Thursday, July 3, 2014

One last time!


It’s been a long, busy spring for me; I figured I’d do a Newsletter this time around since I’ve had no time to do any blogging lately.  With traveling for work and moving into Chicago, it’s kept me on my toes.  On March 17, I used that week to move to Chicago.  I moved from the Chicago suburbs into Albany Park on the Northside.  I was given a week off from work to make the move.  For work, the Systems Engineer role I’ve been positioned in for Diebold was incorporated with more travel.  Recently I was just “promoted” to a Regional SE role for the Midwest Region.  Yeay, more work.  Key SEs have been used for travel as Diebold roles out its Agilis 3/Win 7 platform. Agilis is the ATM application that sits on top of the Windows platform.  In April of this year, support on Windows XP ended with Microsoft which increased our work volume to push for the A3/Win7 upgrades!  This has proved to be a very challenging part of my job, especially with all the traveling.  I don’t sleep in hotels!  I just don’t.  It is hard!  Be that as it may, it is nice to get out and see different parts of our country in the interim.  Chicago has been a positive change in my life.  Meeting new friends here has really been the key!  I now live between Pulaski and Kedzie to the west, and a block north from Lawrence Avenue.  Irving Park is to my south; North Park and Skokie IL are to my north; Lincoln Square and Ravenswood are to my east; and, Jefferson Park, Mayfair and O’Hare are to my west.

"Meet Me In A House Of Love"

[Verse 1]
♫ ♪ Don't shed your tears
Just meet me in a house of love
You know when you're there because the colors just soak you up
Once I was lost but in this house I can be found
Feel like the sun, we're rising and we won't come down

Into to the night
Into forever
Let's come together like the brightest stars
Into to the night
Into forever
Let's come together like the brightest stars

[Verse 2]
It's cold in the street
But we can build a house of love
We hold up the walls, the lovers in the yearning hearts
Once I was lost but in this house I can be found
Feel like the sun, we're rising and we won't come down

Into to the night
Into forever
Let's come together like the brightest stars
Into to the night
Into forever
Let's come together like the brightest stars

Into the hands
Into the night
Into the sunrise
Into my life
Into my hands
Through the night
Into the sunrise
And the rest of our lives

I'm movin up now
We built this house together
Inside the four walls, we're gonna live together
Together [x8]

Into the night, into forever
Lets come together, like the brightest stars
Into the night, into forever
Lets come together, like the brightest stars

Come out into the light ♪ ♫


«   »

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

THE VIA DRACO ARGENTEUS (Home on N. Drake Avenue)

You are here!

After moving in, I quickly started learning the CTA and use of the Trains and busses here in the city as opposed to driving.  My Ventra CTA Card has been used a lot since moving here, lo.  I’m finding that the only time I’m driving now is to go out to the ‘burbs for work or other things that I still have out there.  I live near the Kimball Brown Line terminal.  Kimball is the end of the line.  It’s a short walk there. I’ve had a friend here that is helping me out learning the busses and trains.  He’s a Chicago native and has so much insight to this city.  He’s the one who started the Chicago meetup, Venture Around.  Actually, he and his girlfriend are now my neighbors here in Albany Park.  Learning the trains, I find myself using my CTA card more now to get around the city.  It’s easier to get downtown now using the Brown Line ala Loop.

Waiting with me at the Damen Brown Line stop, I boarded the train with two pigeons.

Waiting for Brown Line to Kimball at Clark and Lake in the Loop.

Irving Park Road Brown Line 'L platform.

Crossing the Chicago River on the Brown Line over Wells Street. “Next stop, Merchandise Mart.”

Surprisingly, my new street seems pretty quiet.  I’ll hear the occasional police car go down Lawrence.  I’ve seen the fire truck two times on my street.  One thing I am really trying to get used to is the parking conundrum.  There is limited parking on my street and there are no driveways.  Everyone parks in the street out front or in the alley behind the apartment building.  Unfortunately, parking in the alley is pricey, so I’m limited to the street.  A few things I’ve seen when I parallel park: 1. People leave too much space between their cars.  It’s fortunate that the Honda is SMALL and it makes it easier to park.  The Ford on the other hand is bigger.  I’ve seen the distance that some people leave in between their cars and it’s ridiculous, because that leads to the next problem.  2. There is no assigned parking, so if you get home late from work, you’re the unfortunate person that has to park somewhere in BFE.  I had to explain to my Mom where that was, and no, it wasn’t St. Louis Avenue, Ainslie Street or Central Park Avenue, lol.  BFE. 3. There is a yellow area marked in front of the fire hydrants.  Park closer to the end of the yellow strip, and the same goes for the handicapped zone.  That’s happened often.  A few times, I had to park a couple blocks away in a different permit zone.  I have parking permits for both vehicles and they are assigned a permit zone for parking.

