Reminder.

So last night we went to the movies to see “Downton Abbey”. I’ve been excited to see this movie since it was announced; I’ve missed watching the show and escaping to Downton on a weekly basis.

I shan’t spoil the plot here but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed the film, I could easily watch it again, and I find the presentation to be absolutely beautiful. It was a comfortable escape. It was a beautiful gift to the fans.

As the final credits rolled I realized I was feeling glum about the experience. It had nothing to do with the movie, as I said, it was a gorgeous cinematic event for me. I was realizing I had last seen the Crawleys et. al in 2015 and I was contrasting where my head was then versus where it is today. Though this has nothing to do with the movie, I realized the U.S. political climate has put me in a clouded funk since the 2016 election. I’ve actually known this but watching entertainment I dearly loved before American society lost its mind completely and contrasting the same escape during these dark times (The Age of Chaos and Insanity) forced me to take stock of the effects this insanity has had on me.

Shame on me for allowing the Trump administration and all its stupidity and stupid supporters to affect my mood at this magnitude.

I’m ready to go back to the movies and again to watch Downton Abbey to drink in its magnificence and to allow my head to escape to better times.

Perhaps I will find hope.

Never Can Say Goodbye.

One of my very favorite tracks to spin as a club DJ is “Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Communards. I would usually put it toward the end of the night and it would almost always fill the dance floor, in fact, it’s one of the very first songs I ever played as a club DJ. Jimmy Somerville’s soaring falsetto vocals are fun and when married with the impressive orchestration, the collaboration makes for (in my opinion) a superior version of a song that was previously recorded by Gloria Gaynor and The Jacksons.

As I watched this video today, I couldn’t help but feel like the old guy in the room in that the folks dancing and having a great time to this song are smiling, the tempo is upbeat, and the mood of the track is jovial. Going to a club today there’s a lot of down-tempo angry-sound lyrics, darkness, and way too much auto-tune. In the 80s we had fairies, today we have zombies.

Both Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles were out gay men back in the mid-late 1980s while they were collaborating for The Communards. This is before being out was a mainstream thing and parents were throwing coming out parties for their junior high school aged children.

Wow, I do sound like the old guy in the room.

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this track as much as I do. Full confession: Richard Coles is probably one of the first guys I ever had crush on and even watching the video today I have to admit I find him wicked cute.

I do like the nerdy type from time to time.

 

Hiawatha, Iowa.

I’m in Hiawatha, Iowa tonight and tomorrow night for work. I’ve been here before but it’s been a couple of years; this was the first time driving here for work since moving to Chicago. The drive was pleasant.

I enjoy work trips and getting to meet with fellow team members face to face. A night in the hotel room can be a little boring, especially when the Internet connection won’t allow me to VPN into the office, but I have enough bandwidth to waste time writing blog entries and watching the various versions of “The Bob Newhart Show” theme song. I enjoy trying to figure out where Bob is walking through Chicago back in the day.

Telecommuting is wonderful, even working with team members over video conferencing is great, but nothing replaces face to face time.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s day at the office.

Videos.

I’m watching old private pilot videos from the 60s and 70s on YouTube. I need to go flying. Very soon.

Screams.

After taking our weekend visitors Jeff and Mark to O’Hare for their flight back to Raleigh-Durham, I decided to take some time to go on one of my little urban adventures in the city. I decided to head out to the western neighborhoods, and I began my journey on the Red Line so I could transfer to the Blue Line and head out to the Northwest. That’s how the Loop-oriented CTA lines work in Chicago.

As I made my transfer from the Red Line to the Blue Line at Lake, I followed the trail of folks with luggage looking to make the transfer so they could head to O’Hare. In the CTA stations there are plenty of posters and other reminders to “walk left, stand right” on the escalators, and during the week daily commuters do an excellent job at observing this rule. It’s rare to see someone clog up the escalator.

On the weekend it’s a completely different story.

A young woman was standing next to her luggage on the escalator, staring at her phone, clogging up the folks trying to pass on the left. Just as I was perfecting my glare (along with others), the escalator came to a abrupt halt.

Not a big deal. For the uniformed, when an escalator comes to a stop, it simply becomes a staircase. The escalator stops, so you walk up the stairs and you easily reach your destination. It’s not a difficult concept.

Except below me on the escalator some woman started screaming as if the station had been plunged into darkness, a portal to Hades had opened, and the compartment was being filled with some sort of noxious gas. (I promise I wasn’t “crop dusting” the escalator on my way up).

Bewildered by this screaming, other patrons on the now stopped escalator took this as some sort of wailing cue and started hustling up the escalator rapidly.

