I Can See You, Big Fat Mr. Jupiter

Saw moon at 60x magnification last night with Nikon spotting scope on Bogen Manfrotto with pistol grip head, and lo & behold, about midnight, there was Jupiter, high in the southern sky with three of it's moons visible. Yep, you need 60x magnification to see it (although it was the brightest "star" in the sky without the spotting scope). The top photo is one that I got online from someone else who had 60x magnification, and that is precisely what I saw--very clear that it's not a star, as it has a faint planet shape. And just as in his photo, there were the moons of Jupiter around it. Maybe the night sky has more to it than meets the eye--it has been a long time, since childhood with my white and black Tasco telescope, since I have stepped back and looked up to see the stars. I plan to drive way out in the central Illinois countryside, far from the city lights, and zoom in with binoculars and spotting scope, and see what else I can make out. Maybe a nebula or two.


St. Charles Day July 30, 2009

Fantastic 80F day—if this is what retired life is all about, I want in. Leisurely morning, chopped salad at Portillo’s then dropped Cathy at the Stamper’s Cottage for her 2.5 hour class. I popped the Infinity folder—as seen in photo looking down from the wooden park structure—out from the back of the van and biked for the entire time in St. Charles, to the Old Towne bookstore, the Pot park, the downtown area, checked out the Coffee Rwanda Bikes at Sammy’s, and really got some good cycling time in. Oh, sure, I had to stop for a fudgsicle, popcorn and Diet Rite at the park refreshment stand, but who's looking, right? Then, when Cathy's cardmaking class was over, tossed bike back in van and headed over to the Fox River to take the 3:30pm paddle boat ride up the Fox River. Casual fun. Giordano’s, Steinmart, Office Depot then home. Thank you for sharing my day.


First Day of Vacation

Rode bikes with Cathy to Fabyan Windmill, ate lunch at Egg Harbor, had a rip off maragarita at La Magdalena's in Elgin (my review of the place will be on tripadvisor soon--horrible!), and then crashed at home. Unwinding has begun.

Karen from Ewa Beach!

The internet can be an amazing place. I awoke this morning over a can of Mountain Dew and some Sugar Daddy's to an email from a very dear Boston University friend, Karen. A native of Hawaii, Karen simply sparkles. Always has, still does. Living now in Ewa Beach on Oahu, it is really fabulous that the internet can hook old and new friends. I have been stealthy online, rarely publishing photos and shunning Facebook for its viral nature, but when I have a sweet email from an important person from my past, like Karen, it makes my day.


Chicago Air and Water Show 2009 Saturday August 15

Awesome! Was Blue Angels in 2008--like this video. I was there--water was full of boats, air was full of flyers.

In 2009, its the Thunderbirds. They do every trick in this video. I love it when they buzz the crowd, thunderous! They do the sky high burst, fanning out like a super fireworks. Awesome power! Brave pilots. Fierce roar. Blasting from in front of yor eyes along Lake Michigan, to so high you cannot even see them, in seconds.

See you there!

P.S. Eric-the Blue Angels are coming to Fort Worth, October 24-25, 2009!!! Go!--Sammy and Eddie would be proud.


All Things Shall Pass

Interesting photographs of entropy at work. It's amazing, the progression we make in life. As a child, we live in a house and think our childhood home will be there forever. As young adults, readying for a family, we want to "own" a house, not wanting to rent. Feels "permanent" to make nail holes in our own walls to hang cherished photos. We, then, hit a mature age--I'm here now--realizing we don't own anything. The bank owns the mortgage and the house, and should I not pay property taxes, the town owns it.

But do even they really own it? Do any of us own anything? We borrow what is on this earth. Even the land our homes are built on will one day, like this barn, be reclaimed by nature. 100 years from now, like the fading family farms and farmhouses, will there be no record of me owning my home, or the land, there will only be some other use for the land...some other "tenant" taking care of this tiny parcel. And should that tenant become neglectful, nature will take it back. Just like the barn.

Happiness lies in knowing that all things shall pass. This knowledge gives peace. It allows us to look at the effort of others--beautiful public and private gardens, huge mansions, great artistic paintings--and not feel envy, but joy and pride, shared with the gardener, the builder and the painter. Nature's public domains, such as the majestic oceanside, become our own private sanctuary, more impressive than anything we could "own" in our backyards. And it's right there, ready for us, even if not just outside the bedroom window. Nature cannot be tamed or bought or sold. It can only be enjoyed, even if over our neighbor's fence, or at the museum, or with a short drive to the seaside. We "own" it all only in one place--in our memories and our minds. Ownership is a state of mind, a "feeling" rather than a reality.

