Saturday, July 27, 2013

Nothing Important Happened This Month!

Nothing Important Happened This Month!

Independence Day 2013 over Chicago!

"NOTHING IMPORTANT HAPPENED TODAY," attributed to King George III on July 4, 1776.

If King George III had Twitter or Facebook, he would've tweeted this or made this his status on that day.  July was a hot month!  Usually just after July 4, I start counting down the days to Fall.  Not that I don't mind summer, it's just a lot more comfortable without the awful humidity.  One thing is for sure but "a lot DID happen this month!"  I think this was the busiest month I've had as far as work and other activities, and looking ahead to next month, I may not be composing a blog.  There just may not be time to do so.  Looking back earlier this year, I'd have to say February was the last month to have so much to do. . .and February was a short month, hahaha.  This month, between travel for work,  hanging out with friends, seeing family, and enjoying Chicago, it was an awesome start to the summer here.  The journey is still in the making for this year and I hope to keep things in High Definition still!  One thing I did not get a chance to do this month was to do some more dating.  There just wasn't any time!  Hopefully I'll have some time soon again!  One notable thing I've noticed this month is that I'm starting to check into places with "new friends."  Exciting times!  The title of my blog is also just as ironic as the day our country was formed.  A lot has happened!


Seriously!  July 4, 1776 was the day our nation declared its Independence from England.  We all know the History of that day and why we declared independence from Great Britain.  It was the birth of a new nation and the time we could fight for our freedoms which we have to this day.  We should remember this each year and what those Men and Women have fought and died for.  Our Freedom!  With hopes to keep a free nation today, we should stop and think about that.  "Nothing important happened today."  King George penned that in his journal on July 4, 1776.  Now, bear in mind, they did not have the electronic mail and social media we have today, and "status updates" were not like what they are now.  It could take days or months before a status was updated, haha.  Word did not get back to King George about America declaring its Independence until later after July 4, so he knew nothing about America going solo.  So, the entry he made in his journal was not a reference to America declaring its Independence.  Nothing did happen on that day in his mind.  Later this entry would become a marker for American History, and it would carry the spirit of fighting for our freedom.  Make it happen.  Fight for your dreams and hopes.  Every day counts, even the ones where we don't feel like we are worth it.  Be the Revolution!  Be the change!  

Nothing Important Happened Today?  No, your majesty, you are wrong.  The United States declared its freedom and independence from England and the birth of a new nation was at hand.  We changed as a nation; we were on the verge of a Revolution.  It should be also pointed out but July 4 marks the beginning of the "Dog Days of Summer."  Each year I make note of this.  Why?  One, I like Astronomy, so the relevance of the day plays an important significance with the alignment of our Sun, the Earth and the "Dog Star" of Sirius.  The Ancient Egyptians believed due to this alignment, it made the summers "hotter," hence the "Dog Days of Summer."  Officially, the "Dog Days" end on August 11, when the alignment of the three is broken.  Our American forefathers were Freemasons, so I believe the relevance of the Star Alignment and July 4 played heavily for the Day of our Independence!


"You will take me to Jabba now."

Luke uses the Jedi Mind Trick on Bib Fortuna
Return of the Jedi

I don't know for certain how the tradition started but each summer, the week of Independence Day, the tradition is that I watch Star Wars, and by Star Wars, I mean the original trilogy, where Han shot first and the Reboband played the cool tune of Lapti Nek.  I think the tradition first started when I was in High School actually, just after school let out for the summer.  So, keeping with the tradition, I kept the spirit alive.  This year, I didn't watch them the week of Independence Day.  I think one reason why is because I did not have a Vacation set aside like usually did at one point.  I had a habit of blotting out vacation time early for this week at previous jobs I had.  This year, I could not take vacation until after my One Year Anniversary with Diebold (August 13)Return of the Jedi is still my most favorite movie in the whole of Star Wars!

The X-Files, "One Son (6x12)."  Yes, this took place nearly an hour after I was born!

The other tradition, which I think started when I was living at Oakbrook Gardens in North  Royalton OH was X-Files.  Along with Star Wars, I'd pull out my Mytharc Series of X-Files and watch those too.  The Mytharc series include any story related to the main "plot line" to the entire span of the X-Files, including Alien Abductions, Mulder's Sister and the Conspiracy kept by the Syndicate.  So, once again, keeping with tradition, I put the Mytharc Series of X-Files in to watch for the month of July.  In those series, my favorite two episodes are "Closure" and "Requiem."  Closure (7x11) dealt with the "end of the road" in search for Mulder's Sister.  In Requiem (7x22), we note a romantic side to Mulder and Scully and the eluding to her pregnancy, her love for Mulder and even Mulder being the child's father.  My favorite scene in that is when Scully is handed a baby.  You can see her natural motherhood side; and, you also see Mulder's side, his endearing, paternal smile, his admiration of Scully and her devotion to the baby and her tender motherly side.  Note the expressions if you watch.  Soon, Mulder is abducted and you can see the desperation of Scully!  At the end, Scully's urgent remark to Skinner "...we have to find him [Mulder]...I'm pregnant" was the first dead give-a-way to me that Mulder was the father!   Mulder's abduction concluded Season 7.  Oddly enough July 22 was when I watched Requiem, lol!  It's episode 7x22.

Just because...

Supertramp's "The Logical Song"

♪ When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily, joyfully, playfully, watching me
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical
There are times when all the world's asleep
The questions run too deep for such a simple man
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd but please tell me who I am

I said now, watch what you say, now we're calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable

But at night, when all the world's asleep
The questions run so deep for such a simple man
Won't you please 
(Won't you tell me)
(You can tell me what) please tell me what we've learned
(Can you hear me?)
I know it sounds absurd, 

(Won't you help me) please tell me who I am, who I am, who I am, who I am ♪


«   »

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


♪ Overture, overture.  This is an overture! ♪
♪ If it's Rossini, this overture will last for another 20 minutes ♪
♪ If it's Wagner, a lot of us will die but you won't really mind it. ♪

Let's back up a couple days before July started.  On June 29th, the last weekend of June, I spent the evening downtown with friends at Lyric Opera House for their showing of "Second City Guide to the Opera."  It was a great night to enjoy and laugh!

Before going to the Opera House, I met up with a friend, Rhonda, and we had dinner at the Berghoff Restaurant, 17 W. Adams Street.  I've never been a foodie as far as foreign foods, but I looked at their menu beforehand.  "I can do German," I told her.  The menu wasn't too complex and there were several delectable choices there.  I decided to try the gluten-free, "Grilled Lamb Burger."  I ordered it Medium Rare.  I've never really tried lamb and this was especially good.  It was infused with roasted garlic, fresh mint, lemon, Feta cheese; And, topped with arugula, tomato, lemon aioli.  It was served sweet potato fries.  It was very good.  Rhonda is an experienced foodie, so she was able to clue me into some choice foreign foods to try later, like sushi.  Unbeknownst to me, but I always thought sushi was served raw.  Apparently, it doesn't have to be served that way.  There are different way to prepare it.  Raw is one way.

We had a nice time talking about things to do over the summer.  I told her about my uneventful time in Ohio when I was there for job training in June.  Stepping back and looking at the misfortune has just verified my reasons to move to Chicago and meet new folk.  Several of the friends I've met over the past couple months have been really awesome with such tremendous depth and complexity to them.  Rhonda is one of those friends!  She is a Chicago native and has recently returned to the city.  It was great to spend the evening with her.  I've been fortunate to meet  several people with great depth to them.  I'm usually a very perceptive person, and it's great to "feel" such great depth and complexity to these people!  I truly believe the Venture Around meetup has attracted some of the finest people and it has helped making friends a lot easier in such a big city.  Rhonda and I were discussing this greatness with the group and just how it's been so awesome, and Kurt has picked out great events in Chicago!

