Monday, August 20, 2007

Hiatus

I'm getting ready to go out of town for a week (with no internet access), and things are hectic beforehand. So I'll be back on here in a few weeks, around the beginning of September. Cheers to my few faithful readers, and thanks for all your comments!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Anudder from da Cubbies

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(subject is in phonetic Chicagoese)

These guys were poised and as ready as the crowd was for the game to start Wednesday after the rain delay. This is me having more fun with my 500mm lens from the far bleachers (that's third base you're looking at, about 300 feet away).

I won't get into some of the subtleties of how the leagues and divisions work in major league baseball (because I don't fully understand them anyway!), but basically there are two leagues, each composed of three divisions. The team with the best record from each division goes on to the post-season, plus the next best team among all three divisions of each league (called the wildcard). So each league gets four teams entering into a tournament to decide which team from each league will play in the World Series. Why it's called the "World" Series (or capitalized), I'm not sure. Because there are a few Canadian teams?

Anyway, the Cubs are currently barely leading the least competitive division in either league. Damned by faint praise, eh? But there is a bit of a battle going on in that division now for the top spot. The Cubs are closely pursued by the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals (my hometown team). And that race is high stakes since the second place finisher in that division will likely not get the wildcard spot because the next best team in the other two divisions of the National league are currently beating the Cubs by a few games.

That all makes sense right? And pretty exciting, huh?

OK, that's it for baseball for a while.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bright Light

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From ballparksofbaseball.com:
Since the 1940s Wrigley Field has changed little. In 1982, an electronic message board was placed under the scoreboard in centerfield. In 1981, the Tribune Company bought the Cubs. The company began talking about installing lights after the 1981 season. However, a fan group fought to keep night baseball away from Wrigley Field. On May 13, 1982, Illinois Legislature made baseball after midnight a violation in a facility that had not had night sports played before July 1, 1982. In 1984 when the Cubs made the playoffs, MLB threatened that if the team made the postseason in the future, games would be moved to a location that had lights. Finally on February 23, 1988, the Cubs decided to install lights at Wrigley Field.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pay No Attention

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To the man behind the scoreboard. This is the guy who actually hangs the shingles on the big center field scoreboard, watching the game through it. I couldn't find anything about them, but Wrigley Field must have one of the last hand-operated scoreboards there are among big league ballparks. Wrigley Field as a whole is preserved as a kind of novel anachronism. Somehow it is this untouchable relic of the good old days when things were simple and a trip to the baseball game didn't mean getting assaulted by marketing at every turn. Then again maybe that is kind of an elitist luxury these days since it's way easier to get a ticket at U.S. Cellular Field (it starts with the name, right?) and have your pick of price ranges. Anyway, I think the horrid example of what was done to Soldier Field stands as a testament of what not to do with a landmark like Wrigley.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pulling Back the Tarp

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I went to a Cubs game last night and waited out the rain delay. It was fun and worth it, although it was only the seventh inning at 11:00 PM. So I took off before the end when it was tied 9-9 with the Reds. Cincinnati went on to score two in the eighth, so I'm content with my decision. Or wait, maybe my leaving early caused them to lose! Just kidding, I'm not that superstitious (or loyal to the Cubs).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

'Burban Beauty

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This is where I hang out after work. Just kidding, but I do stop by before getting on the highway often a couple times a week. Anyway, I liked the little glow of the sunset resonating with the Meijer sign here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Framed

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Sorry no post yesterday. Just busy/flaking back after another weekend away. Snapped this walking to the car from dinner at De Cero, a cool Mexican place on Restaurant Row (Randolph Street just west of the Loop) where they serve stuff like duck nachos and catfish tacos (both of which I had and were awesome). Thanks again to photo-spotter Katie for pointing it out.

PS to Bob - those three fair skinned Pennsylvanians took us there.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

One More

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Meow. Back tomorrow with more Chicago-y stuff.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cat Pix

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So yeah kind of an internet cliche. Look at these cute pictures of my cat! ZOMG! But I'm out of town (again!) this weekend and I think this is actually a pretty cool shot.

Friday, August 10, 2007

More Whirly by Request

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A comment from my dad yesterday:
Strangetastes said...

The WhirlyBall web site does not give a quick, clear idea of what the game is about. The photos make it look like a combination of carnival bumper cars, lacrosse and basketball. Hey, I just looked at the About Us tab on their web site and that's exactly how they describe it! How many bonus points do I get? Oh, and it's apparently surrounded by large amounts of beer. Looks like it is only in the Chicago area. You're not terribly far from the Fullerton Ave. location. Check it out and post some pix!

So yes, you're spot on about the summation, and also the beer. Yesterday's shot was from my girlfriend's birthday in February. So I have already checked it out (how do you think I got the picture I posted yesterday?)! And here's another shot showing the action of the game, as well as the beer element in the viewing room behind the glass. You can't see the basket/target, but the padded pole of one of the is on the right. It's basically a basketball backboard with a hole cut in the center and a net stretched taut across it. When you hit the net a point is registered but the ball just bounces off.

Here you see some passing/blocking/interception action going on. The game is lots of fun played with coordinated strategic folks, or also with jubilant (and/or sauced) wacky abandon. Ramming is not discouraged. I'm also partial to sneaking up behind someone with the ball and attempting to smack it out of their wicket. Careful of your prey's knuckles with such a maneuver.

