General Realisations at the Generationals

January saw my first concert living in Chicago. Looking back, I’m surprised it took me so long to get up and at ’em.

I’d never really heard of The Generationals except for their flagship anthem ‘When They Fight, They Fight’ – it’s quite the toe tapper incase you didn’t know:

I bought the tickets for a mere $10 or so, and invited along my new pal, (soon to be soulmate, FYI) Steph.

The American duo’s Facebook page would describe their genre as rock, but I disagree. It has more of an electro, indie vibe as opposed to rock. They’re my exact definition of hip & happening. They get the toes tapping in a quirky kinda way.

Despite assuming the night would finish on what I thought was their major hit – I was wrong. ‘When They Fight, They Fight’ didn’t even get a look in. Instead, I found some new favorites in ‘Put a Light On’ and ‘Black and White’.

I experienced a realisation of sorts during the concert. It was like having a weight lifted off my shoulders – I had finally settled into living in America. I had entered my happy place and it felt feckin’ fantastic. I don’t think I’ve left since then.

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Finnegan’s General Chin
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This is our heyday, baby.

“I saw the word ‘heyday’ written there somewhere one day and I just got thinkin… Y’know, there’s this big thing when people are talking about bands saying: ‘Ah, that band was great in their heyday’.

And I was thinking,

Why does there have to be a time when you’re great and another time when you’re not… and then I wrote this.

This is basically about everyday being your best day. It’s called Heyday.” (Mic Christopher)

This is up there with one of my favourite songs of all time, mostly because of it’s message in Mic’s intro in this video. What makes it even more poignant; this talented singer/songwriter sadly died after falling down some steps during is tour with The Waterboys, aged 32.

Since Mic Christopher’s death, Glen Hansard of The Frames has dedicated each of their albums to him. They also dedicate their cover version of his hit “Heyday” to him when played live. The Damien Rice album, O, is also dedicated to Mic Christopher, and Lisa Hannigan dedicated the song “Splishy Splashy” to him on her debut album Sea Sew.

Last week (Nov, 29th) marked Mic Christopher’s 13th anniversary. If he was alive today there’s no doubt he would be up there as one of our greats.

Even more reason to think about it now, eh?

Here’s to our heyday,
Chinnegan

What Would You Do If You Could Not Fail?

Well? What would you do? (and no, I don’t mean exams, win the lotto, or marry Ryan Gosling, let’s be real folks)

The above line is something I have been asking myself a lot lately. Almost a year graduated with a piece of paper called a degree, and now looms the million dollar (or 746341.06 euro) question – ‘What next?’

Around the time of graduation, I was lucky enough to have a job I loved, and knew it was only a year position. I took on a mindset something similar to ‘Yes Man’ and threw myself at every opportunity that came my way during that year. The results were amazing; I took part in things I would never have dreamt of – two ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ competitions, volunteering in Africa, and even found myself as a blushing bride for a Mock Charity Wedding. I did all these things on the basis that I knew when my time in that job was up, I didn’t want to have any regrets. I can gladly say now that I don’t… but that was only one year.

Since finishing the job I’ve began thinking, yes I was extremely busy having taken on so many new projects, and it did prove stressful at times, but looking back, I achieved goals and gained experiences I didn’t imagine happening in the next ten years let alone one. Why take up this mindset for only one year? Surely this outlook should be a permanent mindset, applied to everyday life? Life is too short for looking back at what ‘could have’ been.

If we don’t make these drastic decisions when we are young – when are we going to make them?

On Monday – thousands of Irish students will receive their CAO offers, some will get the college course they have been working towards, others won’t. Yes I do believe – ‘everything happens for a reason’ but if your hopes are dashed so early in the game, do not give up!

Do not feel under pressure to know what you want to do either. As I said, I’ve graduated from my college degree, yet I am still none the wiser as to what I want to do for the rest of my life. But in reality – who is?

We are here for a good time, not a long time. Don’t let your life be defined by the job you have, the money you earn or the points you did or did not get in your Leaving Cert. Focus on doing things that make you happy – once you have achieved that, you’re laughing – quite literally.

