"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm a Monkey!

I went out for lunch at my favorite chinese restaurant today and with no one to keep me company, I began pondering the place-mat in front of me. It gave the symbols and descriptions of the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs and, according to them, I'm a monkey. I cant remember exactly what the place-mat said about monkeys, so I googled 'chinese zodiac' got a description from the web. This description is much more detailed than the restaurant place-mat. What do you think? Does this sound like me?


No task is too great for the clever Monkeys. They master most anything. They have extremely charming manners that draw others. Monkeys solve difficult problems with ease.They are quick-witted,innovative, and they have total and intense belief in themselves. No one delights in their own accomplishments like the Monkeys. Enjoying themselves immensely, they try anything at least once! Monkeys are intellectual and their memory is phenomenal. They recall the smallest details of everything they have seen,read, and heard. They must depend on that memory since they have an otherwise untidy mind. Monkeys are wizards with money. They are original, shrewd, and when they need to, they can fool anyone.There are a hundred and one fantastic schemes they want to try, and you can bet they make some of them work. Even when they take you in, it is hard to be angry with them, or begrudge them anything. They don't care what opinions others have of them. They know they are lucky, and they also know they have the ability to change things when convenience calls. Monkeys are virtually unsinkable! When the odds are stacked against them, Monkeys know when to quit. Their timing is superb, and they will wait to try another time. If you try to trick Monkeys, they will probably catch you. They never make a move without a plan. They are great strategists. They can spot an opportunity in any form. They never miss a trick!

Monkeys are hard workers once they have a piece of the action. The bigger the piece, the better they do. Monkeys like to travel, and they want to do it first class.They need a certain amount of excitement in their lives.

Since Monkeys get what they want without too much trouble, they may not care about all their conquests. They lose interest quickly and must learn to finish what they start and take care of what they have. People always flock around Monkeys,but Monkeys don't trust very much. They know a select group of friends that they choose carefully. Money is a must for Monkeys, and they usually have it, or will be in the process of getting it.They know nothing is permanent. They improve and try to do better, and often amaze even themselves. Monkeys like facts and they hateto waste time. Always remember, Monkeys don't care if you approve of them or not, and if not careful, you will be eating right out of their hands! They are the ultimate diplomats and slip in and out of difficulties with ease.

Monkeys must be careful in romance, although clear-sighted, they are very critical and lose interest in anyone they can't consider their peer.They are vain and egotistical,but even that is to their advantage. Monkeys are always out in front!

According to the Chinese zodiac, I should marry a rat or a dragon. When I got to looking at all of the signs and which other signs it said each was compatible with, I noticed a pattern. Basically, each sign is compatible with the sign that is 4 or 8 years older or younger than them. I thought that was kind of interesting. So, for me I would be compatible with someone born in 1976 or 1972. So, where are you Mr. 1976 or Mr. 1972?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What I've been up to...

I know I havent been posting very regularly lately and I know I havent posted anything about what I've been up to these last couple weeks, so here goes...

Two weekends ago on Friday, I went to the Shriners parade with my friends Brian and Janelle, and Brian's two boys, Hunter and Parker. There's Brian and Janelle on the left watching the parade. I dont know why, but I havent been very good about using my camera lately. I should have got a shot of the four of them together, but I just didnt think about it.
The parade was interesting....in a different sort of way. It was really dull. They didnt toss any candy, they didnt have any floats...it was just different. Definitely not what you would expect. After the parade, we headed over to Headwaters Park in Fort Wayne to check out the 3 Rivers Festival. The festival had been going on all week and I had been wanting to go so I was happy to walk around.
Saturday night I didnt do anything. Then on Sunday evening, I got together with Brian, Janelle and the boys again for the huge fireworks display that they put on for the last night of the 3 Rivers Festival. It is usually a very nice display and this year was no exception. Here are some of the better shots that I got of the pyrotechnics. I still havent quite figured out my camera, so these pictures are not near as good as some of the pics I've taken in the past.

There was practically no wind to blow away the smoke created by the fireworks. You can see the smoke rolling down the side of the building. Pretty cool!

