Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Immanency!

Reach for the clouds in 2014! An Immanency to Resolve!

Reach for the clouds in 2014!  Immanency!
Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, Chicago IL.

THE HOUR IS AT HAND!

Another year comes to a close.  It's been a busy year for all of us.  What goals have you accomplished this year?  What goals are you setting for next year?  Has it been a good year?  Are you hoping the year will end?  It's been a tremendous year for me!  I still just can't believe that this year is over.  In a blink of an eye, and just like that, another year has ended.  It's been a great year for me overall.  With the exception of some issues this month, this year, I look back at my life in Chicago, and I have accomplished so many things, like completing some goals, continuing some goals and most of all, finally getting settled in.  I am grateful for the new friends I've met this year and the new experiences in my life.  Last December, I closed 2012 on a great note.  I wrote this in my blog for that month.

"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..." December 2012, Happy December.
YouTube Video of my 2013 Google+

2013 was a year to remember.  There was a lot to accomplish and there was a lot to continue.  2013 will be remembered by me for making new friendships and working hard.  It taught me about hope and not to give up.  I have now come to say a Happy Farewell to 2013, just like last year with 2012; a big Thank You for 2013.  It was another great year for me.  Keep hoping; Keep the faith.  It was a major step keeping on in High Definition.

Hope is our four letter word...

Just Because...

OneRepublic - Counting Stars

"I feel the love and I feel it burn
Down this river, every turn
Hope is a four-letter word
Make that money, watch it burn
Old, but I'm not that old
Young, but I'm not that bold
I don't think the world is sold
I'm just doing what we're told...
"

COUNTING STARS AND THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD


Luke 2:9-14

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

What is Christmas?  Or, more specifically, what is Christmas to you?  Christmas is celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It isn't about family, getting gifts or giving gifts, with exception to ONE GIFT, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Plainly put, Christmas Eve was the night that the Wise Men of the East saw the Star of Christ and journeyed west to meet the King of Kings.  Jesus came to us in the humblest form: a baby.  He came this way so we could become as a child and receive Him as our Savior and Lord.  He didn't come with a huge fanfare in the world.  His birth was announced to shepherds, the lowliest of job occupations at the time. He was born in a hotel too crowded for him and in the company of shepherds and animals, and He was put to rest in a feeding trough for animals.  We call it a manger today; think about it now when you change that to "feeding trough."  That's what it was!  Always remember what he did just for YOU and why He DIED for you!

Christmas Tree at Westmont Town Square

Misconceptions of our traditional Christmas.

How many Wise Men came to see the Messiah?  The Bible only records THREE gifts were given.  That doesn't mean there were three Wise Men.  There were probably more of them.  Where did the Wise Men come from?  Probably Babylonia (Iraq).  These Wise Men were scholars of the Heavens and Stars, and they knew of Daniel, the prophet that explained King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, long before.  These Wise Men knew the teachings of Daniel and were in search for their Savior.  They saw His Star, brightly shining in the East.  Remember, the nation of Israel was exiled in Babylon for a time, so the origin and teachings of the Wise Men originated from Daniel.

"I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult." (Numbers 24:17)

These Wise Men knew about the Star of Christ and the birth of the Savior.  When did the Wise Men arrive?  Let's make it clear, but they did not arrive at the birth of Christ.  They were not present at the manger!  They arrived much later, when Mary and Joseph had their own home.  The Star?  A comet seems to suggest this as the "star."  Is the birth of Christ on December 25th?  Probably not.  More than likely, the Birth of Christ was probably March or April in the Spring.  There are some Christian Sects that celebrate the birth of Christ on March 25th (the Megiddo Church in Rochester NY).  My grandmother was one of those that celebrated Christmas on March 25 according to my Mom.  My Mom would tell me that my Grandmother would journey to Rochester NY to celebrate Christmas around the time of her birthday on March 24th when she was growing up.  And, yes, I believe the Zodiac was used to tell prophecy about our world and the birth of our Savior, and none other.  The zodiac is not there for our own gain; it is misused and abused by astrologers of today.  The zodiac is put in place for our own World and its future in the ages.  How dare we forecast our life with the stars!  Before writing was available, prophets used the stars and the heavens to tell the story of our world's future in the ages.  As for Christmas being in the spring, one of the most valid arguments was that shepherds did not put their sheep out to pasture during the Winter.  Christmas was included over a traditional Pagan holiday, called Saturnalia (Rome) or Yule (Germany).  At the birth of Jesus, the Bible records that the shepherds were in the fields when the angel visited them heralding the the birth, which would indicate it was Spring not Winter.  So, my Grandmother was probably celebrating Christmas at the right time (March 25).  Also, keeping true with the heavens, in March and April, the constellations of Leo (Lion from the Tribe of Judah) and Virgo (The virgin Mary) are also high above in the skies, another sign from our zodiac.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork ." (Psalm 19:1)

"...And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints." (Psalms 89:5)

Bible Eschatology in the Zodiac.

The Wise Men of the East were learned men of the stars and heavens and saw this as another SIGN.  Most would argue that the zodiac starts with Aries.  I don't!  The zodiac STARTS with Virgo (September) and ends with Leo (August).  Check my writings!  Also compare the Jewish high days of Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). In my own stories and writings, August 31st is the last day of the year (Eve of Winds).  September 1 is the first day of a new year (The Day of Reckoning and Elvish New Year).  I believe the zodiac plays an important role telling us the story of Christ.  "Let the Heavens proclaim Him."  I never saw the zodiac starting with Aries for this reason.  Virgo marks the birth of Christ; Leo marks the end, His return to Earth as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Lion from the Tribe of Judah.  Whatever the day may be, Christ came to this world to save sinners from their sin.  He came to save all of us and we have an obligation to receive His Gift of Grace. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

Here is a good read on the Wise Men and the Star of Christ.  I found this article very intriguing and insightful for the Birth of Christ.

"One final piece of evidence for this Babylonian wise men connection is the implication that the wise men were looking for the star. Why were they looking for Messiah’s star at that particular period of time? Or had they been looking for such a star for centuries? The latter idea seems unlikely. If these wise men were the Babylonian wise men formerly led by Daniel, then they were probably aware of Daniel’s prophecies, including Daniel’s reference to the timing of the coming of the Messiah, in Daniel 9."

Daniel 9 gives us the precise dates and times of the coming of the Messiah!  The Wise Men knew this!  483 years after Messiah was cut off fell on 10 Nisan 3792 on the Hebraic Calendar, י׳ בְּנִיסָן תשצ״ב.  That time ran out on Palm Sunday (April 6, 32AD on Julian Calendar); this was the Day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, proclaimed as King of Kings, Lord of Lords.  A week later, "he would be cut off, but now for Himself."  He died for our sins on a cross a week later.  So, where is that last Seven Years?  The Immanency of His Return!

"Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks (490 years): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.  And after threescore and two weeks (483 years) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (seven years): and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Daniel 9:24-27)

Proverbs 11:17 says, "Your own soul is nourished when you are kind."

We should practice Christmas all year around, not just one day of the year.  One Bible verse I'm often reminded each day is about being KIND.  Proverbs hits this topic right on the head.  I've already made it part of my Higher Definition Resolution for next year!  Let's make one thing clear about "being kind."  I believe it's very important to show charity and mercy to everyone, especially to those less fortunate than we, but I never ever like discussing my charity or gifts with anyone and to me, it's VERY private.  To discuss with someone or say, "hey, I helped so and so" or "I gave money to this or that" DESTROYS your reward with GOD!  It's important to remember humility and meekness as servants.  Discussing your gift giving or charity is a classic "neener, neener," and boasting.  It's one thing to discuss your own life and goals, it's another to discuss your charities!

"[As] he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, [and as] vinegar upon nitre, so [is] he that singeth songs to an heavy heart. If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee." (Proverbs 12:21, 21)

Be kind.  Sometimes, a smile, saying hello, or helping someone is all it takes to nourish our own souls.  This year, make it a point to be kind to strangers, and be kind to your enemies. . .whomever they be.  Yes, even your enemies need your kindness.  Note the part in the passage above about "heaping burning coals upon their head."  Kill them with kindness in other words.  Make that part of your New Year's Resolution for 2014.  I intend to make it so for me and then some more.


