Monday morning. Mark gets up and says "I'm going to go take a shower" and flings open the door, tearing the chain clean out of the wall. Things like this definitely give one a sense of security.
We drag ourselves to Lou Manzatti's for some deep dish pizza. Wow, really good. As we're about ready to leave who walks in but those two Greek girls from the Green Mill? Weird. We sit down to talk for a while.
One of them gets convinced Mark has changed his t-shirt since they've walked in. It's his blue puma t-shirt and she swears the logo wasn't there a second ago. Before we leave Mark goes to the bathroom and comes out with his shirt inside out just to mess with her. Since getting back to Lincoln we've continued our trend of being really big jerks to girls.
Sunday morning we woke up in the hostel to the sound of the hispanic housekeeper opening our door, which was only stopped by the chain. Mark sits up in bed & yells in this accusatory voice "whateryoudoing?!!"
Spanish coming from the other side of the door. Mark, who spent a half year in Spain and still speaks fluently, explains two or three times that yes we're in here & would you now please go away.
Yelping, I took a cold shower because it seemed there was no alternative. I assumed that all 4 showers would be on the same heater but no, turns out Mark's and the other 2 showers were all warm. So I killed him and ate his liver with some favre beans and a nice ciante.
We got Dim Sum down in Chinatown, this time at the Phoenix, and it was better than the Three Happiness where Yun & I ate. Then we hit the Michigan Ave. shopping district for a while, and had fish and chips at an English pub for dinner.
Later that night we went to the Green Mill, the oldest continuously running jazz club in the country, and a former haunt of Al Capone's. Very simple floorplan with a wrap-around bar. Small stage in the back. Green velvet booths but most people were standing.
As we walked in slam poetry was ending and a jazz quartet was getting ready. We went up to a couple girls sitting alone in a booth by the front & asked if we could sit with them. No they said, we have people coming, but then a few minutes later they moved & we got these primest of prime seats. As a result two other girls walked up & we suddenly we had female company. One was from Boston, her sister from Chicago, and they were both Greek. We used up all the sarcasm and outrageous lies we could lay our hands on. Meanwhile we got a tip on where the best deep dish pizza was from the Chicago sister.
The jazz was great, a blind black guy rocking on a Hammond organ, another playing bass guitar, a quirky Don King looking guy playing the drums and smiling to himself whenever he got hold of an idea. And a big white woman belting out vocals. The best jazz I've ever seen & heard but then I'm no aficionado.
It's Saturday night in Chicago. Mark & I go to a club I've read about online called The Dragon Room. Concept is cool: mult-level with a sushi bar downstairs. But...
It feels like we're the first white guys to walk in there since 1996. All black dudes and chicks. You know that "do you mind if we dance with your dates" scene in Blues Brothers? Or the fraternity in Road Trip? Yeah, it was something like that.
But as a guy you can't just turn tail & run in such situations. You have to act cool, like you meant to do that & knew what you were getting into. So, drinks in hand, we went downstairs to see if we could get some sushi. The friendly black chick behind the bar says hello & then disappears, returning with the only white guy who worked in the place. "So she tells me you're looking for a white bar?" he asks.
Umm, yeah I guess we say. We must have looked real uncomfortable.
We ended up at a club called the Crobar. It was $20 at the door, and there was a vip line headed by an extremely gay man in a floral kimono and little John Lennon glasses. But the club was pretty good esp. for an American one, populated with beautiful people, the beautiful people. Mark & I were of course two of the most beautiful people there.
Friday night Yun calls me at 10 pm and tells me she can't go to Chicago. Well, this is a big bummer & threatens to derail the whole Chicago trip of me Mark & Yun. After giving her grief Mark & I decide to hit Chicago anyway the next day, just the two of us. The other possibility was to languish in despair & boredom in Lincoln for a whole three day weekend.
On the way through Iowa Saturday morning we stopped in Adair, Iowa, where I bought a local newspaper. I also bought a strange ceramic sculpture for Jake which we had laughed and wondered about on our way to see Ben Folds nearly a month ago. It consists of a policeman, kneeling, holding an unidentified stick (american flag minus flag?), gun in holster in belt, while a blue-eyed angel rests her hands reassuringly on his shoulders. Yes, she seems to say as together they gaze off in murky ceramic reverie, shoot the evildoer.
The rest of the trip out there was uneventful (no pulling away with the gas pump still attached this time). Aside from the fact that I got my first speeding ticket. The cop asked me to come back & sit in his patrol car while he filled out the form--they now have computers in there that run Windows XP, that much I saw. I had on a purple shirt & a hawaiian lei, which I considered taking off because of the gravity of the situation. But decided not to.
On the cop's dashboard, a little sticker: "Excuses will not change the consequences." Well, neither will hawaiian leis I figure. Shoot the evildoer anyway.
Logistics. We planned on staying at Hostelling International Chicago, which is right downtown. They were full up & had been for a week. Next time, my advice is to call ahead to this place, and as before park in $5 a day parking just south of there around 800 South Wells St. Instead we ended up at Arlington House, a hostel near DePaul University north of the downtown. There's a redline stop about five minutes away & it is in a nice part of town. About a 15 minute ride to downtown from there.
It is summer and there are a lot of foreigners running around campus. Today, I spotted two Spanish girls sitting outside Chipotle, alone. They had this forlorn look on them that said so this is America. Yes, things come around full circle in this great country of ours...
...a displaced Anasazi Indian checks into a hotel. There is a Kokopelli on the wall and he stares at it for a long long time.
