Saw some people

The day started out hot and muggy, and I didn't get as much writing done as I wanted, but I ended up seeing a few folks.

First of all, when I was walking to the Art Institute of Chicago, I saw Chicago photoblogger Rachelle Bowden, who's also the editor of Chicagoist, which the media likes to describe as a blog.

It's a great site, but I would say it's more of an interactive online publication rather than a blog, because it's part of what I call the "Ist Franchise," started by New York-based Gothamist. They have articles at each of the city sites, written by a staff, and readers can make comments. But I wouldn't consider them blogs because I see blogs as independent entities created by one person or a team to provide a creative outlet and an opportunity to write for the world, free of the constraints and limitations (ie, lack of opportunities) of traditional media. I think that the initial reason for a blog is individual, free expression--"Writing Without Borders" or "WWB," as I call it.

Anyway, I saw Rachelle taking a picture of the Chicago River from the Michigan Avenue Bridge, near where the Trump Tower is being built, and I asked her, "Are you Rachelle, the blogger?" She said yes, and then we walked down Michigan Avenue, talking about New York and the thousands of hits she gets at Chicagoist. I was surprised that she wasn't weirded out that I talked to her, because I don't think it's common that readers approach her, or even recognize her. She's a nice person and I hope to see her again sometime.

Then this afternoon, I saw John Kass in front of the Tribune building (where he works), chatting with another media guy who I didn't recognize. Kass is the only media guy who is not afraid to criticize Mayor Daley, and has even written about his affiliation with the Mafia. You can read his columns at the Chicago Tribune site.

Kass is totally cool--he's on page two of the paper and is successful, but he is totally down-to-earth and humble. I would love to hang out with him sometime, but that's quite impossible, so I'll just continue to say hello. Actually, I have had a few five-minute conversations with him when he's taken cigarette breaks in front of the Tribune building, and he's always been nice enough to tolerate me. So if you've been wondering what he's like, he is cooler than you think.

Finally, when I went out to eat at Big Bowl on Ohio Street with the best teacher on the planet and the other students from the Japanese class I go to every week, I saw Steve Dahl. He's a Chicago radio guy who became even more famous for Disco Demolition 25 years ago, where he blew up thousands of disco records in Comiskey Park (where the White Sox play, now called Cellular Field).

I was surprised he was there, but when I got home, I read in his blog that he and his show staff were going to be there. They have "team dinners" at a Chicago restaurant once in a while, and the one I was at happened to be the place for their meeting tonight. Exciting. Well, not really, because I continued to speak "Japlish" (a Japanese-English mix) with the folks from the class, and Steve and the gang were on the other side. But who cares. The Mai Tai was tasty.

So what started out as a humdrum sweaty day ended up being not so bad.

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