Chicago Street Photography and the Navy Pier

Over the weekend, I went to Chicago for some street photography. I missed Derby in Louisville completely. Chicago was nice, though. I’ll have to go back to get some more street photography there soon. The Navy Pier also opened back up for the first time this weekend since it shutdown last year at the beginning of the pandemic. Overall, I had a nice trip. Unfortunately, my roommate didn’t because he drove. The parking is still rough, but that’s Downtown Chicago.

That being said, I love the night life in Chicago. There’s almost always someone interesting to photograph and the city has enough tall buildings for interesting lighting and cool urban shots.

Chicago Streets

I started simple in the streets Friday night and the next morning.

From the Car

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My Four-Day Weekend Was Completely Wasted On Watching The West Wing

Good afternoon, everyone! What’s it been, like a week? Or did I blog twice last week? Honestly, I can’t remember, and I’m probably not going to stop writing this to go look. I did discover something interesting by not blogging every day – my unique visitors stay roughly the same, though my individual views go down. I guess you guys just get bored after a few days into the week and just start clicking crap. I’m not judging – ya’ll can do whatever. But, hey, at least I know that I don’t HAVE to blog everyday if I don’t have a lot going on.

The last few weeks I really haven’t done much except be infected with the coronavirus, procrastinate in my grad school classes, and write some. I think I’m officially over the coronavirus. It look a good long while. Not fun. Anyway, I’ve not had any symptoms for like a week and I haven’t had to take any fever reducers for about 8 days, I think.

My Four-Day Weekend

My Thanksgiving was alright. My roommate and I bought Thanksgiving dinner plates from a local dining service and ate by ourselves in our living room. How was your all’s Thanksgiving? Or your weekend? Also, can four day weekends just be standard now? That’s what I’m going to work towards – setting my life up to enjoy four-day weekends as often as possible. Unrealistic, you say? It goes against the grain that’s been perpetuated by society since the dawn of unemployment rate monitoring, sure, but I’m not convinced.

While we’re talking about unrealistic life goals, Yes, I’m still thinking about moving out of the state rather quickly. Within a year would be best. Have I mentioned how over Kentucky I am? Yes, being gay in Kentucky still very much sucks. I used to think it was getting better, but every election year I’m reminded that I’m still looked down upon by about 70% of the people here.

I think with my next paycheck, I’m going to plan some bus trips to Chicago sometime next March and April. Then maybe a trip to San Francisco in May, though I’ll have to schedule it way in advance to get a lower price on a plane ticket. (Not bussing to California, sorry.) Gosh, I really hope 2021 works out.

What I’m Reading/Watching/Doing

What am I reading this week? I suppose I could start throwing that in these things. I’m reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. It’s um, not my usual reading, I’ll give it that. Yes, I’m just sort of trying to catch up on Pulitzers. I try to read them because, well, some people met and discussed them and determined they were worth reprinting a million times.

Also, in other random life news, I’m trying my best to avoid buying a new cell phone, because I finally paid off my Samsung Galaxy S9+, and would like to keep a lower bill for a while. I don’t know if I’ll succeed, especially if a new one comes out in March.

Also, I’m watching The West Wing. I can’t believe I haven’t watched it until now. Apparently it leaves Netflix December 24th, so I only have a few weeks to finish it.

What Are You Doing?

Anyway, how is your all’s Monday going? What did you do over the weekend? What are ya reading? What are ya watching?

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I Want To Move Out of Kentucky

I didn’t blog much last week because I’ve been sick and quarantining with coronavirus, so I just haven’t really done a whole lot. I have been doing a lot of thinking, though.

I’m still very single and at this point, since I’m 33 years old and almost 34, I have decided that there’s a good chance I’ll probably never find another guy who is interested in anything serious that I will ever feel close enough to, so I’ve decided to just make the rest of 2020 and 2021 about finishing my master’s degree, rebuilding my finances, and finding a new place to live where I can just exist and be happy alone. I’m also very very tired of living in a state where the overwhelming majority of people in it actually don’t want me to be happy as a gay man.

So, 2021 will be about finding a new state and city to live in. I’ve lived in Kentucky all my life and I have reached my breaking point with it. This state is one of the lowest rated states in higher education. People get mad at me when I say this, but it’s really starting to show. Religion is too often used as scientific reasoning, and the people here aren’t even actually that nice. And, after spending 34 years here, I really don’t think it’s going to get any better. At least not for me. So, I’m done. I’m leaving.

I can be much happier somewhere else. Somewhere where the attorney general doesn’t want me to die and the overwhelming majority of people don’t actually consider a governor closing indoor dining to stop the spread of the deadly disease a dictator. Also, if gay marriage becomes an issue again due to the supreme court, I do not trust Kentucky. I know politics are not set in stone anywhere, and many states flip flop, which Kentucky does on occasion. But, it never sticks. And you know what? I’m single, I’m in my thirties, and I don’t have to be stuck in this state anymore.

Things I Need To Take Care Of First

To successfully move to a place where I can fully enjoy existing by myself, a few things need to happen. I have some credit cards I need to finish paying off (I’m horrible with money – yes, as apparently are all democrats, or so I hear from family.) I also need to build up my savings some.

For me to exist happily somewhere alone, the area I live in needs to have certain things:

  • It needs to be a metropolitan area.
  • I require public transportation.
  • There have to be bike lanes.
  • SIDEWALKS. You wouldn’t believe how bad some cities are at sidewalks. It is mind-baffling to me.

