Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy December!

Happy December!

Wow, it's hard to believe that the year is almost over with.  It just seemed like yesterday that we were celebrating a new year.  This year has been one of the greatest years I've had.  It started off kind of rocky but with a lot of determination and perseverance from the previous year, I was able to accomplish and set new goals.  This year, I was able to make a "life altering decision" and start a new direction and change in my life.  Moving to Chicago in April and working for Diebold has proved to be a new challenge and the start of something new.  It's still going to take a lot of faith and risk to make Chicago home.  I hope and pray that 2013 continues on a good note!

2011 was rated as one the worst years ever for me, and I remember on NYE just before watching the "ball drop," I exclaimed, "DIBS!"  I didn't set any real resolutions for this year.  I've kept up with my dieting and exercising for the most part (since 2009) and I'm still losing weight (as hard as it is).  Next year, I may try a Gym Membership at Charter Fitness here.  The only resolution I set forth for this year was to get a job, which I was blessed with in February.  The unexpected turn of events for me happened just after getting that job.  I was assigned to work out of Chicago and it helped me make the quick decision and take a chance moving to Chicago -- I went to Chicago with the new job in April.

This took a lot of soul searching and praying, and just as Chicago is a city of  Rebirth and Renewal, my life needed that too.  With the soul searching and praying though, I'm still asking God, "why am I here?  There's a reason You want me here."

So, the journey continues...

Westmont Town Square


December started off rather quietly.  I didn't do too much the first two weeks of the month.  I concentrated mainly on work and a few new assignments given to me.  I also was given some more training to do in Canton OH for January.  Work's gotten busier with more projects and so personal time has been minimal.  The weekends have been "chillaxin at home" days.


I watched home movies and pulled out my "Christmas" themed movies to watch.  I also got around to finally watching "Source Code," which features a terrorist bombing of a Chicago Metra Train, and a plot to destroy downtown Chicago with a dirty bomb.

"I took your advice. It was good advice, thank you."

The movie is really awesome and it's one of those "timeline" movies and has a similar theme to Quantum Leap.  In fact, if you listen closely, "Scott Bakula" does make a cameo in the movie with his traditional Quantum Leap exclamation, "oh boy."   "Jake Gyllenhaal" plays the main character, Cpt. Colter Stevens, who is wired into Source Code, a computer program that utilizes the last 8 minutes of one's stored brain memories.  In this case, Stevens is using the last 8 minutes of stored memories of a train passenger who died in the bombing of the train, Sean Fentress, a school teacher.  Stevens' mission is to locate and deactivate the bomb on the train, and prevent the 2nd terrorist attack on Chicago, using Sean's final memories as clues.  I'm still trying to follow the "quantum physics" and altered reality of the film, but that's the basis.  During his mission, he falls in love with one the train passengers, Christina, played by "Michelle Monaghan," and attempts to alter time into a skewed reality (Quantum Physics) to save her life and to where time assumes that there was no bomb threat on the train or Downtown Chicago that morning.  My brother, Wayne, introduced me to the movie last month.  It's really an awesome movie, but it requires watching more than once to follow the timeline.

"Do you believe in fate?"

The movie ends with the two main characters meeting at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park of the altered reality.  I would assume that Stevens is now Sean, at least all of Stevens' memories now belong to Sean. "Vera Farmiga," whom I recognized from the TV series, "The Roar" and "Jeffrey Wright" also star in this film.  If you're at RedBox next time, rent this movie.  Just remember, there is no Glenbrook Station and the train they used in the film looked a lot more luxurious than the one's I use here in Chicago, lol!  After watching where the train is bombed, it looks a lot like they're "riding" the Rock Island Metra train and that rail does NOT end at Chicago Union Station as depicted in the movie, but LaSalle Station near the Chicago Stock Exchange; the bomb on the train goes off near Dan Ryan and the 31st Street exit, approaching the city from south.  Rent it today.

Scene from Source Code where the Commuter Rail is bombed

The actual filming location of that scene

Windows 7.

