A Few Words About Chicago…

litfeststreetI had an absolute blast in Chicago. Most times, when I go to these book events, that’s usually the case, but some trips stand out more than others. Chicago is one of those, and not because the entire trip was excellent, but rather because it wasn’t. Mind you, the bad had very little to do with the event, and just my impressions of the city. But quite a bit of the good had to do with my impressions of the city as well.

All the people I met were excellent. Friendly, smiling, and happy to have a chat. It’s good to see such things. It’s not always that way, with most people just grunting at you or not smiling, waving, or nodding in return. Like it’s hard to acknowledge a fellow human being, or it’s going to hurt to say “hi” to a stranger. And yes, Brownies, this is coming from someone who, as a general rule, dislikes people. I’m still courteous and say hello when spoken to. If I make eye contact with you on the street, I nod or say hello. I refuse to just huff at someone in greeting… we’re not apes anymore.

Chicago, like most cultural centers, is a beauty to behold. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I’m not a big picture-taking guy, which is why my Instagram has only a dozen pictures on it. I know my wife got a few pictures of the Sears Tower shrouded in mist, and I took some pictures of the architecture where our table was. Oh, and a DeLorean/Tardis mashup shirt on some nice young lady. For a friend, you know. But here’s a guy holding up a ledge of a hotel…

chicagoarchitecture

My biggest complaint about Chicago is the damn toll roads, and specifically the sign thanking me for using them. I can see you giving thanks, Chicago, if you provided a non-toll highway and I chose to use the toll way, but that’s not the case. It’s either go far out of the way or pay the toll. Fuck you very much, but stick your thanks up your ass, considering the amount of construction, slow traffic, and overall fuckery of the highways. I paid to sit in my car, which I can do for free in my driveway. And I feel like this is a legitimate bitch, and let me tell you why. We drove through Chicago about ten years ago, using the toll roads (specifically 90 West) to get up to Minnesota and guess what? THE ROAD WAS UNDER HEAVY CONSTRUCTION THEN, TOO! So, in ten years, Chicago, you’re still tinkering and, at some point, you just have to let your baby stand.

I already posted on my Facebook feed about the hotel… which, while I jokingly called it the Murder Hotel all weekend, it was perfectly fine, minus not having a coffee maker in my room. What in the actual fuck is that about? Oh, and we also found a trouser snake’s skin near our car one morning. Judging by the size of the skin, it was a biggun. Happy hunting, brother.

Chicago, your food is delicious. I didn’t take pictures of everything I ate while there, but I indulged in my first Chicago style hotdog. Christian Larsen was kind enough to school me (read that as berate and bully) in what a proper dog should be and what it should have on it. Must say, it was tasty as hell and I’m revising my opinion on those shitty little pink turds we buy in the grocery store. For those interested, my dog came from Standing Room Only. I also had Italian from a place called Moretti’s. The food was excellent, but the dining room music was a tad too loud (maybe I’m just that old now…), and I didn’t get the décor. Italian food with bull horns on the walls? If a Chicago person can explain, that’d be awesome…

ginoseastI did take a picture of my first authentic deep dish pizza. I did say first and authentic… I’m getting up in years, but I’d never been to Chicago. I’ve had “authentic” deep dish pizza at a Chicago “chain” restaurant, but that was almost fifteen years ago when I still lived in Columbus, Ohio. It wasn’t the greatest thing ever. In fact, it was so bad my wife and I never went back. So I was a little wary of trying authentic deep dish again. I’m happy to say, though, this time the pizza was fabulous. A good beer from Flying Dog may have helped. May. We ate at Gino’s East and since I’m a nobody with no reference, I fully recommend that place.

Enough about the city, though. I went to the Windy City to sell books and that’s what I did. It’s nice to connect with readers and get your work out there to them. Signing books is still a little on the weird side, but not so weird that I have to think about what I put in them anymore. To be fair, too, events are made special by the people attending with you. The Printer’s Row Lit Fest was no exception.

I met fellow Post Mortem Press authors Cynthia Pelayo and Michael David Matula for the first time. Ms. Pelayo brought mimosas for brunch, which was awesome. Elizabeth Jenike showed up as well. She’s the fantastic lady who edited Necromancer. (Hire her, people). I’ve detailed some of the bullying Christian Larsen provided, but he made up for all that by engaging in excellent conversation about high vs low fantasy on Sunday.  A truly great discussion, which deserves its own blog post, and which Chris said he was going to do, so I’ll let him handle it. Keep an eye on his blog… HERE!

As always, hanging out with Post Mortem Press was great. They do excellent work, treat everyone well, and are certainly deserving of a long, long look by both readers and authors.

All told, I can’t wait to get back to Chicago next year.

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