Sunday, March 12, 2017

Head in the Clouds

2017 The Destination is There.

Mystical Pond
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Darien IL
February 18, 2017

To Serenade A Rainbow by PM Dawn.
Rock the Shamrock.

Hello everyone! Welcome to a new month. The destination is there. I hope you all are enjoying the new year. So far, the new year has started off rather well, but there is still plenty to accomplish by the end of it all. I have been going back to my goals for this year and looking at what I've been doing to keep those goals moving along. February was a busy month and a lot of the "routine" things I do for fun in February/March changed. I normally go the the Chicago Auto Show, Chiditarod and the River Dyeing. I've done these the last four years. I think this year it was time to take a break from those. I don't have to do this every year. I'm hoping to achieve some life-changing goals for this year, like owning a home, traveling outside the US, and career! After all, the name of this blog is "Eric Failing Deletions," which as some of you might have figured out by now is an anagram for "Life Altering Decision!" 

Chicago Auto Show
McCormick Place
February 12, 2017

This year has started out with a lot of challenges, a lot of late hours and weekend warrior work for my job, which actually I am NOT complaining about. It's a great feeling to make something work though! March was that month. So, a lot of that tough after hour weekend warrior work has paid off, especially in March. In March 2 of my friends started NEW JOBS! This is probably the greatest news I've seen from my friends! Getting or starting a new job supersedes any Kid photo, Spouse/SO photo, Pet photo or whatever. I have another friend who is going to an interview soon, so I'm hoping THREE friends start new jobs this month. I can truly relate with friends trying to find work and how tough it really it is! I've been there and I truly empathize with people that WORK HARD to earn respect. Getting a job is the best feeling in the world. You have a great feeling of worth and dignity! I also talked my friend Dena in Cleveland too, and I'm really hoping for her too as she has struggled forever with career choices. I hope this year is good to her too! She DESERVES a new change in her life!

Wolcott and Hubbard
March 4, 2017

This month was a very tough month as I stated. I had been working on a hybrid project at work and finally this month that hard work paid off.  You might be wondering about the headline for this section, "To Serenade A Rainbow by PM Dawn." Not only was the first-ever CD album of mine to own, it was also the name of my project at work! Our office was upgrading its environment to the Cloud, Azure and Office 365! We made it to to the cloud ala #theflyingjalopy! This one is a "Mad Max Beyond Thunder Dome" reference lol.

Things are looking a little brighter this year on the financial horizon as well! I paid my car off, renewed my AAA membership (and approved for AAA Credit Card). I am also close to paying off one off my student loans. Next destination will be owning my first home! I also had some good news with health and doctors this month as well.  As most of you know, I suffer from an Autoimmune Disease and I've faced many challenges with overcoming the worst of it. I wish there were a cure for this, but like other incurable diseases, we have to learn to be our own coach.  This means diet, exercise, mental state of mind, and other environmental variables.

Chicago River Dyeing
Streeterville, Chicago IL
March 11, 2017

I'm also thankful that I have friends and family (though a lot of them distant, including my folks) that support me and my decisions. This month, I planned a trip to visit my folks for my Mom's birthday! The PTO has been approved! The last time I saw my folks was for Thanksgiving. I didn't see them Christmas -- I went on a date here in Chicago in Chinatown. Each passing day, I love them more and more and I try to call them each weekend. I regularly text my Mom! Never take granted your parents! Mine live in Cleveland and they're not around the corner, so it will be a tremendous blessing to see them again.

• 2017 Goal: Find a new home! Yep, as much as I like my neighborhood (Albany Park), the apartment I live in has several faults, including kids that don't care about other neighbors in the building. 401k. Pre-Approval on mortgage.

Another great thing I plan on doing soon with my DynDNS and DuoCircle renewal is upgrade to Office 365 Azure at home! I've had my computer network running since 2008 with Active Directory, ESXi, Exchange Server, my own website, and other goodies ala Oakbrook 17-102. With all the efforts done at work, I think it's time to do the upgrade at home too. Ever since I started my home network, it's been a basic sandbox for testing things at work. Actually, by having the home sandbox, I've used it for projects at work and it's really helped me do my job better! With my Microsoft account, I did manage to sign up for Azure last year. I just haven't added anything to it. So, hopefully when I renew my DynDNS and DuoCircle subscriptions, I'll add Azure. With that, I hope my goal is to setup a backup server in the Cloud for backing up to. My backups at home don't go off site. It will also be cool to setup AD Connect and sync my Active Directory to the Cloud!!!

