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Chicago, Illinois is one of my favorite places. I also love Evanston which is just north of Chicago.

Written By: Gary on July 17, 2013 No Comment

So we were pretty bored on the train, it was 40 hours so far and I was pretty stir crazy. We’d stopped at some towns but nothing for more than a few minutes (We stopped in St. Payl / Minneapolis, MN for a short time, but I slept through that). We (the guys) wanted some snacks and something different than what was on the train. The problem was that most of the towns were just a quick stop and there was nothing nearby. So we watched the next few stops and the next stop in the middle of nowhere we saw a little shop (a little farther than across the street) and we ran like cRaZy. We made sure the guy from the train knew where we were going, and we knew they weren’t going to leave a few kids behind, but we didn’t really know for sure(!), so we ran and ran like our lives depended on it (my Mom would have killed me!) and got some drinks/snacks and got back on the train.

Thinking of the train station in Dearborn, there’s nothing there if you were just traveling by, the station is a small building and it’s behind the police station and library, nowhere that you could really get anything. Plus, if the train stops for more than a few minutes, it’s only because it’s early, I don’t think I’ve generally seen it sit there for more than 5 minutes, if that. People get off, people get on and it’s gone (very efficient).

So it was the last day on the train and we were ready to get off the train and glad to arrive in Chicago.

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From my journal:

6 pm – Got into Chicago and took cabs from the train station to the hotel. Mr. Kuhn gave us money and we got food from Burger King. Then we went up the Sears Tower.

We stayed at the Ascot House in Chicago. It was a weird shaped really large room that we ended up with. I’m not sure how many of us were in there, but after running around Chicago we were pretty tired and it probably didn’t matter. This was at 1100 S Michigan Ave, it’s a Best Western across from Grant Park, I really don’t remember the nice park across the street, maybe it wasn’t as nice back then? Maybe we just walked out the wrong way out the side door?

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We ran around all over the area in Chicago, we were pretty unstructured and unsupervised this evening. A few of us hung out and went up to the top of the Sears Tower and checked out the elevated train. I can’t remember if we got on it just for the heck of it or if we took it to get to the Sears Tower, which was kind of far away.

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

Written By: Gary on August 7, 2011 10 Comments

I always love Chicago, I’ve had incredible luck with the weather when you consider the number of times I’ve been there and it’s almost always a different experience than the last time I was there. That’s not to say I don’t do some of the same things: I bike or rollerblade, I get ribs at SRO and I hit the Apple Store; after all, I am a creature of habit (habits?). And with all the people there, you can’t help but spend some time people watching…

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This little girl was sitting right on the edge of the pier(?) looking into Lake Michigan. There were a few other kids with her and they were all pretty peaceful down there by the water, there is a beach not far away and I think they’d been there for a while (some were wet and I’m pretty sure they hadn’t jumped off the edge there). This photo was taken almost right behind the Adler Planetarium.

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It was a nice day but it was hot out, these people were out relaxing during their lunch. This is downtown Chicago at State Street and Wacker Drive and the river is just out of sight to the left. I’d been relaxing in the shade by the water and didn’t even realize how the big steps were benches and grass until I’d gone up those stairs.

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There were people running, walking, biking and blading everywhere (mostly along Lake Michigan). It was really hot when this runner was out and it was still early in the day but there were still lots of people out. You can see the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in the background.

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Yeah, I know I title this “People in Chicago” but there are some tiny people in the distance in it. In the distance you can see Chicago in the distance. From the left we’ve got Navy Pier, the Hancock Building, Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) and to my right (not in the photo) across the road is the LIncoln Park Zoo (to give you a frame of reference as I try to do with my photos).

This is my 31 photos in 31 days photo for today.

Written By: Gary on June 13, 2009 One Comment

At WordCamp Chicago last weekend Darryl Markette kicked off the day playing a song called BlogStar, it was based on a song called RockStar. He finally recorded it as a video, so here I am sharing it with you!

Here’s the direct link to the HD video of BlogStar.

Written By: Gary on June 6, 2009 One Comment

Just some photos and video of the Chicago area while I was rollerblading around the Grant Park area. Just some free time before WordCamp Chicago 2009 starts

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We do this in Michigan when Detroit sports teams are in the championships.

