Day 1 (30 Days, 30 Pages, 30 Pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

It Begins!

A few thoughts on living in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

Lincoln Park’s boundaries are precisely defined in the city’s list of official community areas. It is bordered on the north by Diversey Parkway, on the west by the Chicago River, on the south by North Avenue, and on the east by Lake Michigan. The last reported demographic data states:

Population (2010) • Total 64,116 • Density 20,000/sq mi (7,800/km2) Demographics 2000 • White 84.5% • Black 5.17% • Hispanic 5.06% • Asian 3.61% • Other 1.67%  Median Income $83,328.

I moved into the area on February 22, 2011 and was surprised by the number of angry white people. I really shouldn’t have been I’ve worked and played in the area for over 30 years but when you deal with the area 24/7 you gain a different perspective.

One of my best friends from high school lived in a house four blocks from where I live now. In the mid 80’s, while working at the Chalet, selling wine and cheese to put myself through college, I would often make deliveries to all of the new money owners in the neighborhood. These were the people that worked in finance, mid-level business execs, up and coming professionals, etc.. I’m not exactly sure what a mid-level business exec does but evidently it commands a high enough salary to stock a brand new temperature and humidity controlled wine cellar in a recently renovated brownstone.

What shocked me the most about these people is the all encompassing narcissism sprinkled with a touch of entitlement folded into a cowardly passive aggressive attitude. The Chalet did not have a delivery service. We had no van or car to make deliveries yet we would make exceptions.

     My manager, Pat Ferguson, was a great salesman and knew more about wine than our customers could ever dream. Pat would wheel and deal and if the customer spent over a certain amount would offer to have the wine delivered to their home but he always stressed this was a one time deal, the Chalet didn’t deliver. The job then fell to me or one of the other guys to make the delivery, by hand cart.

We would haul five or six cases of wine on a two wheeled hand cart up to a mile away. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Let me set the stage. I don’t know if you’ve ever lifted a case of wine or if you have, how far you’ve walked with one, it’s heavy (about 35 pounds).  Five of these cases came to about 175 pounds all balanced on two, hard plastic, six inch wheels with me maintaining equilibrium.

Chicago sidewalks are not known for their smooth, even construction especially in the older neighborhoods, Lincoln Park being one of the oldest had particularly bad sidewalks in addition, at that time, Chicago curbs were not wheelchair accessible. This meant most of the journey would be made walking in the street also not known for being even or smooth but better than having to muscle a 175 pound cart up and down four to eight inch curbs ever 100 yards.

(continued)

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Day 5 (30 Days, 30 Pages, 30 Pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

My cat is weird.

kiki

I’ve had pets for most of my life. They ranged from hamsters and fish to cats and dogs. I’m an animal lover. My last apartment had a strict no pets policy. The landlord’s children had severe allergies.  I can’t imagine having something as cute and cuddly as a puppy or kitten around and not being able to play with it. Poor kids :(

I lived there for 12 years, it was nice.  Previously I had moved almost on a yearly bases. It felt good to have

someplace steady to call home even without pets and as a single man (most of the time) having almost no responsibilities was a good thing. My job consisted of a lot of travel and not having to worry about a little bundle of  dependant love saved me from having more gray hair than I do currently.

Things changed last year when I bought a condo. I was now master of my own domain (as long as I kept up the mortgage payment) I could put pictures on the wall without having to worry about getting my security deposit back.  I could also have a pet once again.

About a year after moving we went to PAWs and adopted a kitten. Her name is Kiki and she is a very interesting cat. I’ve had many cats but none like this one. They all had unique personalities but none with the range as this one.  Kiki likes to play fetch, just like a dog…odd but not unheard of. She has full conversations with you while looking you in the eye… interesting. She likes water… NO WAY! Yup. She bats at water coming out of the faucet. She drinks water coming out of the faucet.

She camps out in sink. She jumps in the shower only jumping out if she gets water in her eye. She drinks out of any glass anywhere that contains water, yes even if you are currently holding it. She puffs her tail up for no apparent reason and walks around not like when they bristle their fur and hunch their back for a fight, just puffs up the tail .. kinda cute. She follows you from room to room chatting and sometimes heals like a dog. If I’m watching television or working on the computer she plants herself squarely in the center of the screen making it impossible to see anything but her…  very calculating.

