Archive for January, 2008

Snow Snow Snow Snow

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Winter Storm

Tonight, we’re under another Winter Storm Warning with a possible eight to twelve inches of snow. And yes, Apryl still went to school! For me, I’m thankful I don’t have any jobs lined up for the next four days. I’m expecting a lot of lazying around the apartment this weekend. With all this snow, this marks the fourth snowiest winter in the past 25 years!

Apryl always thinks it’s funny when I start to sing this musical tribute to snow.

Chicago Snow Storm

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

During the last two days, our temperatures have been in the 40’s. Which was warm enough to finally melt away all the snow that’s been sticking around for what seems forever. Well, despite it being 44 degrees at one point today, the night has brought us more snow and single digit temperatures. On top of that, a Winter Storm Warning.

Check out the 20 second video I took from my Canon PowerShot.

While I was away…

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Well, I was doing a pretty good job of posting, but work has been keeping me busy, hence the lack of updates. Recently, I have worked on a PBS documentary, ESPN program called E:60, and two shoots with Oprah. Unfortunately, I wasn’t bold enough to get a photo of Oprah, only these boring photos from the control room of her XM radio show:

Harpo XM Control Room

Harpo XM Microphone

Sorry.

For the shoot, we set up all audio, lights, and camera in the morning before the first radio broadcasts. Oprah, herself, wouldn’t be recording her show until around 5:30pm, so we basically had the whole day to mess around. Most of us hung out at the station, which is right across the street from Harpo Studios. We were given free drinks and a great lasagna lunch. The coolest thing, though, was the break room’s closed-circuit television, which let us watch Oprah tape her show live. That day she taped two episodes, one with Dr. Oz and another with Chris Rock. I think both of these aired last week.

My next shoot with Oprah was in California. The day that I was to leave for the west coast, I had already worked a full day in Chicago. Our flight was around 8 o’clock, so when we finally got into Oakland and then drove out to our hotel in Berkley, I was pretty tired. The hotel was actually an amazing spa resort. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have time to enjoy it. I did get to have a nice breakfast, but then it was off to San Pablo for the shoot. (Oh yeah, one more thing about the resort. Alan Alda was also staying there!)

The shoot was an interview that Oprah conducted with the man behind the company, The Perfect Endings, which sells the “perfect cupcakes”. Everyone in the crew where given a box of nine cupcakes, which if bought from the company would have set you back $59!

The shoot went longer than expected, so we missed our flight. That night we hung out in downtown Oakland to kill time before our 11 o’clock flight. Normal flying is a pain already. But flying for work is even worse because you have at least 15 pieces of equipment to check in and lug around with you. By the time we finally got back home, I was exhausted.

Oh well, I got the full day to rest up on Monday, and then Tuesday headed out to South Bend, Indiana for a shoot with ESPN. We stayed at another nice hotel (though no spa resort). Here’s a photo from outside my hotel room:

Outside South Bend hotel

Since we finished early on Tuesday, I had time to check out the College Football Hall of Fame, which was right next to the hotel.

Some photos:

College Football Hall of Fame

Notice the snow on the ground.

History of the football uniform.

Evolution of the football

The evolution of the football.

Field Goal at College Football Hall of Fame

The museum had a few interactive displays. My favorite was one that was set up like a batting cage, only you were able to attempt a field goal. Since I was the only one going through the museum at the time, I was able to kick it several times (4) before I made it.

Patrick Willis

Of course, I had to take photos that pertained to Ole Miss. Above, Patrick Willis is honored.

Ole Miss is also mentioned in the great college football rivalry display:

Ole Miss College Football Hall of Fame

That rivalry, of course, being Mississippi State. The image on the flag banner changes schools depending on from where you are looking at it. Anyone know what that illusion is called?

On Wednesday, we did two interviews at Notre Dame for the ESPN program, E:60. Below, a photo of us shooting (minus me since I’m taking the photo):

ESPN E:60 shoot at Notre Dame

Before we left, I had to get a photo of “Touchdown Jesus”:

Touchdown Jesus

After I got back, I was excited about a relaxing weekend, highlighted by watched The Tigers on Saturday morning with the U of M Alumni Chicago Group. Unfortunately, I got sick again (really, what’s up with that?). And since we don’t have ESPN on our crummy cable package, I had to settle with ESPN’s online Play-By-Play. After the game, there was a nice video summary of the game put up on the Tiger’s ESPN page.

Go Tigers Go! We’re #1!

Eva wrapped around my leg

It doesn’t seem Eva has a problem with me being sick, huh?

