Possibly My Last LiveJournal Entry Ever

This might be my last LiveJournal entry ever.

My 2009 resolution is to stop trying to keep track of everything and just live life as it comes. No more trying to signpost things with things like LiveJournal or trying to see a movie a week at the Logan Theater.

I'm just going to see where life leads.

Tonight ends one of the worst years of my entire life, thankfully.

When my camera broke last month, I think I'm even going to give up on flickr. Or at least not bother with a photo of the day. That's a definite.

I'm not even bringing my camera to the New Year's party I'm going to tonight. I decided in the end to go to Hillary's party (though I should be going to the Yelp party). It might suck but at least I'll be amongst familiar faces. Some hostile, some friendly.

Then in 2009, I'll just see where everything leads with said faces.

This whole endeavor might make it seem like life is getting away from me, but it can't get much worse.

Yesterday night and early this morning was really the pinnacle of how I can screw everything up. I don't even want to talk about it in a public forum.

I've learned it doesn't help.

December 31, 2008 seems like the perfect bookend to January 1, 2003. So I'll probably be back at random points throughout the year. Those of you I've become sort of real life friends with, I'm on Facebook and Yelp with.

Hope all of you have an amazing 2009.

Fond farewell!

The Day After The Beginning Of An Era

I am really proud of Michigan tonight.

One of the most amazing thing in pouring over the results from the election yesterday was there was a string of blue from Wayne County to Lake Michigan across the whole I-94 corridor.

And that included Jackson County with Obama carried 50 to 48%.

For those who don't follow Michigan closely, that's Ted Nugent's county!

In the next row of counties up, my home county growing up, Oakland County, went blue for the first time in my lifetime. I would have to think that this has to do with Pontiac and Southfield but I'm still proud of my home county. Also they kicked out Joe Knollenberg. I can't believe he lasted so long. I campaigned against that guy in 1992 when he was first elected.

I'm still in disbelief that Obama actually won.

I'm glad that I didn't go to the Obamalovefest in Grant Park yesterday because I couldn't handle those people.

Those people who never had a doubt in their mind that he could do it.

It's like most of the people that I know who attended were so blinded throughout the general election that they figured Obama had no chance of blowing it.

Thank goodness that he didn't, of course, but I was much happier to be at the 1st Ward Young Democrats party at Moonshine in Wicker Park. There were a lot of high five and hugs. But no tears.

No thinking that Obama was going to save the world on day one.

While I'm glad he won, I am getting really sick of some Obama supporters. I'm glad they're on the right side but, really, there's some ignorance around that bothers me as much as Republicans.

There, I said it, I feel better.
  • Current Mood
    exhausted exhausted

Too Busy To Write But Still Not Wanting To Miss A Month

Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo and for all the talk I had at the end of last month about planning, that has not happened even slightly.

In fact, I'm probably just going to drift around endlessly following whatever plot is thrown at me in some dare thread. Yeah, this might be the year that I do that. After all, it's just a journey story so what is there to lose to have random occurances. As long as the character develops along the way, right?

I'm so rudderless this year, I might even skip the kickoff party tomorrow.

Of course that more depends on how drunk I get tonight. And the fact that I've been sick for a week or so. I think January 1, 2009 might just be the day that I give up trying to keep everything organized and just let it all fly off willy nilly.

And, yikes, that's only two months away.

In the course of the last month, I feel like my life has gotten more busy despite absolutely nothing changing in it.

And there's no rest for the wicked in sight.

I remember the good old days when October was a cool down month from the summer before NaNoWriMo started. This October has been a constant whirling motion.

But I guess this beats the alternative of sitting around doing nothing so I shouldn't complain.

The Summer Is Over Now, So Maybe The Kilter Will Even

So in the last month, I have joined another social networking site that has pulled me further away from LiveJournal.

I'm now on Yelp.

As most people reading this right now know, I like to review things. I can't just observe things (including, probably sadly, people) without coming up with some opinion that I hope is, at most, astute, and at least correct.

So, yeah, that's yet another reason why I only post here once a month.

There is something that I would never post on Yelp that I guess LiveJournal serves its purpose life is falling apart!

Try putting that into a review for total strangers.

