Ladders and snakes Ladders give, snakes take. Rich man poor man Beggar man, thief. Ain’t got a hope in hell. That’s my belief. Fingers Freddie, Diamond Jim They’re gettin’ ready Look out! I’m comin’ in!

I have to give Max Bravo HUGE props for our new MK ULTRA laminate design. I suggested the “SIN CITY” movie poster theme with a Chicago skyline background and he knocked it out. I wanted something cool and fresh and not the fun mug shot theme I conceived last year. I’m very happy with these and response on social media has been overwhelming. 

Tomorrow I’ll start putting together gear for EXXXOTICA and Thursday do some shopping for my suite refreshments. I’d already planned on having brunch at the hotel restaurant and noticed just today they make a Cubano sandwich so there goes my diet for the weekend. Not like I was not going to drink this weekend anyway.

 

EXXXOTICA, Naperville BBQ Fest concert, July 4 BBQ, LA Guns 7/6, POPTONE July 9 what have I gotten myself into? 

Actually the guest invite list is very selective and will be from now on.

I had to leave work early so RCN could come fix my embarrassing fuck up from yesterday. It was a quick fix and as the technician left he said, “You have a lot of cool stuff to look at.”  

I bought the wrong fucking Cheap Trick CD and am now ordering the deluxe edition so I’ll be giving my other copy to somebody I like.

Cheap Trick – We’re All Alright! (Deluxe Version)

Love the new Cheap Trick , it’s really a fuzzed out melodic hard rock record. It’s strong!

When the RCN tech left yesterday I got to work on detailing the dining room / music library. I first took all of the Playboy and House of Blues glassware off and out of the wine bar and pulled it away from teh wall for the first time in 10 yrs. What a mess. Behind there I found a cool voodoo doll I long forgot about, a Voodoo Music Fest ticket and a ticket from the Night of the Living Dead 25 year anniversary convention circ Pittsburgh 1993. I scrubbed behind there and cleaned the carpet and swapped it out with the tall stand I keep my guest dishes displayed. It goes with the Cajun theme of the room. Then I removed all of the pictures from the walls and cleaned them off and washed the walls where they were hung. I felt so inspired I’m going to go room to room and do the same thing. I already did my bedroom a month ago. 

Come Sept. I will have lived at this address for 10 years and on the street for 12. That’s long enough for some unseen dust and dirt to accumulate. 

I took the mass of shot glasses that have been displayed in the shelf that is built into the wall and washed all of them and tonight before I work on my Nick Huffman / Looney Bin interview will re assemble that clusteruck. 

Well, I’m not out of the woods yet. As I’m still debating on when to go out to Boston in Sept I learn that now Danzig has been added to RIOT FEST so it looks like I’m adding that to my itinerary dammit. Also decided to fly back to Ybor City Florida in December and the rates are fantastic taking into consideration I’m doing 3 nights this time. 

This book arrived in the mail over the weekend and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve put down the Keith Moon biography which is great in it’s own right. I really like the way this one is written. Also love Dave’s response to it. 

Tonight I’ll start packing for EXXXOTICA. I won’t have time tomorrow since I have to shop after work and Friday morning have a hair appointment at Salon M. The house is pretty much in the best shape its been in for a long time and the dining room looks nicer the way it is laid out now. 

Wednesday as I biked home from work I stopped at Target to pick up a couple black V Neck T’s. As I came up the escalator 2 little black boys were just staring at me. It was weird. When I got to the top one asked if I was a rocker and I told him, “Yes, sometimes.” Its nice to see such innocence still exists in this harsh world kids are forced to live within in the city. 

The Thursday morning ride into work was peaceful and at the same time a big workout for whatever reason. Maybe its the inspiration from weighing myself after my morning shower. I’m right at where I was last July. Looking back at those pictures that’s still not good enough. Yes, an improvement from the bloated pix I see from camping a month ago and from my New Glarus visit in January but I’m going to for gold ribbon this time and I intend to stay the course. 

This is the calm before the storm. Tomorrow will kick off 3-days of the 3-D’s: decadance, debauchery and depravity. And it’s all going to start at the hotel. 

“Why did you throw the Jack of Hearts away?”

6/12/2017 545 AM

Beach Gear packed on back for after work

Monday

Great ride to work this morning. Ate a bunch of fruit for breakfast and for lunch had my first chopped salad from Subway, buffalo chicken, and I may never eat another sub from there again because the salad kicked my ass. My mouth is ON FIRE!

I’m not sure if it was dumb luck or the heat. I managed to get across the loop during rush hour easier than ever on a weekday. When I got to the Lake Front path I noticed that the 94 degree heat kept a lot of people from biking and running. Mostly it was just people going to the beaches and I got to Montrose Beach in no time flat. I parked my bike, grabbed my gear and made a bee-line to the water. As soon as I spread my blanket out my shirt came off and I was in the water. It was nothing less than exhilarating. Where else could I live to be so lucky to have the beach and the cool water so close to home and on my way from work. There’s nothing like it.

There is live music every night at the Dock on Montrose and as relaxing as it sounded it could not drown out the ignorant bullshit of a conversation I heard from some jerks offs behind me. I have no idea who they were trying to impress but their conversation was not just weak but full of holes. I noticed yesterday that when I go to the beach and I’m not drinking people tend to annoy me and get on my nerves much easier. I don’t block them out. Sobriety isn’t just overrated, it’s boring, at least it is to me. But right now health and getting into shape takes priority over everything except for my job.

