Sunday, March 31, 2013


"Aómh coa go ceártain ní Fhoínn Mheátha í Bheshíra.
Aleáragh Ardónain coa saíbhain an síehan nhu!"


God is in His holy temple,
Let all the earth keep silence
Before Him;
For He is our God,
For He is our God.


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At sundown Wednesday, Passover began, and thousands of Jews are partaking in the Passover Meal. The origin of the Passover (Pesakh) began long ago when the Hebrew Slaves were freed from Egyptian Bondage. This later was celebrated by Christ as the Last Supper or Maundy Thursday.

The Passover was the angel of death "passing over" any door that was stained with the blood of the lamb. This lamb was no ordinary lamb. It must be blemish free and clean. It was required in Jewish custom to watch over the lamb until the Passover was celebrated (a full week). before the lamb was offered up as a sacrifice for man's sins.

Long ago, there is one prophet named Daniel who saw a very IMPORTANT DATE (not time, but DATE) when the fulfilment of the Passover would come to pass. Daniel predicted that 483 years after the rebuilding of Jerusalem, April 3, AD 30 (on the Julian Calendar) that Meshiyach (Messiah) would be cut off. Figuring out mathematically, this is accurately known as Palm Sunday, the day Christ entered into Jerusalem on a colt as the promised Messiah.

Maundy Thursday was not only the night of the Last Supper, but the night which He was broken, beaten, betrayed by his own people. The religious people condemned and betrayed Him. Journalists of the time recorded that "all hell broke lose in Jerusalem that night," as Christ was condemned to die a criminal's death. He was to be crucified for a single crime he never had committed. This was God's Lamb, the One who would take away the sin of the world...and He was without blemish--no fault or sin was in Him.


Not recorded in the Bible per se, but some of what happened that night was recorded by other "newspeople" of the time. About 6am Friday morning, Christ was brought before Pilate. There, Christ was lashed by whips that tore flesh. These whips had nine strings, and attached to the end of these strings were broken glass. Because of the glass, being whipped by this whip actually tore the flesh from the bone! Pilate's own entourage punched, smote, mocked, spat upon, urinated on, kicked at, and stripped Him; it was agonizing that he actually sweat blood (medically possible). After about 9am, Christ was brought before Herrod, the Roman Govenor of Judaea. Again, he was lashed at beaten, mocked to perform miracles, and it was there, that a crown of thorns was beaten down upon his head, mocking him as a King. Five times, it was recorded that Pilate (The Roman General) found no fault in Christ. So was responsible and who insisted Christ should be crucified? It was the religious people.


He was then brought back to Pilate, where finally, the angry crowds demanded that the criminal Barrabas be released. Caiphas the High Priest encouraged that One man should die for this instead of a whole bunch of people--Christ's Insurrection. "Let his blood be upon us and our children. Crucify Him. Crucify Him," was heard all through the Via Delarosa as Christ was forced to carry His own Cross to Golgotha. His bones were shattered, blood dripped everywhere, and no one even recognized Christ because of the brutality He faced. He was a disgusting sight to all as He carried His Cross. Everyone turned their nose away. Kids pulled at His beard. People hissed and cursed Him.


When Christ finally arrived at Golgotha late afternoon on Friday, Roman officials drove metal spikes into his wrists and feet. Mind you, these were not nails. They were SPIKES! Blood leached out at each bang of the hammer. Then, they literally dropped his Cross into place. There was no support holding Him up. Only the spikes held his wrists into place. Finally, a Roman guard pierced Him in his side, where blood and water flowed.

On the spiritual end, God actually turned his face away from His Son and forsook Him. Why? Christ BORE all our sin that Friday and a price was paid! Christ's final words that Friday were "tel, telestia," which means IT is finished, NOT I am finished." Because God is Holy and pure, he cannot look at sin, which is why God turned away from his Son.

Saturday came (Sabbath), and the world stopped! In-Between Day! Christ was in hell. His Disciples forsook him. They failed to remember what Christ told them on Thursday, while celebrating the Passover.

Early, Sunday morning, an attendant went to the grave site of Christ, and behold it was empty. Resurrection Sunday! There was no one in there. Christ had returned and rose from the dead in the flesh!

Who killed Christ? The Romans? The Jews? Pilate? Caiphas? No! We all did--past, prestent, future. One common thread remains in ALL of us. We sin!

So, choose your future wisely (Beama Seat or White Throne). One day EVERYONE will kneel before Christ and declare Him Lord and King--whether you believe or not!

Stop. Look. Watch!!! Listen for the trumpet!

God is in His holy temple,
Let all the earth keep silence
Before Him;
For He is our God,
For He is our God.

Stop. Look. Watch!!! The earth resounds!!!

Pick a future:
Beama Seat or the White Throne.
Pick a route::
Narrow or Broad
How're you feeling?
Tears of joy or Tears of agony
Pick a friend?
The Lamb or the Wolf.
What state do you exist in?
eternal or damned.

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Connect to me elsewhere at your own risk.

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.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Marching to the beat of green

Marching to the beat of green.

The Ides of March

“True friends stab you in the front.” Oscar Wilde.


March was a very productive month for both work and other activities.  It was also a very emotionally stressful month.  Over the past couple months, I've been learning more about what True Friendship is all about!  Keeping my HiDef Resolution in focus is helping me see deeper into my own life and those of my friends.  It's never easy to tell someone what is important to their life, and it is never easy being in the "hot seat" of life as I myself have been many times.  Being true to your standards and your call in life is important.  The HiDef Resolution is teaching me that.  True friends stab you in the front.  A fake friend stabs you in the back.

Satellite view of Chicago at Night!


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This is just a general warning to those reading this month.  This month's blog may taste bitter, but if you've been where I'm at and understand what I'm trying to accomplish here, it may have a sweetness to it.  One lesson I'm learning about myself is keeping true to myself.  I have drawn a new line this year, keeping the HiDef Resolution "I'm no longer the dumping grounds.  I'm not a doormat, and I will no longer be overlooked or taken for granted.  I'm done putting up with shit!"  As vulgar, whiny or selfish as that may sound, it's just how I feel at this point.  This is my blog, so I can bitch and moan if I want.  There, I got it out.  I have lived my life mostly quiet and shy on the side lines of life.  I am tired of being the person overlooked or looked at last.  I am striving to "be noticed" more, not so much being first, just more noticed.  It is a challenge I started last September with a falling out of people whom I thought were my friends.  Let me amplify the quality in the HiDef Resolution!  This part of the HiDef Resolution has done me some good and has helped me focus more on, not only what is important in others, but myself as well. I hate to have the mentality of "I just don't care," but I do and I don't at the same time.  The conundrum is that I DO CARE, but I don't.  I am standing my ground, keeping true to myself, praying for those in need, helping those who are drastically, desperate and dire, but trying to keep the HiDef Resolution of my own life.  So the HiDef Resolution not includes my own life but those in need as well.  By my saying that I'm no longer the dumping grounds or a doormat is just meaning that if you really value me as a friend, then treat me as one and make me part of your life.  I will no longer tolerate people who just assume I exist and not take part in my life, goals, interests, or whatever.  Friendship is reciprocated and mutual.  I think part of the reason I moved here was to achieve this for myself.  I have moved on in life without you.  Figure it out for yourselves.  I am just really tired of putting my heart into someone's life only to be stabbed in the back!  Again, here is that conundrum: I care, but I don't at the same time.  I will now have to learn how to work this conundrum out for myself.

HiDef: The Tower of Hope, Faith and Prayer


This month I have learned more about the HiDef Resolution and how it has impacted my nightly dreams!  Those of you that know me well, will know that anytime I have dreamed about a DEATH, a week later it usually comes to pass with someone close to me.  Usually with these types of dreams, I wake in a sickened state!  Often times, I HATE going to sleep in fear of having them!  I do not understand why I have them, and why they trouble me, but a friend pointed this out to me.  "Maybe you have the dreams to better empathize for that person's suffering."  The light turned on in my head.  It has helped me know who my real friends are.  I learned that this month!  I am generalizing here in the blog, but I know who I am thinking about right now!

