Random Fridays: Chicago 2016 No More

Well – after three years of waiting/planning for this day and 70 million dollars spent…Chicago got out in the first round of voting for the 2016 Olympic location. I am completely stunned we got knocked out and during the first round at that. I had it all planned too…all my construction friends would have plenty of work, my family and friends would fly in for the big event, my son Evan would be 10 and actually be able to appreciate them, and so on.

Chicago is a fantastic town with all kinds of gems that people who have never been here don’t have any clue about and it is a bit sad to me that the world will not see our city for what it really is (our lakefront, great neighborhoods, amazing food, nice people, clean streets, world class architecture, etc).

Perhaps it was not meant to be, but man…I was really looking forward to it!

Random Fridays: Olympics in Chicago?

I have been anxiously awaiting the news of whether or not Chicago will get the 2016 games and it looks like some others are getting antsy as well. The Chicago Tribune put out an article “Chicago awards contract to clear Olympics site” today that makes me even more hopeful. Of course there are plenty of rumors going around, but this makes it sound a bit more promising!

So many people have little or no expectations for our great city and I would love for the world to see what all we have to offer. We have an amazing (perhaps great) lake, an unforgettable skyline, some of the nicest people, and some pretty interesting history.

Sure the traffic will be out of control and it will be a bit overwhelming, but the excitement, jobs, and the opportunity to see some events in your own city would be amazing.

Let’s just hope we get some good news in October!

Thursday Linkfest: June 18, 2009

This week flew by – but I actually found a number of links very interesting over the last seven days.

Random Fridays: Train Surfing

Event hough I do not live near the ocean, I still enjoy surfing as much as anyone else (and have ever since watching the movie North Shore).

There is something very satisfying and exciting about catching the perfect wave – everything clicks, and you just seem to almost fly – or at least that is how it feels for me. Where am I surfing? I am surfing on Northwest Highway and I call it “train surfing”. For those that do not know this – Chicagoland has a number of commuter train lines and I happen to drive on a road parallel to the train tracks for about 10 miles every morning. If you can catch it (“the wave”) just right – you can literally go through almost the entire 10 miles without hitting a red light (there are several).

Every once in a great while – if you get in a position to follow an express train – it will cause all the lights to change with you so that you can go straight through. This is something I have only done a few times – but like any great wave – it is all about the chase.

Wasting Money the Government Way

Here in Illinois we have been hearing about the Rod Blagojevich fiasco for weeks. I have been busy for the last few weeks and have not watched the news or his trial – but I did happen to catch that as soon as he was impeached – IL spent $15,000 to remove signs on our highways that had his name on them (Open Road Tolling–Rod R. Blagojevich Governor). PS – these signs cost $480,000 to create and put up.

I am disgusted with the waste that I continually see government organizations partake in on a daily basis. I remember when I transitioned from working for a higher education/non-profit workplace to working for my own for-profit company. The first few weeks I really saw how much more effective for-profit companies are and have to be (both mine and others that I worked with) compared to the constant flow of tax money into some government/non-profit organizations.

Not that I believe all non-profit and government organizations are extremely wasteful – but the moderate in me – would love to see some of our government and non-profit organizations have to make money before they could spend it. I bet you things would quickly change (and it drives me crazy that it would change…because organizations should spend money carefully and responsibly regardless of their profitability – in my opinion). Responsibility should not be forced…but perhaps it should for some?

Do I agree that most of the organizations have the best interests in mind for Americans? For the most part…yes, but just like with anything – you really do not appreciate what you have until you have worked for/earned it. I can guarantee you that some of the projects that take years to complete would either get outsourced or dropped as they should instead of taking up valuable resources. Ineffective managers/workers would get the boot and every dollar brought in and then spent would be appreciated, counted, and better used. I would love to see this play out because I think a wake up call is needed – especially now since our government is in so much debt, programs are bloated, and general waste is high.

Do I agree that Rod Blagojevich needed to be removed from office – yes (assuming the evidence holds up)…but do I agree with removing the signs and wasting overall almost half a million dollars? No. Please – whoever made this decision…wow. Thanks for wasting more of our money, especially when we could have used that for education, construction, etc.

Brr…

Wow - it is cold!Thankfully I do not have to take the train to work, and walk across the Chicago river on days like today. We have been having highs in the negative degrees the last few days and it has been really challenging to even open the door. It is so cold that A has not had school for the last two days due to them not wanting the kids to have to wait for the bus in the morning. Poor Colby can barely make it out in the backyard for over five minutes.

Funny how I now look forward to this weekends’ temperatures in the 20s (which will crazily be a 30+ degree temperature increase). Time to play a little Tiger Woods Golf on the Wii (oh yeah Doug – I got it so feel free to get it so we can play together!) and think of warmer times!

Another quick note – this is finally the last weekend of W’s term in office…finally! I did not know if or how we would make to this point so some champagne is definitely in order. Best of luck to Obama – he definitely has a lot of work to do.

