reflections: july through september 2011.

July started much the same way as June ended… which was busy. I remember it being hot. Real hot. And since I had no full-time destination-based job during the summer I went swimming a lot. I rode my bike a lot. I tried to get out and take a bunch of photos. I just enjoyed it while I was there and I was trying desperately to escape it as well. In short, July was busy. July was also the month that changed everything.

Summer was kicking into full-force by the beginning of July. Recording the songs for my grandpa in June was hot enough and it was only getting warmer as the days rolled on. Early in July I finished up all the Gerald Thome album artwork. The music was mixed/mastered, CD’s were created, packaging was assembled and the final touch of the CD artwork was completed. It was such a relief to have it done and I was super proud when I left the final boxes of CD’s with my grandparents. Early on in the month was also filled with work for Bruce. Loads of clipping paths, flowing text and just making shit look good. I’m really grateful for all the help and work and experience he’s given me through these past couple years. He has been an invaluable source of confidence for me and without him I don’t think anything now would be possible. His work, however sparse it was, kept me afloat for about a year and it enabled me to begin working towards some life goals of mine. Bruce is a pretty awesome dude to say the least.

Also happening in July was the call, or e-mail rather, that Nancy and I had been waiting for: we were moving. I think it was in June that we started looking at subletting an apartment in Chicago (where we currently reside). Not much happened. I believe there were a few decent replies and a lot of rejections. We persevered into July hoping to move in for August. On July 19th, after a fast and furious week of emailing potential craigslist postings we got a reply and that led to us applying for the apartment and after what seemed like forever we were told we could move in on August 1st if we were still interested. Shit yeah we were interested. That left us with about 10 days to pack up and prepare to move. The rest of July was pretty much a blur since it was all focused on us moving and getting there quickly without any problems.

Shit just got real.

August started like a fiery blaze. Seriously though, our apartment complex caught on fire. More on that in a few. Our first day in Chicago was a stressful/busy/hectic day. The drive there was no different than any other time I had went there before. Simple, long, straight and boring. Excitedly, we finally found our apartment. Moving in was relatively smooth. Park the car, unload boxes and such one at a time and plop them down on the floor. We were there and gone in a few hours. We drove out to the ‘burbs to drop the car at my uncle’s house. Good old Crystal Lake. Some 60-miles away from the city (still technically a suburb) and I wanted nothing more than to get back to the city and start our new life. We chatted it up a bit and then headed out. We rode the Metra into the city and then we just grabbed another out to our area. Didn’t even fuss with the L Train that night. No time to learn a new system. We were ready for some sleep. The next day would prove to be a bit of a test for us though. We were introduced to the city and the emergency response teams at about 2PM or so if I remember correctly. Nancy and I were just organizing our apartment and watching some shows or movies and we both smelled something weird. Fire. That was it. It was the beginning of a long day. We grabbed the essentials (computers, harddrives and my camera) and we headed out. I wasn’t sure how quickly the fire would spread, where it already was or how long firetrucks would take to get there so I made sure to grab those things that would at least keep me in business at the time. Hell, we didn’t even have renters insurance yet. We had only been there a day. Ridiculous.

Anyway, the firemen came and put out the fire and eventually we were able to go back into our apartment just as it was cooling down before a nighttime rain. Amazing. First real, full day in Chicago and that happens. Whatever. Screw that. Not going to let that get us down. The rest of the month of August was normal. No fires. No jobs. Just learning the city and getting back to normal and developing our grooves. I started going downtown most days to occupy some space in Todd’s studio. I got back to work on Bruce’s stuff and was even starting to do a bit for Todd. I also started working on some long-overdue personal projects. Vulturous was started and completed in August, the Man With No Name trilogy of posters was begun and I even took the car back to Ohio and bought myself a killer Wacom tablet.

We closed out a chaotic August by visiting the both Chicago Air and Water Show and the Chicago Dance Festival. I love summers here and that is one of the reasons why. Big-ass planes flying around the city making all kinds of a ruckus. Can’t beat it. The people watching there is pretty amazing as well. Highly recommended. While we didn’t spend too much time at the Dance festival it was still a great time being out with Nancy and enjoying our new city.

September rolled around with more of the same fun that August brought. The Chicago Jazz Festival was the first weekend in September. Nancy and I aren’t huge fans of jazz but damn… there was a whole load of awesome music being played there. Just good times had by all. Jamming dudes just making it happen. I want to be like that someday. Seriously. As a musician there is nothing more fun than just getting together with some pals and bangin’ out some sweet tunes.

The rest of September was pretty standard. Nancy and I learned a whole lot more about where we live. We ventured out into Andersonville a lot. We found an amazing grocery store that is both cheap and excellent. I started playing with the Wacom a lot. I can’t get enough of that thing. It’s a fun little tool to have in the arsenal. I also worked on an ad for Kustom Persuasion that he actually got printed. Sadly the printing company is shit from what I’ve seen. Whatever. Can’t win ’em all I suppose. I also started work on rebranding myself and my work. I developed a photography website and a new design sense for myself. I have yet to really put that all to use but it’s coming. Sooner or later it will be unleashed and it will find it’s place.

We rounded September out by going to our first NHL game. Awesome experience. Nancy and I went to a Lake Erie Monsters game last year and that was fun but this was a different level. Todd has season tickets and he offered to take us to a game. We couldn’t really pass that up now could we? It may have been just a pre-season game but I don’t care. Seeing the Blackhawks play the Red Wings is just too awesome for me to really comprehend sometimes. Totally amazing. July through September was probably the most hectic/chaotic/stressful/awesome time of my life. So many awesome things happened and some of my life goals had started coming to fruition. It’s a pretty nutty feeling to look back on it all and October through December would yield even more sweetness.

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