Once we accept that all things shall pass like the dust of a century old barn, we can live in contentment and enjoy all that is around us now.

Mayhem 2009 is History

Super time! Indianapolis/Noblesville, IN: God Forbid, All That Remains, Trivium, Cannibal Corpse, Bullet For My Valentine, Job For a Cowboy, Killswitch Engage, and SLAYER! Absolutely impeccable weather for a second year in a row, and a metalfest with 24,000 screaming fans, three stages, and ten hours of rock and roll. Reeked of second-hand smoke, sweat and mud, but had a ball. Thanks for a great time to Mark and friend, Austin. Made me feel young again.

P.S. When Cannibal Corpse started their hit single Evisceration PLague, I was in the field across the parking lot, and came running to see them. Mark and Austin were already on the edge of the pit. This was an amazing band, captured live by someone else at the Indy show here.


Today Will Be Complete, Mayhem

The conversion van is locked and loaded. The earplugs are in pocket. The teen boys are atwitter. The Tevas are comfortable; the black t-shirt and cargo shorts are camera and binocular laden. Off to Noblesville, IN for the motorcycle jumping, multistage Mayhem II Festival. Hope it's as bone-crunching as Mayhem I Chicago that we hit in 2008 (with SLipknot and Disturbed). 2009 headliner: Slayer!



2004 Chevrolet Express Van = Love

I can honestly say, this Chevy Van is the best all around vehicle I have ever owned. I use it daily. It carries 2-6 passengers with absolute ease. I took out the back couch, and it carries my sectional kayaks (6 sections!), multiple bicycles, groceries, the works. I have found no other vehicle as versatile, and no other vehicle as comfortable for passengers. I have transported Mike and Vic's Ikea furniture, my bike built for two, luggage, giant framed wall hangings. I have slept in back at the airport with the window shades down, and I have enjoyed eating many a fast-food meal by lounging in the back seats. I sincerely hope that full size, custom conversion vans do not go the way of the dinosaur with new m.p.g limits, and Government Motors soon to lose all quality control. If I hit the lottery, I'm not buying a Mercedes retractable hard top convertible or a Ferrari, I'm buying a fully tricked out conversion van.

I adore my "go to" vehicle.


Stephen King's Sarasota, Florida House

If Stephen wants to buy any more mansions, he's going to have to write a lot better than his latest dud, Duma Key.

"While the island you see in the distance is the north end of Casey Key where Stephen King owns the north end and has his "compound". This Picture is on the Stephen King compound/estate whatever. It was taken standing on the opposite shoreline."--prose and photo by Mike Hendricks

Stephen King's Bangor, Maine House

No, this is not the Rising Road haunted house renovated.

You've heard his radio station, now see his house.

"Stephen King's main residence in Bangor, Maine. It looks small, but actually is built long, so that you can't see the size of the house from the front of it. He also bought the big, white house next door and is renovating it to be his new office space." -- photo and prose by JA Hitchcock


Two super online radio stations, rocking New England from north to south. Stephen King's WKIT rocks old school from Bangor, WAAF rocks old and new school from Massachusetts.

Of course, living la vida loca in Chicago, far from the sea grass of New England, Chicagoans view music through a wide angled, less rocking scope...WXRT blends the mellow with the mundane.


The Haunted House on Rising Road

No idea why this house is abandoned but still standing, but on Rising Road (even the road sounds spooky), this green and white trimmed house with no windows or doors stands ready to scare anyone passing by. You can see right through it to the field in the back. And sure enough, someone hung a noose from a tree out front. My whole family loves driving by this house, wondering about its story. Creepy!


Tanger Mall Tuscola, IL Today

Mayhem Festival 7/25/09 Indianapolis, IN

With Austin and Mark. Outdoor amphitheater with 28,000 of your favorite screaming metal heads, 10 hours, with Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Black Dahlia Murder, Bullet For My Valentine and eight other bands. Indianapolis, IN will never be the same again. I'll post pics if I survive.


