Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I spent this past weekend at that grandaddy behemoth of alt-fests: Lollapolooza. Not being as sardonic as some bloggers, I was in great anticipation of this weekend of concerts, having not attended this jubilee since 1994. The lineup sounded stupendous and there was just the right mix of bands; those I was avidly anticipating and those I was quite curious to experience... a good show being an easy way for an unknown band to wheedle their way into my prodigious CD collection. Without further buildup, my take!


The Warlocks: This was the first show I hung around, and over-all it was not too bad, (they were in essence, an opening band) but while their songs started nice and trippy, they quickly transformed into a long, navel-examining treatise. This just didn't sync with my high level of early energy!

M83: Caught a smidge of this show too, after I became bored of the Warlocks....they were pretty spiffy, and I think they deserve more of a chance than an open-air festivalallows...very French, ethereal and transcendental; not something that a quick listen would give credit to. If Air is the Franco-version of fast-food, than this is a 12-course meal that needs time for appropriate digestion.

Trail of the Dead.... This Austin band had me finally thinking "Hey, now we're getting somewhere!", it was quite short lived as the intense and multi-layered primal rhythms were quickly supplanted by cheesy pop licks and they were transformed into a potential TRL contender...word from my chum “S” is they used to have some cajones and to stick with their earlier work for any CD additions.

Kasier Chiefs:
I had been told by several people this was a 'must see' band. But, as my morning was still in 2nd gear tried to not let the hype sell it. They rocked. And rolled. This is my new "Big Find of '05" and their disc 'Employment' is whisking to my doorstep from Amazon as I type! It's catchy and poppy and yet, dare I say it...? There's a little bit of Clash-essence in there?! Punky, with a rosy -cheeked smile? (I passed up Liz Phair and gladly so for this show, while I will always love Exile in Guyville and Supernova, her new stuff it just too mainstream for my tastebuds!)

Brian Jonestown Massacre:
This was also a highly-toted show from several friends with a highly-tuned sense of musicosity. It was another HUGE disappointment. While might be quite liberal, that does not make me a Happy Hippy Commune Friend; it's never a good sign when the extremely stoned singer starts the set off with a manifesto.....I quickly agreed to some random wandering to find cohorts than to stay and sway to more self-involved navel melodies!

Cake: I adore this band! Saw them back in October; they were amazing then and nothing short of that now. Great tunes, great lyrics, hilarious tongue-in-cheek pokes at our everyday culture; John McCrea makes fun of bucket car seats, cell-phones and traffic...having a band 'agenda' doesn't mean you have to be a stuffed shirt environmentalist!

ANKLE BREAK (My flat feet finally rose up to protest at this point, despite very comfort and arch-loving sandals. Up next was Billy Idol, who I had no desire to see; he was great once...WAS, and the idea of seeing him as a washed-up star was not appealing! So, Bosco and I checked out Blonde Redhead instead from a nearby hill...this is another band that definitely has my pique, but something to soak in and luxuriate to before rendering a final opinion.

Primus: 30ft Yellow Duckies! When I saw these go up, it might as well been the equivalent of a giant flare "Why yes, Primus IS playing this stage!" I'm not a typical Primus fan, but have always held "My Name is Mud" in great esteem...these guys are just a little chocolate wasabi instead of mayo; awesome fretless bass-lines with quirky humorous's as fun as a poodle in a prom dress!

Pixies: This was an extraordinary show, and was only slightly less lustrous for me, having seen them for the very first time this past November at the Aragon (super show, horrid sound). Thus, some of the surprise was gone, but I could actually hear the melody instead of it echoing endlessly in the cavernous once, then quite tiring! Kim once again gave an awe-inspiring performance of "Gigantic" which curled my toes...they also did "Here Comes Your Man" which was not at my earlier viewing. Here’s hoping they continue to get along enough to do another surface-shaking album!

Weezer: They were the last show of the day, and I had always wanted to see them despite having lost track of their sound since the Green album. My party of commrades had assembled and though the music was not anything exceptional it was a grand old time. In affront to my ankle complaint, I insisted on dancing and jiving…doing the monkey, frug and 'tater to the hits.
In the fade of the dimming stage lights and dissipating colored fog, we headed back North for bed. My ankle was in such bad sorts, having swollen over my sandal, I had to use Bosco as a human crutch. Thankfully, the city had buses awaiting the crowds and it was a quick jaunt up Michigan Avenue to icebags, Advil and attempt a recovery before the next day’s lineup.