I believe my response to all of this was, “Settle down, Loretta”. I then proceeded up the escalator in a calm fashion, threading my way around the woman blocking the path because she hadn’t figured out what was happening yet, and I made my way to the Blue Line.

People need to calm down.

Design.

Our friends Jeff and Mark from North Carolina were in town for a visit over the weekend. While Earl worked the Cubs game, we took the opportunity to drive out to Oak Park to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio. He left the complex in 1909.

I’ve always been a fan of Wright’s architecture and I wasn’t disappointed with the visit to the Home and Studio in Oak Park. While this particular group of buildings was not in his well known “Prairie Style”, the design of his home and studio were definitely his work. Moving from room to room, one is “compressed” into a small space along the hallway and then “decompressed” for a grand entrance into the next room. His office was three stacked octagons, and the work studio has chain used to suspend the roof and ceiling out in plain view, instead of hidden in walls like you’d find elsewhere.

The Preservation Trust has done a magnificent job in bringing the site back to its 1909 glory. When the Trust took over the property in 1976 it had been an apartment building and a dormitory, among other things. One stairwell is still in its 1976 condition and it’s evidence of what good willed people can do when they put their mind to it.

I’ve never understood this American trend of ripping down beautiful downtown areas in the interest of “Urban Renewal”, and I will never understand how someone can take a gorgeous, historic, and obviously unique building and carve it up into a bunch of apartments.

The visit was a pleasant one; I look forward to taking Earl out there to experience it as well before the snow flies.

Attempt.

I’m sitting on our balcony enjoying a glass of wine and recovering from watching much of the latest Democratic debate. This time it was hosted by ABC and then packed 3500 people into an arena to cheer and yell and get that whole “make it a sport” vibe going. If you liked candidate one the best, call 1-866-HELPUS1 from your Cingular Wireless phone. Winners to be announced next week after a concert by Dave Matthews with Hootie and the Blowfish.

I’m typing a blog entry using the virtual keyboard on my iPad Pro. Apple was quick to show off a miniature keyboard on the iPad Pro during their event on Monday, but even with iPadOS on this device I can’t figure out what gesture shrinks the keyboard. I’m still mixing up undo and redo as well and I haven’t mastered “cut and paste” with the grab and drop gesture. Perhaps I need to be facing east or something.

There are thunderstorms moving into area and even though it’s mid September it feels as stifling hot as a hot summer night in July. This weekends suppose to calm down a little bit unless someone grabs a Sharpie and changes the weather.

I’ve been pondering spirituality a little bit over past couple of days, and how spiritual beliefs can enhance one’s life instead of dictating it. I haven’t quite figured this out in my head, but I’m being a geek about it and trying to marry my love of science and reason with a spirituality around energy and love. I do not think these concepts run in opposition of one another and I do believe certain spiritual beliefs can be intertwined into one’s life intelligently. Perhaps I was moved by last night’s viewing of the fan film from the Star Trek Universe called “The Holy Core’. I also had an amazing conversation with a monk a couple weeks ago, perhaps the effects from that are still weighing on my mind.

The Holy Core.

Today I discovered a new Star Trek fan film; this one takes place in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” timeframe. CBS Paramount has chosen to limit fan films to a specific length and set of guidelines, so the fact these folks were able to tell a cohesive story in such restrictive standards is quite impressive.

The visuals were very well done, the story made sense and flowed well, and the acting was better than expected. If you feel so inclined, please take 30 minutes to watch “The Holy Core“.

Hooked.

So ten days or so ago I proclaimed I was done with Twitter and had deactivated my account. Here’s where Twitter hooks you in; if you deactivate your account you have 30 days to reactivate your account. And that’s what I did.

However, I have not installed the app on my iPhone and I’ve opted to go with Tweetbot on my iPad Pro.

Here’s the thing. Cutting myself off from Twitter completely made me realize how many things I monitor through the service: CTA Train alerts, the National Weather Service (as long as it’s not compromised by the Trump Administration), and most importantly, the aviation adventures of pilot friends I’ve made over the years. In addition, I’ve been on Twitter since its early days and I have a good number of people I’ve met via the service over the years and unfortunately I don’t have any other way to get a hold of them.

Twitter has me hooked.

I’m still culling my followers list to make sure I’m not getting depressed the service and I’m not following it on the phone, so I think I can keep the chaos at bay.

I wish myself luck.

Truth.

If you’re gonna bathe in the muck, it’s a lot easier to avoid idiotic memes on Twitter than it is Facebook. Also, it’s better to endure stupidity from a stranger instead of your blood(y) relatives.