William Tell has stretched his bow till it won’t stretch no further

Weather:
End of the summer and even though this week has some hot days it’s starting to cool off. Prepare yourself for colors to change. Unpack your hoodies. Roll thru leaves.

It’s been a little while since the last post for a wide range of reasons that I’ll get into. This post will be a long one for certain so I appreciate your patience. If you’re on the train commuting turn off the podcast. If you’re at work stop clicking back and forth between your in-box and twitter. I tried to give this some thought so take a moment to read it. If you’re short on time just scroll through the photos.

Some things worth you’re time:

  • Bing’s Yeah Boardshop video – lot’s of quality POB footage. Bing did a great job filming it totally differently and giving the vid a specific unique look.
  • The Nagajuicers videos are definitely unique. Part horror, part glitch, put spider on glue. Their latest offering Blowie Bunny has Lil Pepto Man, Tim Johnson and of course, Steven Erst.
  • Deep Dish 2 – Chase Plaza champs. Another stellar offering from Deep Dish. Late loop nights. Lines. Love it.
  • This vid sums up why I love Film Por Vida so much. An instant network of friends around the world rolling around, shooting film and spreading the word with stamps. There was just a show in Japan. I wish I could have made it. I sent some prints so I guess I was there in spirit.
  • Not a video but an interview with the best dude, Anders Nilsen, with a couple of photos I shot. Did you know in addition to being a top shelf skateboarder he makes comic books?
  • Finally the long anticipated Dude Life video is done! That’s right we used to have a deck co-op! Dave really put this one on his shoulders, shooting it all and putting everything together. Pretty much all the homies from St Louis and Chicago have some tricks. There’s some great clips from when Ravenswood actually had transition! Always remember that in our hearts we are dudes who are into stuff!

  • That’s it as far as links and videos and what not. Now on to the main course. Here are the things that happened:

    Conservatory

    One of the main reasons for the long delay between posts has been film development.

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    Lately I’ll drop a roll and shoot half of another or use a different camera and then want to get all that developed before I post.

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    Right now I have 3 rolls at the lab and one in the Canonet that’s a few shots from being done.

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    If I waited for those it’d probably be 3 more weeks and by then I’d have a few more partial rolls and the cycle would continue.

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    Also there’s the ease of instagram/facebook/flickr.

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    I’ve probably posted a good amount of these pictures somewhere already.

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    Should I have waited and just posted them all here first?

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    Do people just want all their pics in one spot to make it easier? Does that make it more consumable or disposable?

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    Lately I’ve been trying a new technique with these posts too.

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    As you can see the pictures and words aren’t directly related (for example – picture of dan = here’s a picture of dan). It’s more like here’s some photos I took,

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    and art I made

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    and adventures I had

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    and art my friends made,

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    and tacos I ate

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    and people I saw

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    trips to the zoo and

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    museums and

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    interspersed is a connected piece of writing.

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    This one is about some big changes in my life. In general there’ve been a ton of changes over the past few years in my life.

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    A few really heavy losses.

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    Some great friends moving and some moving back.

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    Friends changing jobs and changing careers.

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    This was something I had been thinking about for awhile.

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    It was time to make a change.

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    Change can be good but it’s always a little scary.

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    Changes in money.

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    Even just changes in the your daily work and commute routine.

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    There’s some comfort in a known stability but in the world we live in now there’s nothing that’s a hundred percent certain or stable. Companies get sold and bought and outsourced and some times there’s nothing you can do about it.

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    For a long time when people asked me what I did my reply would be ‘computers.’

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    More specifically I did a bit of search engine optimization and marketing, re-marketing advertisement, analytic management and reporting, some website maintenance and content updates as well as a good amount of testing and shopping cart optimizing and maintenance.

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    I graduated from college with a fiction writing degree and the job kinda fell into my lap as something that was meant to be a temporary fit. I tried my best to contribute and learn and fill in where things needed to be filled and do stuff people didn’t want to do and eventually I worked up to a pretty enjoyable position.

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    The company I worked for was a fine company and as companies are it was filled with great people and people who were stubborn and excited people but the important thing is that it was a company in transition.