The boys and I already had plans to go and do something the next day, so they just headed home with me. We rented a movie and had a late night. On Monday, we went bowling and played at he arcade where the boys won lots of tickets.
That night we had dinner with Brian and Janelle and headed back down to Van Wert to check out the new Batman movie at the drive in. Monday night at the drive in is BYOB. No...not that BYOB...Bring Your Own Bag...for free popcorn. The boys really liked that. I think they filled that popcorn bag up 5 times. We also saw the Journey to the Center of the Earth movie, but not in 3D. I bet it would be really cool in 3D though. We had a really late night watching both those movies at the drive in, esp because that batman movie is really long. I was surprised the boys made it through both movies without falling asleep, but as soon as we got home at 3am...they crashed hard. The next day, we went swimming all day up in FW and then I went with them to their football practice. It was nice to get to spend some time with the boys. They are growing so fast.

This weekend, I went camping with my friend Kevin and his daughter, Savanna. It was a good time. Very peaceful and relaxing. It was nice to put my tent to use too. I think I've only used it a couple of times.

The campground where we stayed has all kinds of stuff to do, but they are most known for all their water toys. This pond is full of inflatable toys in the water that you can jump on, climb up, and slide down. They also have a 'big blue water slide' as well. They have a putt putt course and tennis courts too. We spent alot of time in the water and laying in the sun. My tan is really rockin now.
Being out in the middle of the country camping, we were visited by lots of bugs. I got all bit up by mosquitos the first night because I forgot to put bug spray on my feet. I think the feet have to be the worst place ever to have mosquito bites. They itch like crazy.I was practicing my photography with my camera. I am still trying to get the hang of it. I dont really like it that much though. It just doesnt do the things that I want it to. I really should read the manual.
The campground also had a fishing pond and Kevin and Savanna spent a whole morning fishing.
Savanna caught three little bluegills. Neither Kevin or I could manage to pull anything out. I was mostly just happy to sit and read my book and catch some sun while the two of them fished, but I did cast out a couple of times.
A view of the Ohio countryside.
And a really colorful sunset.

I had fun camping, but it's nice to be sleeping on my bed again. Rather than that air mattress that went flat in the middle of the night and you woke up sleeping on the ground anyway.

I really havent been up to much since then...just hangin around the house watching movies, reading books, doing a puzzle, and finalizing all of the arrangements for heading back to Alaska. Only one week to go now!

Monday, July 28, 2008

This and That

Latest reads...Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer. I have been a big Archer fan for a very long time, ever since reading my favorite book As The Crow Flies, which is by him. I have read most of his novels and was fairly excited when I was browsing the new releases at the library a couple weeks ago and came across this. It was a good read and definitely in Archer style, but it just didnt seem to draw me in as I remember his other novels doing. His story was full of the classic Archer twists, but seemed a bit predictable and dull compared to his previous novels. Not up to the old Archer standard, but still good. Would recommend.

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. This book has been on my 'to read' list and the movie on my 'to watch' list for a long time. I finally got around to reading it. It was a good story. Quite short and easy to read. It is historical fiction, so it is partially a true story. The author does a great job of developing the main character Griet without ever seeming to explicitly describe her. The movie was good and follows the book fairly well, although, of course, the book is much better. This is a good book if you just want to get away for awhile. It takes you to a different time and place. Would recommend.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is another relatively short book. This book takes a look into what is really means to live ones life to the fullest. It is very philosophical, a thinkers book. If you're looking for an easy reader, this is not it. At least not if you are a thinker. I enjoyed this book very much. It is an adventure, it is a love story, it will take you to other parts of the world and make you think outside the box. Would recommend.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. This story is essentially about good and evil. It is also about how we live with the choices that we make. It is a great story, but I'm not sure about the authors writing style. He jumps from character to character and the story is told from several different perspectives, which I normally like, but for some reason I didnt like this time. I think it's because he jumps characters/perspectives too often. You never really get settled into one character before it switches and often he doesnt even let you know which character he's writing from now, you have to figure it our yourself. Great story, great writing concept, but McCarthy, I believe took it a bit too far. I'll be watching the movie tonight. Would recommend.

