Friday, April 29, 2005

Does this burrito make me look fat?

God, that Chipotle veggie burrito was good. God, that Chipotle veggie burrito was bigger than my head. God, that Chipotle veggie burrito has put me into a burrito coma. I think I'm going to have to take a nap...

best... burrito... ever!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Distraction is a powerful weapon


Saturday, April 23, 2005



4 down, 2 to go

I just bought Elliott Smith's album "x.o." today, and goddamn that guy for killing himself a year and a half ago. I knew this album was going to be infectious... I'm into my second listen two hours after purchase. I don't think I'll be able to go out tonight with this CD to listen to. Looks like I've found my songlist for the next two or three months. And of course you can't find any of his CDs used.

Friday, April 22, 2005

A Week Lag, But Here's the Final Leg of the Trip

Well, the cold is finally mostly gone.

Chicago was a blast, but I hadn't noticed how long it had been since I've been to Ohio to see my family until I was there and had to fit 48 hours into each 24-hour period. Celina, Ohio has a way of not changing very much. It does progress, but very slowly. Everyone and everything looks the same, but now they have an Italian restaurant. And a new Super-Wal-Mart's being built, so the Bob Evans is moving from its current location on the lakeshore out to the Wal-Mart, which is just nuts (that's what everyone says anyway, and who am I to argue?). Then there's the two High School kid's that drowned in the lake--so tragic, so young. Everyone I talked to had these same talking points. After 2 days there I could pretty much mouth the conversation before it happened. Not to say it was boring, or that the people were... it's just that people tend to pay attention to local happenings. And when the locale is Celina, there are only a handful of local events at any given time. And I thought Denver seemed small compared to Chicago (which, admittedly it does).

The drive back to Chicago was kind of crazy. I was making wicked good time... so good, in fact, that I stopped speeding toward the end because I didn't want to have too much down time in Chicago (if there is such a thing).

Ahh, Indiana. I can't tell you how many magnetic yellow ribbons there were. Upwards of millions. I didn't see the magnetic-yellow-ribbon-mobile, but if there's such a thing, you can probably find it in Indiana. I actually saw a truck that didn't have license plates yet, but it did have a yellow ribbon. I imagined the guy on the lot with the dealer:
"Does it have a magnetic yellow ribbon that shows my patriotism and support of the troops?"
"Yes, but it doesn't have brakes."
"But it comes with a ribbon?"
"Yes. Oh, and the engine block will need replaced before you can take it home... that'll be an extra $2,000."
"Brother, you drive a hard bargain. Can I drive it home tonight?"
"No, but here's a complimentary magnetic yellow ribbon."
"Yee-haw. Sold!"
Just to be clear, I have a cousin in Iraq and I want no harm done to him. I hope the troops make it home in one piece. I just don't see how supporting the troops, and lining the pockets of some fat cat with a stupid idea and too much money, are one and the same... I don't see the connection... I'm just saying is all. Maybe I'm just jealous. I do wish I could become rich off the jingoistic fervor that's sweeping the nation, or rich off of anything at this point, but those ribbons give me knee-jerk contempt for these frightened yokels. I don't mean I necessarily think you're stupid if you have one. I just need strong evidence to believe that you aren't.

Gary, Indiana is quite disgusting. I can't believe how much I paid in tolls, but it was worth it to get out of Gary. Plumes of industrial smoke choked me, and probably had something to do with the cold I brought back with me. So much foulness in such a small area. I figure Gary contains the industry that keeps Chicago going. On one side of the highway were smokestacks, on the other were relatively nice looking homes... it made me shudder to think about living there... Must be some high rates of infant mortality, leukemia, mental retardation. I thank God the highway was moving pretty fast through Gary... then I got into Chicago... and rush hour; car exhaust isn't good, but it's something I'm used to.

Found the disco station, rolling through the burbs. The disco lasted a song and a half before I got sick of it... plus, I reached the south side, and disco no longer seemed appropriate. 89.3 had some hip hop--hell motherfuckin' yeah, I thought. And traffic... came... to... a..... stop.........

It's ok, I've got two hours to get to the north side. No problem, right? Right. Except that my calf cramped up after a while of "lift foot off the brake, brake, lift, brake, lift, brake, etc, etc, brake, brake, lift, lift (can you feel it?), brake, lift, scratch ass, 'that asshole cut me off,' 'I just cut that asshole off,' lift, lift, drink some water, check her out, 'hey look, it's chicago,' brake, brake, almost there, where ever there is, brake... li--, brake 'you sunova--,' 'oh sweet jesus, make it stop!'" Ah, the Kennedy expressway at rush hour... FUCK.

My exit... only 4 more miserable miles! And so on.