When I got home I showered, put on the new Danzig CD which arrived in the mail. Tommy Victor who plays all of the guitar and bass on it asked me 2 weeks ago what I thought of it. I told him I hadn’t heard it yet because I didn’t have it. I usually get all of the Danzig releases in advance, but the industry has changed drastically. Seven years ago before Deth Red Sabaoth was released Tommy actually sat on my porch with the Yamaha acoustic and played and sang two of the numbers off of it for me. That was an interesting night because  I still had an exhihitonist in the building across the yard who used to give me shows but never showed her face. Tommy sank low in his chair that evening and said, “Zander, this is great” in his thick New York accent. So far I like the feel of the record so far only four songs in. As it played I prepped my food for tomorrow. Fruit, celery, cucumbers, carrots and Tzatziki sauce. I’m also going to have another one of those chopped buffalo chicken salads at Subway. Then I’ll hit the beach again as I did today, unless it rains. Suddenly the forecast has thunderstorms over the next day or so. But I’m now pessimistic when it comes to meteorologists because they tend to lie.

Please don’t rain. 

Tuesday

The weatherman lied. Not a drop of rain overnight or this morning and before I went to bed there were thunderstorm warnings. When the alarm went off at 430A I looked outside and waas a happy man. It was 70 degrees, going up to 93 today but I still shut off the AC and opened a few windows. (I have a lot of windowns in my flat)

6/13/2017 Diversey Harbor 540A

Preparing to cross LSD on my way to the office

Breakfast looks the same everyday

as does lunch

Calorie Counter for my Subway Buffalo Chicken Salad

FRUTA CON CHILE Y LIMON

FRUIT WITH CHILE POWDER AND LIME

 TAJÍN is Fruit Seasoning with Chile Powder, lime and salt

Wednesday

To hell with the weather man. I lost 20 miles this week because yesterday late afternoon they called for strong thunderstorms and flights were beng delayd at Ohare. So not only did i not bike home, I rode the train with nothing to read so I looked like every other “Joe Average” and stared at my phone. At least there wasn’t a Cubs home game.


7P still no rain. Woke up 430A it didn’t rain at all but they are calling for rain for the balance of the week.

On Facebook a comment from a friend.
Adam Becvare: Fake News. Refuse to live in fear. Ride your bike !

and when I took his advice

The dunes at Montrose Pier

 

my first and only selfie

From WGN

Strong storms moved through the Chicago area Wednesday afternoon and dropped heavy rains and strong winds.

Hail was reported in several areas and trees and power lines were downed throughout many suburbs.

Wednesday

6/15/2017 530A Diversey Harbor 3 miles into my 10 mile commute to work

6/15/2017 Between North Ave Beach and Oak St Beach

After braving a ride through that storm yesterday (more on that to come) I was relaxing at home and suddenly became bombarded with requests from publicists asking if I could cover their acts. It felt really good to know my work is still in the know out there and they thought enough to reach out to me. The industry has changed drastically and my phone isn’t ringing off the hook all day like it once did but these are acts I actually really enjoy, so expect some MK ULTRA coverage throughout the summer.

Heading home 130P 6/15/2017

Summers upon me and after EXXXOTICA it’s gonna’ get very busy. I’ll have my new gas grill this weekend and will break it in July 4 for a low key close friends only BBQ. July 6th I see LA Guns in St Charles with Newbomb Turk and we plan to do some grilling then. There’s an incredible butcher out his way that I’m hyper excited about visiting. The 9th is POPTONE which I was just invited to attend and am looking forward to seeing Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins playing live again, two of the musicians most influential to my career in the industry. Garbage and Blondie is the 22nd at Ravinia and I still don’t have a date for that one yet, not do I for Cheap Trick and Foreigner August 9. Late August Greg and I are doing another camping/canoeing trip to Wisconsin and Labor Day I’m travelling to Iowa to spend a weekend hiking and spending time with my HLM Dale and the lovely Dr. Anne Gard.

That brings me to Sept/Oct when I’ll be flying out to Hew Hampshire and visiting Boston and a lot of good friend’s I have there as I contemplate relocating. I also still want to go back to Florida again in December.

Now that I have the new Danzig CD I’m looking forward to new releases from Cheap Trick, Michael Monroe, Prong and a couple of reissues from the Cars second and third albums. It’ll be nice because I’ve been playing that last Society 1 CD to death. I should also get my paws on the latest Jesus and Mary Chain release.

It was 91 degrees by the time I arrived home at 2P. I had an entire afternoon to kill before Joe and his wife would arrive to take me to buy a new gas grill for the deck. I chilled out and watched an episode of Carnivale and then took to the deed of removing all of my action figures and Batmobiles from the shelves in my officer and washed them as well as the sheves, surfaces and floor of my office. It is not a quick or easy task by any means. That is the one room off limits to my maid. Only I know what and where to put back in its proper place. 

That got me going and I washed the floor of my bathroom and kitchen with a bucket of water and giant sponge on my hands and knees. Lets just say I had to get the rest of the BILE left behind in my home washed away. 

When that was finally finished it was 7P and I waited to hear from Joe. If I didn’t by 830 I’d order a grill online. I was hungry so made up a skillet of Carnitas Al Pastor, ate some and then Joe arrived. It only took us 20 minutes to drive to the store, pick up the grill and take it up my back stairs. I was officially exhaused, took a shower and went to bed. But not before getting a text from my dear friend Paige Little the cam model asking if I’d be at EXXXOTICA this year. I replied in the positive and told her I couldn’t wait to catch up. She’s not going to have a booth and I haven’t seen her in 2 years so it’ll be a nice reunion. Hoefully we can get brunch Saturday morning before hitting up the show. 

Paige Little

Friday

I woke at 430A, listened to the weather forecast, cheked the Acu Weather radar and took a finally look out of my windows facing west. It was dark and ominous so I decided not to bike in. When I transfered at the Belmont station I saw the clouds coming in. By the time I arrived in the loop, it began to rain. Its going to be anothe rshort workday. I am going to a new salon to have my hair colored and cut for EXXXOTICA next weekend. Salon M on Argyle in the heart of Little Saigon where Greg will meet me after and we’ll eat before assembling the new grill. 

