Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The plan is coming together...

All the pieces are falling into place for the Chicagoist 10th anniversary party this month. We'll be announcing some of the details later this week!

Soooooo excited.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Here's hoping for better luck.

I keep telling myself there's no way travel could be as bad today as it was Friday—we were up for about 24 hours from start to finish—but that still doesn't stop me from worrying that it will be!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lost and found.

This is awesome. I won't spoil anything for you by saying anything other than that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Apple eats it.

Man, is Apple stumbling and fumbling right now or what? iOS 8.0.1 is an unmitigated disaster—disabling iPhone 6 and 6 Plus key features—and makes you wonder if the company even has a QA department or if they just figure if they fuck up they've got everyone under their thumb already so people will just have to deal.

Less of a big deal in my eye is "bendgate," the tendency for iPhone 6 Pluses to get warped in peoples pockets when they sit down. Look folks, everyone clamored for an iPhone phablet and now you have it. And you're learning phablets are idiotic. I will not be buying an iPhone 6 Plus. I want a phone that's a convenient multimedia platform, not a tablet that's a somewhat convenient multimedia platform that almost but not quite fits in my pocket. Do we really need another form factor between laptop , tablet and phone? No. But people are stupid and will buy the bigger is better notion until they realize that items are designed for particular uses and while it's terrific to push those boundaries in the end things are the size they are for a purpose. Change the purpose and you change the size and design. Bt then you're left with a completely different item.

And Apple's maps still totally suck. How do you fuck that one up? Especially when they hooked everyone on the superior Google Maps in the first place?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's David Bowie day in Chicago.

Photo by me.
This is going to sound curmudgeonly, but I'm glad this is a one-off holiday. The amount of Bowie-mania in this town right now is almost embarrassing ... and this is a statement coming from an avowed superfan like me!

However, to all of you celebrating Bowie Day, I hope you have a fabulous time and use this renewed point of interest to dig through his musical catalog. And of course, don't forget to visit David Bowie is!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lois v Koenig, oh the intrigue!

Julian Koenig and George Lois
George Lois and Julian Koenig were creative partners for a long time and both can be credited with some of the most influential work in advertising. Many suspect Don Draper of being based on Lois though it'd be easier to argue he's a composite of the two men output-wise, but not character-wise.

It appears Lois, who is certainly the more charismatic of the two, has a penchant for taking the credit where the credit is not his. I've been a victim of people doing this to me, and I think it's one of the most vile things one creative can do to another, so if Lois is truly guilty of even half of what he's accused of fabrication, that tarnishes quite of bit of his reputation in my eyes. And that totally bums me out.

Sadly, Koenig passed away earlier this year, so even if Lois ever comes clean he won't get the satisfaction of hearing it. However you can hear a slightly updated broadcast of a This American Life story (reported by Koenig's daughter and TAL producer Sarah Koenig) below and make your own call.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Mich and I were lucky to be among the first people in Chicago to see the David Bowie is exhibit at the MCA during a press preview earlier today. It is everything I had hoped for and more, though I still need to process it before reviewing it on Monday.

If you're in Chicago before it leaves after January 4, 2015, YOU HAVE TO SEE IT.

UPDATE: My review is up, read it!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A brief crisis of faith.

A colleague whose work I respect asked me if I had any examples of my fictional work to share with him in preparation for an upcoming project and I realized how little on that level I've created in the past few years due to dedicating all my time to either client work or music writing. Heck, this site is primarily an outlet for my personal work just so I have somewhere to regularly practice non-professional writing. So it wasn't until that request today that I realized how much I let that original coil of my brain, the part that wanted to write short stories and films, untended.

I think this was the thing Alex Shakar warned me about over a decade ago when he was teaching me in a writing class. I think because I actually enjoy and am really good at the work I do for clients and for music outlets I thought I could escape the pitfall he cautioned against, but here I am, suddenly facing the fact that I haven't produced any fiction purely for myself in far too long. 

The nice thing about a realization like this is the understanding that it's not a sign of your flaws, but a call to arms to return to that thing you loved in the first place.

It's time to start carving out some time to work out the muscle that writes fiction purely for me again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

iOS 8, to upgrade or not to upgrade?

Is it, now?
So I upgraded to iOS 8 on my iPhone 5S the second the update went live and the whole thing only took two hours, which considering past iOS upgrades wasn't too bad. My initial thoughts? The tweaks will take some getting used to but overall it seems a little speedier (unexpected!) and worth the time. I'm amused that the much vaunted Health app is DOA, but I'm sure that's just a momentary snag. I do like all the extra encryption running under the hood so that's good.

So overall, kudos to the developers and nicely done. If you have a 5 on up, this seems worth it.* Also, I love the option to view battery usage by app. You can bet a few apps on my phone will get tossed in the dustbin over the next week as I identify the worst culprits with the least return.