I have been watching alot of movies this summer. I've put my Netflix subscription to good use.

I'm very disappointed in the way things are going with Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. It just really seems like Brett is playing games and wants to keep the spotlight on him. I'm just as sad as any fan to see him go, as long as I've been a fan, he's been the quarterback, but I feel like he's messing with the team. At some point in time, we have to move on, he cant be the quarterback forever. It makes me think less of Brett that he would behave this way, I think it's very unprofessional. Get it together Brett... I love you, but you gotta stop messes with our minds and our hearts.

I went into my school email account and erased all the emails from last school year. It was taking a long time to load all the old emails and I figured since a new school year was approaching that I could wipe the slate clean, so to speak. Can you believe I erased 2777 emails? Plus there were some that I erased a while back because my box was full. That just seems crazy to me. That's alot of email and a testament to how much our school uses email. If you dont check your email, you generally dont know what's going on. Email is a quick and simple way to share information. It's just so easy to drop someone a quick email. I did some quick math...that's about 30 emails per working day. That's alot of email. We do have a great email system called FirstClass with message boards and all kinds of stuff. It really is a great resource, esp for a district that is as spread out as ours. Everyone who works for LKSD has an account which allows connections between people in all of the remote villages. Add to my school email, all the emails I send and receive through my own personal email account and THAT'S ALOT OF EMAIL!

Well, that's all for now. Sometime soon I'll write about what I've been up to the last couple of weekends. Have a great week!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tan lines

In the strangest places...
I have been working more than normal on my tan this summer. After all, it has to last me a whole year. I cant believe I'll be leaving in only 10 days. Wow! The summer went by so fast.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Let's talk politics...

Why not? Everybody's doing it these days. Edits added on July 24th.

My friend and I got into a fairly heated discussion tonight about Barack Obama and John McCain....among other things. My friend suggested that I take a look at what Obama had to say about nationalizing education on his website and I said I would to which he replied, "I know you will." I guess he knows me pretty well because the first thing I did when I got home was check out Obama's website. But to be fair, I checked out McCain's website too. Everything in italics was copied and pasted word for word directly from one of the two websites.

Brian...Never once did Obama say that he was going to nationalize education or that teachers would be federal employees or that there would longer be school boards. The word 'national' was used twice when talking about education. FYI...

1st...He will also create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively.

2nd...Make math and science a national priority.

Moving on...When looking at the websites, I think you can get a pretty good feel for each candidate. I am going to present some of the things I noticed when viewing both websites. I am going to try to present the good and bad of both equally without adding much opinion to it, but I dont know how well I'll be able to do that. I'm adding in some opinion now. It'll be in yellow if you havent guessed. Here goes....

Right off the bat when you enter the websites of each candidate, there is a striking difference in the content and layout of the home page.

McCain's homepage...
First thing that I noticed... pictures and a video of Barack Obama taking center stage. Why is a video of Barack taking center stage. I thought this was McCain's website. Oh, that's right, McCain's whole campaign is based on why you shouldnt vote for Obama, not why you should vote for him.