Marica Hase

A week from Sunday I’ll be interviewing Japanese import Marica Hase at EXXXOTICA for Mike Preston’s Psychobabble TV the same TV show that I interviewed Ron Jeremy for last year. From what I read Marica is still learning English so it should be fun. 

After 6 years of going to Milio’s for my hair care needs I decided to try Salon M an Asian family owned salon in Little Saigon. I went for a color and cut and ended up with the best hair trim I’ve ever had. Since I tend to shop and eat there so often it makes sense especially since there’s nothing at the Belmont stop for me anymore except for maybe Blackwood BBQ. 

TAA DAA! The new grill!

Papaya Salad
Shredded papaya w. shrimp, pork, onions, basil, cilantro, vietnamese coriander, lime juice, and roasted peanuts.

Pho Viet keeps impressing me. This is by far one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever had

Oh well, add another concert to my calendar July 1 The Romantics with A Flock of Seagulls and the B-52′s

Saturday

Ahhhh. Oy Vey! This is a rarity that I wake up and am not right on the door. The overcast sky isn’t exactly inspiring. Have you ever woken up and felt hungover even though you hadn’t had one drink the night before? Oddly that’s been me the past two weekends. This is my last open weekend for the next 3 mos. I have a BBQ, 4 concerts, the new Spiderman movie, and a Thai-American food fest in July alone. Two festivals and a camping trip in August and two vacation trips in Sept. 
As I was doing laundry I treated myself to breakfast at El Palmar and for the first time ever had their Huevos En Salsa Verde O De Arbol and it was delicious. 
A nice score from the Edgewater Farmer’s Market especially finding giant Ugly Tomatoes there. I’m going to have to make another trip. The horseradish pickles are a delight. The term “ugly tomato” can be used to describe a number of different tomato varieties, as well as some undesirable conditions affecting this fruit. Some ugly tomatoes develop their unattractive appearance due to cultural conditions. Others, including heirlooms suitable for cooler Mediterranean climates, are meant to be ugly. Ugly tomatoes may have an irregular shape, a growth deformity, unusual or inconsistent coloration, or any combination of these factors.
Finally a fest in my hood

Thai Food Festival Chicago July 15 @ 11:00 am – July 16 @ 9:00 pm
861 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago

The ASSMAN Grill has passed it’s test run

Sunday 

This was waiting for me when I returned home from the beach. I played it loudly 5x on my back deck. 

Cheap Trick is way better than all right on “We’re All Alright!” – which may be their best in 35 years.

With the album title taken from the ending chant on their signature song “Surrender,” Cheap Trick makes a bold declaration that joyful, unrestrained, in-your-face (and burned into your brain) rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well. This band’s rejects are better than most bands’ A-material.

Robin Zander’s voice is an eighth world wonder, while Rick Nielsen rocks the lead guitar. When it comes to bass playing, it doesn’t get any better than the band’s very own Tom Petersson. They prove to be like fine wine, where they only get better with experience. 

Tac Quick finally got their new menus in

With Saturday and my errands, shopping etc behind me, I got another invite to go see Metallica at Solider Field Sunday night. The first was from the opeing bands publicist, and this was more inviting as it was from the redhead Ruby from Kankakee. I expliand that as much as it’d be fun to hang out, the concert itself would annoy me and I wouldn’t be much fun. Most people thought I was crazy. A few friends feel the same about the band as I do. Metallica just never was a band I could relate to. Later I enjoyed a long phone conversation and after clsoing up the house went to bed around 11PM. I woke Sunday morning, had some coffee, watched the balance of the Carnivale episode I had begun the night before and made my way to the beach. It was a bright beautiful and breezy morning. As soon as I layed my blanket down one of my items was carried away by the wind and I chased it for about 100 ft till another sunbather caught it for me. I said thanks and that it was too early for this. I like it early before it gets too crowded which it became quite quickly this morning. The breeze had my blanket, gear and my person covered in sand. I had to go into the water twice to wash the sand off of me. It made a peaful morning less enjoyable. My left ear was full of sand as were my teeth. I did 2.5 hours and biked home. I had a meeting and photo shoot scheduled for later that afternoon so I went home and washed up. The new Cheap Trick CD was delievered while I was out and I was very happy.

Everything was covered in sand and I shook it all ooff on my deck the best I could. After my shower the Q-Tips were bblack from cleaning sand out of my ears. The worst ever. I blasted the new Cheap Trick CD as I stood out back gutting bell peppers and stuffing them with ground turkey, picate and wing sauce. The first half of the brand new Cheap Trick record is the most guitar heavy stuff they’ve laid down in years. I gave it another spin and messaged Max to see if we were still meeting. He had overslept and was hungry so we met at Tac Quick. Fang took our orders and at 4P KK came on duty, came out to see me and I gave her a hug. She looked great and was wearing shorts again. She queried why I wasn’t drinking (alcohol) and I explained. I think she was amused. As good as her English is I have a hard time understanding things with her accent. As I told Ittchi 2 days before, I invited her for my July 4 BBQ.

Max and I did some pix and discussed the new MK ULTRA laminates and the flier for the BBQ and when he left I went to detailing some of the crooks and crevices that needed cleaing in my flat that the maids all seem to miss. I went overboard. As I ripped out the old white Coaxial cable that was stapled down to my base boards and up around the doorways in the hall which were not only unsed, and hidious, but were filthy. I washed down the base board and noticed some black Coaxial cable on the opposite side that was stapled down to the carpet along the doorway to my big walk in closet, so I ripped it out. HUGE MISTAKE. That was my RCN internet cable. So I had to schedule and appointment for Monday 4-6. Enough was enough so I watched XMEN Days of Future Past and slept like a rock.
I had a bike ride into work the next day.

