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Lost Angeleno in Chicago

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December 20th, 2009

Jibaro Sandwich

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A local sandwich that is served with plantanos instead of bread.

There's a new joint up the street that serves them. They're cheap and good. Warm and almost hearty. Steak, tomato, lettuce and this garlic tangy spread held between a sliced plantain. Served warm.

Saw a drug deal on the walk home. Mildly and momentarily amusing.

Winter boots are changing my experience with slush and ice. For the better.

Somewhere along the way I seeped into a depression. Always fun. Attempting to rejoin the living from time to time without much sustaining success. Kinda thankful it's gonna be cold and dark soon.

We've sealed some windows. Still need to switch out my shorts and shirts to chords and sweaters. I do love the beginning of winter. The flesh of Riker's and Molly's paws are cold when they walk on me. I wonder if they might like some slippers.

Just finished my sandwich and now time to maybe go for walk in the slush while wearing my new winter boots.

October 5th, 2009

CSI: Crapola

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CSI is a slick looking show with hip music and fascinating use of color and images. For all intents and purposes (is that how it goes?), I should LOVE it. Them. "CSI" "CSI:Miami" "CSI:Whatever."

I don't like it. I don't buy it. The detective is ALWAYS finding glaring evidence that the pathologist missed. Like, "What does these three bodies have in common?" "Other, than they were all playing volleyball and died at the same time." "No, these." "What?" "These are burn marks on the bottoms of all their feet. They were electrocuted." "Oh, I hadn't got to he plantar area yet."

Really?

C'mon.

August 22nd, 2009

I thoroughly enjoy riding my bike. I'm no longer afraid of the main streets but I do prefer those with bike lanes. I'm totally aware of my surroundings and positioning in traffic and keep my eye out for drivers who aren't. My greatest fear is getting "doored," so I try to avoid heavy retail and shopping areas. Retail areas provide good people watching but neighborhood streets provide the best voyeuristic opportunities. Riding in a downpour (at night) is not as fun as I had imagined it could be. Chicago is pretty flat with a handful of bridges, slopes and inclines but nothing steep that would require more than three gears. Riding against a headwind makes me thankful that I have more gears even though I don't understand how they work. So far I've kept it on 2/5-7, I'm not sure how that equates but they seem the most comfortable. I want more pedal resistance at times. I bought the perfect hybrid for my reintroduction into cycling and am building an understanding why someone would want a lighter, cleaner, faster ride. I appreciate the simple lines of single speeds and think I may want to build one. Missed the opportunity to take the community shop classes on maintenance and stuff but hoping it's offered in the fall or winter.

I got caught in a storm yesterday. Riding against the wind, in traffic, at night, wearing glasses, soaking wet clothing and shoes. Normally 15 minute ride took 45 minutes. I was cold when I got home, took a warm shower, snuggled into a clean bed and knocked out for a good nights sleep.

Today has been a perfect day for riding; 70 degrees, breezy, low humidity.

July 28th, 2009

Chicago

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My love for Chicago continues. I'm not a big club goer anymore. I'm not sure how I feel about that because I really miss "clubs" - huge spaces with booming sound and lighting systems with hundreds of people dancing. I miss the enormous clubs of home. I miss losing myself in the desire to drown in bass and let go into the music. I've yet to lose control here. The handful of clubs I've been, pale in comparison in terms of sound, light and overall vibe.

However, there is a shitload of performance based stuff that outshine LA's small theater and underground performance spaces. All sorts of queer performance, tons of improv, plays, musicals, live music, fucking puppetry... so many options. EVERY NIGHT. Alot of it is $10 or less too. I've got no complaints with that.

There is a night that a friend DJs for queer and trans people. So far, it's the place I feel most comfortable, but it's in a bar so it's small, hot and people get sweaty. There are more people who don't wear deodorant here. That part is NOT good. I don't care if I lose my feminist card, but I'll cut you if try to snatch my Mitchum!

The "dirty hipster" style is interesting. Take the a piece each of 70s, 80s, and 90s fashion, throw on some dirty skinny jeans and present yourself really greasy/sweaty. Have a full beard - the bushier the better. You'll have a pretty good idea.

Summer is here. I can absolutely, without hesitation, say that it is my least favorite season. It's not the heat - it's actually rarely breaks 85. It's the humidity, which will make a 75 degree day feel like an 85 degree day. So far it's been mild and I've loved it. Have only turned the a/c unit on a couple of times but the last couple of days feel like we're in an armpit.

