Mr. Cicada

By thousands, by millions cicadas begin to solicit the local trees, telephone poles, and building walls. Slowly emerging from the ground from the hollows they've lived in for 17 years, they take to anything that is vertical. Gripping, grabbing, holding tight to something that will offer leverage in time of labor.

What to my eyes should appear but a cicada in my very own apartment hall, lapping up the luxury of shelter. This cicada is smarter than the others. While rain and a strange cold hit Deerfield killing the other cicadas outside, this cicada has chosen a royal existence. It is an aristocrat who has only one friend, the lifeless body it left not many days before, the exoskeleton womb.

Now they start their song. A sing-song of chirping and humming. What do these creatures say? Do they talk about their adventures of getting to a tree? Do they ask the cicada next door to come over for coffee and procreation? While they converse outside, the aristocrat cicada in my hallway sits lonely. The lifeless body that hangs not too far from it offers no conversation, no comfort. I feel sorry for the fella'.

It is said that these cicadas arrive every 17 years due to evolutionary systems that give them a better chance of carrying on their lifeline. In choosing a prime number, the cicadas have given themselves a 96% better chance of having a successful mating season. Moreover, due to their timing they have given themselves a better result in not mating with other species, they are a pure breed. We should all pay respect to this intelligent insect. Next time you pass or ride by a cicada, give that little insect a salute. Next time when having a beer with some friends offer a toast to that little insect. "Here's to the cicada!"

In other blogging news and stories my wife and I had a great ride this Memorial Day. We rode an awesome 20 miles with a break for a picnic lunch. Beyond that I've noticed some great sites that everyone should check out. One of them being This is a great site covering such topics as "commuting 101" and "commuting bikes." Please check it out. Another site is This site is based out of California, so for the Illinois people it may seem irrelevant, but alas, it is not! Check out the "properganda" section. Until next time.

This blog was written while listening to many things, but most importantly the new John Legend's album Once Again. A great feel and great production.

A Town of Its Own Name

In the middle of Deerfield is an intersection of roads; One street Waukegan Road, the other Deerfield Road. The roads intersect to make four corners where upon one of those corners resides a square. Original minds of Deerfield came together to give this square a title, for giving it a name is what you do with such places. The "who's who" of Deerfield decided on the banal Deerfield Square. In order for a person living on Deerfield Road to arrive at Deerfield Square it is necessary to travel down the road on which that person resides, namely Deerfield Road.

And "blah blah" I could go on. A pattern quickly forms, a pattern that is evident in my life. Anything I do, anywhere I go involves Deerfield. For example, one of my favorite places to go on my days off (can you say "days off" when you have no job?) is Deerfield Library. I travel down Deerfield Road to arrive at Deerfield Library. Before arriving at Deerfield Library I pass by Dearfield Village Hall and Police Station. Parked in the parking lot of the Village Hall are cars with wonderful letters spelling out Deerfield. I sigh in relief to find that at the very least the parks are not all Deerfield Park #1, #2, #3, and so on.

I am not sure why this has caught my attention. Perhaps it's because I feel like a tourist in my own town. I go to the local Walgreens to find "Deerfield" printed on shirts two-for-ten-dollars. A person could visit Panama City or Alcatraz and find the same thing.

Perhaps my attention has been tickled because of redundancy. If a village hall is located inside city limits could not a simple person figure it out? It's like getting to a register in a store and finding a sign stating the register is indeed that store's. Of course, if the register is inside that store it must be that store's register, not some other competitor's register.

Above all of this complaining I still love this town. Sometimes I am nothing but a complaining jukebox, put the quarter in and I start. Just west and east of my apartment are trails for me to ride. Moreover, as I spoke about earlier, the library is great and a place I frequent. Deerfield Cyclery, a bike shop in downtown Deerfield, is a great place with great people. Chicago is a 20 minute hike down 41. I could keep going on. Every settlement, town, city, state, country is going to have downfalls. The greener grass is always irresistable, we quickly run to the other side only to find the other side is still on the other side (imagine looking in a mirror that is looking in a mirror). After all, most of us live in a town of its own name.

Good Morning Sunshine

A ride is a ride is a ride. Today I was able to undergo a fun and light ride with my lovely wife as we jumped from one yard-sale to another. "Let's stop here," I say as we cruise along at a relaxing pace of 10-miles-per-hour and she agrees. All we found were baby clothes and broken furniture. With no offspring in the picture and no need for furniture in our "little apartment on the first floor" (read in the same tone as "little house on the prairie"), we didn't barter for anything. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our Saturday in the sun even if my skin eventually did not appreciate my willingness to be outside.

Last year, at about this very time, I found myself pondering a quest. Some even called it a goal (dangerous words, I rarely complete those). My quest for last year was to ride 1,000 miles on my bike. At that very thought some may gasp, others will cry with laughter. Those who gasp often are the ones who also "wheeze" when walking down the road. Those who cry with laughter are those who put around 10,000 miles on their metal horse. Call me a middle man in this specific case. Whatever may be said of me, I didn't complete the quest. I barely got half-way there. Alas! I put forth the same effort, the same quest for this year. May I, by the end of October, ride 1,000 miles. Please, I ask for support from none of you, but if you'd like to join me in a ride just say so.

Another happening happened. My wife and I went out and discovered a new place we love so well. It seems lame and even a little "corporate" to some, but we have to go with what has been given to us in suburbia. We enjoy the Red|Star Tavern. The name of the place is a quiz in itself, it's not so red, there are no stars (celebrity or otherwise), and a tavern it is not. The Red|Star is like an Applebees or TGIFridays with a little more emphasis on the bar. And what to my wandering eyes should appear but a Fat Tire! Oh this wonderful brew from New Belgium. I am not too sure if it's been reviewed on "Beer Me!" from DirtRag, but my review is in. Good. Simple as that. Fat Tire is good!