Nothing really exciting in the video other than it’s a nice bridge and it’s a nice day. You can see I’m getting pretty tired as I near the top of the hill.

Direct link to the HQ video.

This might be a good test of the new Image Stabablization features in the iMovie ’09…

#wcchicago

Written By: Gary on May 17, 2009 No Comment

wordcamp.chicago.pngI’ve mentioned it a few times before but in less than 3 weeks (June 6-7, 2009) it’s time for WordCamp Chicago. It’s only $31 and it’s getting full (only 50 spots left) so sign up now. You can get more information at the WordCamp Chicago blog.

They’ve already got a bunch of speakers lined up including Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress. You can even see who’s already signed up to attend.

 

 

Written By: Gary on May 12, 2009 One Comment

I got way overwhelmed with my RSS feeds, I’ve got gobs of them (almost 300). Many of those feeds don’t get updated more that once a month (if ever) so they really don’t impact the list, but a dozen or so update 2-4 times a day. Plus, I recently added everyone coming to WordCamp Chicago (list of attendees) another 100 or so feeds; I’ll prune that down later.

I’ve been over a 1000+ unread items for ages and even when it gets back to 700-800 it just jumps back up! Lately , no matter what I do, I can’t even get it under 1000, so I cleared out all my posts. And started over…

THey really need a way to click a button to ‘mark all posts older than __ days as read’ and that would help with when it gets full.

Hopefully I’ll do better catching up in the future.

I’ve got the feeds syncing with my iPod Touch (but if I’m not of WiFi there are no images, which makes some feeds useless) so maybe that will help. I use Doppler (you can try Doppler Lite for free).

I’m really looking for an off-line Google Reader the includes the images for off-line viewing, any tips? Other than storage space, once you’ve written the reader the image caching doesn’t seem too hard, but it still eludes me….

Written By: Gary on February 22, 2009 One Comment

wordcamp.chicago.pngDon’t forget to register for WordCamp Chicago! It’s only $30.99 for a weekend of WordPress fun. They want to pick a venue based on how many people register by March 1st so sign up now. As far as I know you can register later, but if you register now if helps to make sure they pick a large enough place to have it.

You can get more information at the WordCamp Chicago blog.

They’ve already got a bunch of speakers lined up including Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress.

You can even see who’s already signed up to attend.

If it’s not obvious, I’ll be going…

Written By: Gary on January 22, 2009 One Comment

I used to have a list of blogs that I read on the side of my page. It’s that actual list that I used to use to visit these sites. I did it through blogrolling and it generally marked them in bold when they had fresh data (but lots of sites didn’t seem to update properly). And when I clicked on the link from my site, I probably end up on their referrer list (if they pay attention to those things) so they might check out my site in return.

Now I’m using Google Reader, which I love! And while I miss going to the actual sites, it’s much easier to catch up and stay caught up (and not miss information). Since moving to WordPress I never moved that blogroll over (it was way out of date) and I was needing something new. So I finally figured out how to get that information out of Google Reader and put it on my site (I’ll tell you how at the end).

So now I’ve got my Read Roll (it’s not just blogs) on-line. You can see the lists and the categories that I put them in. If you click the “Read more…” it’ll actually let you read the recent posts in that category.

It’s pretty easy to create this list: when in Google Reader go to Manage Subscriptions (lower left). Put the blogs in the “folder” that you want by selecting Change Folders (on the right side of the screen); you can create folders while you are there. Then click the Folders and Tags tab and share that folder. Then click “add a blogroll to your site” and it’ll give you the JavaScript to add to your site.

I’ve got five folders: Read Roll (sites I read), On-Line Deals (shopping deal sites), WordPress Info (Sites for WordPress tips), People I’ve Met (this is people I’ve known for years, met because of the Internet or people I’ve met and it turns out they blog) and Non-Shared (sites I don’t share). I only share the first four, the last one is junk you don’t care about like: some results of searches I’m tracking, WordPress tracking of certain help tickets, some Technorati searches, some friend’s kids on-line and some other stuff.

The People I’ve Met group is way at the bottom. If I’ve met you and you’re not on the list let me know (most people on this list are also on the read roll). I know there are people that I’ve met (because of the internet) that don’t blog any more (or never blogged) and I’m sure there are people I know (in real life) that I don’t even know blog.

