Archive for the ‘City Life’ Category

Puppet Bike!!!

I know, I know. I’m breaking absolutely no new ground here. There are three previous entries on the awesomeness of the puppet bike. But I had never seen it other then in pictures, and the tons of youtube videos of it. And just hearing about it was like someone telling you about a dream they had, just kind of odd and bemusing.

Then, yesterday, I saw it. Even better, I got to see the effect it had on the people watching it. In fact, while I was watching kitten hand puppets twirling to a swing song, two Chicago police officers on bikes stopped, watched the puppets dance, and then laughed and went on their way.

And that is the power of the puppet bike. Do yourself a favor and stop and watch the puppet bike when you run into it. It’s worth it.

I’m just so urban now…

Whew. I haven’t been in my metblog account in what feels like an eternity. Turns out that exploring Chicago and settling in takes longer than I anticipated.

I’ve been doing a lot of things Chicago-related. Just in the past three weeks, I’ve gotten new ink at Chicago Tattoo and Piercing Company, discovered some amazing food, and seen some great shows.  I’ll save the food and shows for other posts, since I’m a bit backed up. But right now, let’s talk about my tat!

A few weeks ago, when a friend was in town for her birthday, we decided we were going to get tattoos. Kind of an impulse, I know, but it was something I had been thinking about for a while.

I made some calls and was referred to The Chicago Tattooing and Piercing Company (1017 W. Belmont). We hopped on the bus and headed south, and when we walked in the door, we were pleased with our decision.

The business is very clean and professional looking (unlike the place where I got my first tattoo) and the man who did my tattoo (Mike) was lovely. He was patient with me, and he explained everything he was doing as he went along. He even talked me out of getting it on a specific part of my body, because the quality would be bad. He didn’t have to do that, and I know a lot of 19-22 year-old girls that are proof positive that not every tattoo artist does do that!

The whole thing, which I’ll post a picture of just as soon as I have a functional camera, only took about 20 minutes and was fairly cheap….as far as tattoos go, anyhow.

So, if you’re itching for some ink, and I know you all are (right??), head over to the Chicago Tattooing and Piercing Company.  If nothing else, they won’t let you get a bad tattoo….

One way to enjoy your Monday…

It’s Monday. We’re back at work after a great Chicago summer weekend. What could Monday possibly have for us to enjoy? How about this:

Monday bacon!  Tuesday the shits!

All you can eat?!?!? I know vegetarians are probably disgusted, and as an omnivore even I’m thinking, “two pieces of bacon should be sufficient.” However, I know that bacon has some ravenous fans that will take up this offer (or challenge).

To find out more head for the Whiskey Road at 1935 N. Damen. Even if “all u can eat bacon” is not your thing, it’s still a nice little bar. They have tasty burgers (beef, turkey, crab, and veggie). It’s also the only place I’ve found that serves one of my favorite foods, fried pickle chips. Plus, Monday is not only “all u can eat bacon”, but also movie night. I go to Whiskey Road on Thursdays at 9pm for a stand-up comedy open mic run by the awesome Chicago comedian Adam Burke (here’s a sample of his stand-up).

Don’t like any of those things? Then draw on the chalk board walls or enjoy some one else’s chalk drawing of the physical embodiment of two euphemisms for self love.

If you go tonight, let me know how much bacon u ate.

Help me get on Comedy Central!!!

Don’t Spit the Water is going to Hollywood, CA to audition for Comedy Central. That’s right! We are an amused programmer away from being on basic cable which is my glib nonchalant way of hiding the excitement of possibly doing comedy for a living.

However, traveling to LA is expensive. And we don’t make any money doing the show in Chicago, and we don’t make gobs of money working for a (from left to right in the picture) homeless shelter, Chicago public radio, and the Chicago public school system. In case you were wondering, I’m the guy in the lucha libre mask sans shirt.

