Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Yeah, They're Pretend Monkeys!"

Dear You, Here's the Memorial Day Weekend Edition of my life...

Nick and Karli enjoying a few brews on the back porch. A great hobbie I would like to see more of.

Here's a couple members of the "Fashion Police" outside of my work. If these girls would have caught me, I'd be in some fashion concentration camp for a very long time...

You know, the Ad Council is trying to make a statement that you should follow politics or you'll elect food. But, I'm thinking that people shouldn't follow politics so they do elect food. I mean, I'd much rather see Sweet Peas running the country than George W. Bush. At least President Sweet Peas wouldn't get us into unnecessary wars in the middle east. Yeah, I said it...

Ryan Daly and Amanda Talmadge at Galway Bay after Radar 7's final Chicago performance.

Diversey Harbor looking toward the Loop.

Megan at Small Bar after a few tator tots...

Ronan and John. Notice how much John hates that salad. I'm serious, he hates that salad!

FLW inspired park just north of the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Lily Pad in the pond.

"Hi Adam!"
"Hi Polar Bear..."

If Nirvana were a band of polar bears, this would be there breakout album Nevermind cover.

Camels shedding.



They watch us more than we watch them.

Walking toward Oak Street Beach in downtown Chicago.

In front of Buckingham Fountain, firefighters were hosing off the water for some reason unknown to us. Probably just trying to pick up girls near the lake...

Buckingham Fountain looking toward the Loop.

Some sculptures by some Polish lady about the Holocaust. How can art about something so depressing be so fun?

Spertus Museum's new facility!

What Memorial Day is all about.

Crowne Fountain at Millennium Park. Look at how many friggin' people are in this fountain!

Somehow, this has become my latest trademark. I've had quite a few pics with presidents lately...

Nothing shows the glamous side of Mike Kraus more than this...

Megan's pretty picture.

The Renzo Piano addition to the Art Institute as seen from Millennium Park. I really like this because all the plants are growing and it's almost like the building is growing from the Lurie Garden too.

That's it. I'm going to clean my room, find my fan, and go to bed. The Pistons played another lazy game and allowed LeBron James to tie the series at 2-2. Lazy... Red Wings lose to the Mighty Ducks was bad enough. If Pistons don't knock out the Cavs, it's bad news...



Monday, May 21, 2007


Here's the banner I designed for AIA Chicago (American Institute of Architects). It's right in downtown Chicago on Ohio between State and Dearborn.

While at the AIA party last Thursday, they were filming Wanted starring Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie. There was this bread truck and a SUV with a camera mounted on it chasing it. There was also a helicopter flying really low above the river.

You can't see in on this real well because of the bluriness, but Angelina's stunt double is strapped onto the windshield of this Dodge Viper driving about 70mph down Wacker Drive shooting guns toward the air. It was amazing!

At work, we hosted Great Chicago Places and Spaces (GCPS) this weekend. We offered hundreds of tours for free of buildings, downtown, and behind the scenes of a lot of Chicago's main attractions. The line to my office was two blocks long at 7:30am going from Michigan and Jackson to Adams and Wabash. The first guy got in line about 3am.

And here's more of them...

And they keep on going...

And, this is what they came for: Chicago's unique architecture.

This about sums up Humboldt Park.

A man riding down North Ave. at 6am on Sunday in a wheelchair obeying most traffic laws. I love this town!

Today, I plan to do nothing because I did too much this weekend.



Monday, May 14, 2007

And She Seems Curious About What's In the Pantry Too...

Hey everyone,

Hope all are doing well. I've been very busy lately with work and all. I think the next four weeks are pretty much already booked for work, sleep, eatting, hanging out, parties, and all the other great stuff that happens in Chicago during the summer. I have Great Chicago Places & Spaces this weekend, which is a huge architecture festival. There's tons of visitors and all sorts of other things. So...
 Here's a parade float of a fort for the Polish Constitution Day Parade, which was also Cinco De Mayo. So, there were a lot of strange festivities that blended together that day.

