Archive for January, 2008

ChicagoCrime shutting down

Not, unfortunately, the concept of crime in Chicago, but the seminal website — one of the first Google Map mashups and a great resource for Chicago since its launch in 2005. Developer Adrian Holovaty announced today on his blog that ChicagoCrime will not be available after today. All of the features of the site have been rolled into his new project, Everyblock (which I mentioned last week).

Holovaty also mentioned that in just a few weeks will be featured in an exhibit at New York’s MoMA.

(Thanks, jkb)

There are people who are BIGGER geeks than I am??

Turns out that yes, there are. And they knew about geocaching before I did. I had no idea that this even existed, and if it weren’t for the sub-zero temperatures and my lack of a gps system, I would soooo be all over it!

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

On February 6th the city council is voting on a proposed increase in the transfer tax. Until a few minutes ago I didn’t know what a transfer tax was. Apparently, if you buy property in Chicago, you have to pay $7.50 for every one thousand dollars you spend. If the proposal passes, that will go up to $10.50 – a forty percent increase. The main purpose of the increase is to fund the CTA. You recall all those “Doomsday Averted!” headlines a couple of weeks ago? This is how they averted it.

Real estate groups are upset about this, and have even launched a new website to voice their concerns. At first glance, one cannot help but wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier to just raise the fares. But then it occurs to me that the whole reason they didn’t raise the fares was to avoid causing economic hardship for the vast amount of riders who, like myself, are not in a position to start buying property anyway.

But then I wonder, is it fair to ask other people to foot the bill so that I can save a few bucks on bus fare?

I genuinely don’t know the answer to this question. I’m interested in hearing what you all have to say about it.

Pink Snow

Pink Snow

I know you’re not supposed to eat yellow snow, but nobody ever warned me about the pink stuff…

Chicago Magazine’s 171 Great Websites, Ready for Your Newsreader

As I noted last week, the February Chicago Magazine has a cover story on “171 Great Chicago Websites“. It’s a great selection of Chicago online resources and Scott Smith over the Time Out Chicago blog got tired of waiting for the online version of the story and made an intern type up the whole list as clickable links. I thought, well what if you wanted to import all those websites, at least the ones with RSS feeds, into your newsreader or RSS aggreator? So I did the work for you — here’s a list of 129 RSS feeds in an OPML file (not all the sites had feeds, but some had more than one). If your newsreader has problems importing OPML files with groups, here’s a flat OPML file.

And before you start asking “where’s <insert my favorite Chicago website here>?”, remember that this is Chicago Magazine’s list, not mine nor Time Out Chicago’s. Well… except that I did include feeds for both TOC and ourselves. I figure it’s the least we deserve for all this typing.

Update: It only made sense (in the kind of way that this sort of project doesn’t make any sense at all) to make a file for the 60 or so blogs mentioned in Time Out Chicago’s blog issue as well. OPML file with groups or flat.

Winter amnesia

Is it just me, or does everybody else get winter amnesia, too? You know, that feeling of “ohmigod it’s so cold! Has it ever really been this cold in Chicago before?” It’s as if we completely forget what it was like just 9 or 10 months ago.

I was having a conversation with someone this morning and I said “MAN it’s cold this year. Schools are closing and everything!”, to which she replied “Uh, Nellie, the schools closed last year, too. It’s this cold every year.”, to which I said *blink* *blink*.

For me, it’s a matter of blocking the memory. I hate the stupid winter. I’m traumatized by it every year. As soon as March rolls around I put winter as far out of my memory as possible. But as it turns out, it really is this cold in Chicago every year. Thank god for Chicagos amazing history, people, music, culture, art, and most importantly, comedy. Otherwise I’d be soooo over this whole “chicago” thing.

Little Lebanon

I wasn’t planning on letting the kitty out of the bag on one of my favorite Andersonville restaurants, Taste of Lebanon, for fear that it would suddenly be overrun by Metblog readers, but what they hey? I’m feeling generous. While the decor leaves something to be desired (perennially foggy windows and skid-marked dry wall), one bite of just-crispy-enough falafal dipped in the subtly spicy lentil soup, and the surroundings melt away in an orgasmic food haze. Add a super friendly staff and ultra cheap prices to the mix, and you’ll see why I didn’t want to share this little secret.

License to IL

License to IL

Another in my very occasional series of punny Illinois shirts — “License to IL” from Busted Tees.

Disclaimer: I think Busted Tees is an advertiser here on the Metblogs, but I swear Erica pointed this shirt out to me before I realized that.

The Hole has a MySpace page

The Montrose Hole has a MySpace page (albeit with just 3 friends). “A Natural WONDER, not a Natural Disaser!”, says Ken Barnard, and he’s holding a pro-hole rally on Tuesday.

Chicago Blogs Well-covered

I wonder if Chicago Magazine and Time Out Chicago are feeling like they just showed up at the party wearing the same dress: the February issue of the former and the January 24 issue of the latter both have Chicago blogs as their cover story and feature lists and lists (and lists) of bloggers and blogs.

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