The Story of My Life – Told in the Header

For the last few versions of Jappler.com – I have had images in the header arranged in a way to tell a story.

  • My roots. This picture was taken out of my car on the road my parents live in NY.
  • My home. Old Main on the Penn State campus. I was destined to go to Penn State and it was my #1 goal since I was 3 years old (besides a few months in 7th grade when my #1 goal was to beat Super Mario Brothers) I spent a lot of time sitting on the front steps reading, people watching and hanging out with Amy.
  • Pita. Right after we moved to Chicago – I wanted a kitten and we chose Pita. She is my little helper.
  • Salsa. We figured Pita needed a friend so a year later after getting Pita – we got Salsa. Her name is perfect for her – she is a spitfire.
  • My Apple tattoo. Back in 2000 – I decided it was time to get a tattoo and what better and more meaningful than what changed and formed my life more than anything else?
  • My first trip to Vegas. I finally made it to Vegas in my early 20s and it was unforgettable.
  • September 11, 2001. This changed me – and probably all of us forever.
  • Chicago’s Bean. Millennium Park opens four years late – but is an awesome place!
  • Triscuit. My first dog – Triscuit who was absolutely amazing (and fast).
  • My mecca. Doug and I went to the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta. As a huge Coca Cola fan – this was awesome.
  • My Apple Cube. As an Apple collector – I had to have it (and it looked great next to my B&W!
  • Sears Tower. How could I not have this in my header? I absoltely love the Sears Tower and spending time in it.
  • Golf. I finally started golfing after a few years of not golfing and bought my first set of Ping irons – which I love.
  • My S80. This was Volvo #3 for me – and my absolute dream car. I cannot imagine getting rid of it.
  • Penn State football. After a rocky game at Northwestern that we were at – Penn State not only turned around their season, but their entire program.
  • Evan. My first born son brought a new perspective and endless entertainment into my life.
  • Colby. Colby – Triscuit’s brother found us right after Triscuit died and we feel very fortunate to share our time with him

And so you have it – the history of my life…all in a web site header collage of pictures.

People's Effort…

Sometimes I just do not get people’s effort. Some people make an effort to help out the elderly, smile, say hello, or donate to charities – all of these take little effort but go along way. Then – there are the people who seem to go out of their way not to look you in the eye, not acknowledge you, and are generally miserable. Both types of people make some sort of effort – but in opposite ways. While I may not be an optimist all the time – I will say hello to anyone and when given the chance – will help my friends/colleagues, and others when and if they need anything.

This brings me to mention my neighbor…which is driving me crazy. In Chicago we get a decent amount of snow and after growing up with a snowblower as means to clear the snow from the driveway – as soon as we bought our house – I went out and got a snowblower. When I was younger I used to always clear not only my parents’ driveway but also the neighbor’s sidewalks and sometimes driveways as well. It was a courteous thing to do – especially when they only had shovels. So back to my neighbor…in between our houses is about 15 feet of property…12 feet of that is his and three feet (one sidewalk block) is ours. Every time it has snowed in the last 3 years I have cleared our driveway and the sidewalk in front of my house to the neighbor’s driveways on both sides. The neighbors on both sides have shovels and the one neighbor I am annoyed with is older so I make sure he does not have to shovel too much. He also has a fire hydrant in front of his house so I make sure that is always clear of snow. The time it takes me to do this is very small compared to what it would take with a shovel.

Amy's size 7 shoe to show size A few days ago we got 4 inches or so of snow so I went out to clear the driveways and sidewalks and noticed that he had already been out there earlier because the entire sidewalk was clear except for a tiny strip on my property. (See picture with Amy’s size 7 sneaker in there to give you some idea of the stopped short shoveling. Yeah that is right Amy…I used your shoe. I would have used one of mine, but mine were all away in the closet and not sitting out ;)). To me – it took him more effort to stop, take a look at the property line, and then make the decision to stop there than it would have if he would have just did one more shovel scoop. I was/am completely appalled that someone that I have always been nice to and helped out over the last 3 years would make the effort to stop literally 2-3 feet short of clearing a little snow from our sidewalk. Wow. I just do not get people at all. Serenity now!

Whoa – That is a lot of Water…

Over the weekend, we got hammered with rain here in the Chicagoland area. About four years ago – when I lived in Des Plaines IL – I had the joyous opportunity of sandbagging around the perimeter of our condo before the big flood. On Saturday, we jumped in the Land Rover and headed to see what kind of shape our old place looked like (Des Plaines got over 7″ of rain on Saturday alone). I was completely shocked to see that there was much more water from the rain and the river than when we sandbagged.

Check out some of the pictures taken with my phone while we were in the old neighborhood.

More information: News article on the flood

Chicago: Cold

I know it is generally cold here in the winter – and even though we had a nice break a few days ago, it is cold here, but man I was shocked to see my Mac Mini’s ambient temperature reporting:

So much for that temperature reporting application!