Other things I noticed...
  • 6 links for you to Donate or Contribute money and they stand out Seems like all this man cares about is money
  • website is very busy with lots of places to click and lots of links to stuff and lots of visual stimulation with pictures, animated advertisements, and interactive links when i enter this website, i get the feeling that they are trying to amuse or entertain me, not inform me of the candidates political opinions...is he trying to insult the intelligence of the voting population?
  • you can play the game 'pork invaders' I though voting age was 18, not 10? Why does he have a game on his website
  • you can vote for his poster contest He cant make a decision about his poster on his own, but we should trust him will our country. No, seriously, again I feel like he is trying to distract us from his agenda by playing games and holding contests.
  • navigation of the site is set up across the top of the website and easily accessible, but maybe a bit hard to notice with all the other stuff going on maybe if he's lucky we'll be distracted by all the other stuff and wont read about how he's going to keep spending 25 billion every month on fighting in Iraq while still managing to lower taxes
  • you can select which edition of the website you want to view depending on if you are a supporter, undecided, or unregistered voter Need i say more?
  • Obama is mentioned twice on the homepage I think McCain talks about Obama more than he talks about himself
  • the center feature has four choices but doesnt scroll between them like you would expect poor web design
  • you can watch his new commercial or listen to his most recent radio speech, but not the previous speeches not only is this again insulting to the intelligence of his voters, but why is he spending so much time and money on commercials?...oh, that's right, because he has to spend all of his campaign money fast so that he can apply for public funding for his campaign, that way not only do we get to hear him try to degrade Obama and BS his way out of coming up with any formal presidential agenda, but we get to pay for it too
  • a link with a picture of his wife states you can read about her travels isnt she pretty? and she does so much good in this world and she's a successful business owner (of a beer distributor)...I think I'd rather have her as president than him. Oh, and BTW...McCain has 7 kids, but only 4 with her, but he never comes right out and says it. You have to put it together yourself. I wonder who his first wife is voting for? Oh, wait, I wonder how many wives he's had?
  • you can sign up family and friends in several locations and view his McCain space Again...how old are we? quit putting all this BS on you site and get down to the issues
  • there is a link to register you to vote that takes you to another page within his website hmmm...another page on his website...i dont think that's where i'd want to register to vote
  • no mention of his plan for Iraq, only mention of Iraq has to do with Obama quit talking about Obama already...it's really getting old. He talks alot about supporting the troops and Bushes plan, but I have yet to read about his actual plan for Iraq
  • many mentions and links to finances, jobs, and economy this really hits home right now and plays to peoples needs in the economy that we're facing. it's great that he has ideas about American jobs, but what about everything else.
  • decision center allows a side by side glance of McCain and Obama on the major issues Be careful though...he overly praises himself and lies/exagerates about Obamas stance on the issues...read Obama website to find out about Obama, not McCains
  • can read the latest articles about McCain, but not past articles I would like to be able to read all past articles and view all speeches, etc...why do I always feel like he wants us to know as little as possible about him?
  • Like on the link where you can read about him....all he talks about is his military career...what about everything else? childhood, parents, marriages, religion....I cant help but feel like he's leaving alot of stuff out.
Obama's homepage...
First thing that I noticed...a quote from Barack..."I'm asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington...but in yours." I think that's a nice quote. I really like the way we focuses on YOUR/OUR role in OUR country. It's not about him...it's about all of us.
  • the centerpiece of the website scrolls between the features good web design
  • there are two places you can click to donate, both are quite inconspicuous yes, money is nice, but it's not everything...at least someone understands that
  • the register to vote tab links you to the 'rock the vote' website A reputable website that encourages people to vote...blue or red.
  • there are several places to click to volunteer or get involved emphasis on getting involved with more than just your wallet...with your brain and your talents too
  • the navigation of the site is set up across the top and easy to see and use allows easy exploration of the site and the issues that he represents
  • the website has a nice professional feel, is streamlined, not too busy, everything is easy to see and find I dont feel like I'm being entertained or placated...I feel like his campaign is a serious matter and that he fews it as such
  • he has a link that thanks Hillary Clinton and another that welcomes her supporters very nice gesture and respectful to hillary and her supporters...it shows he has some class
  • link to the national voter protection takes you to another page within his website would prefer it to link to an outside source
  • there are no games or contests why would there be...i'm not here to be amused...i'm here to read about your stance on the issues
  • there are no references to McCain, even in the 'stop the smears, spread the truth' link again...very classy...at least one candidate isnt afraid to tackle the real issues and share his outlook about the issues with the American people
  • there is no link to read about his wife It's his campaign, the focus should be on him, but it would be nice to learn a little more about her, maybe in the "get to know Barack" link
  • there is not option to change the contents of the page depending on if you're a supporter or not Duh? Why would there be? You shouldnt change what you have to say depending on who's listening
  • there are several links to search for events and find out what's going on in your state again...an emphasis in getting involved in politics...on making the whole process of campaigning and election important regardless of your political affiliation
  • you can view speeches and presentations that he has given on various issues you can view all speeches and all presentation on all kinds of topics...nothing to hide here
  • link to his plan for Iraq is prominently displayed these are not just ideas...they are plans..and yes, they are sometimes changing with the situation, but isnt that how it should be? times change, situations change,and i for one want a president that can change with it
  • Obama store is featured at the bottom of the page another way to support Obama. and a way for him to earn money to be sure, but it's all the way at the bottom of the page and takes a backstage to the important stuff
  • links to Obama on various internet site like myspace, you tube, facebook, and flicker are down at the bottom agian...these are all the way at the bottom...they are there for people to link to if they want, but not a major component of the site...not a priority
  • can read the latest articles about Obama and links to all other articles everything out in the open for you to read...no secrets...no BS
  • link to listening to America allows you to have your two cents, as does comments section of his blog he's actually willing to listen to the citizens that he represents...how many other presidential candidates have done that? He has a genuine interest in the American people
I'm pretty sure I know who I'll be voting for. Thanks Brian for suggesting that I check out the websites. I'm so glad I did. I hope that you do too.