Sobriety is Overrated but I’m Dancing There Anyway

Finally my living room table is done. A dream come true. Artist Brandon Metz

Friday night Brandon Metz came by finished my table. I have to say I was very impressed that he actually took the initiative and got it done. For several years others have said no problem and then for whatever reason weren’t able to fulfill my wish. This guy knocked it out within two weeks of me mentioning it over a pitcher of beer at Wrigleyville North. Thrilled to the bone is an understatement. 

At 530 AM it almost feels like its all mine

17 N. State St. 10-story mural of bluesman Muddy Waters

Up at 4AM, weatherman calls for thunderstorms this afternoon so I opt for CTA to work. Transfer to wrong train (Purple Line) and then transfer to wrong bus (151) even though it got me to the corner by my office it wasn’t the 7 or the 126.


I could have saved the trouble and just taken the 151 from home to work.

Took off work at noon and go figure the Cubs were playing a day game. So much for reading my new Keith Moon biography. 

I’ll be biking all weekend. My plan is to get in 50-75miles. Doing approx 56g of carbs a day and no booze till June 23rd. I should be very tan by the time I go back into the office on Monday.


The weatherman lied again.

Saturday afternoon

June 10: It’s been one year to the day that I met Ashley on a bus ride to Iowa when I went to see Cheap Trick with Dale and Anne. We didn’t even realize it as we got together over the weekend.

It’s hot. It’s drinking weather and right now nothing would be better than Deep Eddy’s Ruby Red on ice or Absolut Citron with a lemon wedge. But I’m not drinking. By the next time I taste an alcoholic beverage roll over my palate it will have been 3 weeks. On this 56 or less carb diet and as sugar free as I attempt to make it, coupled with lots of biking it will be interesting to see the result.

Fruit for breakfast is something I could get used to. I actually prefer it but it’s so much more expensive.

Adam West passed away. My good friend Ed Kowolski in Ohio sent me the message. I knew it was coming. The online social media celebrity obsessed overkill. And it happened in minutes. It was ridiculous. I only posted the news on MK. As far as social media I refuse as I do in life to join any bandwagon.If anyone needs to know how much the Adam West version of Batman has meant to me all one needs to do is look in my home office. Even my office at work has Batmania hints all over. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a slight tear. That’s the last piece of my childhood innocence that was left. Tom and I talked about it later and Ashely and I touched upon the social media hysteria of celebrity death. As in Bowie, Lemmy, etc I never saw any of these people, even those I have considered friends ever make mention of Adam West till his passing.

I just spent 1/2 of the afternoon with Tom in Little Saigon. We were both very hungry and ate at Pho Viet. We started with the special appetizer for 2 (spring rolls w. shrimp & pork skin spring rolls, fried egg rolls, fried shrimp cake, pork, grilled beef. Served w. lettuce, cucumber mints, steam rice noodle, hoisin peanut sauce, sweet & sour fish sauce) and he ordered Tom Thit Ram Man (simmered caramel pork and shrimps w. onion, dried onion, black pepper, homemade fish sauce) and I had Muc Xao Sa Ot (squid stir-fried w. lemongrass and hot pepper). They also gave us some chicken soup which was by far the best I’ve ever had. There’s no meat in it. Just broth with spices. There were lots of leftovers and I’ll be eating it for dinner tomorrow.

Tom who has had many extended trips to Thailand told me that we really need to go together. Though it’s not at the top of my bucket list it certainly does appeal to me. The humidity is something that I have a problem with and is the biggest reason I didn’t relocate to Louisiana when I was given a job op there. That and Kim Fowley’s warning.

After lunch we walked around. There were a lot of thugs hanging around which is sad. Obvious they were dealing. We walked by 2 Asian Men passed out and their black friend barely able to stand. A Vietnamese lady on the corner was screaming at the street sign and throwing peanuts in the air. This was all a new sight to me in Little Saigon, usually peaceful and quiet. I bought some produce from a couple of the markets and then a cool little bell for my bedroom and some really nice Chinese wind chimes for my back deck. The upgraded version of the back of my home will be complete when I buy my new BBQ grill after EXXXOTICA.

I don’t miss hosting large amount of people at home anymore. Greg and Brandon were here for a little over an hour last night, they were plowing themselves with rum and I had ice water. Ashley is on her way over right now to watch Logan with me. I hope she wants to see the Noir version because I sure do. I picked the 3 DVD Limited Edition Collectors version of it at Target last night for $19.99. After this weekend it goes up to $39.99. There was no way I could pass it up. See the Noir trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD8UHu0viEE

She’s been partying hard this week, very hard so this will prove to be interesting. I even shut all of my windows and put on the AC for her. This is very very rare for me as if it comes on, it’s not till August. I love this weather.

I intend to hit the beach very early tomorrow. I hope as early as 7A and no later than 8A. Have some fresh Mexican fruit with chili powder and my first Elotes of the year. If I’m not burned I should be good by noon. Come home, shower and take a long bike ride.

Ashley arrived around 530 PM. She has only been awake for 3 hours. The toll she has put her 34 yr old body through is not apparent. She’s drinking Gatorade, or so I think. I will soon discover it’s wine. Like last evening my guests are drinking and I politely decline. It’s not a difficult option, it’s that I want improve myself and at 52 yrs young my body is no longer able to do that on it’s own. Yes, already the pounds are coming off, but I need more than that.

We start Logan, and take several smoke breaks. I’m enjoying the cigars. The AC is on for her. I don’t need it and she knows it. She comments on how I haven’t sweat. She comments on how nobody in the movie is sweating though it’s mostly filmed in Mexico and El Paso. I mention that there was a lot of sweating in Apocalypse Now Redeux which I watched the night before.

