Monday, August 29, 2005

Hope You Are Safe

Just heard Bay St. Louis, Miss., one of our favorite stops on our June honeymoon, was hit by a 22-foot storm surge. We hope all the wonderful people we met along the Gulf Coast are safe, and their properties are spared damage. The same goes for New Orleans.

We're moving tomorrow. Details in the following days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

With the First Pick I Select... Jim Harbaugh

Well, the fantasy football fantasy draft took a great big crap this morning. Yahoo rejected us due to an odd number of players, and now everything's in turmoil. I'm planning to make a speedy run back into the arms of the work league. Such upheaval!

If you think I'm bad, check out Meat Loaf _ yes, the singer _ and his serious fantasy football addiction. Mindblowing.

I'd Like to Claim 29 Child-Size Sundaes, Please

Today is my 29th birthday. Erika, whose 25th birthday was yesterday, surprised me with a party last night at Tuman's. It was wonderful. I caught up with a lot of folks, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves _ the best birthday in recent memory. The only thing that would've made it better would've been my dear old pals from out of town. I know I'll see you all soon enough.

Happy birthday to my great friend, Aaron. We were born on the same day, a year apart... back in the mid-70s _ a magical time.

Monday, August 22, 2005

We Live in a Big City

The two big running stories since the weekend...

_ Something fell off a plane during the airshow on Saturday and landed in the lake between Division and North Ave. Ominous, particularly for us, since that's the view from our front window (16 blocks away).

_ The "Cloud Gate" sculpture _ the giant metallic bean _ is less than a week away from a re-unveiling following many months of buff work... and criticism it was constructed incorrectly.

There have been stories on both topics on multiple channels since Saturday. I'm hoping they can make it through the whole week _ just to see if they can do it. A pending Air Force investigation has breathed new life into MissleRailGate (page 1 Sun-Times today).


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Heavy Manners

Here's a tidbit about New Orleans, where we spent a large part of our honeymoon. It's from an article re: N.O.'s rising murder rate...

"Researchers last year conducted an experiment in which police fired 700 blank rounds in a neighborhood in a single afternoon. No one called to report the shots."

I feel bad for the people who live in that neighborhood _ not only for the level of crime they endure, but for the fact they're subjected to these kind of obnoxious police experiments. They are a captive, beaten audience.

The CPD used to do its police roll calls in my old Humboldt Park neighborhood. They'd all blow down Campbell with their sirens blazing, get out at the corner of Potomac and assemble for a brief show of dominance for the local thugs. I don't know if this ever worked, but it made me feel like I lived in a police state.

Chicago has been creative in its manufacture of sophisticated band-aids for deep urban wounds: police saturation patrols and camera boxes, military academies and r.o.t.c. But like shooting rounds and rounds of blanks off in a bad neighborhood, these do nothing but remind many in our city that they've sunk to a new level of hopelessness.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Happy Birthday, Francine

Whew! The Woundup Diaryland archives are safe! I renewed the referral page just a moment ago. I need to keep that large body of evidence against me online.

There are many birthdays coming up including Erika, my brother Terry, my buddy Aaron and my Mom in early September. Let's hear it for Leo's and Virgo's and their various combinations. A wonderful group of people.

And let's not forget... Me. August 23. I will be 29 years old. What do I want for my birthday? One of the many books by Steve Allen... barring that, a pleasant dinner with my wife and maybe a little theater. What else is there?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


After all our apartment searching (over 30 places), it turns out the landlord is planning to re-do the place in the image of our habitat dreams. Now we must decide between staying or moving to a 3-bedroom place on Walton, down the block from Stellas. It's tempting, but so is the rest of a year without heavy lifting. One thing is certain _ we need new furniture. On that, there will be no compromise.

The weather is mellowing in Chicago. I like this time of year. We survived the summer, though there may be a heat push before the week is over. The comics in the Sun-Times, at least three of them, reflected late summer boredom today _ their little cartoon people languishing in the grass. We'll miss it come February.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

One Word... Classy

Erika and I had a fantastic dinner last night at La Scarola on Grand. Fantastic. The walls of the place are covered with pics of local and national celebs _ heavy on media stars. And who did I see, grinning down at me from on high, but Chet "Chit-Chat" Coppock in a promo glossy straight from 1989.

