Thursday, December 20, 2018

A sad anniversary.

I've been pretty quiet around here this week, huh? I think it probably has something to do with the fact I was sort of dreading this day. It's the anniversary of my ex-wife filing for divorce. She was as nice as one could be about it, and had her attorney deliver the papers electronically, but it was still a huge blow and quite possibly the worst day of my life. I still remember leaving work early and just walking in a daze down Michigan Avenue in total shock.

2018 has generally been a pretty dark year, and while the divorce was a major factor, it was just a year where all my luck ran out. If I owed karma a debt it has certainly been paid back many times over, with interest. There were times I honestly did not know how to even move forward.

Things have gotten better since our house sold, and it feels like my life is back on an upward trajectory. But I'm still in complete uncertainty about what my future looks like. I had a built a life with someone else and when that ended all the plans I had vanished and I was staring at a blank canvas. If I was younger that might be a more exciting position to be in, but at this age it just feels so daunting.

But, repaint the canvas I shall. I don't really have another option, do I? The year has been rough, but I'm exiting it having learned a couple hard lessons and that certainly contributed to my self-improvement. I'm not going to make those mistakes in the future so that's a positive thing, right? I just wish I'd learned those lessons more quickly, because I'd be in a very different place right now if I had.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Walls work! (Not.)

I came across a press release from the Department of Homeland Security a few days ago that was posted on December 12. It was astoundingly poorly written, and completely different in tone than other press releases on their website. It is filled with misinformation and outright lies. For instance did you know a "violent mob of 1,000 people stormed our Southern border" just last Sunday? Yeah, neither did I. Because it didn't happen.

It looks like they went in and fixed some of the worst grammar mistakes today, but luckily for you I took a screenshot of the original. You can see it here, and just click on it to magnify it so you can read it.

Our taxpayer dollars at work, people. Government agencies should be printing false propaganda to further one madman's obsession.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

I think I have the plague.

Anyone else out there have a nagging cough / cold that sticks around for weeks and just won't go away? What makes it even more fun? I work over 60 stories up in the Sears Tower, and that means the elevator rides are super fun because my ears won't pop due to congestion.

O.K., time for more TheraFlu.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Go, go Carly!

I'm not generally a fan of vertical video, but I'm certainly a fan of this one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In an era of too many reboots, 'Get Shorty' actually deserved to be reimagined.

I stumbled across the TV series version of Get Shorty last night, something I didn't even know existed, and decided to give it a try. And now I'm hooked. I've never read the book, so the '90s movie with John Travolta is the only version I know. The two share similar backstories—mob guy breaks into the movie biz—but they couldn't be more different.

While Travolta's Chili Palmer was all smiles and grace (with a touch of menace), while on TV Chris O'Dowd is Miles Daly, a more sullen menace who is sick of the crime world. Ray Romano is also excellent as a down on his luck film producer who teams up with Miles. But you probably already knew that since the series was just renewed for its third season! I am so behind on this one.

Anyway, if you're as out of the loop as me, and want a darkly comic (and sometimes scarily violent) TV series to binge, fire up the Netflix and sink in.

Monday, December 10, 2018

You know, for kids!

It was kind of an up and down weekend for me, but it ended well with a fundraiser last night that was also one of my favorite shows of the year. I was even home by a reasonable time! The evening really made me appreciate the friends I still have and I managed to keep out of trouble (not always the easiest thing to coat Liar’s Club).

I shot video of the show last year, but last night the phone stayed in my pocket and I just took in the music and enjoyed the show. Going to concerts still occasionally feels like “work” but this was just pure pleasure.

Friday, December 07, 2018


Action packed weekend! Parties! Shows! Old friends! New friends! Birthdays! Tree trimming! Yowza!

Thursday, December 06, 2018

I spent a lot of time trying to think of a funny headline to go along with the band name "Ruler" but they were all lame so just read this and listen to some killer tunes.

Let’s dig into some more ridiculously hook-filled rock and/or roll today, shall we? Seattle’s Ruler is let by Matt Batey, and he’s clearly a man who never met a hook he didn’t like.

His debut, Winning Star Champion came out earlier this year but only reached my ears last month ahead of a scheduled show at Scubas in December (which has sadly since been canceled). I know I could’ve used it’s buoyant tunes this summer, but I’m still grateful to have them in my ears to melt the wintry Chicago assault with their sunshine pop.

Did I say sunshine? Please note that while the music is all blasting primary colors the lyrics carry a deeper reverberation, highlighting the daily struggle of just getting through it all. Hell, the opening track is titled “Petrified” and track two has the chorus “‘Cuz I’m the winning star champion of fucking up!” This ain’t self-loathing though, it’s self-acceptance. Maybe that’s why it resonates so deeply with me?

Give it a spin. And if you like it, buy it! And if you don’t have any money, you can download this Gin Blossoms cover the band did for free.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Jeff Whalen unleashes his bubbleglam on the world. Rejoice!

Do you remember Tsar? Probably not. They had a brief but super promising career in then early aughts where all signs pointed to massive stardom. But, like many other bands, it simply wasn’t to be. I sometimes wonder how different things would be for the power-pop giants had they debuted a few years later. The blogosphere would have tripped over itself with praise.*

Well, the band (sort of) has a second chance! Tsar’s singer and primary songwriter Jeff Whalen has a new solo album 10 More Rock Super Hits. And it is FIRE. It is big, over-the-top, absolutely gloriously glittering power-pop. One might say it’s a collection of super rock hits.**

Whalen describes his music as bubbleglam, and I have to admit I’m a little jealous I didn’t come up with that first, since it perfectly describes his joyously stomping style of songwriting. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit its presence has actually saved me from a December that has been a little emotionally challenging. I am only sad it doesn’t get a full, public release until February, because this is joy I wish I could share with you this holiday season.

Whalen has only released one track publicly (“Jendy!,” above) so you’ll just have to take my word on the other 9 super rock hits. You can set yourself up to be one of the first to hear the album over at Whalen’s PledgeMusic page.

O.K., I’m off to play the album yet again!

*Technically they did release albums later in the decade, but that prime moment had passed by then. At least in my opinion.

**Truth in advertising!

Monday, December 03, 2018

Chicagoist delves into the deep mysteries of the Alderman.

Looks like the gears over at Chicagoist are grinding again! Chance the Rapper debuted "Chicagoist TV" over the weekend. And no, I don't know any behind the scenes knowledge of this, but I'm plesased to see he's starting to produce content under the Chicagoist moniker.