Sunday, September 28, 2014

Davis Bowie is Chicago

Chicago 
We had seen that the David Bowie exhibit was opening in Chicago and since we had just missed it by one day when we were in London in 2013 we decided we had to make this. We used miles from our British airways account for the plane tickets and only paid $22 in taxes. That made any other extravagances seem minor, like our room upgrade. Our upgraded room was actually 2 rooms with the dividing wall removed, the other 2 beds removed and chairs and a desk added, it was quite nice.

View from our room
Wednesday
Arrived to Chicago in the afternoon via the Blue line(a subway), about a 45 minute trip from the airport. There is only one train to the city so you can't pick the wrong one. The fare was $5 from the airport to the city, but we had our fare waived on the way back to the airport because the ticket machines were not operating properly. If you have a lot of luggage this may not be the best choice, but if you take a shuttle you will probably run into traffic.
We had drinks with friends at the Palmer House that night before dinner. They had also come to Chicago, one for work and one just for the Bowie exhibit like us.
One of the conference rooms in the Palmer house
Dinner was at Berghoffs, a German Style restaurant, the food was excellent, the interior was very German. It was only a block away from the Palmer House.

Thursday
Museum of Science and Industry Met our friend at her hotel and we taxied to the Museum. All the exhibits we saw were very well done. Most exhibits were hands-on and not just geared towards children. There was a 727 that was hung from the balcony which you could walk in and see how the different parts of the plane worked. You could also see the internals at different spots.

Museum of Science and Industry
We then walked to the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie house, bought tickets for a tour and had lunch at Plein Air Cafe next to the Robie house. The walk was a bit far and I had forgot my fit bit so I don't know how far exactly.
After a very good lunch of sandwiches, we had the Robie House Tour, a Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Style home. Very open and airy, lots of built in storage. No attic or basement, room for servants.
Robie House south face
Dinner that evening was with our niece at Giordano's on W Jackson Blvd. We had a very good Deep Dish single crust pie filled with cheese and tomato sauce and ricotta and eggplant. A very tasty meal I will refrain from calling pizza. Not a far walk from the Palmer House. On the way to the restaurant I saw gargoyles on the corner of a building, the photos below are of the Harold Washington Library which opened in 1991, it looks older.

Friday
We again met our friends at their hotel and taxied to the museum for the Bowie Exhibit. The suggested viewing time was 90 minutes, but it took us almost 3 hours. There were headsets provided and there was music beamed to the headsets depending on your location. There were costumes and hand written song ideas and set designs, videos. It was an excellent exhibit and I watched all the videos at least once and sometimes more than once, except for the mime video. Learned a few things and was reminded of a few things. One or 2 spots were missing music and I am not sure if that was by design. One thing I did not know was that Bowie was outspoken on Tibetan rights back in 1968. I had worn my fit bit and it only clocked 430 steps for the exhibit. Felt like more.
Daily total: For Today Fitbit measured 11,560 steps 15 floors, 5.45 miles


David Bowie Is exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Arts.

Old Water Tower, once used to pump water from Lake Michigan, it survived the Great Fire
We had lunch and some beers at Pippins Tavern not far away from the museum. We ate outside. The food was adequate, but it was a beautiful day to sit out and drink a few beers and rehash the exhibit.
Our friends had a flight home that afternoon and we walked back to out hotel. They suggested we take the  Architecture boat tour on the Chicago river and we did and it was very interesting.
Tribune Building, I like Gothic
333 Wacker Drive by Kohn and Allen Architects
River City, Bertrand Goldberg Associates, completed 1986
Willis Tower and 311 S. Wacker (shorter pink tower)which it has a crown of lights on the roof
505 N. Michigan Avenue, designed Walter W. Alschlager, completed 1929, a hotel
Saturday
Just strolled through the park across Michigan avenue and enjoyed the great weather.
Saw big art like the Cloud Gate aka "The Bean"
and the Crown Fountain,  there are 2 of these and videos are displayed on the inward faces of the glass brick towers which have water cascading over them.
 and the Buckingham Fountain
The fountain periodically shoots the main water jet even higher.
just an interesting glass building facade on the way back to the hotel
The Metra is another public transport system, this would have taken us to the Museum of Science and Industry south in Jackson Park. This entrance reminds me of Paris Metro entrances.
Our Saturday flight was cancelled due to the Friday FAA facility fire and we were put on an earlier flight the same day which was then delayed. We still got home earlier than we were supposed to.
 Daily total: For Today Fitbit measured 8255 steps, 14 floors and 3.89 miles

All in all a great trip.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Thug(s)

Thug: noun
  plural thugs
  1. a violent person, especially a criminal
  2. (historic) a member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner.
First known use 1810.

Since we're on the topic of thugs, here is a list of well known thugs

Putin - a Megalomaniac Lying Bastard Thug.
IRA - Drunken Wanker Thugs
 
ISIS- Definitely Not Drunken(except with power) but still Wanker Thugs
Hamas - Hey let's hide rockets and weapons in Mosques and civilian buildings because we care so much about the Palestinian people Thugs
 Pro-Russian Separatists in the Ukraine - Putin boot-lick-in Thugs
 KKK - Stuck in the Past moonshine drinking Thugs
Boko Harum - New Guys on the Block Thugs
Notice anything they all have in common?