I’ll leave you with a lil somethin’ somethin’ – my favorite poem ‘If’.

I’m off to plan the next adventure,

Finnegan’s ‘Yes Man’ Chin

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Chinnegan’s Musings

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Oh no, it’s not… another blog?

Behold, Finnegan’s chins: the insight into the many chins of this Finnegan (3 years of a college diet has served them well). I don’t want to end up going down the – “Hi, I’m a blogger now! Read on to see how super healthy my diet is, how great my arse looks after 147 squats or how generally good at life I am” route of blogging.

No offence to those types of bloggers obviously! I enjoy reading them; where else would I find out how to lose 14lbs in 5 days, or how to make chocolate cake in the microwave?!… Oh the irony.

Nah, I hope to use this space for my general musings (chins); general musings on life, experiences, & of course, the trials and tribulations of a 21 year old Cavan girl trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life…

But sure look, as the good man Baz says, “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t.”

If anything, let’s hope it’s interesting.

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Pregnant-GIFS

Giddy up!

Finnegan’s “ahhellolongtimenosee” Chin

So, you’re going to Chicago…

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They say New York is the City that never sleeps… But realistically, how attractive is anyone after pulling an all-nighter? Look at anyone the morning after a late one dishco dancing in Coppers and you’ll know all about it, U-G-L-Y.

That’s why Chicago is proud to say it’s not afraid to take an afternoon siesta, 40 winks, making it fresh as a daisy as long as you are. It has everything New York has, and then some. Clean, laid back and b-e-a-utiful, you’ll find yourself pinching yourself lying on the beach looking out on Lake Michigan and surrounded by breath taking skyscrapers, a far cry from the summers spent on Inch Beach!

Most of ye are heading off in a few days so it’s important ye make sure you make the most of it..

TRANSPORT

Buy yourself a CTA travel card (approx $23 for a week.. you could buy a monthly one but realistically, when the drink is in and the mind is out, you’re going to lose it)

This’ll work for both the train and the bus and will soon become your prised possession. You usually meet some good characters on the train too just mind yourself on the red line late at night and try not to get on any public transport if your on your own and drunk… YOU WILL FALL ASLEEP.

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ACCOMMODATION & JOBS

Chicago seems to be tipped as numero uno destination for the J1ers this year again so it’s a luck of the draw if you get a job/house. If you’re a girl and seriously stuck go to Dan O’Donnell on the Brown Line-Armitage and he could be so kind to sort ya out. If you’re a lad, I dunno what ye should do.. Make friends with the girls.

Anywhere on the Blue line is generally a good place to stay, we ended up on the Brown line which was perfect..In an ideal world somewhere around Wrigleyville area is great but once you’re near any form of transport line you’ll be grand.

Last year Forever Yogurt employed a heap of Irish kids so I’d recommend giving them a shout. But keep tabs on them; they employed my whole house, we took a back seat for a while telling everyone about our fortune, the following week we were back out looking for jobs as they hired too many people. Karma who?

If you’re not 21 don’t bother wasting your time looking for bar work unless you have a decent contact, a lot of the girls I lived with got work in breakfast bars, general retail shops and a Jewish summer camp! The breakfast bars mean your up early in the morning but finished around 1 for the day.

All the lads beside us worked in Furniture Removal, a lot of work but great money so they could quit by August and travel.

Also, when in search of Jobs/Acc make sure to pick up the Reader & Redeye free newspapers. (Reader is out every Thursday and will have the most up to date renting accommodation so get on it.) And then when you have that sorted, the newspapers are handy for finding out what’s going on and when! The Onion is another good free paper, make sure to check your Horoscopes here….

FOOD & DRINK

Chicago is a great place if you like your food! It’s famous for it’s deep-dish pizzas to the same extent that Ireland is for it’s spuds so it’d be a sin not to try one. You simply MUST eat in the Cheesecake Factory, at least 3 times.

