Yesterday, after work, I returned to my car, which was parked in a garage on the north side of Chicago.

Waiting to greet me on my windshield was the missive below, printed on a single sheet of paper.

Personally, I don’t know what I think is worse — the politics, the grammar, or the assumption that I, a total stranger, should share this individual’s ideas about religion.

However, if you do happen to agree with this person, then I’d absolutely encourage you get to the polls on November 9th* and vote for Mitt Ronny.  Don’t hurt God feeling.  God got feeling too.

I don’t find this argument very convincing.

*(The rest of you, get to the polls on November 6th, and vote your conscience.)

So I was browsing around, trying to find footage to convince a couple of friends to come with me to see Amon Tobin play live here in Chicago in a couple of weeks, and what should I find, but this beautiful HD version of the live show, with excellent audio to boot.

Sit back for an hour, full-screen this baby, and enjoy.

UPDATE:  It appears the YouTube video has been taken down for copyright reasons.  Oh well.  It was fun while it lasted.

I watched the ISAM 2.0 show in Chicago on Saturday night, and it was even better than the first one.


I went down to Grant Park for the Coalition Against NATO/G8 rally at noon today, and I took a bunch of pictures, but I didn’t stick around for the whole march.  As I write this, there’s still folks being herded around downtown by cops in riot gear, and Twitter is blowing up with “they’re putting on gas masks,” rumors of cops in civilian clothes trying to incite trouble, and so on.  I’m watching a live stream on the web of Michigan and Cermak, and it looks like things are dying down.  Cops outnumber the protesters about 50 to 1.  If yesterday is any indication, they’ll herd the remaining crowd around in circles downtown until they tire out.

Some of my impressions from the rally:

  • There was absolutely no coherent message.  There were plenty of folks who seemed to be against NATO, and more generally against “war”.  There were also plenty of folks who were there to advocate for communism, or to free Bradley Manning, or any number of other pet causes.  It felt fractious and cliquey.
  • The number of protesters was relatively small.  I’d estimate it at a few thousand, maybe 10,000 max.  It turns out today the Cubs were playing the White Sox at Wrigley Field, which I passed by, and there were more people on the street there than there were at the protests.  Unless of course, you count the cops.
  • On the one hand, the messages were, by and large, broad complaints from much the same kinds of groups you’d have expected to see at a similar event in the 1960s.  Feminists, socialists, a few anarchists here and there, some SDS folks, and so forth. Very, very lefty, but I occasionally saw some weird right-wing influences.  A guy in an NRA jacket was telling some of the obviously lefty folks about a police van running down a protester yesterday.  Overall, it felt anachronistic.  Except that it seemed everyone had a camera or a smartphone.  There was this strange disconnect between the old-style rhetoric and the contemporary use of technology.  The abundance of cameras seems to work in the protester’s favor — it’s keeping the cops as professional as possible.
  • It seemed everyone was complaining about the so-called NATO 3, the guys that got arrested down in Bridgeport on Friday.  Everyone I heard talking about it agreed that it was a set-up by the police.  In fact, one of the speakers at the rally was one of the people arrested in the original sweep, and later released.
  • You’ll see some pictures in the news of bloodied noses and that sort of thing, but honestly, I thought it was well-handled by the cops.  There were folks who were obviously in black-bloc garb who were looking for trouble, but they were easy to spot, and few and far between.

The situation is developing, and it’s not clear what’s going to happen tomorrow, or even later tonight.  Many businesses downtown are shut down completely tomorrow.

Personally, it didn’t feel like an effective action to me, and you know, I’m broadly sympathetic to left-leaning causes.  It felt scattered, unfocused, and slapped together.  I don’t think it made any compelling point, which is too bad; they had a large audience in the enormous media presence there.  It seemed like the protesters were all anti-war, but they readily adopted war-like metaphors in their speeches.  They fought, and struggled, and refused to surrender.  But by using that kind of rhetoric, I think they induced a certain kind of cognitive dissonance that undermined their point(s).

