16 posts from June 2010

On an island in the sun...

Happy Snippet Wednesday. It's a late one. Sorry about that. Just been a little busy lately, but I didn't forget ya!

It has been 19 hours and I still have Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" stuck in my head. It's been there since my iPod Shuffle came across it yesterday morning during my workout. The worst part is that I don't know the song that well so all I've got going back and forth in my skull is her signing the words "Tik Tok" and then the "oh-e-oh-e-oh-oh" part. Painful, I tells ya.

Katie and I finally got around to watching Shutter Island last night. I had read the book by Dennis Lehane several years ago and remember liking it, although I don't remember much of what it was about. The movie was interesting. Not Scorsese's or DiCaprio's best by far. It comes off as very convoluted and overwrought. However, I will say that Michelle Williams was fantastic in it. If you need a reason to see it, then do so for her. I'm not a big fan of hers, but this was a career maker for her.

Jaws-movie Speaking of movies, the library got in a copy of Jaws that I've gotta pick up for Katie and I to watch. This past weekend, I saw a Bio Channel feature on the making of Jaws and it was way cool. Katie didn't watch it as she's never even seen the movie. Oh, she must be introduced to the greatness that is Jaws and STAT!

Guess what! Capture My Chicago is back and I'm all signed up and have submitted something like 70 photos for potential inclusion in the book. As you know, my photos didn't garner enough votes last year to be included in the printed coffee table book, although they were part of the DVD that came packaged with it. This year, though, I'm planning to submit a ton to increase my chances. The 70 I've already submitted constitute about four or five times my total submissions from last year. So I'm off to what I hope is a good start. Ideally, by sending in more, my name becomes more visible on the site and people click through to see the rest of what I've offered up. If you're willing and able, please check it out and sign up to vote. You don't have to be Chicago residents to vote so far as I know.

There are times when I naively think that our society cannot possibly be one in which hate groups such as the KKK can ever survive. Then I read stories like this, about a guy who thinks that the Blackhawks and Cubs are giving off the wrong idea by taking part in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade, and realize that some elements of our world truly are still living in the Dark Ages. Just. So. Wrong.

I now know what my next tattoo will be. Well, Norman anyway, not Boba. No offense, Boba, but I'm a Stormtrooper kinda guy. Yes, I know your father was responsible for their ultimate creation, but still. Do you think Katie would fly with this one?

Okay, now I've gotta go and take care of some stuff around the house. w00t!

Hay un amigo en mi...

I hate you, Pixar.

You are a terrible, horrible, malevolent, vicious, and cruel company.

(Yes, I realize those are all synonyms and the use of just one could have sufficed, but I didn't feel it was strong enough relying on a single word in this instance.)

My problem with you lies in the fact that in the span of an hour and a half, you are able to make me laugh hysterically, jump with excitement, swoon with joy and then, ultimately, reduce me to a blubbering 35-year-old mass of tears.

TS3 And with nothing more than a bunch of freakin' animated TOYS!

How? How do you do that, I ask you? How do you manage to do with mere computer-generated images something that real-life actors can almost never do? Why do I feel such a connection with your creations? Why do they evoke such emotion from me?

Worst of all, why do I feel this need to go to my parents' house, root through the attic, and find some of my old toys so I can just be with them again after all these years? I don't have to play with them, necessarily, just spend some time with them like an old friend. Run my fingers over their eternally familiar nooks and crannies. Reminisce about how this scratch or that crack developed while acting out some adventure. Replay those mental recordings about "that time when..."

This is all your fault, Pixar. I hold you entirely responsible. 

It's a TOY!! It's a child's PLAY THING!!

Stupid Toy Story 3.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to curl up in the fetal position in the corner and think about what is easily one of the best movies of the year.

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*

Yours in a simple rhyme...

I needed to give myself a little challenge today, so I’m presenting you with Haiku Snippet Wednesday! Buckle up, y’all.


Lord Stanley’s Cup moves
To Chitowns’ Gay Pride Parade.
Rock on, Brent Sopel.


