Belated Blogroll Valentine

(Photo: This carless blogger takes a loving walk through his virtual neighborhood.)

So I had a wonderful Valentine’s weekend. Long story short: I met a wonderful (handsome, smart, funny, big-hearted) guy online last week, he gamely met me in person in a group of my friends, I almost needed a brick to the head to get the message that he liked me as much as I liked him, and we shared a somewhat accidental Valentine’s evening that sent both of us home on Cloud Nine and left me thankful for all the dating misfires I’ve had in the past few months.

In the words of my Ex-Texan friend, Glen, “Oh no, Not another happy Valentine bitch.” Well, yes. But don’t worry, that’s all the information you’ll get out of me for awhile. Budding romances are like pregnancies and gun purchases, a suitable waiting period is required before going public with maximized details to ensure not jinxing up the works with unrealized expectations. Or unintended felonies, for that matter.

It could be worse.  Another buddy, the gay papi-loving Bartolobampo, recently reported to me an exchange he had with a coworker about the state of his Pilsen-centric love life. “I told him I don’t even bother with single men, anymore,” said Bart. “He asked me, ‘What, do all your boyfriends have girlfriends?’ I told him, ‘No, I’ve graduated. Now all my fuckbuds have wives.’”

Compared with that, I count myself lucky for my confidential good fortune. But since I can’t tell you further details, I thought the wake of Valentine’s Day would be a good time to tell you why I love some of the fine sites that I include in my blogroll, “Read These Blogs” (see it there, in the right sidebar? [Ed. note: this is a reference to a blogroll used on Chicago Carless from July 2008 until January 2010]) Some of them may be unexpected, but they all have a lot of relevance for me, especially:

  • 24Gotham: Ex-boyfriend and equally former Chicagoan Devyn Caldwell took his photo show on the road in 2007. For his previous photoblog, Looper, he shot some of the best architectural photo essays ever done of downtown Chicago. He’s since expanded into “urban gothic” to chronicle his new Manhattan life, and in my opinion remains one of the best urban photobloggers out there.
  • City of Destiny: “Katherine” has balls that I don’t. She uses photography to chronicle visits to abandoned, decaying, forgotten corners of Chicago that I might not have set foot in when they were new, and examines what might have been in a city that constantly sheds its history along with its skin. Sometimes depressing, but always illuminating.
  • CTA Tattler: The unofficial advocate and online voice for CTA riders, the Tattler has had a foot in two worlds for some time now. One day, you’ll read inside information from CTA management. The next, it’s outside controversy from dozens of readers commenting over some major ‘L’ meltdown. A great place to head to read frank comments about the transit agency Windy Citizens love to hate.
  • Feast of Fools (Podcast): I am the most non-scene gay man you’ll probably ever meet. But this “magically delicious”, markedly queer podcast from Andersonville bloggers Fausto Fernós and Marc Felion is a guilty pleasure. How could you not love a duo that got Alpana Singh to make a wine suggestion for an evening ending in a blow job ( “something with a lot of mouthfeel and a nutty finish”)?
  • Gapers Block: Brainchild of blogging rockstar Andrew Huff, this is the Windy City’s best homegrown news and features site, and not just because I scribe on the Drive-Thru foodie beat. Dozens of volunteer bloggers, many with other bylines, come together in a spirit of camaraderie to bring you headlines, restaurant leads, political commentary, and tips on books, music, and art every day of the ever-lovin’ week.
  • Jeff’s A.D.D. Mind: This is not an “A.D.D. Is a Gift” blog by any means. Jeff thinks having A.D.D. sucks, and writes highly analytic and thoughtful posts about how the condition complicates, colors, and otherwise confounds normal life in ways that usually go unnoticed. It’s not a reassuring read, but it’s a brave one, and I concur on a lot of the things he says about the A.D.D. life we both share.
  • Marina City Online: Until the malcontents on the Marina City condo board figure out a way to silence the scrappy corncob news and history site, expect to see more inside dish, level-headed criticism, and background essays about the twin downtown condo towers that look a lot classier from the outside than they do from within. Take it from a resident, like MCO editor Steven Dahlman. (Or me, for that matter).
  • News from the Flip Front: In one incarnation or another, Jasmine Davila has been blogging about her life as the secretly cool, fashionably tragic, Eleanor Rigby of Lake Shore Drive for more than a decade. Ugly Betty’s got nothing on this Diva Filipina who proves on a daily basis that for prolific bloggers, it’s definitely hip to be square.
  • Newspaper Death Watch: Like watching a car wreck in slow motion with no ability to stop it from happening, this is the number-one site to browse to learn which print publications have just bitten the dust in America, which are about to go, and most importantly, why. (Perhaps because the industry ignores sites like Newspaper Death Watch?)
  • The Ungay Guy: (Formerly: Supersensible Perceptions) Jeff Ramone is a gay man who takes crap from no one. He’s also a sweet marshmallow of a guy but I wouldn’t say that to his face. The two sides come together in an overly frank, opinionated, at times hysterical blog that frequently walks up to the mainstream gay community and asks it to pick a finger.
  • The Urbanophile: Scribed by Aaron Renn, an urbanist who splits his time between Chicago and Indianapolis, Urbanophile offers up the best, most comprehensive urban analysis and commentary about the state and potential future of Midwestern cities anywhere. Period. I don’t write those words lightly. If you’re looking for the pulse of Midwestern urban America, read this man’s blog. Simple as that.
  • UrbanCincy: Like a mini-Urbanophile for one of my favorite heartland cities, Randy Simes’ UrbanCincy looks at the Queen City from a long-needed perspective–that of someone in love with its core. The site’s a great model for other Midwestern urban bloggers to follow.
Check out these sites and see what you think. But however your mileage varies on them, may you all have enjoyed a similarly inspiring Valentine’s Day! Now pardon me while I continue to pinch myself…
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