Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Trip to Chicago, part VI [Dec 2007]

Read part I, part II, part III, part IV, and part V of the account of this trip from 2007.

December 11, 2007

Train to Chicago, 07:20 CST 
Well I made the early train this morning, so if I can make the connection I want I should arrive before opening. I  really should have investigated the Museum of Science and Industry before this.  Especially with the Star wars and maps exhibit it looks like a great place.  Oh, and I can't forget the submarine (U-505)!  I definitely want to do that tour.  I plan on spending the whole day at the museum, until they kick me out!  It is located in one of the buildings from the 1893 Columbian exposition that was made permanent.  The field was apparently also located nearby until its present building was constructed in the 20s.     07:27

Robot Object Theater, Museum of Science and Industry, 11:33 CST 
The Star Wars exhibit is awesome!  I wish I had another day to spend at this museum.  I'm sure I won't even be able to see half even partially adequately.     11:35 
11:40 CST 
With the exception of my free general admission ticket (which didn't scan) they've taken and thrown away each ticket.  :(  This show is good, but mainly about real world robots.  The interaction with C-3PO is cool and something I haven't seen since Star Tours at Disneyland.    11:43

5:42 train to Elburn, 18:01 CST
This is the earliest train that I've caught in my entire trip.  But I didn't have the money to buy dinner or any books from Borders so I hightailed it to the station.  The only bad thing about catching a train less than ten minutes before it leaves is that all the good seats (especially on the upper level) are gone.
Well all the museums that I've visited are on my list to re-visit if I get to return to Chicago.  I just called Laurie to remind her that I'm coming in tomorrow so I'd like someone to turn my heat back up and to pick me up.
Overall I've enjoyed the trip, the museums have been great!  Net time I need to plan a bit better, knowing transportation and museum extra costs ahead of time.  The Omnimax movie today was good (Secrets of the Pharaohs), but I could have just waited until the Museum Center showed it as a Friday Classic and seen it for free.  As it was I just spent some money and time I could have utilized elsewhere.  On the other hand while I deliberately (remembering Maps on Monday( did not take too long I really enjoyed Star Wars.
I'll have to say that besides seeing and going onto U-505 it was awesome to find the cheap shirt. I  simply couldn't afford another $20 shirt and this one was not only affordable but about something that I enjoyed! (U-505)  Sure I would have liked to have had the money to buy the Maps book, but I spent money on other things (like my hat!) and have great notes to remember it by!     18:18

23:12 [This is a fragment of a story...] Tyalus turned to his left.  He slowly moved his head back to the right.  No matter which way he looked there was nothing moving.  Either the F'elk's truly had retreated, or they were even more invisible than was usual in the snow shrouded woods.  The tribe's hunters definitely men of the woods, but they were no ghosts.  They bled and died as did other men, though perhaps just a bit clos...
Frelki'im; Elk or F'Elk
December 12, 2007

Megabus, 07:49 
I made it to the bus okay, though for a minute this morning I thought I was late.  As we pulled up to the West Chicago station a train pulled in.  I had forgotten the exact departure time of my train so I pulled out a schedule and checked it.  I thought that I saw that this was my train, the early one I did not want to miss.  So I jumped out of the car, grabbed my bags and rain to the train.  Once I had a second to think rationally I checked the schedule and realized I was on a train about ten minutes before the one I wanted.  I'd not left this early before and forgot trains could be this close so early.  I called Aunt Mary Jean and told her goodbye over the phone after I revealed my goof. 
I think I'll miss Chicago for a while.  I enjoyed the walking to the museums each day--it was certainly good exercise and a good way to see more of the city.  The train rides each morning were also great--I got more reading done than I do most days.  If I had an office job I'd love a train commute.  In many ways it is certainly more relaxing than driving yourself to work. 
Well this driver seems to like the TV--they're all on, but extremely fuzzy.  I sat underneath one instead of the seat behind where you could look right up at the screen.  I can barely hear some audio, but that is less distracting than a screen in my face. 
We're on the interstate now.  I can turn and see the skyline behind us to the left.  AS I said, I'll miss Chicago, but it will also be good to get back to work before I get too used to not being there.     08:09

Thus ends these old memories.  I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Trip to Chicago, part V [Dec 2007]

Read part I, part II, part III, and part IV of the account of this trip from 2007.