Also this month, I finally put together a new PC with "Windows 7 Professional x64 (OEM)" loaded!  I purchased the final pieces of my PC at MicroCenter in November, put it all together and loaded the OEM version of the OS (I don't buy factory installed Operating Systems).  FRESTHLY LOADED is the way I go!  So, the first half of December was setting up the new PC and loading the new OS.  Maybe when Windows 8 releases its first service pack, I'll build a new PC and load that OS, but Windows 7 works great and it's so nice to have a PC that has a faster CPU.  The next part of the Home Network Phase is a new Windows Server 2008 and a new Office Desk and Chair.  Thanks, Terry Reese (and Keri), my Cuz for introducing me to TK Products!


After putting the PC together, I was able to finally load "Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition," something I was really looking forward to -- yeah, I know now they have a newer edition.

Still the best Small Application I designed!

XP Mode in Windows 7

After loading my programs, I was able to do some video editing which I really wanted to do before, so I edited a couple videos and dubbed music tracks into the videos.  I made one about my life in the past 15 years and the other one I did was a dashcam video I took one day going home from work.  The Old Windows XP PC is going in my living room and getting set up to my TV.

  Where are you Going?

Chicagoland Driving - Schaumburg to Willowbrook
The IKE to IL-83

I also loaded some PC games I was playing (like Might & Magic) and I was able to pick up from the last saved game on my old PC.  For some reason, I can't get "Black & White" to load.  I think it has to do with the Anti-Virus program I'm using.  ESOT NOD32.

"And, what do we got on this thing, a Cuisinart?" Dark Helmet.

Temple of Varn


On December 12, I went outside that night to watch the annual Geminid Meteor Shower.  It was truly a sight to see.  Considering the greater light pollution in Chicago as opposed to Cleveland, I was able to watch the show!  It's a lot harder to see the stars here, but I counted 8 meteors that night.  And, a pointless observation while gazing at the winter stars.  Betelgeuse in Orion translates to "armpit."  It immediately makes one think about Beetlejuice and how dirty he was, let alone his smelly armpits, lol.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve


Holidays are not easy for a lot of us.  I'm no exception to that rule.  While beginning a new life here in Chicago means starting over from "Square 1" or as I've started saying, "Street Zero," it's going to take time to meet new friends here and get into a social group.  I'm finding it a bit lonely, but if I made it this far, in time, I'll eventually meet the right sort.  Making new friends has never been easy for me, and I tend to be rather picky who I socialize with. Nevertheless, with a stressful, life-changing year and with new age-highlighting in my head, it's been really difficult, and I've been here well over 7 months now.  It'd be nice to get out and do things with new friends and share my fun sometime.  I was blessed to talk to Mary Coulter, a former Maple Heights HS classmate one day too. We were able to catch up the past 20 years some.

On the night of December 17th, I had a VERY unsettling dream which was one of those dreams I had to sit on the edge of my bed upon waking.  I dreamed that I was being hunted or followed by a Wolf.  Everything I tried to do to outsmart the wolf failed, and the wolf invaded my house.  I do remember plainly though that the dream started with me rescuing kittens and keeping them in my house, so maybe I was trying to protect the kittens.  Upon talking to a friend about it, it was made clear that I need to differentiate the European "bad" myth about wolves and the "Native American" myth about wolves.  Wolves don't hunt people. Knowing me and my dreams, it was worth marking down.


On December 21, Winter Solstice, I drove back to Cleveland to spend the holidays with friends and family.  While I should've been watching the sky for asteroids and meteors or watching the roads for earth-splitting precipices, instead I was greeted with a warm snowy welcome from Winterstorm Draco in Cleveland.  Hopping onto I-71 from the Ohio Turnpike (which was very maintained during the storm), I got stuck in Cleveland Rush Hour and with severe road conditions.  Welcome back to Cleveland's winter weather!  Um, NOT!

Exit 161 to 1-71 South Columbus/ I-42 Strongsville

So, did the Alien Colonists which Agent Mulder warned us about in X-Files return and "86 the Earth?"


ROLL CALL on December 22, 2012 (!

"Please raise your hand when your name is called."

The Mayans weren't wrong; we're just dumb, thinking that every time a calendar reckons with seemingly ending numbers.  Don't Panic and put the towel away for now!