On March 7, I had my first "death dream" since January 2012.  I still remember the very first time I had one of these back in 1993 at a job I had during High School.  The most recent one, really impacted me and made me sick the following morning.  That week, I was in Ohio for job training.  I am lucky I was able to focus that day!  And, a week later it came true!  After discussing the details of the dream with a couple people who experience the same types of premonitions and dreams in their life, I am understanding more why I have them.  As much as I don't enjoy them, there is a purpose to them.


I take the Metra train very often here for work and for other activities.  I am used to the experience and there is really nothing special about it, that is until Wednesday, March 13.  Standing at the train stop, I had a premonition (as I learned later what those were).  I was standing there at the stop as I always do, but suddenly, as the train was coming to a stop, I panicked and felt an accident happening.  I worried about kids stepping out in front of the trains as they come to a stop, and envisioned it actually happening.  Standing behind the yellow line as usual, I panicked and felt the accident, involving the kids.  I recoiled from that and just forgot the experience, just thinking it was a natural occurrence.  After I envisioned it, I just wondered why I'd even think about it or even concern myself with it, having no children of my own.

Well, Friday the 15th, ABC7 had a news report of a 11 year old boy stepping out in front of a Metra train as it was coming to a stop and being hurt.  I freaked out, remembering my experience from Wednesday.  I prayed for the boy that night after I freaked out.  I never paid attention to those type of feelings before.  It was also the same night of the death.  By the way, the news had that same report on the next day, saying the boy was doing much better.  I believe God heard my prayers that night.  So, if I had to sum up this whole month, "marching to the beat of green" would be it.  I will explain this later in the blog with the Chicago River and St. Paddy's Day.

After getting some very encouraging feedback from a really good friend about Dreams and Premonitions, I need to focus on the aspect that they are a gift and not a freak of nature.  The important thing to learn is being in-tune with them so you can help others and empathize with them. This is another example of living the HiDef Resolution!  This should be another part of that resolution, paying attention to those vibes while helping others.  Making the connection to my New Year's Resolution after she gave me feedback, it is just more evident how important that is for my resolution this year.


I've seemed to find my place in life as the Mediator and Listener in groups, especially with friends.  It's been like this since my times at High School.  Not that I mind listening or helping friends with advice, but there comes a point in your life when who is there to listen to you?  If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?  The answer is NO!  The ear is needed to interpret and make sense of the sound waves.  If one is out of earshot, then you don't hear the sound, and the tree does NOT make a sound.  Some people are deserving of help or advice, and some people are deserving to the lending of ears; however, there are some people that I give advice to that don't take me seriously, when all I want to do is see the person succeed!  So, that usually prompts a "tough love" approach or just plain "silence" in the end -- the falling tree making no sound.  What is ungrateful of the service is the concern that the people have with the advice you give them.  Don't shrug it off or take me for granted!  Maybe I am making sense!  Not only do I find this utterly RUDE, and a WASTE of my own time now, but you make me seem foolish and unwise.  Again, I must stress: FIGURE IT OUR FOR YOURSELVES!  Part of the "Ides of March" and "marching to the beat of green" theme is listening for the doors to close, but seeing new ones open.  True change starts with your own self by you opening the doors.  No one can do it but you.  I'm done putting up with shit! If you are still reading and if you can respect where I am coming from and understand, I appreciate it, and thank you for understanding.  Again, usually having no one to hear my bitching and moaning, this is my blog, so I'll bitch and moan here.


"Ты сделал ошибку, правильно? Ты учишься из своих ошибок, правильно? И ты никогда их не повторишь, правильно?"
People learn from their mistakes, so they don't repeat them.  That's the bottom line.  Yes, we all make mistakes in life.  My former employer Sergey Galchenko at Broadvox reminded me many times about this.  If I’d make a mistake, he was patient about it usually, but he would always say this to me after he called me out on them.  “You made a mistake, right?  You fixed it, right?  You learned from it, right?  So, you won’t do it again then, right?”  It wasn't so much that he called me out on the mistake, it mattered even more to him if I FIXED IT AND LEARNED FROM IT, so I would not repeat the mistake again!  If there is one thing I learn about making mistakes in my life is what Sergey Galchenko always reminded me about when making them.  Perfection can only be achieved by FIXING OUR MISTAKES, LEARNING FROM THEM AND NOT DOING THEM AGAIN!  The only way to find real success (as I'm still learning) is by fixing and learning from my mistakes instead of letting them fester or living with them.  A true friend will tell you what you don't want to hear in life; an acquaintance will tell you what do want to hear.  As I myself have learned in life, the best friend to have is a friend who wants you to learn from your own mistakes.  The Russian in the heading says it all, and a special thank you to Ruta Shapochkina for helping me translate the Russian!  Originally spoken by a Russian with sound reasoning and then translated into Russian by a Russian.   What more can one ask for?  Hehe.

Also, you know what?  No one is going to fix your mistakes either.  I've learned that the only person capable of reprataking them are myself!  Since this section is about reprataking faults, it's always a reminder that there is a difference between judging someone and telling someone they have problems.  Before you pry and point out other's faults, fix and deal with your own first.  I don't like when people just lash out at others for their problems, when they are so unwilling to fix their own first!

"What's that in your eye?  Is that a speck?  Oh my, that's a 2x4!  You may want to fix that!"

Here is my definition and word for this.  This month, I've added this new word to my lexicon.  It's up there with Swinterneck, Snew, Confecer, Jim-Jimmy, Idak, etc.

Repratake (verb)  [RE-pra-tāke], (der < "repair" and "take"), (repratook, past tense) 1. To fix and learn from a mistake that has been made. 2. To overcome great misfortune or loss.  3.  To perfect one's image.  4.  To abstain from repeating a mistake.  5.  To redeem a situation with no flaws.  Usage: "When I accidentally deleted those files on the server, I immediately repratook the situation and restored them from a backup."

"Long live Ireland."

St. Patrick's Day traditionally commemorates the arrival of Christianity to Ireland.  St. Patrick's Day is the day Patrick died.  St. Paddy's Day is the only "Roman" influence Ireland ever received to its already rich Celtic traditions.  Even today, Ireland keeps a rich Celtic tradition even with Christianity. Notable mainly to those with Irish ancestry (like me), unfortunately it is celebrated by drinking.  Each year I celebrate my Irish heritage on this day, I often think to myself: "Do the Irish really celebrate it this way in Ireland?"  Even though, I enjoyed some Guinness, parades and other activities, I think one should stop and remember its importance to a country very embedded in tradition, and how one man with God's call altered that. Sometimes, even the Irish, need to stop and remember the importance of St. Patrick's Day and the role it played, ever-changing the country and its people forever!

Hill of Slane near Ancient Tara
The site of Patrick's Paschal (Easter) Fire.

St. Patrick lit a Pascal Fire on the Hill of Tara (Ancient capital of Ireland) to commemorate the Resurrection of our Lord. Read this poem. It refers to the Pascal Fire of St. Patrick, a Fire which "challenged" the god Baal and the King of Tara. Patrick wasn't going to allow a pagan god to "put the light out" on the Lord on Easter, so he lit this bonfire.  There is a song by Máire Brennan, called "The Light on the Hill," which is about St. Patrick and the Paschal Fire of Easter.  I could not find her song on YouTube unfortunately (maybe due to copyright laws).  The song below is called "Flight of the Wild Goose" by a band called Iona.

♪ Low Ro Ho Ro
Glór na nGael (The Irish voice)
Low Ro Ho Ro
Éist le glór Dé (Listen to God's voice) ♪

On Tara's hill the daylight dies--
On Tara's plain 'tis dead:
"'Till Baal's unkindled fires shall rise,
No fire must flame instead."
'Tis thus the king commanding speaks,
Commands and speaks in vain--
For lo! a fire defiant breaks,
From out the woods of Slane.