Sunday’s band reviews to follow tomorrow!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The First Day of Work

The lack of a substantial posts has been due to gainfully freelance employ for several days! (cut to Jen’s Mom selling her stock in Ramen Noodles)

It’s been nearly 2 years since I’ve been out in the wacky world of design freelance and that lapse is showing! My normal ballsy “show up late to meetings, ignore emails and cocksure ‘No Problem’” attitude from being coddled in the bosom of a longterm gig has flown. Instead, I find myself running to Borders on my lunch break to rummage through magazines on millwork and molding, so panicked that if I don't produce the most-awe inspiring and stimulating piece for the Association of Millwork Distributors, I will be shown the door. (oops, unintentional pun :*)

This has only served to highlight how truly insane my chosen profession is. When trying to explain to Bosco the reason for my near hysteria…

“WHAT if they don’t like my work, and thus me?” “WHAT if they hate RED…MY GOD, WHAT IF THEY HATE RED!”

…the best example I could use was his job in accounting:

“What if, at several hotels in the city 2+2=4. But then, at another bunch 2+2=7. AND at another handful of hotels they refused to do addition at all, citing “less is more”….you have no idea which sort you're dealing with until they look at your paper with all the figures worked out; if you’re wrong, you are shown the door.

He suggested I get a good night’s sleep.

Well, at least part of my unrest was resolved this morning. Everything I presented was accepted outright with no alterations and the ridiculously nice staff (3 people checked in on my hydration needs throughout the day!) thanked me for being the ultimate design fairy and magically producing an elegant solution to their very dry problem.

It remains to be seen how long this gig will last, in theory through next week. (fingers crossed they are happy with the next set of thumbnails tomorrow morning!) Quite strangely, I find myself secretly hoping for longer. Either I caught one hell of a “staff infection” from the last dreadful place or there might be a small case of “job twitterpation” at hand. ARGH! Maybe I’ll have to dig up a copy of “The Rules” to follow so I don’t go getting overly eager and shopping for office supplies or doodling my name on the office stationery with little hearts “Jen Nelson, Art Director” *swooning sigh*

Beam Him Up!

Rest in Peace James Doohan! (methinks an honorary Star Trek round might be in order for Quiz next week)

Aye it's been a good voyage, Captain
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And a Beer Back for the Little One.....

I found this while researching a Pub Quiz round for tonight in the US Army’s Dress Code Manual. I looked and looked for the page stating if you are pregnant, perhaps a bar is not the place you should be hanging out...especially not to engage in drinking. As there was none, just make sure your not wearing THEIR uniform when attempting that keg stand in your third trimester!

4–3. Occasions for wear
a. The maternity work uniform is worn on duty when prescribed by the commander. Females may wear the
maternity work BDUs off post unless prohibited by the commander. They may not wear the maternity work uniform for commercial travel, unless authorized by para 1–10c of this regulation. Soldiers may not wear the maternity work uniform in establishments that primarily sell alcohol. If the establishment sells alcohol and food, soldiers may not wear utility uniforms if their activities in the establishment center on drinking alcohol only.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Girl of the North Country

or so it seems! This handy little map of where you've been I found over at Bosco's Blog. Here's the link for make your own US/World map as well. I really need to get out of the Midwest!

And Ohio is STILL a red state! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Smoke 'Em if You got 'Em

It seems odd that after all this time online, I do not have a fark account. This hit home as I was perusing (ah, the life of the unemployed!) their site and hit upon this Photoshop challenge link they had entitled "If Marijuana advertisements were legal." This little gem immediately popped into my head and I was about to post it to revel in the glory of other image whiz geeks only to find out I did not possess a fark account and they refuse to let anyone post for 24 hours after they sign up. So, this one's just for my private audience (and it also nicely ties into the previous post)! Cheers!

Monday, July 04, 2005

You've just crossed over into the THE COLLEGIATE ZONE!