Get out for a ride. Let it be a relaxing ride. Enjoy the path, the road, the grass, the dirt. Enjoy the company that keeps you. Enjoy the freedom.

"Good morning sunshine, the earth says hello!"

The Job Has Come Upon Me!

Those familiar with The Pixies will appreciate my most recent of titles. A title that is humorously true in my life. All of a sudden the job has come upon me. "Marcus! Put away those t-shirts! Take up business casual," says life while I sit in an interview for an administrative position. "A little straight-laced for you, isn't it?" says a professor, being honest with a teaspoon of tact. They force my hand and my song. I must sing back in great frankblackfrancis tone, "THE JOB HAS COME UPON ME!"

What happened to the day when people congratulated you for just getting a job? I have appreciated all of the, "What about luthiery?" questions. Those questions show that people were interested in what I wanted to pursue. Something has got to give, however. When credit card, school, utilities, rent and all other bills start screaming, "Pay me!" I must concede. Like a writer or an artist accepting a position as an instructor, I accept this position at TIU. Dreams are good to have, but they are dreams, and sometimes we have to take care of reality first. Not a fun fact for us to learn in America, a land of opportunity (or a land of forgotten middle-class, but that's a rant for another time).

I have other dreams besides occupational dreams. I have dreams that Adrienne and I can travel, see places while we are young, and hopefully when we are old. I have dreams of being out of debt, free and clear, which is connected to a dream of being able to volunteer my time in ministry. I have dreams of having a place to call my own. All of these other dreams require something of my occupation that luthiery can not provide at this moment. There are no shops for me to join, one downfall of Chicago area, and opening my own requires a significant amount of money and time. Only one of those variables (time) do I have.

The job has come upon me and I am ready. I am excited for a different opportunity (more of a sober excitement than an ebullient excitement). I am excited to grow. I am excited about nights off and weekends off. I am excited about benefits and being paid on time, something I currently do not have. Thank you to some of you that have showed concern, but I'll be more than fine (Listen to Fiona Apple's song entitled "Waltz (Better Than Fine)" as a good reference). Adrienne and I are excited about this stage in our life and we hope others can celebrate with us.

On a real quick NPR blurb, it has been reported by NPR that Citigroup Inc. will be committing $50 billion to environmental projects over the next decade. This commitment goes down as one of the biggest Wall Street commitments to address climate change. We can all start clapping a little, clapping requires no fossil fuels.

The Lake and All of Its Splendor

The weekend has come and gone once again. To keep up with my recent trend of weekends, I was not able to get out and have a significant ride. I say significant because for a short while my wife and I were able to ride in Wisconsin. With great difficulty we rode for 2 miles, not very significant. By no means was our ride too hard, but rather bicycles were frowned upon at every point of the resort. To bring the point home, Lake Geneva, the nearest city, didn't even allow bicycles on the streets. What kind of world does Wisconsin live in? Seriously, is it considered earth up there? The people actually believe they have mountains and that Brett Favre is still a great quarterback. In Chicago we concede the fact that Rex Grossman is short of decent.

In a funny way, this blog about bicycling has progressed with little to do about bicycling. I would like to think that I can improve upon that, but so far experience has shown me that I can not be too sure. At the very least I have pictures to keep none of you entertained. On this rare occasion in my blog I have a picture of me with a bike. Fittingly I am not on the bike.

Placing jokes to the side, I was able to have a great weekend with my wife at a marriage conference that we attended. Friendships were made, we hope, and fun times were had. Our marriage was not affected in any great way, however, we gleaned some useful information. To place a cherry on top, the room that we stayed in was spectacular. Whenever there is an overhead shower and king-size bed involved comfort and luxury are not felt missing.

With our arrival home, we realized that in all of our fun we became immensely sore. Old age and apathy no longer creep upon the body, but take it by storm. Funny how that happens in life. Funny, or depressing? An hour long volleyball game is no longer just an hour, but a weekend, for that is the amount of time it takes the body to repair. A short two hand touch football game, in an aging body, now feels like an entire NFL season. I exaggerate much, but the point has been made, I am no longer in my youth. Here I come, Viagra.

We must ride to keep us closer to our youth if not by physical means then by mental. There is an exhilaration that comes with hitting the trail and not knowing if you will arrive home in the same condition as when you left. If trails are not what you ride, then ride the streets. Whatever you do, ride.

A Weekend Gardening

There wasn't any riding going on this weekend. I know, it's sad to say. I had hoped to hit the trails with some buddies of mine but the cold of Friday kept us away. Our little frail frames just could not handle a little breeze. All those interested in calling us names such as "wuss" and "pansy" may start now. When laziness arises it is hard to push away.

What did take place this weekend was gardening with good friends, the Shelby's. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful days to be outside digging in the dirt. Sweat rolling down my face and biceps straining to keep the tiller still. Despite my lackluster attempt at tilling and preparing the ground, we were able to plant. Tomato and pepper will hopefully be plentiful and things look positive so far. Beyond getting dirty it was just great to be with good fellowship. There is something to be said of having friendships with people. Friendship is the most interesting of the four loves (C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves, read it)

Rob and I had some fun tilling and shoveling. My wife tells me that gardening can be one of the most beneficial outdoor activities. I would give some thought of agreement to that. I was more exhausted from a day of gardening than any of my days of riding. Sleep did not take long to arrive later on that evening.