For there in prayer is Patrick bent,
With Christ his soul is knit,
And there before his simple tent
The Pascal fire is lit.
"What means this flame that through the night
Illumes all the vale?
What rebel hand a fire dare light
Before the fires of Baal?

O king! when Baal's dark reign is o'er,
When thyself art gone,
This fire will light the Irish shore,
And lead its people on:
Will lead them on full many a night
Through which they're doomed to go,
Like that which led the Israelite
From bondage and from woe.

This fire, this sacred fire of God,
Young hearts shall bear afar
To lands no human foot hath trod,
Beneath the western star.
To lands where Faith's bright flag, unfurled
By those who here have knelt,
Shall give unto a newer world
The sceptre of the Celt.

And thus 'twill be, that there and here,
In hovel or in hall,
One night in each revolving year
This memory shall recall.
One hour of brightness in their night,
Where'er the Gael may roam,
When love the festal fire shall light
For Patrick and for Home!

The Wild Goose of Ireland

Be thou my vision
(Old Irish Hymn)

"Bí Thusa ’mo shúile a Rí mhór na ndúil
Líon thusa mo bheatha mo chéadfaí ’s mo stuaim
Bí thusa i m'aigne gach oíche ’s gach lá
Im chodladh no im dhúiseacht, líon mé le do ghrá.

Bí thusa ’mo threorú i mbriathar ’s i mbeart
Fan thusa go deo liom is coinnigh mé ceart
Glac cúram mar Athair, is éist le mo ghuí
Is tabhair domsa áit cónaí istigh i do chroí."

In Celtic Christianity, the Wild Goose is the symbol of the Holy Spirit.  Scotland is noted for another Saint which often forgotten, a saint influenced by St. Patrick. St. Columcille established a mission on the Isle of Iona in 597, nearly a century after St. Patrick. Columba was an Irish Monk that propagated Christianity to the Picts in Scotland. This song is called "Flight of the Wild Goose" by Iona. I always loved this song with the use of the uilleann (elbow) pipes and the other instruments (um, yeah, NOT bagpipes. Big difference)! Uilleann pipes -- you play by sitting down. Bagpipes -- you play by standing up. Plus, I don't like the sound of bagpipes, BUT I like the sound of uilleann pipes.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"Flight of the Wild Goose" by Iona.


Ending the month of February, I visited the Doctor about my Psoriasis.  No it wasn't an emergency visit as the check-in seems to imply.  I'm learning how to work with this and the problems of the flare ups.  Learning to treat the symptoms is a challenge I'm facing.  With new goals and being more social, it's created a barrier and I'm slowly learning how to deal with this in social settings without people staring at me like a leper or some kind of disease.  I'm trying a few products, but I'm learning that it only treats the symptom not the problem.  The problem is with the Immune System attacking healthy cells.  I just wish people would understand more about Psoriasis and how it is not easy to deal with.  It has me more self-conscious about people now.  Summer time will be the greatest challenge with short sleeves.

Doctors Immediate Care-Lombard


 Football Hall of Fame Bridge over I-77 (Dressler Road)

The first week of March, I travelled back to Ohio for Job Training with Diebold.  That weekend, I shared some time with my folks and a few friends.  Driving back and forth between Ohio and Illinois is becoming tiresome in a way to say the least though.  Mom and Dad are always worth the trip, but the 6 hour drive is seemingly becoming aggravating.

Mocking Hills
"To Ohio. 6 hours of open road ahead. >>"

I left my home early on Friday, March 1st.  Beating early morning Chicago Inbound traffic wasn't too bad.  I usually enjoy going through downtown inbound on the Stevenson enroute to the Dan Ryan Expressway.  I take this route because I like driving over Chicago Skyway Bridge.

Driving for the next 6 hours, the roads were clear and free of snow, until I started nearing Cleveland.  Yep, good ol' Lake Effect Snow was there to greet me once again.  Enjoying tunes on my phone helped the trip move quicker.  I arrived at the I-71/I-80 Interchange at about Noon.  The Ohio Turnpike is always well maintained with this type of weather and I'm never disappointed, that is until I get onto I-71, which is never plowed or salted!  I often think back to my days working Downtown Cleveland and the treacherous driving.  So far, Chicago driving with snow hasn't been a real issue and I have my snow-driving practice in Cleveland to thank for that.  Might I also add, but Western Ohio is ssssoooo bbbbooorrrinnnngggg!!!!  At least Indiana and Ohio -- after passing Toledo -- are more interesting with hills and valleys.  I have come to memorize the roads, where the time changes between Eastern/Central (Milepost 58 on the Indiana Toll Road) and the rest areas for gassing up, mainly Elkhart IN (Milepost 90) just before South Bend, when coming home, and Genoa OH (Milepost 77), just passed Toledo, when going to Cleveland.  Milepost 63 on the Ohio Turnpike is the Maumee River and the beginning of the three lane road if going east.

Ok, I confess, it was only 5.5 hours of driving.  Um, I drive 80mph.  Yes, obviously it's quicker, but it's an even number when figuring travel time.  The stretch of the Indiana Toll Road between the Illinois and Ohio borders is about 160 miles.  Well, actually, more precisely, it's 160 miles from the Illinois border to the Westgate Toll Plaza in Ohio (not the border).  Ok, so figure 2 hours of driving in Indiana at 80mph.  Well, I'm not entirely accurate here.  For about 15 miles just west of the I-69 exit on the Indiana Toll Road (Mileposts 143 to 130), there are Highway Cameras all over the place.  SSlloowww dddooowwwnnn to 70mph!  Big Brother is watching your driving!  Next, from the Westgate Toll Plaza in Ohio, it's about 160 miles to Milepost 161 (I-71, Strongsville).  The Westgate Toll Plaza sits at Milepost 2 in Ohio.  That's another 2 hours.  Depending on traffic in Chicago, that is about another hour (and a half).  Bottom line?  There!  I drive fast!

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


It is always enjoyable to visit Mom and Dad in Hinckley, so I spent the weekend before school with them.  The only real problem about visiting is getting permission from my Mom's cats.  They're in charge of the guest bedroom.  Felix doesn't mind, but the other one always complains!  She does.  She gets pissed. Ms. Thang as she has become to be known always has a hissy fit when one of my brothers or me come home and occupy the guest room.  Apparently, she has her own routines.  So, getting permission to visit always comes down to my Mom's cats.  The guest bedroom is their room.  Plus, might I add, but she's just weird!

Felix and Ms. Thang.

After getting settled in with Mom and Dad, catching up on the last time I visited (back in December for Christmas), it was good to hear and good to see both of them healthy!  Mom and Dad were happy to see me and looking forward to spending some time together.  After checking in at work, when arriving at Mom and Dad's, I also learned that I received my Associate Bonus for a Good Performance Review5.5% Annual Salary, dated from my hire date on August 13th.

Township of Hinckley
">> Mom and Dad. >>"

"File's Done" ♪♪ Reprised

Yeeeaaayyyy!!!  No more Local taxes to worry about for Ohio. Illinois doesn't have local taxes.  The first place I visited after getting settled in at my Mom and Dad's was Brunswick City Hall, there, to pay my 2012 City Taxes.  After paying my taxes there, the accountant asked me why I moved out of Ohio.  I told her that I went to Chicago to start a new life and new job!  She was the same Accountant I had last year when I filed my Brunswick Taxes.  It was my final farewell to the City of Brunswick and Ohio.

Brunswick City Hall
"Last time filing local taxes!!!"



Irony at its best in the heart of Amish Country!

Town of Walnut Creek
"Irony at its best."

I miss Ohio and its Hills!

Saturday March 2nd, Mom and Dad took me down to Amish Country to enjoy some wine-tasting and sight-seeing.  It was a great time and I was introduced to some very sweet tasting wines.  The first place we stopped at was Breitenbach Wine Cellar in Dover OH.  This was my first trip to Amish Country in Ohio.  It was a great experience and nice to visit a very traditional part of the State.  We didn't get stuck behind any buggies but there were some out on the roads there.The people of the community were all very friendly and warm.  On top of the hills and valleys of Ohio, one thing I do miss about Ohio is the midwestern warmth and friendliness.  There is one problem, however, when you're exploring Amish Country and see a Cell Tower right in the middle of town.

