Archive for August, 2006

Critical Mass Massing

Critical Mass, Massing panograph
Critical Mass assembling in Daley Plaza, Friday, August 25, 2006.

I like taking photos and I like jigsaw puzzles. Boom! Panography! (You can zoom in a little, if you like.)

I guess I didn’t get the “Under the Sea” memo, as there was a lobster in a trap, and a starfish, and a blowfish and surfer girl on this months ride. And some frogs, but I’m not sure if amphibians count.

Oh wait, I know why I didn’t get the memo — I signed up for the CCM mailing list and was getting hundreds (literally) of off-topic messages. I already get too much email — I had to unsubscribe that shit.

Chicago’s Best BYOs

Damn, I love a good BYO restaurant. Seems I get comfortable with stopping in with my carefully chosen beer and wine and next thing I know is that the place is shut down or is now serving the liquor themselves. Some places will give you a bit of a “grace period” and let you bring your own for the first month or two after the change over. But soon you’ll be paying usually a pretty large markup on the stuff that used to cost you just a few bucks.

So it’s always nice to get some help keeping up with Chicago’s best BYOs. This article from the Chicago Reader even breaks them down by neighborhood and lists some nearby places to purchase the liquor. Of course, that’s the idea behind . Jonathan Surratt’s site marks 3,158 beer destinations–breweries, brewpubs, bars, and stores–across the country.

Have you tried out What is your favorite BYO restaurant?

Chi Tri 2006!

The finish line beckons…

Wow, attending the Chicago Triathlon was quite an experience! 8,000 racers competed this year, making the Chicago Triathlon the world’s largest!

Just keeping up with the racers is a physical challenge, as they make their way through a 2.5 mile swim, a 25 mile bike ride and a 6.2 mile run.

My buddy finished with a total time of 2:42:05, putting him in the top 25% of his group.

It was truly humbling to witness racers with prosthetic legs; truly touching to see children running across the finish line, hand-in-hand with their favorite racer- mom or dad; and truly inspiring to see the athleticism, dedication and true grit on display. The overall vibe of the event was very cool- the crowd cheers for everybody, not just their friends or teammates. There was one guy that was limping into the finish, totally out of gas, just walking the last quarter mile or so. As he came down the chute towards the finish line, the crowd erupted, cheering him on and encouraging him to run out the race. Somehow, he managed to dig just a little deeper and found the strength to pick up his pace from a walk to a run and he crossed the finish line in a heap of smiles and applause.

Congratulations to all the competitors!

Making the phrase “5th year senior” the norm

In one of the stranger stories I read today, I saw that Mayor Daley has proposed that high school be extended for a fifth year. Okay, why? Because kids aren’t learning enough by the last year of high school? Because students need to be more prepared for college? Er, no, “to defray college education costs now squeezing working poor and middle-class families.”

Well Chief, I don’t know that making high school last for 5 years is going to help the problem of college education costs, even if, as you suggest, college is changed to last 3 years instead of the standard 4 for a bachelor’s degree. Colleges are likely to just hike the tuition up a bit more to cover the loss of that year. How about some real solutions for student aid? How about more grant money as opposed to loan money? How about loans that are easier to get for all students? How about a government that cares about educating it’s citizens more than it cares about interest rate profits on student loans? What do you guys think?

My Summer of Ceviche: Home Attempt #1

How to make ceviche at home:

While out doing last-minute shopping for your wedding rehearsal dinner, decide that a perfect addition to the carefully planned and budgeted meal would be ceviche, which you have never made before. Use your fancy phone to google for “ceviche recipe” and so find this recipe. Decide you like shrimp more than fish and notice that avocados are on sale. Purchase:

2 lbs of frozen, raw shrimp
4 lemons
6 limes (because they’re smaller)
a medium white onion
2 ripe-looking tomatoes
1 serrano chili
a bunch of cilantro
4 avocados

Also get the stuff you actually went to the store to purchase and go home.

Juice the lemons and limes and put the juice in a 9″x12″ Pyrex dish. Thaw the shrimp by running cold water over them for a few minutes. Shell the shrimp and cut into 1/2″ pieces, putting the pieces into the citrus juice as you go. It will take a long time. Your fiancee will stop by occasionally and gently, and reasonably, suggest that maybe someone else could cut up the shrimp while you do things that only you can get done, like finish up the thank you cards for members of the wedding party. Make vague noises about finishing up soon and stubbornly continue. When the shrimp have all been cut, stir and level the shrimp in the lemon/lime juice to make sure all the shrimp are covered. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and put into the fridge.

Chop the rest of the ingredients, mix, and place aside in a bowl. Wait two hours, then mix the remaining ingredients into the Pyrex pan. Plan on taking it out in an hour or so. Get involved in conversations and forget about the ceviche until nearly the end of the evening. Serve to the remaining guests on El Rey tortilla chips. Put away 2 pounds of ceviche. Sunday (two days later) wonder how long ceviche keeps, decide to chance it, and savor the super-marinated flavor.

Forget to take a picture.

Uh oh, Carson Pirie Scott too?

Yep, it’s a-closin’ down. State St might not be that great for long…,1,3318289.story?coll=chi-news-hed

Mancow’s Fall, Steve and Garry’s Return

Why does this make me smile? Because I think Mancow is a tool. According to Phil Rosenthal today, Erich Muller has lost another station in his vast empire: KKZR-FM in Little Rock, Ark. From the column:

Despite heavy billboard and TV promotion and giveaways of trips and a Dodge truck, KKZR operations manager Charlie Kendall said Mancow drew well under a 1 rating among listeners over the age of 12. So station owner Archway Broadcasting is dropping him after 10 months, even though it remains on the hook to pay for another two months.

“I could put on a montage of sheep bleats and get better ratings,” Kendall said by phone.

Obama In Africa

You can catch up on Senator Obama’s six-nation trip to Africa as the Chicago Tribune has been following his journey since last Saturday, publishing an article each day complete with loads of photos. After reading far too much about the race for governor in Illinois, it is both refreshing and exciting to have this man represent our state.

From cab drivers to politicians, the countries have been obsessed with his visit. Here at home he’s liked and admired by just about everyone regardless of political party. Hmmm…maybe we could have him hold the position of U.S. Senator and Illinois Governor at the same time! Just a thought.

What are your thoughts on Senator Obama? Do you think he’d make a good U.S. President?

When it rains …

… the dog howls! This entry might as well be called Adventures in Dogsitting, but anyway. Apparently, some dogs do not like thunder. Now I can truly appreciate my fat and happy black Lab snoozing away back home, immune to all sorts of noisy inclement weather, but this particular dog apparently has not adjusted to summer storms in Chicago. Instead, she’d rather convince me that the house is being broken in to whenever there’s a slight rumble in the air. Sheesh.

I don’t think that’s how a roof is supposed to work

Rainy Thorndale

Speaking of lost umbrellas, at the Thorndale stop of the Red Line, the roof leaks right in the middle. Boo, CTA, boo, I say.

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