The reason the area needs to be a metropolitan area is because I will be stuck in it a lot unless I want to travel by bus or plane, so it needs to be an area that is well equipped to meet a person’s needs. While most people can live in a smaller town and just drive to a bigger city when they need to, I can’t. I can’t legally drive due to a peripheral vision issue.

So, I have some searching to do. There are some cities I have in mind, but I have to do some research and spend some time in them. That is what 2021 is mostly going to be about. My current top choices are San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago. There are other places to consider as well. I’ll blog about them as I go. There are also a slew of other areas where I might end up going to get a doctorate or another masters degree anyway.

So, yeah, I’m moving. I know most here in this state will probably say good riddance. And that’s okay, because I will find a place with people that don’t say that.

Why am I sharing this? Because I paid good money for my web hosting and my domain name, and I felt like it. How was your weekend? If you’re in the San Francisco or New York City or Chicago area, any apartment hunting tips? Know of any cities or neighborhoods with good transportation options?

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I Skipped Monday Because I Went To Chicago And I Just Couldn’t, Like, Even

This weekend I went to Chicago.

I tried to plan ahead and get some writing done for the blog so that I could continue to post things. It didn’t work because I’m a complete and total lazy ass. I posted last Friday’s short fiction story as-is anyway, just because.

I thought for this coming Friday’s fiction post, I’d just sort of completely fucking redo last Friday’s story. I’ll let you know how the rewrite goes. Well, you’ll see how it goes, I guess. I was going to tell you all of this blog-housekeeping stuff on Monday’s blog post, but I decided to skip Monday because I just couldn’t, like, even.

I went to my part-time job Monday morning on 3 hours of sleep since Sunday morning and was a completely dysfunctional asshole. Today was better. (Tuesday, but it’ll be Wednesday when you read this, I think. I don’t even know anymore.)

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Here are some pictures I took while I was in Chicago.

About the only useful thing I managed to do while I was in Chicago was take some pictures. Since I owe you guys a post, I figured I’d throw some of them up here.

A post shared by Eric Howard (@ericshayhoward) on Technically this wasn’t after my first train ride, because my friend and I got on the wrong train first and then came back to here while we waited on another one. It was my first picture in Chicago, though.

A post shared by Eric Howard (@ericshayhoward) on This was the other side. You know what? Maybe the other picture was after this one. It doesn’t matter. I think it’s Downtown Chicago. I didn’t look it up because I’m terrible with directions and maps.

A post shared by Eric Howard (@ericshayhoward) on When my friend and I needed breakfast, we walked around for about 20 minutes in the cold Downtown and found this place. We couldn’t figure out the name of i. It wasn’t on anything inside the building. We forgot to look at the building when we were back outside. I tagged it at some point over the weekend, but it’s only an educated guess. I should really pay more attention to my surroundings.

A post shared by Eric Howard (@ericshayhoward) on Here’s the Small Presses section of a local bookstore in Chicago. I can’t remember the name of it, because like I said, I should really pay more attention.

A post shared by Eric Howard (@ericshayhoward) on Here’s a picture of me, of course. The Allerton was the hotel I stayed at in Chicago.

A post shared by Eric Howard (@ericshayhoward) on Here’s the last picture I took in Chicago. It’s at the same train station as the first picture, in the same place, looking out at the same street. I had fun. Chicago is a beautiful city. I might move there. I’m going to do some more traveling, apply for MFA programs, write, meet people, and see where I end up.

So there’s all the stuff I was doing instead of editing the fiction post for last Friday.

I’m going to give it a rewrite this week. Maybe it’ll be cool. Maybe not. See you all Friday with the new draft of the short story.

And, I’m sorry for not posting on Monday. I made a commitment to try and stay consistent with this blog and fucked up not even a few weeks into my goal.

Here’s last Friday’s short fiction story, “The Greatest”, which I hate the title of, by the way, and hope to gawsh I can find something better for it before the rewrite.

Here’s the Friday before last’s story that’s actually kinda good.

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A Bad Tweet About My Writing Process

This week, I’m preparing for a trip and reading A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.

I’m supposed to be making sure I can find warm clothes for the trip, but instead I’m reading Fredrik Backman’s novel, A Man Called Ove. This is one of the novels I’m making myself read this year. There are also a few more. I’m also very much aware that it’s nearly the end of the year. I read so many novels my final semester at the University of Louisville that I had to take a break from reading novels all summer and fall. I won’t get done reading this novel before next year, so we might as well go ahead and say it’s the first novel I’m reading for 2018. It doesn’t matter. I have to plan a trip.

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My trip is Friday. Well, it’s Friday at 6am. That means I have to basically be ready Thursday night. So from Thursday through Sunday I will be on a trip. That’s what I’m trying to say. My trip is for business. Well, personal. Well, I’m making it business. Okay, more personal I guess. You know what, it’s both. It doesn’t matter. I’m going somewhere to do things.

I have other goals, too. I tweeted them.

 

I sort of regret tweeting this. I don’t like talking about my “process”. First of all, it assumes anyone is even asking. Also, while the tweet is basically true, I don’t like the illusion that I’m consistent with my writing process. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING about my writing process is ever consistent. I also regret the typo in the word “weeks”. So, by the power vested in me by my English degree from the University of Louisville, I hereby declare this tweet a bad tweet. I’m not deleting it though, because nothing matters anymore, anyway.

Back to Backman and coats. And writing, of course.

I’ll see you all Friday when I post this week’s short fiction. You can see an early draft if you support me on my Patreon page.

Here’s last Friday’s short fiction story, “The Arrangements of Bird Men”.

fredrik backmans a man called ove novel and a coffee cup

You can contact me using my contact form, follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and like my page on Facebook.

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