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14 posts from May 2010

The boys get lonely after you leave...

I've got my jersey and my playoff beard ready to go. Sure, the beard has been trimmed a couple times during the playoff run, but it's still there.

Go Hawks!

Norman's got his support showing.

Go Hawks!

I've got the support of fellow bloggers and Tweeters from all different areas such as Dave from Washington State, Sybil Law from Cincinnati, @hellohahanarf from Pittsburgh, and LeSombre from Ottawa, among many others. Chicagoist blogged that the Lincoln Park Zoo has weighed in. Dave even drew up a DaveToon showing support.

DaveBlackhawks

Yeah, I'm ready for those Stanley Cup Finals to begin tonight with my Chicago Blackhawks squaring off against the Philadelphia Flyers.

GO 'HAWKS!

But I want to admit that while I've been a Blackhawks fan since moving to Chicago in 1987, something feels weird about it.

Throughout middle school and high school, I wore my fandom on my sleeve, literally, by wearing an old Blackhawks jersey to school every so often. I lived and loved Blackhawks hockey.

But I stopped following it for a while. Don't get me wrong, I never stopped liking the 'Hawks and being proud that they were my home team, but from the mid-90s until 2007, it was very difficult to be an active Blackhawks fan... a true and ardent supporter.

What a lot of you may not realize is that former Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz jacked up ticket prices and blacked out home games in the Chicago area. We couldn't watch our Hawks without dishing out a veritable fortune. And, considering they were playing like crap with some horrible personnel decisions being made, nobody was willing to dish out that small fortune.

I did go to a few games here and there, but they weren't nearly enough to whet my hockey whistle, as it were. And I wound up attending more games of our local AHL franchise, the Chicago Wolves, who, let's face it, were not only a much cheaper ticket, but a much more exciting and winning team.

I still longed for my Blackhawks to return to relevance or at least return to a place where I could watch them again on TV.

BlackhawksLogo This moment came in 2007 when Bill Wirtz died and ownership of the team was taken over by his son, Rocky. The Rock experimented with a few home games being broadcast during the 2007-2008 season and he then went full bore having pretty much every home game broadcast on Comcast SportsNet or WGN or Versus. Combine this with some very intelligent personnel decisions and a very high degree of marketing and we finally saw real NHL-level hockey in Chicago again.

And my fandom returned to full-frenzy status.

Of course, that first full year of televised coverage saw the 'Hawks make it to the Western Conference Finals where they lost to the Detroit Red Wings (thank you, Pittsburgh, for beating up on them in the Stanley Cup for me). And, to me, I almost felt dirty because I once again began to be a fan during a season where they did really well. I felt almost like a bandwagoner, a fair-weather fan.

Is this feeling legit? Should I worry about this? It's not my fault I couldn't be a hardcore fan, right? I fully blame Bill Wirtz for taking that from me and yet I still feel like I should've been a better fan during those lean years. But how could I? I was either in college, or grad school, or newly married, or a recent homebuyer. I just couldn't afford to regularly attend 'Hawks games and I certainly couldn't watch them. I did attend a game every season or two. But the only other coverage I had was minimal at best in newspapers or on the evening news, and we all know how scant the reporting is on a team that plays like crap.

I'm not really fair-weather, am I? I'm simply a victim of circumstance, right? Please say no to the first and yes to the second. 

Well, whatever.

GO 'HAWKS!!

This morning, after Katie left for work, I fell back in bed and watched The Empire Strikes Back. It's the first time in far too many years since I've seen the film. The first time I've watched it on an HDTV.

No, it's not the official DVD version that Lucas released with all the new footage added to it.

An old friend of mine took the THX-remastered laser discs and committed them to DVD several years ago and gave me copies of the entire original trilogy. I treasure these DVDs as they never have been and likely never will be available to the public. They're not perfect, sure, but I was pretty damned surprised at how good they looked on an HDTV, all things considered.

I love The Empire Strikes Back.


Your sex is on fire...

Yesterday, I read a great review of the film Sex and the City 2 from Cinematical's Jenni Miller that confirmed all the fears I have regarding this movie.

