Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 27, 2011 My Trek To Buy A National Parks Pass

"Bang bang, on the door
You opened, not knowing what for
If opportunity, rears its head
Will you answer, or stay home in bed"
- The Day Is Coming by My Morning Jacket

This story is completely true. It is a cautionary tale about that important decision we must make everyday. Should I get up or stay in bed? or as the Clash once asked "should I stay or should I go". On the morning of August 14, my dog Oslo woke me up by nudging me with his head. I was fucking exhausted. I had plenty to do but once again it was raining outside so I decided to do nothing today. He kept bothering me so I got dressed and took them to the beach. I stopped at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center to buy a National Parks pass. Damn, they only except cash. Off to find an ATM. It took awhile but I found a bank on Route 12 in Pines. Stopped to get gas in Beverly Shores and saw a food stand across the street. It turned out to be a gourmet pizza truck...a converted Studebaker fire truck...The Rolling Stonebaker. So I ordered a Choke and Shroom pizza with a Goose Island root beer. Great choice, my day takes a turn for the better.

After my early lunch, we head toward Kemil Beach. As we hike up and over the big dune to get from the parking lot to the beach...I hear something glorious...the sound of surf...waves breaking and crashing down. We run down the dune to the shoreline. The waves are choppy at times but the bigger ones are 4 foot rollers with some whitecaps. Too bad a park ranger is walking the beach to keep people out of the water. In I go with Oslo jumping the waves and Roxie stays more cautiously behind us. I tell the ranger I'm just letting them drink. All of a sudden one of the bigger waves catches Oslo and carries him right past me toward the shore...I see him dog paddling and start to laugh...then I realize I better let go of his leash or I'm gonna pull him backwards into the surf. When he finally lands in shallow water...he looks completely freaked out and turns to look at me with a goofy WTF just happened expression on his face. I'm laughing so hard I just fall into the water and hug him. I was so proud and happy for dog just bodysurfed a of my favorite things to do in life. We hiked back over the dune. I picked up my parks pass. We headed home from our big adventure.
Sometimes you just have to change your plans, you never know what can happen out there. Here's how Roxie & Oslo looked on the way home...

August 26, 2011 Riverside Water Tower

Riverside, IL

August 25, 2011 Robbins Water Tower at Sunset

South Crawford Ave Robbins, IL

August 24, 2011 Closed Bar

North Elston, Chicago, IL

another sign of the times

August 23, 2011 Life From My Hammock

It's almost the end of summer...holy shit...what happened. One hectic day after another, I guess. After grilling some homemade sausage, (thanks to Christy Azzarello) I decided to relax on my hammock. The following pictures were taken during my thirtyseven minutes of relaxing.

August 22, 2011 Our Hot Summer

Hillside, IL

Finally a cooler day.

August 21, 2011 The Wright Ride

Riverside Rest Stop

I joined my friends Mike, Ian & Amy for the Wright Ride through the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District of Oak Park. Since we signed up for the 30 mile ride we continued through River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn and Riverside. We stopped at the Riverside rest area and decided to head back. It was a beautiful morning for a bike ride. 

August 20, 2011 A Great Place To Eat

Milwaukee Avenue, Niles, IL

Who wouldn't like to eat here?

August 19, 2011 On The Runway

Dollar Car Rental, O'Hare Airport

I was working on a pump at Dollar Car Rental that was right at the beginning of the runway being used that day. Pretty cool having the planes just a few feet above you.

August 18, 2011 My Lollapalooza Photo Shoot

Lollapalooza gives the amateur photographer lots of opportunities to get great shots. Besides the bands and the Chicago skyline, there are the people. Lolla brings together a wide variety of souls, each with their own style and look. I'll admit to being a chickenshit when it comes to shooting people in public. My favorite photos to look at are urban street scenes. I really admire photographers who can capture ordinary people on the street. I was given a chance at Lolla this year to shoot someone who actually asked me to shoot him. Here's the results.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 17, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: Portugal. The Man

I did not see these guys at Lolla this year. I did see them a couple of years ago and thought they sounded good. But the reason I am posting their video is that I heard all their equipment was stolen from their van at Lollapalooza this year. So check them out, if you like them buy one of their CD's or go see them live. A side note to the assholes that stole their stuff...I hope a long and painful death is in your near future.