Is it wrong to like
blogging more as Norman than
blogging as myself?


Cheap Trick’s “I Want You…”
is too overplayed these days.
They have other songs.


A tech blog asked me,
“Can we use your Brickworld pics?”
Of course I said yes.


Less than a month till
the Pitchfork Fest hits Chitown.
I’m far too happy.

Adios, peeps!

And did you know you could make me scream...

Holy crap! Wait, is it? Can it be? It is! Kapgar is getting Snippet Wednesday posted early in the day for our reading (dis)pleasure!

I was scanning down my page yesterday and happened to notice that little widget reminding me that I was one day away from my blogiversary. Wow! I almost missed it again. Five years this time. It's a biggie! Yay me!

The estimates on oil spillage into the Gulf of Mexico has been increased dramatically. Honestly, I don't even want to know how much is spilling. It's just too depressing. The only thing more depressing is the belief I have that it will never truly end or, at the very least, never be completely cleaned up.

Speaking of Mexico, Jimmy Fallon did a segment on his late night show last night called "Pro/Con: Watching the World Cup." One of them that made me laugh out loud was, "Pro - several players from Team Mexico have already received yellow cards and red cards; Con - they were hoping for green cards." Sorry, but it made me laugh.

Sleigh_bells_treats Bells
If you want a pretty good album to check out, give a listen to Treats by Sleigh Bells (iTunes | Amazon). It's really a unique album compiled by two artists, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss, that blends several genres of music styles with Krauss' fantastic vocals. Their album was distributed and is being highly championed by M.I.A. and her label so that should tell you something about how eclectic it is. 

William Shatner is creating a documentary based on his life. One of the things you learn in media school is that documentaries are, by their very nature, skewed to the creator's beliefs. God only knows how skewed an autobiographical documentary will be. Think it will be sponsored by Priceline?

Well, I'm off to the gym. Have a good one.

Commando, involved again...

I would just like to tell you that there is little that compares to the exhilaration of starting your day with no underwear.

After my workout at the gym, I went to shower and get ready for work. I took my clean clothes from my gym bag and realization set in like Quikrete… dammit, I have no underwear.

What could I do save for starting my day commando?

Yes, I did shower.

Yes, I did dress.

Yes, I had no protection.

And, for you women reading out there, you will never see a man proceed more cautiously than he does when he is zipping his pants while wearing no underwear.

Oh, yes, I did manage to find a 24-hour Wal-Mart and I stopped to pick up emergency drawers on the way to work. There are times when going commando is okay. Wearing slacks that are dry-clean only is not one of those times.

As much as I hate to do it, let it be said on high that when I had an undies emergency, my unlikely hero was *gulp* Wal-Mart!

Despite my clean underwear, I feel so dirty.

I want.

I want.

I want.

Did I mention, I want?

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.

Commencing countdown, engines on...

Welcome to yet another late-in-the-day Snippet Wednesday.

I’m actually going to a Cubs game tomorrow with Katie. Been a while since either of us has been, but we were given tickets by a really fantastic person and you bet your sweet bippie we’re gonna go. Oh, and it’s in Milwaukee which has become about the only place we can go to see Cubs games since games at Wrigley Field are too packed and too expensive and too difficult to get to and, in my opinion, just not worth the headache. Go Miller Park!

Tonight is game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals (actually, we just wrapped the first period) and I’m really not gonna say much more about it other than that. I really don’t want to jinx anything. But I will let my new Twitter friend @niemisays say it all for me. He's got plenty to say.

I was completely confused and intrigued by a series of window stickers I saw on the back of a vehicle in front of me this morning. I’m guessing that was the point of them, make you wonder and actually pay attention and I certainly did. Check it out…

NASA Stickers

Of course, I saw another sticker on his bumper that made me realize what it is. Not that my complete and utter misunderstanding of their use of NASA helped.

I did like it better when I thought it was some cool puzzle.

