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Fireworks Show at U.S. Cellular


As a die hard Cubs fan, it goes against my Northwest side sensibilities to go to US Cellular field when the Cubs aren’t playing or if a friend is not visiting from out of town.  Having not seen an old friend in awhile, I was more than happy to head down to the South Side!  Inside the stadium we got craft beers and headed to my friend’s season ticket seats.  High above the stands we watched John Danks pitch masterfully only to have Yadier Molina ruin the day with a bases clearing triple that went along with with choruses of, “Yadi! Yadi! Yadi”

A night at the ballpark

After this, we marched down to the outfield to meet another friend and finish off the game.  Sox lost, Cardinals won but then the lights went out!  Much to my surprise a fireworks show started and it was something I had meant to see but never got a chance to!

Spring is here!


It’s always funny to me when people ask me what I did this weekend.  Maybe every weekend I will just post what I go out and do and then the question can finally be put to bed.

Step 1: Friday Afternoon Dim Sum at Minghin

No pictures here, we all know that the best dish on the entire menu in this Chinatown gem is the crispy Macau pork belly.  Taking out a college chum to grab some, it dawned on me that some parts of the country have no dim sum.  It is for this reason that I always take inventory and count my blessings for living in Chicago!

Step 2: Stop for a drink at Whistler

A Bentonhurst, if you would please

A Bentonhurst, if you would please

Fancy cocktails are never out of style at this Logan Square hotspot.  There were no servers on a Friday night but the dim lit room made it feel like an old school speakeasy.  We had a reggae show to go to so we had to skip out before the DJ hit the decks.

Step 3: Have a pitcher of Old Style at Two Way Lounge

The fancy cocktails were good, but my old college chum needed to meet the National Bohemian of the Midwest: Old Style.  I considered drinking only a pint for $2, but a pitcher was much more enticing.  We downed that pitcher and headed back towards Township.

Step 4: Catch Drop Steady at Township

Drop Steady

Drop Steady

Local music in Chicago is as rich as it comes, with Drop Steady on stage and Township crawling with friends all over the place it was the place to be on Friday night.  Perched near my usual spot in front of the stage I shot pictures and danced with the rest of the crowd.  Serious craft beer and some shots of whiskey rounded off the night.

Step 5: Saturday night: Start a photo project

Settin' up the shots

Settin' up the shots

If you’re going to sit around recovering from the previous night’s damage, make sure to find a buddy who will get you back up and rolling.  Practicing our night shooting, @MunicipalAgent quickly convinced me that I am in desperate need of a tripod.  If you pursue any hobby, I highly recommend finding experts way better than you are to help perfect your craft.  Our south side adventure netted us some pics and I am sure Luke’s will blow mine away.

Step 6: Sunday Morning – Go to the Globe Pub and Root for Arsenal!

Down to the last game of the Premiership season, I was not a good fan this season and stayed on the sidelines watching many a game from home.  I ended up going to the most crowded football bar in Chicago and ended up at the Globe for the game without a beer in hand for the entirety of the match.  Arsenal fans were in full force, loudly cheering and singing on Arsenal holding down 4th place for the season ensuring Champions League qualification for the 16th straight year while rival Tottenham’s season went down in flames into Europa League.

Step 7: BBQ and Crawfish Boil at Toon’s



Most people in Chicago are lucky if they have a friend with a grill who’s willing to cook some food up on the weekend.  I’d say you’re really, really fortunate if you’ve got some friends who are experts at using a smoker and invite you on over.  Feasting on some smoked chicken, smoked brisket, hot links and some delicious BBQ sauce, I them remembered there was some crawfish to smash open!

Chicago Crawfish Boil

Chicago Crawfish Boil

If you are ever looking for a crawfish boil in Chicago, Toon’s is the place to be: accept no imitiations!  Dollar for dollar and flavor for flavor you will end up on the winning side and satisfied with crawfish from the best!  Danny has been cooking up crawfish at Toon’s for the last 14 years.  Memorial Day is your next chance for a crawfish boil!

Step 8: Concrete custard at Scooter’s

Mocha. Snicker. Madness.

Mocha. Snicker. Madness.

Dessert?  Dessert!  Scooter’s Frozen Custard in Roscoe Village stands as a marvel in desserts.  With the oppressive sun melting my soul away, I was encouraged by seeing a small crowd of children, parents, dogs, and thirsty people standing outside and enjoying an ice cold custard from Scooter’s.  Perusing the menu a combination of Vanilla custard, mocha, and Snickers sounded like the perfect way to cool off after a BBQ.  We sat inside and were able to grab some water while our custards quickly were assembled ready to nosh!  Life seemed so much better in the air conditioning watching the other folks outside melt away.