Another thing worth noting - BUGS. There are no bugs in fall, winter or spring. They come out in the summer. Flies, bees, big ants, flies, flies in our bathroom that someone said is from the septic tank. Septic tank? WTF? Poop flies?!? Weird bugs too.

Loving my bike and my butt is slowly hurting less. Thinking if I might be able to ride in winter? Maybe? Probably not, but maybe.

The End.

July 21st, 2009

(no subject)

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Jess hasn't been home in almost three weeks. It sucks. One week, no problem. Two weeks, I can do it. Three weeks? Seriously? Seriously. The last few days have been difficult.

My bike. I LOVE my bike. It's big. It feels big. I'm gaining confidence, but the front tire got caught in between a crack in the pavement. Thought I was going to crash and all I could think about was how hitting the pavement was gonna suck. I could almost taste the blood from the teeth I was going to lose. I didn't crash, the bike jarred and bounced so I just held on tighter and closed my knees and eyes. No problem, just a bit of an andrenaline rush.

I feel most comfortable riding at night because it's quiet and cool. I'll stick to the residential streets for a while longer. I do fine on the big streets until there's a traffic signal or I have to turn left. I don't like stopping and being on my tip toes.

I bought a lock, lights, and and orange helmet. I'm digging on orange the past few months. If I have to wear a helmet, this one isn't horrible.

My sit bones (henceforth referred to as my "crevice" pronounced CRE-VAS) are sore and bruised. I like jelly legs when I get home after riding.

L A R P D

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I've been considering hosting a dinner party. Not just any dinner party but a Live Action Role Play Dinner party. I'm not exactly sure what it is or how it would work, but I think it could be interesting. Very very interesting.

July 15th, 2009

Bike Pt III / Kawika / PDX

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I went on my first ride yesterday evening. Probably 45 minutes. Went to a neighborhood shop and had them fit the bike to me. Was told that my "crevice" (cre-vaas: that's what I'm calling the part of my butt that is sore) will stop aching in a few days. The dude said the bike is basically brand new and doesn't need any work until the end of the season unless I want to ride during the winter. Great!

Things I learned. It's going to take some confidence building before I'm ready to tackle the big streets or bustling neighborhoods. I absolutely need a helmet and lights - since I plan on doing a lot of evening riding. Most helmets are weird looking stacked aeronautical space biscuit lids but there are a couple of other decent options, for which I'll definitely have to wear a cap afterwards. I should be able to ride to the botanic gardens in a couple months, it's my end goal for this season- 45 mile round trip. Bells are dainty and ding-dingy. I wonder if there are any AAAAAAHOOOOOGAAAA horns. That'd be cool.

Going to see "Bruno" tonight. I told Kawika he could come only if he wore the blonde surfer boy wig that Raymond surprised him with over the weekend. He grew up on the beaches of Hawaii and So Cal longing to be (and fcuk) one of the white blonde boys - this is the ultimate hairpiece. He LOVES it! As with any wig, his personality changes but this one is all boy. He swings his head to one side to sweep the stiff bangs across his forehead. He's never had bangs or straight hair so it kinda looks like the valley-girl-hair-flip gone wrong. He wants to be recognized as a "character" in the city when he goest out. Wants to bring that part of LA club culture here, without having to don drag queen garb to do it. We're looking for huge dark rimmed glasses - ala Lew Wasserman, Charles Nelson Reily or any ridiculously wealthy man often in production wear. There's a fine line from Paul Lynde's charm and sarcasm to Charles Nelson Reily's goofiness, it'll be fun to see what he pulls off and for how long. It may be a one night wonder - but promises a pretty good night, nonetheless. If it's only at the karaoke bar, it'll would probably get overlooked by the other unintentional characters.

I may be joining Jess in Portland this weekend. I need a good (read: great and hearty) breakfast and sushi recommendations close to downtown. I plan to eat my weight in sushi and fish. Also, what's the velvet painting museum like? Is it cheesy in a bad way or the good way?

July 13th, 2009

Bike Part 2

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I bought a bike. Well, Jess bought me a bike as an early birthday gift. I'm NOT a cheap date, but had no problem giving up a brand new lower end bike for a slightly used higher end model. It's a big bike - 58cm - original owner was 6'2," he only rode it a handful of times last season. He broke up with his girlfriend (who sold me the bike) back in October and it's been taking up space in her garage ever since. I made sure to have her sign a copy of the Craigslist ad as receipt for cash.

