December 29, 2017

2017: The year we felt it all

When one tries to mull over what happened over the past year, it may be impossible to try to wrap your head around. This is likely because I guarantee you’ve already forgotten at least a quarter of the big stories that infiltrated our media outlets over the course of 363 days.  Once it comes back to you, the mulling gets thicker.

Even as I tried to sit down and conjure up what I wanted to try and say about this year, so much had fallen from memory. Perhaps it was shoved out, a preference I subconsciously chose to  try and distance myself from so many of the unsettling stories that I absorbed, got angry about, and tried to find some solace within conversation with others.  Best word for 2017’s political climate? Tumultuous. What helped me get the donkeys and elephants back in a row? We can thank Domenico Montenegro over at NPR and his beautiful bracket work summing up the top political stories of last year. I have a feeling this may have been unlike other years in more recent times. Instead of taking a final at the end of the semester, imagine taking one at the end of your high school career that covered the onslaught you learned during your time there. That’s kind of what summing up this year feels like; daunting, unsettling, and too much to cover. So what affected us?  Who provoked it? I bet these answers will be the same.

If you find yourself glancing over the year’s news, you’re engulfed with bad memories, heartbreaking choices made by the US and its leaders, and destruction that changed the lives of those who reside in Texas, Florida, and of course Puerto Rico. Starting in order may be necessary to keep a proper timeline, as some of these events fueled others.

The Inauguration kicked off at the end of January, but we got plenty of wallowing in before that date had fallen. Of course, the fresh administration doctored up the reports of attendance. I wish I could say that was a glimpse of what was to come, but unfortunately, we already had the negative insight before it became official. We had millions of women march together worldwide to show that, YES, WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. Seas of pink hats flooded city streets, lesser known areas, and popular capitals across the country. While the signs were witty, the presence alone was the loudest message.

Shortly after came the Syrian attacks and an attempted Travel Ban from Muslim countries. Gorsuch was put on the Supreme Court, Flynn was compromised; Sally Yates was fired. We got stuck with Sessions, and then came the Russia investigation. We certainly are still enjoying our tango with Russia, and it may be quite a long dance. Then came the recuse. Denial, cover-up, email unveiling, and other spin-offs have occurred since we’ve started the episode, and we’ll likely be staying tuned in.  We’ve seen a revolving door of staff members end up on the outside of the White House {Priebus, Gorka, Walsh, Bannon, Spicer, don’t worry, there’s more} and others with notable positions find their jobs threatened – frequently. A man that led one of our most respected institutions, James Comey, was fired without any warning when he was away, only to create its own sea of disaster. We waited apprehensively as he testified, hell, I brought a bag of popcorn to the office as I watched. Let’s not forget about the never-ending threats with the border wall. Then it was Mueller Time.

America pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords, being included among an extremely short list of non-participants. Pardoned, was a sheriff who confused race with criminal behavior. Four Green Berets were killed in Niger, a situation that still presents uncertainty. This was made into an entirely different story when a spouse of one of the soldiers received a disappointing phone call from the country’s leader. We were still trying our best to tolerate our own president who felt the best way to project his hatred, objection, and blatant ignorance was and still is via Twitter. Trump challenged Tillerson to an IQ test, spent overwhelming time on the wrong “course”, and tried to view the eclipse via squinting. Forget not, the shooting that took place in Alexandria against congressmen, including the Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, who, by the way, is still not all for added gun legislation.

Those who are transgendered were told that they would no longer be able to serve in the military, an unexpected and unwarranted call that was just another tweet for Trump. The bathroom debate lingered on. There was a new Communications Director that held position for less than 10 days, wildfires set California ablaze, Tom Petty died. We saw powerful men become significantly weakened by numerous women who were brave enough to come forward with their stories of assault and harassment; Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer. That’s the exceptionally short list, but names, whether we liked them, loved them, or just agreed to disagree with them, were a big part of media life that we grew accustomed to. Don't let that whole "Rocket Man!" debacle slip your mind. North Korea seems to be on the minds of many lately. Surprise, surprise.

Men, such as Bob Corker and Jeff Flake who served their states and constituents for years decided that this climate is no longer one they’d like to be serving in. If you decided to play a drinking game based on every time you heard “Fake News!” come out of Trump’s mouth, you likely would have fallen dead months ago. The retaliation against the media was just one of the scariest things to happen this year, you find yourself questioning all the time. Where is the validity? Sources, please. MORE BI-PARTISAN AGREEMENTS, IF YOU WILL!