Friends are nearby now, and it is easier to walk to places than drive.  When I first moved to the area, I was unsure where to move to, but making new friends, I learned quickly where that would be.  Based on the activities I did last year, I chose Northside for home.  It’s hard to believe that beginning April 13, 2012, I’ve now been a resident of Chicago, Illinois.  Time moves quickly.  Moving to the area, I started finding things to do in the city and I wanted to make it a point to break out of that “anti-social shell” I lived in for so long.  I have no one but myself to credit.  It took me to make that change! 2013 was probably one of the best years ever.  2014 is still in the making but I need to stop comparing my success from last year and make new memories this year.  Back in July 2012, I latched onto Jill Jackson’s “Mingle Around Chicago” but it also where I met my first friend unknowingly.  It is also where the meetup Venture Around had its origin.  Having latched onto my first meetups, I quickly got involved with activities.  That gave birth to an exciting 2013.  I did the ultimate “venture around” event when I finally moved into Chicago in March 2014.  Those friends I met at the meetup gatherings are now my neighbors!  After hearing everyone in the meetups say, “YOU HAVE TO MOVE TO CHICAGO,” I finally did just that.  Not because they pressured me into it, but because I wanted to make that change and take that step into something different, the ultimate “venture around” event for me.  Moving from Darien IL to Albany Park, Chicago, I’ve still been changing my attitude on life, that Illinoid Attitude I was working to achieve for myself when I first moved to the area in 2012.

I’ve met some of my neighbors in my building, but not everyone yet.  Everyone in my building is brand new since the complex is newly gutted and refurbished.  I just recently had my AC connected.  For the most part, it’s a nice apartment, but most of all, I HAVE MY OWN WASHER AND DRYER NOW!  No more countless hours waiting for a washer and dryer when doing my laundry.  No more weekly trips to the laundry mat.

I recently learned (and it’s on Wikipedia) but Albany Park has been classified as the most diverse neighborhood in the United States.  Very interesting and walking up and down the streets, you can definitely see it.  There is high Hispanic class in the area, but seemingly, people keep to themselves, and you can see the diversity.  At one time, Albany Park hosted a vast Korean population and now you know why Lawrence Avenue is dubbed Seoul Drive!  There are several shops on the road that remain Korean even now.  On top of that, I think Lawrence Avenue hosted “street cars” at one time, because driving on a portion of the road, I saw an exposed rail in a chuck hole.  Walking up and down the streets, you get a few friendly faces that pass by you while walking.  Exploring the area, I was surprised to find (with the help of Kurt) several scenic parks with nature trails!!!  Yes, right here in Chicago!!!  Lawrence Avenue hosts a variety of shops and there are a few farmers’ markets too.  Again, Kimball station is right there too, so it’s easy to get around other parts of Chicago.  As I mentioned, I’ve been using the busses and have learned quite a few of them now in the area.  The same goes for the “L” trains and their transfer points.  Again, thank you to new friends helping me out and getting me around learning the city.  It has made living here so awesome!!!  Actually having learned some of the history behind some of the street names has been interesting and, no, Kimball has nothing to do with Richard Kimble from The Fugitive! Lol!

N. Drake Avenue, my street, looking towards Lawrence.  My Honda and Diebold’s Ford neatly, parallel parked.

My apartment building.

Facing south towards Lawrence Avenue.

 Corner of N. Drake and W. Ainslie.

 My living room in the early morning!

My new neighbors: Kurt, Sue and Hank helping me unpack in March.  Hank did all the unpacking.

BBQing on my back porch!

A beautiful sunset over Lawrence Avenue near home. Mayfair at W. Lawrence/N. Elston.