The Berghoff Restaurant
"Dinner before Second City Opera. — with Rhonda"

After finishing our dinners, we walked over to Lyric Opera House on Madison and Wacker.  We met up with the rest of the gang inside.

Lyric Opera House
20 N. Wacker

Main Hall of Lyric Opera

Bass Section on Stage

Inside, we sat in the Bass Section on the Stage of the Auditorium.  This was my first trip to the Lyric Opera House, so I was fascinated by the architecture and took several pictures inside.  The event started at 7pm and we just made it time.  Kurt saved our seats.  Finding our seats, we ordered our drinks.  At first, I thought we were all going to be seated in the main Auditorium for the performance, but the stage itself was HUGE and large enough to hold tons of people.  So, when they said our seats were in the "Bass Section" it made sense after that.

The Opera was just breathtakingly hilarious!  It started off with the "Overture" number, reminding the audience that, depending on the Opera you are watching, certain people will die or live, or how long the overture will last!  Ha!  The show contained many humorous twists to various Operas, like Faust, Elektra, Wagner's Ring Cycle, and even George Bizet's Opera, Carmen (Habenera).  Turning to Rhonda, I did not know the name of the Opera.  Thankfully, she was able to tell me, so I could then go and look it up when I got home.

Civic Opera House
"The Second City Guide of the Opera — with Kurt, Sue, Rhonda"

"Two to Tango" scene from "The Music Man."

I told her that I first heard it played in "The Music Man," when Madam Librarian is seductively delaying the Anvil Salesman to get to his train on time, lol.  That opera is played in the background on an old phonograph, lol.  "Not on your tintype, girlie girl..." It was a fun night to spend with friends and enjoying some good opera.  Afterwards, we all walked over to Wabash to the Emerald Loop and Grill to enjoy some drinks and social time.

Emerald Loop Bar and Grill
"Drinks! — with Kurt, Rhonda, Sue"


Lake Michigan near Navy Pier

On Independence Eve (that is July 3 just in case you couldn't figure that out), I was all excited to go offshore and spend the night on Lake Michigan with some new friends.  It's Tiki Time!  Work was a a half day, so it made the evening worth looking forward to.  I drove down after running some errands.  As I was driving down, it started downpouring on the Stevenson and I thought, "Ah, crap.  I hope it doesn't get cancelled."  I was also picking up a few people for the event.  Driving up the Stevenson and then Lake Shore Drive, the roads were filled with holiday traffic and people leaving work.  It took me well over an hour from LaGrange Road to get up the Stevenson and then Lake Shore Drive.  Luckily, I left when I did, and I usually measure my time into Downtown from LaGrange Road on the Stevenson, because usually that's where the traffic starts to slow down, just before Harlem Avenue and First Avenue, the two exits I absolutely hate on the Stevenson.  On top of that, I wish they would finish the Central Avenue interchange as well.  Ungh!  After picking up some friends in Lake View for a kalaka, my brain farted ( >.< )"Ack, Monroe Harbor, not Montrose Harbor."  Ha.  Actually, that mishap is slowly becoming the "joking excuse" for being in the wrong place at the wrong time for our group now; if it weren't for the convenient map put on the meetup, we'd ALL be in the wrong place.  Sssooo, I drove back down to 100S to Monroe Harbor, not Montrose 4400N.  The similar difference in the spelling was about. . .um. . .say. . .45 minutes apart and 45 blocks.  There, I dropped off the kalaka, so they could take all the food and drink aboard the boat.  I parked at Millennium Garage, a couple blocks from the docks.

Millennium Parking Garage

All together now: ♪ Ole! Ole! In the Tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki boat. All the people party and the food and drink are great ♪

What a truly fantastically, fun and fascinating evening to spend on the a boat...with food, drink and friends! After walking back to the docks with someone from the group, we found the others aboard the boat.  Quickly boarding, we set sail for the rest of the night...

 Monroe Harbor

I don't know what Kurt did, but he warded off all the rain the minute we boarded the boat, lol.  For awhile there, we were all thinking the worst with the weather, but it quickly passed. Ha. Drifting out over the water, we all enjoyed some good food, laughter, music, and much more.  No one dared to slide down the slide into the Lake though.  The music was jammin, the weather was just right with a nice breeze on the Lake.  Full Speed Ahead!

Tiki Boat Chicago
"Tiki Time!!!!! — with Kurt, Natalie, Viki, Rhonda, Sue."

Having fun!

Viki and Nubin


Kurt and Sue

Everyone contributed with their share of food and drink.  Brats, dogs, kabobs, sliders, side dishes, chips, dips, beer, whiskey even, etc.  We were all stocked and stoked for a great night!  The boat was full, and we sailed past Adler Planetarium to the the coast of Navy Pier.  Stay awake for the wake!  Yep, being in a small boat, not everyone enjoyed the bumpy wakes from the boats out and "a boat" on the Lake.  A few people had some motion sickness, but they tried to have fun with the rest of us.  We passed Navy Pier around 8pm and ventured onward towards Oak Street and North Avenue Beaches north of Navy Pier.  There, the Captain anchored us, so we could fire up the grill and await the Navy Pier Fireworks.

Lake Michigan
"Suck my wake! — with Kurt, Natalie, Viki, Rhonda, Sue."

Navy Pier

Grilling time!

Afloat, "A boat," on a lake.  A nice view of Oak Street Beach and Lake Shore Drive.

Thanks Google for GIFing my JPEGs.

♪ Hold your glasses up, people everywhere ♪
♪ Now everybody put your hands in the air, say ♪
♪ I gotta, I gotta, I've gotta see you tonight ♪

♪ Oh, oh, oh, let me see your hands ♪
♪ Oh, oh, oh, tonight is the night

After getting food in our stomachs with some of us able to keep it down, it was starting to get darker and so we waited for Navy Pier to do its thing for lighting up the Pier.  The Coast Guard also pulled us over at some point too, lol!  Still enjoying food, drink, company, the Lake, and nice weather, the Firework show at Navy Pier commenced just after dusk.  Some of us tried to get some good pictures of the show.

Anchored between Oak Street Beach and North Avenue Beach

Some of the night shots were hard to get because it's dark out.  I despise Flash Photography many times too.  It takes away the authenticity of the shot most times.  If I have to choose between a distorted shot or one with a flash, most times I go for the distortion.  I like ambiance in my photos.  I think this is the best shot I got of the fireworks show.  I take pictures in burst and pick the best one from the burst.  I noticed one thing with that though.  Google will clump JPEGs together into an animated GIF if the bursts are milliseconds apart!  I included some of those GIFs here.  I may invest in a nice digital camera as well.  I was asked by a few people if they could use my photos in their Facebook pages.  I didn't mind and allowed them the liberty.

Chicago at night.
Someone left the lights on again.

We headed back to Montrose. . .er. . .Monroe Harbor around 11pm, although we stayed on the boat for awhile longer, enjoying more music and more time together.  After we deboarded, some of went home.  We all had a great time and everyone looked forward to this event, months in advance! The meetup was rated 5 stars.  I think that was done by everyone!  It was a great way to spend a summer day and night!