Breitenbach Wine Cellar

It was a cool day.  The trip down was about an hour, driving down US 21 and Ohio 39.  I got a kick out of "Jessica" (the name I gave the woman navigator on my Android GPS) pronouncing "Massillon" as ma-SIL-lun, hahahaha!  We arrived there in the middle of the Afternoon and it was crowded.  The location was very rustic and very country-oriented.  Inside, the building had walls filled with wine racks.  The wine-tasting was in the back of the store.  There, the wine tasting was really good.  I bought a few bottles to take home with me.

Wine-tasting with Mom and Dad (on the right).

The wines I tasted there, I purchased.  Yes, I pronounced Gewürztraminer correctly to the woman behind the counter too, lol!

  • Gewürztraminer
  • First Crush
  • Riesling

I generally like sweet, red wines.  I miss Oliver here in Chicago.  I haven't been able to find it yet.  Boo.

Breitenbach Wine Cellars
"Winetasting with Mom and Dad in Amish Country."

A grandfather clock in the main lobby of Der Dutchman

After we tasted and purchased our wines, Dad took us over to "Der Dutchman" restaurant in Walnut Creek OH.  What a pleasant place to have lunch!  The food was delicious there.  I ordered Roast Beef and the meal did have a unique flavor to it.  Maybe it was even more nutritious.  Hopefully, if I go back and visit Mom and Dad, they'll take me to Amish Country again.  It was a  lot of fun!  Mom and Dad made the experience really great and impressionable.  It is really good to see them both doing things together when my brothers and me aren't there.  It is a happy reassurance for them both and that they still enjoy life together!  Mom and Dad, thank you for the great weekend!

Der Dutchman Restaurant & Bakery

 (picture used with permission)
Mary Coulter

Sunday before getting ready for the main reason for my travelling to Ohio, I met up with an awesome friend from High School, Mary (Vavra) Coulter.  We met at Panera Bread in Middleburgh Hts. to socialize and catch up the last 20 years of our lives after Maple Heights.  It was the first time meeting her after Graduation Day.  I was very encouraged to see how much she is succeeding and how we were both tremendously SHY in High School!  She mentioned to me that she worried she came off 'prude' because she was quiet and shy.  I told her that honestly, I never saw her that way.  I saw her the same as I saw myself in school: very quiet, shy and reserved, reassuring ourselves that they are good qualities.  On top of that, I spotted her sitting at the table right away, telling her she hadn't aged.  She is still very beautiful, just like back she was in HS.  

We reminisced about Mr. Geiser's World History class and some of the other times at High School.  I told her that she has remained true to herself to this day and she is still Mary as I knew her back 20 years ago.  We talked about the Reunion and I told her why I didn't go.  We both agreed that most of the people in our class have not matured or have grown up over the last 20 years.  I explained the reason why I have only kept a few FB friends from HS was because of this.  It is sad to see 38 year old people who still whine, complain, still stuck with the same old cliques 20 years later.  Get a life and grow up!  I say this not because I was never part of the big cliques, but because when I see the same old crap I did 20 years ago, it just assures me that I have moved past that time and grown!  I kept few friends in High School.  They are still in my life today.

Panera Bread
"With Mary Coulter."


Pro Football Hall of Fame Bridge (Dressler Road and Strip)
near Diebold Education Center (N. Canton)

Sunday evening, March 3rd, I drove down to North Canton for my Job training there.  I settled into the Holiday Inn Hotel on Everhard Road around 6pm and started getting ready for the week ahead, preparing my mind for learning and logic.  I turned in rather early that night, looking forward to the time of learning ahead of me.  Reminiscent of my last visit for School, I love seeing this bridge when I'm heading in, and I get a super-charged feeling!  Plus, the School is right down the street from this bridge.

Holiday Inn
"Getting ready for tomorrow."

School's in session

Starting the week of school was a great.  It was a very challenging week as well.  I was able to broaden my mind and see new aspects to my job.  I was stoked; I mean REALLY STOKED!  The education allowed me to see ways to help my job and sharpen my skills!!!  I was really into the classes and the Instructor was very educated, detailed and thorough.  Having been in the field for awhile allowed him to give real life scenarios and instruction for all the students.  Upon entering the classroom the first day, and seeing the Kleenex boxes out on all the tables, I laughed and thought, "Either the Instructor is going to make us all cry somehow or we all are nerds with allergies."

Class is in session!

A time of learning

With the instruction and the learning, the Instructor involved the class in Labs to use the knowledge we were getting in the classes.  We all did the design and coding from scratch for our labs!  Learning the logic in the programming was another aspect in itself.  Just like all programming and coding, it's important to understand each command, its attributes and the logic in the sequence.  Working out a problem on the board, everyone snapped a picture of the problem to help with the labs. I took home a 94% grade from the class and I am looking forward to using the skills for my job!  The Instructor recommended further training for me, that I should discuss with my manager.

Diebold Education Center (DEC)



 Chicago Skyway (I-90)

Driving home was decent and there was no traffic out this late, just the trucks.  Reaching Portage Toll Booth in Indiana, the LAST 23 miles until Chicago, I was relieved to be home!  I could see the remains of the awful snow storm Chicago had a week earlier (Tuesday, March 5th).  My phone had been buzzing tremendously that day due to the weather alerts for Chicago (well, Darien, actually).

Exit 161 to 1-71 South Columbus/ I-42 Strongsville
"<< Back home to Chicago."

I became the mayor of this Toll Booth


Murder at the Art Institute
with Venture Around

I got a few hours of sleep on Saturday, but I was looking forward to entire day of activities with Venture Around Chicago. The Psoriasis thing was really bothering me that day, and very painful to say the least. I think it was due to lack of sleep, but I'm also thinking that there is something in the water in Canton causing the problem to surface. This was the second time returning from Canton with an awful flare up like this. Again, being self conscious about it just bothers me what others think.


I drove into Chicago on Saturday, March 9th. I parked somewhere between Fado Irish Pub (530N) and the Art Institute (100E).  As you can tell, I'm learning the Chicago Coordinates due to a new Chicago Friend here, lol! Walking down Michigan Avenue, I finally learned where "Cloud Gate" was located at in Millennium Park. I always thought it was deeper in the park, but it's right there near Randolph and Michigan.

Arriving at the Modern Wing of the museum, I met up with Kurt and the others there. Watson Adventures was hosting the Scavenger Hunt at the Art Institute. Going inside and breaking up into teams, we all went off to find the murderer, using clues in the paintings and the clues in the team notes.  Venture Around divided into two teams, and competed against the other people taking part in the scavenger hunt. Being the "map geek" I am, I was nominated to do the navigating to the various Galleries in the Institute. Being swift on our feet, quick to decipher the clues and piece everything together was key to winning. On the venture, part of the Institute was closed off, so we as a team had to find a way around that.  Luckily, the women in the group were able to decipher many of the clues.  I figured some of the clues out in the paintings.  Everyone worked together and contributed though!  I only took the one picture for this because being swift and finishing first played a part in winning, which our team did.  We came in second place with a perfect score! Our team won free tickets to another Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunt.  Venture Around is planning to do the Movie Scavenger Hunt in the Loop in April, so I more than likely will use my winnings for that one!

We won!

The Modern Wing
"Murder at the Art Institute, scavenger hunt."

After the Scavenger Hunt, some of us taxied over to Fado Irish Pub to await the bus to Toyota Park for the Season Opener of the Chicago Fire.  I walked over to Fado from the Art Institute, passing through part of Millennium Park to capture a few pictures of the Giant Shiny Silvery Magical Bean in a Park Thingy!  Cloud Gate was created by the British Artist, Anish Kapoor and constructed in Millennium Park between 2004-2006.  It was prominently used in the 2011 film "Source Code."

Cloud Gate at Millennium Park

The Giant Shiny Silvery Magical Bean Doohickey in a Park !