We go to get her some more wine. The Cubs game is over, the people hovering around my neighborhood are very CHUDlike. They’re not from here. Many of them are very fucked up on I don’t know what. Ashley’s comments on how she likes to follow people around who are in that state of mind to see what they do even though she admits that it’s wrong. On the way back we walk passed Tac Quick and we get a hello from KK who I haven’t seen since March, the day after things went sideways for me. I forgot how good she looks in shorts.When we return I turn off the AC. There is a nice breeze. I open a couple of my many windows. It takes us 4 hours to watch the movie. She realizes I’m tired and heads home at 1044 PM. I close the windows and put the AC on low. It’s going to be above 90 all week. I know I’ll need it from biking home in the heat.

 

Up the street from me where Fiona on Showtime’s Shameless works

Sunday

813AM Cleaned up kitchen, packed fruit for this week’s breakfast, condensed leftover seafood from lunch in Little Saigon, ate 10 Colossal Shrimps for breakfast (less than 120 calories) put my beach gear together and am on my way. I arrived a few minutes before 9A and there were about 50 people scattered about the stretch of Montrose Beach. After 90 minutes of sunning and I sat up and looked out to teh water which I was getting ready to walk into there were about 300.

12 Noon. On my way back from a few hours of sun and a dip in the lake I stopped for one of my summertime favorites. Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)  

Spread an even amount of mayo onto each cob, then drizzle on the melted butter with a spoon. Roll the slathered corn in the cheese, then sprinkle with the chile-salt mixture. Repeat the process with the remaining corn. Squeeze a lime wedge onto each cob. (1 ear, Calories: 164.8, Fat: 8.1g, Carbs: 22.7g, Protein: 4.2g)

 

Came home, my lips and mouth still on fire from the chile powder of the Eleotes. I forgot howmuch heat those things pack,  put on the shower, stepped out and shook the sand from my beach gear and plan to bike up to Asia on Argyle for a Bubble Tea. Tom now calls it Alex on Argyle. This will be my max on carbs for the day.

Bubble Tea (16 oz, Calories: 400, Fat: 0g, Carbs: 24g, Protein: 0)

The bike ride to Little Saigon is very quick. Much faster and more enjoyable than the CTA. I stopped at Jewel at Berwyn and biked on teh side street Winona. There I saw the source of the drug dealers at Winona and Argyle the previous day. Obviously Chicago’s finest had become aware and had just arrested a small group of young upstanding citizens from that same intersection and they made their prescense known.  I parked my bike and soon discovered that all of the popular Bubble Tea places were packed and I mean standing room only. So I went to the little bakery I’ve gone to before and ordered a Honeydew with tapioca and it was splendid and really nice on such a hot (92 degrees) afternoon. (Hong Xoung Bakery 1139 W Argyle St) This place being a very small not fancy at all Mom and Pop does excellent Bubble Teas and have very good ratings on Yelp.

I biked home came upstairs took another shower and began to make AZ’s Hellacious Gumbo with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage. For an extra kick other than just the standard NOLA based seasoning I put some of the ground Calabrian chilis Eric Bandowski gave me when I was in Florida last December. 

As the pot is simmering I’m feeling the heat of the sun that I put on my body today. Before I retire there’s no doubt I need to take another walk over to Walgreen’s for some Aloe. The pain I can handle but the peeling is just nasty. All in all I think I’m mostly going to stick to this diet. With the exception of July 4 and Hot Dog Fest I feel like this is the best route. I’m even going to go back to biking to work in the winter like I used to when I was between these executive search gigs. My bikes are badass and need to be used more than 4-5 months of the year.

 

The Pilgrim – Chapter 33

 1986

my brother has been finding old photos of me. this is before I heard my true calling

See him wasted on the sidewalk in his jacket and his jeans,
Wearin’ yesterday’s misfortunes like a smile
Once he had a future full of money, love, and dreams,
Which he spent like they was goin’ outta style
And he keeps right on a’changin’ for the better or the worse,
Searchin’ for a shrine he’s never found
Never knowin’ if believin’ is a blessin’ or a curse,
Or if the goin’ up was worth the comin’ down

 

He’s a poet, he’s a picker
He’s a prophet, he’s a pusher
He’s a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he’s stoned
He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,
Takin’ ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

 

He has tasted good and evil in your bedrooms and your bars,
And he’s traded in tomorrow for today
Runnin’ from his devils, lord, and reachin’ for the stars,
And losin’ all he’s loved along the way
But if this world keeps right on turnin’ for the better or the worse,
And all he ever gets is older and around
from the rockin’ of the cradle to the rollin’ of the hearse,
The goin’ up was worth the comin’ down

 

He’s a poet, he’s a picker
He’s a prophet, he’s a pusher
He’s a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he’s stoned
He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,
Takin’ ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.


There’s a lotta wrong directions on that lonely way back home.

- Kris Kristofferson 

 

- “If” by Rudyard Kipling and Kaleb’s Comeback

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

- “If” by Rudyard Kipling

Monday morning when I woke for work, Kaleb was wide eyed and seemed to have gotten some of his energy back. This made me happy. I gave him the last of his medicine and he still slept most of the day. Tuesday morning was a different story he started getting playful with Katrina again, something he hasn’t done in a couple of weeks. But when I came home Tuesday after work and walked in the door he began chasing Katrina and when I opened up the back made a run for her out the back door and leaped up on the railing with precision, not missing a beat. When I got on my computer he took his old spot on the bottom shelf on top of my Batman and Robin Monopoly game. As I watched the movie Contact he chased Katrina all over the house and then retired on my lap. This morning he woke me up with bulling Katrina and hissing and chasing each other. Maybe the treatment gave him supercat powers or something. Whatever it is, thanks to Jackie for taking care of it in my absence.