Please note that both Katie and I were huge fans of the original series on HBO, but hated the first movie and have no desire to see the second. Another review I read (but cannot find now) said that the show and characters are perfect for a half-hour serial, but too much for anyone to handle in a movie format.

Read below for one of my favorite paragraphs from Jenni's review to see why I fear this film or click through to the entire review.

Sex and the City 2 not only panders to the worst stereotypes of Americans abroad but also to the Middle East. Watch as Charlotte stumbles in high heeled sandals in the desert and tries to get iPhone reception while riding a camel. Stare in horror as Samantha fellates a hookah pipe in public. Check out Carrie as she wanders the beach forlornly followed by her handsome manservant holding an umbrella to shield her from the sun. Look on aghast while the four of them perform "I Am Woman" in the middle of a giant karaoke club, complete with belly dancers. At least Miranda has enough sense to try and get Samantha to observe local custom and wear a little more clothing than usual, despite Samantha's menopausal hot flashes.

Considering my confirmed fears, I would like to offer up four alternative versions of the movie, one focused on each main character, that should've been made instead.

Sex and the City: Carrie's Cackling
In a scene reminiscent of A Christmas Carol, three ghosts visit Carrie to reveal the truth to her about her relationship failures past, present, and future. Although finally confronted with all the details as to why she's been dumped, cheated on, abandoned via Post-It Note, and otherwise loathed, she still doesn't see that it's her own annoying character traits that have caused it all. This movie bombs because Carrie was everyone's least favorite character on the show anyway.

Sex and the City: Miranda's Mullings
Miranda decides to quit her job as a lawyer after one final case... defending a big NYC mafioso against charges of battery, first degree murder, coercion, and anything else you can think of. When her defense fails, his family plants her in cement shoes in the Hudson River. Considering how much she has always preferred her career over family, her husband Steve never realizes she's gone.

Sex and the City: Samantha's Sluttery
Samantha spends the entire movie in quarantine as the CDC examines her and attempts to name the many mutated strains of sexually transmitted diseases and various bodily rashes she has collected during her sexual escapades.

Sex and the City: Charlotte's Shenanigans
My favorite of the bunch... Charlotte cracks under the strain of her "perfect life" facade and tracks down her first husband (Kyle McLaughlin) and goes Rambo on his family. The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit is called out to help explain her mental snap.

I can guarantee a couple of these I'd be interested in watching.

I like that Norman is already showing his allegiance for the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.

I shall show mine tomorrow.


Walk on...

Well, it's been a few weeks, but I now present you with the triumphant return of Snippet Wednesday!

Walk
My buddy from across the pond, Dan of All That Comes With It, is involved in a pretty ambitious fundraiser called Hadrian's Walk. Basically it's a group of 60 people from around the world who will be walking the 60 mile span of the Hadrian's Wall Footpath in July in honor of Joseph Salmon who died in 2005 at the age of three. The money raised goes to help provide financial assistance to those who have lost a child. Right now, the crew behind this fundraiser have gotten nearly halfway to their goal and they need your help. Generously donated items such as buffs and t-shirts are available for purchase with proceeds going to the Joseph Salmon Trust and a raffle is also being held. If you have the opportunity and are interested in a very worthy cause, check it out.

Nest
Eagle NestOne of the big deals right now in the area where I live is the discovery of a Bald Eagle's nest at a place called Mooseheart two towns south of me. I had to see this for myself, so I stopped off on Monday night on the way home from work to check it out. It's pretty cool. Sadly, due to the distance, I couldn't really get quite as close a shot as I would've liked and, because it was so far away, the focus is a little soft. But check it out anyway.

Willie
Can you believe that Willie Nelson cut his hair? Yikes! I never thought I'd see the day.