I arrived at Fado at a quickened pace.  Though I was not getting on the bus with the others, Paddy from the group was going to kalaka with me to the Park.  He helped me navigate too.  We left Fado at 5:30pm.  By the way, those of us who are old enough will remember what the word KALAKA means!  Google it.

Cloud Gate


Toyota Park in Bridgeview

Sorry, but anytime, I hear the mention of Chicago Fire, I only recall singing this little tune from my childhood around a campfire (as noted by the heading here):

Late one night, when we were all in bed,
Mother O'Leary left a lantern in the shed,
And when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said,
"There'll be a HOT time on the old town tonight."

One, two, three
The devil's after me
Four, five, six
He's always throwing bricks
Seven, eight, nine
He misses every time
Glory, Hallelujah, Amen!

We arrived promptly at Toyota park and beat the bus in which Venture Around took.  This was my first Chicago Fire game.  They were playing the New England Revolution for the opener.  Though I'm not a huge soccer fan, being there to share the fun with Venture Around made the night worth it all!  Kurt picked seats behind the goal (Section 119, 7th Row).  At first we found ourselves sitting in the wrong section and got mixed up with the "zealous gang" with all the singing and rowdiness.  It was totally not for me that night and admittedly, the singing/rowdiness grated on my already exhausted nerves that night.  The singing kept repeating and repeating and repeating.  Ungh!  I just kept thinking back to the campfire song as a kid in that time.  Next time I should just sing that one if I go.  As I mentioned though, Venture Around made the night awesome!  Finally finding Kurt in the correct section (hard to pass up Kurt at 6'5"), we all were sitting together for the game.

The Rowdy Gang proudly flying the Chicago Flag

It was a fun night and I'm glad I got out to once again venture around with Chicago.  The Chicago Fire lost 1-0 to the NE Revolution.  Now, I just need to see a Blackhawks game!!!!

It was a very COLD night!

Toyota Park
"Season opener of Chicago Fire."

After the game was over, Paddy and I jumped back in my Honda and headed back to Fado to meet up with the others that took the bus down to the game.  One thing I was able to do that night was "cross of my Chicago bucket list" driving the newly done Wacker Drive.  I had a Chicago native sitting in the passenger seat so it wasn't as much trouble as I thought it would be.  To me, the upper and lower levels just seem confusing, especially in the Lower level and knowing where the exits are at.  Luckily, Paddy was there and helped.  So, finally I can say drove the length of Lower Wacker between LSD and Congress Parkway, lol.  Arriving at the pub, we found everyone else.  Not staying too long, I socialized some but was eager at this point to go home and SLEEP.  Drinking only water that night, Paddy took off as well and I headed homeward.

Wacker Drive (300S) at Jackson.

Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant


Monday morning was back to work, and revisiting some clients in the Loop for work.  The week was devoted to catching up on work projects.  For the week, I spent some time down in the Loop with the customer.  The scenario in this section was repeated during the week with different coordinates.

Metra - Westmont
"12:49 BNSF to Downtown. >>"

Public transportation here is very good, and the Metra trains here are ideal for Downtown work and activities.  The regular office is in Schaumburg, so it's all driving.  Sometimes, it's nice to get a break from driving and instead use the trains here.  I did a lot of walking to the various locations for the customer to do work.  It was a very tiring week between catching up and going to the various locations, making sure the customer's equipment was working properly.

Chicago Union Station
"100W, 0. >>"


Chicago Street Zero
"140W, 200S."

The Importance of this Intersection?

It all has to do with "starting over" and having a new "starting point."  Please check out the footer of this blog to see the original blog post I composed for this (Mark 0, 0, 0, 0...).  State Street and Madison Street, 0, set the compass for the Chicago Coordinates.  8 blocks in a mile form a grid.  Because of the new Chicago friend I have here, I'm learning coordinates rather than the streets.  The new friend is even quizzing me.  What's 1600N?  North Avenue.  Thanks Paddy!  Actually, now when people (out of state) are Downtown and stop me for directions, I've started saying 100 East that direction or whatever.  Thanks, again, Paddy, lol.  The Chicago Coordinates and Grid System was the theme I used for the one blog back in September 2012, but I look back, even now, and see where all the "Zero Markers" and "grid blocks" are placed in my life, since moving here.  Kudos to anyone who understands them and what the wind blowing is.

The Zero Markers:
That wind is still blowing at me...

Chicago Coordinates: State Street and Madison Street. 0.
Taking a new stand: January 19, 2012
Last Stop: March 17, 2012
Home: April 29, 2012
Letting go of the past: June 1, 2012
Job: August 13, 2012
New life goals and endings: September 16, 2012
High Definition: January 13, 2013
And recently...
Keeping true to all my priorities: March 24, 2013

By Friday, I had successfully finished the work in the Loop and very happy with the results.  The customer was also very pleased with the work too.  It's such a good feeling when I complete a project with such positive results!  I went back to Union Station with a smile on my face.

Metra - Westmont
"<< Cass Ave."


Oakbrook Terrace Tower

I went to the Dentist on March 13 for my regular PMP visit.  Essentially, that means getting my gums scraped, my teeth polished and having some x-rays done.  I am so pleased that the periodontitis I suffered from with my gums is GONE!  It was nice to have Sears Dental in Strongsville send all my previous paperwork to the Sears in Oak Brook Mall.  It helped the Doctor's get a history of my dental visits.  The visit was fairly quick and the new Doctor I had said my mouth was healthy.  Jokingly, I said "would a kiss prove that?"  She laughed.  Between having a mouthful of fingers or what not, the Dentist and I were talking about the winning streak of the Blackhawks too.

55th Street and LaGrange Road

DentalWorks Oakbrook (Sears)


Mocking Hills near Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

If anyone knows me well on Facebook, each year I start posting Lord of the Rings updates in September and March, lol!  It's somewhat become tradition!  Starting on March 13 all through the rest of March and part of April, each day is an event, a calendar day, that was used in the Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien as Frodo journeys towards Mount Doom.  Hey, you can't argue with tradition and I've gotten asked a few times, "when are you going to do the updates on your page again?"

I start the journey on September 21 (First day of Fall), associated with Frodo and Bilbo's birhday.  Then continue the updates for Fall until the Council of Elrond on October 25th.  There I break until March again.

 The Land of Mordor

Culminating on March 25th when Sauron was finally defeated in the Lord of the Rings, each calendar day corresponds to an event in the Lord of the Rings.  Having read the books, it was easier to read the stories having the dates in mind to keep everything in order.  Most of the dates can be found in the appendix to the Return of the King.  Tolkien was very good about keeping the dates, because he would back track in the next chapter, often frustrating me (at least) as to what was going to happen (>.<).  This was one thing that was especially aggravating when reading Return of the King after Frodo is captured and the "Mouth of Sauron" taunts Gandalf with Frodo's Mithril Shirt.  Reading that part, not knowing what has happened to Frodo in the Tower at Cirith Ungol was aggravating.  I threw the book the first time I read it.  Then, remembering that only the Mithril Shirt was in possession of Sauron, Tolkien was careful to elude to "No, not the Ring!"

Each year it's nice to commerorate Tokien's novels with the "calendar updates" on the Facebook Timeline.  Facebook has its finer aspects.  Some appreciate the geekiness of it too thankfully.

March 25th, Sauron is defeated!

The Tower of Barad-dûr stands over the 3750' Ephel Dúath (outer fence of mountains) of Mordor, but Sauron had the tower constructed tall enough to "gaze out upon Middle-Earth, looking for the ring," so the tower would have to be taller than those mountains (my theory). I even checked a supplemental book and atlas I have for LOTR, to find the dimensions. There is no definite height. Orthanc was 500' though. So, how would the "Dark Tower" stand against skyscrapers today? The Sears Tower (Willis Tower) stands at 1450' or 1729' including the antenna array.