Talk about unlocking a door to a past dimension! I have been spending the evening working on rounds for Pub Quiz tomorrow (Tues) night, and WHAT do my wandering fingers run across on Wikipedia?

Mao: The Card Game

This rather bizarre little 3 deck card game was taught to myself and Logan's Dave under the green haze of Macalester's hallowed halls about 12 years ago. Our tutor in question was of East Coast decent and for all we knew he made the crazy thing up....liberal arts school + plentiful herb garden = profound thoughts every 3.2 seconds! But here, in cyber-print IS that very game! If you can rustle some adventurous souls and a bunch of cards, play a hand....and don't talk about the rules!

My Independence Day!

Hope everyone is having a happy 4th!

Today is my own sort of independence day, blogging to you from my Mac! Usually, I sit at this desk in waves of frustration as my PC eats a post or decides it doesn't "feel like working, check the Windows website for this asinine extension while I take a power-save." But, thanks to Bosco and a new network, I am now able to revel in my Mac fetish online as well!

Friday, July 01, 2005


It’s true, I have been rather amiss in posting and was intending on finally sitting down to write my MS Tour de Farms experience and link to the pictures I received yesterday. Being the magnanimous person I am, I sent the link to the team (well, okay I really just wanted everyone to see the infamous "Body Glide Moment"). Optimistically, I thought I could make it home from Bosco's this morning, post, link and "TA-DA!" Unfortunately, someone beat me to the velvet rope and spoiled my surprise!

Well, here are the pictures and I'll follow it up with my own little tale of the weekend!

It was a very hectic pre-tour day for your narrator as in addition to normal rider queries, "Should I pack the red bandana or the green one?" I had my Assistant Captain (or Ass-Cap as it were ;) duties to perform and one large orangutan of a freelance gig to finally kick to the curb.

Quitting my job proved to be more involved than I had anticipated; my 1pm departure quickly became 1:45pm. It was sweet, despite the management’s botching of my termination and mandate I tell NO ONE (as of this morning no official notice has been sent out!) my co-workers, upon hearing the sad news STILL dashed out somewhere to gather a card and a stunning bouquet of tulips. It's nice to be recognized for a job well done!

A quick dash home in 95° heat commenced, Tulips, Desk Accessories and Bosco (who I picked up at the bus stop) in tow. The next crisis was the acquisition of a proper pair of cycling gloves as mine had shredded themselves an early grave. A plea for a ride in the heat from El Capitano was denied, "You have 30min at least!" This was quickly eaten up, as a 2-mile roundtrip trek in blistering heat is not a journey of speed. Sure enough, El Capitano was 2 blocks from my apartment upon our return. Speed packing commenced; Water for Tulips, Food for Kitty and I managed everything except my last minute deep breath and check...this is something I always do, and it will become obvious later why!

Off to Aurora we sped, and by sped I mean crawled through the weekend traffic of Taste of Chicago, Pride '05 and who knows what else was churning in the city! We did get 3 urban carwashes on the way to the freeway, I was happy that the gunfire in those related neighborhoods was cooled as well (something unnerving about driving by a "This is a NON-shooting House" sign). It was soon after this that the earth-shattering news was discovered. I FORGOT MY BIB NUMBER! Sure enough, neglecting the last minute check had left my number languishing away, alone on my desk. A freak-out fest began, as well as some choice words between me and El Capitano; thankfully Bosco has an excellent sense of humor and settled back, virtual popcorn in hand to watch the show. Against my better judgment, it was decided to send team members A and T to get the errant numeral on their way out of town. We later found out, as I suspected, that a whole new number kit would have been issued to me at the ride. D'OH!

A peaceful evening commenced; unloading, reloading, getting those attractive yellow bracelets attached to was easy to overlook the atrocious dinner...WHAT IS it with the Friday night dinner? Last year's ride featured a closed kitchen and a whole lot of blonde jiggle flaunting NASCAR tickets. This year had food, it was late, or wrong, or extra...but it was food. I'm bringing takeout in a cooler next year!