Go forth and celebrate!
Irving Park, Chicago IL

It's been really nice to celebrate holidays with friends and family over the years.  This year was different for me.  Making new friends here, I had a break of tradition from spending that in Ohio with family and friends there.  Sorry, Mom and Dad.  I was invited to see fireworks at Kurt's place this year.  Unlike last year, I drove back to Ohio to spend it with family, this was the first big holiday I spent away from family and "old friends" and with "new friends."  In fact, I remember last year they cancelled the fireworks at Lakewood Park, so I didn't even see a good fireworks show, except in Brunswick.  This year?  It was a blast. . .um. . .quite literally.  Traditionally, fireworks shows were seen by me in Brunswick, Garfield Heights and Maple Heights (Ohio).  The big difference with those compared to this year was the ACTION!

I drove down to the Irving Park Neighborhood on Independence Day after there was a fire in our building.  My Apartment Building was visited by "Smokey, The Duck."  It delayed my visit with Kurt for a bit.  Apparently someone was careless with their gas grill and it went haywire.  So, just as I was about to drive off to Kurt's I saw the Darien Fire Department pull into my Apartment Complex and the building behind mine.  After the Fire Department gave the "all clear," I proceeded back towards Irving Park, via the Tri-State Tollway and the Kennedy Expressway.  Ok, so why "Smokey, the Duck?"  I'm asked this each time there is a reported fire.  "Smokey, the Bear?"  I get that response most of the time from people.  "No, not bears.  Ducks put out flaming bears!"

Irving Park Neighborhood

Smokey the Duck arrives to save the day!

On the way down, I stopped at 7-Eleven and bought some beer to contribute to the picnic.  I drove into the neighborhood and parked near Kedvale Street and Byron Street.  Upon exiting my car, I could the ongoing fireworks happening near Kurt's building.  I went to the back of Kurt's building, unloaded the beer into the cooler there and met up with some people from the Venture Around group.  The people in Kurt's building were hosting a cookout in the backyard, "Pebble Yard."  I tried some of the brats and the roasted corn was absolutely good!  The fireworks were happening during daylight and this was the first attendance of a show where the pyrotechs launched fireworks during the day, lol!  It was only 7pm.  You can look up overhead and see this in daylight.

Fireworks at Pebble Yard
Irving Park

After eating some food and socializing, Kurt, Sue and me went up to the top floor balcony of his building.  It was about 9pm, so it was dark enough to see the fireworks now.  I kid you not, but this has been the best showing of fireworks I've seen for such a great length of time.  There was no "grand finale."  In fact, if you watch the video below, you can hear someone shout, "They must've spent $15,000 on this." Ha. Also, from what I heard from Kurt a day later, the police had to finally end the fireworks at 4am, lol!  I even went up the building roof with another dude to watch some of the show.  You could do a panoramic turn 180 degrees and you could see fireworks in every direction!  I just imagined a jet plane flying over the city and what that must look like.

Independence Day Fireworks 2013 in Irving Park, Chicago IL

Happy Independence Day

♪ Listen to our declaration
Listen to our testament
We've been given a revelation
We are sure of where we stand
So let the banner be unfurled
We've found the light of hope in a dying world

Hear the myth of modern man
You're the god of your own land
They call you weak a spineless fool
Say you've given up your right to rule
But I have been to the land of me
And I know I was never free
Freedom came when I gave it all away

That's why I call it independence day
Call it independence day
Let the rockets blaze across the sky
Raise the flag of faith up high
Let the doubters call it what they may
It's independence day

The world can crown another hundred kings
But I believe in better dreams
They may call it slavery
But the biggest chain I knew was me
So the idols tumble down
The walls of lies crumble to the ground
I know where salvation can be found
Let the idols tumple down ♪


The UFO in this picture is a hovercraft that someone made.  In my video, you can see it hovering in one of the shots.  The guy who made this attached a camera to the hovercraft to allow better viewing of the fireworks.  It was a fun night, and I'm glad I took some advice I was given last year about going Downtown Chicago for the fireworks.  She said, "It's far better to go over a friend's house to see fireworks than going downtown to see them."  +Lauren Strec, you rock!  Thanks for the tip!  This was the first big holiday away from family and "old friends."  Kurt's fireworks were better than I anticipated, even better than the ones I used to go to in Garfield Hts and Maple Hts.  Having fun at his place and being in the company of "new friends" was really a great way to celebrate Independence Day this year in Chicago!

Pebble Yard
"Enjoying fireworks in Irving Park. — with Kurt, Sue."


A view of Downtown from Lincoln Park Zoo

On Saturday, July 6th, I met up with Venture Around again for a Scavenger Hunt at Lincoln Park Zoo.  The event covered the entire Zoo and several areas of Old Town.  It was very humid!  It wasn't hot, and there was a nice breeze coming off Lake Michigan.  The breeze was a comfort to many of us who continued to perspire. There were at least 17 clues.  Starting near the statue of Lincoln and ending in Old Town, the duration of the event took most of the afternoon.  We started at 11am and ended at about 3pm.  This was really fun but the humidity was a real drip!  Ungh!

Lincoln Park Zoo
"Scavenger Hunt at the Zoo."

Before humidity set in!

L. Frank Baum's Castle

We stopped at a few places in Old Town to cool off, and some of the clues that were inside establishments were nice for that! Ha. Most of the Old Town clues were on Wells Street but there were a few that were on Clark Street and Lincoln Avenue.  One of the clues was L. Frank Baum's "castle" house (Yes, the author of the Wizard of Oz).  After our last clue and winning with a perfect score, we stopped for Ice Cream at Kilwin's (1400N) on Wells Street.

Kilwin's Chocolates

The Blue Door Clue
The Clue called for us to look blue!

After cooling off with some ice cream, we all went different ways, finding our own way to stay comfortable on a very humid day!  This last picture pretty much summed the "comfortable humidity" that day. Ha.


This month I finally took action and sought out a good Dermatologist for my Psoriasis.  On July 3, I went to the Surgery Dermatology & Drmtlgc right here in Willowbrook on Route 83, just north of Plainfield Road near 69th Street.  The Doctor was a wife/husband team, so it made the effort to help me a little better.  Dr. Berti prescribed me Clobetasol and highly recommended that I use Humira down the road.  He allowed me to do some research into it first and he said all I would need was a TB shot before I could go on the treatment.  So, I intend to do some research.  I see products that they put out that have tons of side effects and it makes me wonder if it's even worth it.  "Do I live the problem or the side effects?"  So far, the Clobetasol is helping me, so intend to keep using it for awhile.

Dermatology And Dermatologic Surgery

After work on July 23, I went to an ENT Specialist to be treated for an awful ringing in my left ear.  Since June when I was in Canton for Job Training, I noticed it.  It was really noticeable when I'd put "concert ears" in as I would sleep.  I put the plugs in at the Hotels because I can't sleep with barking dogs and the the AC/Heat clicking on and off all night.  It's just too much.  Plus, it's NOT MY OWN BED.  I have my alarm set for high volume so I can hear it through the "concert ears."  It could've been worse for me; I could've come down with an awful case of Shalaft's Syndrome, a terrible teledental disease!

So, after finally making the appointment and checking to make my Insurance carried the doctor, I got in to see the Doctor about it.  I went to the Adventist Medical Plaza on Ogden Road in Hinsdale.  I am fortunate that there is no hearing loss!  My eardrums are healthy.  As for the ringing the Doctor mentioned that Tinnitus is hereditary.  "Do you have anyone in your family with this disorder?"  Hmmm, yeah!  One problem pointed out was that I can't hear at a normal decibel level the frequency associated with "women and small children," higher pitched sounds.  It's probably because the ringing is high pitched.  Ungh!  I told him that it seems intermittent at times.  He wanted me to return for a follow-up in October.  He said to stay away from caffeine, chocolate and salty foods.  I thought that was odd, but it's because they raise the blood pressure, even though they took my blood pressure previously and it was an average 118/70.