Don’t forget about the backlash against the NFL. If you had avoided politics because it wasn’t “your thing”, now became a point in time when your ears perked up, because politics had now touched so many things that it hadn’t quite reached before. Did he really call the players who stood for their beliefs by taking a knee “sons of bitches”? Why yes, yes he did. Absolutely take the time to remember those who found themselves in the thick of hatred in Las Vegas, Texas, Charlottesville, and New York. The people who were gathered to simply enjoy another day of life; a festivity, a rally, a concert, a church service, only to be ended by ignorance and loathing.

There were three names you heard a lot without seeing any faces, but the destruction and devastation they caused were significant. You know them by Harvey, Irma, and Maria. McCain gave a “thumbs-down” to health care and we saw huge tax legislation that affects millions get passed in the blink of an eye. Remember when we thought Georgia was going to be the most exciting special election this year? Al Franken stepped down, and thankfully, Roy Moore lost. A man who was accused by multiple women of harassment {then again, so is our president} and being with underage girls, was a few breaths away from winning the Alabama senate race at the start of December. Doug Jones prevailed and now a democrat holds the seat for the first time since ’92. Women also helped close out the year in a big way. From the Women’s March to the stories of the “Silence Breakers”, women were stronger than ever, and we’re only going to continue to gain strength. That is not the point of this post, but it is an important take-away.

So where does all of this get us? How did it make you feel? I can say that this is the most impacted I have ever felt by a single administration. Is it because maybe I am paying attention a bit more than in the past? Sure. That is a good possibility. Is it beneficial that anger was a motivator in getting so many people involved in political happenings? That I do not know, but I do think that whatever gets you involved should be noted as some sort of positive,  because it’s not always what gets you to a point, but what you do with it once you with it once you’re there.

Many of these occurrences that happened over the past year left me with my mouth gaped and my mind astir. As a first-year PoliSci major at Northeastern Illinois, I was able to utilize what I was learning and apply it to many events that affected many around the globe. Having that semester was helpful, but it wasn’t a necessary factor when it came to me getting involved and mustering the desire to create change. This administration, was ITS OWN perfect motivator to go out and make some sort of positive impact. Perhaps it was the feeling of, “if I can’t do anything on a grand scale, then a smaller-scale effort will have to suffice”. More people got involved in local politics, campaigns, and fundraising. Law School applicants are on the rise. Younger politicians are emerging. This is is quite a radical time. While it feels rather scary, it also feels like you’re part of this grand scheme of change, trying to resist the negatives, and doing what you can to fight the good fight. You can do something good with it or you can go with the flow.

Another bonkers aspect of it all? This was merely what happened within the United States. Other stories deserve some serious mention and recognition, regardless of where they happened; they impacted people for the better or worse. I don’t want to leave those vital bits of information and news out of what happened in this post, but I also believe this post should stay focused on the mayhem that occurred within this country in what feels like such a short time. These are big issues that affected millions of people, and so negatively at that. All in all, this year was rough. I would love to talk more about certain issues, but there are so many things to delve into, I would be here through all of 2018 taking the time to spill out a few thoughts on each of these subjects. A small thing to keep in mind: if Steve Bartman can acquire a World Series ring in 2017, then perhaps this year proved that just about anything can happen. 

July 14, 2017

The Weekend of Wonderful Sounds

As summer finds itself in full swing, I've seemed to have upped my concert repertoire over the recent months, and rather swiftly, I might add.

I've headed to shows all throughout the city [and a few burbs] that include: Tool, Rhiannon Giddens, Gary Clark Jr., Air, The B-52's, Gorillaz, and Natalie Merchant [Phish is on deck for Sunday]. All of these were fantastic shows. I'm going to delve into a few details about two of them, which is particularly easy because I saw both artists this past weekend.


I'll take you over to Northerly Island where I saw Gorillaz on Saturday, July 8th. Now this was a band I had been quite enthused with over the past decade and then some. I remember being 18 [yeah, I was late to the party] and running into the Jamba Juice I was working at, only to Zach Braff my co-workers by putting my headphones in their ears and playing 'The Sounder', insisting that they needed to hear it. I remember hearing that for the first time and it being a song I had to listen to over and over.'Ghosttrain' was another favorite at that point in time.