Tower of Barad-dûr and other skyscrapers

Here is a weird map for you.  If you overlay a map of Middle Earth over a current day map of Europe, Mordor lines up with Romania, Gondor lines up with Italy, Rohan lines up with Germany, The Shire lines up with England, the Grey Havens line up with Ireland, Rhûn is Russia, Mirkwood is Scandinavia, etc.

 Overlay this map over a map of Europe today.  See what you get!


On Friday, March 15th, a "dyeing matter" also meant a "dying matter" as well.  Mentioned in the beginning of the blog, this was the day I faced a reality of a dream from the week before.  So, anxious about the "Chicago River Dyeing," at the same time, I was heartbroken with a "Dying Matter" at the same time.  I did not even sleep a wink that night.  I tried reaching out to the friend, expressing my deepest sympathies and condolences.

Tossing and turning restlessly through the night is all I remember, but I was determined to have a good time Downtown for the Chicago River Dyeing event.  I left my apartment at 6:20 to be at the Westmont Train Station for the 6:49 Metra.  The train was running behind a little.  After boarding, I saw the reason why.  The train was already filled with passengers, all heading downtown for the event.

Sky Lounge at Embassy Suites (511 N. Columbus Drive)

After arriving at Union Station, I walked to 500N, 300E.  Ha!  You figure it out!  I met up with Kurt and the others for breakfast at Embassy Suites in the Sky Lounge.  I had eggs, bacon and hash browns.  I met some new people too.  The woman in the group looked at me and said, "Where's your green?"  She wasn't Irish and I was.  Oops!  That's what happens when you don't sleep!  It's ok.  At the Sky Lounge where we were having breakfast that morning, there was a wall with Ivy Vines nearby.  Jokingly, I said I'll pin some of those leaves on me later and try to blend in.

Kurt, 6'5" leprechaun for the day.

Embassy Suites
"Breakfast in skylounge."

At 9am, we promptly left the Hotel and walked over towards the River.  Kurt has amazing insight with the City.  He's very attuned to it and the events here.  This makes the whole experience in Chicago more amazing each time he picks out an event and gives instructions how to attend the event.  In this case, Kurt emphatically kept saying the whole week.  "BE EARLY!  MEET HERE!"  I soon learned WHY!

Venture Around meets up Pre-Green.

We all walked down the River Esplanade from Columbus Drive (300E) and met  in front of Lizzie McNeill's Irish Pub on McClurg Street.  Arriving at "the spot" Kurt mentioned, already it was beginning to get crowded.  Literally, after we got in line for Lizzie's, I turned my head and saw this!  It wasn't even 9:30 yet!  Kurt, you rock!

Can you tell me where Timbuktu is?

Getting into Lizzie's, um, WOW!  It was shoulder-to-shoulder-elbow-to-elbow crowded!  Finally making my way to the front and to the bar, writhing through the streams of people, I finally ordered my Guinness.  I was happy as a clam after that!

Lizzie McNeill's Irish Pub
"River dying time."

Yum!  Guinness!

Heading back out to the River and finding the others, I had to chug my beer in order to go back out to the river.  No prob.  I would get more later.  According to the St. Pat's Day Parade website, the River Dyeing was going to be relocated between the Columbus Drive and LSD bridges due to construction.  As 10am approached, we saw the Dyeing Crew out on the river beginning to dye the River.  Watching, we all began wondering when they would come down towards us, but it looked like the crew kept to the area between Columbus/DuSable bridges as they normally do.  No problem.  We just walked down a bit to get more of the action.

 Going Green!


Ceallaigh (Kelly) Green!

A view of some buildings with the Green River.

Post-Green, Chicago River, facing Downtown

So, watching this miraculous event, yes miraculous, I first noted the dye a yellow (well, orange actually).  In a couple videos I took, Kurt explains the miracle of the dyeing process and the "orange to green" magic.  If you listen closely to the videos here, you can here him explain it.  First, read this section of the website listing the event and parade with the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers!

"A tradition is born

Today this miracle is created by Mike Butler and his crew, which he claims to always have a little help from a leprechaun who seems to just appear at this time each year.

If you were watching this for the first time you would think this is a mistake or a bad joke. You see the dye is orange and its initial color on the surface of the river is orange and you would think to yourself what heathen would do something like this. After a moment or two you then see the true color magically appear.

Two miracles appear that day, the river turns a perfect shade of green something that many other cities have tried but have not been successful at doing, and the second miracle by starting with the color orange giving the impression that river will be orange only to convert the river to that true Irish green. We believe that is where the leprechaun comes in.

As the late Stephen Bailey has said, the road from Chicago to Ireland is marked in green. From the Chicago River to the Illinois River, then to the Mississippi, up the Gulf Stream and across the Atlantic you can see the beautiful green enter the Irish Sea, clearly marking the way from Chicago to Ireland."

Learning the magic of the dyeing here was pretty amazing to me. Apparently, after discussion of the event with Venture Around, Kurt said other cities have tried duplicating this event unsuccessfully. There is something "magical" about the Chicago River which it only happens here. Chicago has a rich Irish heritage to begin with. In the quote above, the "magic" of the green only happens in the Chicago River. From the Chicago River, into the Illinois River, then Mississippi, into the Gulf Stream all the way up to the Irish Sea, the green makes its way to Ireland. Here's another thing to note that I mentioned. You have ORANGE IRISH (protestant) and GREEN IRISH (catholic). Even Ireland's flag carries the colors used in the dyeing process.

Post-Green, looking out towards Lake Michigan from DuSable Bridge

Another view of DuSable Bridge and buildings

Slime!  It's a river of slime!

Between Columbus Drive and DuSable Bridges

After watching the extraordinary event, we did some more drinking and headed into the Burger Bar at the Sheridan to socialize and talk  It was also pointed out by some of the women that day, when doing the meetups; the "game" is look for Eric or Kurt, because we're the tallest!  Fun times!

Venture Around at the Burger Bar in Sheridan Hotel

After the event, I was asked to head into North Center for more socializing at Brownstone Tavern.  I was very wiped out by this time, having not slept the night before.  I got home probably at about 2pm with the train and "cat napped" for part of the day.

 St. Paddy's Event rated 5 GOLD STARS on meetup!


On March 17th, after looking through my old profile, trying to find my St. Patrick's post from the previous year, I stumbled upon an entry noting my "Last Stop."

"The Last Stop Inn"
St. Patrick's Day 2012 with Jacked Up

A year ago on March 17th, I began my new journey in life! After spending a night with a few friends (Karen and Brian) in Parma, I jumped on a plane to San Francisco for my new job. Shortly after that, I started packing up what little was left of me in Ohio and moved onward to Chicago.  The name of the place in Parma was called "The Last Stop Inn."  Albeit, a probable reference to bar crawling, to me, it was my last stop before moving on.

Last Stop Inn


On Friday evening, March 15th, I finally purchased my New Server from Dell.  Acquiring Software Licensing for Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 with 10 User CALS, and the Microsoft Server 2008 R2 Standard License on hand already, I am now ready to start building out my new server and, hopefully, get "Systems Aboot" off the ground.  For now, this is just a mere hobby if anything, but I would like to do something on the side to help people with new computer equipment.