My morning bike commute into work today was 45 min and that’s with detours on the bike path. 15 min better than last time. It would take as long on the CTA and smell worse.

For those who don’t know it’s 10 miles each way door to door.

Coming home at rush hour crossing the entire loop west to east in traffic, dodging people on the lake front path and path construction detours I made it home in an hour. It was thicker than ever for a mid weekday so I think it’s time to buy a cool bike helmet.

I have a very low key weekend coming up. I’m going to skip BBQ Fest and spend Saturday afternoon with my friend Tom at Asia on Argyle and have lunch at my favorite Pho Viet on N Broadway and then hang out at Montrose Harbor. I’ve been biking again so between that and the under 150 carbs a day diet I should be where I want to be by August, which is where I fell short last summer. 

Homecoming and Mai Fest

Bob (Newbomb Turk) got us tickets for LA Guns in July and I’m going to try to set up and interview. Very much looking forward to hanging with my good friend again who I last saw when we did that great and fun interview with Frank DiMino a few months back. 

This was my homecoming dinner Monday Memorial Day May 29th. Spring rolls and fried tofu at Tac Quick. 

Finally I was able to attend Mai Fest. Usually it is held while I’m away but this year because Memorial Day set it off I was able to attend. After cleaning house from 630A-1130A I was ready to shift gears. I had been doing nothing ince cleaning since I arrived home. All that is left is the guest room which I feel can wait. On the downside Kaleb was home and still very sick. He had lost weight and his coat had lost its shine. All he did was sleep. It wasn’t li

ke him. I went to Hansa Clipper where I was greeted by Christina in the usual fashion and had a drink. About 15 min later Greg and Brandon arrived, had a drink and we were off to the German themed fest. 

An hour in I was unable to enjoy myself. All I could think about was my cat who in my mind was dying at only 3 yrs old. I gave $13 of ticket to Brandon which would go toward my Quija Board coffee table top he made for me and excused myself and too the train home. I had 2 beers, 1 cocktail and 2 sandwiches and they were just sitting in my gut.

I would find amusement as I preparred to watch Twin Peaks. Andrew Dice Clay had a new special and it was his first in 15 years. The last time I saw one of his stand up specials around 1999 he was just mean. Not funny. Mean. His career has recently been on an upswing, what one might call a comeback and he was true to form. In shape again, physically the best he’d been in 20 plus years and his 2 sons band opened the show which was filmed in St Charles in the Arcada where Bob and I wil return to when we see LA Guns. 

The bulk of Dice’s hour is spent analyzing the new class of women that has been raised with the Internet. According to him, these women are sex fiends whose sole objective in relationships is to be treated like the filthy animals they are. Newly liberated, they’ve traded their jewelry for thongs, their dignity for debauchery.

It’s overly crude, but we’re all in on the joke. Halfway through the special, Dice addresses a man who seems puzzled by the performer’s tone and material. “I’m a comic. This is what I fucking do,” Dice tells him. “If I did three-quarters of the stuff I’m talking about up here, I’d be doing 25-to-life in a maximum security prison.”

The problem with Dice’s material is not that it’s offensive; it’s that it’s wrong. This class of women that Dice has broken down and gotten to the core of does not seem to exist in great numbers. During the retrospective at the top of the special, however, Dice says he’s been preparing his material for two years in Las Vegas. Aha!

Fans of Dice, like myself, will drool over Indestructible’s intensity and rawness. The haters will always hate. But no matter what you think of him as a man or a standup, you have to admit, he puts on one hell of a show.

So it was early to bed, early to rise and a nice quiet breakfast alone at El Palmar. The balance of my day was finishing Twin Peaks which was well worth it. 

 

 

AFTERMATH

Brendin Ross and Krztof have hit the road after a long week at Casa Diablo. I did two hours of dishes they left for me when I got home from my trip. The rest of my house is trashed. It’ll take a few days to get back in order.


Kaleb was at the vet with urinary tract blockage. Lucky for me Jackie Jockell got him to a vet, kept him while I was a way and got good food and medication for him. Another expense.


I’m a mess from allergies. My eyes are burning, my throat raw from the pollen, cigars, and singing at the camp. But it was worth it. Mostly. It was my most expensive camping trip as well. My sunburn is now peeling. 


Now I have to document the trip for you dear reader.


If all goes well I’ll bike into work tomorrow and Saturday hit up Mai Fest. Tonight I’m catching up on TV and light cleaning.

Friday June 2, 2017

I got home mid afternoon and began doing more dishes. Then began picking up bath towels, blankets, pillows etc. Also having already stowed all of my camping gear I began the task of packing up all of the clothing I took to camp, some which were dirty and still wet from the last storm up there. I was exhausted and watched an episode of Twin Peaks and finsihed Deadwood which I was not thrilled with the ending as there was to be another season but was cancelled. ”Al” Swearengen turned out to be my favorite character of the series.

After I bike home today I’ll get laundry done and then do more cleaning so I can enjoy a full day at Mai Fest tomorrow. Beer consumption will be at a minimum since I’m starting a new diet today. No breakfast on work days is a part of it. Maybe tonight I’ll feel like sharing the tale of “Vacation Bible School for Devil Worshipppers” which was an Eddie Trunk quote from the weekend. 

 

COMPLETE! pEaCe FrOg: (FKA) Vacation bible school for devil worshipers

 

BADZMEG!

So. This is going to be a very long read. Incredible and eye opening.

Took Peace Frog (my mascot) on its maiden roadtrip. About 150 miles into our journey I asked Greg, “You know who used to own that frog?”  His biology professor. Ironically also the pre owner to the blue shirt I was wearing.

Many many more pix and TAILS to come. 