I'm pretty amped on their latest album, as it possess a glorious hype and overall different vibe from their former work. Saying that, Gorillaz always tend to do their own thing and it's rather difficult to compare songs as they vary significantly, as do their albums. Please, let us not forget 'M1 A1' which always enthusiastically scares the hell out of me, but gains a groovy rock ability mid-way. Their concert delivered for new fans and those who have been there since the beginning. They kicked it off with 'Ascension' where I thoroughly lost my shit. There are so many great songs to dance to on Humanz that it really accentuated my hype. I believe I danced the entire concert. You couldn't not.

When they slid gloriously into 'Last Living Souls', it warranted another mind-losing session as I've loved that song for too long not to see it played live. 'Charger' was a serious shock to my system because I didn't even see that coming and it's one of my favorites off the latest. I fell in love with 'Out of Body', which I had heard before, but apparently not thoroughly enough. That was a song that required some righteous grooves. Everything continued to be outstanding all the way until they closed it up with 'Demon Days', which could not have been more appropriate. Such a beautiful song and a great way to send us off. It's always fun being the first U.S. show, we were the fun experiment for the new setlist, which is pretty lovely.

February 22, 2017

In The Heat of February

Well, well, well.

Chicago lost it's collective mind this weekend after it hit over sixty degrees, and continued to linger on for most of the week. While I wish I could have utilized the weather a little better, time was spent wrapping up projects and trying to give myself a bit of rest after what seems to have been a non-stop couple of weeks. I soaked up a few rays of sunshine today as it hit near seventy. Oh, the glory!

It seems as though I had been up to something nearly every day or evening and it just took it's toll. I finally went to see a doctor last Wednesday after having symptoms of a sinus infection for what seemed months (it was months). I hate admitting that I'm sick or that I have to actually go on some medication for what's going on with my body. This time I got three different things to take for it, and I finally feel better. It's a bit bonkers to think about how long I went just trying to get used to feeling like that. So it goes.

But whilst suffering that little infection, I had a rather fantastic time dabbling in a few other things; I FINALLY WENT TO THE AUTO SHOW. My own mind was blown at the fact that I had never been. Also, I had to go see the Maybach. For me, that was like going to see Concorde in person (which I did on a detour from DC to Virginia just to see it, along with the SR-71 Blackbird)  I mean, that's really all I needed to see there, but it was nice to stroll around and see things shine. I'm a big luxury vehicle fan, and had a glorious time sitting in all the Maserati's, except the Gran Turismo, they had that sucker locked-up. Of course they did. Above all else, I think I had the most fun getting extremely stressed out whilst watching the test tracks. Shoutout to Jeep for a glorious stress-fest (truly the best kind)

{Check out: 'The Trees In Russia'  and 'Wake Up Gladiator'}

I went to Schuba's last Monday to check out The Flashbulb take it slow and then make it funky. I had a feeling he was on tour, so I'm glad I got the inkling to check that out a few weeks ago. It's always righteous to look up and see an artist is on the road and still be able to snag tickets before they hit your city. We could talk about how sad I am that this was not the case with D.R.A.M last month or with Run The Jewels (they're here this week, I believe). It was really neat to see this played out live. I've been listening to his albums, specifically Nothing Is Real and Arboreal, for the past few months. As I dipped into some other stuff, I found he has quite an array of sounds. I didn't know exactly what his show would touch on, but it was a lovely selection that came together rather nicely. I would have stuck around after the show to snag a few words with him, but I had a 5am wakeup time and the show wrapped at 11:15 or so. 

And then it was Valentine's Day. Dan called me a few weeks ago telling me about Sumi Robata Bar and that he booked a reservation there, mainly because he was super curious about it, and knew I would probably dig it. Indeed I did! We ordered almost everything on the menu, at least on the Robata side. Once we started, we basically just kept upping our order. I am so glad that I could hold out for one more night so I could go here. Such a great time working our way through various courses. However, I woke up the next day feeling the collective effect of not taking care of your body. Even though I had the protein of so many animals kicking about in my system and not one, but two bowls of miso soup, nothing was enough to repair what was going on.