August 16, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: Big Audio Dynamite

It was very cool to see these guys performing Sightsee MC.

August 15, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: Flogging Molly

All I can say about Flogging Molly is they were worth the $200 for the three day pass.

August 14, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: Fitz & The Tantrums

A great band to see live, Fitz & The Tantrums. They sounded just as good in Grant Park as they did at the Metro last winter. 

August 13, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: The Vaccines

I love a good power pop band, The Vaccines performing "If You Wanna" for your enjoyment.

August 12, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: Arctic Monkeys

Too bad the Arctic Monkeys set was cut short they were great.

August 11, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: Muse

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Muse, I recognized a few of the songs. This one is "Resistance".

August 10, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: Foo Fighters

It started pouring during the previous song and I could see from way in the back that the band was getting drenched but the never stopped playing, then Dave yelled "I don't give a fuck about the rain , do you?" and the party took a turn toward the insane as the Foos played, "Learn To Fly".

August 9, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: My Morning Jacket

What amazed me so much about My Morning Jacket's performance was how great they were rocking out, like on this one "Holding On To Black Metal".

Then slowing it down and still amazing the huge crowd on "Slow Slow Tune". I got chills down my spine again watching this video.

August 8, 2011 Lolla Hi-Lites: Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes were easily one of my favorites from Lolla this year. Here they are performing "Four Winds".

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 7, 2011 Lollapalooza - Sunday Muddy Sunday

"Must it take a life for hateful eyes
To glisten once again
Cause we find ourselves in the same old mess
Singin' drunken lullabies" - Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly

                            Oh no, the last day of Lollapalooza. Don't let that blue sky fool you, it poured this morning for over an hour. The park has to be a mess, at least we have a nice day right now...let's go in and enjoy some music.
I brought my nephew, Kyle with me today. It's his first time at Lolla. After this picture, we didn't spend much time was because he got hit by that bus...and he went to the hospital and I being the cool uncle...well...I went into Lollapalooza. Actually, the 26 year diference between us meant that there weren't any bands that we both wanted to see. That's fine with me. I just want the kid to have a good time, so I told him my one rule...don't take any drugs unless you are absolutely sure what they are. 
We did check out a couple of bands together. The first was a young reggae band called Iration. I thought they were really good. Nice mellow way to start my Sunday...BTW I was right, Grant Park was a flooded mess. Hopefully the sun will dry it up some.
Me: Hey Kyle
Kyle: What?
Me: Did I ever tell you about this thing I have for hot redheads in psychedelic dresses with rubber boots?
Kyle: No!
Me: Well I'm telling you now.
Kyle: Why?
And that's exactly what is wrong with the younger generation.
The Kingston Springs were up next for us...with that name you might think they are reggae too. Wrong...these guys play rock'n'roll with a bit of a bluesy 70's sound. I was digging it remembering what music sounded like when I was around Kyle's age. Here's another example of a young band playing a combination of old music with an updated sound. Definitely worth checking out. Two for two, so far today.
We went into the DJ tent to check out Midnight Conspiracy. Only I came out, once Kyle heard that bass beat he knew that was why he came to Lolla. I didn't see him again until we met up at the end of the Foo Fighters set.
 Titus Andronicus playing their version of New Jersey rock'n'roll.
 Columbus Drive outside the Perry's DJ Tent.
 Looking north along Columbus Drive...what a beautiful day.
 Rival Schools on the Playstation Stage cranking out rock songs with a bit of a punk edge.
 This is without a doubt the hottest drummer I have ever seen, she is one half of the band, Little Hurricane. They obviously get compared to the White Stripes and they should. They play the same type of rocking grunge blues and they sound real good.
I stood around listening to Noah & The Whale, then City and Colour for almost two hours so I could get a good spot to watch one of my favorite bands...the Irish folk/punk group...Flogging Molly. It was worth it. Even though I've seen them about 20 times in much smaller venues, I loved seeing them rock Grant Park. It is impossible not to have a good time being sutrrounded by Flogging Molly fans. I was real impressed with the young girl standing next to me who sang the words to every song, helped keep the crowd surfers above us and danced to the Irish songs and pogo'd to the punk songs. I was about five feet from the mosh pit and it tough not to join in but I had my camera. I enjoyed taking pictures of all the action just as much as if I joined in. Here's some shots from the mayhem caused by Flogging Molly's high energy set.
 the mosh pit...oh so close
the youngsters crowd surfing

