Measured Extravagance

24 April 2004 - 12:50 p.m.

Part 1
Part 2

[Just lost Part 3 thru closing the wrong window. Fnar.)

Wednesday: Reading, writing (drafted two new poems this week), walking, shopping, Terra Museum of Art, shiitake-avocado sushi and armagnacs at Westin-Kamehachi, green beef curry at Star of Siam.

Thursday: More walking and shopping; visit friend working at the Sears Tower; coffee at Corner Bakery, lunch at Mrs. Levy's; Chicago theatre, Chicago Public Library (the quest for real estate) and Harold Washington exhibits at the Harold Washington Library; some dancers running around Millenium Park and 50-odd daft Chicagoans willing to stand around in chilly weather to see if they're any good. Much more interesting: the Popeil/Ronco exhibit in the Cultural Center. Gadgets galore and hilariously dated ads from the 1970s, as well as the SNL "Bass-o-matic" sketch. Oh, me. . .

More laughing at the Wait! Wait! live show. It'll be interesting to hear how it sounds cleaned-up for broadcast.

Had originally planned to see what the Redhead Piano Bar was like, but didn't feel like changing into "proper attire" (I'm told that business casual would do, but I'd been stomping around in a ratty sweater and my Docs) - so I retreated to a place I already knew and ordered a plate of fried calamari and snacked on their relish tray (pickled garlic, gherkins, almonds and olives) and a split of prosecco.

What followed that was another glass of prosecco, a serving of Ardbeg, a serving of Dalwhinnie, and a hefty (three shots' worth) snifter of Strathisla (the bartender said I was only the second person who'd ever ordered it, and apparently decided I should finish out the bottle). It was fun to explore - and, as I found out when I got the bill, it was all comped except for the squid and the first glass of wine. (And this was even without accepting another off-duty bartender's offer to buy me another drink. . .)

However, the old saw about curiosity killing the cat does have some merit. I made it back to my room just fine, but my system was careening most of the night and queasy most of the next day, from 8:05 a.m. morning prayer (Loop Synaogue) through slowly strolling the day away along Navy Pier. The spaghetti, meatballs and root beer for lunch helped steady me a bit, as did riding on the Ferris wheel (fear of heights is a good distraction).

Anyhow, without intending it to be, that ranks up there as the most inebriated night of my life, bar none (not even the evening in Detroit when I accounted for far too much of a bottle of tequila, straight), and while it didn't result in the nastiest hangover ever (quality really does help, it seems - worst ever was a combination of cheap beer and weed. In Ann Arbor, of course), I don't think I'll be inflicting that upon myself again. The single-malts were all good - Strathisla much heavier than the others, and I could see investing in a bottle of the Ardbeg at some point - but I think I may be sticking to sweet tea for the next wedding or two that I attend.

Also while at Navy Pier: a stained glass museum and gallery (especially liked Tiffany's rendition of the Annunciation - they have it displayed such that you can see it in both dim light and backlit, and the transformation in the glass (from a kind of dead white to glowing colors) is breathtaking); a tour of the WBEZ studios; a pathetic round of putt-putt golf. (Most of this stuff wasn't here when I was in school - I felt a little bit as though I was getting away with something coming back to play. Not rational, but there it is. Also, I don't know if it's because it's now spring or if it's simply because I'd never been downtown by myself for such an extended stretch of time, but were there always so many window-cleaners and street-sweepers/cleaners/vacuumers in action? And it was nifty walking past the Cultural Center late at night when the new plantings for their window boxes were being set out. . .)

So. A good week. A much-needed break. And now to pet the pets and tackle various piles. . .

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