Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You Can Get Anything You Want...

...at Alice's restaurant.

I hope everyone had a good holiday and has recovered from their turkey comas.

The Thanksgiving tradition started on Wednesday night with drinking, darts, socializing and procrastination (can you say casserole?)! Though, I sucked at darts, I excelled at drinking and socializing. :-)

Thursday started off nicely, but, then driving down to Southern Illinois was a bit rough. I hit the St. Louis area (within radio distance anyway) right about noon. Just in time for the Thanksgiving tradition of Alice's Restaurant. I think I've listened to that on Thanksgiving every year since high school. "Yes, sir, officer. I cannot tell a lie....I *put* that envelop under that pile of garbage." You gotta love it! haha!

Anyway, made it to my folks' house and had a snack while waiting for dinner. Chelsea, my sisters, brothers in law, and nephews all showed up and we had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat (heh) and ended up nearly comatose on the couch for the rest of the night.

Then, in great anticipation of "black Friday", I slept in! No bargains for me! Call me crazy, but, there's no way I was going to be standing in line in 20-something degree weather at 4:00am (or earlier) when I could be sleeping in a nice warm bed!! I spent a good part of the afternoon working on Chels' computer. The sound wasn't working, and I'm not exactly sure how, but when I left, it was working. Whew!

Friday night, my parents took me out for dinner for my birthday. We went to 17th Street Bar & Grill. They have awesome barbecue! Award winning, in fact, they've been featured on the Food Network and Bon Appetite chose them as the best ribs in the US! In addition to dinner, mom made me some curtains for my family room. All I really wanted was for her to put a hem in the ones I already had (which were left by the previous owners), but, she wouldn't do it because she said they were ugly and sun-bleached. Maybe I'll actually get them hung up sometime in the next week. :-)

Saturday, I went to my sister's place to check out all the work they have been doing remodeling. It's a completely different place!! So, we hung out and visited a while. Then, after I left, I stopped by the lake to play with the camera. This is what I ended up with.
The Lake at Sunset

After that, I met my other sister and her husband out for dinner and drinks. Sunday morning consisted of get up, shower, have breakfast (B's & G's w/sausage), and hit the road. The drive back sucked even worse than the hung-over drive down! Traffic was very heavy and I had rain all the way to I-155, at which point it turned into freezing rain / sleet, and snow!! Of course, about half an hour after I got home, it stopped! :-/ Figures! After unpacking and all that, I called Connie to invite her over for dinner (BTW, can you stop and pick up dinner on the way over? LOL!!). She agrees, only to call back about half an hour later to say she's sick, and isn't coming. I guess I should have just gone to the store myself! haha!

Monday....work...back to the grind. But, wait, that's not all....then, I have to work Monday night (midnight) in Quincy, and Tuesday night (yes, midnight) in Macomb. I swear, I'm going to wear my truck out this week!

That pretty much brings things current. I still haven't done my assignment for photography class...guess I'll have to do that tomorrow! Yikes!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Easy Rider???

Saw this test on Zooks' blog and thought it would be fun. Right on!! I guess I need to see Easy Rider now (I've only seen parts of it). haha!

Street Photography and Landscapes

A group of us from the Peoria flickr group got together over lunch one afternoon for some street photography. Not my normal thing, but, thought it'd be interesting and I got a few shots that I liked. Most were not really what most people consider street photography, but, it's all good!
First, one that *is* pretty much street photography. The mother - son team at the Haddad's cart.

Then, as we moved on, I took this quick grab of the Commerce Bank Building.
Gothic Bank
I really liked how this turned out with the dark and monotone(ish) look.

A bit later, we ventured into City Hall and while trying to figure out how to get an interesting picture of the different floors and dome, Lola Takes Pictures thought the best perspective was from laying down on the floor!
Lying Down On The Shot
You can see the reflection of what she was going for in her sunglasses, and the shot she got can be seen here.


The assignment for this week of digital photography class was landscapes. Of course, this assignment came just after the daylight savings "fall back", so it's pretty much dark by the time I get out of work, leaving very little opportunity for anything other than night shots. I did get the chance to go out for a while over the weekend, so ventured out to Glen Oak Park. Luckily, there was still enough of the Fall colors left to make an easy task of find some cool shots.

First, one of the lagoon:
Lagoon at Glen Oak Park
I got lucky with a brief break in the clouds to throw some light on the trees across the lagoon and really make the remaining colors pop!

I also found this scene along one of the paths leading to the lower Glen Oak Park area. I really liked the close up perspective of the near steps as they lead up the hill.
Stairs In The Woods


This week's assignment was a "grab bag", where we were assigned a random object that we are to use in interesting or unusual compositions. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my subject....I have a couple of ideas, now it's just a matter of pulling them off.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's been 9 days....continued - final chapter

Sunday was awesome! After all the night life from the weekend.....stayed in bed late, always a good start to the day! Finished sorting and editing the pictures from Saturday, grabbed lunch, then turned on football. Napped a bit, turned on the race, napped some more, watched some more t.v. and went to bed about an hour earlier than normal! Pretty near the perfect Sunday!

