Friday, February 25, 2011

February 25, 2011 Empty Promises Of Casinos

Aurora, IL

The old industrial river town of Aurora was promised a revitalization with the flow of money from casinos. I didn't see any vitality when I drove through it.

February 24, 2011 "They're Great!"

Avondale Neighborhood, Chicago, IL

February 23, 2011 The Air Classics Museum

Sugar Grove, IL

Taken at the Air Classics Museum

February 22, 2011 Save The World, Recycle

Lansing, IL

A few years ago, I started recycling the old parts I removed from gas stations. It takes a little extra time to break them down into the different materials, but I believe every little thing can help. So a few items don't end up in a landfill and I get money to pay for a night out every couple of months. Everybody wins.

February 21 Eating Out...Side

Lansing, IL

February 20 Real Sugar

Dashboard Of My Work Van

Imagine if you can a world where sugar, not high fructose corn syrup, is used to sweeten something. That world used to exist and now thanks to the cost of corn rising above the cost of sugar that world exists today. And what do we have to thank for this great 'throwback'. The high cost of gasoline which makes ethanol a viable option and in case you didn't know ethanol is made from corn. So farmers are selling their corn to ethanol producers instead of food producers and now giant corporations are putting 'real sugar' back into their products because it is cheaper than fake sugar. And that is the twisted fucked up world we now find ourselves living in. I might sound bitter but I love the taste of Pepsi with real sugar. So I guess this particular story has a happy ending.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 19, 2011 The Big Melt

Lansing, IL

After several 50 degree days including a near record setting 59 degrees yesterday,  the snow from our blizzard two weeks ago is now gone. What we have is mud, dead grass and leafless trees. Not quite as picturesque as two feet of white snow.

February 18, 2011 Old Polish Neighborhood Fading Away

Logan Square Neighborhood, Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL

Even the traditionally strong Polish neighborhoods along Milwaukee Avenue are beginning to fade away. Sure you still see plenty of signage in Polish, but nowadays you can see an increasing number of other languages too.

February 17, 2011 My Life...Gas Pumps

Bucktown Neighborhood, Chicago, IL

February 16, 2011 Highway Billboard

Lansing, IL

February 15, 2011 Sky Colors

5:22pm   5055 Touhy Ave. Niles, IL

While the sun set tonight, the entire sky was full of colors. This shot is looking east down Touhy Avenue.

February 14, 2011 I Love My Job

8:49pm Lansing, IL

Happy Valentine's Day. As usual I am getting home from work long after the sunsets.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Febraury 13, 2011 A Winter Walk

Fluffy at Marquette Park, Gary IN

I took the dogs on an early morning walk along the beach at Marquette Park. The first thing that struck me was the lack of snow on the beach. We have had about 30" of snow in the past two weeks but none on the beach. The wind from the blizzard must have blown the snow over the dunes further inland. The sand on the beach was frozen solid. There was snow along the dunes and the shelf ice had sand mixed into it. The shelf ice was about 15-20 feet above the beach out near the open water. While on the dunes you could see icebergs floating in the water. I fell through the wind blown snow drifts several times. Once all the way up to my hip. Oslo & Roxie loved it. The old girl Fluff showed how tough she was by climbing out after falling through the snow. The shelf ice was mostly slush along the shoreline so I didn't venture out onto it. 

 The shelf ice on Lake Michigan

An interesting piece of drift wood frozen in the shelf ice

February 12, 2011 Miller Bakery Café

Miller Beach, Gary, IN

There are very few reasons to visit Gary, Indiana. With the closing of the Miller Bakery Café, there is now one less reason to visit this city. How did this happen to Gary? This city supplied the steel that helped make the United States the most powerful country in the world. Now the country lets it rot and pretends it doesn't exist anymore. The steel mills along the lakeshore provided jobs to generations of families. Those jobs helped create the middle class in this country. Now, the middle class is shrinking rapidly and so is America's standing in the world. The closing of the Miller Bakery Cafe, to steal a phrase from Pink Floyd, is "just another brick in a crumbling wall".

February 11, 2011 Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt

Downtown Joliet, IL

We spent two and a half hours in the unbelievably beautiful Rialto Square Theater watching two of the greatest singer songwriters in America. Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt. They each sat on a chair and took turns playing their songs on acoustic guitars. In between each song, they told stories, talked about how the songs were written and joked around with each other and the audience. It was a great night for this music fan. They even took requests though John Hiatt did warn he might not remember all the words to "Trudy & Dave" when it was requested. He attempted it and when he screwed up, he just laughed and said "oh shit". Both artists spent time complimenting and goofing on each other. If you are a fan of music, I highly recommend seeing either of these two. If your are real lucky, you might get to see them together. After the show we ran into Lyle in the alley behind the theater, I told him that I loved the show. He being the ever so polite southern gentleman said thank you very much.

