Sunday, September 30, 2007

Post #14

Just because there can't be 13...if I learned nothing from Mr. Thorin (atyourservice), it's that.


Jeff Gardner
(Soon to move into his own little dwelling, hopefully not to be chased out by certain dragons)

The "Plain Yogurt" of posts

[EDITOR'S NOTE: There have been more exciting posts than this, in the history of blogging. I'm doing this one because if I get out of the habit too badly, I lose steam. I promise there won't be too many more of these 'Filler' episodes--I'll start putting up art, or pictures, or something if I don't have anything I _have_ to write about]

I'm back in Chicago!

It was a little odd, how it felt getting off the place. There's something interesting, and a little cool, about not having someone there to meet you when you come to a city. A little bit of "this is my city".

We move into the Apartment tomorrow! Hooray!

I guess it's official enough that I can give out the address:

1048 N Marshfield Ave. Apt. #1R
Chicago IL 60622

It's half of the first floor of a four story building. Not a complex---more a big, older building. About a block and a half south of Division in the Wicker Park area.

I'm doing pretty well, a little tired. Saw Dan Yurovsky two days ago, Middy last night. It was absolutely amazing to see both of them--very nice to share an evening hearing my grandmother's stories about moving to a new city for the first time (for her, it was NYC---she walked into the New York times offices, because "she had to be in the newsroom for election night." The Gardner family has a little bit of that spirit in it, neh? She reminds me of Karen in some very interesting ways.) Seeing Dan was really great, as was meeting his friends (most of whom I thought were pretty neat individuals) and playing a few too many rounds of "Apples to Apples" after hitting a Mexican place with slightly aggressive margaritas.

Mostly though, I'm a little tired. A few days with very little sleep will really take it out of me. I've got a show coming up this Friday--surprisingly unstressed about it. If you're in Chicago and are at all interested in seeing it, get at me....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Places that are Home

So I'm in Columbus now, flying back to Chicago early tomorrow morning. Spent last night at Kenyon, the night before that here.

I don't really even know how to describe what that was all like.

It was wonderful seeing so many people. I hadn't realized how much I missed knowing so many people, having them near... it's something uniquely Kenyon, I think. Or, if nothing else, uniquely Kenyon in my life so far.

It was wonderful to see the Professors, to talk with them, with Kris, with Chris, with Turgeon and Taz and Daniel and Hugh and Hannehman and Serfass get the idea. Even met the locally famous Molly Rice, who was just about as cool as described.

Walked down to the Kokosing, that was important and good. The river is still as beautiful at 3 am as it always was/will be.

Most shaking experience? Walking up the stairs to C300. Staying there was almost as hard as I expected it. I walked into the Tafts area...and suddenly had the overwhelming sensation that Lily was right there down the Hill. Passed the second floor apt, and thought---let's check in on Nelie. Put my hand on the knob to go into C300, and really, truly expected Dave, Bob, and Joe to be there on the other side. Maybe Nate if he happened to be South. I think when they weren't, that informed the big difference on campus. Even though there were so many wonderful people--a huge chunk of the important Kenyon people weren't. That was hard. I got out of there pretty quickly, walked all the way north. Passed the VI, thought I saw Pat in there, and laughed at myself---man, I'm really just going crazy with this. Little did I know, Pat was actually there...we just happened to come visit on the same day. So, once I went back and checked it out, and realized that it actually was him, things calmed down a bit---clearly, though most people were gone, it didn't mean they had disappeared---just need to work a little harder, or be a little luckier to see them.

So I'm waxing poetic and nostalgic at the same time. So it's an angst-ridden post. Guilty as charged. Being in Columbus is always wonderful. Going back to Kenyon was wonderful. These things just need dealing with from time to time, you know?

So that was rough. Going back to Chicago is going to be rough. I'm not built for solitary life. I need people, friends, acquaintances, contacts around me. I know it takes time, and that it will be hard in the new city. Mother's mantra is that it takes a full year to start knowing a city, and to know people in it. I'm trying to remember that. Frankly, I've got great hopes--just need to keep looking, keep exploring, figure out what this whole section of life is all really about.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little bit of lag

Sorry folks---been a little while since I posted. For those who are keeping track, a few updates on life:

-Got a very part-time job in the box office of the Bailiwick Rep. Theatre in Chicago. It's down on Belmont, near Racine. Cool place, 3 stages---often a whole bunch of shows running at the same time. I'm playing catch-up a little bit, trying to get it all under control--lots to learn, not a whole lot of time to learn it. I'm hoping as time goes on, everything will get smoother. Although I guess I've only actually worked 3 or so nights/days there. It's income, though, which is always good.