I’m expecting this list to grow after WordCamp Chicago (June 6/7, 2009) will you be on it?!?

Written By: Gary on January 14, 2009 No Comment

Registration for WordCamp Chicago is open! I don’t know how full it’s going to get so you better sign up quick. It’s a mere $30.99 for a weekend of WordPress goodness.

wordcamp.chicago.pngThey haven’t picked a venue yet, I think it’ll depend on the number of people that sign up but that doesn’t mean it won’t fill up. A little more information is on the WordCamp Chicago blog.

They’ve already got some speakers lined up including Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress. And Matt has one of the coolest website URLs around it’s Ma.tt

Saw this at Lisa’s blog Just a Girl in the World; Lisa (author of WordPress for Dummies) is one of the organizers.

Written By: Gary on September 15, 2008 5 Comments

So I’m getting desperate in my quest. As a last resort I e-mailed Ronald and Co. today, I said:

Dear McDonalds,

I see that McRibs are back at “participating” McDonalds.

How do the fans find a McRib?

Where in Michigan (Detroit or otherwise) or even Toledo, OH or Chicago can I find one of these? I’m traveling next month? I’ll schedule a layover for my flight so that I can stop in a McRib city, seriously!

Is there a list somewhere or at least someway I can check out some specific markets?

Thank you,
Gary

Do you think I might get a response?

Written By: Gary on August 14, 2008 One Comment

200808142311So I specifically wanted to mention The Velvet Hour it’s this odd bar with these velvet curtains and candlelight. No baseball hats or cell phones allowed! I was nervous for a minute since I had sandles on, but it was so dark inside I don’t think anyone noticed :)

It’s the second place we went and we and you could have just walked by because the door is kind of hidden (see photo); it’s not a fancy door I just thought the hidden part was interesting (although the camera flash lights it up good). I’m pretty sure Jen was the one who knew about this place (I think she usually picks out the places). Some of the boys got some Absinthe to drink but the rest of us got a carafe of some house specialty that I really liked but if I recall correctly it was kinda pricey ($90?). Can anyone tell me which one we drank?

Written By: Gary on August 14, 2008 4 Comments

So we had a whole crew at Piece Pizza again (we were there two years ago), thirteen people I’m thinking. Mostly people I’d met and a few wonderful new people! Our first photo is a little blurry (but that’s because we were drinking) but it’s got the most people in it. Starting on the left is Kevin and Katie, Suzanne, Mrs. RW and Tori in front. Tori I hadn’t met before but since she brought brownies she was quickly treated like family! Suzanne was another new person and even though she was a non-blogger she was really fun too!

2008081422162747194003 4773497655 MThis is Robin and Leah at our third location for the evening (we got around). I’ve met Robin before and was thinking I didn’t know who Leah was on-line but I just didn’t remember that I did know, because when I got back to the hotel and turned my computer on, the first thing I saw was her tweeting about being pulled over by the police during her cab ride home.

As usual Dave made us cool badges to wear and these had a “Piece” theme. Get it? (Guess whose site I stole this badge picture from?) And not only did we have cool buttons too, Piece Pizza gave us some of theirs!

200808142212Speaking of Dave is it a coincidence that he’s wearing his “Zombies Ate My Brain Shirt” in this zombish looking picture (you really need to click for the full effect). That’s RW sneaking up behind him.

200808142213That’s Jenny and Mocha Momma whom I’ve both met before but I don’t have a photo of Lynne and Kosh.

We just ate and drank and chatted and after we ran around to a few other places The Velvet Hour and the Tequila bar where we went a few years ago (name anyone?). It was just a bunch of old and new friends getting together, it seems much simpler than when I have to tell people who I’m going to go see in Chicago. Some of the people didn’t get to stay the whole evening and coincidentally (sadly) some of those were the ones I talked to the least earlier in the evening (I’ll talk to them first next time!).

Argh, that’s a lot more cutting and pasting than usual. But I think I got everyone and all the names right…

I didn’t have as many photos as I thought, so maybe I didn’t get all of them recovered (or maybe they were more blurry ones than I thought).

Written By: Gary on August 13, 2008 2 Comments

sample Aipteck Chicao photoI thought I lost my photos from Chicago the other day but I purchased the $20 software CardRaider from ecamm and now it’s all better. I download the program, it scanned my files and I think it recovered them all (movies and photos). I’ll try and post some tonight post some tomorrow (I forgot I’ve meeting Mom for dinner).

