Photography 2010

Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur...

Time for the start of the final week of the Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt! I'm actually kinda relieved. I've been having trouble keeping up with it. Oh well.

First, the drawing for the winner of the $10 gift card from way back in week two!

After running some numbers over at random.org, the winner is Nat!

Don't forget to check out all the photos in the Flickr Group.

Second, here are my photos incorporating the third week's lyrics:


"The wind comes in at the end of the day,
watchin' the trees and the leaves and the pieces blow away."
--Annie Automatic, "Something Sacred (acoustic)," iTunes Single


"I gotta tell you folks, he wasn't wearin no clothes.
He musta rubbed a whole gallon of Crisco oil from his back down to his toes."
--Ben Folds, "Bizarre Christmas Incident," Ben Folds Live

Snowy Scarecrow
"Well I stumbled upon your secret place safe in the trees you had tears on your face.
Wrestling with your desires frozen strangers stealing your fires.
The message hit my mind."
--Heart, "Dog and Butterfly," Dog and Butterfly

Third, the week four challenge lyrics:

Nat's lyric-
"You know I keep your fingerprints in a pink folder in the middle of my table.
You’re the tall kingdom I surround; think I better follow you around"
--The National, "Brainy," Boxer

Odie's lyric-
"The whole wide world was upside down.
The streets of town were paved with stars."
--Manhattan Transfer, "A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square"

My lyric-
"We love the all the all of you.
Our lands are green and skies are blue.
Now all in all we're just like you.
We love the all of you."
--Spacehog, "In the Meantime," Resident Alien

Have fun! And remember, this final week runs through Monday, January 3, 2010 to give you a few extra days to recover from your New Year's celebrating and then post incriminating photos.

Oh, and another reminder, after this week, an overall winner will be chosen to receive the $75 gift certificate from CSNstores.com. The only way to win is to play!


And still the photograph showed signs not wasted...

Week two has come and gone and I've got a few things to accomplish here today.

First, I need to draw a winner from week one of the contest. The winner, who will be chosen randomly from all those who entered, will receive a $10 iTunes giftcard.

And the winner, as determined by random.org, is #5, or in this case, Kevin Spencer! I will e-mail you the $10 iTunes code just as soon as I've picked it up. Cool, man?

Second, I must present my own entries for week two. Here you go...

I decree that it's wrong that I can't just make this a single word and put it anywhere I want on the damn game board. #stupidrules
"Because the plot thickens every day
And the pieces of my puzzle keep crumblin' away
But I know, there's a picture beneath."
--Faith No More, "Falling to Pieces," The Real Thing

Technically, this doesn't really count since it's a screen capture off my iPhone as opposed to an actual photograph. But it does kinda fit and, since I'm not allowing myself to win the drawings, it doesn't really matter, does it?

Helium Fail
"The favored march up over the hill in some fools parade.
Shoutin' victory for the righteous, but there ain't much here but graves."
--Bruce Springsteen, "Gypsy Biker," Magic

Needle Light
"Cables that carry the life to the cities we build.
Threads that link diamonds of life to the satanic mills."
--Yes, "Machine Messiah," Drama

Third, and lastly, here are the lyrics for week 3...

My lyric-
"The wind comes in at the end of the day,
watchin' the trees and the leaves and the pieces blow away."
--Annie Automatic, "Something Sacred (acoustic)," iTunes Single

Nat's lyric-
"I gotta tell you folks, he wasn't wearin no clothes.
He musta rubbed a whole gallon of Crisco oil from his back down to his toes."
--Ben Folds, "Bizarre Christmas Incident," Ben Folds Live

Odie's lyric-
"Well I stumbled upon your secret place safe in the trees you had tears on your face.
Wrestling with your desires frozen strangers stealing your fires. the message hit my mind."
--Heart, "Dog and Butterfly," Dog and Butterfly

Have some fun!


Resolution slips away again...

Well, the first week of the Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt has come and gone and, so far, I'm the only person who has submitted photos. I'm hoping it wasn't too tough. My interpretations are pretty loose as you'll see below. I'll let you see if you can figure them out.

Photo365 Day 332: Mary Joseph
"You say it's your birthday, well it's my birthday too, yeah.
You say it's your birthday, we're gonna have a good time.
I'm glad it's your birthday, happy birthday to you."
--The Beatles, "Birthday", The White Album

Po Rappa
"Through my research I have found all it takes
To keep the chickens laying eggs
Is opera or Gershwin played at low volumes on dad's old radio."
--Christine Fellows, "Spinster's Almanac", Nevertheless

Naper at Night
"Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from the day."
--The Eagles, "Desperado", Desperado

Feel free to go ahead and post your photos for week one through tomorrow, Monday, December 13 at midnight.

But you can also go ahead and work on the lyrics for week two as well. They are...

My lyric-
"Because the plot thickens every day
And the pieces of my puzzle keep crumblin' away
But I know, there's a picture beneath."
--Faith No More, "Falling to Pieces," The Real Thing

Nat's lyric-
"The favored march up over the hill in some fools parade.
Shoutin' victory for the righteous, but there ain't much here but graves."
--Bruce Springsteen, "Gypsy Biker," Magic

Odie's lyric-
"Cables that carry the life to the cities we build.
Threads that link diamonds of life to the satanic mills."
--Yes, "Machine Messiah," Drama

Have at it, folks.