Adventist Midwest Medical Group
"ENT specialist."

Also, earlier this month, on July 2, I had my routine visit to the Dentist at Sears Dental in Oak Brook.  I stopped there on the way home to see if I could squeeze in, since my original July 17 visit would not work out -- being away on business.  One thing I've noticed with the new dentist here.  She's awfully rough in my mouth.  Nonetheless, I had to have some drilling done and a filling.  I was also checked for Mouth Cancer; mouth is all healthy and no cancer or Gingivitis or Periodonitis.

DentalWorks Oakbrook (Sears)
"Gum scraping time."


 Meadow Lake Indiana Wind Farm.

On Monday, July 15, I drove down to Louisville, Kentucky for "Phase I" of my business trip (Phase II in August).  I planned on being on the road early in the morning, but I had to turn around and drive back to my place due to some problems.  The Foursquare check-in here is "round two" for that trip.  Ungh!

Mocking Hills
"Off to Clarksville IN/Louisville KY for work. >>"

1)  My phone's SD Card stopped working (probably cause I left the phone in the car for awhile when it was really hot one day...oops), so I stopped at Verizon on 75th Street and Kingery to buy a new one.  As I was handling Problem #2 at home, I was able to throw some MP3s back onto the new card as well!  I could NOT be tuneless on my journey down to Louisville!

2) The Travel Agent that handles all our travel for work put down the WRONG State when she listed my hotel.  When I setup the GPS for the hotel, I was driving along and noticed the travel time was 7 hours.  I looked at it again and again.  "Nnnnaaahhhh, it can't be that long.  It's wrong."  So, I pulled off the Stevenson near the Tri-State Tollway just before I got onto it.  Looking at the itennary again, it said Clarksville TN, not IN.  Ungh.  The travel agent booked it wrong!  So, quickly turning around home at LaGrange Road, I got home and immediately booked a hotel at the Holiday Inn Louisville KY/Clarksville IN.  Off. the. cuff.


Meadow Lake Wind Farm near Chalmers IN

Exit 0

Those two problems really cut into my drive time.  After setting up the GPS again with the correct address to the location in Clarksville IN, the drive time was set to 4 hours.  Much better!!!  Driving down the Tri-State Tollway to I-65 was awful.  Getting onto I-65 was no different and it was a crowded highway all the way through Indianapolis and Louisville.  It was nice to drive through 10 minutes of Meadow Lake Wind Farm near Chalmers IN.  On the way home, I set the Ford A Fussin Dashcam and let the video do its thing as I drove through it again.  Finally arriving at the Holiday Inn, I unpacked and lugged my luggage up three flights of stairs to my room I325. The hotel was rather quiet and pleasant in spite of how old it was.  The staff was friendly and helpful.

My first day of work was at the Main Branch of the Bank in Clarksville IN.  I got there early and met up with several of the bank associates who then led me onto their Corydon IN branch.  So, after meeting with them on the specifics of the job, I drove down to Corydon IN.  It was an lengthy 30 minute drive outside of Louisville Metro Area. . .out in the boonies! One thing I really enjoyed the most.  The more outside of Town I was, the thicker the Twangy Accents, lol!  I loved it.  Of course, I get the "we don't have a funny accent thing, you do" directed at me, lol.  "Wait, no, you all sound funny to me, hahaha."  The bank in Corydon IN was very friendly and warm. . .no, not just the hospitality, but ungh, it was sssooo hot and humid that whole week.

Holiday Inn
"Checked in."

My first day at the Holiday Inn Louisville KY/Clarksville IN


On July 17, while I was down on my business trip, my phone buzzed me an Outlook Reminder, saying it was my 7th year anniversary at Broadvox, lol (July 17, 2006 - Rich Bragg).  The last two years, I've been meaning to fix that, hahaha.  I need to update the reminder to say Diebold on August 13.  When I was working onsite at the bank in Corydon, I asked a few of the associates what there was in town to try and go see.  Having googled the town of Corydon IN a day earlier, I learned that Corydon was Indiana's Second Capital before Indianapolis took that role when Indiana became a State.  In the Town Center, there is tree there where the forefathers of Indiana drafted Indiana's Constitution.  Rightly called the Constitution Elm, all that remains of the tree today is the trunk.  After work on July 17, I drove down into Town there to embrace some History...

Constitution Elm
"The site where Indiana's Constitution was drafted."

 The Constitution Elm, Corydon IN

Town of Corydon

Of course, standing there, my brain is weird.  I just got done working at a Bank.  Banks have branches, which means that money does grow on trees after all!  Ha.  After driving East on Indiana Hwy 62 back to I-64 via Crandall-Lanesville Road, I drove through Louisville on the Kentucky side and set the Ford A Fussin Dashcam to record my travels over the State line and the Ohio River and then back over the State line into Indiana. I stopped over at Van Dyke Park on north end of the Ohio River and captured some photos of Downtown Louisville and the Bridges over the Ohio River.  It was interesting to notice on Google Maps, but the State line goes through Van Dyke Park, so naturally I had to point that out in a photo for all to see the imaginary line, hahaha.  My finger points north towards Indiana AT the State line.

Van Dyke Park
"My finger points at the state line (KY/IN)"

The imaginary State line cutting through Van Dyke Park

Downtwon Louisville from the Indiana Side
US-31, Clark Memorial Bridge

I-65, John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge

Van Dyke Park at the State Line (Indiana Side)

Driving East I-64 through Louisville KY

Driving over US 31 Clark Memorial Bridge

On Thursday, July 18, after work again, I brought a change of clothes and some sneakers to escape the heat and humidity and head underground for awhile to do some spelunking.  The associates at the bank I was working in Corydon encouraged me to check out their finest cave system called the Indiana Caverns, just south a few miles south of the bank on Indiana Highway 135 and Green Acres Road.  What an awesome idea I thought!  So, doing just that, I changed into some outdoor clothes and headed down to the cave.  It was a quick shot from the bank.

indiana caverns
"Going spelunking for the rest of the day."

I made the 3:30pm tour just in time.  The tour started in the basement with a film and a little history with Speleological landmarks in the country, like Mammoth Cave.  The video was informative and the Indiana Caverns is the 11th Largest Cave system in the United States covering a recent landmark length of 37 miles!  After the video we went down farther...dun...dun...duuuunnnn.  After our group was assembled we entered the "airlock" into the cave below.  We didn't walk the entire 37 miles; only a portion of the system was open to tourists.  Our tour was 1hr 20min, and was well worth it.  The tour consisted of walking and taking a pontoon boat across one of the underground tributaries to Indian Creek which runs through Corydon.  Much of the cave was not made for tall people, so I found myself doing a lot of ducking down, lol.  The cave tour brought back memories of childhood when our family went down to Mammoth Cave one week.

A stalactite.

Cave Bacon!

