Wednesday, November 26, 2008


WATCH OUT FOR THAT STALKER GIRL BEHIND YOU. She was giving you the "googly eyes" all night...

For everyone else: I will be in Buffalo/Rochester, New York for Thanksgiving. If you'd like to see me, your best bet will be to watch the Bills/49ers game on TV. If my luck/coincidence continues, my recent record indicates that one of these teams will end up in the Super Bowl. But, there's only a 50% they'll win if they get there...

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Lone Star

Some old business to take care of: Here's one of a ba-zillion examples of homage being paid to the newest Chicago-kid taking the world by storm. This is on the side of a gyro hut on Halsted, north of Fullerton.

On to Austin, Texas: featuring presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and George W. Bush

WELCOME TO AUSTIN, TEXAS! The best feature of the airport was the rental car lot was directly across from the terminal. In a state with very limited mass transit, it's a very necessary feature. I was in town for the Convio Summit Conference. For those who don't know, Convio is a database company that specializes in software for nonprofits.

Here's my hotel and the place of the conference. It's the Renaissance Hotel in the far northwest section of Austin at highways 1, 360, and 183. Just as a side note, I've never seen so many stoplights on multiple lane limited access highways before...

When did I start traveling in style?

Look at this bathroom. It's four times larger than my current apartment's bathroom. Then again, the room costs $140 more per day than my place. And that's with the discount...

Here's the atrium where many of the activities took place. They also had some stuff down the stairs. The most important thing downstairs though was the pool. Still only 4' deep, but...

"Oh, so how is it back in Chicago? 40 degrees you say... Well, it's alright down here in Austin. I mean, it's mid-November and it's 80 degrees."

Texas State Capitol. It's a massive state capitol. They really do everything bigger in Tah-has.

The odd thing is, everything says "Texas," "The Lone Star State," "Don't Mess With Texas," or "Texas Pride" in Texas. Everything except the capitol building. It might have said it on the sidewalk, but that was covered with cheap plastic mats...

Cool post-modern building downtown. They had lots of great old buildings too, but very difficult to take pictures of in the dark. Two oddities about downtown Austin: 1) they have a lot of loud nocturnal birds; 2) between the capitol building and the University of Texas are several blocks in every direction of 2-to-3 story parking garages. It's a vast wasteland from a future only Robocop could imagine...

Construction site downtown

Some kind of student gathering at U of T that appeared to rate six year olds wearing costumes. I didn't get it. I must be getting too old...

University of Texas-Austin's Main Building

One of main old Victorian homes downtown converted into a business and surrounded by skyscrapers.

That cool post-modern building again as seen through the alley of bars and live music joints.

ELLA! As many of you may know, my cousin Nick lives in Austin as well. So, while I had some time away from the conference, I visited him, his wife Kate, and his daughter Ella. She likes Care Bears and Little Mermaid.

Here's Ella giving her "pretty pose" in her Little Mermaid dress for the camera with Nick in the background.

Ella also made a very demanding and honorable request that I visit her house.

Back at the airport looking at strange artwork. "Keep Austin Weird..." I learned a lot and had a good time.

PS-Anyone have any idea why 7600 people have visited my blog since Sunday? Is it because the Kansas City Wizards player stole my name or the handball player from Germany? Are one of you a stalker that just can't get enough pics and banter? Just curious on my recent popularity...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Usually, I let my own photos do the talking, but they don't even come close to doing the Obama Election Rally justice. So, check them out on the tribune:,0,647742.photogallery

See that red arrow? That's where Noah, Frances, Megan, and I were. Practically hugging and hi-fiving Obama himself.

I haven't heard how many people were downtown to see Obama win. I've heard 100,000, but that has to be only the people who had tickets. My guess is it was between 1 - 2 million people. They were everywhere.

Here's crossing the bridge security checkpoint for people who don't have tickets.


First their was Lincoln and now Obama. Chicago is awesome!

Frances and Noah

Watching the election results on CNN. Did anyone else see Will.I.Am do the Star Wars hologram thing? I thought it was just a blue screen thing at first. But, I guess Anderson Cooper could actually see it in the studio. I read an article that said that CNN needed 44 cameras and 20 computers to generate a 3-D image in the studio. The future is now.


Noah and Frances on the train ride back home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If Ithaca Is Gorge-ous, Then Illinois Is Dell-icious...

Megan and I went to Starved Rock for the weekend. So, not much to comment on other than look at the colors and dells/gorges/canyons:

Days Inn swimming pool

Top of Starved Rock

This is Starved Rock

Here's the island where all the eagles gather during migration or something

Peering way down Eagle Outlook or something

An optical illusion makes me appear to be bow-legged...

Funny graffiti. I like that this was someone's collaboration. Someone to do the writing. Someone to do the drawing. I also like the drawing of the McCain baby eater wears a cape...

Looking down at a man playing with his dogs from an outlook about 100+ feet up.

The company Megan and I keep these days...

We tried to stay in one of these cabins, but they were all full. They are pretty much always full. But, I like the Days Inn at Oglesby because it had a pool and hot tub!!!

Steps carved into the rock

Wasp nest

The main lodge at Starved Rock.


My little splunker!

Megan on a cliff

Actually, we spent our weekend on a cliff

What does a port-o-potty have to do with a skunk with a gun?

In Peru, Megan and I went to a restaurant called "Mark Allen's American Cuisine" or something like that. It was really good and Megan and I were their mascots. I'm even wearing the same outfit. WEIRD!

Just south of Staved Rock State Park is Mathiassen State Park. The rest of the photos are from there.

Megan crossing the river

Me at "Goliath's Bathtub."


Notice the little man at bottom center meditating...

So, we took this shot and it looked like we were in front of a "green screen" or photoshoped or something. So, we had to retake it so it would look more "real," which it really is.

For some reason, it only looks more fake...

My little splunker again!

On the way home, Megan and I stopped in Ottawa, Illinois at Washington Park, which was one of the sites of the Lincoln/Douglas Debates. I wanted to continue my tradition of standing with the statues of presidents, but this town was way too smart for me. That fountain was really a moat about 3 feet deep with freezing water and sharks. So, I had to settle for a distance shot. But, you better believe that Ottawa better improve their statue security for the next time I am there because I am bringing wooden planks, rope, and more the next time I'm there. YOU HEAR ME OTTAWA!

That's it for now (which was a lot in this super blog). If you made it down this far, thanks for viewing. Also, next blog will be about Obama's election party in Grant Park (if I can get within a hundred miles of it).



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