You've got to run all day...

Race DayWell, we did it. Katie and I (and Scott and Becca) ran our first 5K today. It was the Snowflake Shuffle and let's just say I'm glad it was designated a walk/run. I don't even know what our official final time was. Somewhere around 47 minutes. Not a time I'm particularly proud of.

Why?

Starting Friday at midnight, we got hammered with snow. This may not always be a big problem. Heck, many people have run in snow without problems. But this is our first organized run. Up to this point, all we'd done is run in what are otherwise ideal conditions. Those being either a treadmill or the occasional outdoor run in which it was nice and clear. We were not at all prepared for what happened here in Geneva.

The roads were horrible. Sure, they had plowed and salted, but the last time was a couple hours before our run began. Honestly, considering the conditions, the "pace car" for the race should have been a snow plow. I'm not kidding here. It would've made total sense and would have given those plows we were seeing on the road with their blades in the "up" position some purpose.

The reason why the snow was such a problem is because I have bad ankles and my body has a tendency to overcompensate when it knows there is some kind of danger that threatens my ankles. I have a very overprotective body that I cannot control at all. It's a bodily sixth sense. So my body began to overcompensate for what were perceived to be potential slips and twists and turns and my calf began to cramp up as a result. Katie had a similar problem.

We did have fun despite the real and perceived peril and we will do it again. But I think we need more outdoor and inclement weather training before we do the Super Bowl Shuffle 5K (PDF) in February.

Here's a shot of the four of us post-race. You can tell it was immediately post-race for Katie and I by the looks on our faces.

Snowflake Shuffle 5K

More photos are available in Flickr.


Nothing stays the same...

Windy HavocI'm so relieved I survived the pseudo Storm of the Century.

I know it knocked down a lot of trees and temporarily knocked out power on a pretty small scale, but, otherwise, it was pretty weak.

A lot of huff and puff, but little true blow.

I actually think there is a greater potential for disaster on my drive to the gym in the morning.

On my way there, I have to traverse a subdivision where a lot of the residents like to run along the street in the early morning. And I swear that every freakin' one of them wears black with no reflective tape or patches or lights at all and it's pitch black when I'm driving. Add to that the fact that there are so many curves in the road in this neighborhood that my headlights are usually pointing away from them by the time I come upon them that there is no possible way in all that's holy that I'll ever see them.

I hate to wish ill on people, but one of them needs to be hit by someone so they and their neighbors will learn to either wear light, reflective clothing or USE THE DAMN SIDEWALK!! Nothing against runners, but this particular batch are morons and deserve what's coming to them if they're not going to be intelligent about how they exercise.

Yesterday was an interesting day in terms of Twitter. Their servers were overloaded, as per usual, and I was craving an avatar change.

So I pitched my standard avatar, which had already turned Pepto Pink (tm) in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Twitter replaced it with their default egg avatar. Of course, the overload meant that nothing I was trying to upload was processing so the egg became a nice big joke amongst all my Tweeps.

Until, that is, the first of my uploads finally processed an hour or so later leaving me with a zombie I had created on the Sears Zombie Catalog site.

Then it became a new avatar another hour later when I created a variant of the default Twitter egg with my face hatching out of it.

Avatars Gotta be honest, I really dig the hatching egg -- as corny as it is -- and I'm gonna stick with it!


Who are you...

It's kinda funny how many people seem to agree with the idea that my dad and Rob Reiner are the same person.

Friends, family, the whole shebang.

But the ultimate confirmation came yesterday from my dad himself when I told him that I had put a picture of him next to one of Reiner on my blog. His response? "I saw it... those weren't both of me?"

Um, no. 

Heh.

I like Goodwill.

You can find some cool stuff at Goodwill.

Stuff that you might not even be looking for. 

For example, this past week I stopped in to look just for kicks and what did I find?

Low-priced porn!

Hey, at least Goodwill is acknowledging the sexual needs of the low income'd. Right nice of them, don'cha think?


Baby, we were born to run...

Yesterday, Katie and I were part of the 2010 Chicago Marathon! Yep, we dressed in our workout best, headed into the city, and raced around from point to point along the 26.2 mile course laid out throughout the city.

Of course, we did this to cheer for our friends and take a bunch of pictures and, later, go out together for dinner. Run it? Are you nuts? We left that to Eric, Michelle, and Kim. We're not masochists.

We started the day by racing to the 13-mile marker around 200 S. Wacker in hopes of seeing all the people we were hoping to cheer for. We did manage to find Eric just as he was passing, but could not find Kim or Michelle.

Then we headed to just south of the corner of Jackson and Halsted near the 17-mile mark. There we found Eric again, but Katie also saw the infamous Kimbot! She was just passing us as Katie yelled "Kim!" and Kim turned and moaned "Apgars!" then came over and practically collapsed in our arms for a giant, sweaty hug during which she said "it's so horrible out here." We tried to stifle a little giggle as it really wasn't the time despite the humorous way in which she declared it. Then someone took our picture together and she was off.

