Celebrating 26 and 25 and 24

Time for another post from the road, but unlike last time, this time from a muuuuuch lower elevation.  Our mountain portion of the trip is over now and I should be back to work on Project Auuurrrrnnnnooold very soon.  The Annual Halloween Cookout date is approaching fast and so much to do before then.  My ambitions of animated decorations may be in jeopardy but at least all the Posey’s (link here) will be able to make their debut!

Living in the moment, let’s get to today’s topic.  Here’s a hint

AC/DC Concert Sept 15th at Wrigley Field

All classic rock fans out there should have just flashed up their devil horns!  That’s right, Linda and I had the opportunity to see one of our favorite bands in concert … again.  We had the privilege of seeing them in St. Louis a number of years back and we both consider that one of the best concerts we have seen (yes, that one equals if not tops the Stones concerts we have been too – sorry Jagger but your concerts are slightly tainted due to the price gouging you have to go through to be able to see them.  This time we went North to see them in a place that makes all Cardinal fans shudder.

AC/DC Concert Sept 15th at Wrigley Field

Thanks to Linda being on the ball and reserving early, we were able to get a hotel room less than 10 blocks from the field.  This took a lot of the pre-concert stress out of the equation by not having to deal with the Wrigley area parking.  The seats were not as close as they were in St. Louis, but still not too bad.  We opted for the outfield seats which were covered – rain wasn’t going to dampen our night.  This is the shot from our seats.

AC/DC Concert Sept 15th at Wrigley Field

I left the ladies arm in the shot at the bottom to remind me to mention how drunk this woman was in front of us.  There were two couples seated two rows down from us.  Both ladies had been drinking long before arriving – one lady (the owner of the arm above) was totally smashed and kept falling all over the place.  When she wasn’t picking herself off the ground she was dancing to the music in her head… and only in her head.  The lush was pretty much the jester for everyone that could see her.  People were even walking by specifically to take a picture of her on their phones.  It got so bad during the concert that her husband (I think) was continually yelling at her to sit – pulling her belt down into her seat when she didn’t comply.. didn’t matter, she would pop up 3 minutes later to continue dancing to her inner song.

Hit the jump to read more about this awesome concert!

Continue reading Celebrating 26 and 25 and 24

Racing Season is Upon Us

Although the guy code was in full swing, I needed to break away and work on some other posts or once again I’ll be struggling to get the quota done. Have no worries, I’ll continue to monitor the comments on the guy code post. Moving on, I wanted to officially kickoff the 2011 race season. Although it was a difficult season last year, I have a big goal for this year and so far I am on my planned schedule.  I do not want to jinx myself so I’ll keep that goal a secret for now. After 8 months of rehab on my damaged quad I’m finally back to near full strength and the miles are definitely far ahead of any other year at this time – this includes a weekly 10 mile run in the hills of Jubilee Park. I usually start with the Caterpillar 5K Power Race, but this year they decided to move it into June which effectively removed that from my race schedule. Instead, my first race was the Chase Corporate 3.5 Mile Race held on May 26th in Chicago IL.

Notice anything unusual about this pre-race picture?

Did you detect a certain feeling of coldness?  Maybe a little bundled up for a race that was being held in May?  Turns out this particular day put the whole gloBULL warming fear peddlers into perspective.  The race actually starts near Grant Park which provides a slightly chillier condition thanks to the wind blowing in off of Lake Michigan.  But the conditions this day lead to a feels like temperature of 38 degrees.  Now I definitely prefer colder over hot and humid days for racing, but this was ridiculous.  From the moment I stepped off the bus, I was second guessing my apparel choices.  But the coldness wasn’t the only issue we had to deal with.

Hit the jump to read the rest of the details on the race!

Continue reading Racing Season is Upon Us

Book Recollection: Gang Leader for a Day

Finally, things should start slowing down a bit around here.  Friday was our annual Halloween Cookout party which is more properly titled Work My Butt Off Trying to Get Ready for a Party.  Now that is behind me, I can focus back on Rock Band 2, oh, I mean the Blog.  My travel book for my recent Vegas vacation was Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh.  I actually found out about this particular body of work from reading Freakonomics.  There was a chapter in that excellent book discussing why drug dealers still live at home.  A lot of the information in that discussion was based on Sudhir’s information gained while befriending one of the gang leaders of the Chicago based Black Kings.   I was actually intrigued enough from that brief introduction to go out and purchase Sudhir’s book to get a little more understanding of what it is like in the gang realm.  Just trying to broaden my horizons a little bit and understand life from a different viewpoint.

The basis of this particular book is an account of Sudhir’s friendship with a gang leader in a poor Chicago housing district.  At the time, Sudhir was a graduate student at the University of Chicago.  As a part of his coursework, he wanted to understand what it was like growing up in a poverty stricken Chicago neighborhood.  With the advice of his professor, he embarked on a survey mission in the Robert Taylor Homes.  I consider this a pretty gutsy move for a son of a South Asia immigrant who grew up in the well off Southern California suburbs.  In this situation, I am not entirely sure a white individual would have had as much success.  During the course of his survey efforts, he came in contact with the gang leader of the locally established Black Kings.  The leader’s name was given as J.T., but upon confession at the end of the book, he did disguise the names for safety (his and the subjects).  T.J. became fixated by the thought of having an autobiography about him and therefore accepted Sudhir into his fold and gave him access to a tremendous amount of information on his gang operated, the organization hierarchies and probably more interesting, the daily social interaction with the residents of the housing project.  It did bother me a little bit while reading this account if there was not a line being crossed – especially when the author had the opportunity to act as the leader for a day in order to understand what it was like to lead a gang.  He did eventually get some legal council to set some boundaries on his engagement, but I would characterize it as a little gray.  I think the most fascinating aspect of the book was the small business ecosystem that was created within the residents.  Beyond the easy revenue streams of prostitution and drug dealing, there were not so obvious aspects of renting out stairwells, ad-hoc car repair services and a clever barter system orchestrated by the tenant housing authority representative (for example, recommending which store their tenants should shop at for free alcohol which is then given to another merchant for coats.  I was also amazed about how much the gang actually contributes to the local housing economy in order to gain their friendship and quite frankly to guarantee they can operate without hassle.

As a summary, I thought it was a pretty entertaining read.  Sudhir’s style is candid with a good amount of introspection and analysis.  I still disapprove, but clearly have a better understanding as to what motivates individuals in this situation and the context of which their decisions are made in.  My hat is off to Sudhir who actually pulled this off without getting killed.

My summary points can be found after the jump.