Power Love

Your definitive resource. That's all, just your definitive resource.

28 January 2007


You are going to a show with Shiow. You cannot resist the almost-homonym. It is too perfect. Tonight you're at The Empty Bottle, for a benefit show, to help a baby you don't know and hope will live a fine and beautiful life. You used to go to the Bottle all the time, years ago, and back then, you wouldn't have put much effort into other people's babies or the reason behind benefit shows.

Back then, you locked up your fixed gear to a friend's fixed gear at the bike racks outside. You walked in easily because you felt like you lived there. You played pool. You usually won. You only talked to people who rode their bikes there and you categorized those people like this: fixed gear riders, long talks, life talks; single speed riders, chats, sometimes evolving into updates on daily living; road bikers, quick hello, quick kiss on the cheek, perhaps an introduction to a significant other. You did not talk to anyone else. The anyone elses did not have messenger bags on their backs and they did not smell like they just spent time on a bike. You thought this was odd.

Back then, you spent a lot of time looking at the floor or at the fuzzy images on the stage. You drank a lot. Other stuff, too. Bands were fuzzy. So was their music. This didn't matter. You were very cool. You had many friends. Many times these friends were the fuzzy images on stage. You played pool while they played because you had already heard the entire set during the week, when they were practicing, when you were at the loft, practicing track standing and making jokes.

Now, it's almost a decade later. You realize that there are many people here without messenger bags on their backs and they look beautiful and meetable and you wonder how many beautiful people passed right by you a decade ago, how many you ignored in all your coolness. Now, the bartenders are easy to talk to. The music is awesome. The guy next to you apologizes for bumping into you and when you look at him, he's sincere, and you tell him no problem. You missed out on a lot when you busy being cool.

Now, you look up. Now, you look out. Now, you realize how thankful you are that you're just able to be here.

26 January 2007


This is the 1,345th time I've told this story, just so you know.

There is a spot at the Grand Canyon and this spot is nowhere to be seen in this picture, but it is prominently advertised in Grand Canyon literature as The Place To Be At Sunrise (or something like that, maybe, The Best Spot To See The Sunrise or something equally boring and active-verb free, not that "see" isn't an active verb, but it is pretty boring, I mean, what? you're just "seeing"? you can't, like, at least, "glare" or cliche out and "drink it all in"? and just as an aside, if you are going on a ranting run-on sentence, you should at least punctuate clearly, self, yes, I'm talking to you, self) and I can say, as you probably will too if and when I ever get to the point of this post, that that marketing plan is seriously lacking in accuracy and wonder.

This time about a decade ago, I road tripped incessantly and one trip took me from Tucson, AZ, to the Grand Canyon and after a hike down to the bottom of the canyon, which wasn't really the bottom, it was about halfway down and a squirrel followed us and he kinda looked hungry for most of the hike and then, suddenly, he wasn't hungry looking anymore, he was happy, and I was sure he did a little happy squirrel dance at one point but my friend said I was probably dehydrated because squirrels don't do happy squirrel dances and I was like, "So, what? They do, like, happy racoon dances?" and I remember being very thirsty and using the word "like" a lot.

So we get to the end of the hike and of course go right to the gift shop to buy a t-shirt that says, "I Hiked The Grand Canyon" (mine was teal, it was a large, I still have it, there's bike grease all over it now and a thumbprint of red paint) and at the register there was a pamphlet that said, "The Best Place To See The Sun Rise" or whatever I said it said in paragraph one, section one, of this treatise.

My friend and I were like, yeah, whatever. We were world-class road trippers and were then on our tenth day of travelling and we were way too jaded and experienced to believe literature for tourists, pshaw. But the next morning came and we were up before dawn because neither one of us had anticipated the absolute agony our hamstrings would be experiencing after a hike up and down a fucking canyon (note: you should drink a lot of water when you're hiking because hiking is not walking, it's EX-ER-CISE) and since we were up, we decided to go see the sun rise. We had to drive to the point. We could not walk easily.

It was the southern most point. Maybe northern most. Actually, I'm not sure what -ern most point it was because it's easy to lose direction in the Grand Canyon because the Grand Canyon is like, "I don't give a fuck about you and your direction. I'M THE GRAND FUCKING CANYON." And, you know, it has a point there.

