Thursday, August 30, 2012

Premium Rush

Last night J and I saw Joseph Gordon Levitt's newest action flick, Premium Rush. J mostly wanted to see bike stunts; I wanted to see how New York bikers were portrayed.

We were both left wanting in those areas, but still enjoyed the movie overall. I was impressed by even basic urban biking skills and found myself holding my breath during several intense traffic scenes. Those parts hit pretty close to home seeing as I've had to maneuver my way out of sticky traffic situations on my ways to and from work.

As for biker characterization, the movie paints in broad strokes. All bikers aren't as fixed-gear loving, smart phone savvy, and anti-establishment as movies and TV would have you think. Yes, there is a certain segment of the biking world that fits the hipster-elite stereotype, but many of us are just poor 20-somethings trying to get to work or to a friend's house without having to worry about parking or public transportation. Even more of us bikers are merely trying to incorporate some physical activity into our daily existences, reducing stress and environmental/noise pollution with one swift rotation of our pedals.

Sorry. I've gotten off track reviewing this movie. It's just that bikers in Chicago aren't always welcomed and have even come under attack by newspaper reporters. I'm guessing this is nothing new, but one would think an innocent activity like biking wouldn't be the cause of so much irritation. To every annoyed driver: I'm sorry that bikers don't always follow traffic rules, but please don't treat us all the same!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Horner Park

I'm here with M right now. He's running. I'm people watching. Just now a gaggle of kids went running by, perhaps a children's running team or just a very large family chasing each other through the park. There are dog walkers, stroller pushers, marathon trainers, and bikers. You could pick this park up and plop it down pretty much any where in America and it wouldn't be out of place. I very much enjoy the anonymity.

Aaaaand M is finished. Back to work!

Monday, August 27, 2012


As many of you know, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was and continues to be an inspiring tale for me. I went to Rome shortly after reading it the first time, and a second reading helped put into words my spiritual ideologies. I haven't felt the need for a third reading, but I'm open to it.

Before doing that, I had to read her latest work, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage. From what I'd heard, it wasn't quite the same caliber as EPL, but I personally found it engaging and smart, if not honest and unassuming. Gilbert writes of what she knows: intimacy, loving another person, having a healthy fear of marriage. She doesn't set out to top EPL, and I found the two books to be very different, albeit complementary, works of creative nonfiction.

Here's my one critique (and it's really more of a wonder): why is the book titled Committed if there's no commentary on the connotations of that word? Commitment implies confinement. Why do we commit ourselves to people, but also to mental health clinics? Is it because we must be (for lack of a more PC word) a little crazy to commit? Or is it because (in the safety of a healthy relationship) we feel a little saner once we've done so?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Talk Radio: I Get It

When I was younger (elementary through high school), I didn't get why anyone would listen to talk radio. It seemed bland, uneventful, and contradictory to everything I listened to radio for: music and more music.

I know radio and how we listen to it is different, but I doubt things have changed very much. What has changed is I am a grown person who listens to the radio quite frequently, and I get why people listen to talk radio. I used to hear new music on the radio; now I can listen to whatever I want with (and this is a very short list of things I use) Pandora, Spotify, 8tracks, or plain old YouTube. And what does the majority of public radio have to offer me? Piles and piles of the same thing they played yesterday and the day before.

There are two Mainstream/Top 40/Popular Hits stations here, and I can't tell you how often I've tuned into one station, been unimpressed with the song playing, and switched to the hear the same exact song. It's absurd that in 2012 I have to hear a handful of songs played on every station several times a day. The fact that one radio station has so few songs to play is truly disheartening.

So a few weeks ago, I gave up trying to find original music on a radio station. I made the official switch to NPR in the car I drive at work, where I do most of my radio listening, and at home I find music on the internet (see list of music sites above). I don't miss Rihanna, Katy Perry, Pitbull, Gotye, or Drake (apparently the only five artists with music this summer); even better, I've enjoyed what NPR has to offer.

I've been keeping up with politics, local and national, the economy, local news, interesting bits on Chicago, entertainment, sports, weather, and traffic. I've heard from the DJs and people calling in, reporters in Cairo and New York and Missouri, and from the various people interviewed by the station. In the past week I've learned about this and this.

An NPR story is even my latest inspiration for writing. It's a lengthy explanation, but essentially I'm trying out something a different writer did when he was first starting out. He admitted it didn't quite work the way he wanted it to, but I have no expectations for how this new experiment will work, so as long as I'm writing I feel okay about it.

The way I see it, that's a lot of positives replacing a minor irritation in my life, but those little things add up. What I'm saying is, give talk radio a chance!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Year 24 Bucket List

Guys, I'm 24 now. There's a few things I want to happen before I turn 25. I have a job and an apartment, both huge aspects of my adult life. From my job and home I've learned a lot about home ownership, work-life balance, creating a sanctuary, and time and stress management.

In this next year, I want to put into practice things I've gleaned. These are extras that I either feel old/mature enough to have/do or young/inexperienced enough to have no shame in trying.

Replace watch battery and try out life as a watch-wearer
Put loose pictures in frames or albums
Hang picture frames
Install curtains (Check! Did it today.)
Read about writing
Turn the volume down on my inner critic
Arts and Crafts
Travel out of the country
Find my signature shade of lipstick
Get a new laptop
Host a murder mystery party

That's all I can think of right now. Also, I'm really hungry and kept wanting to write 'make guacamole' on the list as if it's a life goal, not something necessary for my immediate survival.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What I've been doing instead of writing

My laptop is officially out of commission, which has been okay for the summer. My iPod fills in for most of my electronic connection to the world and I've given up whatever isn't convenient: streaming tv, reading/getting lost on certain websites, paying bills...jk. Here's what I've been up to instead:

Arts and Crafts
Interior decorating
Taking weekend trips
Sweating/eating freeze pops
Learning how to front flip
Watching the Olympics