(this is annie)

Last night at Reckless, I ran into my new friend Chad, who just moved here from Louisiana. His quick wit and general hilarity had me close to tears the other evening, and he was full of the funny yesterday, too. Chad has dozens of wonderfully oddball stories of the South, and he delivers them with lots of flourish and detail. I knew that Chad had conducted a few interviews with musicians recently, so we started talking about the awkward aspects of interviewing people. I mentioned how much I dislike hearing my voice while transcribing, and Chad replied, "Oh honey, I know. I swear to god, I get so embarrassed. I probably sound like a gay cowboy!"

Miles is allowing me to borrow a guitar so that I can figure out if musicianship is the right thing for me. I'd always wanted to play a cool instrument (as opposed to the relatively dorky violin which dominated my adolescence), but I made up excuses to avoid picking up the drums (nowhere to practice) or the bass (female bass player is a rock cliche) or the guitar (the necks are too big). Then I turned 26, and realized that if I didn't start now, I'd soon be too grizzled to be in a proper rock and roll band. And dear Miles, along with my father's gift of the how-to book Total Guitar, stepped in.

The first night of playing was fun. I made an E-major chord, an A-major chord, and a D-major chord. I was quite pleased with my accomplishment. I actually thought to myself, "This is how Hendrix started. This is how it all begins!" The following day, my fingers were tender, but I kept at it. For a week, I practiced every night for at least an hour. I told Miles that I'd be good by the end of the summer so that we could start our emo hardcore band in the fall.

My enthusiasm was unstoppable until I tried making barre chords. As it turns out, the guitar's neck is too big for my fingers to move beyond, say, the fourth fret. So it's time to buy a guitar. I like the lady-sized looks of these guitars, but I'd feel really nerdy playing a guitar with a little O+ sign on it. It's like using Crest For Girls toothpaste or something. This weekend, I might sneak around Guitar Center to monkey around with a few different guitars. Any suggestions?


One of the things I miss about living in New York is the ease of grocery shopping. It was so easy to just pop into a little fruit and vegetable store and pick up materials for a fresh dinner. In Chicago, however, the supermarket reigns supreme. Sure, there are corner delis in my neighborhood, but the produce isn't always fresh, and the closest one to my house smells like braunschweiger.

This is why I usually shop at either the independent grocery near my workplace, the Jewel at Ashland and Milwaukee, or the Cub Foods on Elston. Word on the street is that Jewel is the place to go if you want to pick up a hipster date along with your food; personally, when I think "grocery" I'm thinking about snacky goodness and nothing else—but if you're interested in making a love connection in the freezer aisle, Cub Foods is a better option. Why Cub Foods and not Jewel? Some ideas:

1. Geographic location near Target and between Logan Square and Wicker Park neighborhoods provides easy shopping; Jewel is part of a strip mall with awkward parking and a depressing K-mart. The choice is easy.

2. Despite its close proximity to indie-rock neighborhoods, the Ashland Jewel is often scummy; Cub Foods is generally clean and almost too brightly lit.

3. Cub Foods does not make its shoppers use "preferred cards" to get savings, which is bound to draw sexy politicos who don't want to give up their private information just to get a two-fer on Steak-Umms.

4. Jewel usually has two, tree (that's how they say it in Chicago) lanes open, tops. That has nothing to do with supermarket lovin', but it has everything to do with driving me up the wall.

Ugh, sorry, this is boring. See! See what happens when I force myself to write something every day?

oh al...

Four years ago, Al Gore was running for office. Early on in the race, I was confident that he'd win the election. I mean, how could he not? Well, he did win the election, but as we all know, he's not the man in the Whizzle Hizzle. Yeah, I'm still upset about it, okay? You should be, too.

Anyway, today, Al gave a speech and that's the reason I can't wait to go home and turn on the C-Span. Even in written form, it's an ass-kicker. And I have a feeling that when the video airs, my mild crush on the former veep is going to intensify. Let's face it, liberals are foxy. Giving a shit is foxy.

I'm writing this from the Ritz interweb cafe. The Ritz is this European-themed coffeehouse with free wi-fi, which is its draw. It's really not that ritzy. The Ritz's other big draw is that it's usually empty, so it's a good place to get work done. Not so tonight. I walked in, and there were about 15 people chattering. "Uh-oh," I thought. "Bible study!" Then I looked at the expensive shoes and Marc Jacobs blazers and realized that this was another kind of meeting. Dunno why, but I guessed it was the staff of a newish Chicago zine. And I was right!