Room information for my Apartment
Via Draco Argenteus

So, this year I'm hoping to be pre-approved for a mortgage so I can buy my own home! The destination is there! I'm hoping that very soon, I'll pay off one of my student loans and some (very little debt). If there is one thing I remember the most is the year 2007 when I worked myself to death with THREE jobs, while going to school, AND PAYING MY OWN BILLS! I truly empathize with people that work very hard to make a living in life, and yes, even those Single Moms that still manage to find time to take their kids to soccer practice. We're not meant to coast by with ease! This goes back to the 2 friends this year that got jobs!!! Anyone who gets a job deserves the utmost praise and attention! Those that think getting a boyfriend/girlfriend, engaged, married, having a baby or whatever is! Not in my mind! When you get a job, it's the greatest achievement done by anyone. You have a feeling of self-respect, dignity, and worth! You feel that even more when you get that first paycheck! People have marriages, engagements, kids everyday, but when you get a job, it's a whole different kind of world! In a world of unemployment, lack of jobs, and people struggling to get by, getting a job changes all that! I didn't come into this world with rich parents! My brothers and I had to earn that respect, earn that self-respect and we had tough love. Generation X all the way! So, when I look at the kids now (even my folks have remarked on the upbringing of Millennials now), it's entirely different kind of world. My lease is up in August. I just hope and pray I have different living arrangements by then. I'll tell you that it's not been easy getting on the train each night worrying if my building is going to be quiet. I go to bed at night. My building USED to be quiet when I moved here in January 2014. It's time to own a home! Ever since I moved back to first shift, I get up at 7am now and go to bed by 10pm. I shouldn't have to feel guilty about that. I've watched people in my building; we all have jobs to go to!

Avebury, England
A place I hope to see!
I did not take this picture.
October 13, 2017???

Silent Running by Mike and the Mechanics
Skype Hybridization Project at Velocity

Another thing I'm trying to do this year is travel to the United Kingdom hopefully around my birthday this year. My birthday also falls on Friday the 13th this year, lol! Getting a US Passport for the first time is something I've never done and I didn't know you could get one without travelling. The destination is there! My friend Chris Johnson is from England and he's been a tremendous help to me planning my UK trip. I told him I've never been outside the US more than a day lol. Back when my family camped every weekend with the Maple Heights Camper's Club (Maple Heights OH), we went to some interesting placed to camp. I'm not sure that club is around anymore, but we did a lot of camping with my family when I was a kid. One of those camping excursions took us to New York near Buffalo. My Dad drove us into Canada that day to Niagara Falls. We spent the evening there, BUT we were there only for an hour or so ha! So, that sums up my travel outside the United States.

Chris has been helping plan places to see in England like the "Cliffs of Dover," Stonehenge, London, Nottingham (Sherwood Forest), etc. I have a lot of family history in the United Kingdom and Ireland. So, when it came down to planning trips, the UK stood out the most. I'd love to visit China next! No, not just because of my weakness with Asian women lol! It just looks like a very interesting place to visit and experience the culture! So, UK is the destination! Nottingham is where the Chathams came from in the early 1900s, when the name was Cheetham. Before that it was Inverness, Scotland when the name was MacCeattannach (Clan Chattan). Ireland predominates my Mom's side, so that would be another location to visit especially Co. Dublin, where my Mom's family hails from.

My favorite Winter Constellation, Orion.
Front stoop of my apartment building with Chicago light pollution
Albany Park, Chicago IL
March 10, 2017

I told Chris that I'd love to visit Avebury in England too. He asked me why. I admitted to him that it was due to a childhood dream! When I was a kid in the early 80s when Nickelodeon first aired, at the birth of Cable TV, there was a series that aired called "The Third Eye." It aired before "You Can't Do That On Television." If you're Gen X like me, then you might remember when Nickelodeon first aired, it shared network space with the A&E channel! Then, Nickelodeon had its own channel later. In the "Third Eye" sci/fi show, there was a series called Children of the Stones! Watching that as a kid, I didn't understand it but I was fascinated by it because the town of Avebury, England was used in the plot. This is also where my love of stargazing began (not just with my Uncle) but they featured the Big Dipper as part of the plot in this series. Since that time, I always wanted to visit that town they used in the series. The stone circle supposedly sits on a "ley line," shared with the Pyramids of Giza.