A RECAP OF THE WHOLE YEAR IN BLOGS!

Last December, I highlighted the year with captions.  I started my blog, "Eric Failing Deletions" in September, and made it a point to blog something each month.  This year, I will highlight the year with each blog I composed for each month.  I know I don't have many followers on my blog, but I find the blog as a useful tool for my own growth!  I have gone back to each month this year and have seen how much I've accomplished in one year.  It just is amazing to see how quickly this year has gone by and how much I've done!  If you are a regular follower of my blog, please enjoy this section and click on the links to take you back to each journey this year.

January 2013, "A Resolution in High Definition!"  I ventured around Chicago, laughed along with Jim Belushi at his "Comedy Bar," hung out with personnel on the Death Star at Adler, saw some stars at Adler after Dark (Geek Chic), Caddyshack, Karen Sobolewski's "Miracle of Sorts," setting forth the High Definition Resolution when I travelled to Wisconsin to recapture a chapter of my life that ended with a trip down Memory Lane, and meeting the DeMoras there at Prairiewood.  It was a great month to enjoy Chicago, the winter and getting to know new people.  It was a full month setting forth the goal to "climb a tower of hope and prayer," a resolution which I'm continuing for 2014.  I resigned my Lease at Waterfall Glen, and spent a "Me" day in Chicago on January 19.  It was exactly one year I first visited Chicago for job interviews in 2012.

February 2013, "It's a short month. Skip, leap, and repeat!" It was another month of venturing around Chicago with new people, throwing Spoons at the Music Box Theatre for viewing of "The Room," Lincoln's birthday at the Art Institute, laughing along with some comedians, the Distant Star in the Corner of the Sky, skipping, leaping, and repeating, the Superbowl, Labyrinth, and the Chicago Auto Show!  It was one of the busiest months of activities.  It was also Heart Month for Women, and I tried to base the theme of that month on that aspect.  It was a month where I started re-evaluating friendships.  The new friends I started making this month also encouraged me to move into Chicago.  Remember the asteroid and the meteor strike too?

March 2013, "Marching to the beat of green."  If anything at all, this month taught me about the Ides of March and the truth about some friendships.  True friends stab in the front.  It's hard to move forward with your life with friends that don't want you to succeed.  After having a difficult falling out with some, I made it a goal to move forward, pray for those friends, and continue to venture around my new Home.  I started forming some more friendships, saw the Dyeing of the Chicago River, did some job training for Diebold in Canton, premonition death dreams, repretaking mistakes, closing doors in my life, the Murder at the Art Institute Scavenger Hunt, the Chicago Fire, a new Dell Server, some Single Mixers, visiting with Karen Sobolewski and Brian in Garfield Hts, and venturing around Chicago some more.  It was also my Mom's Birthday and I visited her on the weekend (March 24).

April 2013, "The whole shebang."  April was my first full year, living in Chicago.  It was a reminder about "Over the Horizon" and the faith to see beyond.  April was about some more Scavenger Hunts in the Loop, having an Illinoid Attitude, the Crocodile's Two Exits, some more Single Mixers, moving my Websites, CHOCOLATE in Lakeview, going on some BLIND DATES, more comedy, celebrating some of my writings, changing my phone number, phasing out the OHIO in me, and most of all, continued new friendships.  This was a beautiful month for the return of spring and enjoying some fun activities in Chicago!  This month taught me the value of being Single and value in some new friends.  I also started sharing my phone number and contact info with the new friends I started making.

May 2013, "It's a permissions issue!"  May was themed on permissions.  It was the month where my company issued a new Fleet Vehicle and changing goals for my position for more travel outside of Diebold's branch in Schaumburg IL.  I also did my first business trip in Montana and I was able to meet my cousin, Terry Reese and his wife, Keri after a long, long lapse in our last meeting in Maple Heights OH.  May also taught me once again that being Single means to be strong.  In May, I ventured more in Chicago by going on a Neighborhood Walk up Dearborn Street downtown with friends, adding some of those friends to Facebook finally, going on more blind dates, remembering the history of Chatham Day, and the Murder Mystery Dinner at Soprano'sMay was a great month for travel and learning new aspects to my job at Diebold!

June 2013, "Mid-Summer Brake!"  June was a busy month of training for work at DEC in Canton OH, setting up my new Office furniture, making plans to move again by April 2014, and it was a month busy for work mainly.  I didn't do many activities downtown; I had a nice lunch with my family in Ohio that month and saw my brother Wayne after 2 years.  Also, that month, I visited with two former co-workers of mine from Broadvox, Mike Meznarich and Thomas Jordon.  I spent the day downtown Cleveland with them.  It was also a month where I looked at some of the "BUGS" still in my life and looking forward to seeing people where I had a falling out with at Broadvox.  It was the first month where I did not announce my visiting to Ohio.  I didn't capture any events this month; it was a simple blog, a braking point.  Oh, and who can forget the BLACKHAWKS?  Way to go, guys!  June's blog appeared in the month of July on the blog timeline.

July 2013, "Nothing Important Happened This Month!"  July was the next busiest month for work and activities.  The summer didn't come into full blast until August I think.  In July, I partied on the Tiki Boat, spent Independence Day with Kurt and friends, watching an amazing Fireworks' show at his place in Irving Park, continued making new friends, sharing my life with those new friends, going to Lyric Opera, enjoying my traditional Star Wars and X-Files marathon each July, more Scavenger Hunts with friends in Lincoln Park Zoo, my business trip to Corydon IN, Clarksville IN and Louisville KY, Indiana Caverns, Jim Beam Brands, pinpointing a target location to move to next year (hopefully) in Chicago's Northside, the Sheffield Garden Walk, Mom and Dad visiting me in Chicago, and partying on the Anita Dee at Navy PierJuly's theme was based on King George III, who is usually attributed for his journal entry on July 4, 1776, stating "Nothing important happened today."  It was ironic, because July was the next busiest month for work and activities with February being the first month for this year.

August 2013, "A Gust of August!"  August was the first month I experienced a lot of travelling for work.  I found myself living out of my suitcase at home this month.  I split August up into 4 "gusts" of wind.  I also featured some more of my writings with the Eve of Winds and the Elvish New Year in my writings.  For work, I was travelling back to Louisville KY, then to Champaign IL, Kansas City MO, and I took my vacation in San Diego during one week; there I spent the whole week with my brother Wayne and enjoyed the nice weather there.  The Fleet Vehicle is getting its drive time for sure.  As for other activities, I spent weekends downtown Chicago with friends for River Tubing in Winemac IN, Tall Ships at Navy Pier and the Chicago Air and Water Show.  On August 13, I celebrated my first full year at Diebold too.  It was a month where I finally closed doors in my life and phased out Ohio completely with my "strongly worded letter to the White Star Line."  I have learned to pray for those people; re-evaluate what friendships are and what they have not been in my life.

September 2013, "Full Circle!"  September was FULL CIRCLE.  What that meant to me was that I finally closed doors in my life and completed a goal by letting toxic people out of my life.  Finally enforcing that "bring it bitch lever" and moving on without certain people in my life, I completed the goal full circle, a year after I resolved to do just that.  Thank you +Lauren Strec for your sound advice with this from May 2012 when I first moved to Chicago!  August finished that completely for me with a great disappointment in a friendship and being labeled as deplorable, and insensitive.  I vowed never again to carry text conversations anymore after that.  If you can't get me on a phone to talk, then I don't know who you are!  September was a reminder of September 11, 2001, my "divine appointment with the Lord" on September 13, 1992, cultivating more friendships at Cultivate Fest, drinking Wine in Grant Park with Windy City Winefest, more business travelling for work, Katy Perry's Roar, Kurt, Sue and Hank, my new 50" TV and blu-ray player, saying farewell to V'Ger, someone breaking my car's window, and closer friends!

