Let’s talk about the weather

Posted: April 25th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Spring has finally come to Chicago, if the birds building nests and dudes wearing shorts in 58-degree weather is any indication.

I’m a little sorry to see winter go, to be honest. Everyone who has lived here for more than a few years can’t wait for some warmer weather, but I grew up in the desert and then lived in swampy Central Texas for 14 years. When I was a kid in El Paso, we used to have seasons—I even remember snow. (It was always gone by that same afternoon, but it was there, no matter how ephemeral.) That changed over the years and the snow slowly happened less and less, but Austin was worse. An average of 10 months of humid summer temperatures sounds like paradise for some, but I’m a fat guy who hates to sweat, so that got old after a while. We moved to Chicago for a change, and a chance to experience real winters was a big part of that.

From what we’ve been told, last winter—our first here—didn’t count. It got cold, but not that cold, people said, and there wasn’t much snow. I can’t argue with that. Last year was mild compared to this one, which the TV weatherpeople are saying is the second longest winter in about a hundred years.

Ice on the Chicago River

It snowed much more than last winter, with freezing winds coming off Lake Michigan, just a couple of blocks from where we live. We were introduced to the concept of “the lake effect,” which basically means the lake is big enough to generate its own weather system. In the winter, that translates to cold and wet. Most days have been cloudy, constantly threatening rain or snow or just hard looks. The radiator clanked and groaned throughout the day.

But lately, the sun has been beaming down on the city, bright and insistent. People have traded in heavy coats for light jackets. Our radiator only grumbles once or twice, gets comfortable, and goes back to sleep.

I’m already missing it.

I’ll miss the ritual of checking the weather before dressing for the day. (Layers, and a good pair of modern-day longjohns, are king.) I’ll miss me and Sandy steadying each other as we walk down icy sidewalks. I’ll miss the “chicken lights” that help keep people from freezing on the L platforms.

Also known as “French fry lights”

Baseball is good, though, and hopefully we’ll be able to see a couple of Cubs and Sox games this Spring. The city hosts a bunch of festivals in the summer, and those are always fun. And in spite of what people in other parts of the country tend to think, Chicago does get hot, and surprisingly humid.

I’ll try not to complain about the heat, though I know I will. In the meantime, I’ll dream of snow and the satisfying crunch of freshly salted sidewalks.

Shambling corpses and writing about writing

Posted: April 17th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

There’s nothing like being declared dead to get you off your ass.

A little more than a week ago, I got a notification on Twitter — somewhere I spend way too much time doing not much. It came as a surprise, I’ll tell you that.

I’d never heard of Zombie Cat Bacon before, but they’d apparently heard of me. Not only that, they’d noticed I hadn’t written anything on this blog in a long, long time. About a year and three months, to be exact. Did I mention I spend way too much time on Twitter (and Facebook)?

I have to admit, it stung. I’ve always considered myself a writer, and to not be writing is a special kind of hell: First, there’s the desire to write, but somehow never getting around to actually doing it, and second, there’s the guilt and frustration that comes from all that inaction. (Sorry about the tangle that is the previous sentence — I’m out of practice).

In the back of my mind, I’m always thinking, “I really need to get back to writing, at least on the blog.” And then I freeze. I don’t know why. Did I lose my confidence? Is it laziness? Some sort of creative inertia that’s kept me in some sort of stasis, stretched out indefinitely on the event horizon of wanting to write and actually writing?

I don’t know. Maybe a little bit of everything. It’s easy to make excuses. I was about to write, ” … and some of them are valid,” but you know what? That’s bullshit. If you want to do something — really, really want to do something — you find a way to do it.

But first, baby steps. I’m going to take a stab at writing here again (as well as writing professionally again, because I enjoy it, I used to be good at it, and I need the money, yo). For now, I’m making a promise to myself (and you, imaginary reader), to write here at least once a week. It won’t be exclusively about comics anymore, so expect some randomness.

But at least we can expect something.