I read an article in WSJ that people like Bing, even better than Google on average, but are not often switching altogether because Google is "good enough". Building a better mousetrap does not always get more mice. That said, in one month, from Microsoft has increased their search share from single digits to over 20%. I like bing; alternative refinements to search in left hand column automatically, and mouse over any video or image (in video and image searches) and it previews what else is on that webpage without having to click it/go to it. Sweet.

Have you binged today?


B and H Camera, NYC

Requires hand-to-hand delivery of package, not just my signature (which exonerates them from all liability in leaving the package at my doorstep). Had I known this when I ordered, I would not have ordered from them. I am a working member of the socialist Obamanation, and I cannot be present to get a package from UPS, nor can I drive 20 miles round trip and catch them during the 4.5 hours daily that UPS has window hours. I let B and H Camera know that this is my last order with them forever.


St. Charles, Illinois Images from Waterside

I'll be calling my friend Bruce to see if he'd like to either kayak this stretch againj, ormeet in ELgin and try paddling the area north of Elgin dam. Many nice photos, all along te waterside, in Saint Charles here.

Geneva IL Bridge Viewed From Island Park

The view of the Geneva Illinois bridge, decorated with flowers, taken on Saturday, July 11 in the morning.


Portillo's Geneva, Illinois

A very pleasant day as parents drove to Geneva. Rain let off to 85F humid temperatures by 2pm. Lunch of the fish burritos at Chicks N Salsa (see prior post) and dinner at Portillo's. A little shopping at Home Goods, and a short walk by the Geneva Dam. This morning a walk to Starbucks up the street, breakfast at Egg Harbor, then a day of some mandatory paperwork and I Love You Beth Cooper (which is already not as super as the book, the internet explains). Tomorrow, the return of Mark C., who I miss very much.


Orion 20 x 80mm Astronomical Binoculars

I love these binoculars. I use them to see Heron eating small fish in the pond behind my house, and I used them two nights ago to view the full moon. The Bogen Manfrotto tripod makes them manageable. I enjoy good optics, and the Orions will soon not be as lonely-- Nikon spotting scope and Zeiss Binos will be joining the famly from B and H Photo, in New York--the only store I have ever seen in my entire life that is closed on Saturdays.

Batavia, IL Bridge

Went to our neighbor to the south, Batavia, today to view the Fox River Bridge. The river here was shalloow, but naviable by kayak, ande had lovely pedestrian bridges south of the dam. The Main Street bridge is decked out for summer with purple hanging flower baskets. This permament cat'o nine tails sculpture creates interest tothose walking on the sgone tiled Batavia Bridge.


I Love You My Wife

Okay, I promised my wife I'd take her to see I Love You Beth Cooper this weekend at Warrenville huge cinema. I must admit, it looks fun. Would love to get Alexia into the theater with Dave, but apparently that's not easy.

Bruce, got your wonderful "hello" subject email. Wonderful June you had. You need a break. We'll talk about when you and Zena are free.

Addendum: the movie was so universally panned, that I decided to read the praised novel, doing so now on Kindle.

Addendum #2: The novel sucks, too.

I Boggle

Here's my Boggle game on my kitchen counter. I have been practicing. I hear that Dave's daughter is a natural at this game. I'm ready! My brother claims he can do Scramble, which is ITunes online Boggle, and score in the top three. That is a major boast,only to be believed if he can kick my can live and in person sometime. For now, I Boggle alone.

I Miss My Guitar Playing Son.

This is where the magic happens, his guitar lessons. I sit in that cubby, the black chairs, while he is down the hall making beautiful noise. He's been gone for two weeks, and I miss his playing and taking him to his lesson. He'll be back Sunday. And he texted me that he is getting his hair cut short.

Our Kitchen Is Your Kitchen

Hope to have a good meal at this table. Or at least sticky sweet margaritas.


Biking in Geneva, Illinois

A fine Sunday bike ride with Cathy, including a yummy breakfast burrito at Mel's Diner, pedaling past the gorgeous houses from Seventh to Third Streets, stumbling upon the Sunday Farmer's Market (look at those peaches!) before getting on the bike path back to our condo. Photos of the Geneva bridge in the distance fromthe ped bridge over the Fox River, plus the Geneva bridge with summerng flowers, and the Geneva Dam through the trees. I have loads of energy despite staying up late last night reading Nancy Wall's memoir Pulled By The Heart, published in June 2009 (the hot read since she lives in our condo bldg). Sunny 81F and glad I'm not in Beirut (as in the book). Lovely day in Geneva.


Related Posts with Thumbnails