So there were some other people there, too, sleepy, but they had coffee, which we hadn't thought to bring though by that point I could feel how sore my arms were from the hike the day before (why? was I dancing down the trail? did I accidently do a jig with the squirrel? was it a squirrel jig? do the Irish know about squirrel jigs? do they think the squirrel jig is a rip off of the Irish jig?) and probably wouldn't've been able to lift a coffee anyway. So then someone goes, "Oh! It's time!" And we all look to the east and a dink of light starts eeking it's way over the horizon and then we all, as though we had just one head among us, immediately looked to the far wall of the canyon, just like the tourist literature instructed, and suddenly, gloriously, like the hand of god was tossing a god sized paint can across his god wall, the other side of the canyon lit up in every single color that has ever and will ever be created and it started at the east end and then--rrrrrrrrrrrrr--rifled across the entire wall all the way down to the west end, every color, EVERY SINGLE COLOR I'M TELLING YOU, every breathtaking love color ripping catlike quick in front of us . . . ohmygod . . .

And then, done. The sun was up. The day was like, "Um, yeah, I'm here, get to work, losers." The group of us, we just stood there. Silent. Mouths hanging open. I think I might've drooled. Also, it's quite possible I cried. It occurred to me that there is a god, which was a really big thought for me what with that whole lying to a priest thing and, you know, that disbelief in the illogical thing. It occurred to me then, there in the Grand Canyon, that I had just seen the whole world all at once, beyond the whole world, and the whole world and its beyond was so mouth-wateringly, language-stoppingly beautiful. I had just seen farther and further than I would ever see again. Miles and miles farther and further.

23 January 2007

"It's like a black mirror."

Free six pack of some fancy microbrew beer if you can name the movie this quote is from.

I guess I'm mostly talking to you here, John William, Sweet Cousin O' Mine.

22 January 2007


Clearly, beautiful humans in Chicagogogoville attend musical events. But, do they attend readings by writerly writers? Let's check it out.

2nd Story storytellers tell stories and people who like to hear stories show up to hear them. They also show up to drink wine. These are two very admirable goals and Team Power Love supports this.

Do you want to have a great conversation, laugh heartily, and discuss sports? Then you should hang out with these guys. OK, probably, you could really only discuss sports with Christopher and Karl. But Jeff would listen to you if, say, you were really, really, really into cycling and you went into lagubrious detail about races that you were in.

Byron rocks it.

Molly rocks it.

Conclusion: The 2nd Story storytellers really know how to rock it in a big, bad, take-on-the-world kind of way. They are also beautiful humans.

Our mission here is accomplished.

21 January 2007


Having procured a grant from the National Institute of Beer Drinkers, Team Power Love has embarked on its study to prove that there is an extraordinarily high level of beautiful humans in Chicagogogoville.

First, let's establish some comparables. We checked a map and found that there are other cities in the world and indeed, they are represented on most maps. Now back to us . . .

Definition of Terms
1. Beautiful human--A human being possessing good energy and a warm smile. Usually says, "Excuse me," when trying to get around you. Typically found smiling when listening to music.
2. Chicagogogoville--Chicago, Illinois, its inhabitants, its art, its pride, its knee-melting skyline, its delicious food, its flat "a" sounds, its sports teams, its shady politics, its public transportation system, its history, its feet-on-the-ground, salt-of-the-earth attitude. Also, its weather, which is moody like an adolescent.

Exploration of Subjects
Divebar, January 20, Davenports

Having proved that beautiful humans exist en masse at an African dance band show in Lakeview and a House of Beautification in the suburbs, we wondered if beautiful humans would also attend an alt-country show in Wicker Park.

First item on tonight's agenda: Eat. Always fuel up before embarking on an exploratory exploration. Exploratory explorations require copious amounts of brain cells and you will not get those without a good goat cheese salad and a KIMTINI. However, the data collection waits for no hunger. Here we see the quintessential beautiful humans, firmly entrenched in their native habitat, and firmly Chicagogogo-esque (by which we mean, smiling and talking to us).

As an aside, Team Power Love wants the world to be aware that THE KIMTINI IS STILL NOT ON THE BISTRO'S MENU. While this thesis is not focusing on this abrasive and insulting lack of judgment, we feel we would be remiss in our efforts to promote social justice if we did not mention this fact.


Look! Yes ANOTHER beautiful human! This human is labeled "Jennifer" and is great. This is the requisite "before" picture. Curiously, the "after" picture somehow ended up being forgotten about.

Gratuitous cute dog picture.

This guy is Bob Wiseman. He is Team Power Love's new favorite human-to-go see. He played music, played music to film, played an accordion, played the piano, made humorous jokes. Bob Wiseman is from Toronto. So is Margaret Atwood. Clearly, there is something brilliant going on in Toronto. But Bob was in Chicagogogoville last night, so that makes him an honorary beautiful human. We want to empahsize: THIS MAN PLAYED THE ACCORDION AND TOLD JOKES AND WAS VERY FUNNY.

This band is from Brooklyn. Their voices melted perfectly together. They sold CDs with a drawing on it and gave away crayons to color it in. Someone already won the coloring contest. That someone was not from Chicagogogoville.

There was a line for the men's room. There was not a line for the women's room. This is historically significant and we document it here thusly.