It's been 9 days....continued

Now, we've made it to Saturday... Saturday morning, there was a meetup scheduled for the Peoria flickr group. Several of us had a pre-meetup meetup for breakfast. After Friday night, I'm amazed that I made it to breakfast by 7:30!! So, we grab a real breakfast at Bob Evans in East Peoria before heading to Forest Park Nature Center. I tell you what.....between the liquid dinner Friday night, and breakfast Saturday morning....let's just say it's a good thing I have access to a toilet downtown because the assplosion was about to break containment!! After taking care of that emergency pit stop, I made my way to the nature center.

We spent the next few hours walking the trails, taking pictures, and generally giving each other a hard time. Early on, we saw a flock (??) of wild turkeys scratching around foraging in the woods. As I was trying to get a clean shot, I started down a side trail through the woods (looked more like a deer trail or something than anything man-made). I noticed that as I crept closer, the turkeys slowly shifted away from my location. Others from the group were opposite and left of me, so I figured that I would either flush them their direction, or piss them off and have them charge me. Luckily, I just flushed them towards the people to my left. All that, and I didn't end up with any shots I was happy with.

While walking the trails, we were keeping in mind that the assignment was "details" (several of us at the meetup are in the same class). Here are a couple of shots from that outing that were taken specifically with the assignment in mind.
Fall Oak Leaf


To see others, you'll just have to visit my flickr site

Fast forward to Saturday evening...We're deciding what to do, and I'm anxiously awaiting all of these calls my friends promised on Friday night. Yes, folks, that's the sound of crickets...NOT my cell phone ringing! So, we ended up going to Old Chicago to grab a bite and a couple of beers, which turned out to be a great decision. The entertainment was well above normal..there was a chick having a birthday there, and her friends were...interesting. About the closest way I can describe them was neo-emo or something. Good times, good times!

It's been 9 days....continued

So, it's Friday night....Jaycees happy hour. We meet at Kelleher's on Water Street. I walk in, don't see anyone there yet, and decide to head to the bar to quench my thirst. hmmmm....what to order....The far taps...can't read them, oh well.... Middle taps, nothing is jumping out at me. The nearest set of taps...Hop Juice! That sounds interesting, I flag down the bartender and order a Hop Juice. He goes and picks up this little rounded glass like you would expect if you ordered a brandy or something. At that point I should have known what that meant, but, I just thought it was being marked at a premium beer or something like that.

About this time, Dubby points out that they are hiding upstairs in the back...never would have found them up there!! LOL. I have my beer, now, and go to join Dub and Supervisor Squirrel. Dub was looking pretty damn good in a new shirt, also.....he told us himself, so I know it's true!! Anyway, more people filter in and we have the upstairs filled before long.

As I'm sitting there drinking the Hop Juice, I see a beer menu on the table. As luck would have it, I chose the beer with the highest alcohol content they have (9.9%...for reference American standards are generally around 4.2%). Yep! I'll have another! And another! And some Heavy Handed IPA....

In the mean time, we decided to play shuffleboard. Game 1, Jeff U. and I pull out an amazing win! I was down to my last puck, and we were behind by 5-6 points. Victor had landed a couple of 3's and a 1, meanwhile, I hadn't done any good that round. Last puck, I managed to knock BOTH of Victor's 3-pointers off and stick mine!! I heard they ran that one on Sports Center!! Well, maybe not, but they should have!! LOL! Then, game two...well, lets just say that after Ritter had a really awful start, Jeff and I got are asses kicked! Damn, this beer is good!!

About this time, talk has started to develop of playing darts. We head out to The Recovery Room where we run into Rob and Ang. It was nice to see them as I hadn't run into them for a month or so. Chit-chatted with them for a while then started the dart games. Dubby and I were partners and somehow took both games we played (sorry squirrel...I didn't *mean* to be a point whore!!!). On the other board, apparently, there was some wagering going on between Ritter and Gordo....Shocking, I know!!! But, I think Ritter and Tucker won breakfast...Semen Special...er, fisherman's catch, anyone???? ;-)

After that, I was ready to call it a night, and was asking around if anything was going on Sat. night. Of those I asked, no one really had anything in particular, but they would call and we could figure something out.

All in all, a pretty good night.

It's been 9 days....

..since the last update, and I've been nudged with the 'you need to update your blog' again. I've been meaning to update for nearly a week, just haven't gotten around to it. But, once again, one of my (2 or 3) faithful readers has stepped up to keep me on track. :-) I'll break this up into several short posts based on subject / time lines rather than one monster post covering everything.

So, roll back the calendar to the beginning of the month. In Digital Photography Class, the assignment was dealing with light and shadow. I did the assigned study of shooting the same thing, from the same location at various times of day. The point being to see how differently things can be in different colors / angles of light. The shots were illustrative, but, nothing exciting to post. I did have one shot that was ok. Still could use some work, but it was a quick edit for class and I didn't save all the steps, and don't really feel like starting over at this point.
Brick Wall

The assignment for this week is 'details'. More on that later.