Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 31, 2011 Hiking In Snowstorm at Denali National Park

September 3, 2004
Denali National Park
Picture Taken by George Ott

I was backing up old photos and I found this picture. Great time in Alaska that year.

March 30, 2011 This Seemed More Interesting In Person

Brownell Woods Forest Preserve, Thornton, IL

I thought this would be a more artistic shot with the tree lines reaching toward the sky. After seeing the final shots, I must admit failure.

March 29, 2011 A Fiery Ball

6:46am Lansing, IL

March 28, 2011 Pilsen Mural

Pilsen Neighborhood, Chicago, IL

March 27, 2011 Tons Of Fun

Ridge Road, Highland, IN

March 26, 2011 Fluff's Big Adventure

Brownell Woods Forest Preserve, Thornton, IL

It was a big day for my favorite dog, Fluffy. The old girl has slowed down but refuses to 'walk toward the light'. I can not take Oslo & Roxy for a hike and leave her behind. As soon as I mention going for a ride, Fluff becomes 5 years younger, gets all excited and insists on coming along. She can't keep up with the other two, who I have on leashes. So I risk the fines and leave her off leash. When she falls too far behind, I tell Olso to wait for Fluff and he stops looks back and waits for her to catch up. The reason this was her big adventure is that we hiked for 2 hours and Fluff just kept walking with a big old dog smile on her face. After we got home, I didn't see Fluff for the next 8 hours. She slept the day away. But she'll be ready to go for a ride next time.

March 25, 2011 Paying Taxes & Saving My Country

St. John, IN

This is Don Bates. Donny & I have been friends since high school when we both carried out groceries at Burgers Supermarket in Dyer, Indiana. Since then Don went to college, became a CPA and started his own business and has a very nice desk job. I fucked off, became a pump technician and smell like diesel fuel most days. We don't get together much anymore except for the night Don does my tax returns. Yes, I have an accountant, sort of anyway.  This gives us a  reason to get together. Somehow in between catching up, making each other laugh and trying to solve the country's problems I do my civic duty of paying my taxes. This year we talked politics and the multitude of problems facing our country today. We both agreed to get together after tax season and begin an attempt to solve the issues that plague the country and us in particular. I'll keep you informed if we come up with some good solutions. Don's office provides many business and personal services. I've advocated supporting local businesses for years, so check out Donald E. Bates & Co.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 24, 2011 Happy Birthday Mom

Easter 1962  Palmetto Street Brooklyn, NY

March 23, 2011 Great Bear Wilderness

May 8, 2010 Great Bear Wilderness at Brookfield Zoo

March 22, 2011 The Mountainless Alpenglow

6:42am Lansing, IL

March 21, 2011 Dividing Up Our White Sox Tickets

8:58pm Ridgewood Tap, Homewood, IL

After a two year hiatus, we were back at the Ridgewood Tap tonight to divide up our White Sox tickets for the upcoming season. It went pretty smooth since Nick did all the grunt work leading up to tonight. So it was really just a chance to drink a few beers and see Monty, the Orban and the Nisevich brothers again. Not surprising, we all think the Sox should have a good season. Hope springs eternal, whatever that fucking means.

March 20, 2011 A Little Color On Another Gray Day

Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19, 2011 Train Graffiti

Union Pacific Tracks, Thornton, IL

March 18, 2011 The Former Marshall Square Theater

Little Village, Chicago, IL

March 17, 2011 Happy Saint Patrick's Day

March 16, 2011 Sunrise

6:51am, Lansing, IL

March 15, 2011 Art In The Woods

Brownell Woods Forest Preserve, Thornton, IL

March 14, 2011 Wind In The Face

Oslo at Goodenow Nature Preserve, Crete Township, IL

March 13, 2011 Brownell Woods

Fluffy in Brownell Woods, Thornton, IL

March 12, 2011 Flogging Molly

Every year around St Patrick's Day, the Irish punk / folk band, Flogging Molly comes to town. They always draw a huge, energetic crowd. And every year I have trouble finding someone to go to the show with me. Everyone says they want to go but then it all falls apart. This year at the last minute, Cindy, the  flower girl at my wedding who is like my little sister said she would go. I mention this because she wasn't familiar with Flogging Molly's music. But she has that sense of adventure that few people have nowadays. We took the subway to Division Street and walked west while checking out the menus in the windows. We both agreed on the Argentinean place, Folklore. Interesting menu, lots of choices. The berenjena, an eggplant lasagna style appetizer was incredible. I enjoyed the El Filet, two filet mignons grilled with a red onion wine sauce served with spinach mashed potatoes. The rum drink, Caipirissima, was a good start to a night of drinking. I think Cindy had the ribeye steak but thought the meat was too tough. She also ordered it rare which looked uncooked to me but what do I know. Since Chicago's St. Patrick's Parade was earlier today, the crowd was pretty drunk upon arriving at the Congress Theater. We ended up pretty close to the stage for Flogging Molly who put on a great show. The drunk Irish and Irish wannabees sang along to all the songs and the band took a moment to say that while we are celebrating tonight don't forget about the devastation our Japanese brothers are experiencing and to be sure to lend a hand in any way possible. That brought a loud cheer from the crowd which made me feel good that people cared. I want to thank Cindy for going to the show with me and for always being willing to go to the city. I know Chrissy & I have been a small influence on her because we took her places when she was a little kid but tonight I was sure of two definite ways I influenced good, one bad. During dinner we were talking and she used the phrase, "go fuck yourself" about someone. Now where have I heard that before...oh I remember...I've used it most of my life because it was one of my mother's favorite phrases. On the good side, Cindy got all excited about a late night stop at Ricobenes for a sandwich before heading home... see not all my influences are bad.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 11, 2011 Sunset Under The Skyway

95th Street, South Chicago

On my way home from work, I stopped at Calumet Fisheries to pick up a shrimp dinner and some smoked shrimp. I forgot it was the first Friday of Lent. The line was out the door. As I walked west of the 95th Street Bridge, I saw the sun setting below the Chicago Skyway.
Tonight was the first time I played hockey in 5 months. Last week I skated during warm up before my team's game. Tonight I skated every other shift during the Sudden Death Hockey Club's Friday night skate. My leg felt pretty good for the first hour but got very weak after that so I headed to the locker room. It was a very encouraging step toward getting back to playing condition for me. Thanks to Reg, Frank, Tommy, Steve, Kurt and Mini Phil for letting me float through the lines and split shifts with them. It felt good to be back on the ice among friends.

March 10, 2011 Signs

H-F Ice Arena, Homewood, IL

"Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign" - Signs by The Five Man Electrical Band

March 9, 2011 Strange Day

Last Sunday morning, I took the dogs to Sweet Woods for an early morning walk in the woods. When I got there, the cable that blocks the entrance was down but it was still laying across the roadway. So I drove over it and went in. There were at least 6 police cars parked all around the pavilion and a sheriff's police truck dropping off 4 wheelers. A sheriff's policeman told me the park was closed for a few hours. When I asked if they were culling the deer, he said no. He said it like I shouldn't ask anymore questions. So I figured he didn't want to admit they were killing deer in case I was with PETA or something like that. So I drove around to Brownell Woods which is across the creek from Sweet Woods. As I got the dogs out of the car and headed down the trail, another Sheriff's police car drove into the parking lot. He warned me that there was a report of someone shooting deers and he threatened to shoot himself. He said I probably shouldn't take the dogs into the woods because there were cops on foot throughout the area. That was enough for me to round up the dogs, which wasn't easy since we just got out of the car. We ended up walking along the cross country ski trail at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Beecher.
Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve, Beecher, IL

March 8, 2011 "Z" Frank

West Rogers Park, Chicago, IL

You just don't see the giant signs like this one anymore. This business closed several years ago. All that is left is this classic old sign.

March 7, 2011 George Hammond Mural

Fayette Street Hammond, IN

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6, 2011 The Dogs Love It, Me Not So Much

Lansing, IL

It was 50 degrees on Friday. Friday night it began to rain. Late Friday night into early Saturday morning it was pouring. By noon on Saturday it was snowing. By Saturday night it was really snowing. This morning everything is white again. The dogs love it. I love winter too but not in March. That is the problem with Chicago winters. They last too long. Once Mother Nature starts to tease us with warmer weather, I'm done with winter. I've been through this enough times. I know that we will ride this temperature roller coaster until mid May. That is why this is the most depressing time of the year. You know warm weather is coming but it won't be here consistently for at least two months.

March 5, 2011 Old Man Winter Keeps Hanging On

Lansing, IL

March 4, 2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

The Alley behind the Towle Theater, Hammond, IN

I was running late. My last job was in Lincoln Park. I took LSD (the street not the drug) then Route 41 to Hammond. It was too late to go home, shower, pick up Aunt Ann, eat dinner somewhere and make it to the Towle Theater to see the play "Ruthless". So I stopped at El Taco Real and picked up a quart of pork taco meat, steak fajitas and my favorite, queso fundido. I got home, showered and Chrissy & I were off to Ann's house. We had our Mexican dinner and made it to the theater in time to see the very entertaining play, "Ruthless". You might be asking why did I go through all this trouble. Because Chrissy's Great Aunt Ann is one of my favorite people to spend time with. She makes me laugh mostly because she is very outspoken on a wide variety of topics. She will speak her mind but it never seems offensive because she has such a gentle way about her. My favorite trait of hers is even though she is 85, she still thinks she is 35. For example, the Towle Theater has an elevator to take you to the second floor which is where the plays are performed. Ann insisted on taking the stairs, so Chrissy walks along side her and I follow from behind in case she starts to fall. The ticket taker at the top has watched her struggle up the stairs and has heard me asking her why didn't she take the elevator. He starts telling Ann about his 81 year old German mother who insists on shoveling the snow at her place. Ann replies, "I'm not that stubborn. I let other people shovel the snow." How could you not love this lady.

March 3, 2011 Back On The Ice

Northstar Bench, H-F Ice Rink, Homewood, IL

It's been almost five months since my leg surgery. That whole time was spent looking forward to this day. I skated during the pregame warm-up tonight. It felt great to be on the ice again. I had trouble pushing off on my left leg and definitely had balance issues when crossing over on that leg. But it felt so good to be skating again. I watched my team play a great game. We beat the Bulldogs 5-2, I think, maybe 5-3. But we lead the whole game. It was good to almost be part of the team again. As usual the locker room banter made me laugh and it was fun to see my friends again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2, 2011 Truck Billboard

Brighton Park Neighborhood, Chicago IL

March 1, 2011 The United States Senate

The Capitol Building, Washington DC

February 28, 2011 Dog Hair

Lansing, IL

Oslo wanted to play. So I got down on the floor and wrestled the Fanook for about twenty minutes. When I got back on the couch, Chrissy started laughing and took this picture.

February 27, 2011 Calling My Name

Lansing, IL

I thought I heard a noise in my garage. It was calling my name, asking me if I forgot about it. So I opened the door and it was a friend I haven't seen since last Weber Grill. I said we will get together real soon my good friend.

February 26, 2011 Dropkick Murphys

Logan Square Neighborhood, Chicago, IL

The Dropkick Murphys did not disappoint tonight. A great show even if I avoided the mosh pit due to a leg injury.