I’ve been on a bit of tear in recent months on books that I’ve been reading. It’s about time, too! Now I’m finally going back and finishing up a handful of partial reads that were left behind in the last year or two. They were books I enjoyed, but since my zeal for reading was dead, they kinda went by the wayside. Time to play catch up.

Gotta get back to the game. GO BLACKHAWKS!

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.


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.

We call it Star Wars...

I'm not usually a fan of posting just a video and nothing else, but this Adidas video starring Daft Punk, Snoop Dogg, David Beckham, and Noel Gallagher, among others, edited into the Star Wars Creature Cantina sequence has left me awestruck and speechless...

All I can say is that I'm sad it wasn't me.

Higher res copies are available on YouTube and thank you to Pitchfork for bringing this to my attention.

Is he alive or dead...

This conversation actually happened in the locker room of my gym this morning...

Gary: Hey Kev. Have you seen Iron Man 2 yet?

Me: Yep!

Gary: Chaz [his son] and I have decided it is the perfect movie for four reasons.

Me: Oh? And they are?

Gary: 1) It has lots of Air Force stuff. 2) It has an Audi.

Me: You like Audis?

Gary: I love them. I own a TT convertible, but you've probably never seen it since I always walk or ride my bike to the gym.

Me: You must show me.

Gary: Will do. 3) It has cool engineering stuff and, 4) cool physics stuff.

Scarlett-johansson-iron-man-2_254x340Me: You forgot #5.

Gary: What's that?

Me: It has Scarlett Johansson in a leather catsuit.

Random Other Guy in the Locker Room: YEAH! Now you're talkin'!

Gary: Who? I don't know who that is. But she can't be as cool as my reasons.

Me: We all have our entertainment needs.

ROGitLR: Yes, we do.

One of my reviews was given "Review of the Day for the Chicago Burbs Area" status today on Yelp.

And I never would have known if it weren't for the sudden onslaught of comments and kudos from people I've never met.

Hmmm... maybe I should write some more reviews. This particular one was nearly a year and a half old. Whoops.

Roads go ever ever on...

Happy Snippet Wednesday, y'all!

Or maybe I should call it Wicked Morning Weather Wednesday. Man, we got some storms last night into this morning. It was pretty wicked. Usually an indication of pretty heavy rain is when your driveway and sidewalk are covered with earthworms. What the hell's it a sign of when you have frogs? Little guy was sitting in my driveway right in the way of the path of my truck tires. I had to shoo him out of the way or risk frog gut skidmarks. Oh, and go figure that we get all this rain immediately after I go on a lawn-watering binge. Just like a car wash, isn't it?

Kudos to Director Guillermo del Toro for bowing out of directing The Hobbit. For quite some time now, del Toro, who directed Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth, was tied to this prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Considering how much I loved Pan's Labyrinth (if you haven't seen it, get it, now), I was really kinda stoked about him directing The Hobbit. I always kinda preferred the story of Bilbo Baggins to the group exploits of Frodo, et al, anyway. But the studio started to put pressure on him to film it in 3D. He said no. And he stuck to his guns. Good. 3D needs to stop.

One of the cars we've been looking at possibly buying was the Toyota Prius... and then the Toyota recalls happen. This trip to Florida, we rented and fell for our Ford Fusion... and now it's succumbing to an investigation for the same acceleration problems as the Prius. Should I mention the other two cars we're interested in or not press our luck?

I really enjoyed setting up the Kapgar Photo Scavenger Hunt last month. It was a blast to do and to see what everyone came up with. However, you may have noticed one little catch... I never posted pictures for the final week for myself. Yep, despite my extended week, I still didn't take any pictures. Whoops. Not for lack of trying. I knew exactly what I was going to take pictures of, I just never got off my ass and did it. Hell, I barely took enough pictures to fulfill my Photo365 commitment. Yeah, I was not photomotivated last week.

But I did submit my jersey/beard photo to ChicagoNow for a Chicago Blackhawks fan gallery and they used it. Go me! And Go Hawks!

Time to go root on my hockey team!

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.



Photo365 Day 143: Danny Drag

There's a first time for everything, eh?