Drinking, Golden Tee (third time ever, shot a plus-something-teen--yep, I rule). More drinking, sleeping, hangovering, breakfast (at 2:30pm), walking through the city. Hangover's going away, but this headache is... and my body is... achy. And what's this? My throat hurts... shit.

I know, whiskey's the answer! ... but, for some reason I'm not feeling better.

Aaron scored us some tickets to Second City, and it's my last night in Chicago. I'm gonna get some meds, and will myself well. Waiting for Second City to start their performance, there were three chairs that weren't in use. I think I need to lay down... Oh, that's much better... fuck, I'm definitely getting sick. Second City starts and it's hilarious. At intermission I take my place on the three chairs again. This is lots of fun, but for the love of God I need to go to bed. The show ends and we find out that usually they follow it up with improv, but not on Fridays... normally I'd be bummed, but tonight, well, that's fine with me. Good night, and good bye Chicago. I'm going to go home tomorrow, and I'm not going to do anything until work on Monday (and I mean nothing, unless you count laying down and taking medicine, eating, sleeping, aching, expelling, etc.). Welcome home.

Monday, April 18, 2005

What a Difference a Week Makes

Well, back to the grind. And with a pesky cold to boot.

A week ago today, I woke up in Chicago with a full day ahead of me, while those I left behind in Denver woke up to a bunch of snow. I went to Lou Mitchell's for breakfast and made my way to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game. They lost, but it was still fun. Cubs fans are really into the game. And after walking around for a while I came to a conclusion: Chicago likes to smoke. Everywhere you turn someone is lighting up or taking a drag... all I wanted was a hot dog. Kind of nuts considering the little 10 foot by 10 foot "smoking sections" at Coors Field... a far cry from home to say the least. And even though the home team lost, the crowd was more into it than any I've ever seen. I think if I grew up in Chicago I'd have been a baseball fan...

Then we walked to Aaron's for decompression and a nip of whiskey, followed by a walk through Lincoln Park to the lake. Twas a windy day, and kind of chilly, but still quite beautiful... the view of downtown was spectacular. Plus, I kind of like water, to tell you the truth.

Ate some Thai food and went to the Green Mill on Broadway and Lawrence. The place used to be a speakeasy, and the Patricia Barber Quartet were playing on that particular Monday... They made two requests that I thought were pretty outlandish (especially in Chicago, but what do I know), and I decided Patricia Barber must have had some clout: no smoking, and no talking during the performance. No smoking in Chicago??? Guess it happens, but at a Jazz club? Ok. But the kicker was the no talking during the show rule. Granted, I've been to shows where I wished that were the case, but it seemed like an impossibility; people like to talk, even if they have nothing to say! But the audience complied and I was able to see why she had such clout--they were really quite amazing. They played some old standards and I'm thinking some originals (judging from some of the lyrics she was singing). And all four of them were so into it and so solid. I realized something. Self-consciousness has a way of draining the life out of music. Look at all these self-obsessed pop bands, out there looking good while putting out crappy music. Then you have these amazing musicians, eyes closed and oblivious to how they look--only paying attention to the sound, goddamn what they looked like! Patricia let out some odd groans, while the bassist hummed along with himself, and I couldn't care less... they rocked (as much as Jazz players are allowed to rock). The drummer played so many solos, and kept the rhythm so well in the process, that I about lost control of my... uh, toe tapping. This is not to say the guitar player was bad--he too was amazing--but his brilliance was eclipsed by the whole... of course, I went home before Patricia let the trio have their own set, so maybe he shined after I left. But I had to sleep before my roadtrip to Ohio...

Took a cab back to Billy's and passed out with a tune in my head. And woke up to a rainy day and a long road ahead...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Chicago, my kind of town

Random thoughts 1,000 miles from home

Airplane, jetlag, drank too much...

Melvin Taylor's kid was sick
As was his replacement.
If you don't like the blues, there's something wrong with you;
You must got a hole in your soul...

Country western band at Carol's... Carol's stays open til 4, but for some reason I didn't make it to last call. Had pork rinds for dinner, though (fuckin' Aaron, dude). But on the plus side, I woke up with a hangover...

So far, the best Mexican food in Chi-town is served at Billy's. Damn lucky Billy's is my home.

Guess it's snowing like a bitch back at home. Pretty fucking chill here. Upper-70s, something like that. Good luck getting a day off Denver; I think the heat will override the blizzard this time, though... suckers...

Hear blues, drink booze, talk loud. Chico Banks plays a mean guitar; facial strangulation aside, his Hendrix-influenced blues, mang, wrecked my shit... he can go somewhere if he wants to... if he wants to.