101010ChicagoMarathon12
[photo courtesy of Kim; not that I asked, but I think she's okay with it]

Still didn't find Michelle, though. Where was she hiding?

MarathonOur final stop was on the bridge before the final turn right under the 300m To Go sign. There we saw Eric and Kim as well as a coworker of mine and her boyfriend.

And, yet, still no Michelle.

I think she was avoiding us. *sniffle*

If anything, I'd say my one complaint was the lack of a well-planned out way to get from the bridge to the finish line area. Everything was blocked off and guarded. To traverse the 300m from where we stood to the finish line would've been nearly a mile of walking.

We said fuhgeddaboudit and headed to the River North area and dined at a place called Dos Diablos. Quite tasty Mexican food, if we do say so ourselves.

But we did have a lot of fun at the Marathon and watching everyone run was quite inspiring. People of all ages and sizes were racing. Enough of a variety that I'm convinced I could actually run it with the proper training. Doesn't mean I will, just that I believe I could. I do think Katie is interested in training if not for a full marathon, then definitely for a half.

Sometimes, I think the best part of the race is reading all the stories that surface after the fact. Like the barefoot runner or marathon cheaters or the blindfolded runner or bib swappers. The fun truly never ends.

Maybe I'll become a race-day journalist! That can be my contribution.

Well, maybe not. Enjoy the photos all the same.

If you can't see the Flash slideshow above, click through to the Flickr album.

I've discovered something, baths suck.

After getting home from the Marathon, Katie and I decided to clean up. She opted for a shower while I took my first bath in probably five years.

No, don't misread, this was not my first time bathing, just my first bath. I much prefer showers. And I have several reasons why...

  1. Baths are dirty. How do you clean yourself when what you just washed off of one part of you is now floating in the water you are still using to clean another part? This gets me thinking about public swimming pools and hot tubs. Those things have gotta be festering with flith. In many cases, they're exposed to the elements so who knows what happens then. Plus you get a ton of different people using them without water being changed. Sure, they "chlorinate" them clean, but you're only allowed to use so much chlorine before it becomes harmful for a human to use the pool. So if the chlorination isn't strong enough to be harmful to humans, can it truly be powerful enough to kill off our filth? Just sayin'.
  2. You get cold quickly. Not all of you gets covered at all times. Especially when you're my size. Always something exposed. And the whole water displacement thing gets me every time. Overfilling is a constant worry.
  3. It's boring. I can't sit there and use my iPhone because I'd probably drop it in. We don't have a TV in the bathroom. I don't want to read a book as it will find a way to get wet no matter how "dry" I might be. And, not being a kid, I can't exactly drop a bunch of Star Wars figures in the tub to play with anymore. Well, I guess I could, but I'd be locked up and the key thrown away rather quickly.

Showers rock. 'nuff said.


Running into the sun, but I'm running behind...

I have a very vivid dreamstate when I sleep.

There's sometimes a ridiculous level of detail to my dreams and I also have a series of recurrent themes and settings. An example of the latter is that I've dreamed many times of a place that is clearly the campus of my alma mater, but, it's also not. There are all these changes... new buildings, a couple new roads, that sort of thing. And these changes remain so consistent amongst my dreams that involve this campus as a setting that I could practically draw up a map.

This altered-state campus played a part in my dream last night.

Apparently, I was running a marathon through the campus and surrounding town. And it was a messed-up marathon, too. There were guides there to help you know which way to go, but even they weren't sure what was the official route. So they just kept pointing people in a variety of directions and clusters of runners were crossing paths and colliding.

That's not even the weirdest part. About five miles into this "marathon," my clothes disappeared. I looked down and I was running stark naked.

But wait, it gets stranger... I didn't stop. I just kept running. Around real parts of campus. Through imagined portions, too. In buildings. Through classrooms. Along streets. To quote Forrest Gump, "I was run-nayng."

And I finished the marathon, all 26.2 miles of it. The last 21+ naked. Oh, and after the marathon, I became one of the most searched topics on Google and a trending topic on Twitter.

In my dream, I was so proud.

In real life, I'm at a loss.

I pray there's no possible interpretation of this dream.

On the way home last night from a signing with Chicago Blackhawks Center Dave Bolland, I decided to stop at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (known as "Fermilab" around these parts). It's not like I have business there. In fact, my grasp of science is so bad that it would likely be in the lab's best interests to keep me far, far away.

However, they have a buffalo ranch on their grounds! For years, I've wanted to drop by and take photos of them. I've never really seen a buffalo before, other than in a zoo. And, for some reason, I never stopped by. It's on my way home, for God's sake.

Last night, on a whim, I decided to give it a shot.

Have you ever seen a buffalo up close? They're amazing creatures. Stunningly majestic. They saw me coming and stopped what they were doing to walk up to the fence and check me out, too. I snapped dozens of shots of them. Sorry, I have yet to offload the photos from my camera, but I do have one from my iPhone to share.

Eventually, like most other living creatures, they got bored with me and moved on. And they displayed their disgust over me quite explicitly. Several peed a giant yellow stream akin to what a garden hose might output. Another reared up his hind leg to fully expose his ass and then wrenched his head around to lick himself in my general direction. Have you ever seen a buffalo's butthole? I can now say I have.