I wrote this Note previously in March 2012:

Just something I was thinking about while everyone seems to believe that December 21 will be Doomsday and the End of the World.  A lot of people are talking about it, even at Church.  I'm a believer that "no one knows the day or hour," so I don't believe Dec 21 is the end.  The pastor of my church is also a very firm believer in "being ready" and "no one knowing the day or hour."  The Mayans did not predict the end of the world.  December 21 just so happens to start a NEW cycle on the Long Count Calendar, much like when the Gregorian Calendar goes 1999 to 2000.  The 13th bak'tun completes.  December 22, 2012 will come and go according to the Mayan calendar  I did some research on this a few years ago.  The Long Count Calendar is an astronomically based calendar (planetary orbits, and other celestial bodies, relevant to a "dark spot" in the Milky Way) NOT solar based like the Gregorian calendar is base upon.

SO, with that being said, which disaster movie do I believe is the most plausible for the Earth's total destruction?  Which disaster movie is most likely to be the Earth’s ultimate destruction?

A) Deep Impact/Armageddon (NEO)
B) The Core (Earth's Core)
C) 2012 (Plate tectonic, polar shift)
D) Knowing (CME)
E) Day After Tomorrow (Global Warming)

After watching them all, if I had to pick only one, I’d go with (D).  I recently just watched this and truly believe that the Sun could be our worst enemy and flash-incinerate all life on the planet; "The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" as KJV 2 Pet 3:7-13 states.  That reads like a CME from the Sun, one strong enough to destroy the ozone layer and magnetosphere protecting the Earth from solar winds.  The Earth was baptized by water the first time with Noah and the Flood.  The Lord said next time it would be baptized by fire.  Revelation speaks about objects hitting the Earth (A) but not destroying it. "Mountains being thrown into the sea."  A star called Chernobyl (Wormwood) is even in Revelation 8 (a hint of nuclear weapons and radioactive fallout?), but it isn't Earth's total destruction in the End.

To that, I still maintain that it could happen anytime and no one knows the day or hour.  It’ll come as a “thief in the night.”  Whom do you believe?  Look at the problems in the Middle East.  They are the signs of the imminent hour, not Harold Camping.  Zombie Apocalypse?  Yes, I do really believe it could happen. Zechariah 14:12:  “And the LORD will send a plague on all the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Their people will become like walking corpses, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.  On that day they will be terrified, stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will fight their neighbors hand to hand.”


«   »

So, since there was no way to bring Orson Welles back to life to cover the "end of the world" on December 21, we'll have to wait until January 19, 2038 when Penguins overrun the earth and UNIX Epoch Time resets.  And, we thought that the year 2000 was bad with two digits for dates.  Heh.

Next "End of the World" to be scheduled for January 19, 2038 03:14 UTC with UNIX Epoch Time. 

«   »
«   »


After the ending of the world was averted, an unexpected movie was ready to be watched.

Cinemark Strongsville

After enjoying some company with family, I finally got to see the "Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" movie with Todd Florian and Crystal Bogdan.  Todd treated us all!  We went to Strongsville Westpark Mall on Sunday.  The movie was awesome and we watched it in 3-D.  I still can't believe they're making this into THREE films.  They did pull a lot of "unfinished tales" work into this film.  Dol Guldur and Necromancer were mentioned.  Although, Dol Guldur was not really mentioned in the book, the Necromancer was.  They introduced Radagast the Brown Wizard as well.  Originally, he shows up in the book "The Fellowship of the Ring."  It was nice to bring him into the Hobbit.

The Hobbit

The movie was enjoyable and it was good to see how well Peter Jackson once again kept the spirit of JRR Tolkien's work.  I was pleased how the movie started off with Smaug (He appears at the END of the book), but it helped tell the story when the dwarves (one by one) show up at Bag End to hire Bilbo as the Burglar to retrieve the Arkenstone (which again one learns LATER in the Hobbit). I always enjoyed the "Riddles in the Dark" chapter in the book with Gollum and Bilbo telling riddles, and Bilbo's "Whats in my pocket?" riddle.  I also enjoyed the scenes related to the "Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire" chapter when the Dwarves find Glamdring (Beater), Orcrist (Biter) and Sting.  The movie finished with the Company being rescued by the Eagles.  Knowing what happens next, I expect the next movie to begin with the Bee-Keeper, Beorn, the werebear.