Thankfully, I am feeling better, especially since Trey and I have a shoot together tomorrow. And then, I have another XM radio shoot with Oprah on Wednesday.

Attention, all Apple geeks!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

If you are even a semi Apple nerd like me, you have been awaiting Steve Jobs’ keynote speech in San Francisco at Macworld. This is where Jobs gives us all the latest Apple news.

I have been patiently waiting to see if a new notebook rumor was actually true or not. Well, thanks to the live coverage via MacRumors, I’m happy to report that Apple is soon releasing the MacBook Air, the thinnest Apple notebook on the market. Check out the snap shot from MacRumorsLive:

Along with this announcement, Jobs also mentioned that Apple is now in the movie rental business through iTunes, which gives all the impression of a “let’s take over the world Starbucks style.” Even though I don’t have a Netflix subscription, I’m actually sad the company is being delivered such strong competition. On top of the rental business, Apple is attempting to create a monster out of AppleTV, which is an idea that hasn’t won me over yet.

However, back to the good stuff. Along with the expected, yet thrilling, news about the MacBook Air, I’m also excited that the iPod Touch will add features that had only been available on the iPhone, including Mail, Stocks, Notes, Weather, and Maps. Nice.

Check out the new MacBook Air ad!

Weather Report = Welcome Back Winter

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Snow

While Apryl and I were enjoying another jewel from the Chilling Classics collection, we weren’t even aware that it was snowing outside. Actually, it didn’t last long, but it was pretty nonetheless.

More than that, the snow signaled that the cold weather is back, which has Apryl really bummed since her cold kept her away from enjoying the record-breaking warm temperatures we’ve been having lately. Well, those days are quickly fading into memory, as the latest weather report calls for lows of -6 degrees this weekend. Yep, you read that correctly.

At times like these, I turn to Apryl and ask, “Where do we live?”

Ugh! or It takes a lot more than the Spire to inspire me.

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Well, the Chicago Spire is back in the news. Since hearing of this proposed 150 story condominium, Apryl and I have been strong opponents. Sure, it will set records for the tallest residential structure. But at what cost to the beautiful, renowned skyline of Chicago? I love the architecture of this city. When I work downtown, I still gaze up in wonder as the classic and modern perfectly coincide, working off one another. But now, take a look at the photo below, and you’ll notice how that flow will be greatly diminished. Unlike the graceful Water Tower, Wrigley Building, Merchandise Mart, or Lake Point Tower, I tend to think of the Spire as a spoiled child screaming, “Look at me!”

Proposed Skyline

Well, it seems like construction had been delayed due to financial problems but is now back on track thanks to a new financial backer whose first project was a remodeling job in our very own Bucktown neighborhood.

Today marks the first day that the Spire is open for business, searching for future residents. The price to live in the tallest luxury condo in the world? Get that checkbook out! Answer: $750,000–$15 million.

For more info on the Spire, check out the website.

What do you think? Yea or nay?

Mr. Last Week – Harlan plays Chicago!

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Schubas

Last week, I caught what I believe was Harlan T. Bobo’s first solo show in Chicago. Now, I’ve seen Harlan a ton of times, but never outside of Memphis. So I was pretty excited about it. However, that excitement quickly faded when after searching for a parking spot for about twenty minutes, I arrived at the club only to find that the evening’s show had sold out!

Harlan Sold Out

So how did I get in? Well, right as I am about to leave, someone from the club comes out and asks the door man if Harlan is on the Chicago label, Bloodshot Records. When I inform him that Harlan is actually on the Memphis label Goner Records, the door man becomes intrigued and starts up a conversation with me. After I tell him that I’m from Memphis and that Harlan hardly plays anywhere outside of Memphis (other than Europe), he sympathizes with me and lets me inside. Many thanks!

As always, Harlan put on a great show. However, the highlight was getting to see my friend John who was playing drums with Harlan that night. I hadn’t talked to John in probably a year, so it was really nice getting to catch up with him. Unfortunately, I didn’t see Jeremy (bass player and host of WEVL’s Out on the Side) after the show and missed my chance to say “hello.”

Below, the set list for that night:

Goodbye Christmas Tree

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Green Into Blue

Every year, after Christmas, a program called “Green To Blue” sets up recycle centers at various parks throughout the city to take your Christmas tree and send it through the grinder, shedding it into a thousand bits of mulch.

See below:

Not only is it fun to watch, it’s a far better way of disposing of your Christmas tree than dumping it in the trash. So this morning I grabbed our tree and headed to our nearest participating location, Humboldt Park.

