Because I am also occasionally capable of planning ahead... it turns out I'm going to Pitchfork Music Festival again this year. I missed last year because 1) 3-day passes sold out quickly and 2) I didn't much care for the initial line-up. But so far this year we have Animal Collective, Cut Copy, TV on the Radio, Fleet Foxes, Woods, Destroyer... and that alone checks off a good number of Bands I've Been Meaning To See. Then there are the rumor lists, which host a few other Usual Suspects that I'd be more than happy to see. (I love the rumors that Arcade Fire will show up, but do I think it'll actually happen? Not really. Would my summer be that much more awesome if I could check them off of my list? Of course. Would I be surprised if, if they were actually playing, Pitchfork kept them a secret until after tickets were sold out just to be completely ridiculously obnoxious? No... no I would not. And so, if I was going to entertain a conspiracy theory... that would be the one I'd pick.)

So! Anyone going to be in Chicago in mid-July that wants to come along? We'll wear skinny jeans and flannel shirts and I'll give you a ride on the back of my bike (we'll be so two years ago, it'll be awesome).

I've bought... a lot of concert tickets in the last few weeks. It kind of makes up for last year being particularly barren in that regard.

Spam spam spammity spam, sorry. Anyone else notice how I occasionally have these phases where I'm all "doom, gloom! everything is useless I am useless blah!" and then a few days later "screw all of this, I am going to do ALL OF THE THINGS until I feel better"? Because I am definitely noticing a pattern.
evilhippo: hippo (29 [omgwtfwasthat])
( Feb. 27th, 2011 05:29 pm)
I was semi-reliably informed today that Chicago is "finally hip". We've pulled up alongside New York City, apparently because in the last ten years or so we've become shinier (in reality, we are shinier because we wanted the Olympics, I think, and it hasn't worn off yet. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying it! I also think Rahm will have to maintain the shine for a little while, at least, or risk looking like a bad mayor). Also we're located on a pretty lake, we've run the midwest out of trees (and parks out of names--we've been numbering them lately), and we finally found a solution to the "no street vendors" issue*.

Aside from my hipster worries about people coming and upsetting the delicate balance of "not terrible" the city has achieved in a the last couple of years... it's kind of right. Since about 2008 we've gone from an odd grey little city with a mob history that suddenly found itself politically relevant to one that suddenly had free concerts nearly every night of the week**, that was courting designers and start-ups, that suddenly has movies and tv shows filmed in it, that was home to recent juggernaut Groupon***... etc etc.****

* Okay, this is seriously the most amusing thing in Chicago right now. We are currently plagued by cupcake trucks. Sometime around August or so, last summer, the city officially approved the sale of "prepackaged" food from trucks on the streets (still no food prep on the go). There'd been one food truck already in the city, that managed to get itself licensed as a restaurant due to a bit of a fluke (really, the best sort), but other than a few illicit outfits that was it for street food in Chicago (and said food truck, All Fired Up, pretty much hit bars after midnight). Now, however, I cannot leave work for lunch without tripping over lines for Flirty Cupcakes or Sprinkles or any number of other recent additions to the cupcake van business. There's also a truck that sells nothing but macaroni and cheese, and one that sells nothing but meatballs. I mean, I know of people that are stunned that we manage to sustain a business that serves nothing but popcorn, but this is a whole new level of food single-mindedness. (And I love it. A part of me wants very, very badly to open a food truck. And, now that I've heard that Kitchen Chicago is how some people do it... I'm very tempted (now that we're equal with NYC) to get up early, make a giant batch of bagels, find someone to make some artisanal cream cheese, package them together, and then sell them off the back of my bike. I mean, really, what is a city without a bagel vendor in the morning? And I'd probably get points for being crazy. (And if I do this soon, people are more likely to notice, since there's only the plague of cupcake vans and a handful of actual food vans in the city right now. This summer, I imagine, will be a different story.) Oh! And one other perk to the food van thing! It's also been picked up by farmers. This morning, I stopped by C & D Farms' van to get some bacon and fresh eggs. It was parked not more than three blocks up the street from me. On one hand: I'm pretty sure you don't get much more ridiculous yuppie-hipster-locavore than that and everyone within 50 yards is probably shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. On the other: The inevitable two dollar surcharge for letting animals roam free goes directly to someone who knows the animals personally (and, also, who remembers her customers and teases me for being able to balance my bike while using both hands to load eggs and bacon into my already-overfull bag. There's something quite nice about that. It reminds me of the farmstands at home, even if it is on four wheels and was driven over from Indiana).******

** Number one reason I am looking forward to it being warm again. There have been rumblings that New Music Mondays and the other free concerts at Millennium Park might be ending this year, and if they do... I am going to be so sad. I'm sure it's not cheap for the city, but it really makes every single thing about the city at least 70% more tolerable. Even if things like the She & Him show last year sometimes make it entirely impossible to find a place to lock your bike up in the loop.