The just about wraps up my weekend.  I truly, dearly wanted to go to Lakeview Mayfest, however I will save my money for the real German Maifest up in Lincoln Square!!!

To Do List


1. New Kuma’s (666 W Diversey)

2. Dinner at Ruxbin

3. Catch Too Much Light Makes the Baby Goes Blind

4. Attend Cubs Opening Day

5. Throw a big birthday bash

9/11 – A Look Back

Johns Hopkins Quad

Johns Hopkins Quad

In the fall of 2001 I was enrolled at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, waiting for Statistics class.  Introduction to Writing & Fiction 1 just wrapped up and I was sitting on a bench writing in my poetry book on the quad.  The sky was blue and the sun was hot enough to make me break a light sweat.  Waiting for class, the only thing I was thinking about was the girl I stayed out late with the previous night in the president’s garden.  The president’s garden had water lilies and a giant pool of water and the moonlight cast a bright light down that night and I could see her reflection despite the water lilies.

Sitting in the quad that morning, I overheard a different girl sitting on the bench next to my bench on her cell phone.  She told everyone she spoke with that a plane had crashed into a building in New York.  I didn’t think much of her comment and she didn’t seem too bothered by it either and I kept writing into my poetry book trying to find the right words to capture just how I felt from the night before.

Eventually, it was time for class.  I packed up my poetry book, zipped up my backpack and headed to Mudd Hall.  While walking over another student and I saw a sign taped onto the glass doors of the hall.  The signed said that classes across campus were cancelled for the remainder of the day.  With much jubilation and excitement, I high-fived the other kid and yelled, “This is awesome! Can you believe it!?”  Cheery, we both went on our merry way and I had an even extra hop in my step.

What had started of as an idyllic day became much more sinister the second I reached the library. TVs were showing the ensuing disaster that happened in New York.  The plane as it turned out had been a terrorist attack and the situation was dead serious.  I thought of my parents and picked up my monochrome phone, but the lines were busy.  I went back Ivy which was my old dorm to pick up posters I had left behind so I could put them up in my new apartment.

In my old apartment I saw one of the tallest kids on campus sitting in a chair hunched over watching the news on TV.  He was crying.  He told me that he knew people in the building and that he couldn’t call them and he didn’t know what happened.  I had no words for this and we all stared blankly at the TV with words in our mouths but no voices to speak them.  Eventually I grabbed my things and headed to my fraternity house were everyone was on the couch shaking their heads watching as the worst terrorist attack in American history played itself through.

One thing that still worked was the Internet.  I was able to instant message a friend on AIM who said that she saw the Pentagon burning outside the window of her classroom.  Eventually my parents were able to get a hold of me and I am sure they were relieved to know that I wasn’t in DC surrounded by the madness.  Feeling drained, I turned on some Gregorian chant, curled up into a ball and put myself to sleep for the rest of the day trying to forget everything that I saw on TV.

Once in a generation a national tragedy strikes, freezing the entire memory of the nation once and for all time.  Our time was 9/11 and I will never forget.  As for the President’s Garden, every 9/11 I look back and read the poem I wrote on that quad that morning:

the president’s garden

the rippled waterlillies bouncing
on the midnight water
the floating face of me
stares at her moonlit visage

leaves drift from their branches
and crash gently on the ground
like hopes.

the ragebeast has flown away
without me.

and I am still staring.

July 2012 – A Wicked Week


July in Chicago always counts as my favorite time of the year.  Friends return to back to Chicago like salmon to their spawning grounds.  How did I kick off my July?

Chicago Full Moon Fire Jam

Chicago Full Moon Fire Jam

Step 1: Head to the Chicago Full Moon Fire Jam.

Why go to the jam? It is a cultural and artistic experience worth checking out.  Everyone go to the Fire Jam!



Step 2: Grill some meat.

The annual summer cookouts in Chicago will always be beefy.

Winnemac Park

Winnemac Park

Step 3: Watch stuff blow up in Winnemac Park

I thought I had seen it all in Chicago, especially watching Fourth of July in Pilsen one year. This pyrotechnique display was easy on the eyes and exciting to see so many things blow up.  I feel sorry for whoever had to clean it up.

@CountingCrows at Navy Pier

@CountingCrows at Navy Pier

Step 4: Watch your favorite high school band live

Nothing like a Groupon-organized concert providing for tickets for $49 and all you can drink.  I ended up crashing the VIP section and helping myself to an extra bottle of whiskey.  Fun times.

West Fest 2012

West Fest 2012

Step 5: Get to West Fest

Legends like John Simmons, Jesse De La Pena, DIZ, Derrick Carter get thousands of people dancing in Chicago’s #1 street fest.

While I am sad the week went by, it was spectacular and there is no week in the year that will be its equal. Summer is here!