Life and Times

Life and Times from 2017

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Life and Times from 2015

Life and Times from 2014

Life and Times from 2013

Life and Times from 2012

Life and Times from 2011

Life and Times from 2010

Life and Times from 2009

Life and Times from 2008

Life and Times from 2007

Life and Times from 2006

Life and Times from 2005

Life and Times from 2004

Life and Times from 2003

Life and Times from 2002

Life and Times from 2000

Chicago 2012

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 3

On Sunday, we got a photo of everyone for Dad, who couldn't make it out for this trip. First we got photos of Sis and Chris. The left photo was posed, where Sis was like, "who is this?" and then the right photo was the real one.  On Sunday, we got a photo of everyone for Dad, who couldn't make it out for this trip. First we got photos of Sis and Chris. The left photo was posed, where Sis was like, "who is this?" and then the right photo was the real one.

On Sunday, we got a photo of everyone for Dad, who couldn’t make it out for this trip. First we got photos of Sis and Chris. The left photo was posed, where Sis was like, “who is this?” and then the right photo was the real one.


Then after that, Mom got a photo of the three of us. And if I do say so myself, this photo looks way better than a similar photo we took in 2010.

Then after that, Mom got a photo of the three of us. And if I do say so myself, this photo looks way better than a similar photo we took in 2010.


At the Glenwood Sunday Market, I got more fruit photos. I don't know how creative these are, but they're pleasing to look at, and fun to take.  At the Glenwood Sunday Market, I got more fruit photos. I don't know how creative these are, but they're pleasing to look at, and fun to take.

At the Glenwood Sunday Market, I got more fruit photos. I don’t know how creative these are, but they’re pleasing to look at, and fun to take.

At the Glenwood Sunday Market, I got more fruit photos. I don't know how creative these are, but they're pleasing to look at, and fun to take.  At the Glenwood Sunday Market, I got more fruit photos. I don't know how creative these are, but they're pleasing to look at, and fun to take.


And then these are beets. I obviously have lived a sheltered life, because I never would have thought that beets looked like this in real life. I'm used to the kind that comes out of a can...

And then these are beets. I obviously have lived a sheltered life, because I never would have thought that beets looked like this in real life. I’m used to the kind that comes out of a can…


I was particularly interested by a cup of iced coffee that had just had some half-and-half poured into it. It was neat watching the milk and cream move through the otherwise mostly clear liquid. This photo was the alternate for one that I had featured on the Main Page in August 2012.

I was particularly interested by a cup of iced coffee that had just had some half-and-half poured into it. It was neat watching the milk and cream move through the otherwise mostly clear liquid. This photo was the alternate for one that I had featured on the Main Page in August 2012.


Tofu samples on toothpicks.

Tofu samples on toothpicks.


After we finished at Glenwood Sunday Market, we took a walk along Lake Michigan and saw the beach.

After we finished at Glenwood Sunday Market, we took a walk along Lake Michigan and saw the beach.

After we finished at Glenwood Sunday Market, we took a walk along Lake Michigan and saw the beach.


After the lake, we headed over to Navy Pier. There, I got to look at all of the different boats running around Lake Michigan.

After the lake, we headed over to Navy Pier. There, I got to look at all of the different boats running around Lake Michigan.


This boat amused me. If you look at the full-sized image, you will see that the guys in this boat first of all, noticed me photographing them, and second, started posing for me.

This boat amused me. If you look at the full-sized image, you will see that the guys in this boat first of all, noticed me photographing them, and second, started posing for me.


This was another "wow moment" photo, like the photo of the little girl at the fountain from three days earlier. You can tell that she is completely absorbed in what she's seeing, and enjoying every moment of it.

This was another “wow moment” photo, like the photo of the little girl at the fountain from three days earlier. You can tell that she is completely absorbed in what she’s seeing, and enjoying every moment of it.


Another thing I saw at Navy Pier was a lot of birds. They were everywhere, doing their thing all around the pier.  Another thing I saw at Navy Pier was a lot of birds. They were everywhere, doing their thing all around the pier.

Another thing I saw at Navy Pier was a lot of birds. They were everywhere, doing their thing all around the pier.

Another thing I saw at Navy Pier was a lot of birds. They were everywhere, doing their thing all around the pier.  Another thing I saw at Navy Pier was a lot of birds. They were everywhere, doing their thing all around the pier.


The bird in the lower right above is actually part of a larger photo of the skyline. I love this photo because of the bird, but I have no idea how I want to present it. Do I focus on the bird? Any ideas?

The bird in the lower right above is actually part of a larger photo of the skyline. I love this photo because of the bird, but I have no idea how I want to present it. Do I focus on the bird? Any ideas?


Mom poses in another funny mirror. This one gives her quite the forehead, don't you think?

Mom poses in another funny mirror. This one gives her quite the forehead, don’t you think?


I saw these signs in the window of one of the stores at Navy Pier. The first thing I thought when I saw these was, "Why don't you tell us what you really think about your customers?"

I saw these signs in the window of one of the stores at Navy Pier. The first thing I thought when I saw these was, “Why don’t you tell us what you really think about your customers?”