*** Still haven't hired me and are doubtlessly luring more helpless writers into the city, further saturating the market for strange jokes, puns, and general surreal copy. Why must you ruin everything, Groupon?!

**** There's actually a part of me that wonders if I've just figured out how to use the city properly, but that article does seem to present some evidence that it's not just me, and the city was suckier when I first came here back in 2003... I worry when I see articles like this, though, because I'm used to reading them after the fun part is over, and it makes me feel like Chicago is already done being "hip" and by summer we'll be overrun by people who also want to be "hip" (who will then encounter next winter and go home, provided they're not from NYC or something, since at least we're better at dealing with snow). Plus there are still things like this and I mean... Minneapolis, Madison, Cleveland (Heights), but no theatre in Chicago can bother? Psh.

****** Yes, actually, all I really wanted to write about were the food trucks, but I kind of got distracted.
I don't even know where to begin to start. Did I even mention I was going to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear? I probably didn't. It kind of didn't register in the midst of the giant Thing that was the Paris trip, and then the middle of October went pchoooo and suddenly I was on a bus populated by Redditors and hippie liberals. (Now with pictures!)

So maybe I should start there, at the beginning, with the bus. )

tl;dr I hitched a ride with the internet.

A brief interlude at a rest stop McDonalds )

tl;dr Some guy threw my french fries on the ground in an attempt to flirt at me.

But let's get to the important stuff! The rally! )

tl;dr Rally was good! And freaking Generation Y, how do we work? (At least we're fun to watch?) (Are we Generation Y? I kind of forgot to keep track. Interesting side note, though, is that there seemed to be a lot of 20-somethings and a lot of people in their greying years, but not a whole lot in between.)

Also, since I'm here: Happy Halloween, guys!
Today it was 70 out and beautiful. If I'm not mistaken, it snowed a Saturday or two ago... but as far as manic spring weather goes, I much prefer things in this direction. I rode my bike to work for the second time, which was lovely. I'm wondering if I'll ever get tired of the lakeside commute if I keep it up all summer (I'm already tired of the north side lakshore trial, but that's because it's too crowded). I'm also enjoying figuring out which albums I have that are almost exactly the length of my commute. Today's was Akron/Family's Meek Warrior, which is exactly as long as it takes me to get from the 55th street entrance onto the Lakeshore trail to my office door (including locking my bike up).

Work was the usual, so we'll skip that part. I got it in my head yesterday that what I really needed to do was go see Spoon, Deerhunter, and Micachu tomorrow night. Honestly, it's rare that a show has three bands I'd really like to see, and three I haven't seen, at that. And if I could dodge the ticketmaster fees, it was under my $30 limit for a show. So, I decided, why not just bike up to the Vic (which has a functional box office that sells tickets for the Aragon). I think, at least I'm pretty sure, I had some idea of the fact that I was going to have to make this trek on city roads. And so I set off northways after work, trying to find roads downtown that weren't full of cars during rush hour (this is impossible). Miraculously, there was only one jerk taxi that tried to run me onto the sidewalk, and everyone else, every single other car over the five-mile journey (during rush hour!) was courteous. Probably because it was nice out, so everyone in Chicago was in a much better mood. Though I did have bike lanes once I was out of the loop, so that helped too. (Holy crap I can't believe google tells me it was five miles up there. It went by so quickly I even overshot the street I was looking for! Probably because I was terrified... And because, unlike the lakefront, it wasn't windy).

The ride back was kind of like a fantastic version of I-Spy for city-dwellers. There was an Asian guy on rollerblades in a bright red cape (my personal favourite), businessmen sitting in the sand with their feet in the lake, a dude with a car stereo installed on his bike, newscasters (going "Look! The sun has returned to us!"), and a gaggle of gay men having some kind of photoshoot, all crammed together with the usual north side rabble of joggers and homicidal people on race bikes who think they're Serious Business, plus all the normal people who were out to try to shake off the horrid Chicago cabin fever. I will probably be doting on my bike for the next forever, but (un)surprisingly it was almost suited to dodging through this sort of nonsense. Hooray for lightweight, nimble bikes! (My poor old 6th grade bike was just... not meant to be a city bike. Poor thing. It tried so hard to explain this to me.)