-We got the apartment: down on North Marshfield, right below Division. Its near a very hip part of town--I'm a fan, although its going to be a little while before I feel like I fit in totally. The age is generally 25-30, lots of tattoos---its kinda like I'm living in the Horn Gallery on steroids, for those of you who know what I'm talking about. Move in on October 1st! Its right off the Blue line. I'm very much looking forward to it.

-I'm going to visit Dad and Kathi for a few days, and to visit Kenyon for one. People still in Gambier---I'll be there this coming Wednesday, getting in late afternoon/early evening. If you don't see me that night, look for me in the morning on my bench. I'm really looking forward to spending some time with Dad, it will be a nice de-stresser before I jump back into life here full time. I figure that this is the opportunity to take: I'm not paying for an apartment yet, and I'm not working full time---don't know when I'll have a good chance like this again (or be able to afford it).

So! That's life as we know it right now. I'm a little worried about going to see school again--which is strange, because I haven't been at all yet. I'm not sure if it will be good for me or not---I'm hoping it is. I'm looking forward to life settling down a bit here---and I'm also realizing that part of that has to come from me: I need to just kick back a little bit, get in the flow, and not try to take too many things on at once. I may have overdone it a little here in the beginning: lets see what happens when I just deal with what's on my plate now, and then go from there.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Dark is....


No, but seriously folks, where's the real preview?

Alright. So I've only re-read the first of the books recently. Fair. But am I totally wrong that this doesn't appear to have much of anything to do with them? I mean, I remember the rider. I guess the guy with a beard might be Uncle Merry...but...yeah.

Well, I guess I better get thee to a library, read the others, see if I'm totally off base.

I mean, it could be a fun movie anyway. Right now, I'm putting it somewhere between "trick someone" and "Rent" (on a scale of "Opening Night" - "See in theatres" - "Matinee" - "Rent" - "Trick someone else into renting" - "Watch if it's there" - and "Stab Eyes Out")

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Quick Update---

Because I need sleep.

Landed a stage managing gig today. Seven days in Chicago, and I'm working. That feels about right. Now a rent-paying job needs to come through(this one pays, but not enough to survive on).
The gig will be interesting--clearly a really nice group of people, but they've got a bit of a disorganized rehearsal process right now. Which, I guess, is why they wanted a stage manager. Should be fine though. Short hours, not a whole lot of rehersals--and they're all in the mornings (as are the shows). A fine first step.

I also met David Zalk(!), but didn't realize it was him. Hopefully I'll find a better excuse to talk to him later. A little intimidating, but I guess that's why I'm here, right? Right.

Also--went to a great Irish session tonight, at a local pub. Very chill people, was really great to play bodhran and sing in a supportive, fun setting. Some fairly good musicians too. Learned a couple of cool songs--- "There Were Roses" being one of my new favorites, at least in this guy's version.

Alright. That's life on the home front. I'm going to grab some zzzz's--another big day tomorrow.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Music, theatre, and a whole bunch of walking

Interesting El ride home.

(No, Julia, not as "interesting" as yours...I can't compete, sorry. Interesting nonetheless)

I was reading a book on producing/managing a theatre company, and a guy who had been on the train for a while asked me if I was in the theatre. Wasn't quite sure how to react, but we talked for a while. Turns out he's in the industry in Chicago, currently an admin at one of the theatres around here, and had a lot of very interesting advice on getting started/keeping a theatre alive in the city (his training was in NFP company management). Nice guy, have his phone number. Check.

Is there anything the El can't do? I mean, really?

Otherwise, a big day for walking around, exploring the city, and eating filling food near a German festival. We also found the Old town school of Folk music, which is just about the coolest place ever, as far as I can tell. Once I get a job, hopefully I'll have the chance to take some lessons---harmonizing? Maybe a mandolin class or two? Huge building, middleaged guy hanging around the foyer with a guitar, directing people where to go, a big music store...if I disappear sometime soon, check there first.

Very quick plea for help----is there a common synonym for "Socially active" (as in, a piece of art raising awareness of poverty in the midwest is "socially active") that comes off the top of people's heads that I can't think of? Send them to me, if you can---I'm running into a brick wall here. Politically active is close, but distinct enough that it doesn't really work. Help me out if you can, folks.

Hope all is well out in the world.


Friday, September 7, 2007

In which the going gets tough, and Jeff gets his act together.

...But seriously, forks.
Alright, I stole that one from "the Far Side". Who remembers the Far Side? I think between "Calvin and Hobbes" and "the Far Side", we can explain a lot of the dysfunction that exists in my life as a young, somewhat awkward, well-read person. Not that I'm excluding anyone from this blog who happens to be old, with-it, and illiterate.

