Saturday, May 24, 2008

A List: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

Here is the list. Here is the related NYT article debating it's worth, purpose and agenda. It's too damn big, cumbersome and confounding for any individual personality to accept as a guide to reading, which is good, I guess. I like that it shows a rising respect for writers like Stephen King and John Le Carré, while unfortunately it continues to raise Don Delillo up on a pedestal, a writer who I believe has long been overdue for a re-evaluation for overestimation of his talents. It's all interesting and will get the literary wheels turning nevertheless.

If you were planning on seeing the new Indiana Jones movie, be prepared for a fun nostalgia piece, not much else.

I am heading out. The weather is too great not to be out cycling for at least a couple of hours today.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Location, Location

I have now lived in Chicago again for nearly three months, and life seems somewhat normal again. I will continue to be subleasing my condo out until through next March. A good friend of mine likes to recount one of Nietzsche's comments about criminals being transformed into law-abiding citizens if only they had the environment that would properly stimulate them. He often brought this up when discussing my need to move to Sweden. Environment, the underlying truth seems to suggest, allows us to become better. Nurture over nature. Chicago has allowed me to develop in ways that may never have happened in Sweden, and Sweden, no matter how brief the time, had allowed me to spread wings and simultaneously leave behind/revisit roots that kept me grounded/grounded me from flight. This push-pull provided me the pain to beget growth but also the distance to create perspective. For instance, I recently stumbled upon the following Web page that culls Chicago-speak into one list, albeit not one I would consider comprehensive, even if it makes up for it with a depth in local color. My experience teaching English in Sweden made me slightly self-conscious of my American English and this site underscores certain local tones that some of my students picked up on. Yet now finding myself on this side of the Atlantic after having spent an extended period of time there, I find myself looking at Sweden with different eyes. At The Local they recently ran a story that highlighted the Web cameras set up around the country. I see these images anew as of late. Stockholm still makes me feel warm and fuzzy and yet it also has a hard reality behind it now of economics, social relationships, weather, and albeit to a lesser degree, civic life. I guess this needed to happen. Some (and perhaps all?) allusions are meant to be wiped away, so one can see reality for itself again. Eventually it's going to catch up to you in most cases anyways. Why not embrace it?

In completely unrelated news, my sister and I attempted to walk the Why Me? Breast Cancer Walk last week. But as you can see, the Chicago weather, in all it's gloomy potential, made it's claim on the day:

We made the best of it and had a hearty brunch.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sign the Petition: Save Chicago Promotion

On May 14th, 2008, at 10am the Chicago City Council will vote on Chapter 4, the "Promoters' Ordinance."

This ordinance will force independent promoters to become licensed, regulate the kinds of events that are allowed and change the face of independent Chicago music, arts, and culture.

If you are a promoter, an agent, an artist or a fan, please, please contact your alderman. Their votes are the only chance we have to voice our opposition to this Ordinance. We suggest writing an e-mail, an actual letter, calling their offices or scheduling meetings within the next few days e-mail a personal letter to voice your personal story against the Promoters Ordinance.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

If Your Retirement Fund Looks Sad...

I know I've been posting a great deal of video as of late. This is partly because I am feeling a bit like I don't have much to say right now, but I think it has more to do with the rising rate of intriguing video available on the Net. Sure there is plenty of crap, too; yet, video has blossomed on the Net and on the whole, I think this is a thing of the good. More people than ever can report and document just about everything. The funnies
improve in their animation and the Net's allowance for the short-film format. Take this one. I haven't had anybody put my own pension fund into such comic relief before.