Silent Summer 2012

The Silent Film Society of Chicago just announced its lineup for their summer film festival, one of our favorite events of the season. The festival runs on Friday nights from July 20 through August 24 at the Portage Theater in Chicago.

This year will bring us some comedy from Harold Lloyd, some action from Douglas Fairbanks, drama and mystery from John Barrymore and adventure from Fritz Lang along with other great stuff.

Click on the image above to see all the details.. See you there!

Chicago Board of Trade

There are only a couple of weeks during the year when the sun shines on the fa├žade of the Chicago Board of Trade Building at the angle you see here. I happened to have my camera with me the other morning, so I captured it.

With the morning sun shining at this angle, you can really see the detail on the statues and carvings on the front of the building. Here’s a close-up:

I have a long history with this building: my first job in downtown Chicago was here (in 1986) and for a while I had an office on the 11th floor (next to the clock, to the right as you see it here) that looked up LaSalle Street. I spent many long hours, late nights, weekends, and holidays here. I was even involved in evacuating the building during the Chicago Flood of 1992.

Currently, I work across the street from the CBOT, so I get this view every day.

Here’s another shot of the building that I took on the morning of Bike the Drive, complete with eerily empty streets:

Cloud Gate (and Bike the Drive)

This past Sunday the 11th annual Bike the Drive event was held on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.

After riding the 30-mile route, I took the time to ride around downtown Chicago a bit, and wound up at Millennium Park, where I shot this photo of the Cloud Gate (aka “The Bean”) sculpture.

There were over 20,000 participants and the weather was beautiful. Another of our favorite cycling events!

Preparing for the Summer

We usually wait until mid-May to set up the patio furniture and put the canvas on the gazebo, but we had a small window on Sunday morning where we were able to get it done. So why not set the video camera up and do a little time-lapse?

This entire operation took about an hour, and you’re seeing it in under a minute.

Right after we got everything in place, it started pouring and didn’t stop for several hours. At least we’re ready for when the nice weather starts.

Cinco de Mayo

With Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend, it was time to make my Margarita Cake again. And once again, it was a huge hit with my family and coworkers.

Here’s a link to my previous post about the cake.

This year, I managed to find an orange cake mix (very popular this time of year), and once again I used Cuervo Tradicional. The one new trick I tried this year came from Cook’s Illustrated: instead of using oil and flour on the bundt pan before cooking, I used a mixture of 1 tablespoon melted butter and about 2 tablespoons of flour, mixed it into a soft paste, and then smeared (the magazine says “brush” but where’s the fun in that?) the mixture in the pan. The cake came out of the pan perfectly.

And soon it will be time for Taco Friday. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Random Banana

Becca’s sophomore year is heading towards the conclusion, so of course, she’s been working diligently in class while prepping for finals.

And playing “Draw Something.”

So when she sent me a very colorful expression of how she felt her time could be better spent (the word “bored” figured into it) I responded with a photo of a banana that was sitting on my desk.

These are the moments I’ll look back upon wistfully when I’m old. I’m sure of it.

Emitt Rhodes – Farewell to Paradise

Today’s clip is “Farewell to Paradise” by Emitt Rhodes.

Rhodes is most often referred to as “the one-man Paul McCartney,” because he wrote, performed, and recorded his music entirely on his own in his garage studio. And yes, his music absolutely has a mid-60s-to-mid-70s McCartney sound. He’s been a cult favorite since his debut album came out in 1970, and legions of ProTools- and GarageBand-equipped home musicians have recently embraced him as one of their own.

A blogger at named Spike_1 wrote a great review of Rhodes’ last album, 1973’s Farewell to Paradise, which also serves as a nice introduction to the artist and his music. I suggest starting there if you’re interested in learning more.

I came into “Farewell to Paradise” via, of all people, Vic Damone, who did an easy-listening version of the song in the early 1980s. Despite the sugary arrangement I found something truly haunting about the tune and the lyrics, and I had to learn who was originally responsible for the song. Once I did, I was down the Emitt Rhodes rabbit hole.

The song is a lament and a lullaby, with feelings of both sadness and hope. You may find that once it gets in your head you won’t be able to let go of it, and knowing that every sound in this recording is the product of one guy will impress you.

Here are links to the Emitt Rhodes best-of collection at iTunes and Amazon.

Continue reading “Emitt Rhodes – Farewell to Paradise”