Monday, August 27, 2007


Just a quick note to say 'congratulations' to Mr. and Mrs. Brad Gordon!!

The wedding was very nice, and Mary was simply beautiful!! I had a great time at the reception, as well.

However, there are a couple of things I am curious about.....

1. It seems there was a misprint in the program. Something about Ritter: Friend of the groom. Friend????? ;-)

2. During the prayer after you were presented married, You were being blessed for this and that...and children??!!!! Little Gordo's running around, wow!!! Kinda scary, huh?? So, when is Mary due?? May-June??? :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

State Fair: Joe Nichols & Sugarland

Finally! I got through all the photos I took last Sunday at the Illinois State Fair! What a chore that was!! I guess that's the price of a nice day out and a great concert and the ease (and low cost) of digital photography.

We got to the fair a couple hours before the show was to start to have a chance to walk around and check things out and get some fair food. Well, kinda fair food....I got a BBQ sandwich from 17th St. Bar & Grill, a Southern Illinois favorite. Even though I wouldn't consider it true fair food (how can it be without a stick???), it was awesome! Great flavor and very juicy! We thought about getting something on a stick, but the vendor that had all the crazy stick / fried food had a huge we skipped it.

After walking around for a while, we decided to take a load off, and ride the sky tram.
It was a nice relaxing ride with a cool perspective.

As you can see, the sky was a little questionable. There was rain in the forecast, and we were seeing dark clouds pretty much all around us at varying points throughout the afternoon. It rained like crazy in Peoria, but, luckily, it held off for the fair/concerts. :-)

After that, we started heading towards the grandstand for the concert. The seats were very good, except for one slight thing...almost directly in front of us was the video crew. They weren't really in the way, but the cage around them was a little distracting, but not terribly.

The opening act was Joe Nichols. I didn't know many of this songs, but a couple, and he did a couple Hank Jr. covers. All in all, he put on a good show, but definitely not headliner material yet. I believe he won the horizon award from some country music organization this, he's still pretty new with plenty of chance to grow.

After Joe Nichols, the headliner Sugarland took the stage. They were incredible!!! Very high energy show!! They only have two CD's, but managed to fill all the time they had with their hits, and a few covers.
The first time you see or hear someone live, you always wonder how much they will sound like their studio stuff and how much is doctored or how many tries before they select the clip for the CD. Sugarland sounded very much like their CDs, which is always nice. I'd definitely go see them again!

One last thing; I would like to thank Louis for letting me borrow his Canon 70-200 F/2.8L lens. I have the F/4 version which basically means his lens works better in low light situations. All concert shots were taken with the borrowed lens.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

For 'gullible'

Grand Nationals Weekend in Peoria

OK, so I didn't really participate in most of the festivities this past weekend, but, I did go downtown to check out the bike show and bands. It was ok, but all in all, a letdown.

See, for the first half the day, it was rainy (blech) so I didn't get too motivated to go down and check things out. But, later in the afternoon, things cleared up, and I decided to give it a shot.

I got downtown a little before 6:00pm, paid my $15 admission (Ouch!!! which is why I didn't go last year) and started walking around to check out the custom and classic bikes. Well, I found that the awards had been given out, and there were only about a dozen bikes anywhere in there. That sucked!

After the 10 minutes or so it took to check out the bikes, and feeling ripped off, I decided that a beer or 6 would provide the needed attitude adjustment. OK, another $15 gone, but at least I feel better! :-)

After a couple of beers, South Side Cindy & the Slip-Tones were playing.
Cindy Youngren
I really like that band live. They play bluesy / classic rock type of music, with a mix of covers and some original material. I also picked up a couple of CD's while there and gave a listen the other day. I'm not as much a fan of the studio work...A live recording would be much better at capturing the energy.

So, another band plays Exit or something along those lines (they say they're really popular in Europe, but I'm not so sure about here...)...I wasn't too impressed. Just one of any other non-descript hard rock bands, IMO. Then, after an hour delay, the headliner Joan Jett played. I didn't get any photos as I didn't feel like fighting the huge crowd after the 5 hours I was there, but, she sounded great! Most bands that were popular 20 years ago and still hanging on, don't sound like you remember them, which leads to disappointment. Not Joan Jett! She sounded remarkably like she did 20-odd years ago. Impressive!!