But, the fact that something that big was also that flexible was kinda mind blowing. Remember back when George Bush used "Shock and Awe" in a public speech? He wasn't talking about the war in the Middle East, he was talking about buffalo perfect circles. Wow.


Tastes so good, make a grown man cry...

So how was your extended weekend (well, that question is aimed more at my U.S. readership)? Katie and I spent some time with our families on Saturday and Sunday. However, Monday was for her and I. And we celebrated Labor Day by laboring in the kitchen, over a large pan of Chicken a la King and a homemade pie.

I would like to take a moment to focus on the word "homemade." Why? Because this was Katie's first attempt at making a whole pie from scratch. She's made pies before, but she used to buy a finished crust or the premade, rolled-out dough. This time, it was all by hand. And it was sooooo good.

Would you like to see?

Photo365 Day 242: Pie Maker
Pouring the fruit filling into the pie. For the record, that's a mixture of peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries... all purchased fresh and whole at Trader Joe's.

The Finished Product
The finished pie after baking. It burst through a little bit. Oh well. And that's a cinnamon and sugar dusting on top.

Yum!
Sliced and a la moded!

Oh yes, we labored hard. And enjoyed the fruits of said labors very much!

Don't forget to wipe the drool off your keyboards. ;-)


Walk like an Egyptian...

Katie and I have been noticing some weird little things regarding nature lately.

DragonflySex For one, there has been a marked increase in the number of dragonflies this year. Evinrude is everywhere! Usually you see a few once in a while around these parts. But, lately, it's hundreds per day. And they're sex starved! You know what I mean. You've seen the "double dragonfly" in flight, haven't you? Horny little buggers. [thanks to the Governor of Maryland for the shot at right]

Crickets have also proven very numerous this summer. Katie says she sees them in some odd places, too. Hopping all over the inside of where she works and the like. She's been working at her current job for eight years and she's never seen it like this. Sure, they can just come in the door when a customer does, but they don't usually do it. Now? Oh yeah, brazen as all get out.

And, finally, there's frogs. I've seen a frog in our front walkway probably one out of every five times I go out there in the last few months. And I don't even use our front walkway that often. So imagine what it might be if I paid regular attention. The other night, Katie and I went for a 45-minute walk and, as we were walking, seven different frogs hopped out of our path. After a while, since the sun was setting, Katie and I were placing bets as to whether or not particular lumps on the ground in front of us would turn out to be frogs.

Something about this feels like it should be the onset of the apocalypse. Dunno why. Just does.

Oh, and I came across a locust carcass yesterday. Coincidence? I think not.

I took a lot of photos this weekend.

Way too many, in fact.

On Saturday, I went with my mom and her group of photographers to the Egyptian Theatre and an old train depot in my former college town of DeKalb. It was a lot of fun, despite being hotter than Hades. And I did manage to nab some shots. Some? More like 250 of them. I have pared it down a bit, but not by much. Here you go...

And, yesterday, Katie and I went with some of my coworkers to the Kane County Cougars (Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) game against the Peoria Chiefs. Sure, the home team Cougars lost 8-4, but it was fun and offered up a few photo ops. Again, here you go...

Off to the gym. Adios.


You never will be mine...

Sadly, the Pitchfork Music Festival has wrapped up for 2010 with a pretty little bow on it.

Granted I only went to a single day of the festival, I still feel compelled to write about it.

I missed out on the earliest act of the day, Sharon Von Etten, because I mistimed the train I was taking to get into the city. Bummer. I was kinda looking forward to hearing her.

As I entered the park, though, I was greeted with the acoustic stylings of The Tallest Man on Earth. I really dug on his sound and am looking forward to checking out more of his music. 

There was a pretty rough transition next from TTMOE to the next act, hip-hopper El-P. I didn't really dig on his first few tracks, but I finally started to get into it after that and enjoy his music.

Next up was one of the bands I was most looking forward to, Liars. However, what I wasn't expecting was how noisy and uneven they sounded. It left me happy that I spent the time wandering the booths instead of sitting in one place and listening to them. It just didn't fit the mood that was set by all the acts up to this point.

The disappointment of Liars was made up for by Robyn. I wasn't sure what to think about a former pop starlet at an indie music festival, but, DAMN, she tore it up. Just a high-paced pop and electronic set which left me wondering how she could've had that much energy considering the heat.

Next up was Broken Social Scene. The only bad thing I can say about them is that the sound system for their stage was a bit wonky. While I've experienced worse, the sound did go in and out a little on a couple of tracks. But I think that's a combination of the stage crew and the heat. Otherwise, Broken Social Scene was fantastic and the end of their show left me wanting to hear a lot more of their music. Good thing my iPod had some.

The final act of the night was Modest Mouse. This was the band I most wanted to see going into the festival and the reason I chose Friday over any of the other nights. The verdict? I was left a bit empty. While the songs that Isaac Brock and company chose to play were decent enough and ones that I recognized, they weren't ones that I truly knew well enough to be able to sing along with. I am not a diehard Mouser like so many other people that were in attendance, and I hate to sound mainstream with this request, but it would've been nice to hear "Float On" or "Ocean Breathes Salty" or even "King Rat." They left after a little more than an hour and came back about 10 minutes later for an encore which lasted a single song. Still nothing of those three tracks.