Guide
You may or may not have seen the Tweet last week, but the DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau some weeks back asked if they could use some of the photos I've taken of the area and posted on my Flickr account. I have no problem with it, so I zipped up some high-res copies and sent them over. Last week, they e-mailed me to say that they used one of my shots in their Visitors Guide. My shot is the speed limit sign on page 41. I received a pair of guides in the mail today and, on those, you can see where they gave me credit for the image. And the card included in the mailing said that more opportunities may be available in the future. I'm stoked. It's really flattering to have your photography recognized like this so, yes, any chance I get, I'll submit photos.

Toons
On the way home from work today, I was listening to a local college radio station, WONC FM 89.1 out of North Central College, when they played a sound bite from Ren & Stimpy meant to intro their 5 p.m. happy hour programming. Hearing Stimpy's voice made me reminisce about the heyday of great cartoons that were introduced when I was in high school. My freshman year marked the start of The Simpsons, sophomore year was Ren & Stimpy, and my senior year was Beavis & Butt-head. Oh man, those were some great years in cartoon programming. *Le sigh*

Renandstimply

It felt really good to write up a Snippet Wednesday again. Sorry it took so long.


Even as I left Florida...

I think I shall tackle the post about our recent vacation to Florida all Clint Eastwood style!

The Good

  • We got to see Nano for several days
  • All three of our flights arrived ahead of schedule (anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour)
  • We rented a really nice 2010 Ford Fusion and I was quite comfortable driving it
  • We had free Sirius/XM satellite radio in the rental car and I fell in love with the Lithium channel (24)
  • We spent several days poolside and got tans but did not burn
  • I took a boatload of photos and managed to complete my weekly photo challenge with Disney photos
  • We did not overspend on anything really
  • We hit up two parks in the Disney compound - Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom
  • We pretty much bought nothing at Disney other than food
  • We learned how to play the system at Disney for free ice water
  • We hit up most of the major rides at the two parks and even rode several of them twice with time to spare
  • I watched as someone was viewing porn on their laptop computer at the airport
  • We started and finished season four of Monk on our portable DVD player
  • We rarely used our cellphones and didn't even carry them on some days
  • We left our laptop at home - you cannot imagine how freeing this felt

The Bad

  • We waited a little too long and our airfare jumped up a bit from when we originally priced it
  • We pretty much bought nothing at Disney other than food (food is expensive and we were hoping to get at least a little Christmas shopping done)
  • We had to deal with huge crowds at the park - the worst was Animal Kingdom where we were sardines in a sweat lodge
  • We saw parental neglect at its worst as parents sat talking or browsing the web on their phones as their kids ran around wrecking havoc (it's hard to blame the kids when the parents are paying zero attention)
  • Our Illinois iPass still isn't compatible with Florida's tollway autopay system (works in 14 other states, though)
  • Dinoland USA just does not fit in with the rest of Animal Kingdom at all; it upends what is otherwise a nicely themed park
  • Strollers are evil - people should be given size limitations for strollers in crowded public areas like amusement parks as well as on public transportation
    Clarification (before parents tear me a new one) - I have no problem with strollers on general principle, but the Cadillacs these parents were pushing around taking up literally 6-10 square feet of space were just ridiculous. We saw one parent fold over a tandem stroller and shove it into a tram then, with baby in hand, climb over the top of it and slide down into the last available seat to get to the parking lot. He not only held up the tram for five minutes extra (with the conductor instructing him to wait for a new one where he would have plenty of room) but packed in all the other people to a point of discomfort and endangered his kid while scaling Mount Stroller.
The Ugly
  • The heat - it was ridiculously hot and it was only May. We were sweating horribly both days at Disney and our energy levels got sapped very quickly

The Photos

'nuff said.

As I arrived home tonight after work, I noticed a little bird fluttering around near our front door. I walked up there and, in a flight of fear, just started flapping everywhere and wound up running into walls and doors and everything you can imagine.

For his own good, I tried to shoo him away from the entryway and into the wide open outdoors. Instead he flew into my garage and would not (or could not) leave. He kept flying into the walls or into the side of my truck or flapping like mad against the bottom edge of our garage door. At one point, he clung to the door and hung upside down like a bat.

I finally got him outside, but couldn't help but wonder if he was blind or if it was just severe fear and confusion. I wasn't sure what to make of it.