So I tried to plan this trip to the Indiana Dunes this weekend. And it happened. For six people. Which I guess is a pretty good size but it took such hand wringing and disappointment to get to that level that I wonder why I even bother trying to plan anything.

Oh, the irony of Facebook. Apparently I'm still the #3 Best to Hang Out With For The Day amongst my nearly 100 friends and yet no one wants to hang out with me.

I'm also the #3 Most Datable and we just won't go into that.

Anyhow, yeah, I'm really feeling as I should just crawl back into a shell and not be social anymore. I'm sort of on the outs with everyone I've met in the past couple years.

I feel like, besides Anna and maybe Megan, I wouldn't really be friends with any of them if I didn't work with them. Of course that only leaves a couple of people.

It's just amazing how I don't fit in with anyone that I hang out with. It's a fact I discovered last Saturday at a party at Hillary's.

It used to be that I wanted to kick the crap out of hippies and now I'm surrounded by them.

I was just really glad that Samantha got back into town last week because I was about to go a bit crazy depending on the ultimately undependable.

Maybe I am getting too old to live in the city.

Or just too conservative.

I swear that as a moderate Democrat, I feel like people are viewing me as this Republican.

I don't know, maybe I'm just insatiable because looking back on August, I had more plans than I knew what to do with.

I'm still cropping photos from all of these amazing activities that I had.

My Lollapalooza photos from the start of the month are long done and are at:

And a week later I went to visit Samantha on her mother's farm.

And this weekend, I've had plans all three days. I don't even know when I'm going to finish posting those photos.

It's just that I feel like they're other people's plans.

I have lots of groups of friends but I always feel like I'm tagging along and when it's my thing, it's like pulling teeth to try to get these groups together for something that's mine.

Maybe I just need to deal with it.

I don't know. What I do know is this drunken rambling will probably do me no good so I'm going to stop now. Maybe September will be better.

I'm just not doing well with the end of summer and what I hoped would happen and never did.
  • Current Mood
    drunk drunk

This Is Not As Messy As Other Things To Talk About

And another month draws to an end and I really don't want to discuss what's going on in my life. It's pretty fucked up right now (nothing Earth shattering, just the usual).

So instead I'll just discuss Lollapalooza.

I've really been spending the last month trying to learn as much as I could about as many bands on the bill as possible. This year I was pretty much starting from scratch.

I made one discovery that I'm sure a lot of people already knew about and that was K'Naan. I had never heard of the guy before the lineup was announced. But now I'm more excited for his set than anyone except for Bloc Party and maybe Kanye West.

I have unofficially named this Lollapalooza, "K'Naan to Kanye 2008."

It's funny because despite seeing a rap act at the beginning and at the end, I'm seeing none in-between. There are still times I don't know what I'm seeing but no one is going to surprise me. Maybe quality of performance but I know more of the bands now than any year since 2006 when I was actually into music.

This, as close as I can approximate, is my Lollapalooza 2008 schedule:


11:30-12:15 K'Naan
1:00-1:45 Manchester Orchestra
2:15-3:15 The Go! Team
3:15-4:15 The Kills (I actually like Duffy better but she's on the wrong side fo the park)
4:15-5:15 Gogol Bordello
5:15-6:15 Mates Of State (I'll be hearing them from afar as I camp out for Bloc Party</font>
6:15-7:15 Bloc Party
7:15-8:00 VHS Or Beta DJs (I may end up at Stephen Malkmus)
8:00-9:30 Radiohead
10:00-2:00 Gutter Twins After Show


11:45-12:30 De Novo Dahl (I really want to see them I just don't know if I'll wake up early enough
12:45-1:30 The Ting Tings (I may end up seeing Does It Offend You, Yeah? if I really like them the night before opening for the Gutter Twins)
2:30-3:30 The Gutter Twins
3:30-4:30 Perry Ferrel & Special Guest (rumor is, it's Moby and I can't pass that up, if it turns out not to be, I'll be at DeVotchKa)
4:30-5:30 Brand New
5:30-6:00 Does It Offend You, Yeah DJ Set
6:30-7:30 Battles
7:30-8:30 Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (it's on the other side of the festival from Rage but I can't stand The Toadies)
8:30-10:00 Rage Against The Machine
11:00-2:00 Flogging Molly After Show


