Friday, August 29, 2008


It's Friday evening, another beautiful summer night. I did some reading, watered plants, cleaned up a little, and now I'm relaxing. Watching people come home from work, playing with their dogs in the park, talking on the bench across the street. The air is still, and the rhythmic sounds of the cicadas are loud and sweeping, competing with the bird's lazy songs. I guess it can be nice sometimes to just appreciate what's going on around you.


If something doesn't happen around here soon, I'm gonna go nuts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Well, Tim, you're not in college anymore...

Went to see my friend Zach play a show at Uncommon Ground tonight in Lakeview. I'd never been there before, and judging by the people I knew who went there and those who worked there I figured it was sort of a dark, hipster bar, full of bikers, PBRs, indie music, and tight pants. I was a little off.

It's kind of a nice restaurant, split into three parts, with an extensive wine list and expensive meals. They do have lots of local art, and music in the back room.

There was a good but pretentious violinist who played beforehand, and I thought it a little rude when he asked people to be quiet. Zach played next, piano and organ, plus one song that was a duet with a sultry blonde on guitar.

I met up with some old co-workers and we had wine and talked and listened to the music, and it was all generally pretty nice. There was a good mix of lighthearted songs, and heavier ones with really warm melodies.

The temperature was just about perfect tonight, and the bike ride home was cool, and refreshing. Fall is in the air. You can feel it, and smell it, and almost taste it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

making hash browns.

It's a rather beautiful summer night tonight. The light, a sort of deep, orangish pink, is turning all the greens dark and rich. The cicadas are singing, and there's a cool breeze. The clouds are low, moving swiftly, and people are active in the park.

It's pretty perfect, save for the crazy man who's been yelling in the park for the past hour and a half.
So I've decided not to teach the Earth Team this semester. It's been fun and interesting over the past year, and I feel like I've learned so much from so many different students. Teaching (sort of) high-schoolers has been an experience unlike anything I've ever done before, and I've gained a new respect for those who do it full-time. This summer was almost full-time, and I was taken to my limit several times over the course of the program. Granted, the students I worked with over the summer were different than those I would be working with during the school year, and much more difficult to manage.

– Been running a lot this week, and it's a good thing. Even on days I feel like crap, and I don't really get anything done that feels substantial, if I go running I feel like I've got at least one accomplishment for the day.

– Also biking a lot the past couple weeks, just for fun. To the lake, up north, places of the city I haven't been before. It's interesting, and introspective, and fun. I think I might make a hobby of it.

Ok, seriously, this guy sounds like a cross between a man calling his dog (whose name is just a repeating series of vowels) in monotone, and a zombie trying to sound like James Brown screaming.

Monday, August 18, 2008

things I get irrationally annoyed with:

1) Those stupid dancing avatars that want me to click to check my credit score, compare insurance quotes, and lower my mortgage. What the hell do you have to do with anything? Go away, you tiny animation!

2) This pop-up camper that's parked in front of our place. It's always there! I hate you pop-up camper!

3) Guys who take rec-league softball seriously enough to turn into a big jerk on the field and start yelling at people. I mean, come on. Really.

Monday, August 11, 2008

If a shark and a torpedo mated...

The offspring would still be slower than the U.S. men's 4x100 meter freestyle relay team.

Five of us, not exactly fans of swimming, stood screaming wildly at the television, shaking our fists, and cheering our heads off. Five countries beat the previous world record, the U.S. smashing it by nearly four seconds. It had to be one of the best moments in sports that I've ever witnessed.

Quote of the night: "The Americans? We're going to smash them. That's what we came here for." – Alain Bernard of the French 4x100 meter freestyle relay team.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

racing like a pro.

The Museum of Science and Industry.

I remember going as a kid and being excited about all the hands-on interactive things one could do. There were buttons galore, levers and handles and ropes, that when pulled activated some sort of mechanism, usually to demonstrate how a certain scientific principle worked. I would get lost in different rooms, watching things light up, learning about energy and physics and how things work.

I spent hours in the space center looking at the capsules that were flown into space and landed on the moon. They looked like they were made with pieces of gold foil, tubes, pie tins, bits of glass, plastic, and light bulbs. I climbed through a giant head, learning how the eardrums interpret sound, and how the eyes transform the information we see into an image relayed to our brains. And I loved watching the mold machines work; the two metal blocks slowly coming together and a still-warm triceratops being scraped into the little bin below.

We took our kids there today for program and instead of making a big project out of it, we decided to just give them a free day. It was fairly relaxing, but those kids are starting to get the best of me.

The museum has a much different effect on me now that I'm older. The sense of wonder and awe is somewhat replaced with a strange longing. I found myself reading the histories of old cars and their development over time. I thought about what it was like to fly a WWII fighter plane, and about all the materials and technology needed to create something like that – a full ten years before the transistor radio was invented.

I spent a while looking at the model railroad, finding different locations in Chicago on a much smaller scale. I watched a miniature train going over Lake street, the bridge yellow and rusted. Little people went about their business and lower Wacker was full of traffic.

This stuff is all interesting, but sometimes I want to have that same feeling of being overwhelmed, overstimulated, and excited. Where do we go for that sort of thing when we get older?

The rest of the day was also out of the ordinary today. The bus ride home was full of the kids misbehaving. We fired one of our students that we should have fired three weeks ago. I yelled at a half-dozen others with the threat of also being fired. It's frustrating because it feels like their behavior is directly related to how well I'm doing my job. If I'm doing the best I can, I should be able to handle these kids, keep them engaged, interested, and entertained. When it goes south I tend to put the blame on myself. I re-evaluate what I should have done differently in certain situations. How could I have reacted better to that scenario? What other tactics could I have used? But sometimes I feel like my best — the best I can possibly do — is just not good enough to handle some situations.

It's a tough realization, but after considering for a while, I think I'm ok with it. I think it just might mean that I'm not totally cut out for teaching inner-city high schoolers. Other people out there are probably better suited for it. Which should mean that I'm probably better suited for something else. Which is cool.


– If your back wheel gets stolen, for fuck's sake, stay away from Rapid Transit on North ave.

– Tomorrow is my last day of work. woo.

– Vacation for a few days next week with the family.

– Cool evenings are the best.

– Cutoffs. They're everywhere. On cool people.