December 10, 2007

Train into Chicago, 10:50 CST 
I really slept in this morning.  Yes I stayed up late, but I meant to get another early start.  I thought I set an alarm on my phone, but I must have fallen asleep before I could do so.  At least I caught the 10:45, otherwise it would be a paltry half day like SAturday.  This way I only lose three hours of museum time rather than five! 
A Union Pacific train came through the station from Chicago just a couple of minutes before my Metra train came from the other direction.  I counted three engines and 81 cars--all but one or two of the first ones were tanker cars.  Three times as I was counting I noticed that the numbers on the side of the car (the last two anyway) were one below the number of car it was in that train.  Strange coincidence or somebody's strange sense of humour as they assembled the train?  Probably the former, but the later could make an interesting plot point in a work of fiction, eh?     10:57

Adler Planetarium, lower level waiting for 13:45 show, 13:32 CST 
There are no photographic restrictions anywhere but the theaters that I have seen so far--not even in the "Mapping the Universe" exhibit.  I'm not sure if that will make for a better experience or not.  Perhaps if I consciously take notes along with pictures it will work out.
The theater reminds me of a mini-Omnimax: tiered, curved, dome screen, and center projector.  I think I'd better eat some lunch after this show, I don't want to be full or too hungry at or before dinner time.  I want Panda Express to hit the spot! 
I've definitely decided to give up on the Sears Tower or Hancock Building this trip--the weather hasn't been great (i.e. no visibility).  I'm still not sure what to do tomorrow besides get up quite early.  I might try for a bus ride down to Science and Industry or just finish up at the Field and Planetarium with a possible visit to the Shedd.  If I ever plan a D.C. trip I'd better plan on plenty of time!     13:44

Galileo's Cafe, Adler Planetarium, 14:20 CST
I decided to buy lunch today as you cannot eat a sack lunch inside either museum and I don't want to eat as I'm leaving because I'll then be on my way to dinner.  Hopefully after going through "Mapping the Universe" I'll go back to the Field.  There were a couple of souvenirs there that I wanted to pick up.
I'm enjoying the museum here, but not so much because of the limited time.  I know I cannot see it all.  I'm somewhat tempted to not try but just survey because I can visit again for free.     14:27
Thus ends a short day.  I think I took plenty of pictures, but as previously mentioned I don't have access to them so I cannot post them.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Trip to Chicago, pt IV [Dec 2007]

Read part I, part II, and part III of the account of this trip from 2007.

December 09, 2007

Food Court, McDonald's
Ogilvie Transportation Center 08:06 CST
I caught the early train this morning.  As it is Sunday I had a choice between the 6:45 and 8:45.  As the later train arrived 45 min after the Field opens (not counting the walk time) I chose the early train.  I think it takes me around thirty minutes, so I'll leave in a few minutes to arrive a bit before nine.  Today I have long underwear and an extra set of gloves, I should be fine in the wind, but hopefully not too warm inside.  I also have directions to a Borders so I can spend some time there tonight.  Sadly though they do not have the new Dinotopia book in stock--but neither does my home store.  I'd rather just order from Amazon with cheap shipping if I can't go in and buy it right away.
Today I visit the Maps exhibit!  I think that after that I'll go to the [Adler] Planetarium and come back to the Field in the afternoon.  I need to take many pictures.  I think I'll go the aquarium tomorrow--base admission isn't bad, I just have to decide how many extras to see.  I think I can pass on the Sponge Bob Square Pants 4-D Show.     08:17
The Maps exhibit was the reason that I travelled to Chicago when I did.  It was amazing and I wish I could have afforded the exhibition book (but it was $55 and I couldn't justify that).  The Field still has an archived version of the exhibit site on-line.  There is even a photo gallery with some images of the exhibit pieces (which I couldn't photograph).  I'll be inserting both some pictures from this gallery (sadly pictures of all my favorite places aren't included) and sketches that I jotted down with these entries.  It is interesting reading back through these entries as I'm currently reading a book on history and geography: The Fourth Part of the World.

Maps, Field Museum
Entry at 09:30, 9:45 CST
No food, no photography--signs only, no verbal.  Audio tour $5, sold just before entry, headphones plug into
1905 - Photographic Automobile Guide: Chicago to Lake Geneva
Turn by turn guide with pictures and arrows on map.  This was made because signage was bad (or rare) in the early days of automobile travel.  This isn't a bad idea to give maps to a friend--digital photographs should make it a snap.

1290 - Mediterranean sea chart--oldest surviving portolan chart--visual information, previously only written, it is worth researching if maps of the sea existed before this, but were just not preserved--this has implications for my fantasy works. I would still make maps, but perhaps not allow characters to have them.

1252 - Route from London, England to Apulia, Italy
This map shows a city to city route through the columns.  Obviously it isn't to scale, but this may be indicated--distances that is.  This was made for pilgrimage purposes.
[This entry is also quite interesting to me at present as I am currently listening to one of The Great Courses on English History.  I just finished one that covered the Medieval period--from King Arthur to the Tudors--while the current one covers the Tudors and the Stuarts.  This map would have been used during the period covered by these courses.]

1590 - du miroir de la navigation (The Mirror of Navigation)--first printed collection of sea charts.  A profile view of the shore is included at the top of the map.

1940s - Stick chart made of wood an twine.
This is native to the Marshall Islands and represents ocean waters, especially the patterns and directions of ocean swells (long distance waves).
Perhaps the Ka'yana* would use devices such as these.  Yes they are primitive, but also simple and durable.  Perhaps there could be an underwater application as well.