11:15-12:00 Ha Ha Tonka (again, I might not wake up in time)
12:00-12:30 The Blakes (there's still an outside chance I'll see Office)
12:30-1:15 White Lies (this band is good and on the wrong side of the park)
1:15-1:45 The Whigs
1:45-2:30 Tally Hall (just a crap band but they're representing Michigan)
2:30-3:00 Nicole Atkins & The Sea
3:30-4:30 Black Kids
4:30-5:00 Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves (I may just camp for Flogging Molly instead)
5:15-6:15 Flogging Molly
6:30-7:30 Girl Talk
7:30-8:30 Mark Ronson
8:30-10:00 Kanye West

Those yellow and red bands I can be lured away from if anyone wants to meet up at a different band. Text me from the information page.

I don't even know who's going to be there since I never read LiveJournal anymore but if you are, I want to see you.

It's going to be a crazy weekend!

One Last Entry To End The First Half Of 2008

So it has been two months since I last wrote. I'm still keeping up my streak of writing at least one entry a month since 2003 but just barely.

I've been really busy since I got back from my road trip to Washington D.C. For those who haven't seen what's kept me busy all that time, my vacation album on flickr is at: Americana road trip 2008.

As was bound to happen eventually, I'm now living my life almost completely on flickr on my photo a day account. I know a few people on here have come over there with me and I still see some of you on Facebook but I think except for checking in this once a month, I'm not even going to pretend to be on LiveJournal.

I used to say that the reason I didn't write was my life was so uneventful but really that's not the case.

Toward the end of last month, my life took a major turn when I moved into a new place on Milwaukee Avenue (a little too well documented on my photo a day account on flickr).

With this new apartment, I really have turned over a new leaf.

I'm cooking, I'm cleaning, and I'm even going to sleep at relatively (for me at least) early times every night.

This place is so quiet and so minimal that my mind really does feel uncluttered. Sometimes a little too much so. July seems like it will be a very busy month but I don't even want to picture how boring that winter might be.

Speaking of which, today was my five year anniversary on Netflix. It's really hard to imagine that until five years ago, I barely ever watched movies. Now this year I'm on pace for well over 300 movies (well, maybe not well over but just around).

Though I think I decided recently I'm going to start to watch TV on DVD. It seems as though I lack conversational skills as all of my friends now are old enough that they've gone back to television.

Of course, some of them never left.

And I have nothing against television. Though my first attempt at this, watching an episode of "Rome" with Samantha (who I now live a block away from) and Allen was a failure. I just could not get into it.

I think I'm going to attempt "Rescue Me" or "Weeds" (because the latter is available watch instantly on Netflix).

But if anyone has a T.V. show (not "Lost" - because that show just makes me cry when I watch it - or any show that has ended) they'd like to recommend, let me know.

On the photography front, I recently got the front page on Gapers Block with this photo:

putting some last minute touches on the art

So I'm pretty proud of that.

I also got an e-mail about this photo being considered for publication in a magazine (not a 'zine but an honest to goodness glossy type):

another angle on the Madonna statue

But I never heard back from them, so I don't think it's a go.

Oddly enough, these two photos considered publishable, I don't particularly like. Maybe my taste has just gone to crap again. With my new camera, I'm still not striking the right balance for both laptop and desktop monitors yet, so that might say something.

Well, off to start the second half of the year.

Hopefully it's better than the first. Though I'm kind of guessing it will be about the same. If anything eventful happens, I'll try not to wait a month to put it on here again.
  • Current Mood
    content content

Under The Shadow Of The Mothman's Bridge


Although I'm staying across the Ohio River from Point Pleasant, WV, I couldn't have asked for a better hotel location.

The Super 8 Gallipolis is right under the Silver Memorial Bridge. I can actually hear the cars going over it. Were the bridge to collapse again tonight, it would fall on top on the hotel. O.K., that's a little bit of an exaggeration since it would most likely fall straight down into the Ohio River but if it tipped on its side and there was, say, a mythical beast to push it 200 yards or so, some debris would fall on the hotel.

Having already been to a wax museum today at Natural Bridge, VA, I'm not about to even think about going into Point Pleasant after dark. I should have known better than to walk into a wax museum by myself since those things freak me out and driving in on U.S. 35 to this point was traumatic due to my scaredy senses being on edge.