 Here I am still trying to get adjusted back into city life and wrap my brain around sharing the stories from the weekend there. I just really love it up there and all of the amazing people who have proven to be true friends. 

 

FRIDAY

Between 7AM and 9AM the morning of May 26th I had been to Walgreens 3x to pick up things for our trip. I had all of my gear down at the bottom of the backstairs and waited for Greg to arrive. Like a good Eagle Scout he as timely and when he started the engine Deep Purple’s “My Lady From Tokyo” was playing on Ozzy’s Boneyard. It was a good sign. We made our first stop for lunch at the TA Truck Stop’s Country Pride Restaurant off of the Marengo exit where Wild West Town is located. It’s a tradition. The service was slow and the Patty Melt I consumed would hover in my gut till the next morning. Not a good feeling. Greg bought a Shell Oil trucker cap, and I found a great gray sleeveless button up shirt that I had to have for $16.99. Our final stop before getting to the camp was Wal Mart in Beloit. I dropped $89 and still was unable to purchase each item I was looking for. We had made excellent time considering it was a holiday weekend. As we entered Green County  my allergies began to rage and my eyes were burning. Luckily in my backpack I had allergy medicine and popped 2 of them. Before I knew it the feeling has passed. Once we arrived we checked in with Lisa at the campground store and I paid for 3 nights camping, 2 loads of firewood, and the next morning’s canoe trip $83.00 total.

As we were unloading the SUV and began to set up my massive tent it began to rain. But we got the thing up and I put a chair under the canopy and we drove into Brodhead to shop for food at the Piggly Wiggly where I spent $112.93 on food and Greg spent $96 on booze. To my surprise it was more expensive than Chicago. When we returned I bought 22 lbs of ice and we sat under my tent canopy sipping drinks and waiting for the weather to clear. It had been an hour plus long down pour but passed and we set up Greg’s tent.

I had purchased a new boom box for this trip and I came upon one of the best radio stations I’d ever heard, 105.9 The Hog out of Janesville. I’d play it nonstop much to my fellow camper’s dismay overnight in my tent. I just loved this station. When it got dark we went up to the camp store and mixed with the other campers. The grounds were sold out and the place was alive and kicking. We built a big fire, played our guitars and we sang, then the retired fairly early being we had to wake early for our canoe trip. 

SATURDAY

We were both up early and being I had made food the night before for the trip all we had to do, after Greg made breakfast  was drag our gear to the top and wait for Bill Hawkinson (drummer for Left of Reason) to pick us up and take us out to Attica to the drop off point. The van was packed which is rare that others go that early on the all day trip. We loaded up our canoe and tied up our gear with bungee cords and were on our way. With all of the rain over the month the river was very high. I had a jug full of vodka and grapefruit juice, a bottle of Jameson, and Greg brought Wild Turkey and beer. I usually take 8 hours to do the 6 hour trip but Greg is also a very experienced canoeist and we owned that river like I never have before. The weather could not have been more perfect. It was blue skies, puffy white clouds and just about 80 degrees and the one thing we didn’t take canoeing with us was sunscreen and we would pay the price. We stopped at a few sandbars to chill and got to the lake where we’d have to portage over the dam and that’s when we saw people. I pulled out my Jameson ($30) to take a nice pull off of it and it fell out of my hand onto the only cement we’d encounter on the trip. It smashed and I’d have to swig from the Wild Turkey which is not good. I remember when we were in the liquor aisle the day before choosing our poisons the look of the lady’s face next to us when Greg chose Wild Turkey, it was like a WTF look. We made some friends along the way and now that I look back wish we would have hung out longer because we got back much too early. I wanted to see Dale and Anne who were to be at our camp when we returned but we did the trip too damned fast. When they arrived and set up it began to rain. I went to my tent put on the radio and took a much needed nap. I woke around 830 and everyone was gone so I put on clothes and went up to the top where Bill’s band was playing some great rock n roll. They had just played Brat Fest in Madison the night before. Everyone was having a good time. Greg and I talked with Lisa and Rick the owners for a while before he went back to sleep. I hung out a bit longer and was in bed before Dale and Anne returned. I very sore from my sunburn but luckily the booze eased the pain and made for a good night of sleep. 

SUNDAY

At 7AM Eddie Trunk came on the radio and kicked off his 3 hours show with Ace Frehley followed by KISS “All Hell’s Breaking Loose”. It was a great set of music and got me energized to start picking up around the soggy site. So much was exposed to another overnight storm and we lost a lot and I had a lot of clothes that were soaked and muddy which I had not put away. Luckily my camera was still in a zip lock bag and sitting on the wet ground. It worked fine. I started cleaning up and starting a fire and Greg woke up and told me he had a hard time sleeping. I made breakfast and Dale and Anne woke and started packing and sat and had coffee with us. They also complained about my music. I had no idea it was so loud. Around 9AM Eddie Trunk said his show was like “Vacation Bible School for Devil Worshippers”. I grabbed my pen and pad and wrote that down. I really liked the quote. Before the 3 hours were over he had played 2 more KISS songs and told a story about Vinnie Vincent who was Ace’s first replacement as lead guitar living life now as a woman named Angel. I didn’t find that surprising in the least.

 

The original plan was for us to bike into New Glarus which is a beautiful 23 miles trip each way but with the unpredictable weather we decided to drive in. Neither of us had a signal since we arrived in Green County. Dale sent a text to Renee and let her know to expect me around 1P. We stowed our gear and made our way into town. We made a stop at Mobil Gas Station in Albany where I learned I could not take any cash from the ATM and I had under $100 on me.  It also would not let me check my balance and there was not a Chase anywhere near. I was in panic mode. I couldn’t check from my phone since we had no signal. There was a terrible detour so our short cut took us longer than if we would have gone thru Brodhead. We made a quick stop at the brewery and did the tasting tour and then drove into town where the New Glarus Music Fest was held. Had a drink at Tofflers, and walked over to Puempel’s Olde Tavern where Marc Barnaby was playing and I took a seat next to Renee and her fiancé Brian. We enjoyed a couple of sets and then walked over to Ott Haus Pub and Grill where we ate. Somehow we missed Dale and Anne and they went on home to Iowa.