After the movie, I treated the gang at Applebee's in Brunswick for Dinner.



Being  back to visit friends, on the weekend, I spent the day with Crystal, helping her with her squeaks in LaGrange OH.  It was nice to go back and help her tend her animals.  She has so many.  I was able to see some familiar "faces" as well as some new ones in the "pecking order."  Lola, the belligerent turkey was saddened to not fight with her regular guest Jack that day.  So after seeing me help Crystal, her turkey plumage faltered haplessly.  Haha.

I was able to catch Crystal cock-fighting with Fatboy on video and pictures of Buttercup taunting one of the roosters.


"My little buttercup has the sweetest smile ♪♪..."

Buttercup taunting the Roosters

Chick Inn

Be sure to...


On Christmas Eve, I visited some good friends in Garfield Heights OH.  Rich and Kelly Trigg with their six, wonderful kids!  I can't get over how the years go by and how grown up their kids are.  The oldest, Jesse, is going on his 16th birthday.  Ok, NOW I feel really old!  Oh, look, more age-highlighting in my head just thinking about that!  Rich and I go way back to Maple Heights High School.  It was good to see him again after so many years.  Kelly too!  Oh, Rich, fix your hat!

Rich INSISTED that I take a kid home with me that night, haha.  Instead, I tried to bargain and take my old cat, Tigger, home instead!  It was so nice to catch up on old times with Rich and Kelly.  Rich is getting into Digital Media, so he showed me some of his work, and I was really impressed.

Garfield Heights

 The Triggs: Rich, Kelly, Jesse, Sarah, Katie, Zach, Joshua and Jonathan.

Christmas Eve was spent at "Cuyahoga Valley Church" in Broadview Heights.  I helped Rich and Kelly with the driving.  I drove some of his kids there.  There was a beautiful snowfall that night too, which was very nice to enjoy before and after the church service.  The service was very upbeat and uplifting; there was some Praise Worship and Caroling from the church's choir and band.  The Christmas Message was based on Hebrews 2:9.  It was a nice message, considering that Hebrews is my favorite Book in the Bible (as if there is any other book, lol).
"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

The Pastor gave the Sermon keynoting Cradle, Cross, and Crown in his message.  The LORD "came to us as a baby so we could receive him like a child, joyfully just and jubilant."  He came and He was destined to die for our sins on the Cross and after His Resurrection, He was crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Rich, Kelly and Jonathan.

Cuyahoga Valley Church

Lest we forget, but there are SOME Christians who practice celebrating our Lord's birth in the spring on MARCH 25th (like my Grandma).  It should not be forgotten, but remembering Christmas each year, its true importance with the birth our Savior is the Reason for the Season.  When we give gifts, we are reminded about its true meaning and the gift of our Savior and the Salvation He offers us whose Blood sets us free.  I enjoyed watching this video on YouTube.  I always enjoyed Handel's Messiah and the Hallelujah Chorus:

The Silent Monks


Mom and Dad's house in Hinckley.  And, of course, the cats!

Felix, isn't it a little crowded in there?

Merry Christmas! Felix and Miss Thang chillaxin under the tree!

Township of Hinckley

Mom and Dad were very hospitable and it was a treat to enjoy Mom's cooking again.  Kevin also spent the holidays there too.  I wish Wayne were with us this year!  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make it; I hope I can visit him next year in San Diego!  Sorry Wayne.  You were missed!!!

Fröhliche Weihnachten (Deutsch)!
Nollaig Shona duit (Gaeilge)!
Nollaig chridheil (Gàidhlig)!
God Jul (Svenska)!
Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta (Suomi)!
Mereth Veren e-Doled Eruion (Sindarin)!
Shíeann gcóa an Mó shin Ghóag Gra Plíaggain! (Caterneásh - My Stories)!
Joyeux Noël (Français)
Nadolig llawen (Cymraeg)

Isaiah 9:6,

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Luke 1:14, 

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

After exchanging gifts, we helped Mom with the turkey dinner.  It was a delicious dinner: turkey and gravy, dressing, bean casserole, sweet potatoes, Mom's bread, and cranberry sauce.  We also had Riesling Breitenbach wine, a sweet wine, from Ohio Amish Country.  We were all stuffed with one serving.