The tour ended and I bought a few souvenirs.  I didn't spot Batman, lol.  After taking off, and battling some of the rain on the roads, I got back to the Hotel in Clarksville, showered and went to eat at Buckhead Mountain Grill along the Ohio River.  It was a great view and a great menu!  The waitress was the THIRD woman down there to call me babydoll, lol.  I had to ask later if that was a compliment or an insult.  Luckily it was a compliment, lol.  Three different women at different locations down there have all called me babydoll.  Hilarious.  I ordered a Ribeye Steak dinner with Coleslaw.  I had a nice view of the Ohio River from the restaurant.  By this time, the rain had cleared up and the sun revisited us.  I also learned from the waitress that any city that borders Louisville on the north and Indiana side IS still Louisville and considered the Metro Area. I also learned the difference between y'all and all y'all while I there.  Y'all refers to you if you're in a "small group."  All y'all includes "everyone in sight" or the "whole lot."  I was also told that the East part of Louisville or Luville is more twangy according one guy I worked with at one of the banks.  "You think I talk twangy; go to the East part of Luville.  Even I can't understand it."  Hahaha!

Buckhead Mountain Grill
"Dinner with a view."

Buckhead Mountain Grill

After work Friday, I drove down into Clermont County KY to go on the Jim Beam Guided Tour of the Distillery.  This would be my final day in Louisville.  I found that I was working at Corydon for most of the week but I went back to main branch on the last day there (Friday).  I found Jim Beam Brands online and purchased my ticket.  I also learned that the Power went out at my place in Chicago and I was happy to learn that the UPS Backup kicked in when the power did go out, albeit more than the time allotted for the units.  

It was nice to have the equipment (most of it) come back up when the power returned though, having setup a master computer on each unit.  After I purchased my tickets on Thursday night, I was able to get the confirmation for the 2:30pm tour.  I arrived there close to the time the tour was starting.  Jim Beam Brands Stillhouse is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Tour.  Jim Beam is located just south of Louisville off of I-65 and Kentucky Hwy 245.

Jim Beam American Stillhouse
"Distillery guided tour."

The tour started at the Vistor Center (in the picture above) and lasted for a good 1hr 45min.  It was a informative tour, even though I would probably have to do another one to grasp the whole process of fermentation and distilling. The tour continued onto the distillery, where the tour guide explained the fermenting process and distilling process.  It was interesting to learn the difference between Bourbon and Whiskey.  Whiskey, coming from the Irish, meaning "water of life," is a method of distilling.  Bourbon is an American invention, more specifically, Kentucky.  Bourbon has its roots in Kentucky, and 90% Bourbons originate in Kentucky.  It was also interesting to note that when the economy is poor and suffering, that is when Jim Beam's business picks up.  Haha.  Who would've thunked it?

The tour went into great depth with the process in the fermenting (in which Bourbon uses corn), and the distilling.  They had a smaller plant where the process was done and the Big House where the American Assembly line is used at great length.  Starting with the Fermentation and distilling even onto the whole storing and packaging, it all plays a major role in the taste and flavor we have of Jim Beam.  Towards the end, we toured one of the storehouses with Nine Layers of nothing but 10 millions pounds of Casks, filled with Jim Beam.  Depending on the weather, placement of the barrels in the storehouse, it all contributes to the taste, age and properties in Jim Beam bourbon!  Below are some pictures I took on the tour, including a short video demonstrating the Rinsing, Filling, Capping and Labelling process on the assembly line.  I did not see a glove on any of the bottles nor did I see anyone waving at one though. ;)

Corn is the primary Source

The Big House

The whole process in a diagram

Jim Beam Brands
Rinsing, Filling, Capping and Labelling

After the tour, I drove back up to the hotel and checked out.  Previously, I made another hotel reservation at the front desk for next month's visit.  Heading home, the drive was ok for the most part.  As I mentioned before, I-65 is a crowded freeway, so the traffic was agonizing.  Oddly, driving through Indianapolis was pretty easy and light with traffic.  I was just hitting rush hour traffic in Indianapolis at their Outerbelt Freeway I-465.  Luckily, most of the traffic was taking that route and not going through downtown.  I had a great time between work and other activities in Louisville.  In August, I get to revisit and complete Phase II for my work at another bank of the same branch in New Albany IN.  Getting home at about 8pm, the storm clouds were rolling in and I could see the lightning and dark clouds near the sunset on I-294, the Tri-State Tollway.  Pulling into my parking lot, I quickly unloaded my car and made it inside just in time, because it really stormed!

Downtown Indianapolis

Holiday Inn
"<< Check out. Back to Chicago."


1...2...3...4, find a new home!

Old Irving Park Neighborhood
"Byron & Kedvale."

On Saturday, July 20, I was invited to hang out with some friends and go to the "Sheffield Garden Walk and Music Festival" in Lincoln Park.  It was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to it.  My first stop was to Old Irving Park to meetup with Kurt.  I drove down but got stuck on the Kennedy after exiting the Tri-State, so I got off at Route 171 and drove down to Irving Park Road.  This took me a good 30 minutes to get to Kurt's on time.  I believe it was even quicker than taking the expressway.  I got a chance to get a feel of what apartments are like in the City.  I have started looking around in Irving Park, Albany Park, North Center and Ravenswood for a possible place to live at in the City.  See my Map above.  I've highlighted my SEARCH area and have narrowed the farthest out to the North Central Neighborhoods, mainly as far as Bryn Mawr (5600N) and Cicero (4800W).  Kurt and Sue both have very nice apartments!  Sadly, I will have to wait until next April before I decide to move, but I'm starting to look now!  After meeting up with Kurt, we headed over to Sue's and once again got a good feel of what apartments are like.  Both have said they live in rather quiet neighborhoods which was really encouraging.  People sleep at night and go to work during the day.  The only thing that would possibly cause a problem is the reverse commute to Schaumburg where the Diebold office is at. 

The Brown Line

My re-experience riding 
the EL Trains since 1995

Irving Park and Albany Park seem ideal.  The Brown Line is nearby and the Blue Line Metra.  It would save the hassle of driving around into the city.  I'll have to do some research to find out which Metra goes near Schaumburg.  After meeting up with Sue, we took the CTA-Kedzie Brown Line towards the Loop to the Fullerton Stop.  I had to relearn how to use the EL trains and buying buss passes.  Luckily I had help, lol.  Thanks Kurt and Sue!  After exiting the EL and walking over to Sheffield Avenue, we met up with David shortly after; the music was already in full blast; the streets were filled with people; the alleys were filled with food and drink.  We ordered our tickets and ate some food and drank some beer!  The bands that played were all Celtic Rock Bands.  It was awesome to hear some Uilleann Pipes and Bagpipes mixed in with ROCK!  Some of the bands that played: Carbon Leaf and Gaelic Storm.  I mentioned to Kurt that my favorite is Great Big Sea, another Celtic Rock band.  After meeting up with David we all walked over into Lincoln Park on the Garden Walk part of the Festival.  We had to hasten pace because the Walk was nearly over with.  We did manage to get down some streets and enjoy some serene gardens.  I found a few that I liked and captured them in picture.

CTA - Kedzie
"To Loop. >>"

The Gang!

This was awesome to watch! Dancing to some Celtic Rock!

Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival
"It's a nice day. No humidity and the sun is out. — with Kurt, Sue, David"

After enjoying some food, company, drinks and walking, David suggested a good restaurant where they serve BOURBON.  Go figure, ha!  I told David that I went on the Bourbon tour for Jim Beam in KY recently.  He suggested some good Bourbons to try.  Although I'm not an expert with bourbons, he was a great help as to which ones to try.  I told him I enjoy the "woody flavor" of bourbon the most.  We jumped on the Bus and headed over to "Pitchfork Saloon" for the remainder of the evening.  As the sun was setting, it was getting notably cooler out.  At the Pitchfork we sat at a table where they had the "picture windows" on all sides of the building wide open.  We all ordered our meals.  It was good to talk to Kurt about movies like "Red 2" and some other sci/fi stuff.  I ordered a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of coleslaw.  It was delicious.  I was still unsure about the bourbon menu, so I just stuck with a Corona.  As the evening closed in, a thunderstorm was approaching.  We quickly boarded the bus just as the storm made its way.