Divebar did not play "Freebird" or "Cabaret." And they still put on a good show.

Should writers delve into the visual arts? This one should not.

20 January 2007


So today I go to the House of Beautification, also known as the "salon" or "hair place," and I go because I wanted someone to make me look good, but, apparently, there's not much to be done with a forehead that you can project a movie on. And I mean a drive-in movie, not a bitty little iPod movie.

Anyway, while at the House of Beautification, I was the lucky recipient of the following words:

1. Dagmar, who is from the Czech Republic, but when she left it was Czechoslovakia, so I asked her what it was like to live with a government (communist) that you didn't agree with in a country that you loved like family and she said: "It was like being a golden bird in a golden cage eating golden grain, but never being able to sing or fly."

2. Joanna said, "Growing into your own skin is like trying to find the right puzzle pieces to put together."

I don't really go to that House of Beautification for the hair cuts, if you must know.

OK, here's today's picture:

What is this? Why, it's a GAS STATION PUMP with a TV SCREEN in it. When you start pumping gas, it says, "Hello!" and then launches into a bunch of public service announcements from NBC. When you're done pumping gas, it says, "Goodbye" and goes a deathly black.

I'm not afraid to admit that it scared the living shit outta me.

19 January 2007


In today's troubled times, how does one go about having a most excellent birthday? Doing so requires a year-long effort to prep for the day as you need to surround yourself with most excellent humans. Here's whatcha gotta do:

1. Hang out with these people:

These people are writers (WRY-ters). They write stories. They will also engage in conversation about the following subjects: "Heroes," "24," shoes, boys, shoes, and boys. This is good and you want to encourage this.

2. The writers might bring you these:

When these flowers are presented to you, you should take a moment to silently wonder how you got so lucky. Also, you should buy a flower vase.

3. Next, go out with peeps from work.

This is the time to remind yourself that though you spend an inordinate amount of time grumbling about having a job and working for The Man, you are very lucky to work around words (who do not work for The Man, they merely go on their word way without regard to social structure, except in cases of contracts or legal documents) and lucky to work around people you like having a meal with. Also, these people will make you laugh. Laughing is good.

4. After eating a meal with work peeps, go see these guys. Dance.

5. Here we see beautiful humans dancing:

Team Power Love believes that Chicago has the highest concentration of beautiful humans in the world. We are currently seeking grant funds in order to prove this hypothesis.

6. If you forget where you are, check the stamp on your hand.

On the way home, you may encounter a cab driver with whom you may have a really good conversation about neighborhoods and the quickly changing face of Chicago and residential neighborhoods. When the cab driver pulls over to drop you off and turns to look at you and says, "It was very nice to talk with you," Team Power Love suggests you take a moment to smile, make eye contact, and reply, "It was very nice to talk to you, too." Team Power Love suggests being cool to cool people. Team Power Love thinks you will be a happier human if you do this.

18 January 2007

Capricorn's horoscope via The Onion:

"Attempts at self-medicating with alcohol will once again fail to treat your rampant alcoholism."

Now they tell me.

17 January 2007

An Army of Water Bottles

Let's say you were looking to join a sport. Let's say you chose cycling. You would need water bottles if you were a cyclist, because apparently hydration is a positive thing. So, you would end up collecting an inordinate amount of water bottles (you are very healthy, you are very hydrated). But you would realize, after a while, that there is nothing worse in the world than cleaning these water bottles. So, you will buy more to avoid the inevitable cleaning. But then they will take over your sink. Then your kitchen. Before you know it, the water bottles will take over your entire apartment. They will squeeze you out into the street where you will long for the warmth of radiators and lazy Sunday afternoons on the couch where you once reread Margaret Atwood novels and stared out the window at skinny leafless trees. You will wonder why you ever bought so many water bottles in the first place when all you really needed to do was suck it up and wash them and then you will learn a lesson your mom has been trying to teach you all your life: the way you treat others says a lot about who you are.

16 January 2007


The Aragon: Lights Out
Which reminds me of the Metro, for some reason, and this:
In high school, my senior year, I used to ditch school all the time and drive into the city in my four-door, Chevy Chevette, a car with luggage racks on top and a radio with a cassette player that squeaked through speakers that were not made for sound so The Cure and Ministry in their "Everyday is Halloween" days and the Psychedelic Furs and GUNS N FUCKIN ROSES all sounded like some form of livestock belching or sometimes, when I was lucky, like birds chirping, so it would've been kinda a long ride, except that I was ditching school and driving into the city and not much sounds bad when you're doing that.