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    Transition can go either way. Let me stop and say the exact company I worked for doesn’t really matter. A friend’s wife got me in there and it wasn’t something I was really passionate about but it was a really good place to work. In the first few years I was there it merged/took over another company.

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    Then it was sold to investors. I don’t have a degree in business and I’m not the best person to explain EBITDA or margins or anything else so this is just what I observed as a non-MBA person.

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    When you promise investors that you’ll make x amount of money every year you have to make x amount of money every year. If not you are going to lose your job.

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    So to keep your job you’ll try and find a way to make that promised number of dollars. I guess the same thing would happen if you took out a loan.

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    This was a pretty important life lesson about creative control and values.

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    I’m eternally grateful for the time I had there and for everything that I learned and all the great people I worked with but I knew it was time to do something different and by different I mean totally different. In all honesty I’m done trying to figure out if the word “platinum” vs “premium” will get a consumer to spend more money. I just want to be part of something that puts out a great product and consumers enjoy that great product and that product stands on it’s own merit.

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    So for my new job I looked at a place that I’ve been trying to get into awhile but in the past it hadn’t worked out.

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    Now I’ll stop and say that for now and forever I don’t speak for the company, and my views are my own and all the other legal mumbojumbo and I’ll even go as far as not naming the new company because I think that’s what it might say that in the employee handbook but let me say that it’s the best brewery in the world. You may have another opinion or rank some other place higher and that’s perfectly fine. I don’t work at some other place.

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    If you know me it’s pretty obvious.

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    It’s always been my favorite.

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    I’ve been going there forever.

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    I even interviewed there a while back.

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    It’s in my neighborhood.

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    I’ve sold koozies there.

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    They even have my past two calendars up on the wall.

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    As of today I’ve been working there for a good stretch and so far it feels like a really good fit. The right company size, awesome people, just a generally good work environment.

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    When I switched some people didn’t understand going in a totally different direction and not all computer related. For friends and people close to me it wasn’t a surprise at all.

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    There was also a bit of luck. I had interviewed for another job and it went fantastically. When I left the interview I was told to get ready because it was a just a matter of paperwork.

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    Then I didn’t hear anything for a day. Then nothing for a week. So I wrote the proper ‘just checking in, still interested’ follow up.

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    It bounced immediately with a reply that the recipient had found a new job and moved elsewhere.

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    A few days later I received a standard application rejection letter telling me the job had been filled. This was a little bit of a bummer but I chalked it up as a good experience and in hindsight it was. To everyone out there looking for a new job who’s been out of the marketplace for any stretch of time I’d suggest doing a few interviews. They are weird things especially if you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself or selling yourself because that’s what interviews are. I’m sure if you ask pretty much any of my friends or former co-workers about me they’d give me solid recommendation but I have a hard time distilling that into small soundbites to use about myself. It got easier or at least I knew what to expect as I continued to interview.

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    An hour before my interview for my current job I got a call from the place that hadn’t hired me.

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    When I called them back a few days later I found out there was a number of unusual circumstances and I had actually gotten the job. By then it was too late. In the end it worked out for the best. I couldn’t be happier. It’s always hard to say when the right time is for a big life event like a job change and for some things there may not be a ‘right time’ and you just have to go for it and make it work and life continues to move forward.

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    As far as art goes I’ve been trying to get some stuff done but I’ve been a little slowed up with work and transitioning and family stuff. Time is hard to make more of.

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    I was absolutely delighted that someone bought my ‘You Are Beautiful’ piece.

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    Steven Erst had a fantastic show a few months back that made me want to go bigger.

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    Alex has been a great inspiration of someone getting it done.

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    He had the Carrie Seacrist show that I thought was his strongest work ever.

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    Last week he had an opening at Roots and Culture.

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    He’s on a roll.

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    The shows at the Culture Center and Charles Ray at the Art Institute were all really fantastic. See them before they’re gone.

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    As for me I’m a little more settled and caught up and working on some proposals and sending some mail. Always good to keep ideas brewing.

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    This year’s Farecard is going a little slower than the past 3.

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    Ryan moved to Portland.

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    Jackson moved to southern California although I hear that he’s back in town.

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    Tim was down for a month or so with a pretty awful swollen and bruised foot.