One of my gifts to Mom.  A Chicago Snowglobe.


The following day, I stayed in Ohio and worked remotely there, because the roads were not drivable or suitable for traveling.  Cleveland was greeted with yet another Winter Storm.  So, we watched movies that day like "Scrooged,"  "A Christmas Carol" and "Christmas Vacation."  

 A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott

"Business? Mankind was my business.  The common welfare was my business.  Charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business...As part of my penance, I have been sent to warn you, and to offer you a hope and chance of escaping my fate.  You will be haunted by three spirits.  Expect the First tonight when the bell tolls One.  Expect the Second on the stroke of Two.  The Third, more mercurial, shall appear is his good time.  Look to me no more." Jacob Marley. Isn't that how death works?  There is no set time or appointment in which the grim reaper (Ghost of Christmas Future) comes to us.  Charles Dickens knew what he was writing, haha.  I always enjoyed the scene in the movie and the book and the use of the word "mercurial" to describe the Third ghost.  Essentially that means you don't expect it, but it is to be expected.  Uncertainty.  The Christmas Carol is a story about new birth that comes through 4 ghosts (everyone forgets Jacob Marley).

The Christmas Story.  Oh, yeah, how can one forget non-stop "Christmas Story" on TBS airing all day on Christmas?  Mom and Dad showed me pictures of the "Christmas Story House" that they took when they went there on the tour.  The Christmas Story house is located on W. 11th in the Tremont Neighborhood of Cleveland.  Then, my Dad went onto say that when they were filming the Cleveland Public Square scenes of the movie, he was working at May Company that night and he said if you look closely, you could see him peeking out of one of the windows as they were filming, haha!

 Snowed-In at Hinckley OH

Thursday, I packed up the car and got ready to go home.  I was able to meet-up one last time with Crystal for lunch at Applebee's.  Lalita served us that afternoon.  I worked with her previously at Ponderosa long ago and it brought back memories of working with her.  Crystal treated me to lunch, then I took off and drove home.  The roads were cleared by then, but somewhere around Milepost 128 on the Ohio Turnpike, I got stuck for more than half an hour due to an Accident.  Ungh!  Cars crawled slowly in that time.

Ohio Turnpike - Westgate Barrier

Passing onto the Indiana Toll Road, it was smooth driving from there.  The I-Pass REALLY is convenient when you want to get through the toll booths quickly -- just drive up to the I-Pass or EZ-Pass lanes and wait seconds before you see "Tag Accepted."  Driving further westward, I noticed some snowfall passing through Elkhart and South Bend, but after that, I didn't see any snow on the ground, especially pulling up to the Portage Toll Booth and the last 23 miles.  Of course by then, it was pitch black out.

Indiana Toll Road - Portage Plaza


Finally, I passed into Chicago around 19:00 CST.  No Snow on the ground, although Chicago may've had snew and I didn't know about it.  That's how snew works though.

Snew: n. [der < abstract verb past tense "to snow"]. "Snow that comes in a hurry may be a flurry, but when snow comes very fast and doesn't last, it doesn't snow in a hurry, it snew because it came very fast, it didn't last and already happened in the past."

Chicago Skyway Bridge

When I arrived home finally, I unpacked the car, checked the Ford, checked work e-mails then went to bed.  The following day, it was back to work and getting ready for New Year's Eve.

