly, remember that "row" means something different in America from what it means across the pond. Here, it evokes order, not chaos. So remember to relax. Don't box that old woman's ears with Micheners because she cut you off on your way to the Paper Cut Treatment Station. Take it in stride. Move along.

Enjoy the sweet smell of wood pulp and silverfish, fellow bookworm.