But PLEASE, whatever you do, make your own decision. do your own research on the candidates and formulate your own opinion rather than just assuming the opinions of a radio talk show host or a tv persona. PLEASE...make your own informed decision!
I might add to this post later or maybe write another post of some of the things I noticed in the rest of the site, but just from a quick visit to each candidates homepage on their sites, you can get a sense of the world of difference between each candidate and what's important to each of them.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oh, so good!

I've been waiting all summer for the first ripe tomato in the garden and it has finally arrived! I pulled this red grape tomato off the vine yesterday and popped it into my mouth. It was delicious!I remember not liking tomatoes until just a few years ago. Now, I love them! For some reason, I also remember having ripe tomatoes before I even left at the end of June last year. Maybe I planted earlier last year. Maybe I'm just making stuff up. I dont know.
Here is a shot of the biggest tomato in the garden so far. It is of the 'Better Boy' variety. Hopefully we'll get some ripe ones before I leave in three weeks.
Can you believe it? Three weeks from today we'll be getting on a plane back to Alaska. I just cant believe the summer went so fast.

Weather and sunlight update...
Van Wert...IT'S HOT! It's been in the 90's for two days now and is supposed to stay this way for another three days. We havent gotten any rain which keeps the humidity low(er), but everything is so dry. I think I'll actually have to water to tomatoes for the first time all summer. We were getting pretty regular summer storms, but those have all dried up. Thankfully, it still gets down to the 70's and even the 60's at night which allows Taboo and I to go on our nightly walks together without sweating to death. Last night, however, it was still almost 80 degrees when we went for a walk at midnight. We are still at about 15 hours of visible light each day from about 6am until 9pm. Tomorrow will be 1min and 32 seconds shorter.

Bethel...I havent kept THAT close an eye on Bethel's weather, but it seems that they have stayed pretty much in the 60's for their high all summer. I have not seen temps get into the 70's at all, but have seen them drop into the 50's a couple times. They have been getting a bit of rain and even set a record for most rainfall a couple days ago with .49 inches. Bethel is still at about 20 hours of visible light each day from about 5am until 1am. Tomorrow will be 4min and 16 sec shorter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Out past curfew!

My midnight walk with Taboo has gotten a bit later each night and tonight somehow became the 2am walk. I watched one of my netflix movies and then Taboo and I walked it to the post office. On the way home from the post office, I noticed that there were several police cars around the neighborhood. It seemed like something was going on, which made me a little nervous. Then I saw the shadows of some teenage boys sneaking around a corner and understood...these cops werent lookin for bad guys, they were just tryin' to bust a few teenagers for curfew. :) Anyone remember the thrill of sneakin' around town after curfew?

When I got home, I snapped this pic(above) of the moon setting to the right and Jupiter up in the corner. I have been consistently seeing this bright object in the sky, knowing it was a planet, but not knowing which. So, tonight I did some research and found out that it is, in fact, Jupiter and it was at it's closest to Earth a couple days ago which is why it's so spectacular in the night sky right now. (Tell Nathan that it's Jupiter!) Now that I know how to control the shutter speed on my camera, I could get a shot of these light in the night sky. Here's the same shot without adjusting the shutter speed....the moon almost just looks like a star and Jupiter is barely a speck that you have to convince yourself is even there.
This shot has a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second (i think...i cant check cause my batteries are dead) and the better shot above was taken with a shutter speed of 2 full seconds. What a difference. I feel so much better now that I know how to use my camera. Why didnt I take the time to figure this out sooner? Blah...