Here he is...

Blind Bird

I hope he's okay.


I never needed anybody's help in any way...

Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt, May 2010, logo

Here I am setting deadlines even I cannot keep. Oh well. At least I finally got them posted. And they were taken between the valid dates.

I have taken my three photos for the week and here they are...


"I'm spinning, oh, I'm spinning. How quick the sun can drop away." Pearl Jam, "Black," Ten

Disney's Magic Kingdom
Teacups!


"Help me get my feet back on the ground. Won't you please, please help me?" The Beatles, "Help!", Help!

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Good luck getting down from there too quickly.


"You are the apple of my eye. Forever you'll stay in my heart." Stevie Wonder, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," Talking Book

Disney's Magic Kingdom
What better apple and more wicked eye than those from the Wicked Queen in Snow White?


In case you didn't figure it out, I went with a total Disney theme since Katie and I were on vacation last week and visited both Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.

Now to get my butt working on the fourth and final week of the challenge.


Ain't no use in prayin', that's the way it's stayin'...

Sorry this is so late. Still recovering from our vacation (we only got back last night). So, to make up for it, we'll make this particular weeklong challenge run through the official end of the month. So you will even have a long holiday weekend to complete it.

The three challenge lyrics for the "week" of May 23-31, 2010 are:

Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt, May 2010, logo
  • "Feelin' like a freak on a leash, feelin' like I have no release." Korn, "Freak on a Leash," Follow the Leader
  • "Get your rocks off, get your rocks off, honey." Primal Scream, "Rocks," Give But Don't Give Up
  • "The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed." George Wyle and Sherwood Schwartz, "Gilligan's Island Theme Song"

Don't forget to leave links to your posted photos in the comments. You have until the end of the month at 11:59 p.m., CDT, on May 31, 2010.

Happy hunting!

For anybody just learning about this challenge now, please refer back to the original post for more information.


I'm not so self assured...

The three challenge lyrics for the week of May 16-22, 2010 are:

Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt, May 2010, logo
  • "I'm spinning, oh, I'm spinning. How quick the sun can drop away." Pearl Jam, "Black," Ten
  • "Help me get my feet back on the ground.
    Won't you please, please help me?" The Beatles, "Help!", Help!
  • "You are the apple of my eye. Forever you'll stay in my heart." Stevie Wonder, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," Talking Book

Don't forget to leave links to your posted photos in the comments. You have until the next three lyrics are announced around 12:01 a.m., CDT, on May 23, 2010.

Happy hunting!

For anybody just learning about this challenge now, please refer back to the original post for more information.


Fight to get it back again...

Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt, May 2010, logo

From some of the comments I've received, this week's challenge wasn't as easy for some as it was for me. I'm really sorry about that. Honestly. The lyrics struck me as more straight forward than before. Oh well.

I have taken my three photos for the week and here they are...


"I'm the one they call Dr. Feelgood, I'm the one that makes you feel alright." Mötley Crüe, "Dr. Feelgood," Dr. Feelgood

KPSH - May 2010 - Dr. Feelgood

It might've been more effective if there was some over-the-counter Vicodin to take a shot of, but that's not quite OTC yet. So you'll have to settle for Painkiller Alley at a local Walgreen's.


"Bad company, and I can't deny. Bad company, 'til the day I die." Bad Company, "Bad Company," 10 From 6

KPSH - May 2010 - Bad Company

I swear this was not planned. I did not pick this lyric because of some advance knowledge of the car. I just drove by without thinking about it, then my brain kicked in, so I stopped and reversed so I could snap the shot real quickly. Honestly, if it were planned, it would look MUCH better than this one.


"When something's old, I wanna put a bit of shine on it." Pearl Jam, "The Fixer," Backspacer

KPSH - May 2010 - The Fixer

This is an old, worn-down garden lantern outside the Herrington Manor hotel in downtown Geneva, IL. I liked the idea of the old lantern and the modern CFL bulb.


Week two is done! Woo hoo! Stay tuned for week three, coming soon to a blog near you!