 "We Are Explorers" 

♪♫ [Verse 1]
Can you tell me a story
From the end of the night
Girl you tell to break the ice
And the love will go fine
Can you tell me you think straight
Plot a course in the landscape
Just tell me you're fine

We are the people
We are here alone
We are explorers when beat goes on
We're on a journey to the morning sun

[Verse 2]
Got a face for the frontpage
You should join me sometime
I wanna dream up a new age
If the planets align
With a hunger for never
Windows stretching forever
Just tell me your fine

We are the people
We are here alone
We are explorers when beat goes on
We're on a journey to the morning sun

[Verse 3]
You'll get through with a little love
Just you wait and see
You'll get through with a little love
Just you wait and see

[Breakdown x4]
Keep my hands up pointing to the sky
Until the daylight comes, into our minds to rescue us


Living right in the city is proving to be not as bad as I thought it would be.  I LOVE IT so far and with new friends, it’s helped me get out more, do things in the city, see things, do meetups, and enjoy a change in my life again.  Having lived in the ‘burbs most of my life, living in the city has new challenges, a new way looking at life, and new ideas.  I still drive out to Schaumburg to Diebold’s main office, drive to O’Hare for work, or more recently, Rosemont IL, for work at Wintrust, which provides service to several Chicago based bank charters.  This is a big account with Diebold and they will be introducing Mobile Cash.  Since I live here, I’m now the primary Systems Engineer on the project.

In April, I started attending a new church within walking distance of my apartment, just a few blocks south of me.  New Life Christian of Albany Park.  The services are really uplifting and I still have made it my mind to get involved with the church and find ways to help out.  There is plenty to do.  The church hosts three congregations: A Latino Service, A Lutheran Service and finally New Life.  The times are all set on Sunday.  New Life has many neighboring “small life groups” around the city.  I’m still trying to get involved with one.  While Chicago may be my temporary home, I need to focus on that Heaven is my eternal home!

New Life at Tabor Lutheran Church (W. Sunnyside and N. Drake).  Three congregations meet at this church.


I look back and I find it hard to believe that this journey started 2 years ago when I left Cleveland OH.  I can tell you that I’ve found my home in Chicago over those two years, and it’s the first time in my life where I felt like I belonged somewhere.  To add, it’s also the first time I truly feel home.  I can’t explain it, but it’s true, and I am much happier with my life.  It’s just that deep rooted feeling of being home and finding it finally.  I often ask myself why I ever left Chicago in the first place.  Having met some new friends here has made that journey all the more awesome though!  It was on October 2012 where that journey with new friends actually began with Venture Around Chicago when I attended my first Chicago meetup through  That was the “Weird and Haunted Tour of Chicago.”  From that group, I’ve met some great new friends, acquaintances, and people that have been supportive of my new life here.  It’s still a beginning though and there is more on the horizon.  I’ve just now gotten settled in.  It took me 15 years to make this change.  I don’t want to botch this up!  I don’t want to disappoint myself!  This year, I’ve latched onto a few new things to try like a “Digital Photography” meetup in Chicago and a “Sci/Fi Fantasy writers” meetup.  Venture Around still has been the main group I’ve been doing activities with though.  Kurt picks some really awesome things to do in Chicago.  He’d better since he’s native to the area, lol!  Another thing I'm still trying to get used to here are the airplanes.  O'Hare is nearby so I live in the path of the planes.  It gets loud sometimes, lol.



Maifest at Lincoln Square, Chicago IL

Maifest 2014, Lincoln Square.

Sound of Music at Lyric Opera

Sound of Music at Lyric Opera

De-training at 35th/Sox Red Line stop for Cellular Field.

Kurt and Sue, boarding the Red Line after the game.

A glint of the Sears Tower from Adams Street and State Street

Hanging out with Kurt, watching the Blackhawks at Cheesie’s in Lake View.

CTA Diversey 'L Platform

Near Home: Another beautiful sunset over Lawrence Avenue near Kimball

 Couple of Blackhawks’ fans boarded the Brown line on the way back from United Center.

Gene’s Rooftop, Lincoln Square

Mural under Kennedy Expressway (I-90) at Pulaski Road and Irving Park Road

A neighborhood walk on the Northside with Kurt

Wildlife in Chicago!  La Bagh Woods near Pulaski/Foster (Cook County Forest Preserve)

Hank, enjoying the cool, cool grass in La Bagh Woods

In May, we enjoyed a Saturday afternoon at Lyric Opera watching the Sound of Music, staring Titanic’s Billy Zane as Captain Von Trapp.  I believe it was our official first Venture Around meetup of the year.  It was a great way to regale some childhood memories of Sound of Music.  In June, it was finally nice to see “life” come to my street and the city with the blooming of trees and grass.  With the help of Kurt, he’s helped me get out and explore around the neighborhood.  We’ve taken several walks around the area and explored some the scenic parks nearby like at Pulaski/Foster park, Argyle/Francisco park (The North Branch Chicago River); Like I mentioned before, they have nature trails! Some of these neighborhoods have very classy looking houses and apartment buildings too.  Lincoln Square is nearby and it attracts a variety of shops and venues, like Gene’s Rooftop, Davis Theater, Maifest, and other venues.  Irving Park to the south has Independence Park, a place I may visit for the Fourth of July this year; that is if Kurt doesn’t get invited back to his old place at Pebble Yard in Old Irving Park for fireworks again.  I’m hoping he does because of this!

