Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let's start up again.

It's been a while. and the game's changed. I no longer serve on a regular basis, I get paid for some of my time and pay others for theirs. I also have this period of time in the middle that is left to me to decide what to do with. I've learned things. watch.

I watched, listened and smelled the other day. Waiting for the 11 bus to get to work. At the stop there was a crusty old guy who decided to interrupt the latest eminem that I had bumping the buds in my ears. he started by asking if I was waiting for the 11 and that he hadn't seen it in while.

Thanks, guy. I don't care.

But a crowd of pigeons flew into m face, changing the topic of conversation. Also, this guy could be profane, watch yourself if thats offensive to your ilk.

"those bastards'll knock you out if they hit you. look out for that"

yeah, it doesn't help that they live everywhere either.

"there are so many in this damn city. They should kill 'em. they do it to deer sometimes. just shoot 'em. ha."

here, he made a shooting motion as though he had a rifle in his hands.

"but you can't shoot in the city, you'll hit buildings and people and shit. aw well, we could poison em. or catch em. we used to do that at the poultry shop you know. I could pop a head off those things like that."

he made as though he was holding the body in his left hand and twisting the right hand. with a popping noise, the imaginary head came right off.

"make damn good chicken nuggets. or at least good enough no one ever noticed. just put em in the grinder, they look fine."

silence. i was interested, but afraid to lead him on to tell more as he seemed like the type to follow me around if i gave him that attention.

"too damn many of the bastards though. i tell you. you know, in europe they kill them, and i swear they grow back up. two more for every one dead. damn."

here, i wanted to confirm rumors i had heard of a man who would let pigeons land on him, perch on his shoulders and feed from his hair.

Wasn't there a man who let them land on him?

"yeah. walking pigeon shit. dirty bastard. nice guy though. a little crazy. some dickhead ran him down with a car. he was alright though. dickhead hit him right over there at that intersection."

I was pleased to see the bus come at this point, as there is only so much crazy guy i can handle at a time.

A few days later, which makes it yesterday, in my break between classes i walked down the chicago river to the lake, because I like watching the water in its dirty green glory.

there was a guy at the end of the pier with a pickup truck, loading an engine or other vehicle part into it. this guy was twice as entertaining, however also twice as profane and even sacrilegious. made me laugh though.

"you gotta take the bridge from navy pier from here?"

this was directed at me, the obvious local, so i answered.

Yeah, there's no bridge at te end of the pier.

"huh. signage around here sucks, you know? i got all the way out here just to turn around again. no other way?"

no, the bridge is the only way for a while.

"unless you can walk on water, huh? but he got hung on a cross."

ha, i guess tahts a sin punishable by death.

"yeah. or there's moses, he had the right idea. he just split it in half."

Got locked out of the promised land though. he had to spend forty years in the desert for nothing.

" you're right there. you are. I guess what we learned today is don't fuck with water. have a good one, thanks?"

being a lifeguard, this made me nervous. also i was confused as to the question "thanks?" being a farewell. but i returned it like a parrot and carried on my merry way.

Monday, June 7, 2010

almost done.

that's all you need to know.

Monday, May 10, 2010

last week.

I worked an event called "White Sox service day". They play baseball.

I and a group of my peers prepared or "prepped" for the day all week long at a boys and girls club here in Chicago. I was given the privilege of cutting boards and carrying them up and down stairs for five strait days. It was so much fun.

Our lunches all week consisted of bread, avocados, artificial cheese, a tomato, a cucumber, some chips, and meat. Slim pickings, but free. I learned a few things:

a) I've become increasingly dissatisfied with my actual service as of late. The school year is winding down, so in class i have few things to actually do. I can sit and chat with a few kids who are smart and do their homework anyway, while my teacher prefers I stay away from those who aren't doing their work and are just disruptive. understandable, but frustrating. The only kid i can really make a difference for is Taquan. that's not to say the whole year was a waste, just recently.

b) I really miss building things.

c) I need to get out more.

On Saturday, I lead some twenty volunteers from the white sox volunteer organization in building the benches and bookshelves i prepared all week. I learned here that even though a person says and looks like a construction worker, brings their own tape measure and pencil, has a ponytail with many bands in it so it looks like a rat's tail, this does not all mean he knows what he is doing when it comes to building delicate things like bookshelves out of 1x12 boards. his were crooked and frustrating.

After this I went to my first baseball game since I was too little to care. It was the most uneventful thing I've ever witnessed. I didn't even notice when it started. I guess I'm still not a sports guy.

Little raindrops, goodbye.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

can't stop, won't stop, never intend to



I forgot that circus performers live below me in my apartment. I also forgot how useful they can be. Story:

I got home early from camp tonight, and decided to go for a run. Good idea. but, I forgot my keys. Also, Stephen and Jeanne are at a far away over night camp, and Greg is prone to doing things after work like going to the gym, or seder's (he's jewish like that) and not coming home until ten. It was 7:30, and two and a half hours is a long time to wait on one's porch.

