Monday, August 14, 2017

Same as it Never Was

If it has become apparently obvious, I don't do much writing here these days.  This should be no surprise since my bread and butter comes from the other site.  But I do like to put some personal stuff here for journal-archive purposes.

On Friday I had a decent Extra Curricular To Do (EXTD) list and was looking forward to knocking some stuff out.  Unfortunately the universe had other plans.  I got a call from daycare that Boris had Diarrhea and I had to come get him.  No sense in picking just him up so I went and brought both kids home after lunch just as they were getting ready for nap.

Natasha didn't want to sleep so she stayed up while Boris got two hours.  Then around 4, she crashed and I let her sleep for an hour.  This was a precursor of what was to come because this weekend we had events that meant skipping nap.

On Saturday Gemma was in town and someone from the old RCYA group hosted a cookout. 
While Gemma is aware that there is no love lost between me and most of that crew, she understandably values her convenience a bit more and having everyone be in one place is easier for her.  Since we had to miss her wedding last year, I figured it wouldn't kill me for one afternoon to hang out with these people especially since it is only 2-3 specific people and one of those didn't come.

That's not to say, if you knew what to look for, there wasn't something in the air.  The Krazy Guatemalan came up to me, shook my hand and said hello in a manner that was like "well lets get this out of the way".  So-Suede waited as long as he could and was the last person to acknowledge me.  Even his wife was friendlier and more welcoming.

It probably would have been more apparently awkward had I come by myself but luckily, with two toddlers you never have a dull moment.  So between managing them and catching up with everyone else, time moved quickly.  Gemma of course overbooked her day and had to leave around 3 to make her next event. 

We stayed for about a half an hour more. I wanted to talk more with the host and this would have been a good time since once half your party leaves, you can take a break.  But our kids were approaching meltdown moment so it was a good excuse to leave as well.

On Sunday we took them to their first White Sox game.  We did this with Katness because Sundays are family day and the tickets are cheap.  Unfortunately there was traffic so even though we left early, it took almost an hour to get to the ballpark and we missed the opening fireworks (saw them from the parking lot).  We did manage to stay until the start of the sixth inning before we decided it was a good time to leave.  We wanted to beat traffic and avoid large crowds of fans. 


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Friday, August 4, 2017

Kid's first Cubs Game at Wrigley Field

To celebrate it's anniversary, my not so new company had an outing to the Cubs game the other day.  Because I was allowed to bring a guest and because kids under 2 get in free, I decided to make this our kids first (and perhaps only) Cubs game.  I'm not much of a go see the game in person type anymore.  Unless you pay a fortune, you can usually see the game better from your living room or even a sports bar, which is vastly cheaper.




But as this cost us nothing, except the $100 we spent on Cubs T-shirts for four, for the occasion,  I figured why not.  Especially since I knew we were not likely to spend more than a few innings there.  Nightingale was stressing because she forgot that I told her kids had to sit on our laps and our seats initially were not together.  They were three seats apart, which isn't the worst thing because even total strangers would probably switch with us and I have to believe most of the over 2,300 registered people from my office would as well.




Think about it, either the three people between us know each other or they don't.  Does person in seat two really care if they sit on the left side of these other two or the right?  It worked out even better because when we got to our seats there were plenty of open seats avialable, probably because all the youngins were still drinking free beers and watching the game from the pre-game reception at Brickhouse Tavern.  We took up the seats we needed but were prepared to move if needed.  Alas that never happened because we only stayed for 2 innings.



I should note that when we were asked to request our tickets, I did ask for two, as I'm sure most people did.  I don't know why they didn't group people together, i can only imagine something "fell apart with the planning-implementing phase of this task".  When I went to pick up the tickets, the line was long and I went on the last day.  But since the tickets were free, and the firm bought me beer and appetizers, I am not complaining.

Katness, who coincidentally was at the game the next day for free as part of a work function, has invited us to see the White Sox for Family day in a couple of Sundays.  This isn't free but is a reduced cost so we can now check off 2 of the 5 major Chicago Sports teams.  As big of a Bears fan as I am, I will likely not take my kids to Soldier Field for a long, long time because football fans are assholes.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Back in the Day: The Octogon

One of the places I use to go to drink and dance in the 90s was a dive bar called Octagon (2483 N Clark).  I suspect it was one of those bars that put up shop when the neighborhood was less than desirable and eventually got taxed out of existence once the final stages of gentrification arrived.

I've never really liked clubs because they are just too loud to talk to anyone.  That's not old man Icarus talking, I felt this way in my 20s.  The only exceptions I've found are the euro-trash and maybe a few suburban ones.

The front of this place really looked like an Old Man Bar trying to pass itself off as a sports bar (probably what kept it alive during the early days of gentrification).  In the back there was a decent sized dance floor and they played what we considered Alternative Music:  DePeche Mode, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Tears For Fears, etc. 

Free Parking was hard but not impossible to find and my friends and I would go there, have a few drinks and get our dance on.

 The owner was there every night making sure everything ran smoothly and I think he was in his late 70's at that point. He sat on the corner sipping his drink making sure he said hi to everyone as they walked in. Great times and memories..

I was hanging with some suburban transplants at the time so we often were the first ones there and the first to leave, not that it would have made any difference.  I was often the 5th wheel to a pair of couples which is not only counter productive to meeting anyone, it is actually the kiss of death.

Plus I didn't know how to talk to girls people which would work out fine 20 years later.  Around 1999 it closed or re-branded itself as Thin Lizzie's.  I don't care to google if that place is still around, it was douche bag bait for all the frat boys in Lincoln Park and lost it's edge. 

There was another place that had a similar concept, bar up front,  psychedelic dance room in the back (I'm sure this is not a unique thing).  The Artful Dodger (1734 W Wabansia) went one better by having the bar area look like Medusa's all grown up. 




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