Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Here We Go Gathering Nuts in May...

One of the things I'm absolutely digging about having Margaret aboard as editor at Chicagoist is we're starting to have some solid exchanges of ideas that will only make the site better overall, and me a better editor in particular. That, in turn , is already starting to reap dividends in my other endeavors: waking up, staying to a schedule, setting goals and meeting them ahead of schedule, and being consistent in my work.

We're launching another new feature tomorrow that I'm really stoked to see go live to the site. Between that and the really big thing I've got in the works, I'm more excited than I've been in a while.

In the meantime, I've got to get myself ready to shave this beard off. The costume, after a wash, is raring to go for the actual Halloween tomorrow. My friend Calvin and his girlfriend Annie throw a Halloween bash every year. They go all out with the decorations and the costumes and the entertainment. Last year was fun, this year I'll probably stay seated in front of their movie screen watchin
g Frankenstein movies all night.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

The title of the photo and basically the theme for today.

Or the weekend, anyway.

I'm still coming to grips with the fact that Mike at Bridgeport Coffee House now knows my name, thanks to this. After I'm done here I'm heading to my old childhood stomping grounds of Logan Square, Avondale, and Hermosa on the northwest side to scope out some Cuban restaurants for a piece I'm working on for the Sun-Times on Cuban comfort food, and the relative lack of such in the city, that'll be published in a couple weeks (another hint: you may want to check out the cover story of the Sun-Times food section Wednesday, anyway). Then I'll probably hit some thrift stores on the way home shopping for the items I need for my Halloween costume. Here he comes...

I don't go as balls-out on Halloween like I used to. I don't have the patience for painting my entire body green, like the year Peg and I dressed as the Hulk and She-Hulk, then froze our tits off hopping from party to party in Wicker Park on a Saturday night. Then there was the year that I dressed as Ace Frehley from the cover of Kiss' "Dressed to Kill" album and applied the makeup from memory, ruining my favorite cheesy sharkskin suit in the process. Then there was the year I dressed as Charlie Chaplin for a private bartending gig, but at a whopping 265 at the time I looked more like Oliver Hardy than the Little Tramp.

I've been Michael Allred's Madman, Hugh Hefner, Big Boy, Baby New Year, an Indonesian hooker, the Invisible Man, a horny, surly Cat in the Hat on a drug binge (complete with some impressive Method acting, thanks to a pint of Brass Monkey and some mushrooms), a luchador, a Kung Fu Master and, last year, The Dude.

Most of these costumes have required that I shave off my beard in the process. I've worn one off and on most of my post-Navy adult life, but the past two years have been the most consistent time I've worn one. It's always interesting to see how my face looks underneath it all, and that I have a face underneath all this. A large reason I grow out a beard is to hide a prominent double chin, still there even after slimming down to under 230. Then I can't wait for the beard to grow back in.

But if I can pull off this, it'll all be worth it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My time management sucks lately

Peterson and Powerpoint
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Has it really been a month since I checked in here? That's what it says on blogger, and they can't be wrong.

Anyway, I am alive and still getting used to this whole "freelance" thing which, when slow, smacks heavy of "unemployed and not looking." Thankfull, as long as I keep a byline coming, the landlord knows that I'm not intentionally squatting.

The dance card filled up rather quickly last week. I had a deadline for a Day of the Dead cover story I'm working on for the Sun-Times food section that came together at the last minute. I managed to pitch two more stories to the Sun-Times for November, as well. The Centerstage venue write-ups keep coming and adding up, and with Margaret Lyons settling in as the new full-time editor at Chicagoist I'm finding some renewed energy to the food and drink beat. Back when I accepted the beat editor post in February I wrote a long-range editorial plan for how I'd like to see the beat being covered on the site. I'm finally able to actualize that, with the two new features we launched this week in addition to "Beer of the Week" and "The Friday Buffet." Now if I can just pick up the restaurant and bar reviews.

I even scored some publishing house contract work this week. It's nice to have editors who trust your work enough to have you on their short list for these types of things. And the pay is decent, to boot.

All said, the one thing I've had the most problems adapting to working from home is the sense of being cooped up all day. I don't have a notebook computer, so I don't have the luxury of packing it up and heading someplace where there's free wi-fi, just for a change of scenery. Working from home works out fine for the dog; Emmy's begging more than usual to go out and have a round of fetch these days. So when I landed a job interview this past week, I was surprised. Especially since I didn't follow the instructions in applying for the position (write a few paragraphs about myself, etc.), I think I just sent a link to my content at Chicagoist and hoped for the best. I tend to stutter and break out in flop sweats at interviews. I also woe a vest and tie-dyed necktie to the interview while my interviewers were dressed business casual. But the interview went well; it turned out that the Gothamist LLC cachet reaches farther than I imagined. There's no final decision yet, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested.

This week reminded me of a discussion Courtney and I had around the time HotHouse was closing, just as I was starting to get some freelance work. I was worried that I would have had to start looking for another bartending gig immediately. She assured me that it appeared I was on the right path and all I had to do was persevere. Nothing's ever certain.