225-0883    1     PowerEdge T110 II Chassis with Cabled 3.5 Hard Drives
331-2391    1     Shipping Material, PowerEdge T110 II
317-2022    1     Memory for 1CPU Platform
317-6870    1     8GB Memory (4x2GB), 1333MHz Single Ranked UDIMM (speed is CPU dependent)
317-6872    1     Intel Xeon E3-1220 3.10 GHz, 8M Cache, Turbo, Quad Core/4T (80W)
330-5552    1     PowerEdge T110 Heatsink
341-4158    1     HD Multi-Select
331-2397    1     S300 CBL, PowerEdge T110II for 3.5 Hard Drives
341-0402    1     PERC S300 3Gb/s SAS/SATA Internal Software RAID adapter (for Microsoft OS Only)
420-6320    1     No Operating System
430-2008    1     On Board network Adapter
313-7919    1     Baseboard Management Controller
313-9097    1     DVD+/-RW, SATA, INTERNAL
331-2399    1     ODD Cable, PowerEdge T110II
331-2505    1     Electronic System Documentation and OpenManage DVD Kit
331-2608    1     Add-in PERC S300 (SAS/SATA Controller) supporting 2 Hard Drives - RAID 1
341-0794    1     Info, S300, 2HDD
931-5387    1     Dell Hardware Limited Warranty Plus On Site Service Initial Year
935-9418    1     Dell Hardware Limited Warranty Plus On Site Service Extended Year
951-2832    1     ProSupport: Next Business Day Onsite Service After Problem Diagnosis, 2 Year Extended
951-2852    1     ProSupport: 7x24 HW / SW Tech Support and Assistance, 3 Year
954-9950    1     ProSupport: Next Business Day Onsite Service After Problem Diagnosis, Initial Year
989-3439    1     Dell ProSupport. For tech support, visit or call 1-800-945-3355

900-9997    1     On-Site Installation Declined
926-2979    1     Proactive Maintenance Service Declined
310-9057    1     No Power Cord
310-8509    1     Power Cord, NEMA 5-15P to C13, 15 amp, wall plug, 10 feet / 3 meter
341-9862    2     1TB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 3.5in Cabled Hard Drive
430-2008    1     On Board network Adapter

This was something I was saving up for.  I will need to save for a new monitor too.  Now, all I have to do after this is renew my Domain license for and possibly set a new one [].

Microsoft Volume Licensing

New Server

The Server Bench with new Dell PowerEdge T110 II.

My new server arrived on Tuesday, March 26th.  It was waiting for me there after work.  I started the setup soon thereafter, making sure I had everything I needed for the project.
  • Hardware.  Check.
  • Software.  Check.
  • Network.  Check.
  • Licenses.  Check.


Friday night, March 29, well into Saturday morning, I started setting up my new "Windows Server 2008."  I also unpacked my new HP 25" monitor too since I was going to swap the old one for the servers.  Setting that in place on my "desk," I realized, um yeah, NOW it's time for a new desk, lol!!!  Terry and Keri Reese, help me!!!  LOL!

My computer board.  It's under the keyboard and monitor somewhere!

So, after replacing the old server monitor which blew last month, I started the process of configuring the hardware RAID-1 and loading the RAID Controller drivers for the OS. 

  • Load Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Standard R2.
  • Download updates and configure OS.
  • Prepare Active Directory by raising Forest/Domain Functional levels to "Windows Server 2003."
  • Adprep W2K3 Domain Controller (Forest Prep/Domain Prep/GP Prep/RODC Prep)
  • Promote the new server as a Domain Controller

Initializing RAID1 Virtual Disk

Adprep loading Schema updates to FILER (*.LDF)

Promoting the server to a Domain Controller

NtFrs Event 13508


When promoting the new server, I started encountering problems with Active Directory Replication, mainly with the SYSVOL, POLICIES and SCRIPTS partitions.  Digging and doing some research on Microsoft TechNet, apparently this is a known issue out there.  The folders do not seem to replicate to the new Domain Controller.  So, following this ARTICLE helped somewhat and this ARTICLE too.  The steps I did mainly were:

  • Ensure that NTFRS (Windows File Replication Services) feature was installed on W2K8.
  • Demote and Promote the server again.
  • Modifying the "BurFlags" Registry Key on both Domain Controllers for an authoritative push (D4) and non-authoritative pull (D2).
  • The Registry Key for both servers is here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\NtFrs\Parameters\Backup/Restore\Process at Startup.  FILER (W2K3 was the authoritative and COMPILER was the non-authoritative).  Stopping the NTFRS service and modifying BurFlags to D4 or D2 and restarting the service for each one.
  • Modify the Registry Key for "Sysvol" location "SysVolReady" keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Netlogon\Parameters.  Setting this value to a binary of 1 makes the status ready to replicate.

Well, that got me somewhere.  It only got me the "Sysvol" volume pushed out to the new server, not the Netlogon folders.  So recycling the NETLOGON, NtFrs, Dns (which was active and properly replicating SRV records on the domain) and Dfs services a few times to no avail, I just created a "TEST" folder by happenstance on the Authoritative Domain Controller (FILER) in the SYSVOL partition.  Voila!  It got pushed out to the new server WITH the missing SYSVOL folders (policies, scripts, domain, etc).  The only thing left I did was manually create the NETLOGON share (scripts folder) on the new Domain Controller.  I created it EXACTLY as it was on the first DC.  After that was done, users were able to authenticate, see the logon script and get the group policies from the new server.  Replication of AD is working properly.


DcDiag Tests


Currently, I only have the New DC taking AD and DNS requests and replicating on the domain.  I configured DHCP on FILER to have the DNS server in the DHCP scope.  Then I went to bed at 5am on Saturday.  Another day, I'll install "Exchange Server 2010."  For now, I just want to make sure AD and DNS replicate consistently first.

My user account authenticated on the new server

DHCP Scope for Oakbrook 17-102 on Filer

New DHCP setting pushed out


On Friday, March 22nd, I made a special trip to Ohio.  Originally, I was making the plans to be there for a friend, but after learning the circumstances to that visit made me drastically change my mind.  At least the visit had another reason in mind: My Mom's Birthday!  So, the trip was not a wasted one by far!  I surprised my Mom with a present too!  I drove down in the afternoon after working extra hours during the week to make up for the day.  I left my place around 1pm my time after an important conference call with a customer.  I was planning to be on the road by 12pm but, hey, customer's needs are very important!

Mom's Present

The roads were clear and the sun was out.  There were no problems getting to Ohio.  I arrived in Hinckley probably around 7pm.  Greeted by Felix at the front door of my Mom and Dad's is always nice.  The important thing to remember about Felix is that he's black and not very noticeable, so when you suddenly feel something brush against your legs, you can be sure it's Felix.  Mom was there, and I brought in her present: a new PC!  Actually, the present was for both my Mom and my Dad.  It just so happened that Mom's birthday was first.  Dad's is in June.  After unloading the Honda, I settled in and talked to Mom about work and activities in Chicago.  She asked me if I were having fun and enjoying life.  I told her a definite YES to that!  Mom and Dad both looked good and were talking about a Cruise later this year.  Hey, yeah, I'm all for that for them!  Mom and I are planning to go see my brother Wayne in August too, so we were talking about booking flights for that!

Township of Hinckley

On Saturday, I spent the day with Mom and setting up her new computer (Windows 7 x64 Professional, i5 Proc, 8 GB of RAM).  After getting all her updates downloaded, I loaded the free AVG version, and Office 2010 for her.  Her old PC was just so slow and almost unmanageable.  Jokingly, Mom said she wouldn't receive the gift unless she had a card.  Oops.  Yeah, I forgot the card.  She and Dad were both happy with their gift though and it felt good actually giving them the gift, especially when I assured them I wanted to for all the things they have helped for me.  I hope they understand that I wanted to do this for them and to give back some of the goodness they've given me!

In the morning, Mom and I drove into Garfield Heights.  I drove the Honda down with Mom.  We were invited to a fundraiser for the GHHS BAND!  The What?  The B-A-N-D.  Karen Sobolewski, her boyfriend, Brian, and Karen's two daughters were helping with the fundraiser and Karen was spreading the word to local people to come out and help GHHS raise money for their band.  Being in town with Mom that weekend was nice, because I was able to see Karen and Brian again after a year (almost exactly a year).  They both looked great!  It was a great encouragement to see Karen's kids healthy too!  It was nice to chat for a little bit and catch up with them both before going into the main gym to see some of the items for sale. 

Garfield Heights High School
"With Mom at GHHS. It will be nice to see Karen Sobolewski."