If I had known that this might have been a possibility, I probably would've opted for Saturday, instead, so I could've seen LCD Soundsystem. The downside of that would've been missing Robyn and Broken Social Scene, of course. But seeing as Modest Mouse was my number one reason for choosing that night, I think Saturday might have made for a better overall evening.

Oh well.

The festival grounds themselves, including the vendors, were great. I had a lot of fun wandering from tent to tent and just perusing what was available. I did buy a few smallish items and loved that Shawnimals was present for me to get a little bit of a Ninjatown fix.

Will I go again next year? Damn right. I'm not sure if it will be one, two, or three days. We'll have to wait and see. But I always seem to have fun at Pitchfork. So why the heck not?

Here are some pictures I took at the festival.

I think it's pretty obvious that I'm a junkie for Pixar animated films. They're always great. However, when it comes to other studios and their digitally animated feature films, I'm a bit more hesitant.

They always seem rushed, unfinished, poorly written, poorly acted... you name it.

So, yes, I was a bit wary of Despicable Me based on the trailers. I just didn't see it being any good save for a few moments of potential levity here and there.

Despicable_me Katie and I went to see it on Sunday and I would like to say, here and now, that I was wholly wrong in my pre-judgment of the film. It was hilarious and heartwarming and thoroughly enjoyable. The voice acting was good, the characters were a lot of fun, and damn if those minions don't steal the movie.

But the biggest surprise was that this was actually a movie where 3D paid off!

Katie and I have been to a few films in 3D since the craze came back full bore. And, honestly, none of them needed it. It was merely a gimmick to make you pay more to see the film and, thus, rake in more bucks and thrust the film higher up the all-time grossing list (I still wonder how Avatar would've really fared if it wasn't in 3D).

Despicable Me, though, used 3D like films that came out in a past era. Items on screen came out at you making you jump or laugh or whatnot. But, unlike old 3D films, it wasn't done intentionally like when an actor is swinging a sword and makes it a point to stick it out at the audience for maximum 3D effect. These scenes fit into the movie and flowed well with everything going on around it. 

All-in-all, I was very pleasantly surprised.


Declare independence...

Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow U.S.ians!

The U.S. Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays second only to Halloween. Katie and I love to sit out and watch the various fireworks displays in the area. On Friday night, we were down in Aurora for one show and tonight we'll be in St. Charles for another with her brother and his fiancee.

I did take some photos on Friday. They didn't necessarily turn out great, though. Due to a little physical instability of the camera, the in-focus ones look like they're double exposed. So I decided to do something a little different and intentionally take a bunch of them with semi- to very-soft focus. I really kinda like the result.

Here you go...

Hope you celebrate safely.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I'd like to offer up a very special Happy Independence Day wish to my friend Marie. This is, after all, her first time celebrating as a naturalized U.S. Citizen.


Lightning crashes...

I was *this* close!

[imagine me holding out my thumb and index finger reallllyyyy close together]

Yes, that's how close I'm pretty sure I came to seeing a funnel cloud last night.

But did I?

No. Of course not. 23 years living in Tornado Alley and nary a funnel cloud have I seen.

But if ever there was a storm during which I should have seen one, last night's was it.

It was nasty.

By 4:30 p.m., it looked like 10 p.m. Dark clouds came rolling in and snuffed out the sun and all clear skies entirely.

By 5:30, I could hear the rain sheeting down on the flat roof of the Target where I was shopping.

By 5:45, tornado sirens were sounding and Target security was ushering people to the back. I, like the moron I am, went outside to check it all out. Swirling clouds, thunder, lightning, you name it.

By 6:00, I had received a call from my mom asking if I'd gotten home alright. I wasn't there yet, but I said I was on my way. She told me that she and my dad had seen about two or three funnel clouds. They were only about 10 miles from where I had been. That blows.

By 6:45, I was home and watching the skies erupt a bit more.

By 8:00, it had cleared up and an orange-hued, post-apocalyptic-looking sky replaced the darkness.

Mother Nature astounds me sometimes. Check them out...

A storm of sorts is bearing down upon Chicago hockey.

Now that the season is done, trades and releases and reassignments are happening.

The first came thundering down last night with the reported trade of Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, and Brent Sopel along with a prospect I've never heard of to the Atlanta Thrashers for Jeremy Morin, Marty Reasoner, a first-round draft pick, and a second-round draft pick.

I love all three of those guys and don't want to see them go. Yes, I understand that it frees up $5.3M from our salary cap and gives us four draft picks in the first two rounds of the draft. And I have heard great things about both Morin and Reasoner. But it still sucks. I like Big Buff (and I cannot lie - ha!).

It's a sad day for Blackhawks fans. *sniffle*


Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs...

It's been a wild couple of days in terms of sports and photography.

Thursday, Katie and I went to the Cubs v. Brewers game at Miller Park in Milwaukee. It was fun to get out and see a game, although Katie and I discovered we're still in too much of a fast-paced hockey state of mind to fully enjoy the slow pacing of baseball. But we're working on it. Other than World Cup Soccer (football, whatever), we don't have much else going on athletically until our football starts.