PitchFork Food & Saloon
Checked in by Kurt P.


Someone hit the Ford Fleet Vehicle as it was parked in the parking lot at work, so I took it in to get it fixed.  Sometimes I wish people would leave a note on the car, because there is no real proof of the damage, and yes, no one left a note that they hit the car.  Luckily it wasn't too bad.  The bumper just needed remounted and a touch-up paint job.  It could've been much worse; however, since this isn't my car, I took care of it immediately especially since the car was brand new!  I took it up to Countryside Collision after work one day for the estimate.  They remounted the bumper the same day and I took it back up there the Monday following my trip back from Louisville.  The paint had to set for a couple days, so I picked up that same week.

Countryside Collision
"Someone hit the Ford in parking lot."


On Thursday, July 25, Mom and Dad came into town!  It was a nice surprise, so I drove over to the +La Quinta Inns & Suites in the evening and met up with them.  There, we caught up on events and talked about what they could do while there were in town.  I mentioned Boat Tours and Zoos would be nice to.  The weather was supposed to be a lot cooler and more tolerable for walking around.  We talked about life and what they were planning to do for the winter and next spring.  It's really good to see them healthy and going out to do some travelling!

La Quinta Inn Chicago Willowbrook
"Mom and Dad are here!!!!!!!!"

We went over to the Kerry Piper for dinner.  The Kerry Piper is on old US 66 and part of the US 66 Roadside attractions there like Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket.  Though called Frontage Road now for I-55, it's still a roadside attraction along the old US 66 route, which was officially decommissioned in 1985.  Finding some seats, we placed our orders.  The waitress read off some specials, I recommended the 312 Beer to drink, which is a local beer.  It's not that strong and even Mom liked it.  We all had the 312 Beer and I ordered the Whiskey Bleu Cheese Pork Loin covered with a thick Jameson Whiskey Sauce.  It was good, even the mashed Sweet Potatoes.  We continued to talk about events and about things to do when we go got San Diego next month to see Wayne.  Getting back to the hotel after we ate, we placed an online order for 3 tickets to get on the Wendella boats at noon for Friday.   After getting home, I did Work on my work laptop the rest of the night and finished up a project for Monday.

The Kerry Piper
- with David, Mollie

Mom and Dad, waiting in line at Wendella Boats

On, Friday, I picked Mom and Dad up and I drove downtown for the 90 Minute Boat Tour of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.  I used the Ford (we get deducted for personal use and it was bigger than the Honda).  They were in for a treat, because I had not previously done the 90 minute tour, just the 75 minute tour.  I drove and parked in the Northbridge area in Chicago close to 400 N. Michigan where the boats were docked on the NW corner of Du Sable Bridge.  The tour varied from the 75 minute one.  The 90 minute tour didn't have the North Branch portion of the tour, just the South Branch.  It also seemed that a lot of the Architectural points were left out as well.  Mallory was our Tour Guide but she was very knowledgeable of Chicago.  I think part of the reason a lot of that was left out was because we did spend more time on Lake Michigan.  It was a good half hour that we were on the Lake.  As I mentioned, this was a treat, because I had not done the 90 minute tour.  It was fun for all of us and my most favorite part was going through the Locks between the Lake and the River.  Aside from boats and ships, even DUCKS use the locks I learned.  Apparently, unbeknownst to me but the Chicago River is 2 feet lower than the lake, so the Locks are in place to level out ships that pass through them.  In spite of some of the drizzly weather, it was fun to do this.  We brought our umbrellas, cameras and anticipations.  Between my Dad and I, we were taking pictures and videos.  I helped Dad take some good videos of the tour.  It turned out being 3 GB worth of video in the end.

Wendella Boat Tours
"90 minute Lake Michigan and Chicago River tour with Mom and Dad! — with David, Mollie"

Out on Lake Michigan

Upper vs. Lower Level
Streets in Chicago

We started heading back to shore about 2pm, so it was a little longer than 90 minutes.  Ha.  I wasn't complaining.  We made it just in time because a passing thunderstorm came, just as we walked off the boats and went to McDonald's for a quick bite to eat.  We took several more pictures and I helped Mom take pictures on her phone too.  THIS WAS SO FUN TO DO! Looking at the time, and traffic on the Stevenson at 2:30pm, I blurted out, "Mom, Dad, um, time to go. . .now!"  LOL!  Rush hour traffic was just starting.  We had a quick snack at McDonald's near Trump Tower, so after our snack and taking more pictures, we walked back to Northbridge where I parked.  They both got a taste of what Chicago traffic was like.  Dad much not too much like Cleveland's rush hour traffic at 5pm.  Mom kept mentioning at times how long it would take to places.  I said everything here depends on traffic here.  You have to time things just right, but again, that doesn't always happen.  It is one reason I want to move into the City.  KURT, help!  Speaking of Kurt, I was telling Mom and Dad all about my adventures around Chicago and being able to make some new and cool friends!

After--finally--jumping onto the Dan Ryan and Stevenson, it was a nice and long 1 hour drive back home.  Mom kept asking if this was like this all the time.  I said, "pretty much.  Rush Hour traffic starts at about 2pm on outbound traffic."  I also got a lesson for Dad's IJA Scale of stupid drivers.  Idiots are the lowest rating, then Jerks, then Ass[hats].  I added the "Hat" part to that while were driving and made mention of an "asshat driver."  Everything is rated 1-10, so an A-10 rating is the worst.  An I-1 isn't too bad.  Now, I'll probably start using that scale when I'm out driving.  I admit but I think my Dad counted a lot of Js while I was driving.  I guess they were also tagging drivers on there way to visiting me too, lol!  It was kind of funny to hear my Mom's reactions to some of the drivers (just like last time at Thanksgiving), lol.  "He just cut you off," she'd exclaim!  "Mom, the rule here in Chicago is, 'you watch the front, they watch the back,' lol!"  I admitted to them that I was driving "nicer" for them too, because I do it too. "Never use your turn signal here, because they know that's where you want to be."  It's not being rude; that's just how everyone drives here, lol!  My Dad mentioned something about Cab drivers in New York when they lived there once.  "Never look a cab driver in the eye, [because that affects how they'll drive around you.]"  I mentioned that is was sort of the same here.  The cab drivers here are mad drivers.  Most of them have no clue where they're going!

"Waiting for a table. — with David, Mollie"

In front of Wildfire Steakhouse
232 Oak Brook Center

After we finally got back to the La Quinta, I dropped them off and then headed home, so I could get into nicer, dining clothes so we could go out to eat.  I made a dinner reservation at "Wildfire Steakhouse in Oak Brook Center."  I had never dined there before.  I tried a few times to no avail because they're always booked solid.  The only BEST way to make a reservation for this place is ONLINE and no other.  So, I had done this previously, so we were guaranteed a place to eat.  After getting ready, I drove back up to the La Quinta to pick them up.   Up IL-83 we went.  We arrived at the restaurant early.  Even though we were guaranteed a spot to eat, you couldn't say that for parking.  Driving around a bit, I finally found a place to park.  Going inside, I told the hostess we had party of 3 and made a reservation.  We waited for about 15 minutes and were able to get a seat.