Though I think the idea of falling asleep on a road with no lighting scared me more than an actual Mothman sighting in the monster's footsteps.

I can't wait to get home although I know a lot of stress is about to await me there.

Not only do I have to find a new apartment in the next couple of weeks (though Hillary has offered me her basement temporarily if I can't find one), but I have to figure out how I'm going to get to Cincinnati for work next weekend.

The problem is that I loaned Hillary my car and she did what I've done before and turned the key one click too far (meaning that the clock was on and ran out the battery).

In attempting to jump it, she reversed the wires and killed the battery.

I'm supposed to loan my sister the car to borrow hers to drive to Cincinnati. I mean, renting another car on the company tab wouldn't be the worst thing. I just don't know if I have the credit on any of my cards.

And I know I won't after the final drive home tomorrow.

I made a couple of unscheduled stops today that I highly recommend.

The world's last wooden covered bridge is right off Exit 10 in Virginia off of I-64 (it's on U.S. 60 but don't do what I did and take the long road getting off of U.S. and onto a couple of Virginia byways which luckily led back to White Sulphur Springs, WV). It's in the middle of a nice park about a mile off the highway.

I only found out about it because Virgina has these tourist information stations on 1610 and 1620 AM throughout the state.

Virginia really is an exciting state that I've sadly neglected up until this point in my life (except the D.C. suburbs).

I also stopped off in Staunton, VA to see the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.

The library and museum was meh but the town is amazing. It's the little pocket of liberal artsyism in the middle of one of the reddest sections of Virginia. Nothing was open to eat at but other than that, it's a town I would definitely visit again.

Though the town's love for Robert E. Lee along with Woodrow Wilson was a bit disconcerting.

Natural Bridge was the tourist trap that it's cracked up to be but the bridge is spectacular and worth the money it takes to walk down to a place that should be free to the public as part of a national park.

Or at least have a turn off before U.S. 11 runs over it (which I took and didn't even realize where it was on the bridge).

Tonight was the earliest I've gotten into a hotel all trip so I should probably use this opportunity to get a full eight hours of sleep.

After all, work beckons on the other side of tomorrow. One last to-do on the way home and I'm back in Chicago.

I've definitely accomplished tiring myself out of traveling for at least a couple of months (business travel aside, of course, as I can't avoid that).
  • Current Mood
    nervous nervous

The Trip Reaches Its Final Legs To Get Home


Throughout my trip planning, one thing has been bothering me about the way home. It seem virtually impossible to see the Mothman Museum (which doesn't open until 10:00 a.m.) in Point Pleasant, WV and the Ohio Small Town Museum in Ashville, OH (which is only open until 3:00 p.m. since it runs on small town time).

Although the entire purpose of this trip was to reconnect to small town America, I'd much rather see the Mothman Museum. Though I also tried to play around with U.S. 40 as much as possible so I may just do that on the way home.

Though I will pass through Ashville, OH on the way to U.S. 40 (at least the relatively quickest way) on the way home from Point Pleasant, WV. And the Mothman Museum does seem like a tourist trap anyhow (of course I'm trying to hit as many of those as possible).

Maybe I just won't worry about it until tomorrow evening when I'm getting ready to plan the very last leg of the trip for Monday.

The actual destination portion of my trip has been great.

Maggie and Ty have been really good hosts in the D.C. metro area and today we went to see this Swedish "Napoleon Dynamite" (at least that's what it gets compared to) called "King Of Ping Pong" as part of the D.C. Film Fest.

Yesterday I saw this visually appealing piece called "The Contestant" from Spain about a fictional character who wins the biggest prize in television history and realizes that the taxes and upkeep will mean he's actually poorer than before (which drives him crazy to some hilarious and shocking results).

Neither movie blew me away but I do recommend "The Contestant."

One thing that travelling with locals (and having been to D.C. numerous times) has helped me to do was see sights that most tourists don't.

Today we discovered one of D.C.'s hidden treasures, the Congression Cemetery (which, be warned anyone trying to discover it is nowhere near Congress and closer to RFK Stadium).