• 2017 Goal: "Happy Now? Happy Later?" Happy Now! Todd, if you're reading this, you remember when you said this to me 10 years ago, and I said Happy Later? I'm making it a goal in 2017. I still don't know to this day why you asked me this, but it has made me think about my own happiness lately.

This month, I started the process for filling out form "DS 11" for a US Passport. This is the first time I've done this, and I should've done it earlier had I known I could have a passport without travel plans. Nonetheless, I'll finally get that done. I visited AAA on Michigan Avenue on a lunch break to get my photos done. When I visit my folks, I'll get my birth certificate and by then, I'll be able to go to the post office and submit my application! This is really exciting, and the bonus? I was approved for an AAA Credit Card which I can use OUTSIDE THE US internationally!!! This will definitely help me plan my trip better and I'm looking at trip pricing to the UK. Chris has told me to fly into Manchester instead of Heathrow London to help save money. And, if I'm planning my trip, he recommended around my birthday in October. Fares will be cheaper!

VelocityEHS IT Family (Merchandise Mart)
Employee Appreciation Day
March 3, 2017

Striking Matches by Squeeze. 
Striking matches with explosives so near...

Ok by now you're probably reading this and asking why the song titles, lol? I have my job to thank for this.  Our work projects and meetings are done by song title sand album names. As I mentioned, the beginning of this year was very busy with work and projects. It's good to know that this month we've had some success! "Silent Running by Mike and the Mechanics" was specifically chosen for my Skype for Business hybrid project. If you're a dork, you'll get the meaning ha! Last year, I joined the team of VelocityEHS and it's been a great experience. The destination is there! Sometimes, a job just chooses you; and, you don't. This was Velocity.

• 2017 Goal: I want love and it's out there. Love and acceptance have been areas of my life I've battled with.

This year started off great with them and it's still going well! It is a great feeling to complete projects with success and learn later you are eligible for a pay raise and some of the bonus from the previous year. I wasn't expecting anything like this for the first year of employment, let alone the first couple months! When I discovered how important I was to the team, it was a joyful, tearful moment.  Tearful moment? Well, I finally understood what that meant on Employee Appreciation Day at the Shamrock Club! After work that day, our team had drinks there and had a great night together. I learned that night how valuable I was on the team from my other teammates. I also learned that night how my "drink to drunk ratio" has decreased. Losing weight, I get drunk easier lol. In fact, something good came out of that night. The last time I was actually drunk was my 40th birthday. I don't drink like this often, but that night something happened. 

Tonia's last picture in my wallet finally went up in flames! The destination is there! Thank you, Sarah!

Mind you, in an age before digital photography spun-off, I have no pictures of her on my computer! Backstory on love: In 2001, just after September 11th, I fell in love with a woman. Her name was Tonia. We met, planned on an exciting future together. She had kids from a previous marriage; I was ok with that. However, in that relationship, I wanted to have my own as well. You don't always understand things in your life, and this was the first time I fell head over heels for a woman; the first time I was so lost and deeply in love! It ended. In 2002, I learned something out of that which broke my heart. She was not able to have children anymore. She never shared this with me while we were in the relationship. It hit me hard! For the next 15 years, I built walls up around my heart after that. We broke it off completely by 2003. In that short of time, I was hurt. I have written many fantasy stories. "She" was written about in one of those stories [The Birth of Twins]. Well, that night, while in a "weakened" state, her picture went up in Flames! For the longest time, I had been meaning to burn it, but just couldn't.

"Oooh I'm striking matches it's morning again
I look in the mirror I still look the same
I'm striking matches it's morning again
I look in the mirror I go up in flames

Striking matches getting a flame on the stove
There's some of her in the teeth of my comb
Dirty clothes piled up on the bathroom floor
She's silently sleeping, I half close the door
I see her beauty laying on my bed
I'm warm from within me with what she has said
Her love is my balloon, I won't let it down
For ever and ever I'll always be proud."

Striking Matches by Squeeze
Babylon and On

That song was specifically chosen for this event before I joined Velocity IT; however, I have Velocity IT to thank for helping me out of this pit! The only thing I really remember from that night is pulling that picture from wallet and showing it to my teammate. 

She grabbed it from me and she said, "I'll be right back." I had no idea she was going to go outside the pub to light it on fire! She came back in and said, "...I took care of it."

"What do you mean?" I said.