After a full round of meds and a few days on the low vibe, I'm almost back to normal. Full normalcy seems like a stretch at this point. I'm trying to take advantage of any bit of relaxation I can muster, the busiest day of the work day is next Tuesday and it's actually quite insane {Packzi Day}. What feels like half the city floods through the doors throughout the day. While it's madness, its also rather glorious. The excitement, the running around, and my most beloved task, keeping the team jazzed as hell. This is accomplished by just yelling and having a blast. There's nothing else you can do in that situation except just try to make it fun. The most difficult thing will be trying to muster up that energy after 8 straight shifts in a row, with the final one being the longest and the most enduring. BRING. THAT. SHIT. ON.

Onto the music! Here's what I'm vibin' on at the moment;

Desperado by Rihanna
Float by FTSE {Ft. Kenzie May}
Go Robot by Red Hot Chili Peppers
I Wait For You by SOULS
Love$ick by Mura Masa
I Am You by Nightmares On Wax
Without by Sampha
Everybody's Talkin' by Harry Nilsson
San Andreas Fault by Natalie Merchant
Headlock by Imogen Heap
Love Is Mystical by Cold War Kids
Hustle Rose by Metric
Spirit by Future Islands
We could talk about the MAJOR phase I went through with the album 'Singles' a couple summers ago. It was pretty much all I listened to for a solid three months. It makes me want to dance, cry, laugh, feel, and share it, so much so that I made a scarf based on the album cover. I'm actually really surprised I didn't devote an entire post to them during that period of time.

In other crocheted projects;

I made this baby blanket for a friend and co-worker who's due next month.
It's been awhile since I've been in blanket territory. It was good to be back.

Although I was plenty busy with this for a few days, I cranked out a few other projects that will be hitting the shoppe soon. While this was enough on it's own to do within a five day period, I found that once this was finalized, I kept wanting to crochet and keep creating. That is where I am able to really find some sense of self. I love turning a thought into a concept., and a concept into a design. I want to create on a much larger scale, with greater mediums. I'll have to see what I can do about that. But for now, I'm going to see what I can do about getting some serious sleep. TG

February 6, 2017

Dipping into 2017

When I first started writing this post, 2 months ago, it was a delightful four degrees outside, which was a major upswing from that morning's negative numbers, and wind chills creeping lower beyond that. So this city does what it does best and looked awful whilst trudging around in nine coats and three pairs of pants (it happens to the best of us, but not me because I took an Uber to work).

If I can recall winter 2015, which I definitely can, I remember it being super mild, like, sitting-in-parks mild because it was fifty freakin' degrees in the heart of December. But 2016 it was when this post was being written, which in every other sense was a total bitch, so it seems on par. I also feel like those who had a "good" 2016 are keeping that slice of information to themselves. It would very much be like claiming your adoration for the Cleveland Indians in the final week of October in Chicago. You just didn't do it. But while the weather was rather miserable, there have been some beautiful flurries that momentarily coat the city in wonder and beauty. Luckily today is not one of those days, as the temperature reads in the mid forties.

Whatever, let's get to the good stuff, which is music. I feel such a large shift lately. I will FOREVER be an XRT girl. That is where my core base of music is and it will never, ever be neglected by my musical soul. I just find that I'm gravitating towards an array of other things I haven't been into in a long time, or have been, just haven't properly shared. I know I briefly touched on this topic in my last post, but music transitions are huge, and perhaps hit me harder than they would most. I typically have about two or three each year; where I listen to particular groupings of certain genre's. I never know what it's going to be, but usually it's something I already love and have completely neglected for at least a year, as if it's a musical Rolodex, and there are somethings that just stay in the background for longer than you intend them to. I guess it's all about the mood, and the mood always has the ability to change.

This particular set of music has come to me at all different times, from numerous sources. Some old, some new. I've been listening to these particular jams and the albums they belong to, quite a bit over the past two months. I have been in such a whirlwind, that it leaves me little time to write, but so much time to listen.