So... my day was surprisingly nice and very active. I consider it a success. Though I've now finished consulting the google, and it tells me I biked a total of about 25 miles today. And my entire journey back down the lakefront was against the wind. I am going to feel this tomorrow. I am going to feel it very, very badly (also, I've already concluded that every bit I save in transit costs is going to go right back into my food budget. I've had two dinners tonight...)

I also think it's time for me to name my bike. I'm open to suggestions, because otherwise... er... it may end up being named The Stig, because it's been hanging out in my apartment with me, kind of looming in the background with its arms folded. Some say he thinks that pants are an acceptable road trip snack, and this is why all of my clothes now have mysterious holes in them. All we know is... he's called The Stig.
Today's interesting way of measuring time: My commute home by bike is exactly the length of Jose Gonzalez's Veneer. ... Technically, though, just the bit from Monroe and Lake Shore down to my apartment, so that cuts out all the terrifying street biking. The weather down was amazing, though. It went from about 60 degrees when I started to what felt like about 30 by the time I got back to Hyde Park. Hooray for spring in the midwest!

In my infinite foolishness this morning, I decided to actually try biking inside the loop downtown, on real, car-occupied roads. I hopped off of the lake trail at Roosevelt (which is 12th street, and the first major road you can get off of LSD onto; also the only one with a bike lane), which was terrifying. Then I went north on State, which was terrifying, so I turned and went a bit west on Harrison (6th street) which turned out to be also terrifying, then I went up Dearborn with a bus on my tail for three blocks which was, surprisingly, terrifying, but not as terrifying as finding myself in between two cars with the bus right next to me instead. Once I got within a block of work I just got off my bike and walked. It crossed my mind several times that I could have died with a bunch of complaints strapped to my back like some kind of suicidal bike messenger. Suffice to say I will probably not be trying that again... until it gets warmer out. And when I'm not carrying files. And when I know my bike a little better and am not getting my pants caught in the chain every quarter-mile. ...Or next time I'm biking to work and am really late.

Bonus points today to my office doorman, who saw I was carrying my front wheel and insisted that I wasn't allowed to bring my bicycle inside. I feel somewhat bad that my response was "Yes, that's why the rest of it is still outside." I think just being inside my building now makes me irritable and surly. Normal-me probably would've gone back outside and locked the wheel up properly.

So, my general verdict on my bike (this one, but with straight black handlebars and a black seat post instead) is that I like it quite a lot. I'm just not... as madly in love with it as I would've been with the $700 one I really wanted. But I know deep down in my heart that this bike will be pretty much exactly what I need around here once I get the fenders and rear rack on it, and I will come to love it far more than I would've loved the slightly uncomfortable and impractical pretty-bike. Alternately: Hooray for/curse pragmatism!
Brief summary of today:

Workworkwork, walk outside, workwork.
Have a salad that contained exactly three leaves. (Everything else was beets and goat cheese and walnuts and mandarins. It was delicious. But not a salad.)
Go to the bike shop. Waffle over bikes. Decide I don't really want the very pretty one, but end up enamored with a very practical black one.
Go for a walk. Waffle some more. Call mother. Discuss bicycle issue.
Return to bike shop. Convince salesman to correct the hideousness of the bike's handlebars. Replace most shiny things on the bike with matte black.
Buy bike.
Realize it's very nearly 9:00.
Bike very quickly to the movie theater to watch ODDSAC.
Attempt to find some kind of plot line in said movie, despite being almost 20 minutes late and it being an experimental film.
Never look at marshmallows the same way again.
Have a very odd urge to find a good-quality bootleg of it for iconing purposes.
Sit in amazement while witnessing actual militant feminist film critics snarking at the director (fantastic).
Introduce the new bike to the CTA. (I can carry it up stairs. With one hand! It is fantastic for that reason alone. But also it is very fast (nearly a street bike, really). And pretty in a much more practical way. I think we will be great friends. Especially since it's going to be 65 for the next two days.)


evilhippo: hippo (Default)


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags