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Sep 13th, 2015 - 11:52 pm - The paths of water : Chicago 2015
Darren Waterston
Good evening Lj readers,

how are things? Hopefully well. I : am back! from a recent trip I had a chance to take to Chicago. My friend Eric had a general plan to head up and visit his brother (Jeremy)'s family, who lives up there, and I was specifically planning to go. So we combined them and were all set.

* Saturday

An original plan I had was to fly, and Eric to drive. Instead I just drove up to E's (and my old college town) place in Bowling Green and then he drove the rest of the way, largely via toll roads. E's family nicely had an i-Pass, one of those self-playing toll scanners in the car, so we did not stop often.
After getting some gas at a Circle K which not only was across the street from another Circle K but also had multiple signs helpfully explaining that gas was $2.22, but if you had a gas membership card it was only $2.23 (yes, a penny more!) we were off. The fields of Indiana held several enormous irrigators, those over-sized sprinklers designed to water entire crops at a time. I had never seen so many - one or two were even on.
We stopped in a Starbucks at a rest stop E, having driven this route before, was familiar with. The store nicely had a drink I had not yet tried in Ohio, a lime-flavored refresher (complete with real lime slice, on top!).

* Sunday (part 1 of 2)

Today was an "explore downtown" day. I had printed off some coupons to local eateries, so we drove downtown (about 20-something miles from their suburb, southwest of the city) and parked 'underground'. We walked to an Indian place for which I myself had a coupon, however alas a special event was going on so we instead went to the place I had a 'dinner' coupon for just down the street. I was fortunately able, in the same lobby (it was a 'hotel' eatery) to swing into a Starbucks to get a since-discontinued "local" gift card (one made just for whatever city is on it) to add to my collection.

* Sunday (part 2 of 2)

From there it was on to Cloud Gate (i.e. "the bean", as locals call it), the huge mirrored sculpture in the downtown park. Lots of people! Nearby towering monolith fountains had their trademark unusual electronic screens behind the water, with projections of giant slowly-moving faces on it as well. At a nearby tea place I tried rare purple Yunnan tea and a tasty buckwheat-flour-based scone which was also good. Then it was on to a Starbucks Evening store (near the car), which serves wine & pizza after 4! I myself don't usually drink wine, but did get a glass of white and a pizza.
Nearby was the (free!) Museum of Contemporary Photography, whose current exhibit was pictures from day to day life in North Korea. After that we headed back to the car, and home.

* Monday

On this day Eric stayed at the house to socialize with his brother Jeremy, wife Holly and their two children, Connor and Cayden. Cayden was almost 3 and was fun to play with. The whole family was nice.
Earlier, E nicely dropped me off 'south' of downtown, at the University of Chicago. It was Labor Day so not a lot of students were out. I walked around the old part of campus, with its many church-steeple-based buildings and ivy-adorned walls. This 'quad' area had two gates leading into / out of it, and a small lake with a stone bench, fish and pathways inside. The physical sciences building was open, so I poked around there.
Afterwards I walked further east, looking for the Osaka Japanese garden on the west shore of Lake Michigan, however instead just finding a nice landscaped beach area. I rested for a moment, then gave Eric a call to swing by and pick me up.

* Tuesday / overall

Although it was rainy, Today E and I headed out to the 'north' part of the city. The Lincoln Park suburb of Chicago is nice - old trees and fancy homes. We had lunch at a local eatery, then headed to a record / (free!) pinball store, Logan Hardware. Alas the game room was being worked on that day.
From there, it was on to the (also free) Lincoln Park Conservatory, a pretty series of greenhouse rooms with a number of colorful flora and fauna, including a koi pond and even a rattlesnake plant, a flower whose leaves have a leaf pattern embossed within them!
Just south of the greenhouse was the Lincoln Park Zoo, also free and with a number of animals (including sea lions, lizards, panthers, frogs, lemurs, desert cats, snakes, monkeys and even a lion). It was raining, but we ducked around and later each bought a rain poncho before leaving. The next day, Wednesday we drove back to Ohio! (and then me home, from Bowling Green).
Overall it was great to visit. Jeremy and Holly's house is the first / last on the block and their backyard is literally a pretty, slow-moving river. Holly's garden does well there also.

For a gallery of all 12 pictures, one may click here!

Okay. Have a good night!

Take care,
* Geoff
Aug 8th, 2015 - 11:20 pm - Summertime
unicorn tapestry
Good evening Lj readers,

how are things? Here they have been fresh.

Here are today's Steamables :

* From the desk of Geoff

Things have been well here. Right now, the house is full! My friend Jeremy from a while ago had recently moved in ; originally as part of his 7-week training period for a local restaurant. Once the training was done, although he is working outside of Columbus he stayed on! It is nice to see him after not seeing him for a few years.
My college friend Eric is also in town as well for a few days as well ; doing some follow-up medical appointments. E and I and my friend Brian all recently met for 'tea and philosophy' @ Zen Cha, a local tea place. That same day, Yelp was doing a "ride the bus and get free items" promotion, in conjunction with several businesses. I was lucky and was able to pick up some items (see 'misc. other' ; below).

* Canoeing (part 1 of 2)

Over the course of the warm months, some local Columbus parks offer completely free activities. Among them included this!, which my visiting friend Eric and I had a chance to try earlier on today.
Unalike some other events, this particular one was on a "first come / first serve" basis. Due to multiple people being able to go out on one boat at a time, them having around 8 or so boats, the event being a two-day one and it being relatively unadvertised, there was no more than a 20 or so minute wait.
Sharon Woods, the park we were at, has a lake in the middle which is the perfect size for something like this - large enough to boat around, but not so large as that one would get lost. We took a 20-minute slow circle of the lake. Very nice!

* Canoeing (part 2 of 2)

* Archery

Another event the local parks recently offered was archery. I had an opportunity to try this, also! The program used a compound bow, which is a smaller bow with more than one string to it, and a longbow, which is the basic image of a bow (with one long string on it). I shot 9 arrows total. Interestingly, I was closer to the target when it actually wasn't painted on the mark, haha.
When using a bow, to achieve a better aim one can technically stands sideways and shoot - not straight on. I found the compound bow easier to handle not only for its smaller size, but also for its dispersed friction between all of the various strings allowing for less continuous hold on one's fingers.

* Misc. other

Some other small things, for which I am thankful : Target removing gender-based signage from their bedding, toy and electronic sections (yes, girls can like blue and boys can like pink). a good deal on cauliflower @ Aldi's. some nice freebies from the recent Yelp local-bus event : a $5 gift card to a local retro-sports-logos store, a free movie ticket (!) and a flight of any 3 drinks of my choice from a menu (I chose non-alcoholic ones, which the servers nicely bought out in full size! a strawberry lemonade, a non-alcoholic beer and an actual root beer float. Thanks, Pint House!)

Okay. Have a good night!

Take care,
* Geoff
Jul 22nd, 2015 - 08:06 pm - Similar-looking models
Good evening Lj readers,

how are things? Here they have been clean.

Here are the "to go" boxes of the day :

* From the desk of Geoff

Things have been well here. For the past few weeks I have had a migrating roomie, a boy named Jeremy whom I knew years ago and was glad to see again. He's getting ready to transfer to the Athens area for his job (an assistant manager at a local restaurant). Interestingly, as I was writing this entry, he called! He just passed his 'final test' for everything. Congrats to him!
In unrelated news, after years of searching, I finally found a product I had read about - an infinite jigsaw puzzle (literally). It's one set of pieces you can rearrange to form any picture in the world, including you! (software is included to tell you how to move the pieces). How cool is that! It's on my Christmas list. The product name is called Ji Ga Zo.

* Parks (part 1 of 3)

Last week I met my friend Brian for some tea & philosophy @ Zen Cha, as we often do. Afterwards we headed to a local restaurant we had been to perhaps once before - a French bakery. I had a zaletti (a European - Italian, actually, randomly) cookie made with cornmeal flour and golden raisins, and also a cup of very tasty mushroom / brie soup. I had a coupon for the place.
Afterwards, to a nearby riverside park neither of us had really explored : Griggs. Existing in one form or another for at least 55+ years, a boat / canoe livery is nearby as well. Embankment trails took us along side the waters to the flooded shores. It's always neat to see new places.

* Parks (part 2 of 3)

Yesterday afternoon I took Tavin (the dog) to be groomed. While she was doing that, I explored the area near the pet grooming place (in NW Columbus ; it is vaguely near the zoo). Much further up the same river as Griggs park borders was another area - the O'Shaughnessy Reservoir park. A small entrance on the west side of a quiet road leads to the lake which itself flows into the river. Even smaller creeks feed into the lake. I walked down a side trail, past a field of purple coneflowers to tiny creek side paths few people wandered. I even saw a parent and baby deer, too!

* Parks (part 3 of 3)

Two pictures of Griggs and one of the field of coneflowers ~

* Misc. other

Some other small things, for which I am thankful : good neighbors. randomly finding a $10 gift card to a local pizza place in my bathroom drawer (!). being able to exchange a lawn mower I thought wasn't working (it turns out a plug I have - it's a plug-in mower - may be not working instead) with another one. work's new policy for registers, making it easier to switch from one person on it to the other without having to open a whole new drawer. my sister perhaps being able to share Amazon Prime with me.

Okay. Have a good night!

Take care,
* Geoff
Jun 25th, 2015 - 10:42 pm - Days of wine and roses
Good evening Lj readers,

how are things? Here they have been summery.

Here is the Candy Crush of the day :

* From the desk of Geoff

Things have been well here. I recently found out some good news - an old friend, Jeremy is back in town! J used to live with me years ago, and alas at the time had some problems he was going through. Thankfully he is much better now and is in training to be an assistant manager at a restaurant! Also, he still has his on-the-go energy, heh.
Earlier today I met my friend Brian for some tea & philosophy @ local tea salon Zen Cha, then walked down the street for a free wine / chocolate tasting! 4 samples including a white zinfandel and 3 roses - a "sparkling" rose among them (which was rare). One of the roses matched quite well with a raspberry-infused dark chocolate.

* Camelot Cellars tasting

I had visited CC a few years ago (prior to this '3rd annual' event) with two friends, Scott and Tony, and relaxed in a back room here too!


Earlier this month Columbus had its fun annual (6th year!) event, the World Naked Bike Ride. My current car is alas too small to really hold a bike, so my friend Jeremy nicely dropped me off and another friend, Scott picked me up. Many people! The ride was around 9 miles. Nicely, we had no rain. And yes, I did ride not wearing anything, lol. I certainly wasn't alone - I briefly chatted with a cute boy who just moved into town and was working at A & F corporate, of which I have some experience.
A girl and guy talking : [guy] "I need to get to the next level." [girl] "What's the next level?" " -This- is the next level." "No, I mean what's the level after this one?" "I don't know what level tops riding a bike naked." lol

* Pride

This past weekend was : Pride, woo! My friend Eric came up from Bowling Green for the weekend to see it also. For much of June there was some rain (although indeed, nicely it cleared up before the WNBR above began). For the first time since I myself have seen the festival, it rained! Constantly, lol. However there was such a show of people. It was quite inspiring. E and I watched some of the parade (including Whole Foods, Columbus Libraries, Chipotle, Piada, tanning companies and 3 buses - yes, 3 actual buses), then hiked to a nearby house for a Pride Party which, unbeknownst to us, was in fact happening in the guest house / garage next door. Oh well! Also, I did see a hot guy in a jockstrap, so really, it was a great day, lol.
Parade participants passed out great coupons to Piada and Chipotle, the latter of which almost never has discounts, for 'buy 1 get 1 free'. I was lucky and was able to get a few of each.

* Misc. other

Some other small things, for which I am thankful : exploring new paths @ the local park of roses. spinach. the ability to see possible concerns before they actually happen. Yelp's listings of free events in town. our neighbors getting a Roku for their TV, as well!

Okay. Have a good night!

Take care,
* Geoff
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