{Heavy in Rotation}

Wolf and I by Oh Land
Legend Has It by Run The Jewels
Okay, sidenote; I've been a RTJ fan for a minute now, and a month or so ago
my cab driver asks me which radio station I would like for him to put on.
Obviously, I chose XRT. It's The Big Beat with Jason Thomas. He plays
'Noise Pollution' by Potrugal. The Man (solid jam), and THEN PLAYS THIS SONG.
I lost my mind in the back of this car. Chicago's Finest Rock bringing my
other finest choice into the mix. HOT DAMN! What a moment. Also, this song solidifies
my final decision in needing a pair of nunchucks. I need to just throw down to this song.
and every other Run The Jewels song.
Demon Days by Gorillaz
Outlier by Bonobo
Say Something Loving by The xx
Obsessed upon first listen.
Adorn by Miguel
Holy. Shit.
Oui by Jeremih
My girls were bumpin' GCI in the back at work one day, MONTHS AGO, I heard this song AND FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. I had no idea who it was by, all I knew was "ah ah yah" and that apparently helped no one. I hadn't heard it again until 5 days ago. I thoroughly flipped out and was finally able to find out who it was by and it's title. THE SATISFACTION WAS REAL. This is an album I've been listening to in full. Another rather sexy jam off Late Nights: PLANEZ (ft. J. Cole). If this guy needs a dancer for any show or tour he ever does, he can contact me.
Hard Liquor by SOHN
Hot Thoughts by Spoon [NEW SPOON! YES!]
Déjà Loin by Yann Tiersen
I put 'Fervier' on my Halloween mix a couple posts ago because it was
extremely appropriate. However, I've been listening to him for years. I even
went to see him live hoping I'd get to hear some of the songs I love most. 
Nope. Anyway... his album, C'était ici, has to be one of my all time favorites.
He's behind the music for Amelie, which hopefully helps familiarize his work.
I listened to this album straight through twice in a row a few weeks ago whilst decorating cookies.
Houdini by Foster The People
Shades of Cool by Lana Del Rey

All in all, 2017 has been an interesting array of emotions compacted into what feels much more than two months in. Overall, things have been going well. There's always room for improvement and progression, and right now I need a lot of both. There have been a lot of great things going on and ways I've been keeping myself plenty busy. Dan and I celebrated the incoming of 2017 at Scofflaw (seriously, GO THERE) - one of our favorite places and had an amazing time. I attended the XRT Listener Poll in the first week of January, The people that I surrounded myself with that evening were exquisite. I had a really lovely time and am so glad it was able to happen. I've been spending plenty of time at Bitter Pops, Dan and I checked out the Art Institute last week and tried Terzo Piano, Tony's latest - verdict is out, it was delicious.

 Roamin' with the Lions outside the Art Institute and  The lovely ladies at Bitter Pops/2nd home

NEW YEAR'S EVE at Scofflaw

I recently made this concept for my shoppe - based on Run The Jewels 3. I was super stoked when I found these yarns and knew right away I needed to utilize them properly. I am in love with the album and wanted to make an inspired, yet wearable piece. LISTEN TO THE FULL ALBUM HERE.

A groovy group of us that can usually be found sending off righteous tweets pertaining to XRT, gathered, and took over the front table at City Winery. We listened to the finest DJs from the finest station lay down what went down on their station in a year's time.
It's a night where you feel like you're best friends with everyone in the room.
It's always nice to meet with those you interact with on a different platform. An inviting group of people where everyone just seems to "get it".

We are enjoying your treats from this morning and you're a very good dancer.
and the morning after you get some Twitter love. Treats earn tweets. As does dancing well.

And here I am. In the thick of transition, which seems to be my favorite place to reside. All that I care about right at this very moment is getting outside and soaking up some of that sun that will only be here for an hour or so. I've been nothing but productive today, but as always, I've got some extra energy to burn. A Monday afternoon stroll is exactly what I need. TG

November 30, 2016

The Upswings of Autumn, The Lows of Fall, and The Music In-Between

Why, hello.

I feel there's a lot I could talk about here that has happened since my previous post; the election, the girl who flipped out in Michael's (I'm in there all the time, their staff is chocked full of lovely people), the current work vibe, or even Thanksgiving. But let's not get too crazy. For now, I think I need to chill out, post some tunes, and hit on the highlights over the past month.

Let's start out with Oriole;

When I checked the 2016 Michelin recipient list, it looked as it should, but with a few new names on the list. Oriole was one of those names that happened to catch my eye. Oddly enough, a few days later, Dan told me he booked a reservation there because it piqued his interest as well. HELL YES. Our reservation was on Wednesday November 9th, or the day after the election. Needless to say, it was a much-needed culinary pick-me-up.