"She's gone. It's time for you to move on. You can't do this to yourself anymore." She stated this in the sincerest and gentlest way. Her picture was finally was gone...up in flames. At the moment when I was my weakest, I was my strongest. It was a tearful moment. I can't believe she was finally gone after all those years! It took help for this. So, when I say "tearful moment," this is it. Up in smoke. Recently, I've learned much from this group and I can't thank Chris Johnson enough for leading my path into Velocity last year. The destination is there.

• 2917 Goal: Stop being snubbed or ignored! You may think this is a selfish goal, but really it isn't. I never stand out and I'm often brushed aside, ignored and forgotten.  Far too often in my life, this has been a serious problem, and I never do anything about it.  Some people in my life get FAR too much praise, attention and adoration than they actually deserve, including cohorts, friends and family. So, meekly stand out.

I woke up Saturday morning to this!
Velocity Slack
March 11, 2017

Hard work pays off! This month, I'm also wrapping an intense project involving Exchange/Skype Hybridization at work. This was one of my projects for 2017 at Velocity. There is still a lot to test and a lot to expand on; it's only the beginning but the destination is there. It was nice to get some attention from the teammate I was working on the project with. Admittedly, I woke up in the morning and saw this in one of the the slack channels we use for work. Going back to that goal about being "snubbed or ignored," it's not a selfish goal. It's good to "meekly stand out." Speaking of which, I recently e-mailed my former boss Sergey Galchenko from Broadvox and told him all the good news with the new job, telling him that my new manager reminds me of the good in you, and that the new job has brought back so many fond memories of working at Broadvox.

Kimball Station (Kimball/Lawrence) 07:47
Mornings, going to work on the Brown Line
The destination is Merchandise Mart

Tubthumping by Chumbawamba.
Password Resetting at home

The month of February and March had me doing a lot of "resetting." What I mean by this is not only due to my "lost phone" at Kimball at the beginning of the year, but in life. I've been striving to keep positive in my life. Might I also add, but I think I finally figured out the trains in the morning for work. If I get on the 07:47 departing train at Kimball, I make it to work with no "bumps" or "snags" in my commute. My phone was never recovered here either after I lost it running to the train one morning. I just felt like that needed to be stated ha, but back on topic of resetting. Up til now, not only have I been resetting all my passwords (since my phone had a copy of my KeePass pwd file on it), I've been doing this in my life too with people and situations. The destination is there. Unfortunately, I've learned that my personality type has me absorb a lot (being an INFJ). I've looked at several of the greatest friendships I have are still in Cleveland. I've lived in Chicago for some time now and I have not met anyone yet that truly lives up to my "Cleveland friends." NEVER take your folks or your friends for granted! I've learned this over the course of my time living in Chicago -- not only in 1994, but when I moved back here! I celebrate those friendships, the friends that inspire, the friends that I hold dear, the friends I worry about when I go to bed at night (yes, this happens). The friends I think about when I wake up! Never take your friends for granted.

• 2017 Goal: If there is one thing Chicago has taught me is resilience and a certain kind of stubbornness. So, continuing on to not be a door mat and have a little dignity is not a bad thing either. Thank you, Karen Sobolewski for always being supportive of my decisions and pointing me in a self-respectful lifestyle!

Michigan Avenue
Mag Mile, Chicago IL
February 11, 2017

Chicago has taught me a lot about resilience. Actually, my favorite structure in Chicago is the Water Tower at Michigan Avenue and Pearson. In fact, Karen Sobolewski's name is attributed to this 2017 goal. If there is one friendship I hold dear, it's hers. We crossed paths at Broadvox in Cleveland in 2008, almost 1 decade of friendship and she's been an inspiration to my lifestyle here in Chicago. "Stop letting people walk over you. Have a little respect for yourself." I remember her telling me that one year. At first, it hurt, but when I moved back to Chicago, it made sense! Thank you, Karen. The most recent time I thought about this was recently with noisy neighbors. I have had enough knocking on a neighbor's door to turn off the bass notes at midnight. "Show a little self respect." I've done enough calling the landlord about it. So, the next step was calling the police. At first I felt guilty about it (taking the police from real issues like actual crime and not mitigating noisy neighbors), but I stopped and thought. I pay rent here too. If I'm not getting what I pay for, and I'm unhappy, I need to do something about it. Yeah. Sounds mean, you think? It's not. "Stop letting people walk over you." I don't put up with crap anymore. I'm getting too old for it. I'm a nice and forgiving person, but I have my limits just like the next person. Loud bass notes in the middle of the night is crossing my limit!

