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In a week I leave for a long Fourth of July weekend in New York. If you know me at all or if you've followed my blog even remotely closely, you can probably guess the primary purpose for the trip: the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest. It will be my seventh time at the contest since 2008, including that one time I actually managed to eat on the big stage. This year I'll be in the press box, though there's a huge part of me that wishes I would be eating. I thought hard about trying to earn a...

It's festival season in Chicago. At least, it is in theory. In reality the weekends have been cold or rainy or both, and every Chicagoan is waiting for consistent sun and consistent warmth. Not warm one day, cold the next. Not sunny all morning with a downpour at noon. Just warm, just sun. Summer. But in a city known to have all four seasons in one day, we might be waiting for a while. Chicago is miserable in the winter, having the kind of weather that merits not-so-cute nicknames such as "snowpocalypse" and "snowmageddon" and "Chiberia." But we brave those...

Feria de las Flores ‐ a festival of flowers — is a big deal in Medellin, Colombia. Every August the city throws a huge celebration devoted to the beautiful blossoms. For an entire week Paisas, other Colombians, and tourists flock to the city to enjoy decorative figures, parades, flower exhibitions, concerts and parades. I arrived in Medellin towards the end of the week, so I didn't get to enjoy everything, but I did manage to take part in a few of the festivities...

India is already proving to be one of those places I have a love/hate relationship with. The highs are pretty high, already some of the most amazing moments I've had on this trip, but the lows are intense and breaking. And my mood and feelings can switch instantaneously. One minute I'm laughing as we teach Jaime how to use a squat toilet in our hotel room. The next I'm frantically throwing all my things onto the bed when the shower overflows and leaks into the room and all over my bags....

Sunday night Heather and I met up with Alyssa and went to Wicker Park Fest. We played with some random dogs, listened to music, drank (Alyssa beer, me sangria, and Heather nursed a hangover), met batman, ate (I just had sweet potato fries), and played half-assed hipster bingo (we spotted some nice ironic mustaches and a lot of fedoras)....