However, baseball does offer lots of opportunities for Katie and I to just chill out and for me to take photos.

My other photo op came yesterday when I went to the Chicago Blackhawks parade and rally. Actually, I should clarify that I didn't really go to the rally as I couldn't get within a quarter mile of the staging area. But I was in the front row against the police barriers at Wells and Washington for the parade. A-MAZ-ING! Worth the crowds on the streets. Worth the heat. Worth the time waiting.

God I love Blackhawks hockey.

In my attempts to recover from the heat and exhaustion of the last couple days, I'm laying low this morning at home and scaring the hell out of myself watching M. Night Shyamalan's Signs.

I'm not a huge fan of Shyamalan. His movies either hold up decently on a single viewing or a majority of the film holds up well to multiple viewings minus a portion of it or (yes, a third option) it's just crap overall.

What I mean is a movie like The Sixth Sense is truly fantastic in my opinion. Beginning to ending. But you can't watch it more than once. Ever. Just doesn't have the same effect.

2002_signs_011 Then there's Signs which is great for the first hour and a half. Fantastic suspense builder, great acting by all five of the major cast members (Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin, and Cherry Jones), and great use of mood and emotion as a secondary character. But the last 20 minutes are crap. He needed to take a page from Spielberg and Jaws and realize that less is more. The less we see of the aliens (or in Spielberg's case, the shark), the more frightened we are by them. When they come into full view, the movie goes to hell in a handbasket.

As an example of the third option, we have The Village. The movie was severely lacking, utterly predictable, and just plain dull. Period pieces and Shyamalan don't work so well.

Yet, despite all this, I can still go back and watch the first hour and a half of Signs over and over and over again and love it each and every time. So I do. And I am. And I'm still just as freaked out by it as the first time.


We’ve been through this before…

As a photographer, one of the things I hate most is seeing or envisioning a great shot and not having my gear around.

This happened to me yesterday. I was taking full advantage of a traffic-avoidance back road when I saw this cool broken skateboard on the curb along the side of our local Best Buy. It was the back quarter of a deck with the truck and wheels still attached and it was just sitting there completely useless and immobile.


Not my photo, but you get the point of how the broken 1/4 deck looked.

I hit my brakes and reached over to my passenger seat to grab my camera. And it wasn't there.

I forgot that I had moved my gear over to Katie's car when I took my truck in for an oil change a half hour prior. And it was still sitting in Katie's car while the shredded board was sitting there hoping that I could provide it at least a modicum of usefulness by setting it up for a photograph. Alas, I could not.

I made a point of leaving home a little earlier than normal for the gym this morning so I could drive back to the Best Buy with my camera and take a picture. It was actually raining out this morning, adding to the potential despair inherent in the situation. Again, I could not. Some damn person actually cleaned up and either ditched the board in the dumpster or took it home so they could have an extra truck and wheels.

Grrrr.

Have you ever listened to a song named for a person and wondered what it would be like to be in a situation where you could actually use that song on them? For example, back in my undergrad years, one of my classmates was named Cecilia. Of course I serenaded her in class with the horror that is my singing voice belting out some Simon and Garfunkel.

And she threatened to kill me if I ever did it again.

I believed her.

Sweet girl.

There are other songs as well. I always wanted to date a Beth so I could sing her some KISS during those rough patches in our relationship.

This morning, I was reminded of yet another song along those lines. One that I haven't heard in almost 20 years and nearly went into shock when I heard again. It was Europe's "Carrie." Yes, the band that sang "The Final Countdown" actually did have a few other minor hits, arguably. This was one of them.

Talk about a fantastic break-up song. And I never dated a Carrie that I could use this on. Sad.


So never judge a book by it's cover...

I had heard stories about Danny.

He lived a couple houses away from Katie's family.

And, when he grew up, he was finally given the opportunity to discover who he truly believed himself to be.

The other night, I got to meet him... or "her," to be more precise.

I didn't get to meet her for long as she was prepping for a show that night. She was going to sing a Kelly Clarkson song I wasn't familiar with to a crowd in a nearby suburb. She has also performed as Cher and Amy Winehouse, among others.

But, despite her rush, Danny was more than willing to strike a pose for Katie, her parents, and me. Danny welcomed it, in fact, as you'll see in these photos Katie and I took.

Danny

Danny

Photo365 Day 143: Danny Drag

There's a first time for everything, eh?


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!


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.


Old yellow bricks...

I don't care if it makes me seem childlike... or immature... or too-clingy-to-my-past... or whatever the heck else you may want to call it.

I LOVE LEGOS.

And, this past weekend, I had that love reinforced while meeting with a bunch of people my age and even older who clearly love them far even more than I do.

The guys I met up with were from the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club and they had a really cool display of stuff at the Geneva History Center. While the focus was supposed to be trains, the true amazement came in seeing what they built to surround these trains. The settings were gorgeous ranging from a facade of city buildings from the mid-1900s to space Legos and Star Wars and Starcraft and Indiana Jones and Harry Potter and medieval structures... you name it. I was in awe.

I've always loved trains dating back to the Lionel trains my dad used to set up around the Christmas tree. And Lego trains were always something I liked, but could never justify the cost. So I sate myself by geeking out with what everyone else does.