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    Nate broke his foot.

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    Morley was out of state.

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    I was stressing about the job change.

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    My hours changed and it took my body a little while to adjust. Being behind a computer maybe mentally draining but working on your feet for a full shift can really tire out your arms and legs.

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    My whole family was here for a visit.

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    I spent a good amount of time roasting peanuts.

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    Those are just general excuses and circumstances and the good news is I’m putting together a trailer and it should be done next month.

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    That’s all for the seriousness. I’m sure the next post will be back to skateboarding and art and food.

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    The final thing is a big thank you to the crew who came out for my annual birthday Estabrook trip. We skated, we went to the beer garden, we laughed a bunch. We also weren’t deterred by a forecast that called for showers all day. Those showers never materialized and the weather was perfect.

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    So I’m a little older but hopefully a whole lot wiser.

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    I’ve also got a slick new mustache!

    constant elevation

    Weather:
    This is our rainy season. Good thing it’s relatively short.

    Since you can’t skate because the world is wet here are a few things to get you hyped while you’re sitting on the couch: Chucky Berl’s Darlin’ and Billy Poore’s Speakeasy

    I’m sure you already follow KoolMoeLeo on instagram. If you don’t go follow him. Then read this TWS interview. Then go to Uprise and pick up Downtown Wigwam aka Vol III and enjoy his part.

    Kick in what you can for Yeah. Steve’s the best!

    Alex has a couple amazing shows coming up: New American Paintings: Midwest Edition opening May 16th in Elmhurst and a show with Kelly Lloyd opening at Carrie Secrist June 2nd.

    Some of my best work has been displayed at Chris Smith’s many galleries. For example this and this and this and of course this. I’m working on something for May 30th which is the last show at the Terraformer. Meet me down there. We can grab a pie at Pleasant House and some beers at Maria’s. Hopefully it won’t rain fire.

    It’s a little far off but heavy hitters Michael Sieben and Travis Millard at Rotofui July 17th.

    This just in! Lighting Bolt is loud and terrific!

    end of winter

    It has been a rough couple of years. A lot of heaviness and loss and anxiety when the phone rings unexpectedly.

    big sis

    I’m still working through a bunch of things and trying to figure everything out. There are also a number of other unexpected turmoils that keep intruding into my life lately but the main thing I’m trying to make a priority is making new memories and sharing experiences.

    sun on the tracks

    With that in mind and with summer on it’s way, here are a few suggestions to make this year a little better. These are all just suggestions and they may not be for you. Use your best judgement. If you have other ideas please give me a yell and let me know. As I get older it’s harder to motivate and get out (especially during the week) but every time I do it’s well worth it.

    all in service

    Go to the zoo! The Lincoln Park Zoo is probably my favorite place in Chicago and now they have snow monkeys and the snow monkeys are the bee’s knees! I’ve heard a lot of different opinions about zoos and every one is entitled to theirs but I’ve been going here my whole life, it’s the oldest free zoo in America and I love it. You can ride your bike there pretty easily. Down the street is Rickshaw Republic and they make something called Rendang that I occasional crave and dream about. It’s one of those dishes I wish I could make at home but it would take a lifetime of practice and they’ve got it perfected so I’ll just leave it to them. Actually I’ll probably try and make it in the crockpot sooner or later.

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    Go to the Cultural Center! I’ve been telling everyone I know to check out the Archibold Motley show. Now the The Graphic Art of Valmor Products show is there and The Evolution of House Music starts next week. Even if you don’t like art you can walk around and appreciate the building. Also everything is free. There’s a ton of other great museums and the Garfield Park Conservatory is an awesome day trip but the Cultural Center holds a special place in my heart. It’s my favorite.

    zack and nick clock tower ledges

    Go see a performance. Last year I saw a couple fantastic plays at the Steppenwolf. One about the Chicago heatwave and one about graffiti and a few other ones. I also saw the best dance thing I’ve ever seen at Hubbard Street. Normally I’m not a huge fan but after I saw this I wanted everyone else to see it. It was great. Tickets are usually a little pricey but if you get on the mailing list or look for it you can find them super cheap. If you don’t like live theater go see a movie at the Music Box. Sometimes they have an organ player.

    springtime sky

    Go see a live reading. Go to a poetry slam, a story slam, even live comedy, or improv. All those things are fine and fun and in abundance in our city. Some will be good. Some will be great. People telling honest sad stories always gets to me. I choke up a bit.

    fpv - pep

    Send more mail all the time.

    freshly bottled

    It’s CCBW so have a beer that’s made in your neighborhood or better yet one that’s brewed in your house! Sign up for a CSA if you cook at home. Pick the right size so it’s not a burden. Get to know your farmer. Eat more vegetables even if it’s just to balance out the steak tacos and BBQ.