Steve's Dakota Grill - Medina OH:  ☆☆☆☆☆ (Are you kidding? Go get a root canal done instead)!
Wildfire Steakhouse - Oak Brook Center:  ★★★★★

We ordered our meals.  THEY WERE AWESOME! I kept hearing from people living nearby here saying that this place had great tasting steaks.  Trust me, it was far better than "Steve's Dakota Grill" in Medina OH, lol!  The Porterhouse Steak I ordered was so tender, that I could use my fork to cut the meat.  The meat pulled from the bone with ease and the dessert was also delicious! I would have to say that I give this steakhouse "Five Stars."  The server was friendly, thorough with the dinner specials and her professionalism.  We all enjoyed the Wildfire Experience. After eating, I drove back to my place and we sat for awhile and talked.  There, we shared stories, pictures and movies about the trip.  After exchange movies and pictures, Mom and Dad went back to the hotel and left the following day.  This was fun and they said they plan on coming back up this way soon for their road trip!  Mom and Dad, love you and thanks for visiting!

Mom and Dad at my place.

Mocking Hills
"Visitin. — with David, Mollie"


On this 26th July 2013!  System Administrator Appreciation Day is on the Last Friday of July.  Always has been on the Last Friday of July. Never been on any other day of the week or month. Never ever been on a Saturday.  Whatever day the last Friday of July is in your own country, as long as it is the last Friday of July.  Sysadmin Day is a 24 hour event, for the entire last Friday of July. From the first minute of Friday, to the last minute of Friday.  Celebrate Sysadmin Day in your own local time-zone, for the entire last Friday of July. 

To those sysadmins who ran cable in the data center, setup your servers, who stayed up all night fixing an exchange server, who restored your backups, configured the routers and switches, deployed the software on your computer, even those who bit their tongues and endured all those stupid ID10T errors and PEBKAC errors.  I hoped you gave your Sysadmin a hug to show your appreciation! Having been one, we sure could use one many times. A Data Center is not meant for screaming at the top of your lungs! Been there done that.

Did you hug your Sysadmin on this day?


Albany Park

On Sunday, July 28, I had dinner with a cool friend.  She, yes SHE, asked me if I wanted to take the train into Lincoln Square and find a nice restaurant to dine.  I met up with her in the evening at her place in Albany Park near 3200W, Kedzie.  We took the Brown Line over to Lincoln Square and deboarded at Western Avenue and walked over towards Lincoln Avenue.  Kimball Yard is the Brown Line terminus.  I'm getting to be a pro now using the CTA, er, I think.  At least I know how to use the CTA tickets and how to add more money to them if running low.  We decided on a nice Italian Dinner, so we walked over to Trattoria Trullo closer towards 4800N, Lawrence.  The waitress that took our order was Romanian as opposed to Italian.  We both thought that was hilarious.  After trying to guess her accent, we finally had to ask her.  "I get that all the time," she laughed.

CTA - Kimball
"Lincoln Square. >>"

We ordered our meals and talked about a lot of things, including my year of living in Chicago and how it was one decision in my life so far which I have not regretted.  I told her about my Dream of Chicago and we talked about friendships a lot.  She asked me what I found attractive in women and who would make an ideal mate.  It sounds like I made a friend with a matchmaker, lol!  She currently is dating another friend of mine whom I just made awhile ago and actually we had his permission to go out on this date for dinner, lol.  I think it was a great evening just to sit down and talk about things in life, past, present and future.  We talked a lot about some of the Venture Around events that we've done and how they're a great way to meet new people and just to get out and do something exciting around Chicago.  The evening, the dinner, and even the Gelato made it a great night to get out and hang out with new friends in Chicago!  Once again, I'm getting the push to move into the City.  I'm looking now and hope I find a nice place by next April when my lease is up at Waterfall Glen.  After dinner, we took the train back to her place and I hanged for a bit just to socialize more.

Trattoria Trullo
"A nice Italian dinner. — with Sue."


Anita Dee II Yacht at Navy Pier

Navy Pier

After work, July 30, I drove downtown to Navy Pier on a dismal, dreary and ominous day in Chicago.  It just felt like Autumn this day.  I got to Navy Pier at 5pm and parked in the Western Garage off Streeter Driver.  I was meeting up with Venture Around to enjoy Tuesday Night's Happy Hour aboard the Anita Dee II!  Waiting for Kurt and the rest of the gang to show up, I walked up Navy Pier for a bit.  I had never been ON Navy Pier before, so this was my first time.  After doing some walking around, I found the dock where the Anita Dee II would launch from and just waited.  Shortly, Kurt texted and said he was on his way.  Soon, the line started forming for the Cruise.  Before the line got really big, Kurt and the rest of our group were all assembled with all our tickets.  Waiting awhile longer, that line lengthened with more and more people.  I kept looking at the line, then back at the yacht, and back.  I did this a few times.  "Will everyone fit," I laughed?  Finally, we boarded after presenting our tickets.  We all met on the top deck, bought our drink tickets, and found some seats by the fake helicopter on the ship.

Anita Dee Yacht Charters
"Tuesday Night Happy Hour."

All aborad. Ordering drinks, awaiting departure

Soon, everyone had ordered their drinks and were ready for the ship to leave the dock.  The weather was extremely ominous.  I mentioned that every time I venture out on Lake Michigan, the weather is dreary, ha.  This was no different than the other times with coats or warmer attire.  The ship departed Navy Pier and made its way out to the Lake.  The fun soon began too.  This was a great night to be with new friends and enjoy an evening after work with some drinks.  I met some new people in the VA group too as well as some older faces too.  There were two women in the group that I last saw for a VA event back in January at Adler Planetarium.  They were both surprised I remembered them from the event.  It made them feel a part of Venture Around when I remembered.  My memory is not always that good but remembering faces is always good to do.  Kurt mentioned talked about having a co-organizer and event host for Venture Around, someone to meet, greet and organize the events on the meetup.  I told him that I'd like to help, so down the road, I may be co-hosting some Venture Around events.  The group now has 800 members according to the site, but I haven't met all 800 yet, ha!  We talked about some Member Mixes each month like what Mingle Around does.  It would be a great way to get everyone together and meet the 800 people whom have not been to an event yet.  Kurt talked about this too.  I thought that was a great idea.

Underway! Near Oak Street Beach!

Kurt and Sue always look great together!

Lake Michigan
"It was wet!"

The evening was very informative and fun over all.  The music was jammin, the people were rockin, and the time was great!  It was great to meet the new people in Venture Around and talk with some older members too.  I've made a few friends from the group, including Kurt and Sue.  They've been really great and I'm glad I found this group.  I was telling Kurt how I latched onto Venture Around from last July 25th when Jill Jackson's Mingle Around was having a New to Chicago Member Mixer at the Pump Room.  It was my first big Single's Event in the City.  Kurt was there that night and actually I learned later that is where Venture Around has its beginnings.  I told Kurt that I remembered him at the Pump Room and that Big Clock in the foyer, hahaha.  I think my first actual Venture Around meetup event was the Weird and Haunted Tour of Chicago last October 26th.

As we continued out past Oak Street Beach, I took notice how SLOW the yacht was moving.  I looked over to Kurt and said, "The Wendella Boats went faster than this!"  This was when I took my folks on them previously this month.  Looking out towards the Lake and back to Chicago, "Yeah, they're really milking the 3 hours Happy Hour," Kurt laughed.

The Photobomb Award goes to Sue.  Thanks, Sue!

"We have such an awesome city skyline," I exclaimed.  After taking some great pictures of Chicago, I actually felt the last Long Island Iced Tea I drank as I stood up.  I exclaimed, "I think we should get something to eat after the cruise."  Everyone agreed and one member of the group suggested Harry Caray's at Navy Pier.  Everyone agreed.  So, after the ship docked back at Navy Pier aroung 9pm, we walked over to the restaurant and finished a great evening with new faces, old faces and good times.

