Thursday, September 18, 2014

A brief crisis of faith.

A colleague whose work I respect asked me if I had any examples of my fictional work to share with him in preparation for an upcoming project and I realized how little on that level I've created in the past few years due to dedicating all my time to either client work or music writing. Heck, this site is primarily an outlet for my personal work just so I have somewhere to regularly practice non-professional writing. So it wasn't until that request today that I realized how much I let that original coil of my brain, the part that wanted to write short stories and films, untended.

I think this was the thing Alex Shakar warned me about over a decade ago when he was teaching me in a writing class. I think because I actually enjoy and am really good at the work I do for clients and for music outlets I thought I could escape the pitfall he cautioned against, but here I am, suddenly facing the fact that I haven't produced any fiction purely for myself in far too long. 

The nice thing about a realization like this is the understanding that it's not a sign of your flaws, but a call to arms to return to that thing you loved in the first place.

It's time to start carving out some time to work out the muscle that writes fiction purely for me again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

iOS 8, to upgrade or not to upgrade?

Is it, now?
So I upgraded to iOS 8 on my iPhone 5S the second the update went live and the whole thing only took two hours, which considering past iOS upgrades wasn't too bad. My initial thoughts? The tweaks will take some getting used to but overall it seems a little speedier (unexpected!) and worth the time. I'm amused that the much vaunted Health app is DOA, but I'm sure that's just a momentary snag. I do like all the extra encryption running under the hood so that's good.

So overall, kudos to the developers and nicely done. If you have a 5 on up, this seems worth it.* Also, I love the option to view battery usage by app. You can bet a few apps on my phone will get tossed in the dustbin over the next week as I identify the worst culprits with the least return.

There are two gripes I do have, though:
  • Location services by app are no longer a clear toggle but a grayed out choice between "Always" and "Never" and that seems a bit sneaky. There's supposed to be an option for location only working when an app is open, but it doesn't seem to apply, or isn't yet baked into, 99% of the apps on my phone that use location services.
  • Photostream disappeared and now the only way to view all your photos is through the extremely clunky and virtually un-navigable "Collections" view. The only workaround seems to be selecting every photo in the "Moments" view and creating an album that way but it seems so tie consuming as to be not worth it. I can't imagine what Apple's rationale is for doing this but it's fucking annoying.
O.K., that whining aside—and I'm sure those are things I'll adapt to just as I adapt to everything else that changes or gets updated—this is a pretty solid update.

*Sorry, everyone with an iPhone 4S or lower, this upgrade will either kill your phone or simply isn't compatible with it at all. Yay for planned obsolescence, huh?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Things are slowly returning to normal, I think.

There's some pretty meta merch in there. Photo by me.
Slammed at work, but it's all super creative opportunities with a tight turnaround so that just makes it exciting. I'm really glad I took yesterday off since I think returning to the office fresh is of utmost importance. You can't take vacation days and return spent, right? Otherwise what's the point?

I did take one more look back at the amazing weekend we had with some final thoughts, including pictures from both Jess and Me, about the 2014 Chicago edition of Riot Fest. So go ahead and read that.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Everything aches.

Cherie Lily and Mich, backstage just after Andrew W.K.'s set. Photo by me!
We survived Riot Fest. And have spent the whole day on the couch. Originally I wanted to be ambitious and go out and eat somewhere fancy and take advantage of our "recovery day" doing fun staff but I have, in fact, needed the whole day to recover. It was all totally worth it though.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Riot Fest, rain or shine!


It looks to be a soggy kick-off for the 2014 edition of Riot Fest and you know what? Even this rain can't dampen my excitement. We're bringing ponchos and prepared to weather muddy boots and through it all I trust the music will keep me so happy I won't even notice I am soaking wet. So there!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Riot Fest is almost here!

My favorite Chicago music festival kicks off tomorrow, and we previewed a few bands we're most looking forward to at Chicagoist today. To be fair, we could have just re-posted the fest's whole schedule almost verbatim if we really wanted to mention EVERY band we were excited about. Unreal.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Progress report.

Things are mellowing out. Thanks for asking.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

How to "curate" and claim the public's trust without actual artistic responsibility or vision. Le sigh.

Rendering of the finished trail, sans art.
Went to go hear a talk about integrating art into the Bloomingdale Trail (never 606!) and it was so amorphous and imprecise it made me angry. Art should be exploratory, but it needs a starting point, and that point—when you've received the public trust to curate something in a grand manner that stretches over miles and miles—shouldn't be based on "so I'm depending on you to tell me what you want" in front of a room of people with no vision. It reeks of a preemptive attempt to dodge blame so that when our dear curator unveils something uninspired and pedestrian the onus can be said to have fallen on a public that never voiced their desire when no true framework for that desire was ever supplied outside of "innovative use of public space" and "living art that will develop along with the environment around that" sans a single specific example.

