Sunday, August 20, 2006

Weekend of favorites

This weekend, I spent so much time on the lake front. I went rollerblading in Hyde Park at the Point. The Point is right across the street from the Shoreland hotel - my college dorm. During college, I used to go the Point to meditate. In winter, I would love to go there and see the ice forming in the lake and on the rocks. In couple of days a year that was nice, I'd go and imagine there were seals that would pop up out of the lake. (I missed the beach). I also went to the Art Institute again. This time, we specifically went to check out the Dutch painters. The Art Institute has a couple of Rembrandts, but no Vermeers. After finding out about the documentary "Stolen," we wanted to see if we had any Vermeers in the city. "Stolen" documents a famous art heist in 1990, during which 13 paintings (including Vermeer's "The Concert") were stolen have yet to be recovered. Apparently there are only 35 (possibly 36) Vermeers in existence. This is fascinating to me. Every once in a while I check on the possibility of working in the art recovery field. Where else can you be the good guy with a patch over an eye?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Summer in the city

I hate the weather in this God-forsaken place. I know, this summer has been better than most - but I still have no problem making such a blanket statement. One thing the city does well, however, is put on events. Last week was Tall Ships. Usually, it's at Navy Pier, but this time it was along the river and continued along to the Pier. Since I live so close to the river, I thought that would be great - what an easy way to pick the ship that would carry me on my journeys after I trade in my bar card and live the rest of my days as a scallywag. Turns out, I hated it. Unlike Navy Pier, where you can walk up to them at any time of the day or night, they closed the river walk at 8pm (keep in mind the sun wasn't setting until around 8:30) Aaaargh! I was so annoyed (like the time they closed the street because Ocean's 12 was planning on filming in that area at some point that day - what, precious Brad Pitt can't walk on the same bridge I crossed hours earlier?). Also, unlike at Navy Pier, there was a huge distance between the ship and the path and the view was usually obscured by trees. By the time you were clear of the trees, you were right up to the edge of the river - with no guard rails. How was this a good idea? I suppose it encouraged people to pay to come aboard.... I still enjoyed seeing them - there were some beautiful ships. Oh, and I will go on a sailing adventure on one of them some day. Oh, yes. The trip will be mine.
This weekend is the Air and Water Show. I don't know if I'll go see that - it's notoriously CROWDED. If I don't, I won't have missed it all - the "air" part is practicing right now and my apartment feels like the tower that Maverick and Goose buzzed in Top Gun (you know, the movie Tom Cruise made before he became so openly offensive).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

City nights

My friend and I went to the MCA on Tuesday. The museum has "Target Tuesdays" where admission is free, there's jazz on the outside patio, and late hours. I hadn't been to the MCA in a while, and I didn't think it would take more than an hour to go through. Wrong. To be sure, it's nothing like the size of the Art Institute, but they had a lot more exhibits than the last time I was there. There were some interesting exhibits, and while a lot of them creeped me out, it was interesting and kind of fun to check out the unusual pieces. Currently, there's an exhibit of Chris Ware's comic strips he created while in Chicago. It's interesting, but a little hard to look at because it is a lot of comic book-type drawings and stories on one wall. I tried to get started and follow a story from beginning to end, but when I got to the part where the mom cuts her daughter's fingers off and stacks the fingers in a teacup, I was lost.
My favorite exhibit was a giant flow chart that charted the path to convincing yourself that pirates were going to attack Chicago. It was funny, clever, interesting art techniques and, strangely, it made sense. Gotta take my word for it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What do M. Night Shyamalan + Trump have in common?

(Update on the Trump building.)
Apparently, they are both quite full of themselves.
At least - that seems to be the complaint about Shyamalan and part of why his new movie, Lady in the Water stinks. I saw the movie this weekend. It was really not what I expected, but I really enjoyed it. It was more of a fairy tale than a horror movie - which is what I thought it would be based on the previews. It was a story about a journey and finding your calling in life, yet managed to be not cheesy. The movie didn't follow the typical formula that other movies do (meet the characters, conflict, some dangerous chase, resolution of the problem and hero/ine prevails), and I really appreciated that. One note: I agree that it was pretty arrogant to put himself in the movie, especially as a character who is supposedly critical to the world and subsequent political change. Overall, though, is a character driven story and, despite complaints that there were too many characters, they were realistic and enjoyable.
I did see some themes repeated from some of this other films that Shyamalan seems to be fascinated with - his main character is usually a broken man because of a past tragedy involving his family, water as significant to health, and wolves must be really scary to him. All in all, I really enjoyed it and thought it was a good story.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Life with Cowboy

I received this email from Cowboy while I was at work yesterday. Rest assured that if I hadn't fixed the problem I would have received "Auto-alert 44322"

Auto-alert 44321

This is an auto-alert from the bathroom, the soap dispenser is low.
Please return immediately to refill.

Thank you,
Auto-alert system