Independence Day 2013
Old Irving Park, Chicago IL

At the end of May, a bunch of us went to Maifest and enjoyed a great Chicago evening, listening to great music, having good food, drink, and being in the company of friends.  It was finally great to get out enjoy the nice Chicago weather, considering the awful winter we just had.  One weekend, we took the Red Line down to Bridgeport to Cellular field and watched the Sox vs. Yankees.  Being a Tribe fan, I found myself rooting for the Sox because I loathe New York.  In the end, I was really upset that New York won and the Sox lost!  Lol!  Don’t forget those Hawks too!!!

Upcoming this month, I have planned events with kayaking down the Chicago River, the World’s Largest Block Party (end of June), Grant Park Orchestra at Pritzker Pavilion, and later this summer, Lazy Tubing in Indiana (again) to look forward to.  August is still out there but the Air & Water Show will be something I do again too (It will be my 3rd year going to it).  Kayaking, yep, kayaking.  I’ve never done it before, and I’m a little scared but I was encouraged to do it.  It sounds fun and I can’t wait to do it!  I hope to also get involved with volunteer work in the city too.  There is plenty to do to help out, more than just handing a dollar to the homeless guy at the freeway exit.  The year is still early!  There is more to do with Work, Church, Venture Around and even Mingle Around.  I was also informed that my folks will be joining me next month on a week of my vacation!  I’ve already started giving them some ideas for things to do, suggesting hotels in Skokie, although I’m still researching for the best area.  I said Skokie since it’s the closest to me; it’s about 8 miles north of me (I-94 Edens).  Kurt recommended Rosemont; there is some time to play with before mid-July.

Coming soon to Chicago, Chicagoland and Milwaukee!  Mobile Cash!

For the last month and work, I’ve been working with Wintrust at their HQ in Rosemont IL.  It’s a major account with Diebold and the work I’ll be doing there will revolutionize how we access cash at the ATMs with Mobile Phones.  Its success weighs on the work I’ll do there and Diebold is hoping to roll this out soon, so there is a lot of stress involved.  Starting in March though, I’ve done a lot of traveling for work.  Some of the places I’ve journeyed to are below:

I did a lot of traveling to Chicago O'Hare (ORD) for work.

BATESVILLE, ARKANSAS (featured in March’s Blog)

In March, I started my first round of traveling for work, starting with Arkansas.  Arkansas was interesting because before I drove down there, they were hit with a heavy snow storm.  The Project Manager called me Monday morning just as I was packing up the car and asked if I was still driving down.  He said a big snow storm hit.  Knowing only my experience up north driving in snow storms, I was unprepared for the south and their version of snow storms.  After I drove down there that day through St. Louis, I was introduced to that experience.  Being in the north, I take for granted the salt trucks and plows.  Well, down south, they don’t have any of those.  Their version of snowplowed roads is tire tracks.  Yep, tire tracks.  They don’t have plows or salt trucks.  I quickly learned on my travels to stay on the Federal Routes (US routes) for my driving, since those routes were done before the other roads.

Work there was slow going because everything shutdown there for a few days.  The ATM I was working on had a bad HD, so I waited a day and half for the part to arrive.  After finally getting the drive, I worked long hours for the remaining days to ensure the work was done properly.  So I was working past midnights on some days.  On the days I was working late, their IT guy hung out with me while I had the ATM open in their drive-through.


In April, I was in Massachusetts for two weeks, well it was originally was supposed to be one week.  I flew out of O’Hare to T.F Green, Providence, then I drove a rental car into Swansea MA where the hotel was at.  I planned the trip so I could be close to the site, which I thought at the time was Fall River MA.  Swansea is right on the border of Rhode Island and MA.  When I arrived, I was distinctly listening for that Boston Accent.  They didn’t have one in Swansea MA.  The next morning after I crossed the river into Fall River, everyone lost their Rs, lol!