 Maxwell (Canal) Street Market. Some guy rockin' out at his booth (Minivan).
One reason I no longer live in Ravenswood. This is part of the $500 million renovation of the Brown Line. They are replacing Fullerton Station and taking it out section-by-section. It's really fun to watch. Bess, Megan, and Katie at Katie's birthday taco party. It was a great party Katie! I've never eatten so many tacos in one night. This must be the best place in the world to work. I think this place was called Fernando's and they had very good food. My favorite thing is their burritos. They are in soft taco shells and they are small. Then, what makes it a burrito instead of a taco? I have no idea. Maybe it's the sauce? Megan's birthday at B.L.U.E.S. Chicago on Halsted just north of Fullerton. Taken just moments ago near my apartment. They are putting trees on the sidewalks down North Avenue. It looks so much nicer already. I can't wait until they are a little more mature. Also, look how nice and sunny it is. After I'm done with a couple of projects, I think I will work on the 'zine on the porch today...
xoxo, Mike

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

"It's A Good Day For Ducks!"

This is a long one since I've been busy this week at work and on vacation. This time, I went to Galena, Illinois in northwestern Illinois near the Iowa and Wisconsin border. Enjoy!

I had a work event at Navy Pier in the Crystal or Winter Garden or something. Whatever the name, it was very nice to hang out and get paid...

For those who don't know, the ferris wheel was invented in Chicago for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. It was two or three times the size of this one and the carts were about the size of a bus.

A view of Streeterville from Navy Pier

The Shakespeare Theatre at Navy Pier. A nice venue. Too bad its at Navy Pier...

Lakeshore Tower or Lakepoint Tower or something. Oprah and Sammy Sosa use to live here.

"It's a good day for ducks" as they bath in a puddle that formed in Humboldt Park

The Merchandise Mart (one of the largest buildings by square feet in the world) had the largest art show I've ever seen. We were there for several hours over two days and I think we only saw 1/8th of the art. IT WAS AMAZING! Especially when you can scam a VIP card!

How contemporary. Installation art.

I like the artwork. I wish the old man came with it...

I think I like it because it is red.

Okay. Imagine this stretching for several blocks in every direction on several floors and that was the art show. It blew my mind!

I wish I had a pet hyena(sp?)

A view of the South Branch of the Chicago River from the Merchandise Mart.

A view of the 333 Wacker Dr. Building from the Merchandise Mart. I didn't realized this when I took the picture, but that boat in the water is my boat from work. That boat is what gives me money to pay the rent and have a good time. Thanks boat!

With the VIP card, we got to ride in a new Audi to wherever we wanted for free. So, we did and went to meet Ronan (the Irishman) at Damen and Division. Annie is excited!

Now for the vacation. This is on the way to Galena. It's the first time I've left the Chicagoland metro area since X-mas. It looked like this as far as the eye can see. Middle America is beautiful.

Look at that!

Welcome to Galena, Illinois!

Here's Main Street and Perry Street.

Main Street and I forget. I think it's near the Galena Cafe, which has great diner food. I may have to go back for the homemade Snicker cake. I didn't get any, but I'm willing to bet I could eat the whole thing. I'm a fat kid...

Megan outside of the Galena Cafe at Main Street.

Here's the hotel we stayed at. Several notable people have stayed here like Abe Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, about every nothern Civil War general, and Ulysses S. Grant. One thing you learn about Galena is they LOVE Grant! He's from Galena and they remind you of that. They will give you change in $50 bills at every possible chance to advertise that fact...

A cross behind a nun-ery

Welcome to the City Hall/Police Department of Galena. It looks like an old west jail. I expect that they have two jail cells; one for the bank robber and the other for the friendly town drunk. The newspaper had a story about a 70-80 year old woman who had a shoplifter in her store. A teenager stole whiskey and the old woman chased her down and caught her and turned her into the police. Little did the teenager know that the old woman was a marathon runner (still) and fast as hell. Take that whipper-snapper.