He's gonna be your Frankenstein...

The three challenge lyrics for the week of May 9-15, 2010 are:

Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt, May 2010, logo
  • "I'm the one they call Dr. Feelgood, I'm the one that makes you feel alright." Mötley Crüe, "Dr. Feelgood," Dr. Feelgood
  • "Bad company, and I can't deny. Bad company, 'til the day I die." Bad Company, "Bad Company," 10 From 6
  • "When something's old, I wanna put a bit of shine on it." Pearl Jam, "The Fixer," Backspacer
Don't forget to leave links to your posted photos in the comments. You have until the next three lyrics are announced around 12:01 a.m., CDT, on May 16, 2010.

Happy hunting!

For anybody just learning about this challenge now, please refer back to the original post for more information.


Every single one of us...

Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt, May 2010, logo

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get it done, but I finally got the shots necessary to fulfill my own Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt weekly challenge. I'm sorry it was so tough. I've got next week's lyrics chosen and I'm hopeful they're not as hard. I fear I may have scared away some potential participation.

Well, here are mine. Nothing special. Just straight up photography...


"Look at the faces, listen to the bells, it's hard to believe we need a place called hell."
-INXS, "Devil Inside," Kick

KPSH - May 2010 - Devil Inside
The Millennium Carillon in Naperville, Illinois. I feel it fits for a few reasons: the most obvious is, of course, the reference to bells. But anyone who knows the history of this tower knows that many taxpayers in Naperville despise it because they are responsible for its upkeep. Hence, the devil reference as well. Plus there's the idea of hell's bells, etc.


"Time is never time at all, you can never ever leave."
-Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight Tonight," Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

KPSH - May 2010 - Tonight, Tonight
I think both parts of that quote are represented by the fact this young man was taken far too soon (only 20 years old) and he can never, ever leave this resting place.


"I'll never be your beast of burden, so let's go home and draw the curtains."
-The Rolling Stones, "Beast of Burden," Some Girls

KPSH - May 2010 - Beast of Burden
Mostly the idea of this pickup truck being used as a pack mule/beast of burden for this scrap metal collector.


I survived week one! Yay!


Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer...

Sorry this is going out so late in the day. I know I've "ruined" my brother-in-law's day by not having it posted in a manner that allows him to read it from work. Oh well. Snippet Wednesday and I are officially failures!

NCIS
I was so ticked off this morning when I logged on to Twitter and saw that somebody had ruined the "shocker" ending to last night's NCIS: Los Angeles. Didn't even put "Spoiler Alert" on the Tweet. Just all right there for the world to see. ARGH!

Sir
The other day, I was walking around during my lunch break with my camera snapping a few photos when I saw a couple of high school guys doing the same thing. We kinda did the whole "fellow photographer" nod in passing. But, later, we actually crossed paths and spoke. I said "hey" to them and they said "hello, sir" to me. SIR? Me? Christ, am I so old that a couple guys in ragged camouflage and Jonas Brothers haircuts are calling me "sir"? Damn.

Running
Okay, week one of morning workouts yielded 7.5 miles of running. Week two yielded 7.25 (I had trouble on Thursday and we didn't run at all on Friday; just weight lifting). But so far this week, I've already run 6.5 miles and Katie's at 7 miles. Woo hoo! Katie actually hit 3 miles yesterday. That's awesome and I'm so proud of her. And we've still got two days of workouts left.

Rarin' to go!Speed
I was putting some stuff in the attic yesterday when I decided to dig out some of my old office toys that I had stashed away. On occasion, I had purchased a Lego set or two and some of them were stored away when I got tired of looking at them. Well, I decided I wanted to find my Speed Racer Lego sets from a couple years ago for use in a Stormin' Norman idea I had. I looked everywhere in the attic and couldn't find them at all. I looked in a few other non-attic places and zilch. I have no clue where they could be. How do Lego sets up an disappear? Madness I tell you!