Despite a pretty early alarm, (at 4:30) we still managed to be late and miss our team picture; tardiness seems to be a challenge for some of the team and the captains didn't bring cattle prods with this year.... I did grab one at the Fleet and Farm in Sycamore, so watch out next year!

The ride began with very little hullabaloo, and soon we had completed the first 10miles to the Kaneville rest stop. I actually thought "Hey, this is kinda easy...maybe I COULD do 100miles?" Silly me. We hit the next two rest stops in quick succession, pulling into Sandwich, IL around 10:30 for a SANDWICH of all things. The team also witnessed B getting it on with the Body Glide which proved for limitless quips at poor B's expense...hey, I never heard him bitch about being chaffed!

Leaving Sandwich, and my last happy memories for a while, we took off for Rollo. I attempted to keep pace with several of our faster riders, and quickly lost that campaign. In mere seconds, it seemed that the climes had suddenly morphed from just a little warm and humid to blast furnace levels...and I was the pig iron! This 16.6 mile stretch was the longest we were asked to trek without a rest stop; foolishly I had not checked my map and only had 1 water bottle on me. This ran out at mile 10. The delirium and nausea of heat exhaustion started to set in as I blindly sought an end to this self-induced agony. One reprehensible farmer was actually SELLING water...not that it would have helped me as there was no point to carry cash on the ride, a lot of nasty words in his direction for trying to profit off a charity ride! I pressed on with everything I had, following a trio of nurses from Evanston Hospital to keep my legs churning. It also seemed prudent to have witnesses when my body fell off the bike and rolled into one of the adjacent cornfields. Mere moments after I was about to pull over for a SAG, the familiar orange flag appeared over the horizon to wave us into the Rollo rest stop. I teetered in, more under gravity than my own power, threw my bike at El Capitano who had already arrived and announced "I'm going to go puke now!" This was a tad melodramatic in hindsight, as it only took 20min under the mist hose, a SnoCone, 4 bottles of water, 3 bottles of Gatorade, a PowerBar, a PowerGel, 5 wet bandannas full of ice and a cup full of Goldfish crackers to recover. Setting off once more, I picked the moderate pace of some of our team and forced myself to follow them. My need for speed had contributed toward my previous calamity and I WOULD NOT BE SAG'd! This modest speed continued until Elva, the last rest stop before the finish. Then, I went chasing rabbits. My fellow teammate DB was also craving some velocity and he provided an excellent Lepus Cyclistica for me to hunt all the way to DeKalb.

Camp was thankfully rockin' upon my arrival; all the tents were upright and the hops were on ice...I could only wistfully look though, mind said "BEER!" body said "WATER!". We showered and ate in the college cafeteria, which brought some folks back to their colligate days; my cafeteria was 5million times better and if this is what the rest of the undergrads were eating, I feel your pain! The anti-climactic nature of the evening continued as we all proceeded to pass out in our own little tents. It remained a peaceful campground until about 3am when a windstorm whipped through the prairie, thankfully we were spared the rain as most tents were lacking in tarps and rain shields. The whole team commented on the shaking of their tent walls and wailing of the gale force winds.... except Bosco, our beloved tent-setting-cabana-boy had slept through the whole thing!

A late start (WHAT IS it with the dilatory nature of this team?!) contributed to my succumbing to the 35mile option instead of the recommended 75mile course. While I am grateful to my team for talking my off that ledge, thus allowing me to complete the Tour under the power of my own wheels with no SAG's or injuries, I was melancholy at settling for an MS110 instead of MS150. Sulking, I followed the passive pace and had an easy and fairly enjoyable ride. Crossing the finish line seemed bittersweet as it was a far cry from my initial goal of 175miles, (wildly unrealistic) and didn't even muster 150miles (realistic, but I was unprepared). A low-key afternoon was spent getting my medal, meal and massage (mmmm, massage) and waiting for our 75-milers to get in. T and L arrived first and considerably later B and D roared up (considerably long enough to get sunburned shoulders, OUCH!) looking at them both covered in sweat and looking pretty threadbare did ease my mind about my lessened mileage, but only slightly. The team quickly dispersed and a placid ride back to the city lulled me to sleep.

Overall, it was a really wonderful opportunity and quite fun. I am already anxious to make it even better next year...complete with 150miles.
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