Anyway, that was my Saturday night...disappointed in the number of bikes left, South Side Cindy ROCKED, Joan Jett put on a good show, and I'm $30 lighter.

A few more pics are on my flickr site

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

State Fair: Martina McBride

This past weekend I got the chance to go to the Martina McBride concert at the State Fair in Springfield (Not DuQuoin...yes, Illinois has two "state fairs").

So, we get to the fair about an hour before the show starts and have a chance to walk around... First stop, the butter cow!! Yes, you heard me. If you aren't aware, every year, there is a gigantic cow sculpted out of butter in the dairy barn. This has been a tradition for 85 years! On one hand, it's pretty amazing what they come up with out of butter, but on the other hand....Why???

After the butter cow, Corndogs and lemon shake-ups were in order (can you go to the fair without getting *something* on-a-stick??). A brief session of people watching and we headed in for the show.

Martina was awesome!!! I had seen her before, and would see her again! That girl can sing!
She's just as good live as she is in the studio. She sang pretty much all the favorites, including a few from her newest CD. As she left the stage, we were wondering what she would do for an encore. In my limited experience, it seems that artists save their most popular / signature song for the encore, but, she had sang pretty much everything we could think of.

When the band retook the stage, the guitarist started with a rockin' solo more reminiscent of Van Halen than anything "country". This was cool, yet unexpected. Then, they busted immediately into "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey! Martina freakin' NAILED it!!! No, really, if you didn't know better, you would have thought Steve Perry took the stage! When they finished that, they hit another cover...Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot". Again, a great job! I had seen this on an episode of CMT's Crossroads, and thought she did exceptionally well then. It was a great song to end the night...Fun, upbeat, and just a little different. As I said, I'd definitely go see her again!

More Martina concert photos

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Updates coming...

It's been a busy few days and a very musical weekend. :-) This week I hope to have pictures from Martina McBride and Sugarland at the state fair in Springfield, and a few bike pics and South Side Cindy and the Slip-tones from downtown on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

By Request...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hotter than a porn star?

[Am I] Hotter than a porn star?


That was part of the conversation between Beth (AKA Wilma Flintstone) and I on Rock The Boat this past weekend.

It's amazing what having a stripper on board will do for conversation!

Between Aspen Reign, and the Hardees girls, there was definitely a lot of eye candy, photo ops, and conversation!

Actually, the conversation I mentioned above started when I saw Beth on the top deck, and she said that she heard that there were hot chicks up here (not exact quotes...forgive my beer-clouded memory). My response: "so you thought you'd come check 'em out too??" HAHA "NO! I figured I should come up here too!" Whoops! Wrong Answer!! Damnit! LOL

So, later, while dancing, Beth says "Whew! I'm hot!". My response (I know the answer this time), "YES YOU ARE!!!" After verifying that yes, she is in fact, "hotter than a porn star", what else could I do?

I summonsed Louis over with the camera!!! I figured, the picture with Aspen was just warming up for the picture with Beth! So, was I right??

Oh, and Ritter got new glasses, and a nice new shirt that is a shade of green which I believe, several female passengers mentioned having tops in the same color.

Rock the Boat is a seriously good time. If you weren't there, you really missed a fun night!

Note: All photographs by Louis Elrod.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Proper Guy Protocol??

Last night, I went out with some friends for a couple of beers. Seems harmless enough, right? Well, I have been left with questions regarding the proper protocol in a situation that arose. No, this has nothing to do with which urinal to choose, or when it's ok to use the sink. :-)

After we'd been enjoying tall cold ones for about an hour, "R" looks at me and brings up the fact that I haven't said anything about his new visual normalization devices (glasses). My response was something along the lines of "yeah, I noticed, but didn't know I was supposed to comment on them, ya girl!! oohhhh I like the way you've styled your hair!!! oooohhhh That's a really sharp tie!!!" I pretty much got told to screw off. :-)

So, after this little exchange and the laughter died down, "J" says that he commented when he first saw R and his new specs. OK, So you're both girls!! Ha! Fast forward about another 1/2 hour or so and a few more friends join us. First thing out of "M"'s mouth... "Hey, R, nice glasses" WTF???!!!