Like the fruit earlier in the day, I also had some fun photographing the flowers.  Like the fruit earlier in the day, I also had some fun photographing the flowers.

Like the fruit earlier in the day, I also had some fun photographing the flowers.

Like the fruit earlier in the day, I also had some fun photographing the flowers.  Like the fruit earlier in the day, I also had some fun photographing the flowers.


After we finished at Navy Pier, we met up with Chris and headed out for dinner. We went to Indian Garden, which Sis and Chris found on Yelp with their phones, and we went based on the ratings. It was definitely awesome. First, it was a third story location with a really good view. It felt “big city”. Then the food was really good, too. We all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at this restaurant.


Since this was out last night in Chicago, we got group photos. We did this at Chicago station. First I took a picture of Mom, Sis, and Chris, and then when a woman walked by, I got her to take a picture of all of us.

Since this was out last night in Chicago, we got group photos. We did this at Chicago station. First I took a picture of Mom, Sis, and Chris, and then when a woman walked by, I got her to take a picture of all of us.

Since this was out last night in Chicago, we got group photos. We did this at Chicago station. First I took a picture of Mom, Sis, and Chris, and then when a woman walked by, I got her to take a picture of all of us.


On our last day in Chicago, Mom and I got checked out of our hotel, dropped our stuff off at the Metropolitan Lounge at Chicago Union Station, and then headed out for a bit.

We visited the Target in the former Carson Pirie Scott Building, which was somewhat a mixed bag as far as these things go. On one hand, it is a reuse of an historic building. Also, the Target was pretty nice. It had two levels, the lower level had terrazzo floors, and it had a different signage scheme than most Targets do. Very minimalistic. However, I quickly got the feeling that Target really didn’t want to have to retain certain historical elements of the building. A lot of stuff was there just because Target was required to leave it there and not demolish it, and they made no effort to incorporate these unique elements into the decor, opting instead to just paint over them. For instance, the capitals on the columns were rounded and were intricately carved (or formed – I don’t know, but you get the point), and Target just painted them white. That kind of treatment is almost worse than demolishing them, because it makes them stick out as not being part of the decor, and it sends a message that if they had their way, they really wouldn’t have kept these historical elements.

After Target, we went to meet Sis at her office building to go out for lunch.


This is Sis's building. Very impressive, if you ask me. It's a mixed use building with offices on the lower floors and condos above. Considering the location of this building, I don't even want to know how much these condos cost, but I guarantee you that I wouldn't be able to afford it.

This is Sis’s building. Very impressive, if you ask me. It’s a mixed use building with offices on the lower floors and condos above. Considering the location of this building, I don’t even want to know how much these condos cost, but I guarantee you that I wouldn’t be able to afford it.


We ended up going to Soupbox, which is a small restaurant that sells exactly what it says on the tin: soup. It wasn’t bad. After lunch, we said goodbye to Sis (or so we thought), and then headed out again. We stopped in this store that sold all sorts of faux-historic items like from the early 1900s. A man with a bowler hat and a waxed mustache would not look at all out of place in one of these places. Then we got a call from Sis: due to a plumbing problem, the office was closing early, and she was joining us again. How cool!

We spent some time there, and then headed over to the “L” again. Time to ride the “L” one last time for this trip…



Surprise: I got a 5000-Series train for the first time! I was not expecting this, but I'm certainly not complaining. Compared to the 2200-Series cars, the 2400-Series cars, the 2600-Series cars, and the 3200-Series cars, these cars have more longitudinal seating, and more electronic things, like LED signage. Unlike when Metro updated its 1970s-chic look with the 5000-Series cars in DC, these cars leave no doubt in one's mind that they are CTA railcars. The color scheme is the same, the decor is the same, and the announcements are the same.  Surprise: I got a 5000-Series train for the first time! I was not expecting this, but I'm certainly not complaining. Compared to the 2200-Series cars, the 2400-Series cars, the 2600-Series cars, and the 3200-Series cars, these cars have more longitudinal seating, and more electronic things, like LED signage. Unlike when Metro updated its 1970s-chic look with the 5000-Series cars in DC, these cars leave no doubt in one's mind that they are CTA railcars. The color scheme is the same, the decor is the same, and the announcements are the same.

Surprise: I got a 5000-Series train for the first time! I was not expecting this, but I’m certainly not complaining. Compared to the 2200-Series cars, the 2400-Series cars, the 2600-Series cars, and the 3200-Series cars, these cars have more longitudinal seating, and more electronic things, like LED signage. Unlike when Metro in DC updated its 1970s-chic look with the 5000-Series cars, these cars leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are CTA railcars. The color scheme is the same, the styling is the same, and the announcements are the same.