That means we need your help to make this trip less expensive for us. All you have to do is join us for drinking, eating, and karaoke at Trader Todd’s this Thursday 8pm-10pm for Blewt! Sings! Your $40 will help send us on our way to stardom and on your way to all you can drink and eat and sing. The crazy characters from Don’t Spit the Water (recently featured on WGN morning news) will be there performing special songs just for the night.

If you can’t make it out on Thursday, then go our website anyway and donate what you can to help us out. Help Chicago’s favorite live comedy game show become America’s favorite live comedy game show!

Huzzah! (For Now)

According to Sun-Times columnist Jim DeRogatis’ blog, the “Event Promoters ordinance” has been tabled, at least temporarily. Alderman Eugene Schulter, Chairman of the City Council License Committee, decided not to present the ordinance to the full council after meeting with members of the Chicago Music Commission and local promoters and venue owners. According to Mr. DeRogatis’ blog the ordinance will return to committee for at least another month, during which time the committee will hear more input from the public.

I note that it is the local music community that has taken the reigns here, and I applaud them for it. I would like to remind the theatre and stand-up scenes that they have a stake here as well, and they need to make sure their representatives have a place at the table while this ordinance is reworked.

Well done, everybody who voiced their concerns.

Ten Reasons To Bike Chicago More

There have been a couple of bicycling tragedies in the last few weeks here in Chicago, with two vibrant young people (one of them a fifth grade teacher) lost. Both stories are very sad, and very sobering reminders that real dangers exist for city folks who ride their bikes.

Where I’m from, suburban/rural Indiana, the worst hazards a cyclist faced were overzealous farm dogs and the occasional stray litter of pigs spilling out into the road. Here in the city, I’ve learned to watch out for cars, and, more specifically, it’s wise to assume that not only do cabbies not see you coming, they’re actually out to get you. I swear that every time I venture out on two wheels, even in broad daylight, there are at least two or three cabbies who pull sharp u-turns directly in my path, sometimes simply stopping right in front of me. Maybe they think my bike is a hovercraft and I can simply fly over the top of their cabs? I’m not sure. The point is: bike defensively, folks.

Now that the safety lecture is over, ten reasons to ride your bike more:

1. It’s free. It’s not $4.00 a gallon to fuel up, and it’s not $1.75 on your CTA card. Granted, at most gas stations it’s a quarter to pump up your tires, but mile for mile, biking is cheaper than any other form of transportation.

2. A wide range of health benefits: you will increase your stamina and boost your muscle power with all that cardio. You’ll also sleep better and enjoy elevated moods. Winter depression begone!

3. No pee smell, like on the CTA.

4. All that cardio will rev up your metabolism, and prompt your body to crave healthier food.

5. You get cool points every time you walk into a party or other social gathering with your helmet in hand. Double cool points if you rode through even the tiniest amount of precipitation. (“Dude, did you ride here in the rain?” Shrug this off casually with a “Yeah, whatever, it’s cool.”)

6. You’ll also score hot points. Exercise is good for your sexual health and with the inevitable few pounds dropped and an increase in your energy, you’ll be hotter and friskier before you know it. This is also an excellent reason to talk your significant other into joining you in biking adventures.

7. Extra snacking privileges – with all those extra calories burned, you’ll be able to get away with a lot more extracurricular eating, on top of all the veggies and fruits you’ll naturally be craving. Last summer I biked like mad and I was the fittest I’ve been in several years, despite treating myself at least once a week to a nutritionally terrible but utterly delicious McDonald’s cheeseburger and Lay’s potato chip snackstravaganza. (That treat is properly eaten with the chips crushed in the sandwich, by the way. Propriety and decorum be damned.)

8. Related note: food eaten while sitting on one’s bike seat are calorically void* — this includes any and all food purchased from mobile ice cream carts.