I used to listen to the Chetster's evening sports show on AM 1000, the old WLUP _ that powerhouse of Chicago radio in the '80s and early '90s _ home of Jonathan Brandmeier, Kevin Matthews and Steve and Garry.

When I think Chicago, Jordan years, Mike Tomczak, Don Zimmer, WILL PERDUE _ I think Chet Coppock. I remember listening to the NBA draft on 'LUP in 1990. I was 14. And when we moved to Buffalo, I would try to find AM 1000 on my bedroom radio at night, remembering that the AM waves travelled farther. But I only found garbled whispers.

It was an honor to tread upon Chet's faded footsteps. Oh, don't worry, he's still here and going strong, and I'm sure he still eats at La Scarola. I recommend the macaroni arrabiata.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Our Game

Another football season is cranking up. I love watching football. The Bears squeaked out a win in their first preseason matchup last night.

The more I've watched sports and sports media, the more I've become sympathetic to the players. Rookie Bears running back Cedrick Benson, touted as a real workhorse during the draft, is holding out for more money. I think he should get it.

This young man is going to be carrying a football 20-25 times a game for 17 weeks _ maybe more. He's running straight at 300-400-pound men every time. He's getting crushed at the bottom of piles and blind-sided. He should get all the money he wants. He could blow out his knee in the first week, and then where would he be? He has a family, no doubt. And even if he makes it through a 10 year career (doesn't go far beyond that for a back), his body may be damaged in hundreds of ways.

Let him have the money. If we continue to go to sporting events, watch them on TV, project ourselves upon the players and coaches... if the teams and leagues and networks continue to hype the games and sell the tickets, then let Cedrick Benson, whose body is a sacrafice, have as much money as he wants. He is not selfish. As long as we want him to run, he is not selfish. As long as the idea of professional athletics persists, he is not selfish. If the football game continues as our escape or need or diversion, then the players should be compensated.

The Rambler

I should write in the middle of the night more often. That could be a theme blog _ which seems to be the way to succeed in this business. And by succeed, I mean... more than three readers. But seriously, how 'bout I set my alarm clock for 4 a.m. and then get up and write _ every night?

Writing. What's so great about being a writer? I suppose they get the final say in some cases. Maybe most cases. They can put the exclamation point (or semi-colon) on your career/life. Witness Peter Jennings and John Johnson. How do you get this privelege? A way with words? Why is that so important? They're the crystalline statues of human history, eh? They persist... provided you get that second run.

No one's going to be carving anything from Woundup into a public sculpture anytime soon. But, to lighten the mood... it's birthday season, and I have some gifts to buy. Some ideas have popped up. Some good ones. It happens to be my birthday this month, too. I don't have any ideas for myself _ maybe a nice bottle of wine I could share. A nice Italian dinner with friends. Or a public sculpture tour of Chicago... to see the Michael Bilandic bust is a definite must.

Monday, August 08, 2005

We Couldn't Think of Anything Better

This has never happened to me. I was lying in bed for a few minutes and felt an undeniable urge to write again. If I could bottle that kind of gumption...

Something that scares me is the thought that our society may mold itself in the image of a fictional reality for lack of better ideas. I feel sorry for the writers/filmmakers who invented worlds so vivid they've come to be seen as inevitabilities. Chicago's love affair with the surveillance camera draws comparisons to "1984," and, to many of us, it seems natural things would go that way. Is that because of Orwell's book? What if he'd written about a fun-loving society of vegetarians? Well, you'd be looking hard for his book in the basement of the downtown library. We love horrifying visions of the future.

Now we have a benchmark for what could go wrong, and perhaps it's unconsciously influencing our progress. I'm a big believer _ as a lazy person _ in mankind's laziness. We gravitate toward the easier/pre-existing idea/model.

But, I'm also not a paranoid person. If you want my opinion, I don't think a "1984" scenario is possible. Can you imagine the city of Chicago running a sophisticated program of mind control?

Harold: Agnes, there's something I want to tell you. I... well...
(meanwhile, back at the Richard M. Daley Citizen Compliance Center)
Bill: Hey, where's that reproductive acts authorizing form?
Richie: I dunno, Bill. I'm on lunch right now. I can't talk.
Bill: Christ... (into a microphone. his voice comes through a print of a Rembrandt in bill and agnes' living room) Hey pal. The authorization hasn't made it to our system, yet. You're gonna hafta wait.
Harold: But I'd like to make love to my wife.
Bill: Sorry, buddy. You can try back on Monday.
Richie: (to Bill) Monday's a holiday.
Bill: I thought you were on break.
Richie: I am.
Bill: (to Harold) Monday's a holiday. Try back Tuesday.
Harold: All right... (to Agnes) Monopoly sound good?