Arriving at the bank and meeting the bank’s IT guy in Fall River, he told me I was at the wrong site, so all I remember of that was he was trying to tell me where I was supposed to be.  “Taaantin.  Youh supposed to be at Taaantin.”  “Where?” I said.  “Can you show me on a map?”  I opened my Google Maps on my phone.  “Taantin,” he pointed.  “Oh, you mean Taunton,” I thought to myself, lol.

Taunton MA was 40 minutes away from the site, and further from the hotel.  When I finally go to Taunton, the VP of the bank was there.  Shaking my hand, he actually said (what I would never thought someone from Boston would dare say), “Wheah’d you paaak youww caaaaa?”  Translation: “Where’d you park your car?”  I had to hold back my laughter!!!  Taunton was a challenge and I was doing three people’s jobs that week.  It got me thinking about problems with our project management for SE assignments.  Later in the week, more of that would surface.  Taunton was where I needed to be for that week, so I later changed the hotel location to be much, much closer and stayed in Taunton.  There were a lot of challenges for this project and that’s all I will say about this.  The project management for this one was awful and it caused me to stay an extra week there to finish the project.  I was taken off an assignment to stay there.

During the weekend, when I was there, I drove up to Boston for the day, toured the USS Constitution, visited Old North Church, and ate in Old North neighborhood.  I also drove all the way to the end of Massachusetts across US 6 to Provincetown, where I walked around the town there where the Pilgrim’s first made landfall.  I also drove down to Marconi Beach where the first Wireless Marconi Station was planted in the United States.  It was beautiful there.  The narrow strip of land of Massachusetts (“the boot”) felt like I was in a desert.  There was so much sand there and with it being early spring, it felt desolate more desolate.  After finishing the day there, I drove to the end of US 6 and spent some time at the beach there.  It was exciting and fun to do those things on the weekend.  I learned what a “rotary” was and what a “parking trough” was too.  A rotary is a roundabout and a parking trough is similar to a resting area for vehicles off the side of the road.  On top of that, leaving the Cape Cod area on US 6, I kept seeing signs for “evacuation route,” lol.  Oookay then.  Finishing up my work in Taunton MA, it was time to go home though.  Before I was allowed to land at O’Hare, Kurt gave me the ultimatum saying I wasn’t allowed to land unless I tried Clam Chowdah, which I did.  I found it disgusting as a kid but I only think that’s because I only tried Campbell’s version of it.

 Old North Church, Boston MA

Old North Church

Boston Skyline

Cape Cod Map

Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown MA

Provincetown MA

Cape Cod seen from Provincetown MA

 Terminus of US 6, Grand Army of the Republic Highway near Provincetown MA.

Work for two weeks: Bank Five in Taunton MA

Work is complete when you begin writing off backups

"Your ultimatum is eat Clam Chowdah or you cannot land back home in Chicago,” Kurt.


Two times I went to DC.  I was doing training for new hires for these two trips.  We worked minutes from the White House in Downtown DC both times.  I was assigned two different projects for DC and two different weeks.  They were unrelated projects.  During the first trip, there was no time to do any exploring, but on my second visit, I was able to spend a day with some touring.  It was nice to walk by Lincoln’s Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, and the World War II Memorial.  It was a beautiful weather too, and I forgot to use sunscreen.  The training went well with the new hire for the two weeks I was there.  After spending the last day in DC, I did some exploring, then I jumped on the airplane back to O’Hare.

IDB-IIC Bank at New York Avenue and 13th Street NW, the first project I was assigned.

Bank Fund on Eye (I) Street and 18th Street, Downtown DC

 Bank Fund on Eye (I) Street and 18th Street, Downtown DC

Bank Fund on Eye (I) Street and 18th Street, Downtown DC

 World War II Memorial

 Lincoln Memorial

 Potomac River

On the way home to O'Hare via Cleveland...

That funky, psychedelic funhouse tunnel at O’Hare…

That funky, psychedelic funhouse tunnel with the creepy music in DTW (Detroit)…


I did one week in New York, once again training a new hire.  We flew in LaGuardia, a rundown, constricting airport.  Flying into the airport was something.  The plane flew right over water, then suddenly there was a runway!  Whoa!  Close call!  We both met up in Queens where we were staying at a hotel.  I just have to say but the streets there are just awful!  Chicago is a much cleaner city!

Meeting with the co-worker on the first day, he noted that I drove from the airport to the hotel.  “Hey, I saw that you have a rental, let’s drive into Manhattan and do some sightseeing,” he said.

“No way,” I said. “I’m not driving into Manhattan.”