There are two gripes I do have, though:
  • Location services by app are no longer a clear toggle but a grayed out choice between "Always" and "Never" and that seems a bit sneaky. There's supposed to be an option for location only working when an app is open, but it doesn't seem to apply, or isn't yet baked into, 99% of the apps on my phone that use location services.
  • Photostream disappeared and now the only way to view all your photos is through the extremely clunky and virtually un-navigable "Collections" view. The only workaround seems to be selecting every photo in the "Moments" view and creating an album that way but it seems so tie consuming as to be not worth it. I can't imagine what Apple's rationale is for doing this but it's fucking annoying.
O.K., that whining aside—and I'm sure those are things I'll adapt to just as I adapt to everything else that changes or gets updated—this is a pretty solid update.

*Sorry, everyone with an iPhone 4S or lower, this upgrade will either kill your phone or simply isn't compatible with it at all. Yay for planned obsolescence, huh?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Things are slowly returning to normal, I think.

There's some pretty meta merch in there. Photo by me.
Slammed at work, but it's all super creative opportunities with a tight turnaround so that just makes it exciting. I'm really glad I took yesterday off since I think returning to the office fresh is of utmost importance. You can't take vacation days and return spent, right? Otherwise what's the point?

I did take one more look back at the amazing weekend we had with some final thoughts, including pictures from both Jess and Me, about the 2014 Chicago edition of Riot Fest. So go ahead and read that.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Everything aches.

Cherie Lily and Mich, backstage just after Andrew W.K.'s set. Photo by me!
We survived Riot Fest. And have spent the whole day on the couch. Originally I wanted to be ambitious and go out and eat somewhere fancy and take advantage of our "recovery day" doing fun staff but I have, in fact, needed the whole day to recover. It was all totally worth it though.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Riot Fest, rain or shine!

It looks to be a soggy kick-off for the 2014 edition of Riot Fest and you know what? Even this rain can't dampen my excitement. We're bringing ponchos and prepared to weather muddy boots and through it all I trust the music will keep me so happy I won't even notice I am soaking wet. So there!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Riot Fest is almost here!

My favorite Chicago music festival kicks off tomorrow, and we previewed a few bands we're most looking forward to at Chicagoist today. To be fair, we could have just re-posted the fest's whole schedule almost verbatim if we really wanted to mention EVERY band we were excited about. Unreal.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Progress report.

Things are mellowing out. Thanks for asking.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

How to "curate" and claim the public's trust without actual artistic responsibility or vision. Le sigh.

Rendering of the finished trail, sans art.
Went to go hear a talk about integrating art into the Bloomingdale Trail (never 606!) and it was so amorphous and imprecise it made me angry. Art should be exploratory, but it needs a starting point, and that point—when you've received the public trust to curate something in a grand manner that stretches over miles and miles—shouldn't be based on "so I'm depending on you to tell me what you want" in front of a room of people with no vision. It reeks of a preemptive attempt to dodge blame so that when our dear curator unveils something uninspired and pedestrian the onus can be said to have fallen on a public that never voiced their desire when no true framework for that desire was ever supplied outside of "innovative use of public space" and "living art that will develop along with the environment around that" sans a single specific example.

Art requires vision, and what I heard tonight was how first year college students talk around vision instead of expanding upon it.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Tired of the drearies.

There's a lot going on right now I don't really feel like talking about. Just some rocky personal stuff, compounded with the usual dumb little things that when piled together can somewhat stress you out. So instead of reflecting on any of that—and hey, that stuff is all temporary anyway and won't make a difference in the long run—let's focus on something a little more up-lifting. And educational!

I give you, Pickle and a book!

Also, Riot Fest is only a few days away and how can I be upset with that so close on the horizon?!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Play ball!

My mood is still dark around the edges but the promise of a sunny baseball game this afternoon is doing it's part to alleviate that.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Bad day.

Today is one of those days where the encroaching inky darkness around you just gets deeper and deeper and just when you think it can't get any worse it does.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Some days.

It's been a long day and I started writing a post that was turning out to look like some pretty bad poetry so I decided to do everyone a favor and hit delete delete delete delete until I was at the beginning of the post and then started typing "It's been a long day..."

And now here we are. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Reading books about magazines and specifically 'The Last Magazine.'

I wonder if The Last Magazine would have seen the light of day had its author Michael Hastings not died. It's one of those inside baseball views of the media from someone close to its heart that ends up making sure no one ends up looking good, least of all the narrator. If you want a loose idea of what and who it is about you can suss that all out here (though I'd love to know who the "Sarah Klein" character that supposedly was blogging for Gothamist in the early days is supposed to be).

I really liked the book, even though it deals with a time that no longer exists it is a time that I once did want to be a part of. It's also the only book I've read that does a decent job of catching what the exploding blog scene—even as a small subplot—was like during the early, early aughts without being condescending. I'd say this was purely a mainstream journalists 20/20 hindsight vision if it weren't for the fact that he participated in the Gawker / Gothamist scene back in the day and did so because he realized what future value it held even if his career did continue more in an investigative journalist longform track.

Who knows what would have happened had he lived? I hope that while The Last Magazine was written years after his death he would have had the courage to eventually publish it. It also makes me with he was still around because his narrative voice was strong and who knows what other novels he might have had in him?

This is my long, long way of saying I really enjoyed this book and think you might dig it too. Even if you could not care less about media inside baseball.

Monday, September 01, 2014

No work today!

It's Labor Day in the States, so I ain't doin' nuthin' today. Go outside and get some sun!