We hung around a little longer and went back to the camp where they were hosting Karaoke. Greg did a song and I did a song and we went back to camp, sipped on an unmistakable rye whiskey, Templeton Rye, smooth and spicy with a clean finish, played our guitars under the stars and a little audience began to gather. Again I fell asleep w/ the radio on. 

MONDAY

 

I was awake and made some coffee. I had no voice it was shot from allergies, cigar smoking and singing. My body was sunburned and we had a long day ahead of us. We began to pack up as we trashed a lot of food and some other items ruined from the rain. We started a small fire and Dawn a lady who listened to us play the night before ask asked for a beer. Then she came back with food and helped herself to our fire to cook breakfast for her and Kevin. Then Kevin joined us as we attempted to pack out gear for the long ride home. My tent would prove to be difficult as it is definitely a 2 man operation to both set up and take down. Dawn was getting on our nerves so Greg pretended to argue with me in hopes they’d take off. They didn’t and when she got I our way in an attempt to help us with the tent Greg snapped and told them they needed to leave us and let us pack for our long ride home. Finally they did having overstayed their welcome.

As we cleaned up camp we ended up throwing out approx $50 worth of food that we didn’t cook which included 2 nice big steaks, some chicken and about 6 sandwiches from the canoe trip. “Blame it on the rain, yeah, yeah.”

We told Lisa goodbye and were on the road again. Once in Beloit I had a signal. There was an urgent message from Chase bank. Chase Fraud Protection Services: Chase Debit or ATM Card ending in ****Please tell us if you, or someone you authorized, used your Chase Debit or ATM Card for: and they listed 4 transactions. It was due to the fact that the transactions of high dollar amounts in WI the same weekend I had made big withdrawal it threw up a red flag. Better safe than sorry. So all was fine. Thankfully.

 

We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings and had lunch where the service was quite excellent thanks to our server Kristi and even the manager came to talk to us. I had a tall Dos Equis, an order of Hot, Jerk and Buffalo. Greg had a water, a crispy buffalo sandwich and a wing snack w/ Bourbon Street Honey Mustard Sauce. It was just what the doctor ordered. Then as we headed home we stopped again at the TA Truck Stop at Marengo so I could pee. Before we knew it we were unpacking my gear and dragging it up the back stairs, we hugged goodbye and he was on his way. Krztof and Brendon were leaving with their gear for their show at Live Wire Lounge and I saw them again as I locked my bike out across the street from my home. 

 

Once in the house I saw the massive amounts of dishes my house guests had left behind. I wasn’t in the mood to tackle it quite yet. I got a shower, changed clothes and walked over to Tac Quick. I had a drink and learned that Bradford had suddenly quit and walked out due to an altercation with a customer. So I walked around the corner to Wrigleyville North and the bartender to me she was closing at 6 since there was no business. Even Walgreens was a ghost town. All I could do at home was sleep since I couldn’t watch TV as the guys had gear set up in moth my living and dining rooms.

 

I felt like hell due to allergies and my throat and the stress of Kaleb being sick. I had work to do the next day. Sleep was the best idea, and I slept like hell. I woke up Tuesday my eyes felt glued shut from allergies and my throat was even more raw than the day before. I had no choice but to work from home which was the last thing I wanted to do with people around. They went to bed when I got up and when they rose pretty much let me be to work so it was a good day in the end, 

 

 

I’m the salt in the sweat On the cuts of the slaves, I was the wound in the side While Jesus prayed, I was the filthiest word At the vandalized grave

I’m the holes in your arm
When you’re feeling the shakes
I’m the lump on your head
When you step on the rake

And I’m the loudest one laughing
At the saddest wake

She gets home tonight after a long stretch at Rock on the Range where Soundgarden were booked to headline before another one of rocks great losses. Then I’m leaving. Hopefully she will join me and the guys from the BILE singers solo outing as “Nightmare Before Krztoff” who are staying here for 2 weeks for dinner at Tac Quick the eve of my leave.

Today I cleaned and packed all of the camping gear. Greg and I have rented at Jeep Compass. This is long overdue and I have not camped with a fellow Eagle Scout since I was in the Scouts in the early 80′s. So this one will be epic. Friday its just Greg and I then we spend teh entire next day canoeing and when we get back Dale and Anne will have set up. Sunday we’re biking through the forest to the New Glarus Music Fest and before we come home Monday swinging back through NRG for beer, sausage and a farewell to friends.  It goes without saying I am completely packed, gear, vitamins separated, soaps shampoos etc. All but attire. Scouts motto, “Be Prepared.” 

Friday after work Greg and I had dinner and drinks at Tac Quick. To my suprise my old bartender friend Vicente was also at the bar eating with his girlfriend. It was nice to catch up. The dining room was packed and it looks like all is well with the new location. It’s certainly great for me. Most of teh weekend was lazy as I flip flopped between Deadwood and Twin Peaks whihc I love. Sunday morning as mentioned was packing and organizing camping gear. 

My first very first visit to the camp was on July 16, 1999 which is signifigant because it was the day John F. Kennedy Jr died in a plane crash. We heard about it on the news while we were in South Side Beverage to stock up on beer. The last time I was there was in July 2015 and was in so much pain that a week later was on a cane after being diagnosed that my right hip had deteriorated. Last summer I was just too busy getting back into life to return.