She’s little over a year old and I’m really curious to see what else she comes up with.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Day 10 (30 Days, 30 Pages, 30 Pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

Tongue In Cheek


William Hanksrum  aka “Brick”, as indicated on his mandatory societal individualization youth index quotient, otherwise known as MSIYIQ, (pronounced Missy-Yik) Awoke to the carefully customized psychological individualized  melodic non-startling tones coming out of his “info slate” before they reached the self imposed audio limit. If it reached the peak before he climbed out of bed and punched in the code to quite it, he would be in breach of the restricted sleep term and have to suffer through 10 minutes of auto lecture and that was truly no way to start your day. Besides today was the day. He couldn’t believe it had snuck up on him this quickly. It seemed like just yesterday it was a month ago and he had all the time in the world. The universe was funny that way. It played tricks on you. One day you had all the time in the world, the next, BAM!, game on! That feeling you get just after the rollercoaster crests the peak of its climb and plummets toward the ground hit him suddenly.  He wasn’t ready, all the research, long conversations with his peers, hundreds of visited blogs on the subject seemed trivial. This was it. After today there was only going forward. He couldn’t hit the pause game button or replay.  He grabbed his slate punched in his user ID and it sprang to life. He hit the tab for his morning schedule and there it was in glowing letters.  Happy 16th Birthday.

CRAP! He thought, just as his mom yelled up from the first floor. “Brick, come on honey you don’t want to be late.” “Brick” Why “ Brick” he thought, why not something cool like Storm or Lance but the MSIYIQ indicated according to his personality and aptitude tests as well as the most recent multi-level satisfaction survey of youth age 10 to 18, Brick was a perfect fit. So Brick it was until his 18th birthday then the results of the new survey would brand him anew. As he was thinking about the events that were about to unfold, he finished messaging “Bed Head, {with extra hold}” into his hair, combed it perfectly straight then proceeded to muss it up until he achieved the perfectly calculated effect of looking like he just  woke up and rolled out of bed. He glanced at his “info slate” and smiled, only 30 minutes. Not bad. Maybe he should become a stylist.

He wasn’t looking forward to the ride to the bodymod shop located in an annex of the local coffee pep. He knew what he wanted but couldn’t decide on which part of the body to get it. Your first object of cultural youth expression or CYE (pronounced SEEYA) was of paramount importance. It let the world know that you were a rugged individualist going your own way.  Now if only he could figure out which of the four recommended locations he should put his Inuit eagle. The eagle had a 59% acceptance rank with his youth demographic and that would score him some points with his crew.

He would be glad when this day was over. He really needed to start planning where he wanted to get his first of nine, sexually awakened indicator piercings if he wanted to stay on his indexed youth development schedule and avoid noncompliance from the schools self expression fashion rubric.

(to be continued)

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Day 13 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 Pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

(BLAHGin)

I’m called on to do a lot of things in my job. I have a science background, I’m a trained and practiced cinematographer/photographer. I help write grants, create media, write content DF  Wand lesson plans. I make animated explanations of complex concepts. Occasionally I get to teach.

I think I like teaching the best. All of the other things I do have an indirect effect on people. Teaching has a direct observable effect.  I like the fact that every time I’m in front of a new group of young people I have a chance to learn something as well. There’s a moment when you can see the light bulb turn on in their heads. The moment when they get it. In that moment you’ve given someone something that hopefully will last a lifetime. It may be something as simple as grasping a theory but sometimes it ignites a passion for discovery.


Today I was at a S.T.E.A.M (science technology engineering art and mathematics) conference hosted by Northeastern University. Over 300 young people attends ,on a Saturday, and I witnessed a lot of light bulbs going off. This conference uses non-traditional approaches to engage young people. This is something I’ve specialized in since my days as a T.A.. way back in the 80’s. My friend and colleague, Marcelo, sometimes gets discouraged with the lack of recognition we receive. I don’t really care about that, I care about the light bulb.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Day 16 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

SCI-FI NERD

People ask me why I’m into science fiction. I’m not entirely sure. I enjoy documentaries, biographies and stories based on real life events but none of them engage me like a story founded purely in fiction. Why Science Fiction? It might have something to do with the fact that within that specific genre the possibility exists for elements of a particular story to come true. The dreamer in me likes that.

I just read an article about a team from MIT that invented what they refer to as the “HypoSpray” from Star Trek (the original series). We’ve had forced air injection since I was a kid but the difference with the new device is it can be tuned to skin type and variable as well as mixed dosage. Kind of cool. Forty years ago the thought of everyone having a personal mobile communications device that is also a mobile computer the size of a deck of playing cards, wirelessly hooked into the largest information exchange system ever created was ridiculous. Yet here we are and it was predicted.

I love dreamers. I love dreamers that make their dreams come true even more. One of my favorite authors when I was young was Harlan Ellison.  He never liked the term science fiction writer. He always referred to himself as a speculative fiction writer. The main difference being a science fiction writer takes a known area of study and extrapolates what a future might be like based on series technological leaps founded on those ideas or theories. A speculative fiction writer doesn’t place constraints on themselves. They dream of a future based on many aspects of science and society. Both build worlds.  Both see a future. Like Ellison; I don’t like constraint.

