I took a trip this weekend to visit the Murphy/Humphry (Mumphry) family at their digs in Oak Park (Chicago) and I have to say that despite its short length (the trip, not the homestead,) it hugged the borders of perfection. The company, entertainment and pacing were all exquisite. Finn and I went, almost right out the door from my arrival, to a jazz club called the Green Mills. There a tolerably good quartet (sax, drums, base, piano) played some heavily Coltraine inspired melodies. I've heard better, but only in Chicago, so I was pretty pleased. The one weird thing was that, upon entering, we were told that no talking was allowed during the show. Now, I can understand that there is a certain respect due live musicians, but first off, the music was hardly quiet. An unmuted saxophone and an overly enthusiastic drummer who seemed to think that speed and noise were the essentials of riffing highlighted the music, and were both run directly into an amplification system, so its not exactly like it was easy to drown them out, or even be heard over them at all. And secondly, its a small bar, for chrissakes. If you want that kind of hushed reference, go to an auditorium. Day two and Finn took me out to the shooting range, where I finally began to overcome my nervous association with firearms. I hope I don't sound too immodest when I say that I think I did fairly well for what really amounted to my first gun outting, and I have the targets to demonstrate it. It was, frankly, a lot of fun once I got used to the noise. We unloaded about 200 rounds into the confused and disoriented paper enemy. The one thing that disturbed me a tad was that when we switched the silhouettes for more anthropomorphic pictures of potentially hostile people, my accuracy seemed to leap up. I guess having something to focus the hate on helps. That evening we went and saw some live theater or, more like, live performance art by a troop known as the Neofuturists. The act was entitled Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, and was made up of thirty short, original one acts performed over the course of a single hour. It was excellent in every way, and I cannot recommend it enough to those who might have the opportunity to attend. Its been running regularly for apparently closed to 20 years, and to ensure seating, Finn and I were compelled to stand out in the rain late at night for almost half an hour merely to ensure seating, and to give an idea of the mentality behind the production, ticket cost was nine dollars plus the roll of a six sided die. I have come to greatly enjoy observing the growth of the children of my friends, and so it was also delightful to see what those two have become, thus far. Emmeth is the oldest child I've had regular contact with, and it was especially fascinating to watch her hug the boarders of childhood and something more akin to coherent adult behavior, and the complexities that invariably arise from such things. As the outsider, I'm afraid I always find the drama and tricks of children hilarious, far more so I think than most parents who have grown o'er used to them can. Roan, in the meantime, caused me to consciously marvel at how much energy a couple of pounds of food a day can apparently produce. Speaking of, I must also give a casual thumbs up to Freddie's (If I should have mistaken the name, I feel certain that Finn will manage to correct me,) an Italian deli near their house which kicked ass. Good pasta, good filled foods, even notably good greens, all in a nice little local shop lined with strings of hanging sausages and a friendly staff. Two thumbs up from me!