And a walk to/or/and/from North Ave beach isn’t right without a stop off in Elly’s 24hour Pancake house – UNREAL

Last year there was a decent spot called Declan’s that offered half price food and drink to J1ers… Verrrry good and Joe’s on Weed St does half price food on certain nights before 9pm

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If that’s not enough head down to the Taste (taaaayyyyyssshhhte) of Chicago festival and eat yourself silly.

You’re in America now so you may try its best selling Disco Juice – FourLoco. Ween yourself on to it or else you’ll learn the hard way, FloorLoco’d. It’s a fail safe deoch on any student’s budget just a little over $3 a can, it can do you no wrong. Top tip: Before heading to O’Malley’s of a Monday head early to catch the buzz outside Club “7eleven” across the road.

On days you feel like treating yourself go to the pub and drink yourself some craft beers!

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(Elly’s Pancake House)

PEOPLE TO DO, THINGS TO SEE

Festivals; no need to plan ahead, if you have the day off work there will be some form of concert/festival on! There’s always people selling tickets outside the gates and are easily enough bartered with so use your charm and chance your arm. Ones to keep an eye on; Wavefront (dance music on Montrose beach), Pitchfork (indie), Lollapalooza (everyone) , keep an eye on Union Centre for concerts (we saw Coldplay here) and Rosemont (i think) (we saw 1D here) and keep an eye on who’s playing the free concerts in Millennium Park, we saw James Vincent McMorrow there! (Top tip; Again, keep you eyes open on the free newspapers- Redeye, they have all the hip and happenin things to do)

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Holllllllllla Lollllllllllla

NAVY PIER; unleash your inner child and go on the swings and the Ferris Wheel or just go for a stroll, it’s the number one tourist attraction y’know.

Go up the big buildings… Skydeck in Sears tower, Cocktails in the bar of the John Hancock and a quick trip on to the 16th floor of the Trump tower, bring a camera! Do all the touristy things; Architectural boat tour, flick the Bean, go to the free Zoo in Lincoln park, rent rollerblades along Lake Shore Drive.

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For your inner Hipster go to Wicker park for the day, and if the Thrift shop aint for you, there’s a really good Urban Outfitters outlet in Fullerton, everything is on sale and there’s a table tennis table in the shop too.

FIREWORKS!! There’s a firework display every Wednesday evening and Sunday at Navy Pier, sure if you’re not well you’d be sick to miss them. And if you still manage to miss them every week make sure to see them for the 4th of July.

The apple store on Michigan Mile is a handy one for scabbing free internet

Go to da beach; Hit castaways on a Saturday, sneaky can of Fourloco, be grand. Simple as it sounds, YOU HAVE TO GO BANANA BOATING.

THRIFT SHOP; make like Macklemore and head to the Mother of all Thrift shop’s, get the CTA Brown Line to Kimball, take a right out of the station and ya can’t miss it. If you’re peckish on the way home head into the Huddle House Grill across the road from the Kimball Station, say Hi to Patty and Nancy for us.

Go to the ball game; Wrigleyville stadium, get yourself some cheap tickets from the touters outside no bother or treat yourself to the rooftop bleachers

JOE’S on a TUESDAY. $2 pitchers of beer, I’ll say no more.

It’s the holy grail of nightclubs for the J1er, they’re real strict on ID though so make sure you have a photocopy of your passport with you going here!!

Be a bit cultural and go to the Museums, Science Museum, south on the Red line; worth the long train journey, the Aquarium is class too and usually have special offers on.

Go Pier jumping!!!! If you’re not drunk by the time the sun goes down make sure to do it at night too.

I can safely say if you’re NOT going to Chicago but you’ve been there on a J1 before you’ll be with me on the Post-J1-Blues Boat. Who are we kidding, I feel like Chicago was my boyfriend and we’re going through an emotional breakup. There’s times I think I’m over it, but then pictures, music and memories come flooding back and I find myself creeping on it on the Internet. Stage 5 Clinger right here folks…

Be nice to him please.

Enjoy

 

Finnegan’s (Chicago) Chin