Saturday, August 31, 2013

31 August 2013: Singin' the Blues

Boystown Blues

Friday, August 30, 2013

30 August 2013: Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished

Injured American kestrel 
I make a point not to indulge in much personal commentary on this blog, but today i'm making an exception. This morning my dog discovered this kestrel sitting in the dirt at the corner of Glenwood and Farwell.  I could tell that something was wrong when the bird did not react to the dog, which was only a couple of feet away from it and straining at the leash.  I moved the dog away from the bird, took her around the corner to do her business, and then checked on the way back to see if the bird was still there. I would have liked to have been able to stay with the kestrel until i could get help for it, but since i needed to leave for work immediately, i did what i thought was the next best thing: i looked up the number for a local wildlife rescue center, and called and left a voicemail explaining where the bird was. Then, on my way out, i stopped by the construction site directly across the street from the bird and explained the situation to one of the guys working there, so that when the rehabbers arrived they'd know where to find the bird. 

A few hours later i got a phone call from the wildlife center. It turns out that one of the workers from the construction site had voluntarily taken the kestrel to another facility that he was familiar with, so when the people from the place i called arrived (about three hours after my call), the bird was no longer there. I was then treated to a proper scolding on the phone for all of the following transgressions:
  • making them waste precious time driving there only to find that the bird was gone;
  • not getting the phone number of the person on the construction job that i spoke to (why i would have done that, i have no idea, since i spoke to him only as a precaution in case the rescuers had trouble finding the bird);
  • letting the bird go to a facility that might not have a licensed animal rehabber on the staff. 

Bear in mind that i had no idea that any of this had happened. And to be perfectly honest, if i'd been there and someone offered to take the bird to a facility he knew of, i probably would have thanked him profusely and then called to let the other center know that the situation was being taken care of. But, i repeat, i wasn't even there. 

I hesitated to write this account because i have great respect for people who dedicate their time and energy to saving injured wildlife. And obviously, i love wild creatures too or i wouldn't have gone to the trouble of trying to help the bird. I realize that interpersonal skills are not necessarily a job requirement for working with wild animals, but still, it would benefit everyone if the public felt welcome to seek the help of these trained professionals and dedicated volunteers when situations like this arise. It was frustrating and hurtful to be made to feel like i had done a terrible thing when all i was trying to do was help an injured animal in the only way that i could under the circumstances. And it pissed me off. So much so that i thanked the woman on the phone for making me feel like crap for doing what i thought was a good deed, and i apologized as insincerely as i could for any inconvenience i had caused her. She then half-heartedly apologized, but the damage was done. I don't know what i would do if something like this were to happen again, but i'd be very reluctant to call there for fear that i would be subjected to another reprimand. 

If anyone from that particular facility--or any other wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center--should chance to read this blog, know that i appreciate the good work you do and wish you continued success in treating the beautiful wild creatures that need our help; but please, please take a few minutes to think about how you might better deal with people who, like myself, may not be experienced in treating wild animals but who know enough and care enough to call you for help. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

29 August 2013: Bonus Picture from the Archives of Missed Opportunity

After the Home Depot Photo Shoot
When it comes to missed photo ops, today was an exercise in frustration. I went shopping early this afternoon and was so burdened with packages that i couldn't get to my camera to take pictures of: 

1. The Transformers IV shoot happening at Broadway and Lawrence in Uptown
2. The American goldfinch perched atop a dead echinacea flower at the corner of Wayne and Farwell
3. The crowd of people milling around Morse Avenue between Wayne and Glenwood carrying large Home Depot buckets (a few even wearing them on their heads).  Apparently they were filming a commercial, but by the time i returned all that remained were a few people gathering up the props and cameras.

29 August 2013: Honey

Beekeeper from Kress Apiary at the Daley Plaza Farmers Market

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

28 August 2013: Mystery Bus

The picture isn't in focus, but then pictures of phantoms rarely are. This old-fashioned red bus seemed to come out of nowhere, suddenly appearing on Farwell before disappearing in traffic on Sheridan. It looked to be empty, though surely there was a driver ... or was there? 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

24 August 2013: Marleymobile

There's something about a sweet little scooter on a sunny Saturday afternoon
that makes me want to hit the open road.

