Last year we had the polar vortex but this year feels worse somehow. I spent one glorious day outside in Houston before starting a work gig and people were outside having picnics and genuinely looked not miserable like us northerners.
Chicago has been dreary all December—we received something like under 30 total minutes of sunshine during the first three weeks. I need sunshine! To make matters worse, I was blessed with great work this month… in Minnesota. Three trips to Minnesota in December with my days home in-between dreary and cold was not the way I wanted to start this long Chicago winter after last year’s horrible and long Chicago winter.
There was a time once when I would drive into the city for live music every weekend. I followed bands, religiously read the liner notes to find even more obscure bands to fall for, and hung out after the show to get the set list and the band’s autograph. Sloan is one of those personable bands that always hangs outside after a show to talk to fans—at least they used to. I’m not sure anymore because halfway a set my back is hurting from standing in place and I’m wondering if they will finally play my favorite song. I’m definately not standing outside in the cold to see if Chris remembers me from the Twice Removed tour.
Before I left on my first RTW trip in 2004, I was really into music. When I came back a lot of bands I followed had split up, weren’t touring, or were now so popular that I no longer wanted to see them live. Every once in a while it bothers me that I’ve given up what was once such a huge part of my life.
Still, what can you count on staying around for ten years? Sloan. I can count on Sloan.
Why does the best season in Chicago have to be so short?
It’s snowing again.
Everyone I’ve spoken to in Chicago agrees—this has been the worst winter in memory. It’s been bitterly cold and snowy. It’s almost March and I’ve only ridden my bike twice whereas last year I proudly rode all winter. Luckily I have a few business trips on the horizon that will get me away from these depressing temperatures.
In my travel roundup of 2012 I was hoping to travel a bit more internationally this year. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It’s funny too, as I finally broke down and was approved for the Global Entry program. A big bonus of the program is qualifying for the TSA Pre-Check line when flying participating airlines.
I stuck with mainly United again this year—once you get status on an airline business travel becomes so much more enjoyable. Last year I made status based on miles (Australia put me over the edge), but this year I made it on segments (New Jersey and Detroit aren’t far, but each flight counts as a segment). Whereas I had two trips booked last year at this time, it’s looking like a Chicago January for me in 2014.
January: Brooklyn, New Jersey, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York
My first time in Brooklyn, and a view of the unfinished World Trade Center
Another first—Atlanta—where I rode the metro and visited the aquarium
After working in New Jersey I stay in Manhattan for a few days
There’s never much to show when working outside of Detroit so here’s a shot of my winter biking adventures
The short flight to Detroit does provide for great views of Chicago
March: New Jersey, Minnesota
Odd weather left the view of Manhattan fro Jersey City radically different day-to-day
Flying in early allows me to meet up with New York friends and draw at the FIT museum
Minnesota is still awfully cold in March, the bike up to Chicago’s annual Traveler’s Century Club meeting was much more pleasant
An entire month at home!
With May came weather good enough for long bike rides, helping out with the local Kidical Mass ride, and outlandish Mexican wrestling matches
I worked in the hotel inside Pittsburgh’s airport for days, but managed to get out and take a bus to the Warhol Museum before flying home
June: New Jersey, Minnesota
Every once in a while I’m upgraded to First Class
David was in town from Canada, so we managed a Sox game and a concert in Millennium Park
July: New Jersey, New York, New Jersey, Brooklyn
The Turrell exhibit at The Guggenheim was excellent, although incredibly crowded
This trip was a big museum stop for me—both The Guggenheim for Turrell, and The Met for the Punk Fashion exhibit
I saw Belle and Sebastian and Bjork in a rain storm at Pitchfork Music festival but managed to get hit by a car biking home
Working in New Jersey 8 times this year, I finally bought myself a MoMA membership. This visit I stayed a few days at the end to visit with a friend in Brooklyn
A friend and I took our bikes out to the suburbs to bike the beautiful Fox River Trail
Detroit again—this place and I don’t get along
Summertime in Chicago is grand—free concerts, block parties and garage sales
View of the city on a bike ride past the Planetarium
The annual seersucker bike ride to Jackson Park
September: Detroit, Denver
Sooner or later I knew I’d end up in a Detroit ER…
On the bright side, after the ER I headed to visit my sister in Denver for the Tour de Fat
October: New Hampshire, New Jersey, Austin
Chicago’s beautiful lakefront
New Hampshire was another first for me this year
I visited both MoMA and PS1 on this New York visit
My first time in Austin was nice, but wasn’t the amazing place everyone had talked up
The Guy Fawkes tweed ride is the best ride of the year, but the ride home from Bridgeport is brutal
Once in the hotel I didn’t leave, and I managed to kill my computer. Maybe South Beach next time around?
A snowstorm kept me delayed in dreary Detroit an extra day and a half
Today was a beautiful fall day in Chicago. It was cold but not yet so cold that you don’t want to leave the house. Since I’ve been traveling so much I haven’t had a chance to make it up to the forest preserves North of Chicago since the beginning of Spring. I love fall, but just wish it wasn’t followed by winter.
Growing up near Chicago has trained me for winter and I’m used to much more snow than we’ve been getting in recent years. What is it about this year’s winter that has everyone I know pleading for it to end? Despite the lack of snow it seems we’re well below average temperature for March. I don’t mind the cold, but I miss the sun.