October 2013, "Out of the fire, and into the Embers!"  October celebrated the death and rebirth of Chicago, my 40th birthday on October 13, the Chicago Haunted Pub Crawl with friends, ghost stories, awaiting the arrival of fall, business trips to Cuyahoga Falls OH, Wheeling WV, Bellaire OH, Barnesville OH, enjoying the company of a friend on some weekends in Chicago, a Neighborhood walk of the Villa (Irving Park), starting my search for apartments in Chicago, Shelley Theman's birthday bash in Elyria OH, and enjoying the beginning of Autumn, my favorite season of the whole year. This month I had one the best birthdays I can remember in life.  I also went to Mom and Dad's one weekend between business trips, spent time with my friend Dena at her place in N. Royalton OH, Amy and John in Brunswick OH between business trips.

November 2013, "And, only I remain!"  November commemorated my Chicago-versary on November 15, more business trips to Monticello KY, back to Wheeling WV, Circleville OH, Ashville OH, and Columbus OH.  Diebold's branch office in Schaumburg moved to a new location down the street from its old location on Plum Grove Road and Golf Road.  November was a very mitigating month with some unsettling events as what would happen to me in my career.  In November, I also fired my first fire arms at Point Blank Firing Range with a trip to Benton Harbor MI, and hosted by BUCKit (formerly LivingSocial Chicago) and Venture Around.  Thanksgiving was spent as an Orphan Thanksgiving with new friends in Albany Park, Chicago, continuing new goals and starting new goals for next year, being thankful for many things in my life, including new friends and friends that have remained constant in my life.  I also drew a new line with my family this month after having some very disconcerting news from my Mother about our family.  I've said this before, if you want to be in my life, the door is open, if not, the door is open.  Don't stand in the way!

December 2013, "Immanency!And, here we are now. . .Immanency!  Wake me up!  The year is over just like that in a blink of an eye!  Thinking back to December 2012, "Happy December,"  there has been just a lot that has come to pass in such a short time.  It just utterly amazes me that January 2013 was here and gone already!  If you are a regular reader of my blog, thank you for sharing the journey this year with me.  Bookmark my site: http://shekinya.blogspot.com.  I try compose one blog each month.  Next year, I may not live up to that if travelling for work becomes more intense.  After May of this year, each month has more travel for work in it.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  May your Christmas be merry; remember that STAR in the west, the birth of our Lord.  Safe and happy travels.  Have a blessed New Year!  Remember Jacob Marley's warning to Ebeneezer Scrooge!

"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.

And, for each one of my ethnic origins...
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)

С Рождеством Христовьім (український).
MERRY CHRISTMAS! (English).

Avicii - Wake Me Up (Official Video)

"I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
Hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don't have any plans

Wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life's a game made for everyone
And love is the prize

[2x]
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

Didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know (didn't know, didn't know)
"

REMEMBER THIS LAST YEAR ON DECEMBER 21, 2012?



The World is going to end!  A ROLL CALL was on December 22, 2012 (13.0.0.0.1)!  Everyone was accounted for after that day.  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!

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 13.0.0.0.1.  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. December 2012, "Happy December."

TIME ELAPSED SINCE THE 13th BAKTUN COMPLETED ON THE LONG COUNT CALENDAR:

«  374 Days, 20 Hours, 30 Minutes. » 

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

«  - 759006899 »

THE UNIX EPOCH-ALYPSE 

*Times listed here are static from December 31, (about 2am CST)


"ERIC FAILING DELETIONS"

«   »

Крокодилье время.
Даже если крокодил съел вас у вас есть два выхода.


"EXIT, STAGE RIGHT!" Snagglepuss.

With the New Year approaching, I intend to get rid of my Facebook account (just sayin here), continue to involve myself with more meetup activities, move into Chicago and look for a new workout regiment; the one I'm doing now isn't burning off any unwanted fat. I also resolve to keep my High Definition Resolution and expand it to a higher quality. This year, I lived life with a High Definition Resolution and I intend to continue that next year. Yes, I am making it a resolution to drop facebook entirely for good! I mean I will actually call them up and say "...remove my account. I'm done with it for good." With the activity I see on my page, it's more clear to me that it's unimportant and that I don't need it. I've debated this for awhile and I notice how much freer my life is when I deactivate my account time to time.  I stopped paying attention to other "friend's pages" when I don't see any activity on my own.  I'm tired of of the bullshit.  I'm tired of taking notice of other people, and I rarely get that attention back!

PAY ATTENTION!

This year was a MAJOR year of falling out with a lot of people in my life; I need to remember Proverbs 11:17, "Your own soul is nourished when you are kind." With a lot of the falling out, I have been grateful to make new friends in the process and re-evaluate the meaning in friendships. It was a hard year to let those people go, but I have re-evaluated my life and what friendship is and what it has NOT been in my life. I have finally made it part of my Illinoid Attitude to meet people in my life that share my interests and respect me. This year was the first year I had the GREATEST BIRTHDAY I can ever remember! It's been a very long time that I've had a nice birthday; this year superseded them all.  I've been working on this month's blog and I have a section that recaptures each month of my blogging. I don't have a lot of followers of my blog, but for me, it is nice to look back on the blogs each month and see all the things I've accomplished in a year! I hope 2014 is another great year. I am saying a GREAT farewell to 2013 and a big thank you! It's been an amazing year! Just like last year, I intend to celebrate another great year in my life with "Eric Failing Deletions."


This works in both directions, and only arrogance keeps us from reaching out most times.  So, what's my excuse for giving up?  It's my turn to wait for people to reconnect.  I've said what needs to be said, done what needs to be done.  It's not up to me to reconnect this time; my time for making amends has gone past.  Frankly put, it's not my turn to reach out, so that means it's my turn to give up.  Just as I have learned my lessons in friendships, those people need to learn theirs!  You know what I mean? This also applies to family!  This year, I had some major issues with my own family.  That excludes my parents, my brothers, and my Mom's cats!

I am still on the web at the following locations:
Foursquare
LinkedIn
Google
I don't and will not use Twitter!
My e-mail is available!
If you have my address and phone number, great.  If not, I don't give it out, AND I ONLY TEXT PEOPLE THAT I CAN TALK TO ON THE PHONE! I learned that lesson the hard way this year.

MINNE-SNOW-DUH!

Luverne, Minnesota

The FORD is like get this crap off of me. . .now!

December marked a lot more travel for Diebold.  I was travelling each week except Christmas and New Year's.  In the beginning of the month, I drove to Rock Rapids IA to work on an ECR project with a co-worker.  I was still doing some on-the-job training, learning more aspects with the ECR.  It also was a very wintery week with snow, especially in Minnesota, where I was staying at the Hotel. Leaving my home about noon on Monday, December 2, it was a dreary day.  I drove I-90 through Rockford IL, Madison WI, Onalaska WI, Albert Lea MN to arrive at my hotel in Luverne MN.

Getting on the roads, the Jame Addams Tollway (I-90) between Schaumburg and the Illinois border was a disaster.  There was construction all the way to Rockford, reducing speed limits to 45 mph.  It was a mess!  On top of that, there were speed indicators all the way to Rockford, warning you if you were driving over 45 mph.  Just about halfway driving through the tollway, there was a sign that said, "Jane Addams Tollway under construction.  Thank you for your patience."  Yeah, right.  It started raining along the way too.  So, to motorists out there going through Rockford IL from Chicago, be warned.  The construction on this Tollway is AWFUL!!!!  It'll be nice I'm sure when they finally finish the project one day!  Stopping in Onalaska, Wisconsin, I gassed up and ate at Jimmy John's just off SR-16.  It started snowing.  The Kwik Stop gas station was playing Christmas music too, lol!

Onalaska, WI
Monday December 2, 2013 · 6:05 PM
“It's snowing! At border of WI and MN. >>”

Crossing the Mississippi into Minnesota on I-90, the snow was coming down HEAVILY!  Lucky for me, I know how to drive in snow, having grown up in Snowbelt Country in Cleveland OH.  Luckily, by now, there weren't many motorists on the roads either.  The rule I tell people about driving on snow covered roads is BRAKING.  Don't brake excessively.  As long as you keep true, you're fine.  Pump the brakes lightly when you stop.  Don't ride your brakes!  Put your hazards on if you're driving under the speed limit.  Allow enough distance between yourself and the motorists in front of you!  As I said, I am lucky I'm glad I had Snowbelt Country driving lessons.  I was driving the Fleet Vehicle which is an automatic.  The Honda is a manual and would've handled much better in the snow.  I drove right into the storm front.  Whoosh!