Art requires vision, and what I heard tonight was how first year college students talk around vision instead of expanding upon it.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Tired of the drearies.

There's a lot going on right now I don't really feel like talking about. Just some rocky personal stuff, compounded with the usual dumb little things that when piled together can somewhat stress you out. So instead of reflecting on any of that—and hey, that stuff is all temporary anyway and won't make a difference in the long run—let's focus on something a little more up-lifting. And educational!

I give you, Pickle and a book!


Also, Riot Fest is only a few days away and how can I be upset with that so close on the horizon?!


Friday, September 05, 2014

Play ball!

My mood is still dark around the edges but the promise of a sunny baseball game this afternoon is doing it's part to alleviate that.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Bad day.

Today is one of those days where the encroaching inky darkness around you just gets deeper and deeper and just when you think it can't get any worse it does.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Some days.

It's been a long day and I started writing a post that was turning out to look like some pretty bad poetry so I decided to do everyone a favor and hit delete delete delete delete until I was at the beginning of the post and then started typing "It's been a long day..."

And now here we are. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Reading books about magazines and specifically 'The Last Magazine.'

I wonder if The Last Magazine would have seen the light of day had its author Michael Hastings not died. It's one of those inside baseball views of the media from someone close to its heart that ends up making sure no one ends up looking good, least of all the narrator. If you want a loose idea of what and who it is about you can suss that all out here (though I'd love to know who the "Sarah Klein" character that supposedly was blogging for Gothamist in the early days is supposed to be).

I really liked the book, even though it deals with a time that no longer exists it is a time that I once did want to be a part of. It's also the only book I've read that does a decent job of catching what the exploding blog scene—even as a small subplot—was like during the early, early aughts without being condescending. I'd say this was purely a mainstream journalists 20/20 hindsight vision if it weren't for the fact that he participated in the Gawker / Gothamist scene back in the day and did so because he realized what future value it held even if his career did continue more in an investigative journalist longform track.

Who knows what would have happened had he lived? I hope that while The Last Magazine was written years after his death he would have had the courage to eventually publish it. It also makes me with he was still around because his narrative voice was strong and who knows what other novels he might have had in him?

This is my long, long way of saying I really enjoyed this book and think you might dig it too. Even if you could not care less about media inside baseball.

Monday, September 01, 2014

No work today!

It's Labor Day in the States, so I ain't doin' nuthin' today. Go outside and get some sun!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bowie's in space!


Mich took me on a mystery date to the Adler Planetarium last week for their Bowie After Dark event. Basically they his little cutouts of David Bowie throughout the grounds, had Heaven Malone DJ Bowei related tunes, and renamed everything to be Bowie themed. It was kind of silly but totally fun. There was a photo booth that we of course couldn't resist utilizing and we took advantage of the opportunity to take the "cosmic" shot above.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My little brother is 40 today.

Read that title. I mean, what?! When I turned 40 I admit I felt kind of confused, because to me 40 was always such an old person adult age, yet there I was, totally not the person acting like an old person adult. So the fact that now one of my younger siblings has hit that mile marker it makes me feel absolutely ancient! Don't you love how i turned your birthday into something all about me, Jason? Kidding!

40's a good age—I hope my brother's enjoying his entry into a new decade.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Photo tips fer yr iPhone!

Thanks to Caleb for passing this along. No arm selfies, here I come!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ughh, Your Parents Are Here have a song!


Last week I mentioned enjoying the hilarious rivalry unfolding between Riot Fest bands Ughh, My Parents Are Here, and Ur Lineup Sux, Bro, and now we have more new music from both bands. Ur Lineup Sux, Bro released a new song this morning building on the single they released last week. But to me the exciting news is that Chicagoist nabbed the premiere of the first single from Ughh, My Parents Are Here!

Dig both new songs below.


Monday, August 25, 2014

When 90% of music blog posts =in your feed reflect press releases that just arrived in your inbox, there's a problem.

The title pretty much says it all, doesn't it? And it explains why I find it so painful to keep up with most music sites nowadays. I wonder if the average reader is aware just how little that's printed isn't directly sourced from publicists and labels. I mean, sure, I refer to press releases to help me craft content but outside a straight up announcement—and jeez, usually even within the context of one—I try to add a little something of additional value. Otherwise what's the difference between a music writer and something like PR Newswire?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ur Lineup Sux, Bro vs Ughh, My Parents Are Here.

I've really been enjoying the (online? IRL?) rivalry between Riot Fest bands Ur Lineup Sux, Bro and Ughh, My Parents Are Here. It's looks like Riot fest has been enjoying it too.
Anyway, it looks like at least one of the two bands has actually released a single! Download it and enjoy some weekend music.