After I got done with all of the camera stuff, I sat down to load the photo here and heard a rustling outside the window. When I looked, there was a momma opossum with her baby wondering through the neighbors yard. I thought sure it would come around the side of our house to inspect our trash cans so I turned on the outside light in hopes of getting a pic, but they never showed. That is one of the things that comes with having the town creek right in your back yard. We get opossums and raccoons, snakes and toads, birds and all other manner of wild animals. It's kind of neat, excect for when they get in the trash and throw it all over the yard in search of their next meal. Here's a pic i pulled from the web for your viewing enjoyment, since i couldnt get one. They have crazy thick tales that are kinda creepy. But, WHO KNEW...? The opossum is actually a pretty interesting little creature. It is the only marsupial in North America, it has opposable thumbs on its REAR feet, the male has a bifurcated penis and the female a bifurcated womb(yes, bifurcated means what you think it means), when the babies are done living in moms pouch they crawl up and hang out on her back for a couple weeks, they can withstand the venom of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and other pit vipers, and they have more teeth than any other mammal or marsupial. Who knew? I am truly amazed! Opossums are awesome!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wizards Baseball!

I went to another FW Wizards game on Friday night. It was a good time even though the Wizards got stomped on. They played terribly all night, but at least the beer was cold!There were fireworks after the game and I finally figured out how to work the shutter speed on my camera. So, I was able to get a couple decent shots of the pyrotechnic action.

They gave away Wizards hats to the first however many people to enter the stadium, which is cool because they are getting a new stadium downtown next year and have apparently decided to change their name as well. So, this will be the last year for Wizards memorabilia....future collectors item right here, folks!
And your baseball hat model this evening is none other than...ME! I probably should have put on makeup before I took these pics. Oh, well! These are the things you resort to doing when you're bored! This and taking midnight walks with your dog, watching netflix, and spending to much time BSing around online.
In other news...I bought our tickets back to Bethel yesterday. Thanks to Alaska Airs milage plan, I paid $10 for two tickets that would have otherwise cost over $1000. I cant believe it's that time all ready. School supplies are in stock at Walmart and I've got to get some school clothes shopping in before we leave, esp for Avery who has officially grown out of everything he owns. It wont be long before he's taller than me!

Any Suggestions?

I was bored last night and couldn't sleep. I wish I had a book to read, but I've read all the ones that I have. I think I'll take a trip to the library soon and see if my library card is still valid. Meanwhile, does anyone have any suggestions of good books they've read lately?

My latest read...The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. It is about a girl who gets raped and then the family and the town she lives in dealing with the aftermath. The really interesting thing to me about this book, though, is that it is partially set in Bethel, Alaska and the Kuskokwim delta. The girls father was born and raised in one of the villages where his mom was a teacher. We get to read pieces of his story through her story and at the end the girl runs away to Bethel. The author does a great job of relaying what it would be like for a kuss'aq (white person) to grow up in a native village. The author really did her research well. Would recommend.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I dont know what the deal is, but I've been having massive coleslaw cravings all summer. I think it just must be that my mind equates coleslaw with summer. In order for it to truly be summer, I must eat coleslaw. Or something like that? I like to eat my coleslaw with crackers...regular saltines preferably, but butter crackers work too. You should try it...yummm!

What are your summer favs?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Weekend in Chicago!

