Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Stanley Cup

For the third time in six seasons, the Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup Finals.  GO HAWKS!!!


It almost embarrasses me to admit that I have a hard time watching games.  Baseball, football, hockey, it matters not -- if it's too exciting and my team still loses, I get very upset.  I don't like being upset so I just await the outcome while doing something else.  Then I can be delighted or horrified at the result but I won't be devasted and sad.

Here is the Stanley Cup with some fans: 
Photo courtesy of ??  Who knew Lord Vader and a Stormtrooper were fans?

I said it before and I say it again:  GO HAWKS!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Two examples of "Wha'?"

And where is this wonderful thing?  Not in Vienna, nor Munich, nor Berlin.   It's in rural Minnesota.   I think the late Freddy Mercury would approve.  I certainly do.
'Sup indeed
I went out yesterday in the late afternoon, driving down the alley from my garage to the street, and I spied the plastic Santa.  I thought it was great and had to have a picture.  This fine man came from out of nowhere and asked in an Eastern European accent if I wanted the plastic fellow.  I said, "No, but I want his picture."  He said, "Will you take my picture with it?"  "Sure!" I said with great enthusiasm.  He crouched down and put his arm around Jolly Ole St. Nick, I turned on the flash as I was shooting into the sun, and click!  I only had to take one picture and I am very proud of it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


I recall the notion of good ideas for the blog earlier in the week.  I foolishly didn't make note of them and so today I GOT NOTHING.

In celebration of IGN, I am going to go out and do errands.

Remember:  La vida es rica; la vida es llena.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What If?

I must like to make myself insane because the Bulls and the Blackhawks are in postseason playoff situations and I am excited!  I know better than to be excited as I don't like to get my heart broken but to maybe have two winning teams is a thrill.

The reason why I don't like to watch sports, especially in person, is because I start caring and become emotionally invested in what's happening and if the team for which I am rooting loses, then I take it personally, like they did it to me on purpose.  I am trying to be aloof about my feelings for the Blackhawks and the Bulls in this winning situation but it's difficult because, well, what if?

One of my work friends posed this question at work on Friday: "What if the Bulls and the Bears go all the way?  The city would have two parades!  There would be two rallies for the winning teams!  Wouldn't that be great if that happened?"

Yes, it would be.  My mind boggles with how happy sports fans -- and others -- would be.  It's a thrill.  When the White Sox won the World Series in 2008, there was an awesome parade and I got to throw confetti out the window of my workplace (we were in a building with small windows that tipped open just enough for me to put my arm out and let loose with crap).  The crowd was huge and I'll never forget the roar of the crowd when they turned from Jackson onto LaSalle.  It was thunderous, excited, thrilling, and divine.  When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010  for the first time since 1961, there was a huge parade and my work friend and I went behind the building to take in the parade.  Not many people knew the route went there so we got to stand right at the curb and had a very good view.  In 2013, lots of people found out about this spot on Washington, just west of the railroad overpass, and my work friend and I and everyone else in our office decided to stay away.  The same route was filled with parade goers by 10 a.m. but it was still cool and wonderful. 

I imagine a basketball series where we get past LeBron James and the Cavs then on to the next series.  I imagine the Blackhawks going all the way through to the conference finals -- which start on Tuesday or as late as May 17 -- and then on to the Stanley Cup finals.  I imagine two parades -- although who is going to pay for that? -- and the Art Institute putting a basketball jersey on one lion and a hockey helmet on the other.  I imagine the Lyric Opera congratulating both teams on their signs.  I imagine smiling because it would be such a lovely thing for sports fans and the city.  I imagine laughing because I can't believe it and I am so happy.

What if?  I would be delighted and maybe you would be, too.  Go Bulls!  Go Hawks!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

It came and traffic stopped

It took a week to get Draft Town in place and it proved to be every bit the clusterfuck that I'd imagined.  Entire bus routes were rerouted because of massive street closings.  Traffic was at a virtual standstill in many parts of downtown because of said rerouted buses, many more pedestrians, a glut of cars, a stronger police presence, the previously mentioned closed streets, and Draft Town itself.  Of course I had to go and check it out.

DRAFT TOWN:  Where the weak do not get autographs or anywhere near the Lombardi Trophy
Draft Town was free to get in.  A coworker was as curious as me, so we decided to go together.  There were things we wanted to see and just walk around and check it out.  We were there for 90 minutes which covered it all for us.  Almost everything was free:  Oikos was giving away yogurt,  Verizon was giving away $5 food vouchers (which we gave to a family), Bears players -- current and retired -- were at the autograph tent, with no charge for a signature.  There were massive crowds for the autograph tent.  There were massive crowds for the Bears tent.  There was a one-hour line to get next to the Lombardi Trophy (as everyone in the line wanted a picture with it).  There were running challenges, jumping challenges, and a place where you put on a special suit and helmet and then flew up into the air.  Lines, lines, lines for everything.  A line to get a wristband to get your picture taken and have your chosen current or former football player superimposed with you and a line to get the picture.  The main massive huge tent was set up east-to-west which was totally blinding as the sun came down.  I have good sunglasses and found it annoying and painful.  It also made photography difficult.  Now that I've been, I don't need to ever go again.

So I have suggestions for the NFL and the City of Chicago if Draft Town is coming here next year:

1.  Do not set up the main tent east-to-west.  Make it north-to-south so that people are not blinded.  The first two days it's held from 4pm to 10pm. What happens in Chicago from 4pm to about 7pm?  The sun starts going down, making photography and vision difficult.

2.  If you put a tent over a major thoroughfare, there will be median strips with which to contend.  Maybe put up your own signage in addition to the regular street signage already there.

3.  Put the team tents in the front to make them more easily accessible.  They didn't have as many crowds as the autograph tent, so it would help with general traffic flow.

4.  Put the autograph tent in the back.  There are always lines for autographs so take the crowds for that away from where people (1) enter, (2) get beer, (3) are trying to get positioned to watch the draft which is also in front.

5.  Have more free crap.  If they are going to participate, make sure they're giving away something to the attendees. Screwdrivers with a hotel logo, for example, would be much appreciated.  "Greetings from Draft Town" courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Hotels, the chosen hotel of the NFL.  How much could that be?  It all comes from China anyway, so it can't be all that much for the hotel chain and the NFL to split.

6.  Don't make it so people's livelihoods are challenged because of it.  The American Rhythm Center, where I take tap classes, is across the street from Draft Town.  Because of the terribly screwed up traffic, they cancelled classes for three days.  ARC is only one of the places giving classes in that building so multiply it by several.  That's effed up.

7.  Find another location for Draft Town in a city that isn't this one.  Draft Town on the former grounds of the Michigan State Fair at Eight Mile Road and Woodward in Detroit might bring some needed dollars to that community, people could drive to get there, they don't need to charge for parking, and they could erect some temporary Draft Temple for the NFL general managers and owners that would be appropriately opulent for their draft duties.   I could totally get behind that.

But then, they don't ever ask me.

Because of Draft Town, people had to make a concerted effort to get to Buckingham Fountain.  I exited, let some tourists finish their thing plus took pictures of them with their cameras, and then I took a panorama with a smaller-than-usual crowd.  It was honestly the best thing I saw all night.

Panorama of Buckingham Fountain at about 6:30pm on April 30

Post-BF, I found my coworker had made friends with these two officers who smiled nicely for me