Mocking Hills


2011 ended with a death for me, but I looked to 2012 with hope and a fresh start. My visit with the Ghost of Chirstmas Yet-to-come happened October 13, 2011. Just as Scrooge had a change of heart and new birth on Christmas Day, I did as well after that visit. I was awakened to new hope and new chances in life. MAKE IT HAPPEN! I am forever grateful I took risks that had no clear understanding, I have come to say now happily a farewell to 2012 and THANK YOU. This year is one of the BEST years ever! 2011, being one of the WORST years on record for me, it was nice to achieve new goals, take blind chances and risks, and begin anew this year! Here's hoping 2013 is continuing that journey. This will be one year I won't look back to with regret. Taking risks and chances are all about uncertainty, and to use that word Jacob Marley used to describe the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-come: MERCURIAL. That is a lesson that this year has taught me, and one reason for the fascination of the final ghost in A Christmas Carol. I took risks and chances with no certainty. At the time, sure they were dark and grim, but looking back this year, I'm glad I took those risks. I will look back on 2012 with fond memories and as a New Chapter in my life.

The Chicago Water Tower.  Remember the Journey!

Thank you to friends, family and, most of all, GOD for making this year possible. Not only for myself, but I hope that I've impacted others in my life this year and made a difference for them. As I strive to continue on this new journey, I hope that I've made a difference in others and continue to move forward in 2013. At heart, I'm a phlegmatic person, unchangeable, but I believe my soul needed to explore new opportunities out there and see new avenues. Remembering Abraham in the Bible and his calling, journey, and faith was an encouragement to this. He is forever remembered as a man of faith. I'm sure that the journey is not over, and there will be new tests to pass. I hope and pray for the courage to continue down that path with confidence. THAT'S the Illinoid Attitude! Chicago is a new starting point. Just as it had its death in the Great Chicago Fire 1871 and its rebirth from the ashes; look how great of a city it has become. That is Mark 0,0,0,0. I have learned that one reason I'm here is to learn and achieve that goal, to have confidence in the decisions I make with the help of God, friends and family. That is the courage I should have and muster. That is the hope I should have. That is the regret I should live without. THIS is the Illinoid Attitude! THAT is the Chicago Resilience. Look to the Chicago Water Tower again and remember where I've come the past year. Remember the choices I've made and the to the year ahead.


New Year's Eve was spend Downtown Chicago this year!  I drove down early and reserved a hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn on Grand Avenue.  I'm glad I did that.  After parking and making the reservation, I caught up with the Venture Around Chicago group.  BIN36 was the first stop and then downstairs to Bar Louie.  Here was the menu at BIN36:


LIVE MUSIC, Food, Wine, and More!

1st seating 6-8pm:  $60pp

2nd seating 9-11pm: $85pp
 live music with Hood Smoke,
champagne toast at midnight, party favors,
coffee & donut goodie bag for breakfast!


Classic Lobster Bisque
lobster salad, tahitian vanilla bean oil
Local Organic Greens
smoked marcona almonds, shaved rosemary
 marinated manchego cheese, verjus vinaigrette
Trio of Seafood
beau soleil oyster, prosecco gelee
hiramasa crudo, meyer lemon, black truffles
bacalao croquette, blood orange aioli


Seared Dayboat Scallops
housemade gnocchi, wild mushrooms
Grilled New York Strip Steak
sauteed rapini, sunchoke-mascarpone puree
Braised Winter Greens & Ricotta Ravioli
roasted winter vegetables, carrot vinaigrette


Selection of Artisanal Cheese
granny smith apples, cabernet gelee


Valrhona Chocolate Mille Feuille
blood oranges
Hazelnut Financier
poached pears, ice wine sorbet

Beverage & gratuity not included

At BIN36, I ordered the New York Strip, sauteed rapini, sunchoke-mascarpone puree.  I just had the Second Course, which made it least expensive in the end.  I had Pinot Noir Wine with the meal.  It as very good.

Bin 36

After the meal, we stood in line for the VIP entrance into Bar Louie.  It was VERY COLD out and we stood at the door waiting to get in for nearly an hour.  We finally got into the club around 9pm.  Finger and toe check!  We gathered and the waitress came around to take our drink orders.  Surprisingly, when I told her I wanted a Long Island Iced Tea, she replied, "I don't think we have any tea."  What's wrong with this picture?  The club got really packed around 10pm and we were all well into our 5th or 6th drink by then, yes, including me.