It's been a long time since I've had a day like yesterday. Yesterday, I actually got things done--I was performing at capacity. Not bad for 4 hours of sleep.
Was up in the middle of night trying to figure out important life issues. Coincidentally Jamaimer was up too because of a disturbing experience she'd had that day at work. So, we figured things out together at 5 in the morning. Her female advice was...indispensable.
Another busy day at work, and then I went over to the rec center & got a membership to the rock climbing wall for the summer. You can't get a non-student membership there, I guess to protect sorority girls from creepy desperate old men (like I will be someday or maybe already am?). So I was psyched and went climbing for a while, the first time in like 4 months.
A beautiful day outside and for the first time in a month we actually had numbers for ultimate, played a good game until dark. Went home, showered, called Mark & Yun & decided we're gonna go to Chicago, the three of us, this weekend. Since it's a 3-day weekend and, well, because Chicago rocks my face off.
Then I got to see Jake. Now that he's working two jobs--construction by day, a job waiting tables by night--he's a scarce quantity. Met him over at the Catholic church. They were celebrating some event or another in the basement and there was a keg, which made for a really weird sight. He & I and his girlfriend (of about a month) Dawn went up to the choir loft where there's a new grand piano, and Jake played for us. The piano sounds great--every note you touch sets of small cathedral echoes so it really doesn't matter what you play almost. But no he's good, in the past he's even willed music somehow out of the worst piano ever.
We went out for drinks at Zen's bar, which is alone among Lincoln bars in that you can actually hold conversations and there is no fratmosphere. Along the way Jake kept picking flowers and putting them in Dawn's hair. Already, she puts up with a lot of crap and is a super cool girl all around. Not for putting up with crap but just for being fun & happy. She's a mascot for the Huskers and the Salt Dogs baseball team. Once, Jake & I were driving around downtown when we saw a giant dog and a crocodile out in front of Runza's, and he's like "Dude, I think that's my girlfriend wearing a giant dog suit on the corner..." We stopped and it was.
On the way back we came across a swarm of ants. Jake & I stooped to watch. Individually, they were moving in little random circles, bumping into another ant about every second. At which point they would pause and feel each other, communicating something. It was chaos but something was clearly being accomplished, and none of them probably had a clue. So we stomped on them all.
(A giant peers down at a green blue planet. He sees pink bipeds running around frantically, randomly bumping into each other and exchanging worthless bits of information. Clearly, something is going on here on the larger scale which these things are not aware of. Or perhaps they are just in a state of denial. So he stomps on them all.)
This morning I was on a radio talk show with UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman. Guess I'm kind of the goto nerd for the JDE program right now...whenever they need some PR I go and try my darndest. Mostly, I just try not to screw up.
So I was trying not to screw up today as I talked to the host & the Chancellor, fumbling over words etc.--you know, what I usually do--and I realized that here I am with two people who communicate with people all day long, every day, for a living. And on the other hand here I am a guy who sometimes goes several days without saying a single word to another human being. One of these things is not like the other...
Well, I finally updated at least the index page of my horrifying and long-dormant actual website. Which is the parent website of this blog. Also I updated my resume so that my horn is being tooted louder, and longer, than ever before.
Half-hearted attempt to keep weblog updated: ready, set, go. School's over & I am now transitioning to summer mode. Have a job now with a small spinoff company that will continue work on a few JDE Design Studio projects. It's exciting but I am still looking for a job on the coasts or abroad, something I can stick with for a year or two & get that all-important 2+ years of experience merit badge.
Was in South Dakota last Monday & Tuesday on business. At one point the 4 lane highway suddenly morphed into a gravel road, and then back again. That was the highlight of the trip for me. Yeah, it was a fun trip.
Then I decided to drive home & see the family, whom I haven't seen since Christmastime. That was great. My sisters are huge now, and I spent half the time remarking on this fact, which puts me right up there with grandparents and other mostly marginal observers of their lives. Saw Ed too though he slept day and night.
Ed & I overhead one little boy telling another little boy the following truism as they climbed a tree: "The nutsac is the wiener. And the wiener is the nutsac." (And at that moment, he achieved enlightenment.) Funny how misguided you are at that age, but you want to know the truth, you want to know.
At home I dug out all those old sci-fi stories I wrote when I was 14 and 15. Young male is oppressed by futuristic society, rebels or otherwise gets revenge, in the process using cool shit like "hyperthermal monochromal boosters." Dialog usually involves only one person. Talking to himself. Or the dialog is empty and declarative, obviously just a plot device. A lamentable reflection of the author's own state of estrangement, ha.
(He clenches his fist and fires the hyperthermal monochromal boosters on his jet pack. "Technology is a beautiful thing," he remarks to himself, hurling headlong towards his adversary. There is a crunching sound when his fist makes contact with the oppressor's nutsac. Which, incidentally, is the wiener.)
Dream in which I am driving, and lay my head down on the passenger seat next to me. Feels like I am having heartburn. Then I open my eyes, there are thin streams of watery vomit running from my mouth and over the edge of the seat. I am looking up through the windshield at the trees from a kids-eye view. Suddenly, the realization hits me that I am going to plow into something headlong, and die. Wake up in a cold sweat.
This blog got hit by a comment spam bot for the first time the other day. As a result, you now have to enter a 6 digit number (ticketmaster style) displayed in an image in order to post a comment. Sorry about the inconvenience ladies & gentlemen, let this not deter you from setting me straight on anything & everything.