Late March Update – Corporate Training and Hula Hoops

I feel a little off-balance this weekend. Most of this previous week was taken up with corporate training in Chicago. The training itself was, to my surprise, interesting, though I will likely have little opportunity to make use of any of it. I’m programmer. They don’t let me talk to clients, which is probably for the best.

I only had a couple of hours free to explore the neighborhood. Monday afternoon I walked around Millennium Park for an hour, and at the end sat and watched a group of beautiful young women dancing with hula hoops. A group of break dancers set up nearby and began popping and locking and experimenting with other styles for which I have no vocabulary. Then the two groups started to interact, which was hypnotic and in the smoother moments looked a lot like tai chi.

Thursday, between the end of the training and my cab ride back to the airport I hit the Chicago Art Institute and wandered around the Impressionists – Monet and Cezanne and Gaugin and Toulouse-Lautrec and Renoir and so many others. Again, I don’t have the vocabulary to describe most of what I saw, other than a sustained sense of wonder. Paris Street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte, made the strongest impression (heh). The way he created reflections of a cloudy sky in the puddles between cobblestones. The slight haze in the air suggesting warm weather. The glow in the sky that felt like spring.

I missed several classes and with the intense schedule had little time to practice on my own, though I did try to wake up early enough to get in some breathing exercises, and watch the rising sun hit the top of the downtown skyscrapers.

My driver for the cab ride back to the airport was a 70-ish Polish immigrant conspiracy theorist. He had many thoughts about Freemasons and the use of mass media, particularly TV, to manipulate the ignorant masses. I think he was surprised when he found out I knew the lingo and could hold a respectful conversation with him. I didn’t tell him it was because Foucault’s Pendulum was one of my favorite books.

I think he was not used to having actual conversations with his fares because he opened up about his life – what it was like to live in and leave Poland, post- WWII, and that his father was an Auschwitz survivor. He had a big axe to grind about Germany and Russia, and the destruction caused by the struggle over the ownership of Poland. Moving borders can act like bulldozers, and when several parties claim the same piece of land there may be nothing left when the dust settles.

So here I am, working on Editing, Operations, and Marketing for Caffeinated Press. Our big Schuler Books and Music event takes place on April 6. Already word is getting out, and we have a steady but increasing flow of queries to manage. Talent and genre run the gamut, and I am happy to report that everything we have seen is better than average. There is a lot of talent out there.

Now off to enjoy this beautiful Spring morning.

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