Most of the trees came into the park fastened on the top of a car’s roof, but my favorite way of getting a tree to the park came from this couple below:

The atmosphere is actually quite festive for what would seem like a sad event. For bringing in your tree, you’re offered a gift of either a compact fluorescent light bulb, a reusable water bottle, or blue recycling garbage bags. I took the bags.

So long tree. We shall all miss thee.

My Broken Glasses

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

This morning, I woke up to find that my glasses were missing from the nightstand. Sometimes, I knock them over in the middle of the night, so I wasn’t too worried at first. However, after feeling around for a bit, I came up with nothing. Now, anyone of you who has tried on my glasses knows just how blind I am without them. So if I was going to find them, I was going to have to get out of bed and get down on my hands and knees so that I could search at a closer level. However, when I got out of bed, I found them immediately with the sound of a crunch. When I picked up what was under my foot, I discovered that I had cracked my glasses right down the middle. Ugh, I sure was feeling like Henry Bemis.

Broken Glasses

Well, I was disgusted with myself, but Apryl saw it as an opportunity for me to get new glasses. So I made an appointment with Pearle Vision and started looking forward to a new look. The examination went well. I was even told that my eyesight had gotten a little bit better! That’s a first. Afterwards, I shopped around for about an hour for new frames:

Multiple Frames

It was bit of a whirlwind, trying on frame after frame. So I couldn’t even tell you which one from the above that I actually chose. But it was approved by Apryl and the girl at Pearle. Unfortunately, the non-reflective addition takes 3-5 days, so I wasn’t able to walk out with my new look.

Instead, I was stuck with an old, old pair that had Apryl referring to me as Harry Potter. Evidence below:

Hayden Harry Potter

Yikes, right? Perhaps I should have hidden behind the disposable sunglasses I was given after my exam:

Hayden in disposable sunglasses

Below, Apryl tries her best to super glue my old pair until the new ones are ready. Sadly, it didn’t work.

Apryl tries to mend broken glasses

Fortunately, I was able to find an old pair of glasses that are less scary. So at least now, I don’t have to be embarrassed to go out in public.

What We’ve Been Up To – Part 3

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

The Holidays

1. Christmas Tree

Apryl puts on lights

This year we decided to get our Christmas tree early so that we would have more time to spend with it before leaving town. So we got into the Corolla and headed over to Home Depot (I know, I know, we always feel a little bit guilty not buying from an independent tree vendor, but it’s so much more expensive). At the Depot, it seemed like there were quite a few other people with the same idea as us. Many of the trees were already wrapped up, which seemed silly because you have no idea what you’re really getting. Also lined up, they reminded me of the pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers:

Christmas Tree Pods

It took some time, but I think we were both pleased with our final decision. Below, us deciding:

Apryl searches for treeHayden searches for tree

As we were checking out, it started to snow.

And hey, this year I didn’t even scratch up my car getting the tree out of the car.

Hayden gests tree out of car

Of course, with anything new brought into the house, Eva had to fully investigate the tree. And to Eva, this was definitely one of our most intriguing purchases of the year.

Eva checks out tree

Even though we had good intentions, it took a few weeks until it actually got this point:

Our Christmas Tree

Sox ornamentDa Bears ornament

Jack ornament

2. Snow

Our street covered in snow

We had what was probably our largest snowfall since we’ve lived in Chicago. It was in the middle of the month, so I was still hard at work on the cheerleading videos. But I certainly needed a break, and Apryl’s friend Alison was having a birthday celebration that night at a restaurant in our neighborhood. So,I left the computer for a few hours, bundled up, and ventured out with Apryl to the Silver Cloud. See photos:

Apryl in big snowfallHayden in big snowfall

Silver Cloud and snow

It was a fun getaway, and I finally got to meet Apryl’s school friend Ellie. Below, is a photo of Alison and Michael right as Alison was being handed her HUGE chicken pot pie:

Alison pot pie

After dinner, Apryl went out with Alison and her friends to Cleo’s, but I needed to get back to work, so I walked back home. But not before a group photo:

Group photo Alison birthday

The snow hadn’t let up the entire time we were having dinner and was still coming down hard as I walked along the straight white sidewalks. While it was too cold to take off the gloves for long, I did grab a few snapshots:

Bike in snowfall

Street sign covered in snow

Stop sign covered in snow

The next day I was disappointed that I was still stuck inside working and couldn’t go play in our snow-covered park.