The Hour in the Middle of the Night

It's quarter-to-four a.m. I don't usually write this late/early, but I'm feeling inspired. I just finished a book, and a lot of you know the anxiety that goes along with that _ what to read next? Erika and I made some quality finds at the Communist bookstore on Ashland. So, I've been taking a few of those books around with me _ in the car, to the bar _ to test them out. I read them a little, feel their weight, look at the cover, etc. And if it feels right, I go for it. Erika has scolded me that I should read a novel again. Maybe I will.

Would we be happier if there were, in the course of the day/week, places/situations we could go to that would permit us to behave in a way we may no longer do? There's been a lot said about embracing the inner child. But I'm talking about embracing my inner 17 year old. He needs a place to be an awkward, sullen jagoff, too. Get a large group of people behaving this way... and you've got material for sketches for days. G.F.M. (grist for the mill)

I had some wine last night. After we got home, I took off all my clothes and fell asleep on the couch with the light on. I woke up a half hour ago, touched the three-day-old growth of beard on my face and felt like a transient. I'm going to crawl back into bed right now.

PS -- Hello to all new/past Woundup readers. I found out about two more people this weekend _ a wonderful surprise. This occurrence is what we in the WeBLoG business call an "organic sitemeter."

PPS -- Are time travel and telepathy two definite impossibilities in science? Is there someone working on them right now? I say this because, any day walking through the Loop, I feel the only place we can go in communication technology _ after we master the video phone _ is the "brain phone." This would be followed quickly by the "brain answering machine." Good night.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cheer Up, Chap!

Oh... nothing brightens my spirit quite like Fawlty Towers. Here's Fawlty entertaining/insulting some German guests with an impersonation of a certain... well, you can figure it out. Never gets old for the Brits.

Tears in My Morning Coffee

Class ended last night. It was a good session _ good discussion. Now it's over. Too soon, it feels to me. I've taken three classes since I left school. I like them. I've learned at least one piece of useful knowledge from each _ often more than one. This class followed that. I'm going to work on my next idea attuned to a few new dimensions.

It made me sad. I feel like I'm trying to break into something I'll never be a part of. I'm not a good talker. You can get into a lot of places talking a good game _ we all know that _ even if your work is shit. People make careers out of it. My work may be shit. I'm not saying it isn't. But, breaking the barrier...

I've gotten past it in other parts of my life, but it's taken time. I'm taking very, very, very gradual steps toward something _ getting into a community. I would like that. I very much liked being a part of the indie music community _ particularly in Cincinnati. The arts need all the soldiers they can get. Nobody's gonna get famous on this. Those days are gone. So what's left... work.

One thing that didn't happen this class _ the collection of email addresses to start a "writing group." It never pans out _ more of a formality. Funny thing, I thought everyone had good stuff in this class. I wouldn't mind being in their group. I should've sent that lonely, half-torn piece of notebook paper round the circle. There's always next time, I suppose. I know I'll be back.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Two Years to the 21st Century

Speaking of poetic geniuses...

Just last weekend, Tim, Ted and I were sharing a good laugh 'round the ol' breakfast table about the demise of Ian Svenonious _ mocking the stale idiom of his Weird War group. Now I'm eating my words. "Illuminated" is a great song. I might even buy the album!

Shades of 1998: Poetry, Svenonious AND that fake Weird War press conference reminds me of a similar stunt the Young Americans pulled for a cable access show in Gainesville. I'd pay a lot for that tape...

Thoughts on a Weathered Tree Stump

I've put the finishing touches on my poem. A poem? Well, as a twist, the members of our writing group switched genres for a session. Our three poets wrote plays, and I wrote a poem. I haven't written a poem since I was 21. In fact... Yes, I remember it! I was sitting deep in the woods of Glen Park in Williamsville, NY, next to Ellicott Creek. I had just graduated from college and wanted to continue my writing. In fact, I know I still have the poem. Later that year, I would write a story about a college grad who moves into a suburban park to live and write poetry _ unfinished, rough, but a joy whenever I open the file. My latest effort isn't going to revolutionize the artform, but, hey, you have to reach sometimes. I'm glad I did.