Harry Caray's Tavern
"- with Kurt, Sue"

Hanging with the Venture Around gang!

AUGUST 1, 2013

Just sayin...

This is only a general statement
of my anger right now!

Verizon Wireless
"New number."

If you are now reading this blog for the first time, you can see that I went back and added this day in after I published this blog on July 27.  Looking forward to August, I don't have time for anyone's crap or bullshit!  I have a job to focus on!  I have a new life to focus on!  For the last week of July, I had one of my worst days EVER since I moved here, and it did not involve my new goals, friends or life here in Chicago.  Ohio must go!  August 13 will mark one year aboard full time with DIEBOLD!  Work will be busy this month!  Facebook has been appropriately deactivated until further notice.  I don't have time for everyone's social media now.  If I'm worth your time, then you matter to mine as well!  Plain and simple!  That is all!  I will no longer address confusing TEXT MESSAGES from anyone without a proper phone call or some sort of proper introduction!  I have HAD IT with these so called confusing TEXT MESSAGES and inappropriate introductions to other cliques and groups!  A text message should be something simple as, "Hey, want to meet up here?" Or the such.  Yes, unfortunately, on my stead, part of this was my fault for overstepping a boundary, but in the end, I turned out being "vile, deplorable, unloving, uncaring and ungiving" as I had the 'whole brigade' come down on me from all sides.  It is the only time I ever heard from certain people too -- only when I screw up.  This was how I was made to feel!  After genuinely caring for the certain person, I was deeply hurt this last week by this and the wound runs deep!  Sure, I need to learn from it, but the fact of the matter once again is anytime I hear from certain people is when I 'screw up!'  That is all I will say.  The Good news: It was worth opening my mail today after a crappy week [not at work either] and see the following below.

August 13, 2012


Of friends and recipes...

One of my friends puts out a new recipe each month and this month, my mouth was watering with what she was preparing (yeah, I'm also meaning the food in this case, lol), so I thought it was worth sharing on my blog.  +Lauren Strec is a local media host here in Chicago and some of the media she publishes involves FOOD!  We could one day see her on the "Food Network" next to Rachel Ray, Giada De Laurentiis  or with food enthusiast, Claire Thomas!  Yes, I've seen some of these women in action by the way.  Please take a minute and watch her video and enjoy a delicious recipe of Crispy Chicken a L'Orange!  She too keeps a blog as well.  You can follow and subscribe to her Social Fusion blog and learn more about her adventures and all about Chicago!  You can also subscribe to her Newsletter on her Website.  She was a big help to me when I first moved here and she has been a good friend with great advice.

Recipe: Crispy Chicken a L'Orange

Of Oscillating breezes...

For a few days I did not want to move outside these lines!  It was just too hot and humid.  I've never done hot and humid summers too well and don't usually complain about cold weather.  It's far easier to bundle up when it's cold out as opposed to stripping naked and still being hot!  Luckily, there was a break in the humidity towards the end of the month.

Of behooving snoops...

Metoo, The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile and The Neverending Story all carry a secret!  The Eye of Sauron is still on the look out too.  I've had some unplanned maintenance done once in my apt building with people tromping around, not having my permission first!  Trust no one!  I have all that computer hardware in one room, rather expensive!  So, at times, I open Port 8081 on my router and keep an eye open.  The Cams start recording when triggered by motion.  Don't let that Eye of Sauron deceive you there.  I developing some code to work with the motion capturing and adding them to my nightly backups!

 August may not have a blog!

Looking ahead to August, I don't know if I'll have the time to compose a blog.  Here's a preview of what August looks like.  It looks like the only time I'll be home is on the weekends for the most part!  With that being the case, it'll only be time for laundry and doing bills!  There are a couple exceptions: "Tallships" and possibly the "Chicago Air and Water Show!"  Those two events I want to do and hope I can do.  My folks enjoyed the Tallships when they made port at Cleveland in July.

S.S. Eastland cruise ship disaster remembered on 98th anniversary

"July 24, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Wednesday marks the 98th anniversary of the S.S. Eastland disaster, one of the worst disasters in Chicago history..."

A haunted Chicago River.  I remember going on the Weird and Haunted Tour of Chicago last October (in blog November 1) and learning about this event and how to this is linked the Hauntings of Harpo Studios where Oprah hosted from.  The Chicago River between Clark Street and LaSalle Street is reported to be haunted.

I took this picture of the Chicago River
October 26, 2012


WHO CARES ABOUT THE ROYAL BABY! Twinkies are back on the shelves!

Duh!  On July 15, it was a bittersweet rejoicing as Twinkies appeared once again on store shelves all across the US.  Twinkies had declared bankruptcy last Fall.

EGON: Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the
normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area.
Based on this morning's sample,
it would be a Twinkie... thirty-five feet long,
weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

WINSTON: That's a big Twinkie.

They're bbaaaaaccckkkk!

Daughter Records Faux Wedding Dance With Dying Dad

ABC7 shared the story on July 24.  A heartening story of a terminally ill father attending his daughter's staged wedding!  I thought this story was awesome and this is what news should be like!  It was so worth putting here in my "In Other News" section!

All politics put aside...

President George H. W. Bush shaved his head to show his support for a two-year-old cancer patient. The 89 year-old commander-in-chief is now sporting this new look for little Patrick.  The Bushes lost their second child, Robin, to leukemia 60 years ago this October at the age of four.

Cutest Reporter in all of Chicago!

She's on ABC7 Chicago.  Her name is Diane Pathieu.  If there were ever a vote for this, she'd get my vote on being the cutest reporter in Chicago.  She has great news reports and you can follow her news feeds on her Facebook Page.  If you are local and watch the news, tune into ABC7 for all her reports.  She is of Assyrian descent and simply gorgeous and a "breath of fresh air" to watch on the news!  I give Diane the vote of 5 hearts.  Sorry Hollie Strano (Meteorologist) of WKYC Channel 3 in Cleveland, I had to bump you down to Four hearts.  I hope that isn't disheartening (pun), but you're still on the "cute" list!  How can you pass on such a "turning to butter smile" like Diane's?  Sorry Hollie!  :: big sigh ::

Diane Pathieu of ABC7 Chicago:  ♥♥♥♥♥
Hollie Strano of WKYC 3 Cleveland:  ♥♥♥♥♡

Diane Pathieu and Stanley

Thunder Moon on July 22!

Thunder Moon from Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve (near 91st Street)

On July 22, we had our July Thunder Moon.  If you were also paying attention, Saturn was winking down at from by the moon.  It's the Native American name to the moon in July.  Named for the frequent thunderstorms of the month, and it is the month that Deer and Antelope shed their antlers and grow new ones.  I was outside jogging on July 23 and was able to catch glimpse of being fully mooned from the night sky.  It was a very cool 72 degrees evening and the first week in July with a 48.0 Dewpoint!  No humidity and much more comfortable to jog in!

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
"Nice weather for a jog!"

23 .07 .2013 from 20:50:33 to 21:53:50
WG Spur >> 91st Street >> Cass >> back.

And, finally in traffic news, this just in...

"This is not the oven you are looking for!"


July 4: The United States
July 14: Happy Bastille Day (to my French friends)
July 19: John Waters
July 22: Debb 'Bobbsta' Curry

You're all (or All Y'all) probably thinking, "Crap, there was just a lot here."
Well, sadly, next month there may not be a blog...
Thank you again for reading and digesting...tadaladas!

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