I parked in front of the Metro and did a lot of staring because the Metro held secrets. The Metro knew the city and city people and what it was like to take care of yourself and Live a Life Fully Lived and people with sweet voices and sweeter guitars and people who had friends who let you be who you are and loved you because of it and never used words like "geek" or "weird" and while I stared I ached because I wanted to be a part of all of it--the scary, beautiful city, thrilling and bursting, I wanted to hug the streets, I wanted to feel the sound of the el rumbling in my chest and I kinda wanted to cry, but didn't, held it in, because I was in the city, but still I wondered if I was ever gonna get anywhere near where I wanted to be and mostly, a lot, I doubted it.

And then--zap!--one apartment, two apartments, three apartments, four, many Chicago apartments, many more than four; JESUS LIZARD (love) at LOUNGE AX (double love) RIGHT DOWN THE STREET from apartment #1; Henry Rollins at Barnes and Noble, signing books and when it was my turn he said, "What's your name?" and I said, "Kim" and he signed my book and handed it back to me and looked me in the eye and said, "It's nice to meet you, Kim"; Afghan Whigs at Metro; sightseeing tours that included west Devon Avenue and Humboldt Park BY BIKE; Lower Wacker is the fastest way to get anywhere in the Loop; a vegan restaurant on east 75th Street whose owner is a gorgeous woman with the kindest eyes imaginable and a bright orange head wrap and when I said, "I've never been here before" while looking around at faces the color of black coffee and chocolate ice cream, she put her warm hand on my cheek and said, "Well, then, love, lemme tell ya what to get"; watching planes land at Meigs Field while eating sandwiches from D'Amato's; beer gardens in summer; gangways that smell like just cut grass; parallel parking without thinking about it; watching the sun rise over Lake Michigan while riding my bike east on 55th Street; the sound of the el and the mechanical voice ("a Brown Line train, t'ward the Loop, will be arriving shortly"); driving around old former neighborhoods going, "Hey! That restaurant used to be a pawn shop!" and now, when I wake up at 3 am, my stomach in knots, worried sick about Fucking It All Up and Going No Where, scared shitless that I'm doing it all wrong, replaying mistakes until they take over my brain, I have to remind myself that the line between wishing and reality is as thin as a strand of hair and all I need is the guts to step over it.

15 January 2007


See your life in a new way. I'm starting late, but I kinda think it's never too late to see your life in a new way. My camera is small. I can take it anywhere. Today is Day One. I'm ready for you, perspective.

Smoke on the water:

Really, smoke in the alley in Uptown. But that isn't as singable as "smoke on the water."

I think there's some cardinal blogging rule about not touching a post after it's been posted, so writing this now will most likely unqualify me for the Blogging Hall of Fame, but it's the first day of A Picture A Day and therefore the first day of new perspectives and so I think it's worth the risk to my Blogger Hall of Fame nomination to mention that when I originally focused my camera on the image above, it was merely a picture of the back stairway of Megan's new home, which is cool (the stairway and the home), but when I checked the image after I captured it in my camera, there was that wispy smoke in the frame so I did a double-take: look at the stairway, no smoke; look at the picture, smoke. And that made me wonder: How much more of this world would I see if I just looked at it closer?

Also, it made me reaffirm my belief in ghosts.

Also, never trust the time stamps on blogs. They mean nothing.

14 January 2007


Things you should know about Jack Bauer:
1. He will bite your neck until you die
2. He has better cell phone service than you
3. He will not die
4. He will thwart your nefarious plans to harm Americans
5. He carries a man purse, but that is not a fashion faux pas because HE WILL BITE YOUR NECK UNTIL YOU DIE

12 January 2007

What's wrong with this sentence?

"If you've never used a financial calculator before, you'll find this material to be exciting."

09 January 2007

The next Power Love HQ?

New Yawkers say the derndest things.

02 January 2007

New Year's Day Pictography

Books through a bike wheel. At the time this picture was taken, this seemed incredibly metaphorical and worth documenting. But then I realized I needed to get a life.

As everyone knows, the best way to get a life is to take the Brown Line. Here's the charging Brown Line. Fast stuff. Today's wait: three years, two weeks, seventeen days, two hours, four minutes.

(Timekeeping brought to you by KIMTINI Timepieces, crafting masterful timepieces since 1871. For more information, please visit us at www.vote4KIMTINI.com.)

Next came the Power Love Irving Park Boulevard Walking Tour.


Creepy hotel of the kind typically found in rural communities and patronized by people who do not want to be found.

Now that the holidays are over, everyone likely has the same question: How do I get rid of that unsightly and pesky amber?


Ahhhhh . . .

This afternoon's sountrack brought to Power Love by the seriously frawnch awesomeness of Tahiti 80.

The Power Love walking tour then turned its sights towards The Hold Steady show at House of Blues. You'll have to trust me that this was an excellent way to spend time. No cameras were allowed per House of Blues regulations (further proof that the terrorists have won).