While there are some famous people buried there (such as John Phillip Sousa and J. Edgar Hoover), the place fell into complete disrepair. Led by a group of neighborhood dogwalkers it was brought "back to life" (ironically) and now it's an off the beaten path wonder - for people who don't mind things slightly morbid.

The entire time we were there, there was only one geo-cacher that would even slightly constitute a tourist. The rest of the people in the park were local dog walkers (who actually have to sign up for a membership) who knew more about the park than any tour guide (and were more than willing to share this knowledge) I had in D.C.

We also went to the Library of Congress today which was maybe not worth the tour (we got a bad guide). Yesterday I went to the National Archives and the National Postal Museum. Both were slightly disappointing.

But I think no one actually goes to the Archives for any other reason than to see the original copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Those were definitely worth their while if for no other reason than the herding that takes place to see them.

Definitely the most Americana portion of this Americana trip.

Well, off to sleep. I'm doing a bad job of trip journaling but I plan on doing a better job of reconstructing the whole thing on Yahoo Travel when I get back.

There really have been some exciting adventures. I think I've just been too tired through this whole thing to remember them.
  • Current Mood
    tired tired

Sea Level Will Definitely Be Welcome Tomorrow


If I never see another mountain as long as I live - or at least until next week when I drive through them again - it might be too soon.

One thing I learned yesterday night driving through the West Virginia mountains at night on U.S. 40 was that it might be better to drive through them at night if not on an interstate. This afternoon I drove through a wide swath of the mountain in Pennsylvania on U.S. 30 and while it was definitely more interesting than the interstate, I don't recommend it.

The whole thing reminded me of driving through Ireland a few years ago on little sleep and no food.

Because that's very similar to what I did yesterday.

In the interest of making time, I drove straight through lunch. I kept justifying it by saying that it was only so-and-so back in Chicago (ah the joys of the Eastern Time Zone). I had planned on eating at restaurants to go along with my Americana theme but in the end I ended up eating at a Taco Bell just inside the Ohio border.

Pushing for Washington, PA (that's the way all the signs are labeled) was probably too much for yesterday as I ended up getting in just before 1:00 a.m.

Still I was up and about early today and managed to do almost everything I wanted to do. I ended up just sort of missing the old pike toll booth just after Uniontown, PA today and then just plain skipped Fort Necessity as it's just a bunch of hiking trails (so it wasn't much of a necessity after all).

Other than that, I took photos on High Street in Morgantown. I did half the auto tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park (the road being closed prevented me from doing the rest) and I saw the Flight 93 memorial in western Pennsylvania.

Now I lay my head to rest in eastern Pennsylvania (though a Pennsylvania would definitely call it central Pennsylvania, the ride just from York makes Lancaster feel east) and only have Maryland to go tomorrow (and, well, D.C. as well since I'm staying with friends in Virginia).

I hope to be to their place in the southern Virginia 'burbs by 5:00 p.m. to get back into D.C. by 9:00 p.m. for a Polish movie in the D.C. Film Festival (after all, that's the reason I was going to D.C. in the first place) but with how I've been making time, it's more likely I'll just collapse when I get to Woodbridge.

My birthday on Monday went nicely. Morgan pulled a trick that I like to play and set up for days that she wasn't going to be able to make it.

Then she showed up at the bowling alley for a nice surprise.

I was going to skip Morgantown if she didn't show up. That was my surprise back. I've been telling her for weeks that I wasn't going to make it to her namesake city. Then I was going to surprise her.

Though I have to say that while Morgantown is positively beautiful (and wasn't very far off track) the students who go to West Virginia University are just plain nuts.

I have never seen a campus that had so many hills. One hill had a grade that was straight down, I swear. Well just enough to let a car stay on its wheels without flipping end over end.

But Pennsylvania has shown me that the laws of physics don't necessarily apply to road building (bless the engineers who know just how far to push it).

I'll just be glad to be back at sea level tomorrow. And I'll be glad to not be driving for a couple of days.

One point of this trip was to get the driving urge out of my system and see wonderful things and small town America.

I have more than accomplished that.

And I've even reconnected with terrestrial radio (every station near Gettysburg was playing Laura Ingraham simultaneously, I swear and now I know how red America stays red as there is no voice except shrill ones) and now I just want to get back to sattelite.