So I rang the downstairs doorbell. I never talk to my downstairs neighbors, not because they are anti social, but because they are circus performers and work on weekends, the only time i have off. Nick came to the door. I asked if perchance they had a key to my house, because we have a key to theirs. Granted, we have a key to the basement where the laundrey machine is, but still, they might have a key for us. They didn't.

I asked if they had a ladder, because if i could get on the roof of my porch, the window there is easy to open and crawl in. They didn't.

what they did have was the following sentence:
"Hey Ashlin, come here, it's time to be a daredevil"

out came Ashlin, Nick's circus partner. Up on Nicks shoulders she went.
not quite there.
"there is no way, Nick"

"stand on my palms, i'll boost you up."

Onto Nicks palms she went. And onto the roof she went.

She got into the window in a flash, came down stairs, and unlocked the front door. Hallelu.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I've fallen behind.

Apology: It's been a while. I've been busy. with. things.

forgive me.

I organized a fundraiser for the Susan g. Koman foundation at my school, and we raised an insane amount of money over the past month. Insane.

Also, with spring rolling around, it's science fair season at the Howe school of Excellence. At least in the sixth grade class. One of the kids I'm supposed to focus on has super a.d.d. and cannot focus himself. He is failing almost everything, and most likely will stay in sixth grade another year.

But this science fair really got him going. When I first talked to him, he wanted to make a rocket. I figured this was a little beyond him, so I asked what would make the rocket go up. He hadn't thought this far. I helped him think up shaking a coke bottle/putting mentos in one, because this makes the coke explode. Also, I steered away from the whole rocket idea, but now he is super into seeing how to make coke explode the highest.

His project proposal looked like this:

Mr. Benntn tole me i can do this. I buy pop and ments and make it go high. I can please do this i buy pop. I promise I do this please mr benntn said i can.

I did say he can do this, to his credit. But That's a very unclear statement otherwise. I had him tell me what exactly he was going to do, and then write that down. It turned out much better, but now I'm going to have to go in early every morning to make sure he does his research correctly. It's a hard knock life.

Next week is camp for the third-fifth grade kiddos. 150 of them every day. It'll be good. We will get to hang out with dogs one day, some sort of reptile, and even go to the Museum of Science and Industry. at the museum the west and south side camps are joining forces to make 300 kids in one place under our control. It will be insane.

I've got a bike, and it's sunny. I'm about to register for the Chicago marathon. Wish me luck.

Thats the news from 4720, n dover. apt 2. room 1.

keep it steady, as she goes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

one step at a time, don't be living on the line.

Coffee this morning, mint mocha. medium. from the perfect cup. i recommend it.
church today, and some good hymns.
young heroes yesterday, taught some kids about homelessness and that most homeless people are victims, not perpetrators. one quarter are veterans, one quarter emotionally disturbed, one quarter hopelessly addicted to drugs (large overlap here with emotionally disturbed), one quarter veterans abandoned by the system, one quaret children children. Average age: 11-14 years old. so who are you to wave your finger?

this week in starfish, video taped some awesome dance moves and a new song written by amari and varren. ice cream and cake, ice cream and cake, you should never have a party without ice cream and cake. Lazerick started us off with the worm and a spin on his torso. that third grader can dance!
I also posed as a basketball hoop for more time than most basketball hoops do. It made my arms tired, and since there were four balls in play it was beyond terrifying.
Thursday was a valentines day party, and some third graders were being ridiculous so ms. hannah and myself had a talk with a few of them. during one of these, one of them said he was going to jump out the window and kill himself. depressing. I took him aside and found out that he used to not get into trouble at school, used to have fun more often, but his dad died right before he was supposed to move to minnesota with him. His mom doesn't let him have fun at the house, only on weekends. Most kids don't like him because he lashes out in class because he can't at home. It was hard not to cry, but i did when i got home.

I also talked to all of the third through eighth grade teachers and planned out a service project to raise money for the susan g. komen foundation. they were for it. good sign.

the olympics are on. i spend my time watching them and reading sybil, alternating by the hour. Sybil is a good book, about a woman with multiple personality disorder. she has sixteen of them.