Photo gallery below.  Click through for full-size versions.


Does this look like good business to you? Photo via Techcrunch

A couple of evenings ago, I went to a little spot around the corner from my house, here in the far north side of Chicago.  It’s a friendly little place, and I like it quite a bit — their prices are fair, their food is decent, and some of the folks on staff recognize me and say ‘hi’ when I come in.  What’s even better is that they have a nice selection of microbrews, scotches, and even some really rare stuff from time to time.

So, I’m sitting at the bar, enjoying a burger and a Guinness, and a fellow comes in and stands next to me while he collects his order from the bartender.  He’d ordered a to-go order of some sort of food, and I noticed he was using a Groupon to help pay for it.

“So,” I asked the bartender, “what are your thoughts on the whole Groupon thing?”

The bartender surprised me with his reply.  “It may well put us out of business,” he said.

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The Groundhog’s Day Blizzard of 2011, in Chicago. Mostly in Rogers Park.

Tonight, it’s “Snowpocalypse” in Chicago.  The Great Blizzard of 2011 means I get to cross one more disaster I’ve survived off my list.

  • House Fire
  • Flood
  • Hurricane
  • Forest Fire
  • Tornado
  • Blizzard
  • Volcano
  • Earthquake
  • Tsunami

Those last three are going to be tricky, but I think if I play my cards right, I’ll be able to knock at least two of the three off at the same time.

I’ll post a photo in the morning, and we’ll see much snow actually has fallen.

This video is great. I particularly love it that it zeros out in Chicago, just south of the Loop, by Lake Michigan.

Full-screen this baby, and sit back and enjoy.


You can tell that winter is coming soon, as evidenced by all the sailboats coming down the Chicago river today, headed for milder climes until the spring thaw.

On a related note, downtown drawbridges are in use today, so traffic beware.

So, this is kind of interesting.

I noticed a story on Utne Reader about some great visualizations that a gentleman named Eric Fischer made, using demographic information from the 2000 Census to map out which ethnicities lived where, to demonstrate the kind of de facto segregation that still happens in cities in the US.

That, in turn, led me to the Radical Cartography site, which has a very similar visualization of the ethnic makeup of Chicago, made by Bill Rankin.

For fun, I hopped into Google Fusion Tables, and did a quick visualization of the RedEye homicide data from Chicago, 1/1/2009, to 3/4/2010.

In Photoshop, I dropped the demographic map on top of the homicide map.  You can see the results below.  Notably, most of the homicides have happened in primarily black and hispanic neighborhoods, while the extremely-white near north side has virtually none.

Click on the map for a full-size copy.

(Edit — it was data from the 2000 census, not 2010)

See, folks, this is why October in Chicago is so great. Just look at this list!  So many horror movies!  So little time!

Oct. 1

  • Chain Letter, wide release
  • Let Me In, wide release
  • Case 39, wide release
  • Hatchet II, wide release
  • 13 Ghosts, Facets Cinematheque
  • Ed Gein, The Musical, Music Box

Oct. 2

Oct. 4

Oct. 8

Oct. 9

Oct. 9-10Music Box Massacre @ Music Box Theater, including:

  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • The Raven
  • The Wolf Man
  • Hungry Wives (aka Season of the Witch)
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space
  • Rabid
  • Basket Case
  • Pet Sematary
  • The Funhouse
  • The House by the Cemetary
  • Theatre of Blood
  • Psycho
  • Fright Night

Oct. 15

Oct. 16

Oct. 22

Oct. 23

Oct. 23 & 24 — Horror Society Film Festival @ the Portage Theater including:

  • Demons
  • Chopping Mall
  • Terrorvision
  • Worm
  • TXT: The Movie
  • Slime City
  • Slices of Life
  • Satan Hates You
  • The Guest
  • Ugly
  • Popatopolis
  • Slime City Massacre

Oct. 25

October 26

October 27

Oct. 28

Oct. 29

Oct. 30

Did I miss some?  If I did, leave me the info in the comments, and I’ll add them to the list…