Friday, August 23, 2013

23 August 2013: A Promising Sign

The picture isn't very clear, but that little sign in the window of the former Aqua Bar at the corner of Sheridan and Pratt is a welcome sight. I've never understood why this location has had such a troubled history: Despite the fact that it's a beautiful space in a busy location less than a block from the beach, this will be the fourth restaurant to try its luck here in the past twelve years. Let's all hope that things will work out much better for the new owner and that Twisted Tapas will become a neighborhood favorite for many years to come. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

21 August 2013: Traffic Jam

Watching the perennial traffic jam at the Circle interchange always makes me feel very clever for taking the L instead of driving. For those of my readers who aren't familiar with Chicago, we have a charming tradition here of naming expressways after people. Anywhere else, these cars would be going from I-290 to I-90/94; but any Chicagoan would tell you that these cars are on the Ike, heading for either the Dan Ryan or the Kennedy. Some of them may have started their journey at the Jane Addams. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

20 August 2013: Public Transit Time Machine

Sheridan Station on the Red Line 
The Sheridan station on the Red Line is a relic of a bygone era. Although major renovations have been done at the other northside stations, Sheridan has changed little over the decades. Plans were announced in April 2012 for a $17 million overhaul, but so far nothing has happened. It's an interesting station because of the way that it is situated on an S-curve. Trains approach the station on a curve, as seen in this picture, and then go immediately into another curve on departing the station. The platforms can give access to trains on both the inner and outer tracks, though i'm not sure if the Purple Line ever stops there. For more on the history of the station click here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

19 August 2013: Big Day at the Substation

It's hard to believe that less than twelve hours before this picture was taken, this intersection was full of fun-loving people dancing to disco music at the Glenwood Ave. Arts Fest. But by early this morning, the CTA construction site at Glenwood and Farwell was swarming with workers as tons of concrete were poured to form a foundation for the electrical substation that will be built on the site. Farwell was closed to traffic, and there were pick-up trucks and SUVs parked in every available open space, while a steady stream of cement trucks arrived full and left empty. For more pictures and commentary on the construction, please visit my other blog, How to Build a Substation.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

17-18 August 2013: Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest


Hot Mess

Boom Boom Revue
Magic Carpet

Sunday Morning

Sunday Afternoon

Theo Ubique Theatre

The Lucky Dutch
Sunday Night, the Aftermath
By 10:30PM another successful arts fest had come to an end, 
and the dismantling was well underway.

18 August 2013: Glenwood Sunday Market in Exile

Because of the Glenwood Ave. Arts Fest, the farmers market has been moved to J.B. Alberto's parking lot this week. My favorite GSM busker was there, looking like John Mellencamp and singing old James Taylor and Simon & Garfunkel songs. 

PS. If you are wondering why i haven't posted any pictures of Arts Fest, rest assured. I'll be posting a special edition of images from the fest either tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

17 August 2013: The Air & Water Show ... More or Less

The Air & Water Show as seen from the Morse Ave. L station
Call me an unpatriotic curmudgeon, but i've never been a fan of fighter jets screaming across the sky while i'm just trying to go about my business; thus, i usually dread the week of the Chicago Air & Water Show. I admit, it scares me. So for once i have reason to celebrate government budget cuts; this year there are no Air Force Thunderbirds or Navy Blue Angels. There are apparently skywriters. I'm still not going-- i'd rather spend the weekend in Rogers Park enjoying the Glenwood Ave. Arts Fest--but at least it seems a little friendlier and, well, welcoming.

Friday, August 16, 2013

16 August 2013: Friday Night Bonus

Morse Avenue is closed to traffic, and the night is filled with anticipation and high spirits,
just waiting for morning and the opening of the Arts Fest.

16 August 2013: Harbinger of Good Things to Come

Like the first robin in spring, the annual arrival of the port-a-potties is a sure sign
that it's time for the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

12 August 2013: Mi Corazón

At the Lunt St. Viaduct.
I'll need to go back and take another look at what's being done here; 

it seems to be a series of unconnected paintings, but maybe there is some plan 
to combine them into one unified mural. At any rate, i like this part.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

11 August 2013: Block Party

The annual Farwell Ave. block party. 
A bouncy castle is always a good idea for a block party, 
but the 1914 Stutz was an impressive addition.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

10 August 2013: El Mariachi, the Prequel

This little mariachi suit in a shop window on Clark St. was so cute
that i had to go back and take a picture of it, but somehow the picture ended up being kind of scary.
The way the stores across the street are reflected in the window makes him look transparent and ghostly.
Then there's that strange, featureless face and the little hands lost inside
the too-long sleeves.