I'm going to go buy oranges, ten for a dollar. some kiwi, three for a dollar. probably some pita. and milk.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

January 24th

There comes a time when I need to run. Sunday was that day. I’ll admit, its been a while, but It needed to happen. I ran the three miles to the gym and then swam. I also realized that my sickness of last week destroyed me. I had to run/walk those three miles, and my arms weren’t pulling any water. I felt pathetic. I’m usually one of the faster people in this pool, but I couldn’t make it more than 100 yards before taking a breather.
The lanes are also tiny and I had to share, so I was right up next to the lane line. The creepy fat girl next to me groped me more times than could possibly be accidental. This did not help my immediate dislike of most fat people. I also thought she was an old lady, and then I saw her face and realized she was about my age. It was at this point I decided I would go lift weights instead of swimming. I Showered, dried off, and went to the weight room where I realized I couldn’t really move and the weight machines were really intimidating. So I left.
There is something to be said for walking down the street in shorts and a t shirt in the middle of January passing by people in their knee length north face down jackets thick wool hats. To make the juxtaposition even more real, and more importantly because I had burned more calories than I’ve taken in the past two days, I stopped and got a mango smoothie.
Flashback to Friday night:
I went to a store I recently found that sells large loaves of delicious bread for $2.50. I went to the counter to purchase said loaf, and the man behind the counter told me that I needed to spend eight dollars to use a credit card. I only had a dollar, and they were closing so I asked if I could run to the nearest Automated Teller Machine machine and get some money with which to pay him. He said I could just pay a dollar for now and get the rest to him next time I was there. I gained a little faith in humanity.
So today I went to a used bookstore and asked the clerk if he had anything by Hunter S. Thompson. He told me that Hunter comes and goes quickly, but he saw a paperback copy sitting on top of a row of books in the paperback section in the back of the store, on the second row from the bottom. He was right. It cost one dollar. Since I spent my last dollar on a loaf of bread, and he only took cash, I said I was going to run to the ATM quick and come back. He gave me the book and told me I didn’t need to hurry. I could have just walked away with it.
I’ve gone back since, and he remembered me. People amaze me. We all have such a great need to be loved. Some of us fulfill this by vying for others attention. Whether this be through arguing our point until we seem correct and wise, or showing off our bodies and working out. Some fill the hole with other things, drugs, alcohol, sex. Some seek women, men, or God. Some seek a desperate combination of these things.
And others have got it figured out. They give that hungry kid a loaf of bread for more than half off. They let him have the book without paying just yet. They trust the inherently evil stranger to pay them back. It’s things like this that let me know that there is a God.

Friday, January 22, 2010

good story.

Last week I became violently ill Wednesday morning at 2 o'clock. I puked many times, dry heaved, excreted, and cleaned the bathroom. I was fevered and weak all day, I didn't eat anything and was becoming mildly delusional. At one point I was sitting in my beautiful $5 goodwill chair that smells faintly of old people and soap, when my phone started ringing. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon.

I answered my phone, and on the other end of the line was Kiki, my partner in handling the third graders after school for homework help. I was still delusional from the fever, and I was fairly confused. I spoke with a few of the kids, who all told me to come and help them with their homework. Some even told me that because I had such long legs I may as well just hop on my bicycle and ride on over there, because it wouldn't take too long. Or I could even run and get there in three steps. obviously that.

I did neither of those things, and I didn't even make it to school the next day because I was so weak, but nothing could have turned that awful awful day around so much. I was so happy afterwords that i tried to drink some kool-aid to get some strength back. but alas. it did not work.

This week has been trainings and even a retreat back to camp duncan to learn more about ourselves and each other. It is impressive to see how the corps has matured in the last few months.

I'm so inspired, I'm even applying for one more year of below minimum wage, fifty hour work weeks. I hope i get in one more time, It would give me more time to develop some much needed leadership skills as well as mature me even beyond my current enlightened stage.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

winter's cold is too much to handle

Joselyn is no longer with us.
Her brother Joshua was thrown in the snow by some other kids and then kicked. He told his grandma, who cannot pick them up every day to make sure this does not happen. the only trouble is, as soon as the kids leave after starfish, they only want to fight each other.
Today I told one girl it was time to go home.

"no, now's the time to kick snow on each other and fight!"

yeah, no I'm cool with that. I love playing in the snow. Sometimes snowball fights break out, whatever. But you don't cross that line to the point where a kid is crying and you're still kicking him.

And as soon as they leave the school grounds, there's not technically anything we can do but watch.

Some kids still cheer me up though. And I'm making a difference, I guess.

Yesterday I was walking home from a friend's house, and crossing the street I heard a car screech and then a different noise. I turned around and saw one stopped car, and assumed it was a fender bender. I laughed a little at people's inattentiveness, and turned back around.

Then I realized there only one car.

I turned back around and ran over to find a woman down on the ground. I asked if she was okay, to check for consciousness and whatnot. She was responsive and awake. A magical EMT came out of no where and off of the job. She told me she was and EMT and could handle it. Another man had called nine one one so I waited with them for the ambulance and carried on my way.

I called my parents because I had lots of adrenaline going and needed to talk to someone.

Also, they're pretty cool.