There are a lot of software programs but most are a lot more expensive. Thanks for the recommendation Dave!!

Written By: Gary on August 10, 2008 4 Comments

I’ve got a very strict process I follow when copying photos from a camera:

  • Lock the memory chip (which I always forget to do).
  • Copy the photos to a computer.
  • If I copy the photos to another device (CD, DVD, FTP, external hard driver) then I delete the files from the memory chip.
  • If I can’t copy them, I move them to a folder on the chip “to delete” so that I know there is a copy somewhere but not a great copy yet (and then I don’t confuse old pictures with new).

    I was in a hurry I wanted to get that stuff done before the train took off, I figured someone would sit next to me since the train is sold out and I wanted to get all the USB SD adaptor and cameras put away.

    The first thing I did was that I moved them to a new folder and then something bad happened. I’m not sure if I tried to drag the new folder to my computer too soon or what but I had to force a reboot and they chip is now goofed. I will be using some recovery software on this. I had just quick reformatted the chip so all the files should be sequential so I’m hopeful.

    I took lots of photos and video while testing this new camera out with the bloggers and while running around Chicago. I’m so bummed. I guess I’ve got 5 hours on the train to see if I can find some software to download to fix it. I do have a few photos I took on my other camera, but none of the DaveCago people are on it and neither are any of the night shots I was taking (after a second look, other than out my hotel room window, I really didn’t take any with the other camera).

    Any Macintosh software suggestions? I have a Windows machine if you have a Windows only suggestion.

  • Written By: Gary on August 9, 2008 3 Comments

    So the guy at the Amtrak station always makes me feel funny when I stop to pick up my tickets the night before (I’ve already pre-paid them) like I should wait until the next day. But I always think I’ll feel rushed in the morning when I do it. And today I did feel rushed and there wasn’t even a line. I’ll just be getting my tickets in advance next time, it’s just not something I need to have to be concerned about (I’d rather get 5 minutes extra sleep).

    They train isn’t too full and I got a seat with power! So that means my laptop is powered and I’m all set for the ride (I can charge my phone as I tether it too).

    There are two little girls and a baby in front of me, so I’ve been pretty entertained by them. Although the older ones are already half-asleep

    The poor woman behind me wants to go to Hammond (Indiana) but I guess this one doesn’t stop there, the next one does so she’s trying to figure out what to do. I always thought these three trains did the same route all three trips. Now that I’ve checked out the Wolverine Wikipedia entry it still seems like it stops there.

    Unfortunately, my return train is already sold out, so that’s gonna be packed. Well, if the last thing I do is roller blade, maybe no one will want to sit next to me :)

    Later: This train is starting to fill up.

    Written By: Gary on August 8, 2008 No Comment

    Davecago3So a bunch of bloggers are getting together tomorrow and I’m going. It’s officially DaveCago 3 which means Dave from Blogography is in town and organizes a get together. So tomorrow evening we’re getting together to have drinks and dinner and drinks and just generally have a great time. I’ve gotten together with some permutation of this group the last two years and I wanted to do it again. I’m not even sure who’s coming, I only know of a few for sure but I’m assuming the group is more like 10-15+ people.

    What else? I’m not sure if anything’s up for Sunday but if not, I’ll have my roller blades because down by the water in Chicago is one of the best places to go blading. I going to try to hit Standing Room Only for my ribs one of the days (it’s not too far from my hotel).

    I’ll be taking the train, because I love the train!! I get too tired if I drive in on the same day to do stuff, the train lets me go in the morning and be awake the rest of the day (and also lets me be semi-productive for those five hours). If only I could take my bicycle on this stretch of the train, I really like having my bike in Chicago (you can really cover some ground).

    Written By: Gary on June 3, 2008 No Comment

    photo_ukregentstreet.jpgMom is at Harrod’s.

    I’m in heaven! At the Flagship Apple Store on Regents street in London.

    It’s a huge store. A little bigger than in Chicago! Gotta go shop!

    Later – Turns out we have live music too! Jessica Hoop and Lissie, I’ll be checking them out on-line later…


     


     

    Written By: Gary on May 18, 2008 No Comment

    I saw this at Dean’s World. It was a interesting not-normal sports story and I decided to put it up a I was watching it.