 these kids took a break from moshing during a slow song for a group dance...singing along with everyone else...the energy generated kept this old guy dancing...the cool vibe of the crowd kept me smiling...this was a great Lolla moment for me.
 as usual the band was in top form...
 ...the coolest bass player out there...Mr. Nathen Maxwell. He had a huge smile on his face throughout the show, drank his Guinness between songs and gave the setlist to a fan after the show.
Flogging Molly easily one of the best live acts touring right now...if you're looking for a fun night out...go see them.
This guy thought his shirt was appropriate for a Flogging Molly show...I thanked him for a good laugh.
During Flogging Molly's set, I was too close to the stage and could see to the north...uh-oh...welcome to Chicago's shitty summer...
This guy was waving the Chicago and the Polish flags during the FM show...he even got a shout out from lead singer, Dave King. The cute girls were a bonus with this shot.
another artistic creation on a pole...then it became "duck and cover' time
Ladies and Gentleman...we interrupt this day with a..."Weather Delay" was posted on the screens that were lowered to the ground while the wind and rain destroyed Grant Park. They should have added "Welcome to Chicago, Motherfuckers" for the out of towners in the crowd. hour and a half later....

 The Arctic Monkeys started blasting thru their songs because they had to cut their set short...
...and this being Chicago, the rain started back up. Now I was beginning to get pissed off that my Lollapalooza was getting ruined by the same crappy weather that has ruined my summer. Then something strange happened...the kids started having fun with the rain and the mud...let the party begin... I didn't dive head first into the swampy mess...
...but thanks to the kids I decided to enjoy the opportunity to say "Fuck You" to the weather Gods and just enjoy it... this girl who danced and sang to every song the Arctic Monkeys played. She started out by herself but soon had a crowd around her that was enjoying the music and the mud...
...and the band played on.

Lolla is full of characters, onstage and off. This guy was very entertaining to me. I first saw him when the Arctic Monkeys finally began playing. He stepped right in front of a kid and just stood there even though there was room all around him. The kid quietly walked away and this guy started laughing. At the time I thought it was a punk thing to do to the kid, then he did it to me. I told him I ain't no kid and I'm not moving. He just started laughing and walked away. When the rain let up, I started taking pictures. All of a sudden this guy is right in front of me, so I started taking pictures of him and he starts posing...
 ...then he starts dragging the girls he seemed to be with into the pictures...
...and that's when it took a turn to the strangely funny that always seems to happen to a dork like me.
With the Arctic Monkeys rocking loudly from the stage, I had a hard time hearing and understanding this guy. So I think he asked me how he could see the pictures, so I told him I would post them on my's called Does He Still Shit in his Pants?...he keeps saying, What? So I repeat myself. He then says tell the girl pictured above. So I do. She tells him and he says to me...You just shit in your pants dude. So I tell him no...that's the name of my blog. They walked away laughing. My little brother is right, I gotta change the name of this blog.
The sun breaking thru the clouds and the buildings brought on the biggest cheer of the day. It was short lived. But the party was going strong.

After I grabbed some dinner, I headed over to Perry's DJ tent looking for my nephew and found this little guy...dressed for the weather.
Modeselektor had the masses pulsating in the tent but the ground was just as muddy as outside the tent. I never did find my nephew but I did find a dedicated group of partygoers...
...who were determined to have fun no matter what...

 ...two more decided to join in by getting baptized in the mud...
...then dancing with the crowd.
As I slogged my way toward the south end of Grant Park to check out the Foo Fighters...
 ...once again a storm front was rapidily approaching the city.
I would guess the Foos were about 2 or 3 songs into their set when the deluge began. This time the wind blew straight out of the north and it was a cold rain. You could tell the band was getting soaked along with us but when Dave Grohl screamed out, "I don't give a fuck about the rain, do you?" Then broke into 'Learn To Fly'...the crowd went crazy and the party was on. Unlike earlier, they didn't stop the show. I'm not sure how they played while getting pelted with rain but the Foo Fighters put on a great show. I even got chastised by Dave Grohl when he asked the crowd, 'Who here has seen us before?" Most screamed out but his reply to the rest of us was, "Where the hell have you been? It's been sixteen years." Sorry Dave. My bad but I'm here tonight and thanks for ending Lolla on a high note.