Surprise: I got a 5000-Series train for the first time! I was not expecting this, but I'm certainly not complaining. Compared to the 2200-Series cars, the 2400-Series cars, the 2600-Series cars, and the 3200-Series cars, these cars have more longitudinal seating, and more electronic things, like LED signage. Unlike when Metro updated its 1970s-chic look with the 5000-Series cars in DC, these cars leave no doubt in one's mind that they are CTA railcars. The color scheme is the same, the decor is the same, and the announcements are the same.  Surprise: I got a 5000-Series train for the first time! I was not expecting this, but I'm certainly not complaining. Compared to the 2200-Series cars, the 2400-Series cars, the 2600-Series cars, and the 3200-Series cars, these cars have more longitudinal seating, and more electronic things, like LED signage. Unlike when Metro updated its 1970s-chic look with the 5000-Series cars in DC, these cars leave no doubt in one's mind that they are CTA railcars. The color scheme is the same, the decor is the same, and the announcements are the same.



After we got off the train, we all headed towards Union Station. One thing Sis pointed out was the Chicago Board of Trade Building, which was capped by a statue of Ceres. She said that it was her understanding that people said at the time that since the building was so tall, people wouldn't be able to see that the statue had no face, and so the face was left blank. I took the above picture, and what do you know - blank face. I don't know if that story is true or not, but the face is indeed blank.

After we got off the train, we all headed towards Union Station. One thing Sis pointed out was the Chicago Board of Trade Building, which was capped by a statue of Ceres. She said that it was her understanding that people said at the time that since the building was so tall, people wouldn’t be able to see that the statue had no face, and so the face was left blank. I took the above picture, and what do you know – blank face. I don’t know if that story is true or not, but the face is indeed blank.


When we got back to Union Station, we bid Sis goodbye, and headed into the Metropolitan Lounge to await our train. Soon it was time for the trip back to Washington to begin…


On the train leaving Chicago, we got our last look at the CTA Red Line for this trip. This, however, is the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line, and I've never been this far south on the Red Line. The furthest south that I've been on the Red Line as of this writing is Roosevelt.  On the train leaving Chicago, we got our last look at the CTA Red Line for this trip. This, however, is the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line, and I've never been this far south on the Red Line. The furthest south that I've been on the Red Line as of this writing is Roosevelt.

On the train leaving Chicago, we got our last look at the CTA Red Line for this trip. This, however, is the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line, and I’ve never been this far south on the Red Line. The furthest south that I’ve been on the Red Line as of this writing is Roosevelt.


At some point on the trip (possibly the outbound trip), I was talking to @MalnurturedSnay on the Twitter about railroad signals. I used the term "Darth Vaders" to refer to these railroad signals. The name comes from the fact that they somewhat resemble the helmet of Darth Vader from Star Wars. I tweeted this picture to clarify what I was discussing.

At some point on the trip (possibly the outbound trip), I was talking to @MalnurturedSnay on the Twitter about railroad signals. I used the term “Darth Vaders” to refer to these railroad signals. The name comes from the fact that they somewhat resemble the helmet of Darth Vader from Star Wars. I tweeted this picture to clarify what I was discussing.


Around midnight, we rolled into Toledo, Ohio. I commented, "Holy Toledo, we're in... Toledo!" I know - bad joke.

Around midnight, we rolled into Toledo, Ohio. I commented, “Holy Toledo, we’re in… Toledo!” I know – bad joke.


Around Toledo, I had my adult beverage for this trip. I had one of the little tiny overpriced bottles of wine that they sell in the Cafe/Lounge car, and drank it straight out of the bottle. I figure, we drink single-serve bottles of beer straight out of the bottle, so why not drink a single-serve bottle of wine straight out of the bottle, too, right?

Around Toledo, I had my adult beverage for this trip. I had one of the little tiny overpriced bottles of wine that they sell in the Cafe/Lounge car, and drank it straight out of the bottle. I figure, we drink single-serve bottles of beer straight out of the bottle, so why not drink a single-serve bottle of wine straight out of the bottle, too, right?


Crossing the Potomac at Harpers Ferry. I think from here, we were only about two hours from DC.

Crossing the Potomac at Harpers Ferry. I think from here, we were only about two hours from DC.


Crossing Interstate 270 in Montgomery County. This is the bridge that is marked "Railroad Bridge" if you're driving the highway. Northbound Exit 11 is visible in the photo.

Crossing Interstate 270 in Montgomery County. This is the bridge that is marked “Railroad Bridge” if you’re driving the highway. Northbound Exit 11 is visible in the photo.


Ride On's Gaithersburg facility. I noticed that this is where the Champion cutaway vans went after they were all removed from service a week before we left for our trip, after far too many fires.

Ride On’s Gaithersburg facility. I noticed that this is where the Champion cutaway vans went after they were all removed from service a week before we left for our trip, after far too many fires.

Ride On's Gaithersburg facility. I noticed that this is where the Champion cutaway vans went after they were all removed from service a week before we left for our trip, after far too many fires.


After we got home, we headed off to Arundel Mills while the house cooled off a bit. There, I found some monogrammed coasters. And I made them spell something. I promise that I'm normally more mature than this...

After we got home, we headed off to Arundel Mills while the house cooled off a bit. There, I found some monogrammed coasters. And I made them spell something. I promise that I’m normally more mature than this…

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 3