“No!  If anything, we’re going to learn the subways first!  I’ve seen enough movies to know that you don’t drive or taxi into Manhattan!” 

So, we did just that.  We got a subway map and used them instead.  It wasn’t hard to learn.  We were in Queens, so we took the R and E into lower Manhattan.  We did some sightseeing, like going up to the top of the Empire State Building, seeing the new One World Trade Center (it wasn’t open to the public yet), going to Ground Zero, walking past the New York Public Library, etc.  We also enjoyed working with the bank too; they were some of the friendliest people we enjoyed working with that week, both in Manhattan and in Queens!  It was cute listening to the women in Queens with their New Yowwrk accents!  At the end of the week, we tried to go the 9/11 Memorial, but missed the times.  So, we spent a quiet reflective moment at Ground Zero, thinking back to that terrible day of September 11.  You could feel it just standing there.  We both recalled that day and talked about it. New York was great!  The trainee I worked with was from Houston.  He said he was looking forward to Diebold.  During the week, we ate lunch in Queens and the person serving us guessed where we came from based on our accents, lol!  He was accurate for both of us, guessing the co-worker as Houston Texas and me, believe it or not, as Chicago.  Ha!  It was kind of creepy, lol!

 Time's Sqaure

 From the Empire State Building, looking towards the East River.

 The Empire Building's giant spire.

From the Empire State Building, looking towards lower Manhattan.

A Panoramic View of New York from Queens.

New York, seen from Queens

Queens Boulevard near Van Dam in Queens, facing the Empire State Building.

Ground Zero!

Ground Zero and One World Trade Center aka the Freedom Tower.

How many of you play the opening musical score to Ghostbusters in your head when you see those lions?  I do!

 Riding the New York Subways


In between the previous trips here, I did some traveling to Hartford, Connecticut, Upstate New York (Norwich NY). For the last part of May up to this point, I’ve been working at Wintrust and its HQ in Rosemont IL.  The weight of the work I do here for Diebold rests squarely on my shoulders. Its success with revolutionize how we access cash using mobile phones and ATMs. There is so much involved and Wintrust pilots several Chicago/Milwaukee charter banks. I'll be working at the main HQ but may working around Chicago too with its charters. :: deep breath :: I’ve opened a bank account at one of its charters: First Chicago Bank and Trust at N. Elston and N. Pulaski.  I hope my work here impacts my career at Diebold in a positive direction!  After opening an account at the Elston location, I learned that the branch will be demolished in the fall and they are opening a new branch next door to their old site.  I saw NCR machines in the lobby and now it makes sense.  The branch associate said they’re moving to Diebold.  YEAH!  I finally also got my ATM card and setup Mobile Cash on my mobile phone!  I may just move all my bank accounts to Wintrust now, lol!  It's pretty cool feature.

My new bank in Chicago.  Busable from Lawrence #81 to Pulaski #53 to Elston!  Corner of Elston and Pulaski

My New Bank, the new bank being built next door.

Wintrust HQ, 9700 W. Higgins Road, Rosemont IL

At Work.

Mobile Cash App on my phone.

Mobile Cash through Paydiant


I did it finally!  IT WAS FUN!!!!!  Met some new people too!!!  I finally kicked myself in the behind to do this!!!

After work, I took the Brown Line to Belmont and transferred to the Red Line.  I walked over to Kayak Chicago from the Clybourn/North Avenue Stop.  We all met up at Kayak Chicago nearing sunset.  Our journey started at North Avenue and we kayaked down to the Main branch of the Chicago River (1.5 miles), then journeyed back towards North Avenue at sunset.  North Avenue to Chicago Avenue is 1 mile.  FUN TIME!!!!  I didn’t tip over or melt in the Chicago River either.  Someone in the group asked me, "how far do you think we paddled?"  Well, if you figure it correctly according to Chicago's Grid.  North Avenue (1600N) to Chicago Avenue (800N) is 1 mile.  Chicago Avenue to Kinzie Street (400N) is a half mile. We turned around near that street.  I told her probably little over 3 miles.

Chicago Avenue, the 1 mile marker.  Downstream…

The main branch where North and South branches merge.  ½ mile from Chicago Avenue about Kinzie Street.