• 2017 Goal: Grace, mercy, kindness, generosity and charity. Continue to put friends first when the situation arises.

Speaking of forgiveness, I had a tender moment this past month with one of my friends. Shannon Kuehn is an amazing friend, very professional and kind! I interacted with her recently at one of her meetups on Azure Site Recovery, which she hosted at the Civic Opera House Building. We worked together at IPsoft on 155 N. Wacker for awhile and I always valued her knowledge and experience in IT. She was a positive influence at IPsoft on our team, and I still feel to this day that she should've been our Team Lead but then we have Office politics! Shannon currently works with 10th Magnitude and has many success stories with Azure, Cloud Solutions and much more. She recently gave me some tips and pointers for my hybrid project at work.

We met for lunch at Naf Naf Grill on W. Washington Boulevard for lunch one day. We agreed to meet up half way from our offices! Little did we know but that would put us near 155 N. Wacker lol. During lunch, I was blessed to learn the true meaning of forgiveness. When we both worked together at IPsoft, we worked with a couple teammates that were very negative, snide, spiteful and hurtful. As many times, I tried working on my shift with these team members, life was sucked out the room when they were there. It was hard to focus, concentrate and do my job. I never said anything about it. The team members would make fun of me and belittle me or my experience. It really hurt! How does this fit in with Shannon? I explained this to her and she thought I was overacting and jealous -- at first. I told her that wasn't it all and she didn't see how I really felt about, still thinking I was being jealous of them.

We met for lunch and she revealed to me something that made my heart sink!!! The same two teammates I had encountered a problem with also had hurt her! They hurt her in pretty much the same way they hurt me. She revealed this to me privately before we met for lunch. Hearing that news really upset my day to say the least and it was hard to work that day, because I felt really bad for her. That pain came back. In the "gap" we had in our friendship, it bothered me how she was treated, since I had already been there. So, I was ready to listen to her and how she felt at lunch. "I am sorry I didn't understand how you really felt," she admitted. "I understand now how you felt."

Shannon Kuehn
"It's all good."
February 15, 2017

It felt good to say to her, "it's all good." That's colloquial for saying I forgave her, because at that point, I did. I saw how much she felt sorry! There, it hit me about real forgiveness! People might do us harm, but it's NOT UNTIL THEY ARE TRULY SORRY FOR WHAT THEY DID AND ASK YOU TO FORGIVE THEM where the real forgiveness is at. My friend Jeff Korhorn and I have had this discussion many times, and now I truly see what that means. That's Christianity right there -- in a nutshell! Jesus commanded us to forgive "...70 times 7." It's the same as when we are sorry for our sin and ask God to forgive us. Being truly sorry. That means indefinitely. People often misunderstand what real forgiveness is. Although Shannon and I were meeting to discuss Azure at lunch, I mainly met for HER, for her to "let it out." I listened to her, and I truly empathized how she felt and how she was a victim of "emotional bullying." I reassured her not to feel guilty about her success and to keep on being her!  Keep on succeeding I told her. I reassured her that I never felt ill-well with her and always had nothing but positive things to say when she wasn't near. She needed to hear that for herself. Since then, we've been talking more professionally and personally.

This month has had me refocusing on the GOOD in my friendships, and never to take them for granted. Next week, I'll get to visit some of those close friends again when I go and visit my folks in Cleveland for the week. Friends like Richard Trigg  [An Epiphany of Sorts] with whom our families were linked before our births unknowingly. Some of my friends want me to take pictures for them too haha. One friend asked me how much I charge. I said, "You? You're a friend. I don't." I'm sure that tune might change in the future but I'm not a professional photographer. Several of my Cleveland friends took a long time to make. I don't just make friends right away. Until you really know who I am and understand who I am, then I make friends fine. That's been really difficult here in Chicago. There are a lot of people here, but I have managed to make some trusting ones. Oddly, I just found out that my friend Chris is also an INFJ. We discussed it over lunch last month. He admitted it to me, and said that is why we are probably friends. INFJ is a rare personality type and even more rare in MEN! I've learned to be who I am though and keep true to myself, a lot more lately.