After spending a couple weeks in Sandusky with friends, I headed to Chicago to spend time with another friend. I took the Grey Hound bus for the first time ever because it was the best option with the way gas prices are right now and the fact that my truck is still in Alaska. It wasnt as bad as I thought it would be, but there were some very stinky people. I made it to my friends town in the Indiana burbs of Chicago on Tuesday night and we went out for awhile that evening. On Wednesday, I hung out with her son while she was working and had a good day with him. It was nice to spend some time with him because he is growing so fast and I dont get to she him much. On Thursday, Kassia and I got up and took the train into the city, checked into our hotel right downtown, and headed over to the Taste of Chicago Festival. The festival is basically a celebration of food. There are hundreds of food vendors from all around Chicago serving everything from pizza, burgers, ribs, and chicken to exotic food from India, Poland, Africa, and Asia.
All of the food is purchased with tickets. A pack of 12 tickets is $8. Each vendor serves only four items and one of the items can be purchased as a "Taste" portion that costs 2-4 tickets. Getting the taste portions allows you to try many of the different foods that the festival has to offer. These are the foods that I tried over the two day period that we were there...Roasted corn on the cob with butter and cajun seasoning... samosa (crisp patties with potatoes, peas, coriander and spices)... Chocolate dipped strawberries, banana, and fudge...mustard fried catfish...frozen chocolate chip toffe crunch cheesecake on a stick...potato pierogies...sauteed goat with fried plantain...alcapurria (pork filled banana dumpling)...mango cumin-dusted fries with chutney...several types of Bao (kung pao, terriyaki, and BBQ pork). All of those things were very good except the alcapurria I didnt care for much. It wasnt bad, it just didnt really taste like much of anything. And it looked like baby poop!
The festival with busy, busy, busy, but alot of fun, esp the first day. They had alot of live music and other things to do too, but we really didnt get into all of that. They did have a few big name people there like Stevie Wonder, Shaka Chan, Joss Stone, and Angie Stone, but none of them were there on the days that we were.
It was nice to spend some time in a hub city like Chicago. I kind of like the hussle and bussle of the city.
That night was the big night for fireworks. They do theres for the festival on the night of the 3rd. We got a spot and some drinks and got ready for the action. Those of you who know me, know that I am a huge firework fan and that I was really pumped for this.
Unfortunately, we picked a bad spot with some trees in the way on the bad advice of someone who said that the fireworks would be above the treeline. The fireworks were phenomenal...we just didnt really get to see much of them.
After that we went to the blues club where we saw that crazy lady dancing. I have officially put that video up on YouTube if you want to watch it there. It's still really funny.
The next day we got up and did some shopping on State street downtown. We passed this amazing building and were surprised to find out that it was a library.
After we finished shopping, we walked down to Millennium Park. They have these two structure with faces on them that spout water and all the kids were playing. The Crown Fountain displays the faces of 1000 Chicago residents.
Below is the reason that we walked down to Millennium Park...the bean. That's what I call it anyway, and I've been telling Kassia that I wanted to see it for years now. Actually, it is called the Cloud Gate and it is a really neat sculpture.
It is made of seamless steel and reflects the city and sky. I was a bit dissappointed that it wasnt better polished, but I suppose I was there during probably THE busiest weekend for downtown Chicago.
Walking under it, I was surprised to find that the inside forms this shape and the reflections of the people were hard to figure out. Can you find me?
I didnt know that you could walk under it and that gave a whole new aspect to the sculpture. It was fun and interesting to see.
Doesnt it look like a bean? Or maybe that space ship from the movie Flight of the Navigator?
Later that day, we went back down to the Festival and the waterfront in order to get a better spot for the 4th of July fireworks. I was determined to not miss them again. You can see Navy Pier in the distance past all of the sail boats.
Yes, the view of the fireworks was better, but the show itself was a bit disappointing. It only lasted 10 minutes. What a bummer.
The Sears Tower was lit up with red, white, and blue for the 4th. The building next to it had the flag displayed in the windows. Very neat! That night we went out to a dance club in downtown Chicago and danced the night away. It was a good time. We took the subway to get there and back. That's the first time I rode the subway.
On Saturday, we went to a Cirque du Soleil show, Kooza. It was a great show and the seventh that I've seen. All the shows are amazing.
If you've never seen a Cirque du Soleil show, you should. Doesnt the tent look like something right out of a Dr. Suess book?
I enjoyed all my travels, esp seeing my friends and their families, but it is good to be home. Not sleeping in your own bed for three weeks can be tiresome, but now that I'm home, I'm kinda BORED! :)