Category: Adventure time

National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago





Photo credits to Rachel Cali. 

I have not seen many art exhibitions, but this was unlike any I’ve ever seen. On their placards, rather than voicing statements about what their art represented, voicing academic intentions of eliciting specific reactions and thoughts from others, the veterans instead wrote of their gnawing impulsions to excise and unshackle for no one’s sake but their own.

Raw and visceral.

Knight Island, Prince William Sound, Alaska

Just returned from my Sierra Club Alaska trip.

10 people, two leaders, three rangers, 15 in all — the trip party was assembled from a unique cast of characters. Though I suppose everybody becomes unique after you spend 10 days with them.

Orcas, bug bites from four different generic lines of bugs, fresh-grilled salmon, fire lines, the largest eye-burning bonfires that I’ve ever seen in the flesh. Shitting in a tube. If you ever hear me euphemistically refer to a bathroom break in the future is a biobreak, this trip is the reason for that.

Now, another treasured, fallibly remembered sequence has been factored my internal fabric of existence.

The sight of a forest bear trail opening up to a series of connected lush muskegs overlooking a river, surrounded by two snowcapped mountains, trees bursting from cliffs. Sundews, budding blueberry plants, skunk cabbage, these smaller, round edible plants (cow-something?) distributed about. I hope I don’t forget that — in fact, I’m writing this in the hopes of crystallizing that image.

Then, there was Bob. Too ridiculous.

It would have been wise to bring a journal. An extended experience is too overwhelming to coherently recount in one fell swoop. And things are already starting to fade, feel like a dream, because Alaska is such a weird special place with its lighting, its lonely, transplanted, slightly crazy populace. The scenery fading more quickly than the muscle memories and tactile sensations of paddling in cold water, chucking four by fours, throwing rocks in place of using tools, sinking into mud, and balancing on sharp beach rocks. (Wetness, wetness, wetness, shivering in wet sleeping bags. Now, it’s hard to shake that feeling.)

So, if you run into me, ask me about Bob before I forget!

Good Weekend

Here’s how you known you’ve had a good weekend:

-See Jessica Chastain in a really good play (The Heiress). Actually, the play doesn’t matter. Seeing Jessica Chastain in the flesh is enough.

-Watch some trash talking and an almost fight occur between drunk Santas and dancing Hasidic Jews.

-Meet a living Dungeons & Dragons character — in this case, a bearded Brooklynite dwarf rogue who can lockpick and smith.

-Watch cute baby outsnore his father on airplane.

The Damen Silos

I met some people living at Damen.

One was named Gon. I’m spelling it like how it sounded. Tall, skinny, wiry guy with a mop full of dry hair that had not seen the blessings of shampoo in a while. His high-pitched, staccato voice fit his figure.

Another was named Emily — true to her gender, she had an immaculate room. There was one other guy — his name was Mickey. Chubby, hunched-over middle-aged guy with sticky hands that have not seen the light of soap in a while. You never want to cringe while shaking somebody’s hand, but there are those rare occasions where keeping a straight face can be tough.

Gon and Mickey were both somewhat…idiosyncratic in speech and mannerisms. Mickey moreso than Gon. Nice guy, but one of those folks you can never have a real conversation with. Talks to you, but never really addresses your responses.

Never had a chance to meet Emily.

Not sure what I think about people squatting, fixing up and modifying a place they don’t own — I’m a fan of abandoned buildings as museums. And once someone makes a location their home it then starts belonging to them — urbexers are no longer free to traverse the location. But to give the squatter gang credit, they did an impressive job fixing that place up.

Gon had a cell phone. He pulled it out to take a call from his mom. I’m pretty sure I raised an eyebrow in perplexion at the time. How did he own his cell phone? Did his mom know where he was?

There are many ways to live a life.

There was some impressive graffiti. One particular empty warehouse has essentially become a gallery.
Free — my favorite cost of admission.

Apologies for the blurry pictures. My camera phone sucks (I am one of the few people in the world that does not own a Canon DSLR). And also, I took these pictures with an unsteady, surreptitious hand. I felt somewhat uncomfortable blatantly taking pictures without permission.