    Tom, Stephen and Nick

    The most important thing to do is spend time with friends and family. Laugh, text each other nonsense, go on a few road trips, push around, debate, adventure, make this summer the best on yet.

    Frenchman

    A few weeks back we took a trip to New Orleans.

    R bar

    I had never been but Allison had visited a couple times and I had some friends who used to live there but that was all before Katrina.

    celebrate always

    All of my other knowledge came from documentaries and the show Treme.

    NOLA

    New Orleans is unlike any city I’ve ever been to.

    NOLA

    They have the French attitude towards alcohol consumption coupled with the American attitude towards all out indulgence.

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    Music is huge and every place you look. It’s also honored and respected.

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    I heard the best street musicians imaginable.

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    We were also there during French Quarter fest. It seemed like there were endless different stages playing any type of music you could think of with people cheering loudly and dancing with abandon.

    NOLA

    There was also lot’s of art being sold on the street. Paintings, prints, photos, I wish I could understand the economics of it. I guess it has to be viable or it wouldn’t be everywhere.

    NOLA

    The room we stayed in was connected to a bar. There was no lobby. Just grab a beer and get your key.

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    We toured cemeteries and big old houses. Saw the house Django Unchained was filmed in. Saw Archie Manning and John Goodman and Sandra Bullock’s houses. Learned about history and fortunes lost. Our guide was top shelf and filled with civic pride. Actually everyone was filled with New Orleans pride.

    NOLA

    Stopped by Humidity. The streets were pretty rough but I saw a lot of good weird cutty spots.

    NOLA

    Checked out the zoo. Not as good as ours but not too shabby. They’re doing a big renovation that looks promising.

    NOLA

    People always rave about the food and it was pretty great. Except Po Boys. Those are just ok. Those just seem like sub sandwiches.

    NOLA

    Of course I found some BBQ and some more BBQ.

    NOLA

    We also visited Cochon Butcher which seemed like the New Orleans version of PQM.

    NOLA

    Or maybe PQM is the Chicago version of Cochon. Or maybe they both opened independently at the same time. Of course I’m partial to PQM’s Gyro.

    NOLA

    The other thing that stuck out to me is that this is the south.

    NOLA

    Unfortunately no boiled peanuts.

    NOLA

    I was offered a chance to go on a Plantation Tour several times which made me uncomfortable.

    NOLA

    On the other hand tweakers and wingnuts seemed to be tolerated and encouraged.

    NOLA

    Crime seemed mostly reasonable and tourists seem to make up most or all of the economy.

    NOLA

    They have gigantic World War II museum.

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    We skipped that and went to the Ogden Museum instead.

    NOLA

    The Jim Roche exhibit was great!

    NOLA

    Usually when I go to a city I try and drink a ton of different local beers but there wasn’t a lot of options there. I think a big part of that is the humidity. It was already pretty muggy when we were there. A good pilsner in a tall can is my suggested pairing.

    NOLA

    Should you go? Of course! Go everywhere at least once and if you’re going to New Orleans go all in. See lots of music! Ride the very slow street car! See a cemetery. Walk down Bourbon Street on your way to another destination. Eat beignets.

    NOLA

    Do I have a return trip planned? Not anytime soon but at least I’ve had these moments. A random walk in the rain with headphones on and stray cats crossing my path. A street corner brass section playing the classics and passing the bucket. I threw my dollars in.

    thank you

    That’s it. That’s all I have for this fine installment. No Rod Serling twist. No bait and switch. I hope you enjoyed the applicable and disregarded the rest.

    thank you

    Thank you for taking the time to read. I mean that sincerely.