After passing near Albert Lea, the roads were fine and there was no snow falling.  The roads were cleared and had a fresh layer of salt put down on them.  For awhile I debated about pulling off at an exit and just finding a hotel for the night.  I made it safely to Luverne after an 9 hour drive.  I arrived there at about 9pm.  After settling into the Quality Inn Hotel on Kniss Avenue (US 75), I prepared myself for the week, working in Rock Rapids at Frontier Bank with my co-worker Brian.

Luverne, MN
Tuesday December 3, 2013 · 9:19 PM
“The snow. It cometh. I can only hope MN salts their roads here, being out in the middle o' nowhere.”

Frontier Bank
Rock Rapids IA

Frontier Bank
Tuesday December 3, 2013 · 9:05 AM

The week at Frontier was eventful.  Brian and I worked on implementing two ECRs with the WinECR software and screen scraping.  I learned the frustrations involved with screen scraping and linking it to Teller Software, hahaha.  It's not a very easy process.  The bank was under construction, but the Teller staff were all very friendly to us, working gladly with us and with their beautiful, warm smiles!!!

The Teller staff working with their new ECR


Frontier Bank under construction

Rock Rapids, IA
Tuesday December 3, 2013 · 9:05 AM

It was a great pleasure working with this bank amidst and being greeted each day with those same warm smiles.  Brian and I stayed the whole week.  He implemented the first ECR and I did the second one.  We both got them working by the end of the week.  Brian, again, was very thorough with the job and very informative to the customer.  He explained everything very well and I learned a lot from him, including some Teller Lingo.  Each day for lunch, we ate at the Subway in Rock Rapids and reviewed the processes for the customer.  That week, I was also given more job assignments that would require some travelling. One of the days during the week, I travelled into Sioux Falls SD, which was the closest major city from both Rock Rapids IA and Luverne MN.


A Minnesota Wind Farm along I-90

The landscape of both Minnesota and Iowa was very open and I just remember the smell of SHIT everywhere I travelled.  No, really, it smelled like shit, because of all the farms.  Brian lives in Iowa and I asked him how he can deal with that smell all the time.  He said you get used to it after awhile.  The drive from Quality Inn in Minnesota to Frontier Bank in Iowa was about 20 minutes down US-75.  On a few of those days, the roads were treacherous because of the snowing.  They don't immediately salt roads like they do in Chicago either, so it was a careful trip, driving slow when posted speed limits were 60 mph or higher!  Also, I remember when driving into Minnesota at how many Wind Farms I passed on I-90.  There were A LOT!  Driving home after the work, the roads through Minnesota were filled with snow.  When I crossed back over the Mississippi, the roads were better and there was no snowfall.  I got home that Friday at night.

Sioux Falls, SD
Tuesday December 3, 2013 · 4:36 PM
When I got home for the weekend, I was greeted with more snow...

SOMERSET TRUST


Super 8 Hotel
Tuesday December 10, 2013 · 10:41 PM

The next week I was in Uniontown PA and Hopwood PA.  There, I implemented a new ECR. . .by myself.  I set up the software, prepared the unit for cash!  Resting on the weekend some, I got ready for the 8 hour drive through Ohio into Pennsylvania.  I left Monday morning, taking the Indiana Toll Road, Ohio Turnpike and Pennsylvania Pike to Uniontown PA.  The drive was smooth for the most part and there wasn't much snow to contend with.  Passing Pittsburgh, I arrived at the hotel in Uniontown PA in the evening. The Hotel was on National Pike (US 40) on one side of the town; the bank was on the other side of National Pike (US 40) in Hopwood.  The technician was there one day, making sure everything was to my liking.  For the rest of the week, I setup the software, and the best part of this particular assignment: THERE WAS NO SCREEN SCRAPING!  Basically, the screen scraping is a method we integrate the Teller Software into the Diebold software, so the Tellers access both at the same time.  The Teller Software varies per bank and there are so many different kinds of flavors.  To "scrape" a screen on the Teller Software means that we "overlay" the Diebold stuff ON TOP of the Teller application.  We call it scraping.


Somerset Trust Bank
Wednesday December 11, 2013 · 1:54 PM

Somerset Trust Bank was located in Adrian's Supermarket on 1176 National Pike, Hopwood PA.  I got lost the first day because I didn't realize the bank was inside the supermarket, lol.  I drove up and down the road a few times, looking for a bank.  After I finished my work in Pennsylvania, I got a "last minute assignment" for Columbia SC the next week.  It literally was last minute and I scrambled to reserve my flight, hotel and rental car.  I finished with Somerset Trust on Thursday, so I asked Mom and Dad if I could visit on the way home.  Oh by the way, when I was in PA, I got a leer and an unfriendly comment from a PA Penguins fan, while wearing my Chicago Blackhawks jacket, lol!!! Thursday Night (12/12), I stayed one night in Hinckley.  In the morning, I was back on the road for home.
Township of Hinckley
Thursday December 12, 2013 · 4:58 PM


Mocking Hills
Friday December 13, 2013 · 5:43 PM


Once again, coming home, there was snow...

THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG


Albany Park
Saturday December 14, 2013 · 1:52 PM

Bilbo Baggins: I did not come to steal from you, O Smaug the Unassessably Wealthy.
I merely wanted to gaze upon your magnificence, to see if you were as great as the old tales say.
I did not believe them.
Smaug: [strikes a pose] And do you, NOW?
Bilbo Baggins: Truly songs and tales fall utterly short of your enormity, O Smaug the Stupendous...
Smaug: Do you think flattery will keep you alive?
Bilbo Baggins: No, no...
Smaug: No, indeed!

Every time I keep seeing "3 movies" for Tolkien's Hobbit, I put my forefinger and thumb together and look at how far apart they are.  That's the size of the book, lol!  On Saturday, December 14, Kurt and I went to see Peter Jackson's second installment of the Hobbit. When I got home Friday, Kurt called me and said he bought us two tickets at the Icon Theater on Roosevelt.  So, Saturday, I drove over to his place, picked him up at his place and drove down to the theater.  He picked out two great seats for both optimal viewing and listening.  We both decided against viewing it 3-D, but Kurt picked a theater that had AWESOME SURROUND SOUND, Atmos sound!  I've never been impressed with 3-D movies (Kurt either), so we both watched the film normally, still enjoying the movie with ATMOS sound!


Rather than spoil the movie, to those that haven't see it yet, Jackson did a great job with Smaug, including the CGI and the Voice!  The movie embellished extremely and they used a lot of tales from the Unfinished Tales to fill in gaps to make it an almost 3 hour viewing.  If you had read the Hobbit, then you will see how much they put into the films.  Having read and enjoyed the book, I clued Kurt into some of the scenes, like Beorn and I mentioned, yes elves do drink and get drunk.  We both enjoyed the movie and had a great time. After the movie, we walked around the South Loop and it was very cold and snowing!  We enjoyed talking about the movie afterwards and we started talking about our family origins.  I was interested in his family origin to his last name and he explained how he was German and had ancestors that settled in Chicago long before.

ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Saturday December 14, 2013 · 3:36 PM
“Watching 13 dwarves kick a dragon's butt. — with Kurt (checked in by Kurt P).”

ICON Theater on Roosevelt (between Wells and Clark)




Kurt and I walking over to Manny's after the movie!

We had a great walk up Roosevelt up to Jefferson where we ate dinner at Manny's.  I've never eaten at a Jewish Deli before and I didn't know what Pastrami on Rye was, so I tried it.  It was GOOD!  Kurt had the same.  We drank some beer and just had a great evening in Chicago!  Talking about our families, I mentioned that I also have some Jewish (pre-WWII) ancestry, which I was told once by my great, great Aunt. It was a great night to explore Chicago, enjoy an awesome movie and talk about goals for next year.  After we walked back to my car, I drove Kurt back home and headed home to get ready for my trip to South Carolina on Monday.

Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen
Saturday December 14, 2013 · 7:56 PM

I HATE FLYING!

Thanks Google for giving me, not only a twinkling 
Christmas tree, but a twinkling ATM card reader!

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
Monday December 16, 2013 · 7:52 AM

Most people love it; I hate it.  One, the thought of being separated 37,000 feet from the earth.  Two, it's too much of a hassle.  At the last minute, I had to get ready for work the week of December 16th.  You have to reserve a flight, a hotel AND a rental car.  Granted, it needs to be done and everyone does it.  It's just so much easier to drive.  So, why didn't I drive?  I didn't want to drive 12 hours to Columbia SC.  I decided to fly instead.  I'm learning now how job assignments are being sprung at last minute, and I need to be ready at all costs to go where work assigns me.  I reserved all my flights, my hotel and the rental call with very little difficulty on Friday which was the greatest PLUS to all this!

I spent Sunday doing laundry and packing up my suitcase again for a full week in Columbia SC.  There I would be implementing MY FIRST Agilis 3/WIN7 project for Diebold.  There will be more of these type of assignments from here on with Diebold!  After laundry and packing, I SLEPT for the rest of the day!  Hotels are becoming very difficult at times for sleeping.  It's something I'm trying to learn to do.  Maybe I need to pack one of my own pillows or something to help.  When I get to a hotel usually, FIRST, I jump onto the bed!  Next, I make sure the TV works, so I can turn it on when I go to sleep.  It helps!  TONS!  Another thing I first do when I get to a hotel is look for the closest Wal-Mart, hahaha!  I told that to my co-worker and he laughed because he does the same thing too.

I took off in Delta at 10:30am.  A co-worker called me when I had already passed security and at the gate for my plane, saying to reschedule my flight.  Oops, too late.  "I'm here already."  He said the customer wanted to change the dates to Thursday and Friday for my arrival.  Oops, too late.  "Friday, I fly home for the holidays."  After finally taking off and getting to CAE through Atlanta, I picked up my rental car at Hertz and drove over to the Holiday Inn Express on Taylor Street, right downtown.  Fortunately, I was only a couple blocks away from the bank (South Carolina Trust Bank) I would be working at for the week.

Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE)
Monday December 16, 2013 · 2:53 PM
“Arrived.”

It had to be a Hyundai Accent???  Ungh!
Look at the green grass nearby too.

Holiday Inn Express and Suites
Monday December 16, 2013 · 4:02 PM

After checking into the hotel and getting ready for the week, "my heart was blessed once again," by the southern hospitality and the woman at the Concierge.  I also got to listen to Southern accents again, hahaha.  The week I had with South Carolina Trust Bank was quite an experience, and a very intense learning experience.  I was introduced to new tools and, learning the new tools, was quite a challenge.  I had to get a co-worker on the phone to assist with the process.

The ATM I was working on luckily was in a "lab environment" and it was the bank's Pilot ATM.  After I got the software working on the ATM, I was working with the local Diebold Technician to create a new image of another ATM.  The technician, Robert, and I tried a few times to get an image to work with the new tools.  We only had success with the image on the Pilot ATM, and we learned that the new tools will take some time to learn and USE properly.  Luckily, we still have online supplemental knowledge base material on our Intranet site -- with Videos!  There was no time at the bank to do any of the knowledge base tutorials, so I worked with another co-worker that has been using the tool.  The co-worker mentioned that he was in my shoes once and was doing the same thing I was -- calling people and reading e-mails with instructions.  After the week was through, I was asked to extend my stay through Friday.  "Hell, no," I thought to myself.  It's the holidays.  I remember laughing at myself after I told Robert, "I cannot work under these conditions," hanging up the call.  He looked at my strangely when he saw me laughing.  "Inside joke," I told him.  Karen Sobolewski, if you're reading, I reused your words this week, the first time since working at Broadvox with you, lol!!!!

South Carolina Bank and Trust
Tuesday December 17, 2013 · 9:42 AM

Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE)
Food Court 

I enjoyed South Carolina and especially the weather.  I remarked to Robert how GREEN their grass was for this time of the year.  It was incredibly green.  Many of the trees still had leaves on them too, and it felt like I was on a different planet.  "How can you celebrate Christmas without snow?" I laughed.  Robert and I did dinner one night at the Longhorn on Gervais Street, down the street from the bank.  When the work was done Friday morning, I was back on Delta, heading back home.  We also had lunch at a Southern-style Country/Soul Food Restaurant, called Lizard's Thicket on Gadsden and Elmwood Ave.  It was very tasty.  I had the pulled pork sandwich and banana pudding for dessert.  Mmmm!

Lizard's Thicket
Tuesday December 17, 2013 · 1:06 PM

Another reason I hate flying.  I noticed a few people with large luggage bags boarding the plane.  I remarked about this on my Facebook page, "People. Two carry-ons means something that will fit in overhead storage. Check your regular baggage, piano, and kitchen sink at the front. Sheesh!!!"  Fortunately, on the way home, I was blessed to have a Soldier returning from Afghanistan aboard.  He came aboard at my connecting flight at Atlanta!  When the plane finally touched down at Midway and came to a stop, the Captain of the plane made an announcement about the Soldier aboard returning home to surprise his family.  It made the news too on ABC7 Chicago!  See my "IN OTHER NEWS" section.  Everyone on the plane was applauding him and cheering for him!!!  Getting off the plane and down to baggage claim, I could hear the announcement continue down the terminal and everyone in the terminal cheering and applauding him on as he passed by!  When I finally got into the Taxi and got home, I unpacked some and went to Denny's to eat in Willowbrook.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Friday December 20, 2013 · 5:35 PM
“Connecting CAE to MDW. >>”


IT'S CHRISTMAS.  DON'T BE A SCROOGE OR END UP LIKE JACOB MARLEY

During the week of Christmas, I played catch-up on several things like vehicle maintenance on both the Honda and the Ford.  The Ford already needs an oil change and tire rotation.  The last time I too the Ford in was in September.  It's really getting its use.  I took the Ford in to Willowbrook Ford on Kingery and waited for it.  It wasn't a long wait and I was in and out in a blink of an eye.  I'm just glad I had time to get the maintenance done.  Whew!  The thought with all those long distance trips and the car breaking down isn't a good thought, haha.  Everything was GREEN for the car, except needing new tires soon.  I also got my Dell Server delivery too, so I unpacked it and set it up on the computer bench.  I tried to take a sunset picture in Darien too unsuccessfully.  I also continued watching my Christmas lineup of movies like Scrooged and Samson and Delilah.

Darien at Cass Avenue and 75th Street

10S771 Clarendon Hills Road

Willowbrook Ford
Monday December 23, 2013 · 2:18 PM
“Back here already with the Ford for another oil change.”

"All men must die; only the hour is unknown." Samson
"No, you are a hallucination brought on by alcohol, Russian Vodka, poisoned by Chernobyl." Frank Cross

Calling Friends

Crystal and Buttercup (December 22, 2012)
Love this picture!

On the Day before Christmas Eve, I prepared the new server.  To prepare for the New Server, I went to MicroCenter on Ogden and purchased some network cables (didn't feel like making my own this time), and some DVD Read/Writes to burn a couple ISO images onto (like ESXi 5.1 and CentOS 6.5).  The traffic in Westmont was awful and with the Trains going by, it just made it nearly impossible to cross the tracks. On Christmas Eve, I thought about things and I decided that it was important to call some old friends in my life and wish them a Merry Christmas.  It's Christmas!  I gave it a lot of thought and mustered the courage to give the few friends I fell out of touch with a call.  I called one friend and left him a voicemail.  The next friend I called took my call right away and we TALKED for a good 6 hours (or more). just about life and what we've been up since Februrary.  It was so refreshing to pick up where we left off and it was actually a great call and I'm so glad I did this; it was a last minute decision.  I was sitting and thinking and thought how important it is that some people have been in my life in, not just the present, but the past too!  Thanks, Crystal for taking my call!  I also called Dena, Todd and my friend Rich in Garfield Hts OH.  I guess my family wanted everyone to get together for a the sing-along on December 21st too.  Uh, no!  Good luck without me!  After the last talk with my Mom about this, I expressed how upset I am with my family right now!