    But as I teared up a few times during the video, I decided I should share it with you all too…

    There’s a story here to go with it..

    Written By: Gary on March 15, 2008 One Comment

    Alison Sudol was excellent last night. A very small venue at The Shelter, the cancert was sold out but I’d guess there were only about 300 people there, lots of room. No one was back farther than about the equivalent of about 10 rows (no seats, general admission standing only with just a few tables). I’ve seen A Fine Frenzy before and it was a smaller venue so it was great having the small crowd and as a bonus it was a non-smoking show. A Fine Frenzy Alison Sudol March 2008 Detroit

    She’s has such a lovely voice and writes her own songs. She’s got this voice that’s kind of a Sarah McLachlan / Tori Amos voice and she’s just incredible. She so beautiful and has this sunning red head, and while it might not be naturally that red, she’s got that anemic porcelain look that so many red heads do, I’m assuming she’s actually a redhead. My camera in my phone takes pretty crappy pictures, but I tried to take a few.

    She’s so into when she plays, and every so often she looks at the audience, I feel likes she’s forgotten us and that her manager told her she has to make eye contact every so often and that’s why she looks up. I always think of ‘gracious’ when thinking about her personality, that’s just how I feel when she’s talking to us and that’s how I feel when she talks to you personally. I did get to get to say ‘hi” and get her autograph on a promo poster after the concert. She’s just so nice, even with just a 30-second conversation…

    It was a busy night as we had a fund raiser at work at six and the concert doors opened at 6 too (they’re about 25 minutes apart). So we planned to skip the opening act and just see her and depending on the time possibly go back to the auction. When I finally called the concert hall. They said she was going on in 15 minutes!!!!! So I had to find Kelly and Mark get out of there. We made good time, even with having to go a longer route, found free parking right around the corner and when we walked in the music was playing but she hadn’t uttered a word yet!! So it was a great night.

    One Cell in the Sea A Fine FrenzyWe never got back to the auction, even though it was only 9:30 when we left, it was just a little too late to head back. So I have no idea what or if I won anything. I probably had my name on about $400 worth of things, but I’m assuming I got over bid on more than a few of them (there was still 30 minutes left of bidding when we took off). I had some train tickets to Chicago, baskets of games, chocolate, theatre tickets, plus I bid on one of my donated items and a few more things. One of the items I donated was for my Cat in the Hat basket which had books/stuff and included a visit from me as the Cat in the Hat (for birthday parties, classroom visits and bachelorette parties), I drove the bidding up to $75 before I left, but if no one bought it I’ve purchased myself. While I love doing it, it’s not worth it to spend a hot summer day outside in the outfit if it’s only giving the school that much money so we’ll see how that went. I also donated a basket of coffee and chocolate covered coffee beans that I picked up the stuff the last time I was in Costa Rica; I’m wondering what that sold for, it’s was only at $17 the last time I looked…

    Written By: Gary on October 16, 2007 No Comment

    This past Sunday Brandi, as usual, was excellent. She just belts out some of those tunes and other times she’s just kind of mellow, she did a great concert. She covered a Queen song on the piano and it was awesome; it might not have been “a” queen song, it might have been a multiple medley song since I know part of Bohemian Rhapsody (‘momma, just killed a man’) was in it but I think there were parts of that song not sung (‘Gallileo Figaro – magnifico’); does anyone know for sure? She did the Queen song so perfect, I’ve got to think some of the younger crowd assumed it was a song of hers…

    She talked about people traveling from Ann Arbor to see her (and vice-versa) and was excited by the response. I’ve driven to Chicago to see her and it was worth it! This was my third time seeing Brandi and I’ll go again next chance!

    Back to her music. Some of her more passionate songs just totally get inside me. It wasn’t just me, you could see some were affecting other people too, I don’t know exactly what it is. But a couple really got to me, especially Hallelujah at the end.