WHAM BAM, THANK YOU, MA'AM! The menu (yes, yes, I PEEKED BEFORE GOING!) looked like it was going to be a complete masterpiece and it was exactly that. Course menus have the ability to bore me, however, when paired with delicious wines, spirits, sake, + cider that go hand-in-hand with what's on your fork, they turn into an experience not easy to forget. 

Before going I was so excited for the first plate, because ANYTHING with caviar works for me, but blended with those particular fruit pairings made it even more desirable. The bone broth and beef tendon also had me rather giddy, along with wagyu dishes, because, obviously. Any thought I had of what it would be like was blown out of the water as it became a beautiful reality. Plate after plate came to our table, and each one was a true delight to consume.

There were some real stand-outs. We had a very hard time figuring out our favorite dish once our final course had been completed. The staff, the environment, and obviously, the food were just beyond. I am so glad I was able to go and see how wonderful that place is. If you can, please make your way over and do the same. You will not be disappointed. 

The Jams!
Hot Damn! This has been a solid music month for me. I've come across some stuff I'm really amped on, along with falling back in with some older tunes I haven't given as much time to over the past year or two. The genre is all over the board as I'm in a particularly weird phase (what's up Saturn's Return?). I'm reconnecting with my older music loves; rap and R+B, along with more upbeat/electronic. I think I just want to always be dancing. However, November was an emotional month. Music has a way of easing these things and these songs have kept me going and have given my mind something to entertain.
Here goes;

The Strain by Blockhead
Sleeping Lessons by The Shins
Odd Look by Kavinsky
Hiiijack by SZA
Say My Name (ft. Zyra) by Odesza
Tangle by The Hics
Needed Me by Rihanna
(Rihanna is a damn hit-maker and I love this song. It's sexy as hell and I've been amped on it.)
Heaven or Las Vegas by The Weeknd
Drift by Alina Baraz + Galimatias
Cocoa Hooves by Glass Animals
Dark Star by Polica
Equus by Blonde Redhead
Percussion Gun by White Rabbits
Rotten Love by Levy
Okay, I have to give some serious credit for this one, because after hearing it and seeing it used to the right affect, I've been listening to it daily (much like most of these other songs);
my buddy (and former co-worker), Michael, made a video-a-day for a year and put them all together in this righteous longer video. I think it epitomizes what it's like to attend university in Chicago. I would be just as enthused if I didn't have a cameo appearance (2:30ish) in this righteous montage of life - but seriously, his choices in music are on point (so glad he uses Beiruit's 'Sunday Smile'), it captures a specific slice of life. I love it.

Black Wednesday

Oh, the glory of rounding up the crew for a fantastic pre-Thanksgiving shindig!
Back to Naperville we went to experience the top notch experience that is partying at the Beck's.
Something I've been doing a fine job of since the high school days.
When it comes to Suburban tom-foolery, no one does it better than those rounded up on the Thack.
This year was a massive throwdown, as the mix of groups have come together. My best friend, Erin, has a fairly large family, and since each sibling is cool as hell, they tote around a good amount of friends. This year, the youngest Beck, had brought his collegiate friends back with him, and we tried, we really really tried to make that as smooth as possible. It worked, kind of, but ultimately, it was nice to have such a large surrounding. To have a merge of the groups. At the party's peak, we had the garage packed with liquor loaded bodies, dance moves, and great tunes.

Most of the crew, missing a few, but it's always nice to have Mr. Marty B, 
owner of the home, party with us for a little bit.

Erin + I for our obligatory Black Wednesday photo.
Although this year I'm actually looking pretty normal.

and in prior years...



It is always so nice to see everyone, especially around the holiday.
I have finally made a fair amount of friends in the city, something that surprisingly took awhile.
It's hard to find consistent people to hang out with, as so many people work excessive hours or are extremely busy in other facets of life. It's even harder to build relationships that resemble anything like the friendships that have already tested some serious time and changes. So many of my closest friends live in other states, and when they come to town, we try to raise a little hell and have a hell of a lot of fun.

All in All...

I cannot help but think of how much has changed, yet remained the same in a year's time.
 Last November was a really emotional month for me, and the past year has presented so many challenges, a lot of ups, but so many downs. Now that November is nearly over, I realize how much it resembles last year's, in an emotional sense. This time it presented itself in other ways, other ways I'm almost grateful for, because someone can only take a month like that every decade or so. I think it's just a wonky month. Daylight Savings + Thanksgiving + Holiday work season can be a tumultuous mix. 