New Dell PowerEdge T320 Server with ESXi 5.1

New VM, called etc-vertigo, to host Apache

Yes, I finally got around to setting up my new Dell Desktop Server T320 for ESXi 5.1. After having problems with my original Linux Server last month, I decided it was finally time to use some of that money I was saving for a new Desktop Server.  Ok, yeah, I spoiled myself, but one reason I decided to do this was for two reasons: Hobby and most of all, to keep my skillsets in place for my career.  I'm not touching a lot of server hardware and software much in my current Systems Engineer position.  I think it's important to keep up my skillsets, so just as I had been saving up for a new server to load ESXi 5.1 since the beginning of this year, I took action after my Linux Server started having problems last month.  I can now implement a Linux VM.  So, after unpacking it and setting it up, I started loading ESXi 5.1 u1 on it.  After that was in place, I loaded my first Guest OS of Linux 5.3, an older version, to make sure it was working.  The next VM I intend to load will be a newer version of Linux (CentOS 6.5).

Micro Center
Monday December 23, 2013 · 3:26 PM










PHASE I

Setup Hardware RAID0 on D320T...
Load ESXi 5.1 u1 x64...
Setup ETCETERA...
Setup DNS...
Setup vShpere Client...
Setup ESXi Support Shell and SSH...
Setup three VMs...
Microsoft Volume Licensing for Win2k8...

I called the ESXi server ETCETERA, lol, because it's all et cetera stuff, ha.  Setting up the server and loading the first couple VMs for my websites, network tools (like nagios and smokeping), and evenutally my new Exchange Server 2010 when I can purchase a licenses for Windows Server 2008.  This all includes PHASE I of this implementation.  The three VMs are named "Emissary," "Vertigo," and "Courier."  By the names of the VMs, you can guess what their roles intend to be.  Vertigo (Linux CentOS 5.3 i686) will host my websites (like Shekinya.net), Emissary (CentOS 6.5 x64) will host all my network tools, and Courier (Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard x64) will be for my new Exchange Server 2010.

PHASE II (set in future)


Purchase new Gigabit Ethernet Switch...
Replace old Fast Ethernet Switch...
Setup a 4 TB NAS (different network)...
Setup iSCSI with extra Gigabit NIC on T320 (different network)...
Setup new datastore for iSCSI...
Setup a Backup Server VM to do backups to NAS...
Extend drive space on other VMs for extra storage...

PHASE III

Purchase and install iDRAC Card...

An Orphan Christmas


Ravenswood
Wednesday December 25, 2013 · 2:59 PM
“Christmas in Chicago.”

On Christmas, I enjoyed a good holiday in Chicago.  It was one of the best "away from family" holidays I've celebrated.  The first major holiday away from family this year was Independence Day, then Thanksgiving.  I'm fortunate to have had the holidays to celebrate with new friends here in Chicago.  This year was different for Christmas.  My Mom and Dad went on a WELL DESERVED holiday trip on a Caribbean Cruise with Allure of the Seas.  They boarded the ship on Monday, the 23rd with my Dad's final foursquare checkin in Ft. Lauderdale, lol.

Christmas morning, I slept in!  I got up probably about 11am to get ready to head into Lincoln Square to meet up with Viki and DatLy to head over to Old Town and meet Keith and new friends there.  It was a very, very cold day.  We later were blessed with some snow in the evening. Getting on the Tri-State Tollway north to the Kennedy, then to Lawrence Avenue (4800N), I had to remind myself that Viki lives in Lincoln Square not Ravenswood, so the first Foursquare checkin is wrong, lol. 

CTA - Rockwell
Wednesday December 25, 2013 · 3:41 PM

DatLy and Viki!

Awww, Lenny! Viki's cat.

I met with Viki and Dat at her place in Lincoln Square.  She's right down the street from Kurt and Sue on Lawrence Avenue.  After meeting up with her and Dat at her place, we hanged and chilled for a bit before heading over some new friends for Christmas. She gave me a tour of her place and I met her cat, Lenny.  Cute kitty!  He looks just like Felix, my Mom's cat.  Sitting and talking for a bit, we talked about Christmas and Kurt called me to wish a Merry Christmas.  He went to see his folks in Bartlesville OK for the week.  Sue was with her folks in Detroit MI with Hank.  After talking with Kurt, he said that Bartlesville is in the middle of nowhere and there wasn't much to do, lol.


Chicago Apartment Finders is down there somewhere, lol.

After talking with Kurt, we boarded the Brown Line at Rockwell and headed towards the Loop.  We made a Red Line Transfer at Belmont and took the Red Line to Clark/Division or Old Town.  I also was introduced to Chicago's new transit card, Ventra, ungh!  Viki helped me with the card.  The card costed $5.00 plus the train fee.  She said if you register online you get your $5.00 registration fee back to you.  As I later learned trying to register the darn card, it's a pain.  Ventra's website isn't working, so I had to call Ventra.  I'm still trying to put money on the card with my CC.  It's not working, ungh!  I hope I can figure this out.  I wonder if Metra will be switching to Ventra?  I still buy a ticket for the Metra.  Riding the Red Line train towards Old Town, I asked Viki at which point does the Red Line become a subway, because I mentioned one could catch the Red Line at State Street but have to go down under the road.  She said it becomes a subway around Clybourn where the Brown, Red and Purple meet, and Sheffield and Roosevelt Road in South Loop.  It goes under the Chicago River too.  I'm learning my trains!  The Red Line ends at Howard.  The Brown Line terminates at Kimball near Kurt and Sue.




Old Town
Wednesday December 25, 2013 · 4:13 PM

After getting off at Clark/Division, we walked over to old Cabrini-Green or new Old Town and met Keith and Melanie at Keith's place.  Keith and Melanie were at the Orphan Thanksgiving this year, and I first met them there.  They were fun people!  Alissa, who was at Thanksgiving, was there as well.  I met James, Sharon and Josh too.  They were the new faces.  There, I met some new faces and got acquainted with a few familiar faces.  It was very fun to meet some new people and enjoy a nice Chirstmas with new friends and new faces!  It was a fun evening to enjoy some Christmas Margaritas, snacks and of course a nice Turkey Dinner.  We all had a great night.  And, by the end of the night, I was becoming a pro at making Christmas Margaritas, lol!

Dat made it fun by making sure everyone told a little about themselves and what they did for a living.  During the course of the evening, it started snowing and it was very beautiful!  I took a few photos.  We played a few games too like asking the Magic 8 ball questions, telling everyone what are vices were, etc.  Dat made everyone feel comfortable and involved everyone.  I thought that was really great!  Another topic of discussion over dinner and the evening was Dominick's closing and how this would impact several of the Chicago Neighborhood's.  I learned what an Chicago Alderman is too.  They are appointed Wards over each Community area in Chicago.  Chicago has 92 Community Areas (or Neighborhoods). Alissa clued me into getting involved in your community to ensure the right "stores" are made available in your area.  "Get involved with your neighborhood," she said.

Lincoln Square Neighborhood
near Rockwell and Lawrence

Lincoln Square Neighborhood
Wednesday December 25, 2013 · 9:41 PM

After much fun and sharing contact info, facebook pages, etc, Dat, Viki and me headed back to the train back to her place for one last evening drink.  The snow was really coming down by now and it was beautiful to see it fall on all the Chicago Streets.  After enjoying the company of Dat and Viki, I headed home.  This was a great Christmas, one to remember and cherish!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

I posted this last year for Christmas.  Don't forget...

The Silent Monks
Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus."