MASKS

They all wear goddamn masks because their power is illegitimate(maybe they are too and probably illiterate to boot) and they are a bunch of bullies who couldn't talk a school girl(are girls even allowed to go to school?) out of her lolly pop using a valid argument and so have to resort to using guns and violence to get their way.

My twin Dirk says "These guys really piss me off. If I were a hot headed younger man I would dig up my dad's M40 from the backyard(where he stores all his Prepper supplies), buy a balaclava and go off and reduce the population."

But then he would just be a Thug and I would have to put his photo up here as well.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

End of Summer

Current Blooms
Dwarf Hosta
Russian Sage
St Michaelmas Daisy






 New Heather from Trader Joe's


 Banana and child
 Half and Half Espaliered Witch hazel
Gentiana "Goetterdaemmerung"



Beers in the Fridge

Boddingtons Ale
Peroni
Harpoon Summer Beer, very Good, an easy drink, had it last in summer 2012
Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-style  (just got it, no idea who makes it, too lazy to search the web)





Monday, August 4, 2014

Late Summer Blooms

Still seem to be in vacation mode, have not yet transitioned back into work mode. Wish I was back in Aruba.

Current Blooms:
 In the mum family, I didn't plant them so they are a weed.
Phlox, I cut them back early in the season so they don't get too tall. We used to have white, but now we don't.
Erica x Watsonii 'Truro' Summer blooming Heath. Heath have needle like leaves, while Heathers have scale like leaves.
Calluna Vulgaris 'Glenmorangie' True Heather, dwarf with few pale lavender flower in Summer. Yes, very true, very few flowers and quite pale. Foliage tips turn orange in Fall then red in Winter

Beers in the fridge:

 Found this one a bit too hoppy, though I got used to it.
Pairs well with pasta, light and crisp, I buy this a couple of times a year. Had a Peroni at Hostaria Da Vittorio while in Aruba. It was in a brown bottle, but I did not look that close so I am not sure what kind exactly it was. At the other good Italian restaurant in Aruba I had a Moretti.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Past Trip: One Happy Island, July 2014

No not Staten Island, but Aruba, which is 15 miles north of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea. A steady breeze keeps it cool even though most days are sunny, the ocean along the western shore is calm and inviting. Aruba is one of the ABC Islands, Aruba, Bonaire and CuraƧao, three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles.
Our hotel's beach, but we hung out on the beach further down to the left
Just so you don't get the 2 confused, one is a Happy Island and one is where I live and for further comparison.

                                Staten Island               Aruba
Location(Lat/Lon)   40.3N, 74.8W            12.3N, 69.5W
Area (sq. mi.)           58.5 excluding lakes  69.5 no lakes
Coastline                  57 miles                     42.5 miles
Highest point           410ft. Todt Hill          617ft. Mt. Jamanota
July Temp                86F (humid)               82F always and dry and no hurricanes
July Water Temp      72F                            80F
Sand                         dirt brown                  white and soft
People                      basterds                      warm and friendly
Population               472,000                      110,600
Time to Newark       20 minutes                 5 hours
Discovered*            1520 (Verrazzano)     1499 (Alonso de Ojeda)
* by Europeans

Very similar and both are visited by about 1.5 million tourists each year, yet no one actually gets past the ferry terminal in Staten Island, while in Aruba tourists stay for weeks and come back year after year.

Highlights:
  • No work
  • Nice Breeze
  • Nice sand
Lowlights:
  • Surf was not up, so I did not get to take a lesson
  • seeing people who should not wear such small bathing suits
Lodging:
Holiday Inn located on Palm Beach 20 minutes from the airport.
Same configuration as our room, but our view was of the parking lot.
Dining:
All within a short walk from the Hotel. Afterwards we walked back to the hotel along the beach, each evening we cut through a different hotel to gain access to the beach.

Taste of Belgium - Belgium, had mussels and fries and beer
Aqua Grill - Seafood [fish soup, mahi-mahi, coconut flan; salad, red snapper, 2 chocolate brownie martinis]
Hostaria da Vittorio - Italian,  my favorite of the Italian restaurants we ate at. [brushetta prosciutto, orechiette with broccoli rabe & sausage,  strega; pappardelle speciale, panna frutti o al cioccol]
Gianni's - Italian, right on the main strip, had a lot of staff. We tended to eat early and there was quite a line to get in when we were leaving. [fried calamari, spaghetti with octopus, tiramisu; salad, pasta primavera, brownie ala mode]
Papillion - French [shrimps on toast, seared tuna over rice; crab cakes, Grouper, mousse]
Le Bistro - Located in the open air mall across from the hotel. The food was good, but we were just wondering where our food came from. [salad nicoise, snapper Arubiano, key lime pie; salad, red snapper with shrimp, mousse]
There is a fountain/light show at night in the mall. It can be missed.

And we also ate at another Italian restaurant which is not worth naming, though you have to walk along Palm Beach Noord a ways to get there. I had the insalata di Mare as an appetizer which was good, but our entrees were just OK. Other than this place all the food was very good

I would go again.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid July Flowers


Current Blooms:
Salvia
 Gladiolus, some suggest digging them up in the fall depending on the zone you live in, we are borderline so we leave them in
 Pink Threadleaf Coreopsis
 Echinacea purpurea, had planted 2 last summer, but only one camp up this spring
Cilantro flowers
 Campanula cochlearifolia 'Elizabeth Oliver'
 Pink Chintz Thyme
 Dwarf Astilbe
Calluna Vulgaris "Alex Warwick" a heather