Motherfucking Cubs game tomorrow. I can tell it's gonna be a party... Northside's team! This has to be the first baseball game I've actually been excited for. Opening day weekend in Chicago... the town pulsates. It's electric.

Well, good night nurse.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The midwest is a-calling, I guess I'll answer...

I'll be here... and here... ooh, and here!

Excerpt from "The Long Emergency" by James Howard Kunstler

This article is rather dystopic, but unfortunately it seems we're headed this in this direction. Hopefully we change course in time, if there is time.

You can read the rest of the article at:

The term "global oil-production peak" means that a turning point will come when the world produces the most oil it will ever produce in a given year and, after that, yearly production will inexorably decline. It is usually represented graphically in a bell curve. The peak is the top of the curve, the halfway point of the world's all-time total endowment, meaning half the world's oil will be left. That seems like a lot of oil, and it is, but there's a big catch: It's the half that is much more difficult to extract, far more costly to get, of much poorer quality and located mostly in places where the people hate us. A substantial amount of it will never be extracted.

The United States passed its own oil peak -- about 11 million barrels a day -- in 1970, and since then production has dropped steadily. In 2004 it ran just above 5 million barrels a day (we get a tad more from natural-gas condensates). Yet we consume roughly 20 million barrels a day now. That means we have to import about two-thirds of our oil, and the ratio will continue to worsen.

The U.S. peak in 1970 brought on a portentous change in geoeconomic power. Within a few years, foreign producers, chiefly OPEC, were setting the price of oil, and this in turn led to the oil crises of the 1970s. In response, frantic development of non-OPEC oil, especially the North Sea fields of England and Norway, essentially saved the West's ass for about two decades. Since 1999, these fields have entered depletion. Meanwhile, worldwide discovery of new oil has steadily declined to insignificant levels in 2003 and 2004.

No combination of alternative fuels will allow us to run American life the way we have been used to running it, or even a substantial fraction of it. The wonders of steady technological progress achieved through the reign of cheap oil have lulled us into a kind of Jiminy Cricket syndrome, leading many Americans to believe that anything we wish for hard enough will come true. These days, even people who ought to know better are wishing ardently for a seamless transition from fossil fuels to their putative replacements.

The widely touted "hydrogen economy" is a particularly cruel hoax. We are not going to replace the U.S. automobile and truck fleet with vehicles run on fuel cells. For one thing, the current generation of fuel cells is largely designed to run on hydrogen obtained from natural gas. The other way to get hydrogen in the quantities wished for would be electrolysis of water using power from hundreds of nuclear plants. Apart from the dim prospect of our building that many nuclear plants soon enough, there are also numerous severe problems with hydrogen's nature as an element that present forbidding obstacles to its use as a replacement for oil and gas, especially in storage and transport.

We know that our national leaders are hardly uninformed about this predicament. President George W. Bush has been briefed on the dangers of the oil-peak situation as long ago as before the 2000 election and repeatedly since then. In March, the Department of Energy released a report that officially acknowledges for the first time that peak oil is for real and states plainly that "the world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary."

Most of all, the Long Emergency will require us to make other arrangements for the way we live in the United States. America is in a special predicament due to a set of unfortunate choices we made as a society in the twentieth century. Perhaps the worst was to let our towns and cities rot away and to replace them with suburbia, which had the additional side effect of trashing a lot of the best farmland in America. Suburbia will come to be regarded as the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world. It has a tragic destiny. The psychology of previous investment suggests that we will defend our drive-in utopia long after it has become a terrible liability.

Before long, the suburbs will fail us in practical terms. We made the ongoing development of housing subdivisions, highway strips, fried-food shacks and shopping malls the basis of our economy, and when we have to stop making more of those things, the bottom will fall out.

The circumstances of the Long Emergency will require us to downscale and re-scale virtually everything we do and how we do it, from the kind of communities we physically inhabit to the way we grow our food to the way we work and trade the products of our work. Our lives will become profoundly and intensely local. Daily life will be far less about mobility and much more about staying where you are. Anything organized on the large scale, whether it is government or a corporate business enterprise such as Wal-Mart, will wither as the cheap energy props that support bigness fall away. The turbulence of the Long Emergency will produce a lot of economic losers, and many of these will be members of an angry and aggrieved former middle class.

Food production is going to be an enormous problem in the Long Emergency. As industrial agriculture fails due to a scarcity of oil- and gas-based inputs, we will certainly have to grow more of our food closer to where we live, and do it on a smaller scale. The American economy of the mid-twenty-first century may actually center on agriculture, not information, not high tech, not "services" like real estate sales or hawking cheeseburgers to tourists. Farming.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Cure for Pain (Almost Better Than Morphine)


Monday, April 04, 2005

comics drool

more at