It's a 2008 Specialized Globe Sport - sport city commuter. More bike than I need but has everything I wanted (and more). It fits and gives me a solid upright position with slight lean. It's super clean and rode like a dream. Shimano 24 gear trigger shift (although, I can't imagine using more than 7-8 gears), rigid fork, suspension seatpost, adjustable flat handlebar that can be lowered/raised and set back or forward a bit more. No quick release seat (yay!) but quick release wheels (yay, on the front but boo, on the back). It also has a rear rack.

I'm going to my first "workshop" session on Wednesday night. It's specifically for women and the trans community. Check it: http://westtownbikes.org/ I figure I'll feel comfortable there for the first night and can hopefully lower the saddle and adjust the handlebars a bit. Then I want to take the DIY bike maintenance course - one night a week for six weeks - sometime this summer or fall.

How am I supposed to keep my greased pomp under a helmet, it'll be smashed and sweaty? The only thing I can think is that I'm going to have to wear more hats or possibly get a buzz cut. I've never had a buzz cut - not much you can do with one, definitely NOT a pomp. Besides, Jess and Kawika will throw fits if I don't wear one. Helmets are right up there with seatbelts for me. I HATE THEM! Yes, I know all about the safety factor but still… they feel very confining and choke me.

All in all, a very nice bike for a reasonable price. I probably could've bought it for $50 less, she really wanted to get rid of it and had two no shows prior to me, but she was asking a reasonable price. Thanks for reminding me of that, Risa. Negotiating and closing deals with people as opposed to companies doesn't have to always be about the highest return or profit.

Hit me up with your favorite bike accessory websites. I NEED a helmet, lock and eventually a cover for the rain and winter since we don't have a garage or basement. I WANT lights, bottle cage, water bottle, and bell. I'll dream of a compuer and Brooks saddle, but they can wait until next year - hopefully, I won't get too bruised up in my nether regions over the next few weeks. Mostly the sore parts are my butt bones; the inner thigh/butt cheek area not the groin/crotch like I used to be when I rode off road.

I'm excited to ride this evening. Only residential streets for now, until I build confidence (seriously, the bike is big) and I get the dreaded helmet.
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July 8th, 2009

Calling All Bicyclists

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*** If your name is Jessica and you're my spooose, you don't need to read further. ***

After months of internet research, many visits to local bike shops and a few more craigslist options, I think I've narrowed down my search.

I want what is mostly referred to as a comfort hybrid. Ideally, 700c tires, riser bars, trigger shift, with a preference for rigid fork but suspension seatpost.

I'm being budget conscious but still want a bike that is a solid re-entry to bicycling.

If I buy new it's down to the Fuji Crosstown 3.0 (has suspension fork and 24 speeds) or the Raleigh Detour 4.5 (rigid with 8 speeds). It's so flat here, I'm not sure I'd need more the 8 speeds. They are the same price and after comparing components and price to the Treks, Specialized, Schwinn, Jamis, Giant, and Cannondale - these bikes fare a bit better. I think.

But now there's a Fuji Absolute DX on craigslist for half the cost of a new one. The thing is the Absolute is considered a performance hybrid, so it'll be lighter which is great, but has that flat handle bar, which is NOT good. Yet. Is it possible to put risers in or would that ruin the geometry of the bike and somehow fuck my back up?

I plan to take advantage of the local bike organization here and check out their classes on maintenance, it's a shop open to the public where space and and tools are provided for you to work/build your bike. I'd like to make a project out of it over the next year.

After not riding a bike for 18 years, I'm absolutely floored by the choices available. I'm also excited to experience a new way to see the city.
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June 28th, 2009

Perfect

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There are days, like today, when this city is alive. When the sun is shining and the breeze is perfect. When the buildings are magnificent and the people are friendly. When the parks are lush with so many flowers, birds and things to be discovered. After the tulips and lilacs have gone but others take their place - the purples and blues. When the fireflies arrive.

Today was a beautiful day. Just GLORIOUS! And I catch myself, still not believing that I live here. Like it's a dream and I take it in and sit with her, Chicago.

Say what you will about the frigid days of winter, but one day like today is worth a week of winter. Easy peasy.
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