Oh, and I take pictures. Copious amounts of pictures. Here are some of the pictures I took.

I know Katie gets a little weirded out by my love of Legos even though it truly is small scale by comparison to these guys. So I asked a couple of them how their wives handle their obsession. Turns out one of the wives was actually there and she answered that her therapist told her it could instead be an obsession with fixing or collecting expensive cars. She agreed and her husband's collection took off.

I told Katie what this woman told me. She agreed as well. Not that I'm going to start buying a boatload of Legos, but at least I don't think the eye-rolling will be as bad.

BTW, yes, I am totally going to Brick World 2010. Anyone want to go with me?

It's amazing the difference a week can make.

Last Friday marked the end of my first week of early morning workouts and I gotta say that they're going pretty well so far. In fact, the goal I set for myself of being able to run two miles straight through by our Florida trip I hit on Friday. I know I should have set that goal a bit higher, but considering how poor my running had been going up to that point, I preferred to aim lower and then have to set a new one instead of aim too high and get disappointed.

This morning was a bit more of a test, in my mind. Running two miles after warming yourself up to it the four previous days is one thing, but keeping it up after a couple days off on the weekend is something else altogether.

I did hit the two miles again this morning, but it was a bit painful. As a result, Katie and I have decided that we do need to make sure we do at least some kind of exercise on the weekend. It doesn't have to be the monster workout we do during the week, just something to keep us going so Mondays don't strike back with such blunt force.

Just keep running, running, running...


Can you picture this...

Much like my Brother-in-Pics (and name) Kevin Spencer did, I'm going to take a moment to celebrate having survived 100 days of the Photo365 project. Yes, I'm a few days late as I only yesterday finished uploading from the last several days and only today finished renaming and designating which ones were going to be part of the project. But, oh well.

I'm now on Day 105, but would like to look back on the first 100 days by picking out 10 of my favorite photos so far. These are in no particular order.

Photo365 Day 6 - Multi Screened
I just really dig the picture within a picture...

Photo365 Day 13 - Dusk Lights
I like how the lights tower into the sky.

Photo365 Day 34 - First Responders
A reflection of an ambulance in the hubcap of a fire truck? Can it get any cooler?

Photo365 Day 50 - Bright Lights
Starred light refraction without using a special filter.

Photo365 Day 52 - Clone Army
 I always liked how the lighting turned out.

Photo365 Day 66 - Horse Head
I don't think this horse was meant to be so imposing, but it sure looks it, right?

Photo365 Day 68 - Sunset Hoops
Sunset... one of my favorite times to shoot.

Photo365 Day 72 - Bat Bucket
The variety of an otherwise ordinary item struck me in this shot.

Photo365 Day 78 - Twirled and Recropped
Good capture of motion with Anna's hair.

Photo365 Day 84: Sly Smile
I really like how I cropped this shot even if it was done in Photoshop.

Are there any that you really like from the bunch? I'd love to hear your take on them.

I really love seeing friends who I know have been through tough times lately, rebound a bit and find some happiness.

Call it a bit of a spiritual restoration if you will.


I'm just like you baby, I'm on the hunt...

This past weekend, Katie and I took part in a photo scavenger hunt with a local photography club. It was pretty fun and I just thought I'd share my pictures along with the themes I used them for down below. Please read through to the bottom as I have a potential idea I'd like some feedback on.

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Into the Air"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"A Different Perspective"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"A Relaxing Place"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Something Shiny"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Doors"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Funny Thing"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Demonstration of Motion"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Stacks"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Corners"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"From Inside a Car"

My idea is to run some sort of blogger photo scavenger hunt. If you're interested, let me know in the comments. We can develop a list of 10 things to find and I'd like to limit it to either the city/town in which you live or a nearby larger metropolitan area. But these are details that can be worked out when we get a list of people who are interested. So let me know!


And I pwedict a bwoody Eastuh...

I know it's a day early, but I wanted to make sure I got these good wishes out to all of you when you might actually see them.

So, have a great Dead Bunny Day!

Happy Easter

Seriously, though, have a great holiday (if you celebrate) and, if you're traveling anywhere, do so safely, okay?

Funny thing... seems that everybody I know thinks that, at this moment, I'm in line at one of any number of local Apple Stores (we have five in the Chicago area that I know of) waiting to get my grubby hands an iPad.

Okay, yeah, I'm an Apple Whore (tm), but when did I become an early adopting Apple Whore (tm)? I got my first iPod more than three years after they first came out. I still don't have an iPhone (but everyone around me seems to). No Apple TV. I must be missing something.

I do think the iPad is one of the coolest things around and I do want one. Just not yet. Maybe a couple more generations in unless I win a lottery sometime soon.

So, um, no review of the iPad from me anytime soon. Sorry if that disappoints you.


Who's gonna drive you home...

Geez, with the furor going around about red light cameras, you'd swear the U.S. Supreme Court just legalized both gay marriage and abortion with one fell swoop of the pen.

Redlightenforced I really don't know if this extends beyond Illinois at all, but red light cameras have been cropping up in many of Chicago's suburbs over the course of the last couple of years to a mixed lot of praise and condemnation. Some love it because they are supposed to result in increases to driver and pedestrian safety while others hate it because they claim it's both a money grab and can result in sudden stopping at intersections that could cause rear-end collisions.