Heading back north and nearing sunset…


The World's Largest Block Party started 30 years ago in Chicago.  It's hard to believe that would be 1984, lol.  My my how time flies.  This year, Kurt, Sue and some other of our friends like Viki, DatLy and some other new faces all went down to West Loop to enjoy an afternoon of live music and fun!  Kurt, Sue and I took the Metra down from the Ravenswood stop on Lawrence and walked over from Ogilvie to Monroe and Des Plaines near Old St. Pat's Church.  There we met up with everyone else and there weren't many people yet.  So, we were able to move around freely, get food, drink and enjoy Chicago.  The World's Largest Block party is also know as the Largest Single's Event, although I didn't see that.  Kurt and Sue said this was where they met two years before and you never know what happens.  Maybe there is some Irish "magic" here.  Well, soon, we were visited by a thunderstorm and we all had to take cover in the Presidential Tower Parking Garage until it blew over.  Luckily, the storm didn't last more than a half an hour because we all went back to the event where it started to fill up for Live Music from The Mowgli's and Third Eye Blind!  Yes, Third Eye Blind!  By now, I was on the brink of a panic attach trying to get through people.  We all bought VIP tickets and the VIP stand was all the way at the other end, lol.

First arriving at the Block Party.  No one here yet.

Viki and DatLy

 This was not the fairy dust I asked for...

 Taking cover..


The Mowgli's


Third Eye Blind!


Outside of work and home life, I’ve been seeing a doctor for my Psoriasis.  I recently saw a GP doctor here in Ravenswood about Humira (Advocate Medical of Ravenswood).  One, I learned that I have a rare blood type (A negative) and two I learned that I need to lower my cholesterol.  The doctor said that I’m healthy for a 40 year old (for the most part) but he is recommending I see a nutritionist.  He also encouraged me to donate blood too since my type is one of the rarest.  At least the doctor was honest about not taking the Humira yet.  I’ve already talked to a few friends about dieting and am now changing my diet again.  Unfortunately, because of the high cholesterol, I am unable to take Humira now.  I’ll have to get by with the creams for now and deal with the awful nightly scratching.  I need to focus on losing weight and eating better.  A local friend here sent me a very thorough e-mail on diets and to add a few movies to my Netflix queue: Food, Inc (which I already watched and almost gave me nightmares), Food Matters, and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  I’m also looking into Nutribullet and Paleo Diet.  Thanks Kurt and Sue, and Lauren!  

Kurt also took me over to Revolution Tap Room on Kedzie too where I tried some good beers.  We sampled many good flavors but I liked the dark beers the most.

Revolution Tap Room, 3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL

♪ Announcements, announcements, a horrible death to die, a horrible death to die ♪ 

Ok, so, yes, I deleted my old FB page. Ok why? It was time to start over, close that last chapter of my life and seal it! Don't look back to it; time to look forward and start anew with a new chapter! Around this time two years ago, someone I was very close to stated that I was going to fail in Chicago and move back to Cleveland.  A real friend would not go behind your back and tell your friends you are going to fail.

My friend, +Richard Trigg called me later in June and told me that their cat, Tigger, (the one they adopted from me in 2002) had passed away.  It was very sad and it seemed that he'd been sick for awhile.  I'm glad he went peacefully and he didn't suffer.  He was born in July 2001 (around then), so he was getting old.  He had a long happy life!  I'm happy for that.  Tigger was given to me when I lived in Pinewood Apartments in Brunswick OH in 2001, just after September 11.  I was trying to remember with Rich when he was born and I remember my neighbor (who had Tigger first) said probably around June or July 2001.

Tigger and I at Rich and Kelly's for Christmas Eve 2012
Garfield Heights OH

RIP Tigger, my friend.

Extreme weather has been pummeling Chicago...

June 24th

Whoa! That's Route 83 north in Westmont, Kingery Highway. I used to drive it all the time to and from work. I recognize the Oakbrook Terrace Tower in the background.

June 30th

Near Home: Another sunset over Lawrence Avenue in front of Kimball Station.

After the storm...


I’ve also been expanding my home network too.  I’ve expanded my home network to include VMWare, ESXi (etcetera).  I am now saving up for a brand new camera (for photography), a gigabit Ethernet switch (for iSCSI with ESXi) and some kind of NAS.  Before I do those, I’m going to add more memory into the Dell for better performance.  Yes, all my computer gear still retain the old “Oakbrook 17-102” signage, thanks to the first apartment I started my home network at in North Royalton OH, Oakbrook Gardens.  Why change it now?