In modern Sci-Fi the lines have been blurred and the genre further subdivided. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but what was once considered Sci-Fi often finds itself in the classic section or sometimes straight fiction. I’ve been enjoying cyberpunk for quite awhile but I can’t seem to get into Steampunk, although the fashion is kind of cool. Steampunk’s focus is placed in the past, kind of an alternate reality and that’s okay but it has no bearing on our future it’s more of a mental exercise and doesn’t inspire. So I guess it comes down to this; for me Sci-Fi has the ability to create worlds I would like to live in and inspires me to try to achieve aspects of them.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Day 15 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

Sunday Morning

I’m a self confessed coffee junkie. There I’ve admitted it, now I’m half way to solving the problem. The funny thing is, like most people with substance dependencies, I’m in no rush to give it up. I’m not interested in a twelve step program to caffeine independance, I can quit anytime I want. My addiction happens to be socially acceptable and the infrastructure to support it is very lucrative to many people. It’s a job creator.

        So every morning I wake up to my Cuisinart’s, self programed, perfectly brewed cup of jo. I sit down at 6:30 am (i’m not a morning person) place my hands around my 12 oz mickey mouse coffee mug feel the heat penetrate the palms of my hands, lean forward and inhale. The fragrance of the light roast beans brings a small smile.

About 10 minutes after the first couple of sips I can feel the caffeine lubricating my synapses. My mind begins to churn away kind of like when I start my 1993 mazda 323 hatchback on a cold winter morning. A little sluggish at first but after a couple of minutes purring like a kitten.

I have my addiction firmly under control unlike my co-workers I don’t drink coffee throughout the day, I prefer water. Don’t get me wrong a little arm twisting and I might be talked into getting an iced coffee or a small Americano in the afternoon. I don’t stray from the basic delivery systems, I’m not a big fan of Frappaccino’s or other blended drinks (they’re okay a bit too sweet). I like my junk uncut, I’m a bit of a purist.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Day 17 (30 days, 30 pages, 30 pictures)

Sep 24, 2012 by

I like meeting new people. There is always that moment of trepidation when meeting someone new. The moment usually comes after the initial greeting when you’re about halfway through the basic generalized chit chat and moving into conversation. That moment when you think to yourself this person doesn’t really  know me or my sense of humor and I don’t know their world view. They could be radical liberal, some form of fundamentalist, Democrat, Republican; all those boxes and label we put on each other to form an opinion that sets the tone for future encounters with this person. This is an interesting time. They say you never get a second chance at a first impression, and they are right but a bad first impression isn’t always a bad thing especially if you don’t fit into one of the many generic categories we all tend to have in our heads.

I met and spent a lot of time with a staunch Republican this weekend. Nice guy. Smart, funny, good sport but when it came to politics he was firmly (R). His republican stance focuses on the financial aspect of the party. He’s doing well but like most republicans suffers from the delusion that he is not doing as well as he could and it’s because of a meddlesome government that wants to have their hands on every aspect of your life and wants to give away hard working American dollars to undeserving people like those on welfare or entities like NPR. The funny thing is he likes NPR but thinks that it shouldn’t receive government funding. His reasoning being that if the people want it they will pay for it.  Interesting considering that we as a country own the public airwaves and as part of the deal allowing private companies to purchase licenses to broadcast within certain spectrum it is clearly stated that the public must always have access.

Okay so lets look at this a bit further. Lets say we move to the model; you want it you pay for it. Where is most of the money these days? Hmm. Wealthy people? Lets say you get good donations from wealthy individuals and you build your network but some of them decide they don’t like what you’re doing and decide to withdraw funding. It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to see a rollercoaster of cash flow. You can’t make anything of quality without at least a minimum consistency of funding. So one of two things will happen. 1) You will not be able to produce the content without a majority of your time being devoted to keeping the lights on or 2) You start to alter your content to what the big donors want. (just like politics)

The only way to insure people without money or power have a voice within the public airwaves is through a minuscule subsidy from …you know… the government. I think one of the main problems we have is some people forget the “…promote the general Welfare” part of the Preamble maybe because it sounds …I don’t know … a bit Socialist?

We had a couple of great discussions but like you said in an earlier post I’m not changing his mind and he’s not changing mine. I’m not really sure if that was my goal. I think when I engage in these debates it’s really more about putting my ideas to the test to see if maybe I hadn’t thought of something or to see if my view is askew:)

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This