Knowing my Mom, she doesn't like jewellery and I always remember that bit from my Dad on Mother's Day or her Birthday.  "Buy her flowers and a card.  Jewellery is not your Mom's thing."  Fortunately, we were able to find some items that we both liked.  We purchased a few coffee/tea mugs with Thomas Kinkade's art on them, an artist whom I learned had passed recently (and didn't know).  We also stopped at the Earth Fare table to sign up with them and try a few samples they had out.  The fundraiser had a few pets from APL there for adoption.  Cute puppies and adorable kittens!  After spending some time there, we left and went back to Hinckley.  I spent the rest of the day with Mom and Dad, enjoying their company and their favorite TV Series of "Medium."  It's funny but watching the character Allison DuBois (real life person), it makes me think about my own dreams!  They got me really into liking the TV Series!


Mocking Hills
"Home! It's really snowing here."


The Strength of Being Single

If there is one thing I'm learning now in life is the value with "being Single" and learning to appreciate it for some of its importance.  It is a tough lot and finding the "right crowd" who appreciate you for you -- being you -- and none other than you is even harder.  I have had several disappointments with Singles groups so far.  I don't know.  Maybe I'm still learning.  How does a Listener become someone who is a Talker?  No, seriously.  I listen too much.  I guess this goes back to the beginning of the blog about trying to be noticed more.  I don't stand out.  I don't find myself interesting, or maybe I don't give people a chance to know the real me.  If people express an interest in me, then that's fine.  I'm not going to force myself and just fake it all!  Again, how does a Listener or Introverted person really succeed in relationships?  I haven't got an answer yet, something that will work for ME.  I don't know, but each time with some of these Singles groups, I leave them with a heavy heart!

Old Town
"Schiller & Wells."

Old Town on Wells Street (1400N, 200W)

I went Downtown into Chicago's Old Town Neighborhood after work Tuesday, March 26th to meetup with a new singles group, only learning shortly after that it was a split off an original meetup I did back last month.  I parked near Schiller and Wells.  The name of the group was called "Successful Singles Chicago."  I went to their first event on February 20.  Apparently, they are splitting off.  I enjoyed the first one a lot.  I felt like I was part of the group.  This one I went to on March 26th did not have that feeling at all.  I can spot fake people and it bothers me and is really a big turn off for me.  I lose interest in the involvement almost immediately!  And, frankly put, some men who ingratiate on some of these women there should just SHUT UP after awhile.  My God!

Suite Lounge
"Successful Chicago Singles: Cocktail Mixer."

Plain and simple, but tonight was a big BUST!  Mine?  Nope.  Theirs!  Their loss.  Why waste time if something is going nowhere?  So, very aggravated and annoyed, I finished my drink and left.  Do people really give me a chance or don't I take them?  I don't know.  Maybe a wingman would be helpful?  I don't know.  Again, Venture Around seems to be my fit for now!  So, to sum up the evening, the event failed and had its loss.  NOT MINE.  Plus, there were too many men there and no women!

The Suite Lounge

Group starts meeting

There are a couple other meetups with this group (pre-split off version) in which I will try next month, hopefully with better results.  At this meetup, I talked for awhile about some stuff, but got "brushed" off almost immediately.  I sat at the bar and watched the TV.  There was no cell service in the place, so the TV was there at least.  I don't think I'm giving this another chance.  Like I said last month.  "If something just doesn't work, try something else!"  I've been very good lately about not brooding about these "failed" single mixers.  It's just dealing with the aggravation and frustration now when they fail.  Luckily, for now, I will stick with the Venture Around meetup activities because I truly have the most fun with all their events!  Kurt Poppenhouse rocks!

My Facebook Timeline, March 26th at 20:26

I am not changing for anyone!

Reminding myself when I got home that I'm still good and happy with myself, I added this to my FB Timeline.  There is nothing wrong with me and it's going to take time finding the RIGHT crowd who will appreciate me for being me.  Besides, knowing that I'm 100% is what matters anyways.  Who cares what others think I am.   What matters is my own view of myself!


On Thursday, March 28th, I had a "Match-making Interview" with Lisa at the Regency Towers in Oak Brook, near the Mall.  Lisa heads up the interviewing of men for LuvBizChicago, a local matchmaking company.  She got my number from the Cocktail Mixer at the "Suite Lounge" I went to on Tuesday.  We talked about my dating goals and what I'd like to aspire to in a relationship.  I talked to her about my adventures here with and some other exciting activities.  I confessed to her that my last serious relationship was 10 years ago and it festered with me up until last year (June 1).  I told her that I finally moved on, but have been just enjoying activities and doing things with some of the meetups here.  She coached me on dating, since really, when it all comes down to it, I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH DATING!  I know nothing about first dates, only what I've seen.  I talked to her about my spiritual beliefs and her eyes lit up immediately with delight.  "Do you know 1551 Hobson, Naperville?"  Wow, yeah.  "Isn't that the Compass Church?"  There was a connection there and thinking back was rather interested why she rattled of the address rather than the name of the church itself.  I told her that I had gone a few of the services there and she went on to say she attends there, has deep spiritual beliefs as well, and know of several single women who attend there.  She put forth a challenge.  "9 dates a month?"  I accepted the challenge, even still very unsettled with the confidence factor there, lol.  I gulped and heard Beethoven's Fifth playing in my head.  My 9 date challenge starts next month.  This will be something!

Oak Brook Regency Towers
"LuvBiz matchmaking thingamajig."


THE PRESIDENT WAS IN DARIEN?  Apparently, March 15th, the President was at Argonne National Labratory on Cass Avenue, which is no more than a mile directly from my house if jogging the Waterfall Glen Running Trail in the Forest Preserve.  It's ok.  I didn't lose any sleep over it.  He was speaking on energy and giving credit to Argonne for lithium-ion batteries for plug in cars.

The Darien Patch.  POTUS.


Also, on that same day, the Buzzards (Turkey Vultures) returned to Hinckley, Ohio again.  Every March 15th, spring officially begins in Hinckley with the return of the buzzards.  The anecdote of the "Buzzard Returning" has its origin with the "Great Hinckley Hunt" which took place on Christmas Day 1818.  Locals, at the time, complained of livestock being preyed upon by bears, coyotes, wolves, etc, areas surrounding Hinckley.  Hinckley was still heavily forested in 1818.  So, forming a "band of hunters" on Hinckley's four township borders, the hunters delved into the deep woods and hunted down all the preying animals to their deaths.  The following spring with the smell of death in the air of Hinckley, this created such a "sweet" aroma and attracted the birds of prey for a great feast (namely the buzzards), and so the legend of the Buzzards was born.  The first Buzzard Day was held in 1957 (locals began taking notice of the timely return of the Buzzards), and ever since, just like clockwork, the Buzzards always return March 15th.  

My folks live near the Town Center in Hinckley, and traffic patterns are always a mess there because the event attracts visitors and ornithophiles from all over the world.  Living there, I went to one of the events one year.  The Town puts up a delicious Pancake breakfast at Hinckley Elementary School and there is Buzzards' Roost in the Hinckley Reservation that holds activities and sight-seeing!  Buzzard Day is the 15th, however, events are held the following Sunday!

A picture I took of Hinckley Lake, November 2011.
You can see the buzzards flying above.


Venture Around Chicago has some awesome meetups this Spring and Summer.  I'm looking forward to a great time in Chicago then!  One thing I definitely want to try and see is the Bascule Bridges on the Chicago River being raised for the sailboats sometime in Spring.

  • The Loop Movie Scavenger Hunt, April 6th.
  • The Chocolate Tour, April 14th.
  • Visiting Jessica and Joe Swenson in Minnesota, April 20th.
  • Guided Neighborhood Walk Downtown, May 4th.
  • Party on the water on the Tiki Boat (Lake Michigan Cruise), July 3rd.  This one we BBQ on a boat on Lake Michigan during the Fireworks!

DuSable Bridge being raised for the Sailboats
June 1, 2012. 

Thank you for reading once again and "marching to the beat of green" with me this month.  Someone said to me "your blog could be a miniseries."  Ha.  After publishing this month, I noticed the "Crocodile Clock" that I have running on the blog has 335 days listed.  In another 30 days, it will make a full year I moved here!  There was a lot to digest this time, and until next month...

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My Life starts at the Chicago Water Tower!
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