John Hancock's South Porch Window
Streeterville, Chicago IL
February 11, 2017

True Faith by New Order
Life altering decision

This month was a tough month with being sick! Three times already this year, I've gotten sick, and I've had two migraines. This weather is part of the problem (too extreme hot/cold), but the medicine I take for my Autoimmune Disease is the other. I watch out for sick people for the most part, because the medicine inhibits immune function in my system. I am one of those people that after I hop of the train in the morning, the first thing I do is WASH MY HANDS with hot water and soap at work! I watch for people that sneeze and cough on me too, especially on the train. The train is literally like a moving petri dish! I am again getting over being sick at this very moment. It's not been easy, but 3 other team members have both come down with the same sickness at work. I found out that "Patient Zero" was probably a bad bottle of whiskey we all shared! The good news? I'm still losing weight, and once again, I'll have to drill another hole in my belt! Very soon!
• 2017 Goal: Continue on with the diet and exercise and maybe join a gym next year. So far, I've been doing stuff at home and getting off at Damen instead of Kimball for cardio (2 extra miles of walking). I'm at a weight I was at in my early 20s now. That's the first time I've been at this weight since.
I went to the doctor in Februrary for a check up. I go to Advocate Medical Ravenswood. I asked the doctor about my migraines and my Psoriasis. It's starting to come back. He told me that I will need a new agent. For the migraines, he said since they're not frequent, to keep taking Advil or Motrin BEFORE the headache ensues. I've pinned the migraines to extreme change in the weather from warm to cold. Event this week, we're expecting snow in the forecast, and we had a warm period last week. I also got new prescription for contact lenses recently too. I ventured back to my old stomping grounds in Darien to spend the day there.

The last time I drove my car anywhere was back in November when I last saw my folks. I don't normally drive around in the city. I rely on walking, public transportation, and Uber. In fact, last night I used Uber to get around. Parking on my street is awful and it's probably the main reason I don't do a lot of driving. The yearly parking permit is worth it though. So, driving to the 'burbs in February was nice to do. We had nice weather that one Saturday. The Saturday I spent in Darien, I got my car repairs and vision taken care of. I usually take my car into Continental Honda on S. LaGrange Road, and since I was waiting for my car, I walked over to Walmart Vision to get my eye exam.

Car Repairs and Doctors
Countryside IL
February 18, 2017

This year was a change of guard for me. The general things I've done the past years here in Chicago, I stopped. After the Chinese New Year Parade this year, I stepped down as head organizer in "1001 Things To See In Chicago Before You Die." I have stayed on as a member, but I'm doing what I want this year and I've joined and attended several photography events in Chicago. I think stepping down was an eye-opener to several, and a lot of people support me, but a lot of people were disappointed I did that. I felt it was time to make that change in favor towards more photography this year. I am striving to go out on photo shoots and do more portrait photography. For the time being, my co-workers and some friends have been a help with being "subject matter" in my shots, and I'm learning a lot, especially with my new lenses. Meetup organizers struggle with one thing; I've seen this in other meetups. It's attendance and no-shows. This was the major factor for me stepping down as head organizer. It's hard to plan an event when you need head counts and only a handful of the people show up. It's the "meetup syndrome." Other organizers have the same problem. Rather than wasting my time with it, it was time to step down.

• 2017 Goal: More portrait photography in my portfolio next year. There is still a lot to learn. First item on my list to purchase is a lens with faster glass. Thank you, James Baranski.

Lensflare Photography at Bauwerks Studio
Bucktown, Chicago IL
March 11, 2017

Since then, I've had more freedom to explore my photography and practice more. In fact, I've been meeting with a new startup group called Lensflare that meets in Bucktown! So far, the organizer has been really thorough with his information and provides us with enough to operate our cameras. I never has anyone show me how to clean my camera. This group has! Down to the sensor itself! Fascinating! I've attended a couple of the courses and you get to interact with each other and demonstrate with our cameras. The meetup is done right in a photography studio, so it exposes us to equipment, different types of lighting and more. I plan to do more with the meetup especially when Spring finally arrives. 

Lensflare Photography Group
Bauwerks Studios in Bucktown
March 11, 2017

I also booked a meetup with Naperville Photography Group called "Fantasy Photoshoot At Fabyan Forest Preserve." I can't wait to go. I already told the organizer that I'm practicing with my new portrait lenses, although having some problems with chromatic aberration. I'm hoping there isn't a problem with the lenses. They're brand new. I'll tell you what though, I'm learning really fast about Depth of Field and to be very careful with how shallow it is. I was shooting co-workers and noticed a few shots where one co-worker was standing behind the others and he was out of focus. Luckily, I DID think about that problem while I was shooting them and fixed that by closing the aperture a little more.