And my new camera has taken some splendid photos. Though my memory card is incompatable with my laptop (built pre-SDHC) so I won't be sure of that fact until I can see them large.

More adventures await tomorrow so I should probably get some sleep.
  • Current Music
    Hotel Air Conditioning

How I Spent More Money Than If I Was On Vacation

Last year at this time I was in the United Kingdom spending dollars at 2 to 1 rate and I still don't think I managed to have such an expensive weekend.

On Saturday, I managed to run through $320.00 with almost nothing to show for it. Well my car back I guess.

It started out as a brilliant idea on my part. I was going to go downtown and take some photos of Earth Hour here in Chicago. I woke up from a nap around 6:30 p.m. and rode downtown on Milwaukee Avenue to Jackson Street. I went past the library and pulled into a parking space at Jackson and Wabash about a block east of the main public library.

There was a no parking sign on the other side of a driveway but I parked behind two other cars so I thought I was fine.

At about 7:55 p.m., I went over to the library to take some photos of the lights being turned off at the building. 8:00 (the time the city was supposed to black out) came and went and still nothing. So I went back to my car to go to the John Hancock area on North Michigan Avenue and take photos from there.

Only to find that my car was gone!

For those who don't know my car it's a 1998 Plymouth Breeze. It still runs fine but it's got a blue book value of somewhere right around $500.00. It's hardly worth stealing. I figured that it was probably towed.

But then I realized that the Chicago Police Department probably doesn't work that fast and thought it might be stolen.

I frantically called 911 and was told that they did have my car and that it was at 400 E. Wacker in the city's main tow lot. I asked the officer how much the impound fee was and he said that he didn't know.

Now there's a reason I was going to be environmentally unfriendly and drive north during Earth Hour. Saturday night was ass chilling cold (at least for late March). Still, I tried to do mind over matter and walk through it to the lot and get my car out.

Now, I figured I knew the city but the main tow lot is on Lower Wacker Drive and not Upper Wacker Drive. I sort of ignored a sign pointing to how to get there thinking that I knew better.

how I spent my Earth Hour 2008

This proved to be quite an undoing as the wind off of Lake Michigan froze my face and my brain.

Eventually I wandered through some park and ended up on Lower Wacker to get my car out. I figured since I hadn't left it overnight or anything it wouldn't be expensive. There in the window, however, was a sign that read it cost $160.00 to get the car out of the lot.

I gladly paid the fine as the thought of walking back to the El from where I stood was a fearful one indeed.

On the way out of the lot, the guard had me show him the ticket and he reminded me that I still owed $60 for the parking fine. I said, "what was the $160.00 that I just paid?" He said this was separate. I even asked him if I had to pay it now since I figured the city was about to gip me again.

He, thankfully, said that I could mail it in.

So, this shot here (the only one I took that I'm even slightly satisfied with) is the most expensive ($220.00) photo that I have ever taken:

Earth Hour in Marina City (Chicago) 2008

Combine this with the fact that my laptop at through a power cord again on Saturday morning and I spent $320.00 U.S. It would have taken a lot on an average vacation day in the United Kingdom to burn through 160 pounds so I think I would have been better off being on vacation!

I have actually decided what my next big vacation is going to be...

I'm going on the great post-industrial road trip tour of election year 2008.

I was planning on going to Washington D.C. for D.C. Filmfest at the end of April and beginning of May anyhow but I was going to fly there and go to a lot of the festival. Instead, I'm going to drive there on April 29 and April 30 (leaving the day after my 33rd birthday should be a good chance to think and find myself in a car), stay in D.C. on the 30th through May 2 and then drive home on May 3 and 4.

The reason I decided to drive was because I could go through three of the big swing states in the United States just before the election this year: Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

I'll also be going through Indiana and Maryland but, you know, those are pretty much decided.

I'm going to go through small town America by taking the U.S. highways as opposed to the interstates as well and try to get some pictures (and overhear conversations in restaurants and such).

So I'm really looking forward to it. And hopefully no day will cost $320 on it (especially since I'm staying with friends in suburban Virginia so there's no hotel cost in expensive D.C.). I don't know if my credit cards or wallet can handle another day like that.
  • Current Music
    The Dajeerling Limited soundtrack