Finally, it feels like summer

I love summer in Chicago, but if I’m going to be honest, it hasn’t felt like summer at all this year until the last two weeks.  Two weekends ago, it felt like the whole city was celebrating – I had a friend’s bachelorette party, and of course Pride weekend coincided with the Supreme Court’s decision to make gay marriage legal all over the US.

I haven’t been to the parade the past few years, but I ended up going with some friends last minute and we had a great time.  We missed most of the parade, but it was a beautiful day and we ended up drinking margaritas at Cesar’s and dancing in the streets and in various bars.

For the 4th of July, my family always has a big outdoor party at my grandparents’ house.  We’ve been doing this for years and it’s been christened as Papa-palooza.  It’s very official, since we have a sign and everything.  It was just what I needed after being in kind of a funk for the past couple of weeks.  The good weather combined with swimming, hanging out outside, and spending time with family really helped me snap out of it.  Of course, fireworks and a day off work helped too…

 

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Trying something new, I guess

Chicago, you were lookin' good today.

Chicago, you were lookin’ good today.

I’m so weird about this blog.  I really just made it because I wanted somewhere to make stuff, do something somewhat creative that was personal, whatever.  I didn’t really have a purpose in making it, and I don’t really expect anyone to read it.  But I put so much pressure on myself to write “real” things, like movie reviews or posting my travel pictures or whatever and then I get overwhelmed and post nothing for months, or write something and delete it because it’s not ~good enough.  Why?  I’m not really sure.  There are no rules on this blog (it’s not a regular blog, it’s a cool blog) so I’ll post about whatever the hell I want.  Let me say blog one more time.  Blog.  Anyways, I decided I’m just gonna sit down and write about whatever I feel like writing about, but I’m gonna try to do it once per day.  Even if it’s just some random word salad about what I did that day.  At least it will be put to use.

It was a bit of a weird day.  I’ve got some stuff going on in my personal life that I feel weird and sad about, so that’s too bad.  But I got to not commute today and go to an event at Google’s offices downtown, which was neat.  I drive to the northwest suburbs almost every day for work and I’m not downtown much so I’m always kind of startled and amazed by the architecture and how beautiful this city is even though I’ve seen it all before.  Today I got off the bus and was stomping around all harried and *busy* and then I looked up and saw this and had to stop and take a picture.  Then I got to Google early anyways and I had to loiter anxiously outside the door for 20 minutes – I wish I had dawdled more by the river instead.  I wonder if people who see this every day ever get sick of it.  I can’t imagine that I ever would.

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100 Years… 100 Movies Review: Ben-Hur (1959)

This is part of a series I will be writing on the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list.  My dad and I are hoping to make it through all 100 films in a few years.  These reviews may contain spoilers (under the jump) and probably annoy the shit out of actual movie buffs, as my area of expertise lies more in Disney animated films and various stoner comedies.  Tryin’ to be more cultured and stuff.  All images from Wikipedia (lazy), either public domain or fair use.

Ben_hur_1959_posterPreviously, when my dad and I had attempted to watch AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list, we started with #1 for whatever inexplicable reason.  We made it through the top three before getting stuck on Raging Bull.  When we decided to make another attempt, my dad pointed out that it really made more sense to start at the bottom of the list.  I think he just wanted to watch Ben-Hur, honestly, but I don’t blame him.  This is a fantastic movie.

Ben-Hur ended up taking home 11 Oscars and it’s easy to see why.  This 1959 film STILL looks impressive in many scenes.  Back then, it must have been absolutely mind-blowing.  There are a few mild spoilers under the jump.

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Looking Up: A New Year

Michael Rougier for LIFE Magazine, 1964.

Michael Rougier for LIFE Magazine, 1964.

Normally, I hate New Year’s Eve.  Everything is expensive, transportation is a nightmare, and 99% of the time I end up wishing I had stayed home.  But I can’t wait for it to roll around this year, even though I have nothing planned, just because I’m so glad this year is ending.

Weirdly, I had been excited for 2014 – honestly mostly because I prefer even numbers – but instead, it was probably the worst year of my life.  The details are pretty irrelevant but it kind of felt like things were shitty wall to wall for a while, especially the second half of the year.  While of course it could always be worse, part of me wouldn’t even mind skipping over the holidays entirely just to get to 2015.

One silver lining is that I actually am feeling kind of optimistic about this next year, and I’m usually a hopeless pessimist.  Having to deal with a bunch of bullshit this year has led me to make some really big, positive changes in my life, which is definitely a nice starting point.  I traditionally make a list of resolutions every year and so I thought I’d share them here so I can keep this trend of positivity going.

  • Actually keep up with this millionth attempt at blogging
  • Get a physical for the first time since I was 18 and told I could no longer see my pediatrician
  • Finally finish reading Ulysses since I know no one thinks I ever will
  • Watch at least the first 10 films from AFI’s 100 Year’s… 100 Movies list
  • Pay off at least one of my credit cards
  • Start taking pictures regularly again, even if it’s just using my phone
  • Continue to purge terrible people from my life because I have neither the time nor patience for that nonsense anymore

I looked at my resolutions from last year and the only two I accomplished were to quit smoking and work out on a regular basis.  The former was a massive accomplishment (I’d been at close to a pack a day for nearly a decade).  The latter might be a stretch, but I’d say once a week is “regularly”, and probably better than going every day and then not at all.  So I’d like to continue doing those things as well.

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Memphis, TN: A Whirlwind Trip

In July 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to Memphis for work.  It was my first time visiting, and unfortunately because it was work-related I only had an hour or two to sightsee.  I wish I had time to visit Sun Studio or even Graceland, but all I had time for was a quick walk down Beale Street and a rapid-fire tour through the Rock & Soul Museum.  Why am I posting these now?  Well, I took the pictures, they look nice (I think) and I don’t know what else to post yet.

I used to take pictures everywhere I went, but I fell out of the habit sometime after I graduated from college.  I’ve been wanting to get back into it, so I used the trip as an opportunity to take along my camera.  I’m definitely pretty rusty, but it’s nice to actually have some photos to look back on!  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back someday and do the city justice.

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