Poison dart frogs and In Fine Spirits

1. Six comes early when you are delivered back to a hotel at three in the morning climbing sideways up the elevator testing rooms with your key until finding one that unlocks. I fell into a deep passed out state only to be startled by an alarm promptly waking my not so sober self. No! I was not going stay horizontal and big headed. I would not do this, I could not. I was in my magical kingdom. Throw some sweats on your drunk ass, swallow some coffee, an aspirin and an energy drink, now! Take your sorry self and go jog Michigan Avenue. And that's just what I did for thirty minutes, returning to the hotel less mushy than when I had left. A short taxi ride gallops me to an underwater wonder, close up and personal. Rivers of Cichlids, oceans of Jellies, seas of Horses. Poison dart frogs in blue and yellow breaking the green landscape. A pool of ocean sport whales and dolphins recognizing shapes and sounds jumping, breaking waves putting on a mystical show. Red tailed hawks glide across the pool to gently claw solid ground upon a perch with rewards of cryogenic mice. Natural beauty caged in concrete, steel and glass. The remainder of midday filled my ears with fingers tapping keyboards. 2. Design is the ability to provide form over function. 3. Listening to the sounds of ideas surfacing over potentially mesmerizing, yet unheard, music was intriguing. 4. While never experiencing notes directly, the passion behind promotion is sometimes just as soothing. Hours and hours pass before a venturous soul toting essential baggage decides to cruise through the quiet streets of Andersonville heading west towards Clark in anticipation of a friend coming in from LA, my Oz until Sunday. Geo-tagging check in at a posh wine bar serving freshly tapped Firkin. Thirstily, I consume. 5. My connected world is collapsing with a laptop battery dying and a cell battery dying even faster. Luggage has been dropped in the land of Oz and my place in the wine line preserved. I had stepped outside to breathe a nicotine enhanced breath when I started a chat with a pleasant lady from Michigan. We spoke softly of wine when from out of the wine store proclaiming the best Shiraz he had ever tasted. I stepped in, bought two bottles returning to my companion presenting one for her and one for me. She bought me a drink later that evening. Native and Oz present themselves and a ciggy break finds two ladies again. More stolen kisses and Firkin flowing, the night once again dances to the beat of randomness. “Will I see you again?” “In the social channels.” Kiss and good night. I stumble back to something horizontal once again, but only a few blocks walk. My tired feet take me with Oz guiding, too intoxicated to make a list of 10, just 10 things. The drinks:
  1. Stone IPA from North County San Diego
  2. Raw Power Shiraz from South Australia
  3. St. Germaine
  4. Death's Door Gin
  5. Firkin
  1. Time to Pretend by MGMT

Sarsaparilla by morning

1. I have slipped into a middle aged life peppered with business trips, meetings, late nights and an overall geek attached to anything that goes online. 2. The thought of two women having a conversation amongst themselves about Cascading Style Sheets completely turns me on, that is tomorrow though, let's get through day one. 3. My escape was invigorating and exhausting. The wind blows strong and constant off the water, running through the valleys full of concrete, steel and glass; somewhere amongst this exist exotic fish, Sarsaparilla, firkin, pumpkin, poison muffins cupcakes, taxis, trains, coffee, friends, social marketing, social networking and possibly even stolen kisses. The miles upon miles added to my shoes and the wheels of my luggage gave way to self awareness and mind boggling events I never thought possible in four days. With no rules, minimalist plans and a connected world, I set out to conquer the streets of what is, quite possibly, the most magical place on earth. 4. Day one was an endurance test, both to my physical stamina and my liver's processing power. 5. Taking the first flight in was the best decision I made, regardless of the close proximity of the flight returning me home the night before and the one to roll me back out again. With feet back on the ground, I set off for the cheapest and most expedient mode of transportation to the hotel that turned out to be an “amazing,” to quote a three year old, adventure. Ten passenger airport shuttle, boring ride full of complete strangers that don't speak, not this time. Darting in and out of traffic north bound on Lake Shore was not complete without the “Whoa” and “Wee” sounds effects. The city buses were described in vivid detail as “Spectacular” and the thirty minute disagreement that we were not on a “airport shuttle,” but a “space shuttle,” made the ride top notch. 6. Day one was an endurance test, both to my feet and my heart strings. 7. Going to dinner was the best decision I made, regardless of the bill, but it really started much earlier. Nine in the morning found me, forty pound backpack, one cup of coffee and a pair of walking boots heading due east until I met water. Once at water, I followed concrete until it ended, wrapped back around the opposite side and found the first food establishment en route. To care for my every desire was a thin, short haired red head with a vibrant disposition. Somewhere in the middle of catering to her guests, she managed to deliver a Caesar chicken wrap, a Dixie cup filled with brew and some very unhealthy waffle fries, yum. Next up, mainstream hip and urban loitering Michigan Avenue with hundreds of establishments eager to get a portion of my hard earned dollar. Shopping has never really been a past time of mine, however there is excitement in watching the hustle of shopping fanatics bargain hunting. Parched and in need of a pick me up, I opted for an iced Americano and decided to start the trek back to the hotel and give my tired feet a rest before heading out for dinner. Back in the four walls and a bed home away from home, the shoes quickly escaped from wrapping my heels, followed by a shower and ready for the second start of the day. I do enjoy the train, but do prefer the guided tour as my familiarity with their routes is lacking. Six o'clock meeting an old friend for an adventure yet to be determined. Destination posh restaurant in Wicker Park. Duck fat fries, hanger steak, salted rock fish, some drinks, catching up on old times, new times and between times. 8. My palate experienced some explosive sensations finished off with a fine cognac. Summoned though social channels is the best way I can describe the road to our next location, meeting not one, but two ladies; destination, southern influenced bar. The rest is a social marketing mystery. Three of the four in our party planted firmly in chairs on the outdoor patio “checked in” through social Geo-tagging. Upon check in, we were notified of the special for doing so which has since that night, slightly reoriented my desire to consume bacon. Joining our table next were four shots of bacon infused whiskey. I had a strong suspicion that this breakfast flavored drink was to be tasty; I will stick to non-infused whiskey. Remaining cautions on the levels of alcohol in my blood, I opted for the safety of hops. This managed to work well until someone exposed our location which summoned various members of kitchen management and chefs. We could have asked for the moon, but seemingly, opted for pumpkin crème brulée. Sometime during this crazed escapade, my female companion decided that I was not consuming enough alcohol and proceeded to convince me that Sarsaparilla was a great idea. Her beautiful eyes just would not let me say no, even though this would mean trouble. Keeping warm and toasty partly from a propane heater, partly from spirits, the conversations danced through the evening. Some time passed and our chef friend convinced us to join something and we gave him something that would do something and we got a local cookbook autographed. At that point, it was a brilliant idea, so three, or two, of us, were now sporting a real honest to goodness cookbook with a real honest to goodness autograph, sure to be worth tens of dollars soon. Mine, upon re-examination, simply says Sarsaparilla. 9. As evidence suggests, or the inability to recall some of the details suggest, I was definitely on the not so sober side of life. 10. It is somewhere between there and a taxi that I may have potentially stolen a kiss and then possibly proceeded to steal more.