Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

I knew it was coming, but I hate that it had to happen. Studs Terkel died.

Friday, October 31st, 2008

STUDS TERKEL: Studs Terkel dead — chicagotribune.com:

The author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago symbol has died. “My epitaph? My epitaph will be ‘Curiosity did not kill this cat,’” he once said.

I stood in line behind Studs Terkel at Treasure Island once when I was in college. I was looking at him pretty intently, I guess, trying to determine if it was him, and he noticed me and smiled and said “It’s me.” I don’t know how often he had college students recognizing him, but he seemed perfectly at ease with it all.

I always had great fondness and respect for him, and for his love of storytelling. He’s a hero to me, and he will be missed.

Nashville just got a little more perfect

Friday, August 1st, 2008

I don’t know how I missed the news that my favorite local cafe and patisserie, Provence, is now partnering with Intelligentsia Coffee. From Chicago. It’s my favorite coffee EV-AR.

I detect the need to modify my daily commute so that I head downtown before leaving the city on my way to the exurbs each morning: I’m going to need to stop by the Provence at the main library.

Now if only that location would open on Sundays, I’d be a very happy girl.

Good, Bad, Ugly: weekend recap edition

Monday, August 13th, 2007

The ugly: we spent the entire weekend obsessing over fleas. In 8.67 years of living with multiple cats, they have never had fleas. Admittedly, our cats have been outside (on leashes) more lately than ever but I also think the flea population must be larger this year, probably due to the heat.

Anyway, we’d “treated” the cats with some over-the-counter Hartz crap a few weeks ago, but it obviously didn’t do a thing. Meanwhile, the problem was getting worse. I’ve been busy with work so I couldn’t do much about it myself and had been trying to be patient since I knew Karsten was already dealing with the rat problem in our back yard and I didn’t want to overwhelm him. Besides, he seemed confident that the Hartz stuff would work and that the fleas were minimal anyway. On the contrary, it seemed to me that if you spot one, you can assume there are dozens/hundreds/howeverthehellmany you can’t see. I regularly noticed fleas on the cats, so I printed out web pages with tips on killing fleas and left them on his keyboard. I suggested he just call an exterminator and get it over with but when he did, he only asked about the rats. He just didn’t seem to feel as much urgency as I did about having to coexist with the fleas. It was all starting to freak me out a little. Last week, when I stood in the cat room and could see the fleas jumping around, I had a major meltdown. Karsten felt bad for not realizing how upset I’d been getting about it, but I assured him that everything would be fine it we could just rid the house of fleas. So he picked up the Advantage flea treatment from the vet on Friday and we started treating the cats first thing Saturday morning.

Each cat had to be isolated so they wouldn’t lick the stuff off of each other, which meant that we could only treat three cats at a time: two of them were stuck in cages while a third got to be loose, but stuck inside a closed-off room. Meanwhile, we vacuumed the house, sprinkled boric acid powder on all the carpets and fabric surfaces and used a broom to push it down into the fibers, and washed the curtains and bedclothes in the hottest water and dried them in the hottest drier they could withstand.

By mid-day Saturday, there were dead and dying fleas all over the house. So I went around and vacuumed everything again yesterday, but they’re still dropping off. It’s gross, but it means the treatment is working, so I’ll take it.

The bad: it was miserably hot outside. I mean it. Hot. It was 104 yesterday. It makes me feel like I’m melting. And since we wanted to escape the house once we got through each day’s flea treatment, we were limited in our options.

Though actually, that didn’t go too badly: we ended up going to see a movie (”Becoming Jane”; it was OK), eating out for every meal (all the food was great), thrift shopping (I found some cute stuff), and hanging out with some Sam and Alyssa Cornett, two songwriting friends who were visiting from Chicago (which was fun).

So I guess the bad was really just that every time we stepped outside, we felt like we were about to melt into flesh puddles.

The good: even in my jangled state of mind, I wrote a few songs. Hanging around songwriters last night got me all fired up. When we got home, I dashed off two songs in fifteen minutes along with a few other ideas I’ll come back to eventually. One of the reasons I was so inspired was that, although the songs our friends were playing last night were written well and were enjoyable, they were so consistently about relationships ending badly that I felt double-dog-dared to write a heartfelt song that wasn’t about that. So I did.

Vinny’s

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

Months ago, a songwriter named Kirsti Manna (whom country fans may know as the writer of the Blake Shelton hit “Austin” as in “…P.S. if this is Austin / I still love you”), when Karsten asked her if she could recommend good pizza in Nashville, preferably Chicago-style pizza, recommended Vinny’s Pizza in Hermitage. Karsten has been begging to go there ever since.

So finally, tonight, we went. 28 minutes there, 28 minutes back. And for what? For cracker pizza. I kid you not. Wafer-thin crust, extra-crispy at the edges and soggy in the middle, with barely any sauce or cheese on it. The veggies were nice, but I could’ve been happy with grilled veggies sans cracker crust, thanks.

After this experience and many others like it in the past year and a half, I can only conclude that Nashvillians don’t understand pizza.

Which is sad, really. I love Nashville for many reasons; I plan to be happy here for a long time. But I must now plan to rely on homemade pizza and trips to Chicago for any chance at decent pizza from a restaurant.

[Incidentally, the one perk that driving to Bumblefuck and back affords is this: during such a long trip, you might get to hear nightfly's voice on the radio, as I did. Which is cool. (I think it was that Opry Mills "shut up and drive" spot again, but I only caught the tail end of it so I'm not sure.) ]

I’m back at home now, sipping hot cocoa, feeling full but disappointed. Oh well. They can’t all be Gino’s East.

Out & About: With songwriters from Chicago

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004

K&K have lunch with Bob Osgood and Sam Cornett, two songwriters visiting from Chicago.

We met them at a meeting of the Chicago chapter of NSAI before we moved to Nashville. These guys are the greatest. We have every confidence that they have big things in store for them.

Chicago songwriters on the loose in Nashville!

Thursday, April 22nd, 2004

I had such a blast Tuesday night. Some songwriting friends from Chicago were in town, and we went to see a round at Caffeine that included Marc Alan Barnette, who always puts on a lively show with songs like “There’s Too Much Blood In My Alcohol Level.” After the show, our friends were chatting with Marc Alan, and he invited us all to join him next door at Tin Roof for a beer.

I’ve met Marc Alan several times, but had not hung out with him — he’s a total nut, and had us all in stitches. He knew everybody in the bar, it seemed, and he introduced us to several hit writers who happened to walk by, including Don Rollins, who co-wrote “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

One of Marc Alan’s friends who hung out with us was Brian Haner, a phenomenal guitarist from L.A. who used to play in Frank Zappa’s band and has done session work for the likes of Paul Simon. He was a great conversationalist — I hope to hang out with him again next time he’s in town.

I picked the right year to leave Chicago, apparently

Friday, January 2nd, 2004

Chicago regains the title of America’s murder capital, despite a sharp drop in homicides, police say.