I really hope that things are on an upswing for me and that some of this has been a nice little test that I'll somehow pass with great luck. Perhaps I'll just get used to it being dark at 5pm - whichever comes first.

I'm looking forward to whatever's next.

October 31, 2016

Scary Good Music.

Happy Halloween!

This year I was Alice and I was servin' up a wonderland of goodies all weekend at work.
Of course I'll slip into the role once again this evening to celebrate the real deal.

In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd throw together a few songs to keep the monsters mashin' and a few to send you down the rabbit hole.


Fervier by Yann Tiersen
{This is probably the ultimate Halloween song.
I'm a big fan of Yann Tiersen's work, but there's something downright creepy about this one -- in a great way. While this track is ultra long, it's the perfect thing to have going on in the background today, especially around the 6:40 mark}

Ghost Song by Air
Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix) by Hiatus Kaiyote
Angel Echos by Four Tet
L.A. Woman by The Doors
If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray
Fur Lined by How To Destroy Angels
Courtship Dating by Crystal Castles
Which One of You Jerks Drank My Arnold Palmer by Blockhead
Tsars and Hussars by Daedelus
Parting of The Sensory by Modest Mouse
Strangeness and Charm by Florence + The Machine
Eminence Front by Pete Townshend
All In Forms by Bonobo
The Pills Won't Help You Now by The Chemical Brothers

I really miss the use of 8Tracks for making playlists. I no longer have my 12,000+ songs stored on this particular hard drive, making it rather hard to get the songs I want on most sets I want to make.
This way will have to suffice for now. 

October 13, 2016

Autumn Grooves

Way-Hey! It's freakin' autumn and I'm stoked about it. The past month I've gloriously eased into cooler temperatures, high boots, short skirts, and light jackets. Oh, the glory! It is absolutely my favorite season when it comes to wardrobe, and while we've had some serious Portland vibes, the weather has been pretty rad. I feel as though fall is naturally a transitional period, a time to re-acclimate. This is my season, I feel secure in it, as if I always realize the most about myself during this time of year. I feel that every one handles seasonal shifts very differently. Let autumn linger forever.

I had a nice little stay-cation about a month ago, which was much needed time off, especially before the holiday haul where 40 work weeks become 50+ hour weeks. While I would have loved to have gone somewhere exciting for a few days and get that true feeling of escape, I figured it'd be nice to stick around and spend my money locally at places I love. I was able to fill the time with fantastic people, sneak in a day of righteous nature, and enjoy some damn good food + booze.

Starved Rock . Sept 22
also my half-birthday, folks --very important ]


Cubs cookies. That's all basically anyone cares about. I decorated over 400 of them on Tuesday. They're already sold out (It's Thursday). Although I don't blame people, the whole situation is extremely exciting and I absolutely love decorating them, so it really works itself out.

I am also quite fond of the rocket ships I decorated last week for a custom order.

But let's delve into some music;

The Playlist

1) Clouds Up by Air [The Virgin Suicides soundtrack]
An album that must be listened to every autumn. Multiple times.
This intro song always hits me the hardest.

2) Creator by Santigold
3) Sulk by Radiohead
4) Nara by E.S. Posthumus
The many things that run through my mind each time I hear this song.
Always sets the tone for some sort of scenario for my mind to entertain.

5) Depth Charge by DJ Shadow
[I just saw him play the Metro and could not wait to hear this live.
A total immersion of sound. T'was an incredible show]

6) U R A Fever by The Kills
7) Bittersweet by Big Head Todd + The Monsters
8) Blue Light [Engineers  'Anti Gravity' Remix ] by Bloc Party
9) The Enchanter [Unkle Reconstruction]- Robert Plant 
The amount of mix CD's I've put this on...

10) It's Bad You Know by R.L. Burnside


Seeing DJ Shadow play live was incredible. He's such a master of his craft and the room held such fantastic energy. Like 'The Enchanter', this has ended up on many mix CD's that I've made in the past. When he threw this down last Friday at Metro, everyone lost their damn minds. We all shared that same excitement of finally hearing it played before us. It was such a great spot to see him, for I've had some rather dashing experiences at that venue, but he could have filled a much bigger space. Intimacy at some shows is vital, and I think this was able to encompass that kind of vibe, even though it happened to be flooded with humans.