Let me recap what is going on real quickly...

Cameras have been installed by many municipalities at some of their busier or more accident-prone intersections.

These cameras will catch people who make illegal right turns out of the intersection. Yes, just right turns. Well, I think it's only right turns. The ones that I've seen have been right-turn only, but I suppose usage is dictated by each municipal government.

  • If you do not stop at an intersection before turning right on red, you WILL get busted.
  • If you stop past the line into a crosswalk thus forcing a pedestrian who is crossing the street to have to move out of the crosswalk, you WILL get busted.
  • If you come to a complete stop behind the line and then inch out to see what traffic is like before proceeding, you WILL NOT get busted.
  • If you stop a little into the crosswalk, but no pedestrians are present, you WILL NOT get busted.
  • If you run a yellow light, you WILL NOT get busted.

(source: City of Geneva, IL)

I really don't see the problem here. Basically, what these towns are saying is that if you drive legally and follow the rules of the road as established by the Secretary of State's office that we were taught in driver's education and tested on prior to obtaining a driver's license, you're fine.

Drive legal, drive safe... what the fuck is the problem here?

Is it a safety measure? Yes. Has it helped? Arguably. Some cities have noted a downturn in accidents, while others have claimed an increase in accidents or just haven't released any data yet.

But the big question on many people's minds... is it a money grab for communities?

YES.

And why shouldn't it be?

If you're going to drive illegally, why shouldn't a town benefit from your ignorance? Towns, counties, and states already do when you speed or park illegally or run red lights going straight ahead. Are you going to fight against speed limits and stop lights and stop signs next?

If you don't like that they can make money off you, wanna know what you can do about it? DRIVE LEGALLY! STOP AT INTERSECTIONS BEFORE PROCEEDING! DON'T DRIVE LIKE A DOUCHE!

Think about it like this... if you can ask "would a douche do this?" and the answer is "yes," then don't do it!

I need to make bracelets that say WWADD (What Would A Douche Do) just to remind people to do the opposite.

Follow that simple credo, Timmy, and you'll be fine! You won't owe any money. You definitely won't have caused any accidents. And you can say you "stuck it to tha man!" by not giving them any more of your hard-earned cash.

Yes, in case you couldn't figure it out, I fully support red light cameras.

So what did we do this weekend?

If you didn't see it on Facebook or Twitter, Katie was Hobnobbing With the Stars. Well, actually she only got a picture with them, not really hobnobbing, per se. But it's still pretty cool all the same.

Yes, this is Katie with 2010 Winter Olympic Men's Figure Skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek and his Dancing With the Stars partner Anna Trebunskya.

Evan, Anna, and Katie

It's the wallpaper on her iPhone now. I've been trumped.

*sniffle*

Here are a couple more of my favorite shots from the event...

Anna scans the crowd

Photo365 Day 78 - Twirled and Recropped


Forget about your house of cards...

On Saturday, I braved the slushy snow and wind to drive out to Rosemont for something I had not done since high school... a baseball card show!

Bat bucketWell, in all fairness and to be correct, they are actually called memorabilia shows since they do often sell much more than just cards and all the dealers who do sell cards have more than just baseball cards. Anywho.

I went to this show with my BiL and his fiancee who are big card collectors as well as the other BiL who was pretty much just along for the ride to get a signature from his hero Andre Dawson, formerly of the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs.

I was along because I wanted to see what card... er... memorabilia shows were like as I hadn't been to one since the very early 90s. Oh, and I wanted a Dawson signature, too.

This place was NUTS. It was at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and was absolutely enormous. Vendors had booths that were just massive and elaborate and covered in stuff that you could not possibly find anywhere else. Honestly! It's kinda amazing to think that some of this stuff was even made.

Did I buy anything? Actually, yes.

Bucspatch I bought a cool All Star Game patch from the 1974 MLB All Star Game in Pittsburgh (see patch on hat at left; image from eBay). I know I live in Chicago, but, because pretty much my entire family was born and raised in The 'Burgh, I have a healthy love of the PIrates and Steelers. And this patch, not just being a Pirates patch, but also having my birthyear on it, just made it call out to me.

I also bought a small box of hockey cards. I suddenly had an urge to open card packs like the good ol' days so I found a relatively inexpensive box ($12) that could have something I wanted (rookie cards of Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) and Katie and I went to town on the box that night. It was pretty fun opening them again. Yanno, for old time's sake

Norman got something, too.

Trooper love

If you'd like some more pictures of the Stephenson Madhouse, check them out either below in the slideshow or over on Flickr...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

Anybody who rents out DVDs that are in such sad shape that they are completely unplayable even after cleaning should be shot!

That's my feeling toward my library right now after waiting for the season 2 set of Monk. We got through the first episode without a problem then started the second. We were more than halfway through when it all seized up. Yanno, just enough time to get FULLY FREAKIN' VESTED in the episode and get no payoff at the end. So we skipped to episode three and also got FULLY FREAKIN' VESTED just to have it lock up halfway through.

DONE! The set is going back to the library and they can have them professionally fixed or replaced, dammit!

This blows.