Blackbeak at Continental Honda

On Thursday, I took Blackbeak in for maintenance.  Having not driven the Honda much this year since the Fleet Vehicle has been driven the most, the Honda has just been sitting in the parking lot at home mostly.  I looked back at the last time I had the Honda in for Service and realized that January of this year was the last time I had any maintenance done on it.  So, concerned about the possibility of rusty brakes and "bad oil," I took the car up to Continental Honda on Joliet/La Grange Road.  I had the Multi-Point Inspection done and made sure to ask the technician to check the brake pads.  Waiting on the car, the technician came back out and said the Honda checked out fine.  The brakes were still in the measurable distance (8mm) and he said the oil technically didn't need changed at 70% Oil Life.  When I told him the car was last in January and that it hasn't been driven much, he saw the reasoning and said they'd change the oil.  He also told me that my Honda was due for new brake fluid and tires.  I got a quote for that and told him I'd bring the Honda back in on its purchase anniversary date of February 12.  I would've owned the Honda for 3 years.  So, after getting the car work done, I took it back home.  On the way home on La Grange Road, I spotted a new Texas Roadhouse on the corner of Joliet!!!  I'll have to try and eat there sometime.

Continental Honda
Thursday December 26, 2013 · 2:20 PM
“The Honda needs attention and pampering today.”

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Saturday December 28, 2013 · 3:28 PM
“Ben Stiller in reprising a Danny Kaye role.”

On Saturday the 28th, I met up with my friend, Rhonda, to go see this movie.  Previously, during the week, I purchased Tickets Online at Showplace ICON Chicago and reserved two seats in Theater 12.  I'm glad we went out and watched the movie.  It was a great time.  The movie was at 4pm, but I told Rhonda that I'd pick her up at 2:30pm.  I drove into Edgewater through Chicago on Lake Shore Drive and the Stevenson.  The traffic in the Loop is always a bear to drive past on LSD.

Arriving at her place in Edgewater, we drove back down to the theater on Roosevelt.  I was there a couple weeks earlier with Kurt to see the Hobbit, lol.  She asked why I chose this theater.  I told her it was the only one I was familiar with in the area near her.  I told her I was able to reserve two seats and two tickets online and that I enjoyed the theater so much when I went with Kurt before.  I told her you could bring your own food and drink into the theater too.  So, she saw the logic, hahaha.  Driving back down LSD and Roosevelt, we both noticed a new exhibit at the Field Museum for the World Fair 1893.  We both were interested in it and expressed a great wanting to go see it.  So, having that in the back of my head, I later checked online.  We also saw some possible "new public art" near Michigan Avenue that we both wanted to check out.  FEET!  Yep, FEET!  Ha. I told her we could do another "date" on Saturday to go to the exhibit and see the FEET in the park, lol.  She said it would be a great idea.

When I took this picture, the Sears Tower said, "peekaboo" and I kicked my field goal.

Caution, "Hot Ice."

Rhonda is ALWAYS fun to hang out with.  We have so much fun doing things together.  It felt like SPRING on this day in Chicago!  The temperatures were in the 50s.  Well, that would change overnight as WINTER returned on Sunday.  Rhonda's becoming a great friend.  Our "hang outs" are always interesting, fun, and effusive!  After we arrived at the theater, I parked.  Luckily for now, parking is free at ICON.  Parking near P1, we took the elevator up to the main level and walked one door over to Bridgeport Coffee.  Rhonda ordered coffee and I ordered some tea (which I took into the theater with me later).  After ordering our tea, we went outside and walked around for a bit.  We both were intrigued by a large Cache with broken glass bits inside it.  Seeing the sign "Caution Hot," we both reacted by putting our hands on the broken glass, lol!!!  There was no heat.  I said that is was probably a misnomer to confuse us, ha.

Finally, making our way to the theater, we found our seats and watched the movie.  I was telling her that I loved the original Danny Kaye version but learned that Thurber, the author of the short story with the same name, tried stopping Goldwyn from making this into a film with the first one in 1947.  I told Rhonda that I'm not a Ben Stiller fan but I wanted to see what he did with Danny Kaye's old role as Walter Mitty.  She agreed too and she said she wasn't a Stiller fan either.  The movie rolled and we both ENJOYED every aspect of the film, agreeing that it was very fluid.  It reminded me of the movie Stranger than Fiction, with Will Ferrell in the main role.  Interesting enough, we both don't like Will Ferrell either, but we both loved "Stranger than Fiction."


Life Magazine's Motto in the movie:“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer,to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

The movie was played at a very good time, the dawning of a new year, when people usually set goals and new resolutions.  The Motto of the film resounded with each frame and take.  We all are a Walter Mitty deep down.  We fantasize what our lives would like to be: a Hero, an Adventurer, a Lover, etc.  Ben Stiller was amazing with the role!  I wasn't disappointed with the movie, nor was Rhonda.  The movie was altered some from the Danny Kaye version, but the plot and theme remained true.  We both liked how they did the subtitles in the film and using the plot of LIFE magazine.  The plot played true to our current job market with the outsourcing and corporate downsizing!  So, rather than spoil the movie, what do you think is on Negative 25?  After the movie was over, we were both astonished to see Ben Stiller as both the director and producer of the movie!!!



ICON Theater at Roosevelt

Andersonville (Clark Street, between Foster and Bryn Mawr)

Andersonville
Saturday December 28, 2013 · 7:55 PM
“Paulina & Summerdale.”

Finishing the movie, we walked around outside more, and took some more pictures.  We both enjoyed a nice evening in Chicago.  For dinner, we headed back to Chicago Northside and went to eat at Reza's, a Middle Eastern Restaurant on Clark Street in Andersonville.  I let Rhonda out at the restaurant and I went on to find a place to park.  After parking, I walked back to the restaurant and Rhonda had a table ready.  We ordered our meals.  Rhonda ordered the kabob combo (beef and chicken), served with a side of couscous.  I ordered the Lamb Shank.  Four our appetizer, we ordered Hummus and soup.  What a delicious meal!!!  I had to take the leftovers home though, lol!  The Lamb was absolutely delicious!  It was so tender that you did not need a knife to cut it.  It pulled right off the bone like jelly.  We shared each other's dinners as we usually do. Lol!

Very delicious, yet filling dinner!

Reza's
Saturday December 28, 2013 · 7:52 PM

After we enjoyed a nice dinner together, we went to George's Ice Cream & Sweets across the street on the other corner of Berwyn and Clark.  After enjoying some sweets and ice cream here, we finished the evening and talked about doing the World Fair Exhibit at the Field Museum.  We parted company for the night at the corner of Clark and Berwyn with a kiss and hug...

Back to Chicago Apartment Finders (Lakeview)

This graffiti art behind Apartment Finders is really cool!

Chicago Apartment Finders (Lakeview)
Monday December 30, 2013 · 1:55 PM
“I hope I find something nice by the end of January.”

On Monday, December 30th, I spent the Afternoon at Lakeview at Chicago Apartment Finders on Clark and Belmont.   I went there and looked at a few new apartment searches and I may have an actual winner.  We looked at two places; one in Ravenswood, well, Bowmaville technically, and Old Irving Park.  The first one we looked at was on Damen and Berwyn, and it was a one bedroom apartment.  Despite it being only one bedroom apartment, I can possibly make it happen with my own stuff.  I'll have to downsize my stuff and I'm thinking about renting storage.  I can do that apartment and I told Jennifer, the Realtor, to start the paperwork on securing the place.





Ravenswood
Monday December 30, 2013 · 3:09 PM
“Berwyn & Damen.”

I was excited with the first place we looked at, even measuring some of the areas in the apartment, seeing if things would fit.  I think my office desk will fit nicely in the bedroom.  The next step will be talking with the Landlord at my current place and see if I can break the lease.  I won't know this until next year though and I'll be ending this blog hopefully on a good note for moving.  I'll have to give this a lot of thought and decide if I want to keep looking or secure it.  There are a lot of pros to the place.  The cons mainly having to make things fit between my current bedroom and office.  This apartment is a mile from the Brown Line, Union Pacific Metra and the Red Line is a little further.  A friend said that the area is known as the Swedish 'Hood, lol.  I have until Thursday after the New Year on what to do...