Also, the link I posted yesterday was just to the website for Chicago locations. But this does go on other places. From the wikipedia entry: "There are three locations in and around Chicago, and locations in Cleveland, Kansas City, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto, Connecticut, New Jersey and five locations in the Detroit suburbs."

PS This is a rare shot of myself (with the ball) - not that I'm really trying to maintain anonymity.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Diggin' through the 'chives

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I've always liked this picture and wanted to show it off, but other more timely stuff always came up and I long forgot about it. I know Whirlyball exists in other US cities as a franchise (I think), and also in similar forms with different names. But I'd never heard of it before Chicago so that's what I associate it with.

This is from my lady's birthday way back in February.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Green Dolphin Street

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1. A 1947 Lana Turner movie.
2. A jazz composition recorded by Miles Davis in 1958 and Bill Evans in 1959.
3. A 2001 novel by Sebastian Faulks.
4. A jazz club in Chicago.

#4 also happens to host a weekly house music night every Monday. My friend Micheala was DJing there yesterday for her birthday so I ventured out on a "school night" as we call it when staying out a bit late before work the next morning. It's a pretty cool scene - the old jazz club surroundings classes it up although in a very casual comfortable way. This is the back room which is a convertible covered patio facing the Chicago River. Unfortunately it was closed up to the outside last night due to rain, but it was lit by these cool colored orbs that drew my attention.

Monday, August 6, 2007

More Random

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Again with nothing on deck, I obtained a truly random number between 1 and 3,045 (the number of pictures I have on flickr). So this picture is the 2,026th photo in my flickr photostream. I got the number from random.org, which uses atmostpheric noise to seed its random number generator. Most folk probably don't know or care what that really means. Nerds go check out the explanation here.

So this isn't exactly in Chicago, as you might have guessed. See the flickr geotag I put on it here.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sort of Random

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I decided today with nothing special to post to pick the roughly middle photo in my flickr photostream, with some editorial judgment. This was in the middle of page 84 out of 169. Sort of like bible roulette or something. Actually, I should implement or steal a script to show a random flickr image on my side bar. . .

This was from a golf outing early this spring.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Da Coach

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Saw this on the way home yesterday and couldn't resist a moving snap. It was kinda "from the hip," so it's not like my eye was in the viewfinder. For those who don't know, "Da Coach" is Mike Ditka, famous coach of the Chicago Bears. I could only get a glimpse of the guy driving - not sure how close the resemblance actually was. It kinda cracks me up that there's a market for celebrity impersonators like this.

Friday, August 3, 2007

More from Wicker Park

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This was also taken from my seat out front of bin wine cafe (again, lower case deliberate). Next door is Earwax Cafe, which I love. They have great coffee and a funky selection of reasonably priced mostly vegan food. They also have a video store with a pretty great and eclectic selection. It was my portal to further exploring non-mainstream cinema when I first moved to Chicago, but I haven't been there since I signed up with Netflix. They have pretty much everything that's released on DVD eventually, so I'm just not drawn back to the basement at Earwax. Which is too bad - there's probably some ultra-underground coolness I'm missing out on. But they seem to be able to keep up that side of the business at least. So good for them.

In the background is a building curiously called "The Coyote." I could not find anything about where that name came from or anything else about it, except that it may soon be doomed to teardown condo fate (surprise!). Here you can see a more direct photo of it though. It's the tallest building between Wicker Park and The Loop.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

bin

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bin wine cafe, that is, and in all lower case. I suppose to to distinguish it from BIN 36, the larger original restaurant downtown. My lady took me out to dinner there last night just for the hell of it. Pretty great. What you're lookin at there is my glass of Viognier sweating in the evening heat. It went pretty awesomely with a bunch of different cheeses.

So we were sitting out on the sidewalk in front of this place, talking about neighborhoods and gentrification and such. This cafe is in Wicker Park, which went through major demographic changes in the 80s and 90s, and now is kind of a symbol of gentrification at its most extreme in Chicago. There's a Starbucks of course, all sorts of trendy shops, and lots of ugly new condo construction (as well as a lot of beautiful old houses restored and now worth easily multi-millions). But, there are lots of great restaurants too. Some are certainly on the higher end like bin, but there is a wide variety of styles and price ranges. And sitting out on the sidewalk there was a nice bustling evening atmosphere that you don't find very much in Chicago since it is so dispersed.

So there's definitely a trade-off to neighborhood change (looking for a gentrification synonym - this almost sounds like Bush doctrine references to global warming). We live in Logan Square, which has had its Starbucks for at least eight years I think, but still feels somewhat behind the gentrification (oh I give up) curve. Hopefully its residents and leaders can guide it well in the future to be someplace nice to live or visit while not becoming completely elitist and exclusive.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Loft Boarding

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Although there's more good stuff, I didn't wanna cheat this whole week with pictures taken 200 miles aways from the city limits. I found this one in the archives of my buddy Dan (who I featured not that long ago in a less active pose) skateboarding in his loft apartment. This style of dwelling is more and more popular in small to medium size cities these days, which is something I've noticed on visits back to St. Louis in recent years. But they've been a fixture of big city life for a while longer. Anyway, Dan's has huge expanses of concrete floors that lend themselves to such non-traditional indoor activities. This was a lucky shot, but came out well as the camera somehow tracked his head while it and the rest of his body was in motion.

PS Oh crap sorry for those coming here expecting to see something breakfast oriented for August theme day! I actually meant to cheat on that and get some good documentation of the fabulous camp breakfasts we had planned in Indiana this past weekend. But I guess I was either too groggy or hungry or both to remember that intention.