I'm just not convinced I know anyone who is actually "with-it". Maybe Dan. Well, maybe both Dans, but in very different ways? Everyone who knows the people I'm talking about, nod your head sagely. Everyone else...just keep moving. I promise, it's always darkest before the dawn. We're almost out. [EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm wrong here. It just gets worse. If you don't have any interest in children's lit, plagiarism, or the occult, run while you still can.]

Speaking of Darkest, I just found a copy of the first book in "The Dark is Rising" sequence (n.b.- the author very specifically calls it a sequence, rather than a series. I'm wondering if this is a era-word use thing, or if she's actually got a deeper agenda there). Anyway---kind of like a more sinister Narnia series, or a less fantastical His Dark Materials. I guess that would be the closest parallel.

On that track--did anyone ever read a book called...I believe "The Eye of the Scorpion"? Or something similar? All I could find through Google was an old "Doctor Who" episode of the same name. It was the second in a series (never did find the first one) about...hold on. Found something on wikipedia...I'm actually not going to say what the book was about right now--don't want to accidentally imply something bad about the author, so I'm not going to identify it.

This is a little strange. I found an exact outline for the book, same plot...but this says it was published in 2007. I'm pretty sure that I read a book while in middle school, borrowed from a little library in Edgewood, where I would go for violin recitals. I don't even know if the library is there anymore---I have no idea if the book would be there. I also can't remember what the book was called. Well folks, I think it's got to be one of four things:

1: I'm psychic. I've got literature-related powers which allow me to look into the future and read books not yet published. Ergo, things probably do go bump in the night. A little scary. I may have to choose between using my powers for good or for evil.

2: The library was a kind of occultic sanctuary, outside of time and space.
Probably storing knowledge man might not be ready for. Ergo, things definitely go bump in the night. Scarier. Particularly because I spent a lot of my childhood reading things from that library. In his deep house in Ryleh....

3: This guy plagiarized. Intentionally or not, a very obscure children's book that only he and I have read. Things go bump in the night, and they are us. Unfortunately, probably the scariest.

4: The book was re-released.
Lordy, I hope this is what it is.

Occult jokes aside, this is a bit of a pickle...I don't know. I supposed I keep looking for this book, and maybe read the recently released one? See if it all seems the same? I've looked everywhere the book is listed, and....

Ahah! Fascinating! I found the old book--I somehow managed to remember the title. "Night of the Scorpion," by Anthony Horowitz. Who is, in fact, the man writing "Evil Star", the book I thought sounded a little too familiar. He is re-writing his own books to be published again, and finishing the series! He has not plagiarized anything. He is a clean, wholesome, and altogether brilliant man, both for this marketing/etc scheme, and for the books he wrote. Kudos. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Plagiarize is a needlessly difficult word to spell, and is apparently too close to "pasteurize" and Plantagenet to be guessed at.]

Life is clear. Thank you for coming on that journey with me, folks.

Well, I really didn't get my act together, did I? When I started out, this post was going to be about me looking for jobs, being grownup, and generally improving my life. Instead, it was a detective story about children's literature. Oh well. Much more interesting, I think.

BTW- Nate, if you're reading this (and I don't actually know if you are), you should read "Night of the Scorpion." Elder gods imprisoned under the Nazca Lines = Crazy delicious. Seriously, this book captivated me enough that I still think about it all the time today. Was probably a big part of why I was so into Cthulu. I'm going to try to find copies, read them again...but yeah.

Hope everyone is well. Nazca lines rock my socks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

In Chicago!

Here I am! Everything is in storage, I'm staying up in Evanston for a while, until I find a job. There's still no word on the apartment: keep your fingers crossed, people.

On other fronts, I've fallen in love with Dan's Scrambled Tofu, have managed to find copies of both "War Stories" and "All Day Permanent Red" and read both, and found the coolest little vegitarian/vegan friendly cafe ever (the Earwax Cafe---I swear, I went in and gained +45 hip points. How many of you thought I said hit points? I know I was thinking it. Sigh.)

Does anyone remember the "Lone Wolf" books? they were like "Choose your own Adventure" for people to geeky to actually be alive. If you haven't guessed, I thought they were wonderful. Anyway, I just found one, and it gave me the insane urge to try to find the complete 20+ book set, and try to do them all the way through.

Which means what? Means I really need a job, or something to give some structure to my life. I think it will come, though.

Finished "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell"---I was actually pretty surprised by how much I liked it, and how quickly the end went. I thought it was a good time, and filled the niche that reading history books for school has left open. I'd recommend it as good summer reading---easy to read, long, yet still vaguely academic feeling.

I think we're going to leave it at that for now. Time to grab a quick lunch, then go make copies of a few keys, maybe get a haircut, and see if anyone in Evanston is hiring. It's a trek...but hey, a job is a job. It's a nice suburb out here, and relatively accessible through the trains.

See you all soon!