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.