So I'm perched on a high stool, tapping away at the keyboard but also wondering if I should out myself as an editor of another Chicago zine. What is the proper etiquette? Do I say, "Oh hi! I do stuff with Venus!" or do I stay quiet? In general, I like to keep to myself. But if I were meeting about a zine, and a fellow ziney person were hanging out silently, I would probably like to know. OH THE PRESSURE!

a little story

My armpits have a little five o'clock shadow right now, okay? That's why I put a jean jacket on over my pink shift dress this morning. All was fine until the apres-work soiree, in which I was standing near the big cheeses. I started getting nervous, wondering if maybe I should pipe up and try to impress them. I decided against it, because I couldn't stop thinking, "The head honcho and I have the same Dr. Scholls sandals, except mine are not stamped with the Louis Vuitton logo." And what if I'd gone to say something serious, and instead I blurted out the Scholls/Vuitton thing?

So I started to sweat a little. Just a little. To be fair, it was rather warm in the room. I should also mention that a mariachi band that was playing about ten feet away. Don't ask. I pretended to need to use the WC, which was a deft way to excuse myself before shoe talk got me fired.

I returned to my office area, where I ran into one of the other vegetarians on staff. "Oh, hey, I went out to this really nice vegetarian restaurant last night," I said to Fellow Vegetarian Fellow. "If you are ever up for a fancy vegetarian meal, that is a place that you should try."

Well, somehow I think I have perhaps stepped into ambiguous territory, because now I think he might think that I was trying to get him to go on a vegetarian date with me. So I started to sweat more. Then, oh god, to change the subject and make me seem like less of a Clarence Thomas, I started babbling about how Ted Leo is just the best guy ever and how his music is amazing, and hey do you know who Tegan and Sara are, because I am going to interview them and maybe I will fly to Montreal to do it because, you know, they are Canadian and Montreal is nice, and have I ever told you the story about chihuahua cheese?

And so that's why my armpits currently could double as a prime nature reserve for endangered species who so desperately need a rainforest-like environment. Later tonight, I am going to Amy and Megan's apartment to have my tarot cards read. Please please please let the cards say that the future holds less schvitzing.

how to get awesome

There's no way to say this without sounding "scene," but my friend Jesse runs a record label. Sometimes, he and his bidness partner James let me help out with mailings and what-have-you. They don't seem to like this aspect of their jobs very much, but there's something pleasantly mind-numbing about stamping and stuffing envelopes. So when there's time, I happily do the busy work. It's fun.

Last week, as a thank-you gift or whatever, Jesse gave me an advance CD of The Race's If You Can. It is now, as I declared to Mr. Coffee as we drove to Jewel the other night, the soundtrack to balmy summer evenings. The album alternates between being gently beautiful and quietly forceful; it's the sort of music that's good for daydreaming or wishing you were in love. The band website has two mp3s that are lovely, but you'll have to buy the record when it comes out in June if you want to hear the best track, "Safe and Sound."

And now, when I see the Race guys around town, I am going to be more shy than ever, because it would be really embarrassing if I yelped, "I REALLY LIKE THAT NEW COLLECTION OF SONGS THAT YOU HAVE PUT TOGETHER. ROCKA ROO!" on Western Avenue or whatever.

A confession: I have a long-distance crush on an 18-year-old young man. And I have acted on it.

Now, it's fairly cute for a 26-year-old woman to look at such a lad and think, "Aww. He would have broken my heart had he been around before the first grey hair sprouted." That's the sort of sentiment that makes people giggle and move on with the conversation. It's a different story, though, when a 26-year-old woman actively e-mails, telephones, and spends time with the teenager in question. People look at you funny. In all fairness, however, a dear friend has met the lad, and she thinks he is very sweet and very foxy. So I'm not a weirdo. Not that I'm defensive.

So far, my favorite exchange between me and Long-Distance Crush is as follows:

me: You know, Long-Distance crush, I kind of feel like Mrs. Robinson around you.

ldc: Who's Mrs. Robinson?

say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


© 2009 avt

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