    Little did I know that while I had an excellent time at the concert that it’s emotional high was just that start of a roller coster ride of emotions this week…

    Written By: Gary on August 26, 2007 3 Comments

    So the bloggers met in Chicago again for DaveCago2, about half of us met early June 2006 and we had a bunch of new people too (but we were down a few too). Here’s the “blog roll call” that I’m pleasec to be a part of – Dave, Kevin, Jenny, RW and Mrs. RW, Ariana, Ajooja, Birdcolor, Diane, Kilax (who hand codes her blog!!!) and me. Several brought spouses (or spouses-to-be), it easier to not mention who than to remember who blogs (or doesn’t blog) their private life. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out, it was so hard to keep track of everyone…

    Dave made us lanyards and had buttons and shirts and it made me feel like it was Christmas, I’m just happy with meeting new people. We ate at Pizano’s Pizza on The Loop (near Millennium Park) and we got a bunch of different pizza and lots of (different) drinks. Then we wandered around and found another place for more drinks (Congress Plaza Hotel, the Gazebo Ba I thinkr), that too a while since most places didn’t have space for all of us. It was great to put a face and voice to some of the bloggers and just chat and get more info on stories we’ve heard and stuff like that.Neither restaurant or bar had drinks like Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice and I was way above my daily caffine limit, so I hard to drink Long Island Iced Tea, it was my only option (really).

    I do have photos, but I’ll have to get them up later. I’ve been running around all day and I’m too tired to take a chance at accidentally deleting photos.

    Written By: Gary on August 26, 2007 2 Comments

    Once I got into Chicago yesterday everything went completely smooth. I got food, I got checked into my hotel immediately, showered and managed to hook up with Kevin and Dave and we went over to that Apple Store to check out some eye candy (iCandy, get it?!?) and wandered around a bit before meeting up with the bigger group later. I had a blast with all of them and I’ll expand on that later, but I’m checking out of the hotel and I thought ager my other problem post the last few days I’d mention that all is well.

    And today I feel a whole lot better than I thought I would after all the Long Island Iced Teas, so that’s a bonus too…

    Written By: Gary on August 25, 2007 No Comment

    So I made it to Chicago, even with the traffic reports not helping me any (actually I had two ways to go and choose the one that I hadn’t heard any numbers mentioned so maybe it did help). The weather is awesome right now and looks like it will be great.

    SRO_ChicagoOn the way in, I was starving and I headed straight for Standing Room Only to get some ribs. It was the last meal I had the last time in Chicago and they were delicious, so I made it my first meal this time around. Google maps on my phone helped me get here, I sure wish it had GPS to figure out where I am so that when I want directions and I’m don’t have an exact location that it could figure it out for me!

    I think I might take a short walk, and then go check in. I’ve got to get this car into the hotel parking so I don’t need to deal with driving/parking any more today, then I’ll see if I can hook up early with some of the people I’m meeting later on. I had planned on being in town hours and hours ago but yesterdays delays resulted in my not getting enough sleep and flooding delays encouraged me to do some shopping in Michigan City before getting too close to Chicago in hopes flooding would die down..

    Written By: Gary on August 25, 2007 No Comment

    I’ve gotten used to listening to traffic at home (Detroit area) and I understand when they talk about areas in general, but I’ve noticed when traveling other cities it’s way to hard decipher it. I’m traveling into Chicago right now, and while I can get around okay, the traffic reports are just gobbly-gook since I don’t know all the roads and traffic slang….

    This is a problem today since there appears to still be lots of flooding from the last few days of storms. It’s beautiful right now though!!! Can’t wait to get there!

    Written By: Gary on August 24, 2007 2 Comments

    So I’m on my way to Chicago to see a variety of bloggers (to see who, follow the updates over the next few days) and I stop in Kalamazoo (Michigan) for some gas. After I get off the highway, I’m driving along and the truck in front of me swerves and I see a tire hurtling towards my car. I swerved but it managed to clip my bicycle (which is on the back of the car) and and rip it off the rack and drag the bike for a little bit before I’m able to pull over.

    It does turn out there is a Jeep minus a tire that I didn’t notice during my swerving, turns out it was out on a test drive from an auto repair shop. They said to bring them the bill for fixing the bicycle and the rack. They sent me to a local bike repair shop and the end result is they’ve done $90 in repairs and then decided that I should get the bike replaced and it’s 3 hours later and I’m still in K’zoo. Everyone is closed now, and the repair shop is closed for the weekend and I didn’t think to get a home number.