Sometimes, a horse feels lonely...

Pickle or cactus? All cowboy!

Megan the lovely insect.

Main Street looking toward Diagonal Street.

MUSKEGON PEOPLE: Doesn't this remind you of Western Avenue across from the train depot/visitor center? You know, downtown can be a really cool place like Galena. There is nothing special about Galena except they have taken care of their city and Muskegon allowed it to become a shithole (one I love all the same). Just a thought...

Down at the old town square, I imagine Ulysses Grant sitting here drunk one day thinking, "I'm going to kill me some Confederates." The rest is history.

And, by "history" I mean they gave him a park...

And a statue for me to climb...

Here's me trying to hang out with Mr. Grant.

A view of downtown Galena.

Megan taking pictures of the downtown area.

"War of the Rebellion"

A farm girl on the prarie. How midwestern...

She's so happy!

This is Mrs. Grant (Ulysses S. Grant's wife). It seems most people think she looks like Mrs. Butterworth. I see it...

And, me and Mrs. Grant...

When Grant won the Civil War, they gave him this home.

A huge mansion near Grant's house!

Hilarious! What's with the momma duck having no wings? That one baby duck lost its mind!

The floodgate at the Main Street entrance. You had to pass through this gate to get into the city as if this were some ancient European village. I guess when the Mississippi River floods and the Galena River overflows, they have to close this to protect the city from drowning. I just like the idea of Galenians closing the gate and dumping hot oil on invaders...

Megan on the pedestrian bridge with Galena in the background.

The Belvadere (sp?) mansion.

This was the city's first waterworks.

Another cool old house.

The first brick building in Galena.

This was a cool building for some reason other than being pretty. Vinny's restaurant was in this building. It looked good. Too bad we couldn't figure out how to get in it to eat. VINNY!


Cool church.

The Galena Fire Department.

Turner Hall

I just like the door. What I don't like is the power lines. Dear Galena Power Company. Please put your ugly power lines underground so we don't have to look at them. Love, Mike

Old Galena High School. This is at the top of the big hill behind the city and has been turned into condos. If I lived here, my legs would be giant chicken legs from the climb up the hill everyday. That, or else I'd never leave because of the hill climb everyday.

The view from the Old Galena High School. That is the downtown way below behind the trees.

These are about half of the steps to the downtown area.

Cool old mansion.

Pretty view of downtown.

another cool house.

This is where I would live in the Gnome House. I would have to wear a red cone hat and tend my garden. A giant fox would be in the garage and I would use him as my transportation.

Ulysses S. Grant's house when he moved to Galena. He only paid $100 a year in rent! Mr Grant, you must be a great man. You are the only person I know that has found a good place with cheaper rent than me...

This was the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor. It was pretty good and had a soda fountain and everything. Now, I don't want to disgrace this place, but something was wrong with the girl behind the counter. It is my belief she was a meth addict as she had scabby arms, no teeth, and not mentally there. I felt bad and entertained at the same time. What can I say, I am a horrible person...

This was our view from the Ramada! We went swimming in the pool and it was great! But, how many cheap hotels have you been to like this?

Well, on the way back to Chicago we detoured to Dixon, Illinois, the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. So, I had to have my picture taken with this man. The day this was taken just happened to be the day that excerpts from his diary were released.

I'm not freak dancing President Reagan. I'm climbing the statue. But, I wish it were freak dancing...

Reagan's boyhood home.

The Berlin Wall. Did the German's write on the Berlin Wall or was it CIA agents? HEY CIA! THE GERMANS WRITE IN GERMAN, NOT ENGLISH.

You know, Ronald Reagan and his ideals make sense to me now after seeing this car. Just like Dick Cheney made sense to me after seeing the shithole he came from (Cheyenne, Wyoming).

Nice billboard coming in from the Chicago suburbs.

This about sums up the vacation. Me with Mrs. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, and Ronald Reagan.

Thanks for spending your entire afternoon seeing what I did last week. Love ya all.


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