At 11pm, we watched New York drop the ball for the New Year's (no Dick Clark this year unfortunately).  That was our first round.  Finally, we all celebrated once more for the New Year in Chicago.  They launched Fireworks at Navy Pier and some braved the cold to go outside to try and get a glimpse.  It was lots of fun and I got to meet some new faces in the Venture Around group.  Kurt Poppenhouse is the Event Organizer and he does all the events on  I got invited to go to the next event at Navy Pier this Friday (Winter Wonderland) and even some Ball Room Dancing events.  As always, I took pictures.

Trying to get to this bar was like trying to push through a brick wall!

I told her she needed to wave like the Queen of England if she was wearing the tiara, lol!

I also took a video of the Countdown to New Year's for Chicago.  It looked like they recycled the Time Square footage on TV for Chicago, lol.

Bar Louie

Countdown to 2013 in Chicago
Bar Louie River North on Dearborn


After the event, I literally stumbled my way back to the hotel, counting cabs driving up and down the streets.  I gave up trying to count how many though.  Haha!  It did help keep my focus for one and being New Year's, everyone was hailing a cab to go places; that made it harder to count.

Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown / Magnificent Mile


 That's "Rock Bottom" on State Street down there.
It kind of described the state I felt like at the time.

When I got up to my room at the Hilton Garden Inn, I hit the bed and fell asleep.  A few hours later, though, I woke up hungry, so I walked over to Eggsperience, a Breakfast/Brunch cafe on Ontario Street, and ordered some Eggs and Sausage.  Really good!  Plus, I drank SO much water, lol.  I had cottonmouth pretty badly.

Eggsperience Cafe

I went back to the hotel and slept again.  I woke up around Noon and drove home.  I had so much fun this year for NYE and it will be some new memories to take with me into the next year.  I hope 2013 continues on a good social path for me.


High Defintion (with surround sound)!


January 1: New Year's Day. Brunswick OH.

January 15: Happy 40th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

January 16-20: Chicago Trip.

February 27: Diebold brings me on as Contractor.
February 27: Chardon.

March 18-24: Diebold in Dublin CA (San Francisco).

March 25: Happy New Year in Gondor.

March 25: Signed new lease in Chicago IL.
March 27: Turned in "intent to vacate" at Cross Creek.

April 1: Official Resident of Chicago.
April 13, 14: Started moving in.

April 27: Shutdown of all services.
April 29: Farewell Cleveland.  Ave atque vale.  Hail and farewell.

May 2: services restored.
May 5: I finally meet "Chicago Friend Zero," Lauren Strec.
May 14: Getting settled in.

May 20: Solar Eclipse!  Who remembers the NATO summit in Chicago too?  Hmm.

May 23: New License Plates.  Remembering Forgiveness.
May 30: Legally an official Illinois resident.  Voting and DL.

June 1: Tales from the firepit.  Forgetting about the past.

June 2: Head Injury while hiking, and rushed to Hinsdale Medical Hospital.

June 6: Venus Transit and Eclipse!

June 30: Wavefront Music Festival on Montrose Beach.

July 22: Farewell Maple Heights High School.

July 25: Welcome to Chicago, Single Mixer at The Pump Room on State Street.

August 13: Diebold hires me full time!
August 19: Chicago Water and Air Show!

August 31: First Full-Time Paycheck.

September 1: Happy Elvish New Year in Arden. "Renewing (Death) of the Winds."

September 13: God's Love and Forgiveness.  2nd Birthday, 20yrs ago.
September 15: Being single is a lonely profession many times.
September 16: Mark 0, 0, 0, 0.  Started Blogging.
September 28: ATM Bootcamp for Diebold in Canton OH.

October 12: Passed the ATM Bootcamp training with 91%
October 13: 39th birthday and celebrate with friends in Ohio.

October 26: Weird and Haunted Chicago Tour!


November 4: A Ford Fussin.

November 22: Thanksgiving with family here in Chicago.

December 12: 12/12/12 12:12:12 12,12,12, and one last time....

December 21: 13th Baktun on Long Count Calendar completes.
December 21: Visit family and friends in Ohio for Christmas.
December 23: The Hobbit: An unexpected journey.
December 25: Merry Christmas.

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My Life starts at the Chicago Water Tower!
Mark 0, 0, 0, 0. The last 0 is for the time parameter
Keeping a train of thought and keeping on track.