Friday, September 26, 2008

When September Ends

This is "Fur-Pig." Not really, but I forget his real name. It's Katherine's cat and that's the name I remembered of the many she gave me. I watched this guy for a few days. He's still alive, which is the key to cat watching!

A painting on sale at the White Elephant, which is a part of my work. There was a matching football one. Just in case you didn't know, my birthday is coming up...

Date night with the Megan. Here we are at Uncle Julio's Hacienda to be followed up by Hamlet 2. Hamlet 2 was pretty good (if you like bad movies, which I do). I mean, it's like Tray Parker and Matt Stone (South Park guys) movies. So, if you liked Cannibal: The Musical or Basketball, you'll probably like Hamlet 2. It was worth it to see "Rock Me Sexy Jesus."

So, the food at the Hacienda is decent. But SWEET JESUS it got expensive. I swear the prices have doubled since the last time I was here a year or so ago. They are lucky it was date night or I would have gone to Chipotle instead.

Megan and I went to Glenn's Diner for the first time and it happened to be their third anniversary. Here's the owner giving the big speech. Basically he said, "50% of restaurants close within the first year. 80% (or something like that) of those that survive close the 2nd year. But, if you can make it to three years, you have a great chance at a long life in the restaurant business. And we got there despite the economic downturn, the "L" station closing, and Montrose caving in (They are directly in the middle of the block of Montrose Avenue that collapsed last winter). Congrats guys!

Here's Megan celebrating with her complimentary solo styrofoam cup of wine

This isn't your standard "diner" food. I would say they are mostly diner inspired. I mean, Golden Nugget doesn't serve a wide variety of fresh seafood and all. This is a Bleu Cheese Burger that is served on toasted bread. It was really good.

Megan, always trying to be healthy, got the "Homage To Vegetables Salad" or something like that.

Well, since I have recently turned into a local food critic, I might as well tell you about a couple other movies I've seen this past week:

The Last Temptation of Christ by Martin Scorsese was alright. It's the most human I've ever seen Willem Dafoe look. The story was pretty interesting. Instead of being based on the gospels, it was pulled from a book by Nikos Kazantzakis and did a good job at portraying Jesus as a human. By that I mean that he makes mistakes too and has to make tough decisions. You really feel for this radical hippie fighting the man (or Romans more like it). It's a Scorsese movie, so he does have to be a bit heavy-handed at time, but it's worth it.

Young At Heart is a British documentary about old people in the US singing rock and roll songs. Got it? Basically it's a guy who interviews grandparents who sing songs by the Clash and such, which is the funny and sweet part. Then there's the sad part about its members dying. That leads to coping and performing at places as varied as concert halls to a prison. Ever seen a prisoner cry? It's here. Also, I'm not a Coldplay fan at all. Not a bit. But the guys rendition "Fix You" was incredible in the way that Johnny Cash could make any terrible song powerful. Highly suggested.



Friday, September 12, 2008

Heroes For Life

Children's Memorial Hospital needs to build a new hospital. Below is a link about what will be done and how you can help:

IT'S OFFICIAL! Children's Memorial Hospital has launched it's fundraising campaign to build the $1 billion Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago in the downtown neighborhood of Streeterville. To celebrate, we had an event at Northerly Island (formerly Meigs Field Airport).

Here's the outdoor patio area looking out over the Chicago skyline

Here's Dennis DeYoung from Styx rockin' out!

BLUES LEGEND BUDDY GUY PLAYED!!! I got to watch him from about 10 inches away!!!


My uncle John is going to be so jealous!

This was a great event. Just look at how nice it is.

The food was great! They had all kinds of "Tenderloin of Beef," sushi, rosotto (sp?), crapes, tarts, sliced meats, and lots more!

Nathan looking and what's in the next couple photos.


And, it was timed to music in the theme of "heroes" and "Chicago."

A view from outside the tent at the end of the night.

A great and fun night overall generously donated to Children's Memorial Hospital for the purpose of raising money for the new hospital.

Again, please visit this website so children from Chicago and around the world can continue to get world class healthcare:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mike Kraus and the 21st Century!

So, after many years, another new milestone has been met. No longer am I rocking the 1999 iMac DV. As of this evening, I have the new iMac. It's so fancy, it took me 5 minutes to find the "on" switch. It's official: I am getting old.

Megan at the "Highway Oasis" on our way to camping in Lake Geneva

We got in just before dark. So, I had to use every precious moment putting up a tent and all and the first photo of the evening was this fire. In fact, it was such a good fire that some poor college couple from U of Wisconsin asked me to help them build their fire.

Megan admiring the fire

Here's our campsite. It was a bit like camping in someone's backyard, but it was nice.

Megan overlooking the great Lake Geneva

This is the narrowest beach I've ever seen...

Megan on "Romantic Bridge."

Me being "romantic."

A STEAMBOIT! Well, an old steamboat that use to deliver mail in the area.

We have to take a nice picture every once in a while...

Downtown Lake Geneva

Since the neighbor kids woke me up at 6am, I took an afternoon nap. Slowly but surely, I'm turning into my grandpa...

It was "Maxwell Street Market Days" in Lake Geneva. Unlike the original Maxwell Street Market (which was moved to Canal Street until developers chased them out. I guess it's on Des Plaines Street now) nothing here is shady or stolen...

While in town, we checked out Lake Aire Restaurant. It was a pretty good little greasy spoon.

Megan's so happy about food from Civilization!

I tried to resurrect last years "pictures with a statue" series. This is as close as I could get. They designed the pedestal well by having no traction.

Apparently Andy Gump is a famous comic strip and the creator was born here. I guess...

The Rivera.

For some reason, they had a keg of something suspended in the air in their park...

A view of downtown Geneva from some rich guy's backyard

The path from the lake to another rich guy's house

I like to go camping because I like to see wildlife. This was the first time in a long time I didn't see anything. The closest thing was these turtles and they were in the harbor in downtown.

The view from the public library overlooking the $6 admission beach

Megan working on dinner

Getting the grill all fired up

If these cups could talk, they would tell unbelievable stories about the travels they've been on and the horrible drinks they've endured...

Dinner was grill veal with some veggies.

Even non-civilized food was good!

That's right, I stayed at Big Foot Beach State Park, which had some creepy religious ceremony take place in the woods one night...

The handsomest man in all of Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

I highly suggest checking out the Olympic Restaurant. And, if you are a douchebag from Chicago, please do NOT bring your Starbucks coffee into the diner...

Rich guy home

Rich guy home

There's a public access path that goes all around Lake Geneva and lets people into rich people's backyards. I guess this path exists because in the old days, rich people wanted the streets to look nice by making their poor servants take the lake path hidden in their backyards. There's no aristocracy in America...

Rich guy home

Even richer guy home

From another angle

When I bought this towel sometime in high school for a dollar at a thrift store, it was ironic. Now, I look like one of those guys who loves them since they have a new album. The times are a changin'

A taste of Miami in Lake Geneva

FLUGTAG! What is this? Ever see the Red Bull Energy Drink commercials where people drive un-fly-able contraptions into the water from 3 stories up? This is it!

About 700,000 people showed up for this in Chicago in 2003. I haven't heard how many for this years yet. Take a guess...

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