3. The 1st Annual Christmas Evil Party (now to be known as the Merry Scary Christmas Party)

Punch bowl of yummy egg nog

We had a few friends over for our first annual double-feature Christmas horror night. Now, the movies we showed are actually scary films that have some type of Christmas theme. Surprisingly, there are quite a few out there. I decided to give everyone four choices (Home for the Holidays, Don’t Open `Til Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night, and Christmas Evil) and then have everyone vote on which two we were going to watch. Well, Home for the Holidays was the big winner. Released in `72 as a Made for TV Movie, Home for the Holidays stars a young Sally Field along with Julie Harris (The Haunted) and Jessica Walter (Arrested Development). The script was written by Joseph Stefano (Psycho) and produced by Aaron Spelling (Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210, 7th Heaven, etc.). Of course, this was going to a popular choice. Second, we watched Silent Night, Deadly Night. And I only have one word for this classic: “Punish!” I guess you had to be there.

4. Downtown Chicago

Christmas Tree  downtown Chicago

A few days before heading out of town, Apryl and I took in the sites downtown while doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. It’s always fun seeing the large tree made from many smaller trees that stands high in Daley Plaza (See above).

And, of course, we had to check out the Macy’s store window displays. This year the story was The Nutcracker:

The Nutcracker

My favorite window display is the one below, which changes the location of the fairy tale to Chicago. Notice the Merchandise Mart along with The Art Museum and Navy Pear.

Nutcracker Window Display

Another thing we both noticed was that many of the Salvation Army folks were really working for their money. Below, the Salvation Army become puppeteers:

Salvation Army puppets

That night, Apryl made butter cookies. Yummy!

Apryl making butter cookies

5. Music Box

Music Box

24th Annual Music Box

One of Apryl’s few posts on this blog was about last year’s screening of White Christmas at the Music Box theatre. (And, of course, it’s one of the most enjoyed entries on the blog.) Now, White Christmas is one of Apryl’s favorite movies of all time. In fact, she flew to Memphis for a weekend trip last month just to see a musical version of it at the Orpheum. Well, we had so much fun last year, and it certainly got us in the spirit, that we decided to go again this year, despite the 60 mph winds. Along with White Christmas, we checked out the rest of the full double feature, It’s A Wonderful Life. However, the funniest moment came before the movie when Santa sang carols with the crowd. During the “Twelve Days of a Chicago Christmas,” the 5th day replaced Five Golden Rings with No More George Bush, which resulted in cheering from the audience. Apryl and I looked at each other. Apryl stated, “We’re not in the South anymore.” As for the movies, there really isn’t any comparison between watching them at home and with a crowd that applauds the hero, hisses the villains, and rings their jingle bells at the right moment. When we left the theatre, it was snowing.

White Christmas screen

6. Christmas Break

Hayden and Apryl at WEVL party
(At the WEVL Volunteer Appreciation Party. Photo by Tim Genty.)

Though we’re excited to see family and friends, it’s always a little sad having to leave our apartment, especially our Christmas tree, during the holidays. We left on Christmas Eve and luckily only had to drive through a little bit of snow on the long trip south. Since most of our readers are our friends and family, I won’t go into too much detail about our trip. But it certainly wouldn’t have been the same without: Christmas day with family (Moms, Dads, Sisters, and the In-Laws), Snowglobe at the HiTone, Huey’s, watching Juno with Brett and Vanessa, Amber’s party, WEVL holiday party, Sophia, seeing the Litton’s, Guitar Hero, Brian, Michelle, and Little Joe, and Tiger’s basketball. Unfortunately, sickness kept me from seeing everyone. Congratulations, Summer.

A few photos:

Nephews and Niece in Chicago shirts
Reid, Sydney, Clay, Jackson, and Drew wearing their Christmas presents

Ash and the gang
Ash and gang at my mom’s that night for Christmas dinner

Snowglobe at HiTone
Snowglobe at the HiTone on Christmas night

HiTone - No Smoking
Even though the HiTone was now smoke free, it hasn’t completely aired out. Definitely better than the old days!

Steph rocks to Guitar Hero
Apryl’s sister Stephanie rocking out to Guitar Hero

Sophia
The one and only Sophia!

Little Joe
Little Joe likes the wrapping even better than the present!

7. Back Home

Gas Station Snow

I started feeling sick a few days before we returned home. But it was especially rough when we actually packed up and got on the road on New Year’s Day. I always thought that a sore throat was the worst, but I think I have reevaluated that judgement after having swollen neck glands that caused pain anytime I swallowed. We were actually trying to get back in time because I had a job on the 3rd. However, I had to call in sick and lose the job. Luckily, I am feeling better. Unfortunately, Apryl got sick as well and is still in recovery mode.

And yes, I’ve already had some Giordano’s!

Girodano's Pizza