Potato
I love when classic toys make comebacks. And one such toy has been the good ol' Mr. Potato Head. He saw a resurgence thanks, I believe, to the Toy Story franchise of movies. And then they started doing specialized tie-ins to other movies and whatnot such as Star Wars (Darth Tater, Spudtrooper, and Artoo-Potatoo), Indiana Jones (Idaho Jones and the Taters of the Lost Ark), and Transformers (Optimash Prime and Bumble Spud). Well, I discovered last week, when checking out Jon Favreau's Twitter account, that they have a Tony Starch Potato Head for Iron Man 2. Way cool. My office mate picked one up for her desk which has prompted me to dig out my Darth Tater. Yeah, another reason I was up in the attic.

Challenge
I think I might have to pick some slightly easier lyrics for next week's Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt. I'm having trouble coming up with photos and I'm the freakin' guy who picked the clues. Sheesh!

Time for bed. *yawn*


Tonight, tonight, so bright...

The three challenge lyrics for the week of May 2-8, 2010 are:

Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt, May 2010, logo
  • "Look at the faces, listen to the bells, it's hard to believe we need a place called hell."
    INXS, "Devil Inside," Kick
  • "Time is never time at all, you can never ever leave."
    Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight Tonight," Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • "I'll never be your beast of burden, so let's go home and draw the curtains."
    The Rolling Stones, "Beast of Burden," Some Girls

Don't forget to leave links to your posted photos in the comments. You have until the next three lyrics are announced around 12:01 a.m., CDT, on May 9, 2010.

Happy hunting!

For anybody just learning about this challenge now, please refer back to the original post for more information.


I'm going hunting, I am the hunter...

Here it is, folks. The official announcement of the Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt (May 2010 edition)!

  It's pretty simple:

  1. Huntlogo-may10Each Sunday throughout the month of May 2010, I will post a lyric from three songs on this blog. And you, as a participant, must interpret the lyric as you see fit and take a picture you feel represents your interpretation.
  2. When you have taken a photo, you should post it to your own blog or image hosting account.
  3. Please place a link to your post in the comments of that week's contest announcement. That way, we have a single place where everyone can go look for all the entries.
  4. Please also link to this main contest post in your own entry post.
    The link is "http://bit.ly/kapgarpix". Please note the new URL... http://bit.ly/kapgarhunt.
  5. You have until the next three lyrics are announced at 12:01 a.m. on each Sunday to take and post your responses.

As you all know, "interpret" is a very subjective term and that is done intentionally. I'm not going to be judging the entries or your interpretation of the lyrics. It is solely up to you to come up with what you feel to be an appropriate interpretation and take a similarly appropriate photo. You can focus on the whole lyric or just a specific part of it. But, it might not hurt to explain how your photo works with the lyric.

I basically want to give you the chance to use your imagination and come up with a creative way to look at the song lyrics I provide. So be creative. Have fun.

By the way, if you're taking part in this challenge and have a Flickr account, share your pics in the Flickr Pool.

Here are the links to each week's lyrical challenges. Check back each Sunday for a new link as this post will remain pinned at the top of my blog throughout May.

Sorry, no Week 5 since there will only be two days left. Gotta get your fill during the full weeks of the month.


Communication breakdown, it's always the same...

The other day, Katie was examining the beard that I still am growing (hey, the Blackhawks have advanced to the second round of the playoffs; my loyalty remains) when the following conversation occurred.

Katie: Ahhhh! You've got grey hairs!

Kevin: Yes I do. I'm getting old.

Katie: No! You can't grow old!

Kevin: I don't think I have a choice in the matter.

Katie: Don't worry, we'll just die [this was how I heard it].

Kevin: What?!?!

Katie: Yeah, we'll just have Amy [her hairdresser] dye it.

Kevin: Oh! "Dye"! I thought you said "die."

Katie: Why would I say that?

Kevin: I dunno. I thought you were on a Who kick. You know, like "hope I die before I get old."

Glad we cleared that one up. Phew!

I went to lunch with Katie earlier today.

On the way home, I was greeted with this outside our house. There was actually a fourth squad car out of frame. I still would like to know what happened.

Ghetto Life

We live in such a ghetto.