Bowmanville Neighborhood
Lincoln Square

The second place had very small bedrooms, so I'm pretty sure nothing work there.  This was located in Old Irving Park near Kedzie and Grace.

Old Irving Park Neighborhood
Monday December 30, 2013 · 3:41 PM
“Grace & Kedzie.”

NEW YEAR'S EVE 2013!

Last year I was here...

Bar Louie, River North, Chicago IL

This year... 
 
Albany Park, Chicago IL

Albany Park
Tuesday December 31, 2013 · 8:19 PM
“Kurt and Sue's for NYE 2013.”

I was invited to a "PJs New Year's Eve Party" at Kurt and Sue's in Albany Park.  It was a fun time, and thank you Kurt and Sue for inviting me out.  Although driving was a bear with all the snow and holiday traffic, it was finally great to arrive and ring in the New Year with new friends! Chicago has been very wintery this year, so I tried hitting the roads early to pick up a few friends in Lincoln Square.   For a long while I was stuck at the "Nagle Curve" on the Kennedy.  Slippery roads, snow, and ice were my conditions, but it all paid off later that evening.  Thank you to all for a great night ringing in the New Year!








Nagle Curve
Tuesday December 31, 2013 · 7:06 PM

After arriving at Kurt and Sue's for the night, I had a great night with some new faces and with some familiar faces.  There was warmth, fun, entertainment and even the heat from a "gas fireplace."  I hope the New Year treats all my friends kindly!  Happy New Year to all a good year! I hope the new year brings you all joy, happiness, good fortune and peace. Reach for the clouds! I hope the year is good to you all.

With all things considered, the things I want to accomplish in 2014 are...

• Find a new home.  I'm really starting to hate where I'm at now!
• Start storing some of my stuff at home for an easier move!
• Continue on with my career!
• Continue on with home network stuff to keep IT Skillsets in place!
• Start a new diet/exercise regiment!
• Kindness with meekness but not being a doormat at the same time!

IMMANENCY!  HE'S COMING BACK AGAIN!

He was here once for the First Advent.
He will return for His Second Advent.


He told us to watch and wait for His return.  There is a song out there which I like around Christmas time.  It's usually regarded as a Christmas Carol and sung as a hymn in Christmas Eve services at churches.  I've always seen this song treated as a Christmas Carol.  I have not.  It's "Joy to the World."  I always have felt that the lyrics spoke more true about the Lord's SECOND Advent, not his First!  I've added those lyrics here as closure for this year.  Happy New Year Everyone!

JOY TO THE WORLD
Isaac Watts

Joy to the world! The Lord has come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sound joy

No more let sin and sorrow grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of is love
And wonders and wonders of His love

NOTEWORTHY OF WORTHY NOTES

• Traditional Movie lineup for Decembers

With the normal Christmas time stuff that comes out in December, I also put my Bible Collection movies in as well.  That is part of my Christmas tradition each year -- to watch those movies on top of the other Christmas themed movies.  So, taking a break from Netflix and my Star Trek: The Next Generation run (finishing Unification, part II), I watched my traditional December lineup.

Traditional Christmas movies
• A Christmas Story!
• A Christmas Carol (George Scott, 1984 version)
• Scrooged
• Christmas Vacation
• Home Alone I & II
• Gremlins

Scene from Samson and Delilah, starring
Elizabeth Hurley, Dennis Hopper, Michael Gambon

TNT Bible Collection
• Abraham (Richard Harris, Barbara Hershey)
• Jacob (Matthew Modine, Laura Flynn Boyle, Sean Bean)
• Joseph (Ben Kingsley, Lesley Ann Warren)
• Moses (Ben Kingsley, Frank Langella)
• Samson & Delilah (Elizabeth Hurley, Michael Gambon, Dennis Hopper)
• David (Nathaniel Parker, Jonathon Pryce, Leonard Nimoy)
• Solomon (Ben Cross, Vivica Fox)

• People you don't need in your life.

The Devil's Advocate.  I had a friend that was very self-centered when it came to his hobbies and it would drive me insane that he would never take care in any of mine.  It makes one re-evaluate what friendship is.  In that friendship I was constantly being scrutinized for my ideas, opinions and advice.  At the same time, comic books and heavy metal were forced down my throat all the time.  That relationship destroyed a lot of my love for action movies and comic book films.  I would always would listen and take interest in his life, but he could never remember any aspect of my life.  It was that toxic relationship that festered with me for the longest time; when I finally spoke out against it, I was accused of being vile and deplorable.  Some friendships are salvageable; some aren't.  Remember whom your friends are.  Although friends can be polar opposites, a friendship is supposed to be reciprocated.

• Mom and Dad on a Caribbean Cruise!


Mom and Dad went on their cruise to the Caribbean Islands.  Dad's last Foursquare check-in for the year was in Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Sunday, December 22 at about 10am CST.  I hope that have LOTS OF FUN!  I expect to see lots of pictures too, lol!

• 255.255.255.255!  An Emergency!


Sunday night, December 29th, I had to replace a bad router off the cuff and ad hoc.  My LinkSys Wireless-G WRT54G finally crapped out.  It lived a long eventful life though, since 2006.  On Saturday, the inbound traffic to the TCP ports just kept failing; web browsing and general Internet all worked fine.  So, finally Sunday, it just gave out all together.  I was able to successfully swap out the old router with the new Cisco Small Business RV 120W Wireless-N VPN Firewall that I purchased last December!  I mentioned that new router in January's blog.  Yep, I waited to replace it since the beginning of this year!  Luckily, it wasn't a terrible transition and I just had to carry over the network settings from the old router onto the new one, including my wireless settings!  I also registered it with Cisco as well.  Everything was back up finally at about midnight! I also switched to Google! Chrome as my default browser.  Sorry Firefox!


IN OTHER NEWS

• Dad returns back home in Chicago from Afghanistan.

I was on the flight from ATL with this local celebrity!


"Chicago IL (WLS) -- TONIGHT AT 10: A soldier surprises his two sons with the help of Santa.

Sgt. John Rivera missed Christmas last year because he was stationed in Korea, and nearly had to spend another holiday away from his family this year in Afghanistan.

Watch the family’s emotional reunion tonight on our 10:00 newscast!  Tune in to ABC 7 Eyewitness News now or watch LIVE at ABC7 Chicago."

• Comet ISON


"The icy Comet ISON from the depths of deep space will either meet its doom or transform into a cosmic spectacle when it whips around the sun Thursday (Nov. 28) in a Thanksgiving Day treat for NASA and scientists around the world.

"It's a wonderful holiday roast for all the scientists," NASA scientist Michelle Thaller said in an interview (Nov. 26) of the comet's timely arrival on the U.S. holiday. "While many people will be roasting their turkeys, the sun will be roasting this comet."

"A comet’s journey through the solar system is perilous and violent. A giant ejection of solar material from the sun could rip its tail off. Before it reaches Mars -- at some 230 million miles away from the sun -- the radiation of the sun begins to boil its water, the first step toward breaking apart. And, if it survives all this, the intense radiation and pressure as it flies near the surface of the sun could destroy it altogether.

• Packers at Bears, 188th meeting (NFC North Title)

Way to go Packers... :D


"December 29, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Chicago Bears fans are not shy about offering their opinions and they are very disappointed after Sunday's loss.

After the game, fans had many choice words for the Bears defense. Even though the game was neck-and-neck throughout the four quarters, the Packers touchdown in the last minute stunned Bears fans. Many thought the Bears had it."

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HHHHMMMM!

• Even though the Earth revolves around the sun and we aren't in the center, Earth is still perfectly positioned from the sun AND it's the only place where one can see the zodiac in its perfect sense.  In that sense, Earth still is the center of the universe.

• Right is not wrong, but three lefts makes a right.

• Contrary to belief, the Christmas Tree was originally a pagan symbol, not a Christian one.

• Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

• Procrasitnate Now!

• The country code for Russia is “007."

• Your stomach needs to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it would digest itself.

• Dust is merely human skin.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

December 7: RIP Aunt Birdie
December 8: Heather Roose!
December 18: My brother, Kevin!
December 25: The Lord, Jesus Christ!


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