February 10, 2011 Firewood in Pilsen

Pilsen Neighborhood, Chicago, IL

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

February 9, 2011 Sunshine But No Heat

Lansing, IL

The sun was shining today, but you couldn't feel it. Hell you couldn't feel your feet or hands either. It might have gotten as warm as 10 degrees by the afternoon and thanks to a pretty strong wind, the wind chill never got above -10 degrees. This is the part of winter that I don't like. The end is near but on days like this you feel like it will go on forever.

February 8, 2011 Cold Front Moves In

Burbank, IL

February 7, 2011 Back To The Grind

Burbank, IL

February 6, 2011 Better Days

Sept. 30, 2008 Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton National Park

I just needed to see something besides snow.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 5, 2011 Clearing The Alleys

11:57am   Lansing, IL

In the 18 years that I have lived in Lansing, the village has never plowed the alleys. But when I got home from work today, this front end loader was clearing the alleys and dumping the snow wherever he could find a spot in a yard. Since I also received my real estate tax bill today with it's hefty increase, it was good to see my tax dollars at work.

February 4, 2011 Home Sweet Snow Covered Home

Lansing, IL

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 2, 2011 Storm Of The Century Part Two

6:38am Lansing, IL

 6:42am Lansing, IL

All through the night, the wind roared like a freight train. It was pretty cool to hear such a storm, especially since we didn't have any damage. This is what I woke up to this morning. About 15 inches of snow with 3-4 foot drifts. Since I might be called into work today, I had to clear the alley for the second time in less than 12 hours. At the time it was pointless because the street had not been plowed yet and was impassable. It wasn't snowing much by 8am. Maybe we got off easy. I went back to sleep.
2:01pm Lansing, IL

Fluffy is pissed off, her look says " where did all this fucking snow come from? How is an old girl suppose to walk through these 4 foot drifts?"  While I slept, the blizzard came back with giant snowflakes and strong winds. Once again, it looked liked we never shoveled the alley.

2:13pm Lansing, IL

Oslo & Roxie playing where there is hardly any snow. Fluff still pissed off. I thought the dogs would love all the snow but they would not venture through the yard until I made a path through the drifts. Spoiled dogs.
2:15pm Lansing, IL
2:16pm Lansing, IL

I had to call Oslo before he would run through the yard. If you've read this blog, you know we call him The Fanook. Here's yet another reason why he has that nickname.

2:17pm Lansing, IL

The rest are pictures I took in the late afternoon. It seems like the snow has finally stopped and the wind has slowed to 10-20MPH. Now the arctic air is coming. Tonight the temperature will drop to -7 degrees with -30 degrees wind chill. Nice one-two punch from Mother Nature.

February 1, 2011 Storm Of The Century - Part One

6:45am Lansing, IL

We got about two inches of snow overnight. Later today about 3pm, the Blizzard Warning goes into effect. The predictions are as high as 24 inches of snow with 60 MPH winds. Off to work I go.
          3:18pm  Englewood, Chicago, IL
3:38pm Englewood, Chicago, IL

The snow started falling about 1:30pm. The wind started really getting strong about 2pm. As expected traffic was slow. How slow? It took me almost ninety minutes to get from 43rd & State to 71st & Halsted. I had an emergency call for the gas console down at a Marathon there. I found the console with a half inch of snow covering it. Yes it was in the building, but the wind was blowing straight at the front window and blowing through the bullet proof turnstile. I'll explain for you white readers that never visit black neighborhoods. This is a walk up only station. All products bought are transferred to the customer through a spinning bullet proof lazy susan type of turnstile. The snow was blowing into the store through this device, even when it was closed. I had to move the console below the counter to protect it. 
9:39pm Lansing, IL

The wind is about 40mph and it is snowing so I had to take this picture from my garage. Chrissy & I cleared the alley and the sidewalks. By the time we were done, you couldn't even tell we shoveled at all. 

January 31, 2011 The Storm Of The Century Is Coming

All day long the radio news station has been frantically, yet privately very excitedly, warning about the storm of the century coming our way tomorrow. As I drove home tonight, you could see the dark clouds approaching from the west. I wanted to put goat's blood over our door to protect us but Chrissy said that only protects our first born son and since we don't have kids it wouldn't be necessary. Damn news stations had me worried about nothing.

                                                                                          I-80 (Borman Expressway) Hammond, IN