    Arrgh!!!! Why do accidents happen on the way to places and not on the way home? Of course it could have been way worse but the point was I’m bringing the bike to Chicago for the purpose of biking. I would have taken the train otherwise, I love the train, the station is a mile from my house and I don’t have to worry about traffic or paying for parking, etc.

    On a side note I’m in Bennigan’s right now, who has free WiFi (always a bonus) which I’ll keep in mind for the future, eating their delicious Guinness Glazed Chicken Stir Fry. Yummy food and the ability to access the ‘net always helps!

    This was supposed to be a nice relaxing weekend and now I’m pretty cranky and stressed now. And did I mention that that I’m three hours behind schedule now? I’ll be better tomorrow, I’m just venting for now and telling you about the exciting part of my day. Now to decide how much further I should drive tonight…

    Written By: Gary on July 16, 2007 No Comment

    So I really enjoyed my concert experience at Ravinia (in Highland Park, IL). It was a beautiful place and I loved it. Beforehand it had been mentioned to me that you couldn’t see from the lawn, but I figured that was an exaggeration, it wasn’t. When I walked in, it was wall to wall people and I couldn’t even see the cover of the pavilion, it was the Lawn From Hell. I bet I walked around for five minutes before I noticed the pavilion, I’m so glad I got a seat, I did look back from inside and there really only were a few spots where I could see a limited number (50-100) of people on the lawn. This place was great though, people had shown up hours early and set up their little fold up tables with their wine and cheese; at first it seemed a bit pretentious but I really began to like the place for as crazy as it was there.

    One complaint is that it wasn’t made clear that I couldn’t take drinks into the pavilion, (bottled water only I think) they’d sell it to me right next to the pavilion but I couldn’t take it in. They said to chug my wine :(

    They have a great shuttle system to get you to free parking lots all over the area (on site is $20-ish). It was a little confusing on the way in but it was like clockwork on the way out. They’ve got a nearby Metra stop too, but I was confused if you need to needed to take the shuttle or if around concert times it actually stops on the grounds; you actually cross the tracks if you park in one of the lots on-site.

    I’ll definitely check the schedule there the next time I’m in the area.

    Written By: Gary on June 25, 2007 One Comment

    IndigocarlileThis was the best concert!! It wasn’t just Brandi Carlile opening for Indigo Girls, a good part of it was Indigo Girls AND Brandi Carlile together!!! Not only that, it was like the concert that wouldn’t end! They just kept singing!

    I went way early and upgraded my lawn seat to row H (the 7th row actually) since Ravinia lets you do that (which is great). I originally purchased a lawn seat because I just didn’t know if I actually was going to go. But due to some empty seats, I really spent most of the concert in rows 2 or 3!!!

    At the beginning they did a song with Brandi and later she did one with them. Then Brandi did Michael Stipes part for Kid Fears and it actually gave me chills! Then she did who knows how many with them at the end (at least 4, maybe 6), some just backing but many performing with them. And they just kept playing, the fans kept cheering every time they played an additional song. They went way past when Ravinia says they normally stop playing (at least according to the brochure).

    I will be posting more on this later: Brandi, IG and Ravinia will probably get some more entries…

    Written By: Gary on May 6, 2007 No Comment

    So I was in Chicago the other week and while I was there I went to see Wicked. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the story of the Wicked Witch of the West (from The Wizard of Oz) and how her story went before she met Dorothy and company. You find out why she’s green, why the monkeys have wings, why the wizard really decided to go back to kansas with the gang and lots more. The music is good (some songs are really great) the story is excellent, it’s neat how they make the different pieces fall into place. It was kind of like watching a time travel movie and you could see what was going on the past that made the future turn out to be the way that you know it to be. I started the book but couldn’t get through it, the musical was much much better.

    Got really good seats for the matinee on a Sunday, ninth row in the center so you could really see everything. They put a lot of work and details into everything so that really made it enjoyable. I never new the munchkins could dance so well (or they were so sexy cute).

    Like I said, it was really enjoyable so if you think you’d like something like that you probably will. I wish I had watched the Wizard of Oz again to fill in the blanks, I know I was wondering about a few things in the movie while watching the musical so you might to watch the movie again before you see it just to refresh your memory a little bit. Lots of fun!