I finally got iSCSI to work on my home network. I am using my TeraStation (backup NAS) for ESXi datastores. Basically, I'm using the TeraStation for network storage so I can do backups. Thanks, Wayne Chatham for the disk provisioning info and suggestions in ESXi. I've already powered off everything to make sure ESXi still sees the datastores (and virtual disks) when I power it back on. I had an extra NIC on the ESXi so I setup a new vmkernel for binding to iSCSI and to keep network traffic separate for better performance.

The first Virtual Machine to use the NAS after setting up a new Hard Disk in ESXi. Drive F: is the TeraStation. Drive C: is the local ESXi drive. I decided on Thin Provisioning and Dependent Mode so I can do snapshots.


Also, in June, I celebrated my Scottish History with June 24th, celebrating 700 years of Scottish FFRRREEEDDDOOOMMM and the Battle of Bannockburn. June 24th, Mid-Summer's Day, marks 700 years of Scotland's freedom with the Battle of Bannockburn, led by Robert the Bruce! Alba go bragh!

Clan McCeattanach (Seen Modern: Chattan), THE CLAN OF THE CAT. The actual origin of the name Chattan is disputed. There are three main theories. The name derives from the Catti, a tribe of Gauls, driven out by the advancing Romans. The name is taken from Cait, an ancient name for the present counties of Caithness and Sutherland. The clan derives its name from Gillchattan Mor, baillie of Ardchattan, follower of St Cattan. This is the most widely accepted theory.

Until the early 14th century the Clan Chattan was a seperate Scottish clan with its own chieftencey, until Angus Mackintosh, 6th chief of Clan Mackintosh married Eva, the daughter of Gilpatric Dougal Dall, the 6th chief of Clan Chattan. Thus Angus Mackintosh became 6th chief of Clan Mackintosh and 7th chief of the Clan Chattan. The two clans united to form the Chattan Confederation, headed by the chief of Clan Mackintosh.The feud with the Clan Comyn brought the Chattan Confederation support from Robert the Bruce and they fought for him at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. They also took part in the Scottish invasions of England in 1318 and 1319. Many Highland Clans came to the aid and support of Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Clan Chattan was one of those clans that hailed to him.

A noted Chatham historian traced my family back to this clan and its early beginning. He also said that the Chathams may've come down out of Scotland in the early 1800s and settled in Nottingham, England, where my Great grandfather is from. Cheetham is actually an anglicized version of the Scottish name. The name Chatham didn't surface until recently here in the States, but CEAT (Cheet) in Scots-gaelic is "CAT." CHAT in French is CAT. "Tan" is a temporary dwelling place. HAM is old english for HOME.


At home, I celebrated my 1984 movie collection, starting on June 7, the day Ghostbusters was released in theaters 1984.  I remember first seeing this with my family at the former Memphis Drive-in in Cleveland OH.  It was shortly after school let out and my brothers and I had a choice as to what movie to watch: Ghostbusters, Trading Places or Conan.  We all said "GHOSTBUSTERS!" So, my movie lineup consisted of...

• Ghostbusters
• The Last Starfighter
• The Neverending Story (Die undendliche Geschichte - German.  I remember reading this in German for German Class in High School)
• Gremlins
• Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom
• The Karate Kid
• Conan: The Destroyer
• Trading Places

So, now you can see what I’ve been up to.  I am trying to get back into blogging even it’s just a little bit once in a while.  From the desk of Eric Chatham, thank you for reading…

I'm hoping to go to Lollapalooza this year so I can see these guys...


In Memory Capsule

♪♫ [Verse 1]
You say you're a refugee of the long term loving scene
As you stole your kiss from me, but how different could I be

To the others, you've been hating
Broken lovers, but it's all over now
All the others, you've been hating
Broken lovers, but it's all over now
Fallen love

Can you feel it
Can you feel it’s burning in our minds
Just believe it
Just believe in it once in your lifetime
Can you feel it
Can you feel it’s burning in our minds
Just believe it
Just believe in it once in your lifetime

[Verse 2]
You say I'm the reckless one
So you shy away from love
But I know how long you gonna run
From the things that you want in life

[Bridge 2]
All the others, you've been hating
Broken lovers, but it's all over now
Fallen love

[Chorus x2]
Can you feel it?
Can you feel it burning in our minds?
Just believe it
Just believe it once and a lifetime

[Refrain x2]
Fallen love?

Can you feel it
Can you feel it’s burning in our minds
Just believe it
Just believe in it once in your lifetime
Can you feel it
Can you feel it’s burning in our minds
Just believe it
Just believe in it once in your lifetime ♫♪

The new blog site will be coming soon this year.  Stay tuned...

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