Sunday, September 28, 2014

Taking pictures of people taking pictures, Part 2

Federal Plaza, after work on a weekday
 I am still fascinated by the notion of taking pictures of people who are taking pictures.  These two young men were being creative at Federal Plaza and they looked like two approachable people so when they were done taking their picture, I said, "Look, I took pictures of you taking the pictures."  I showed mine to them and they said, "Wow, those are great."  I asked if they wanted me to send them to a phone and they did.  Hours later they sent me a text saying, "Thank you."

You're welcome, guys!
More of the same

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Not about a fish

My coworker's sister's boyfriend wanted to go fishing.  He was trolling around on You Tube looking for information on that wily sportfish, the bass.  He came across "All About That Bass."  He realized it was not about bass fishing but watched it anyway.  He then got his girlfriend to watch and, in turn, told my coworker to watch it.  She told me advising it was very, very catchy.  She said you heard it once and it stayed in your head.  I said I would go home and look for it, which I did.

It went into my head and took up residence.

[In case you don't care about popular culture, "All About That Bass" is a tune sung by Meghan Trainor, a pretty and not-super-model-thin woman, and her pretty and zaftig pals in celebration of not being skinny or photoshopped and that we are all perfect and that according to this young person's mom, males like a little something to hang onto at night.]
Weeks go by.  I told my niece about it and saw that Jimmy Fallon and the Roots had had their way with it.  I could give you the all-in-pastel-colors original but want you to enjoy a popular song in the style of Mr. F and his Tonight Show band.  The instruments are those of an elementary classroom band.  Watch and enjoy and then go mental floss your head to get it out.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Brief but I mean it

Topics I considered for today:

1.  Dead trees:  Safety last in forest preserves, along the freeway, and on the streets of Chicago.

2.  Jay Cutler:  Ick

3.  My vacation:  You don't care?  Why the hell not?

Now, I could go on and on about how the city and the parks and the county and the state need to get it together and fell the dead trees because all those dead trees near streets and roads and sidewalks and trails near humans traveling in cars/walking/biking are a public hazard, but how does one put it?

How about this:  All those dead trees are a public hazard.

A local woman was killed last week on the North Branch Trail by a dead tree that fell on her when she was caught in a fast-moving storm and couldn't get to shelter.

In 1991, Kathy Huffhines, the film critic of the Detroit Free Press, died when a dead tree fell on the car in which she was traveling in Philadelphia.

If you see a dead tree in Chicago, call 311 with the address.  Call the state.  Call the county if it's in a forest preserve.  Call the Chicago Park District if it's in a city park.  Dead trees need to be removed so no one else is killed.

My vacation?  I am waiting for an airfare sale.

And Jay Cutler?  Ick.  Overpaid, undertalented, not well spoken, uncharismatic, stiff.  100% ick.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stars of Lyric Opera 2014

The cozy hearth of Pritzker Pavilion lit up in the center
And so we were back to Millennium Park and the Pritzker Pavilion lawn this weekend.  The Stars of the Lyric Opera is a very popular event.  I've covered this in the past, about how thrilling it is, but this year we decided to view it from another vantage point:  the lawn.  General seating in the actual pavilion opens at 5:30 p.m. and for the last several years, we have arrived at 3:30 p.m. to get in line.  The closest to the front of this waiting line we've even been was two years ago when only two others were ahead of us.  After we race in and get our seats -- which takes all of 30 seconds -- we sit in those seats for another two hours before the show begins.  From those seats one could see the facial expressions of the singers and be stunned -- in good and bad ways -- by some sensational gowns worn by the female singers.

It was exhausting.  Four hours devoted to sitting before the show even began.  The sun was inescapable and mostly blinding where we waited for seats.  Even though I am not small, I ride public transportation every day and I know how to move if I want to get a seat ahead of the young, strong, and thin, but it was a nerve wracking 30 seconds.  Then you have to stay in your seat so no one else takes it.  At the end of the night, it felt like we'd spent most of the weekend in the park.

This year, we decided to arrive in a mostly timely manner (about an hour ahead), bring our folding chairs, and have our meal among the other fans of the opera on the lawn.

We got seats at the center back of the first section (the lawn is divided into two sections with a security pass-through in the middle), and everyone around us was polite and respectful of the performers and their fellow viewers.  (Someone brought a baby and the baby settled down at showtime and stayed settled.)  Right before it started, someone sitting to our left (who had two tables for their lavish spread) had gone to the restroom and came back to announce the park was closed.  The pavilion lawn, auditorium, and side viewing area were so crammed full of people that they allowed no one else in.

It was the nicest evening.  The weather was perfect.  When we arrived, the sun had already gone behind the sklyine buildings so our corneas were spared.  Chicken salad with tarragon and curry, grapes, and edamame that were washed down with nonvintage Piper-Heidsieck champagne.  The people with the lavish spread were having a birthday party and I assisted with lighting the candles and we joined their group in singing Happy Birthday.  They served each of us French bread with cheese and pate on top which was delicious beyond description.  (It had never occurred to any of us, two of whom are celebrated gourmands, to put cheese and pate together on bread at the same time, together.)  They had leftover cupcakes and shared those and yes, I did take a half and oh man, the Magnolia Bakery is wonderful.  The people with the lavish spread are very smart and nice, and were generous to the three of us, total strangers.

Oh, and the Stars!  A tenor who was to be the Duke in Rigoletto fell ill and they brought in another tenor from Seattle.  Tenor Robert McPherson's plane landed at O'Hare at 5:45 p.m.  (In order to get there at 5:45 in the afternoon, he was probably on a flight at 11:30 a.m. Pacific time.) He did a beautiful job as the Duke in Rigoletto, singing "La donna e mobile" at about 9 p.m.  The magic of the opera!  I personally thought the night belonged to three baritones:  Mark Delavan, Kyle Ketelsen, Mariusz Kwiecien.  As Leporello, the statue come to life in Don Giovanni, bass-baritone Ketelsen had me standing up with binoculars to get a look at the person sending out those tones.  The whole show was great but oh, those gents with their deep tones!