    Written By: Gary on January 7, 2007 No Comment

    sunset jaco costa ricasunset jaco costa ricaOne of my favorie parts of the movie Running Scared (1986), is when Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal (who play Chicago Cops) are in Florida (Key West, I think) and see a bunch of people standing by the pier. They think ‘someone must have found a body’ or ‘a car must have drove off the pier’. As they try to get closer they ask someone ‘what happened?’ and the response is, ‘they’re just watching the sunset’ and the both look at her and say, ‘no, really, what happened?’ and she replies, ‘everyone comes down every night for the sunset’ and they just don’t believe it. But sure enough, it’s just the sunset and they’re hooked they watch it every night get hooked.

    That’s what it’s like here in Jaco, Costa Rica, everyone starts showing up on the beach in the evening. Even if they aren’t going to get in the water they just show up to watch. Some show up just a few minutes before, some show up an hour or so. They bring the kids, the babies, the grandparents and just watch it set and the colors fade away…

    sunset people jaco costa rica(I’m just paraphrasing the movie, I can’t find the actual quotes, anywhere on-line, but you get the gist of it.)

    As usual, click the photos for larger views.

    Written By: Gary on September 26, 2006 3 Comments

    So I had some of the best Coca-Cola* yesterday at Pangea’s Pizza in Traverse City. It was just extra tasty, I’m not sure why. And not only was it served in fancy old Coca-Cola glasses it was served by the charming Rachel** who attended to all my cuisine related needs. That, a slice of pepperoni pizza, some on-line access and I was all set. I was hoping for more dead animals on my pizza but I would have had to order a whole pizza.

    I mentioned WiFi availability earlier today: I could see a few local access points from inside the restaurant (none of which I think were Pangea’s) but eventually I’d lose the signal, the same if I hooked up with my cell phone. Not sure why. Probably something with all the pleasantness radiating from Rachel was interfering with my digital*** reception.


    * – In case you were wondering the best Coca-Cola I ever had was at the Chicago Aquarium in February of 2002. This is fountain Coca-Cola, in the bottles it’s generally the same, unless it’s in the glass bottles where it’s extra delicious.

    ** – I’m thinking Rachel was spelled slightly differently (sorry).

    *** – Pleasantness is a full spectrum analog signal in case you didn’t know. It’s supposed to overwhelm everything.

    Written By: Gary on June 30, 2006 One Comment

    I’m so far behind in things I’ve been meaning to blog about. I’m going to try and catch up this weekend. I’ve got the concert tonight, Superman Returns, what happened at the computer sale at work, stuff from Chicago from weeks ago, a book or two that I’m read, it’s been forever since I got some photos up from my trip to Egypt, I need to do a real review of my Sprint Treo 700p and I’m sure there’s way more….

    I’ll try and do 6 or 7 of these this weekend (that probably means 2 or 3)…

    Written By: Gary on June 10, 2006 No Comment

    I knew this week at work was going to be cRaZy but I did think I’d have time to blog!?! I haven’t even looked at the photos from Chicago yet (other than on the other people’s blogs). I’m in East Lansing again, one of my favorite towns! Eating lunch at Charlie Kang’s, broccoli with beef with no vegetables (but I still want the broccoli).

    I’m off to Bekah’s high school graduation and I’m sure they’ll be lots of eating and drinking after (well, no drinking for her). I’ll see if I can photo blog something for it later :)

    And tomorrow I get to be the Cat in the Hat for a 5 year old’s birthday party (this was the party that I was purchased for at the school auction a few months a go).

    Since I’m busy this weekend and no time to relax, I’m taking a vacation day Monday, I’ll try to catch up then.

    Written By: Gary on June 5, 2006 4 Comments

    We were talking about Google PageRank the other day when we all got together in Chicago so I thought I’m bring it up here. Check Page RankingThis icon shows my rank and should change automagically if/when my rank changes (archived pages do not necessarily rank the same, see below). Today it’s a five, the scale goes up to ten, but it’s a huge jump for a page/site to grow. You can check you PageRank at PRchecker.info. Or include it on your site with the little piece of code that they list on the bottom of their page


    So I can see I have different ranks on my archived pages, as of today:

  • Blog archive ranks 4
  • Web sites ranks 4
  • Individual Archive ranks 0
  • Today ranks 0
  • June 2003 ranks 0 (these usually take a 4-5 months to grow, I think most of my recent month archives rank 3, most older rank 4).
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