9. Enjoying the beauty of nature and the city and its inhabitants. The city observed at a biking pace is quite different from zooming along in a car or bus. You notice and appreciate things you hadn’t seen before. I also love biking up and down the Lakeshore Trail, taking in the fresh breeze, and overhearing tidbits of conversation from fellow park-goers. There’s a lot of marvelous diversity among our fellow citizens, and feeling connected to that is a pretty cool thing.

10. Opportunities to make more friends. Affect bullcrap political motivations for biking and pick up more greenies, hipsters, and vegan anarchists, if that’s your thing, pick up hippie chicks and dudes in bike shops and at red lights if you want to go that way, or join organized events like Critical Mass and make thousands of friends at a time.

On that note, please enjoy this video I made chronicling my first Critical Mass ride, in September of 2007. That was a night to remember — five blissful hours in the saddle and not one, but two amazing post-ride dinners. First, there was a fine beefy meal at Tank Noodle (supplemented by BYOB Guinness), and then, after a nearby birthday party, a 2:00 a.m. run to good old Standee’s on Granville, where I ordered grilled cheese with extra pickles and “whatever kind of pie you have.”


* wishful thinking

Edited to add: this enthusiastic pro-biking post was, indeed, followed up that same day in my offline life by my first real crash, which I wrote about on my personal blog. More of a thump than a crash, and certainly a lesson well-learned: don’t underestimate the might of the Windy City’s wind.

City Council Votes on Event Promoters Ordinance Tomorrow!

The Event Promoters ordinance will go before the city council at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, May 14th. I received an e-mail about a campaign to flood city hall with opponents of this ordinance. The campaign is being organized through The Point, and the goal is for 100 people to commit to attending the council meeting tomorrow. Save Chicago Culture will present a petition opposing the ordinance at the meeting.

Because the proposal was fast-tracked through committee, the Chicago arts community has had very little time to respond. I, for one, will be attending the council meeting tomorrow. If you care about preserving Chicago’s theatre, music and comedy I expect to see you there too. If you can’t make it, please e-mail your alderman today and express your opinion.

Otherwise, I suppose you could just pay a hundred bucks a pop and go see Wicked again.

The Event Promoters’ Ordinance

Well, this is appalling.

This Wednesday the city council votes on the so-called “Event Promoters’ ordinance.” If this thing passes it could mean that any artist wishing to produce or promote his own work would have to pay up to $2,000 for a license. He or she would have to be over the age of 21, must get fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and inform the police seven days in advance of an event. This ordinance is aimed directly at small venues and new artists who have yet to develop an audience. Larger spaces that seat over 500 — in other words, places that can actually afford the license — are exempt.

The weblog Save Chicago Culture is collecting signatures in opposition to the ordinance. On their site you can find a .pdf of the complete text of the ordinance, as well as links to the city council site, and your local alderman. The Sun-Times’ Jim DeRogatis has an in-depth analysis on his blog.

The problem is, blogs are the only place this thing has gotten any attention. So, if you don’t want to lose the Double Door, Schuba’s, Martyrs’, the Vic, the Riv or the Metro, get a message to your alderman at once.

Three cheers for the hippies!!

So, I started taking percussive dance at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Man. Not only is Old Town totally awesome, the class is amazing!

There is no required skill level for my class, so it’s very diverse and fun. From novice to professional dancers, to hobbyists like myself. I had to dust off my old tap shoes in order to, well, percuss, and it was sooooo much fun. it’s like STOMP!, but I’m the one stomping!

I had so much fun that I didn’t realize how sore I was until a day later! My body is definitely mad at me – I haven’t danced for sport in, ohhhh, a decade or so. Mild pain and discomfort aside, I love this class.

I love Old Town.


So now that it is no longer a cold mess outside (okay so the past few days don’t count….) I have been taking Little Mac (yes he has a myspace page….) for long walks around the neighborhood and I have been using the sidekicks camera to take pictures….I love tulips.
The little sidekick takes good pictures in the daylight, don’tcha think? For more of them check out my flickr account

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