So, now, I'm berated for being the only insensitive bastard to not compliment R on his shiny new glasses. "You know, we're not Neanderthals's the 90's" Huh?? the 90's???!!! No, we're past the 90's, and by the way, the whole Metrosexual thing has passed, it's over! LOL

So, my question is this: Am I just an insensitive ass, or was I just adhering to proper guy protocol and the others need to get over their sensitive metro phase? I think a man-law is needed for universal compliance!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Peoria Flickr Meet-Up

A couple of weeks ago, the admin for the Peoria flickr group started arranging a meet-up. A chance for other Peoria flickr-ites to get together and bring out all their toys (camera gear). For those of you that may not be familiar, flickr is a photo-sharing site. The plan was two parts with breakfast in between. Session 1, meet at 5:00am !!! Well, I was the only other one (besides the organizer) that showed! haha But, it was a good outing, and I enjoyed it.
Peoria At Sunrise

After sunrise, we refueled at Steak and Shake...not the best breakfast I've had, but, it was cheap. Anyway, after that we headed back for part 2. hmmmm... Still no one else. Oh well, let's just walk around a bit since we're here. As we get down by the landing on the riverfront, I noticed a shiny red car above us (we were on the docks). Well, that's worth investigating!! We walked up to the landing and there was a car show that day. That was an unexpected treat! Got some more good shots there.Sports Coupe
You can see more pics from that day (both sunrise and car show) on my flickr site

Poker Champ!

background: A group of us play a weekly poker game/league. We keep track of points based on finish position each week. The top finishers get to play a freeroll game against each other for the season championship. Currently, seasons are 6 months each.

Yes, I am the champion for this season (season 2)!! We were down to 3 players, and all I can say is JJ > 22, then there were two! We played a few hands, then decided to "chop" it, and since I had more points going in, I was awarded top honors for season 2. Let's just not talk about season 3... ;-)

Camping and Canoing

Back about a month ago, a group of Peoria Jaycees went on our annual camping and canoing trip.

As has been the case for the past few years, I went a day early to do some sight-seeing / exploring the area. Where we go is by Turkey Run State Park in (Parke County) Indiana. Parke county's claim to fame is the "Covered Bridge Capitol of the World". I had started the covered bridge tour last year, and since we weren't going canoing on Friday, that meant I got to finish the tour this year. Well, there are 3 or 4 that I didn't get pictures of due to private property, arson, etc. But, anyway.... West Union
You can see more covered bridges on my flickr site

It really is amazing to think that you can still drive across many of these. The people that built them, really knew what they were doing, they have lasted for over 100 years in some cases. And they built these things over creeks without the heavy equipment we have today.

Friday night is when most everyone showed up. Big party night, Friday. Then Saturday, we spend the day canoing or I should say floating with direction from sand bar to sand bar cooling down with a nice cold beverage. ;-)

It takes us about 5 hours or so to go 4 miles (they "allow" about 2 hours). By the time we're done, most everyone has been curing their hangovers with more alcohol and is feeling no pain. After a rough day drinking, we head back to camp and make dinner, then everyone is so exhausted from the rigors of the great outdoors, that they are creeping off to their tents by about 9:00 or so. I was the last one to fall this year, and I crashed about 11:30. Then, everyone is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the butt-crack of dawn and start packing up. I've never understood the big rush to get out of there, but everyone is loaded up and rolling by 9:00. I'm usually the last to leave. Maybe it's just that Camping and Canoing is my favorite project all year.

Looking forward to next July!

Those damn rules.....

Well, I've only had this blog for a couple of months, and I've already broken two of the top rules of blogging.....

First, the cardinal rule, never blog about work. Oops... Broken!

Next, you must keep your viewers' interest (i.e. fresh content). I've managed to ignore my blog for over a month. I've been called on this by at least two people, now. So, I figured I better get my lazy ass to posting.

Sorry for the blog neglect. :-)