Friday, September 08, 2006


Last week was a pretty good week. I started reading again for one. It’s been a while since I picked up a book and couldn’t put it down. The hook? “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton. It was a book recommended to me by Dr. “I don’t have to wear pants if I don’t want to” Faber months ago, following my review of Al Gore’s rousing documentary (I never thought I’d put THOSE words together in a sentence), “An Inconvenient Truth.” I dismissed his recommendation out of hand on the grounds that I don’t waste my time with fiction. I’m an information junkie who’s never had much patience for storytelling, and a naïve, closed-minded information junkie at that.

Turns out I had the book “State of Fear” on my bookshelf – it was a gift I forgot I’d received for Christmas. Discovered it last Friday night when my recreational options included, as usual, get drunk and pass out or read. For the first time in my life, I opted to read – and boy, am I glad I did. Couldn’t put that book down. By Sunday I was through 300 pages (which is a lot for someone who has to get up and check his fantasy scores every 20 minutes).

The storytelling is superb, and the premise is based on sound science – Crichton actually goes to the trouble of footnoting the scientific assertions of his characters so you can look them up if you want. I don’t want to spoil it for you (as I know you are going to run out tonight and buy the book), but I will recommend it highly for anyone personally invested in either side of the global warming debate. The perspective afforded by Crichton’s insight was intriguing, if a little unsettling. It’s not a masterful work of literature…but it moves quickly, and the short chapters lend the illusion you’re making good progress. That kind of positive reinforcement roped me in and got me invested. There is actually a very good chance I will finish this book – a rare accomplishment indeed.

But I did more than just read last week.

I also took an architectural tour of the city of Chicago by boat. Fascinating how the city you grew up in looks so different when you’re floating down the middle of it. I found a whole new appreciation for the massive buildings I drive past every day without a thought. It’s easy to forget that people had to design and build these enormous things – and I take them for granted because they’ve always been there. Kind of like my wonderful parents, who always find time to read AYNtK. *wink* I think all city residents should be required to take the tour on its educational merits.

I also went to the Taste of Polonia, which was a crowded Polish street festival on the city’s far northwest side. Most ethnic fests I’ve been to are opportunities for city dwellers to experience the cultural contributions of a featured/celebrated people. The Taste of Polonia, we learned, was an opportunity for Polish people to get drunk together. We were surrounded by Polish people speaking Polish, eating Polish food, reading polish magazines, and drinking Polish beer (called Okacim, which is interestingly, and appropriately, abbreviated O.K. on the bottle). No, I'm not Polish, but when in Polonia… It’s really no wonder I ended up on a dance floor later that night, cutting up rugs with eyes closed, hands jerking like pistons in a sputtering car engine. I highly recommend checking out an ethnic street festival near you.

I also saw a puppet show. No, I’m not pulling your leg. Improv Olympic (now known simply as I/O) has nightly comedy shows at their theater on Clark Street, which is just down the street from historic Wrigley Field. My buddy saw that an improv comedy puppet show entitled “Felt” was playing for just $5, so a bunch of us decided to check it out. We figured for $5,we couldn’t go wrong. That was some seriously funny shit. Probably even worth $8 or $9 – but that stays between you and me. I highly recommend improvisational puppet shows.

I've also been jogging again because my muffin top is starting to spill down to my thighs.


Connie H. said...

Ter, I wonder. I've been reading your stuff since you started out. I'm seeing a difference in your writing. Are you "heartbroke" again??

AYNtK said...

Wow! What an amazing observation. You're right...I have not been myself for some time now. I wouldn't say it's "heartbroke," though. It feels like perpetual state of confusion. First of all, I think my age, my diet, or undiagnosed illness is playing with my head. I tire easily, lack motivation, feel numb to my core, am often lightheaded, and just have this general feeling that things are not right - with me or the world. To complicate matters, I am also busier with work than I have ever been. I am on the verge of getting my second promotion in a year and have assumed a crapload of new responsibilities at work. I also help out friends and past employers when they ask me, too, which keeps me busy some nights and weekends. Add to that my rigorous fantasy sports addiction and random episodes of extreme power drinking and you've got a kid with a lot of food on his plate and a full belly. I also try to maintain an active social/personal schedule, as detailed in this post - hanging out with friends, including Geri & the H Bomb, whenever I have free time.

Another explanation for the difference you've noted might be more obvious. I don't sound like the same person because I'm not. I'm definitely older now than when I started writing this back in 1999. I've learned a lot and the way I see the world has also changed. And continues to change. Sometimes I look at the sophomoric jazz I strung together back then and wonder who that person was, just as that person would have wasted no time on the things I often "blog" today.

There's definitely an evolution in progress here. I didn't notice a trend in the tone of the prose, but to someone who has been following along for a while, I suppose it is evident. Rest assured I am doing well - not heartbroke - just passing through life at a pace I am not comfortable with, hurtling around the sun faster and faster it seems. But that's life, right?