I feel so extraordinary
Something's got a hold on me
I get this feeling I'm in motion
A sudden sense of liberty
The chances are we've gone too far
You took my time and you took my money
Now I fear you've left me standing
In a world that's so demanding
I used to think that the day would never come
I'd see delight in the shade of the morning sun
My morning sun is the drug that brings me near
To the childhood I lost, replaced by fear
I used to think that the day would never come
That my life would depend on the morning sun...

True Faith by New Order

Dogwood Estate
One of the first homes of the Chathams
908 Mattingly Road
Hinckley OH

Final Song by MØ
3rd Generation American. Chathams

I am offspring of legal immigrants. My family, on both sides, have come over to the United States as legal, documented immigrants. That's how it should be done. That's my stance on it. The Chathams come from Nottigham, England. The name was changed to Chatham by my family for a more professional touch. It was Cheetham in the UK. It was changed in the 1920s here in the States. My Mom's side comes from Ireland. I recently learned though from a Great, great Aunt before her passing of our Ashkenazi Jewish heritage from her family. I wish I got more detail on that, but her family fled Ukraine and went to England before WWI. That is all that is known beyond that. The name was changed in England and there is nothing more than that. My Great, great Aunt lived a long life, had a very sound and clear mind, and was a tough woman. She could recall every detail of her childhood and every story and nuance in our family. Unfortunately she passed in 1994, and I never did get to ask her any more of our Jewish ancestry from her side of the family.

"EE isn't just one person." John Koestler
Everyone else...

October 2016 – SPACE – Solar storms threaten Earth about every 100 years and experts warn we are overdue. Now, researchers have released the first ever map that shows which areas of the US are at high risk of being hit by the next intense storm. The map was built using geomagnetic storm measurements and data from magnetic materials beneath the Earth – revealing Minnesota is particularly at risk of being blasted by solar material.

Solar storms have the ability to disrupt Earth’s magnetic field and wreak havoc on our electric power grids. Officials warn that the massive electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from solar flares could cause $2.6 trillion in damages across the globe and bring an end to modern civilization as we know it. Solar Storms are eruptions of magnetic energy from the sun’s surface. Hot gases are accelerated when this magnetic energy is suddenly released and travels quickly towards the Earth. A solar flare’s killer electrons’ can travel at up to several million miles per hour towards Earth...

One massive CME ends the Information Age.
It's not global warming!

Laugh and scoff all you want. Last month, I posted a "news event" related to comets striking the earth, but we should never under-estimate our own universe. We see the and enjoy the sun here on Earth -- its warmth and brightness, but our own sun can be our worst enemy. According to the research in this article, we are due for an intense CME from the Sun. I'm not a doomsayer, but we all should wake up and think of the things we take for granted especially with the technology we have today. One massive CME from the sun ends that! The Information Age ends!  An EMP with great magnitude has that ability.

It's not global warming! The sun has had unusual activity which is driving this odd weather. We haven't had a "normal" solar maximum (11 year sunspot cycle). Brace yourself for solar flares. I've read several articles about the unusual solar activity and the lack of intensity in recent 11 year sunspot cycles.

Secret Meeting of Sol
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
February 18, 2917

My favorite photography subject is the Sun, but we take it for granted.  We see it here as a small orb from a distance. It's not. It's a raging ball of furious gases, fierce and strong enough to destroy us. Funny but the movie "Knowing" (starring Nicholas Cage and Rose Byrne) popped in my Netflix queue and I watched it last night. Bear in mind, but one huge CME from the sun has the power to knock us right out of the Information Age! We rely on technology so much. Think about that. 1859 was the last time Earth experienced this as a solar flare knocked out Telegraph. Think about it. This article was merely something to think about. We are not the center of the universe.

Well, thank you all again for taking a moment to read my blog for this month. I do hope that you all continue to have a great new year. I am going to try to do this same thing again in a month. So, until next time, take care...

Day 1778.

Be glad it doesn't look like this for this year.

Waterfall Glen Apartments
Darien IL
February 25, 2013

So don't let this be our final song
So hear me out before you say the night is over
I want you to know that we gotta, gotta carry on
So don't let this be our final song

Final Song.

Connect to me elsewhere at your own risk.

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