I also had the joy of finding out that I missed that Glass Animals show I was so excited about because that's the hand life decided to deal. I guess I can just be glad I've seen them play live (although briefly, Lolla 2015) once before. The new album would have been nice to hear in a live format, but so it goes. I really thought it was in November. Also, why do I always miss October shows? This unfortunately happened with Blockhead last year or the year prior and I still haven't forgiven myself.

I'm looking forward to the tail end of 2016, looking even more forward to it being over. 2016 is being a real bitch, and frankly, I think we've all had enough. For now, AUTUMN! TG

August 31, 2016

Summertime Vibes

And it is now nearly the end of August.

I cannot believe the swiftness of summer, how 3 months feels like 3 weeks. And so it goes.

The other day I found myself sitting at a table behind Osmium, taking in a few sips of one of my favorite coffee concoctions. While it was 85 degrees, I was taking my Agave Latte hot. As I sat there jotting down a few lines in my journal, I realized just how fast it was slipping away [warm weather, that is, not the latte]. There were only a handful of days left to feel summer's heat on our skin, to be overwhelmed with sunshine, warmth, and the sporadic thunderstorm. I love summertime. We look forward to it during every other season. There's such a magnificent ease to it all, an energy.

However, for all the glorious things I filled the past 3 months with; the concerts, the company, the delicious meals, the plethora of beer; I am ready for fall. Hell, I may even be ready for winter. Yes, I will absolutely hate myself for typing this later [you can find me denying it in 4 months]. It's not the freakishly cold days I'm longing for, it's the desire to stay INSIDE. Summer sets me free, leaves me with no excuses, a bit obligated, and also leaves me a bit broke and scattered. I have one focus in the warmer months and that is to have no focus. A lengthy autumn would be most desirable.

Try 'Em Out:

1) Bitter Pops  .  2) Fahlstrom's  .  3) The Northman  .  4) DMK Burger Bar  5) Mortar and Pestle
[worth the mention and your business]

The Line-Up:

Oh, the concerts! I have been to a slew of shows; Le Butcherettes and At The Drive In [Riviera]Of Monsters and  Men and Florence + The Machine [sponsor, sponsor, other sponsor in Tinley Park]Phish [Wrigley Field]Sweet Spirit [The Hideout], Lollapalooza (Flume, Bloc Party, LCD Soundsystem), and Ray LaMontagne [Northerly Island]. Each holds their own impact, Le Butcherettes inspired me beyond belief, Florence is the queen of everything, Sabrina was such a gem when I saw them at The Hideout, and then there is Ray LaMontagne, whom I've been wanting to see for a solid 10 years. He moved me to bits with his cathartic voice and made the wait absolutely worth it. While a lot was seen, it seemed like there were so many I missed. Luckily, I have a small pocketful of shows coming up in the next few months that I'm rather excited for: [Glass Animals, Gold Panda, and Nightmares On Wax].

The Playlist:

1) 'Insomniac Olympicsby Blockhead
{but honestly, I've been listening to all of Blockhead's albums in heavy
rotation this summer if you're not familiar with his work, I suggest you delve in}
2) 'Hey, No Pressureby Ray LaMontangne
3) 'Soundcheck' by Catfish and The Bottlemen
4) 'Right Here' by Tricky
5) 'Wish I Knew You' by The Revivalists
6) 'Be, I Do' by Nightmares On Wax
{like Blockhead, Nightmares On Wax have been another group that I've
put endless hours of listening time into over the past 4 months. I cannot get enough}
7) 'The Perfect Parts' by Shakey Graves
8) 'Take Me To A Party' by Sweet Spirit
9) 'Forest Crunk' by Aesop Rock
10) 'Cha Cha' by D.R.A.M.

The Summer Visual:

         1) sippin' a Bloody at Dry Hop    
2) Pre-Florence platform excitement!

3) With my Sister-in-Law, pre-phish  
4) Meeting Jeff Garlin at my work

5) F.R.I.E.N.D.S: The Musical The One Where They Sing  
6) Sweet Spirit at The Hideout

7) Sabrina signed my shirt after telling me I should take it.
Seriously, I love Sweet Spirit, such rad people.

8) beverage line-up at Mortar and Pestle

Enjoy what's left of the summertime! -  TG