Friday, April 29, 2011

Vegetables Are Good For You!

Another year, another mixtape. Once again, I had a lot of fun putting together a mix CD for this year's Rock For Kids music auction. My theme this time around? Veggies.

Gapers Block staffers are among the contributors this year along with Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Bloodshot Records, Gapers Block Jim Newberry, Jon Langford, Nora O'Connor, Sanford Parker, WXRT, The Empty Bottle, Metro Chicago, and more.

The big shebang takes place tonight at SmartBar. Support the future of rock and bid on some one of a kind mixes!

Smart Bar - 3730 N Clark
6pm. Tickets: $10

Thursday, April 28, 2011


My day was totally dragging ass til I finally started streaming this new Beastie Boys album:

The Hot Sauce Committee pt 2

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tornado Alley

Is it ever going to stop raining? That's about all I've been able to think for the past week +, along with a blog post I wrote more than 3 years ago of the same title (granted, some other obviously strange things were happening about that time). We had a little peek of sunshine yesterday, and Friday is forecasted to be warm and sunny, but then it's right back into the unseasonably cool, rainy fog. Uggh.

But we're nowhere near as unlucky as those south of us in "tornado alley," including my family in STL. Last Friday, a tornado hit Lambert International Airport, basically tearing it to shreds and shutting it down. Luckily, there were no fatalities and only a few injuries, but things are much worse for those living in rural Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We've already hit the record for the most tornadoes in April, and there is still more severe weather to come, including massive flooding.

To keep up with this, and any other severe weather around the country, follow Mister Weather Channel himself, Jim Cantore on Twitter.

(photos from

Friday, April 22, 2011

Little did I know I was working on my beach bod all winter...

Last September I started having back spasms, even if I didn’t know they were spasms at the time. I was in pain, lots of pain. I would get these sharp pinches in my lower back that would just not let go. It hurt to stand, it hurt to sit, it hurt to lay down, it hurt to sleep. I finally saw my doctor and she told me my options: chiropractor, physical therapy or massage therapy. I chose to start with massage since I figured it was just a knot that needed to be worked out and I’d feel better in no time. Plus I’d be getting massages paid for by insurance, right? Yay! But these massages were anything but relaxing. Once my massage therapist focused in on my problem area, it was an hour a week solely on that spot, and it hurt. She told me it was going to be a long process. I had problems that went beyond that one knot. I got worse before I got better. I almost gave up. After another visit to the doctor (a sub as my regular doc was on maternity leave by this time) after an especially painful spasm, and I was given a scrip for muscle relaxers. I never filled it.

The place I was sent for treatment was Universal Health Institute, a health center that focuses on more holistic care. I’ll always be thankful that my doc referred me there instead of pumping me full of drugs and shoving me out the door.

After a couple of months of massage, I was ready for physical therapy. Since that knot was the result of years and years of weak muscles not supporting my spine correctly, we had to figure out exactly where I was weak and bulk me up. Just a few simple exercises once a day, and I slowly started to notice strength and bulk in muscles I didn't even know were there...between my shoulder blades, my hips, my glutes. My clothes started fitting differently, my posture improved, but best of all, I wasn’t in pain anymore. I felt strong.

Six weeks later (that’s how long it takes to build new muscle), I started chiropractor visits. Slowly, over the months with my MT, PT and chiro, we worked backwards through years and years of back pain, long ago pains and twinges that I had completely forgotten about--we’re talking some that took me all the way back to high school. Muscles just kept overcompensating for other muscles that should have been supporting me until they just couldn’t anymore, and ended up spasming.

The twice a week visits seemed like a lot. I felt like I was spending all my time (and money) there, and wondered if I would ever get better since we always seemed to be uncovering new issues. Up until a few weeks ago when I suddenly “graduated.” I didn’t need them anymore, at least that’s what they told me. Of course I’m nervous that I’ll get lazy, that I’ll end up right back where I started, but my PT gave me the tools to stick with it. Over the months that she worked with me, she taught me all kinds of simple exercises of varying difficulty for each of the muscle groups I need to maintain (plus other areas to work on), so I won’t get bored doing the same routine all the time. And of course, the folks at UHI are always there if I need anything. I’ll still be in occasionally for tune ups with my chiro and MT, and to just say hi.

All it takes now is my own motivation. And I’ve done really well so far. I still do push-ups, bridges and ab work every day, even when I don’t hit the gym. I’m at the gym 3 to 5 times a week maintaining, plus I’ve started running (instead of elliptical), which I love. I’ve always hated running. I even took a zero half the days in my high school “weight training” class because they required us to run a mile every other day. Now I have a goal to eventually sign up for a 5K.

I know it’s only been a couple of weeks out on my own, but I’m confident that I’m going to keep it up. I’ll never forget how much pain I was in and I don’t want to feel like that ever again if I can help it. Plus, I look amazing. I’ve always been really thin, but usually too skinny to feel confident in certain clothing. But now I’m gaining muscle weight, and filling out in all the right places. I have a butt!

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Skip Work," it's Friday!

Consider it double feature Friday. Local band Archie Powell & the Exports encourages us to "Skip Work" on a Friday afternoon. With such a catchy tune, it's hard to resist.

Coachelletta Friday

Super cool perspective of last year's Coachella shot by Sam O'Hare.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

From The Heart

I get a lot of perks at my job, including the occasional suite ticket to sporting events, and this weekend I'm attending a black tie gala where my company has purchased a table. What the heck, get all dressed up and take part in the open bar? Sure! But then I realized I have a personal connection to the Chicago Heart Ball's beneficiary.

Although I've never had any direct affiliation with the American Heart Association concerning my heart attack, I'm sure it's their support that led to the development of the device that I now have in my heart, along with all the treatment that I received. My situation was not near as dire as the AHA's current featured survivor, Megan Moss, but like Megan, the type of implant I received in 2003 was brand new, not even FDA approved at the time. Had it happened even a couple of years earlier, my story could have been different.

I never considered myself a "survivor", but I suppose that's what I am: a heart attack survivor. And this weekend instead of trying to forget that it happened, pretend that I'm "normal," I'll give thanks that I was so lucky...while playing dress up.

Read up on some of the American Heart Association's tips on getting healthy, warning signs and symptoms of heart attack and heart failure, and even information on strokes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This Happened.

You don't realize how much you want to be there until it's happening. LCD Soundsystem played their (claimed) final show Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. James Murphy is quick to say that they will still record music under the moniker, but no more touring. The "Long Goodbye" was streamed live on

Even though I wasn't there, I still have fond memories of seeing that giant disco ball at the Metro and Pitchfork Fest in 2010.

Photo by Alexander Stein for