*The Ka'yana are a genetically engineered "sub-species" of humanity I created for a science-fiction universe.  They have gills and live primarily on "water worlds."

1884 - Inuit carvings--perfect size to carry in kayak.  These are not to scale, but represent major coastal features.  One is double sided--follow the right side and then flip it over to read the left side in the opposite direction.

1949 - London Underground rail system by Harry Beck
This was the first to make stations equidistant on a map regardless of actual distance--lines also laid out at 90° or 45° angles.  [Image found via Creative Review blog in a fascinating post about Harry Beck's connection to the Paris Metro.]

1927 - Lindburg's New York to Paris flight chart 
The route is circular, perhaps not a great circle, but not a straight line on a flat map.  Every hundred miles he would adjust his course for the next straight line segment.

1892 - Route to World's Columbian Exposition--Michigan Central Railroad 
This map includes written descriptions and pictures of tourist destinations, travelers are cautioned not to bring excess luggage and trust only railroad ticket agents, baggage handlers and hotels.

Understanding maps--center and edges
Center--focal point of cartographer's world, e.g. Mediterranean or sacred mountain
Edges--less important/understood; e.g. contours of a distant land
This can certainly be the case for fictitious maps--leave the unknown at the edge to fill in later or leave full of uncertainty.

1448 - Medieval Christian world map 
Interpretation of original circa 600 AD.  The world was long known to be a sphere, but the ability to use proper perspective to illustrate this was unknown.

1616 - brass astrolabe 
Measures the angle of the sun or north star above the horizon.  This lets you calculate distances north or south of the Equator, i.e. latitude/invented by ancient Greeks?

1679 - Captain Cook's chronometer (used on second and third voyages, 8 sec/day maximum fluctuation) 
The timepiece was synchronized to the port of departure.  Planetary rotation is 15 degrees per hour so knowing the difference in time lets you calculate the ship's longitude.

This is also something quite recently relevant to me. When we were in Washington D. C. recently I bought a book at the Smithsonian: Below the Convergence.  A good bit of the book explained the development of the chronometer as part of the search for an easy method of determining longitude.

1553 - Medieval Islamic world map; interpretation of 1135 original by Muhammad al-Idrisi
Map oriented to the south [i.e. south at top] and centered on Arabia, curved red lines indicate climate zones and spherical planet

1698 - Celestial and terrestrial globes by Vicenzo Maria Coronelli (engraver)
Labels include: Ocean currents for navigators, habitats for naturalists, constellations for astronomers.  California is an island!

1452 - Renaissance Christian world map, highly detailed coastline
Used portolan charts--Jerusalem at center (eastern Mediterranean  towards top) and Paradise at top (East)--the center really seems to be important in early maps, more so than how much is included.

1569 - Mercator, Gerard--new projection "preserves the direction between any two places"--following a single bearing you can accurately go between any two places.  California is a peninsula!
Size is distorted, especially closer to the poles.  Nova Fran--New France/Canada.  Hiƒpania nova--New Spain/Mexico.

[Note in margin] Why do people bring infants and the very young to such exhibits?

Audio tour - 100 series are for Maps; 10 series for Darwin--I may visit that tomorrow--I wonder if this is the same player used for the museum itself.  I think I'll get one of those this afternoon or tomorrow.  The audio is good, but I wish there were more.  I know I travel slowly, but the infrequent number of numbers hardly necessitates leaving headphones on.

1300 BC (clay) - Town plan of Nippur, Babylon
Mesopotamian religious center, ruins approximately 100 miles south east of Baghdad on the Euphrates.  Labels are in cuneiform script which I would duplicate if I were graphically able.

1748 - Plan of Rome, 2,000 points of interest listed in the index; #936 Anfiteatro Flavio detto il Colosseo, or the Flavian Amphitheater--the Colosseum 

1502 - Sketches for street plan of Imola, Italy--da Vinci 
He probably sketched on this folded paper as he walked the city.  The actual map is owned (along with the sketch) by Elizabeth II.  This was to be the first modern city plan.

203-211 (marble) - Fragments of plan of Rome, original wall 40 ft high by 60 ft long
From the Temple of Peace, data from property tax maps

1689 - Bouillon, Belgium (plaster, paint, and wood)
This was used by military planners under Louis XIV during the 1688-1697 War of the Grand Alliance.

Over 140 models of 101 sites exist.

One inch on the plan equals 50 feet on ground.
Military plans focused on fortifications.
~5-6 feet by 4 feet

[This is one of the maps I drew amidst my notes that comprise the text of these blog entries. I actually did all of my writing on yellow legal sheets.  However, when I took the pictures they all turned out as if they were taken of white sheets of paper.  I'm not quite certain why that might have happened.]

1860 - Buddhist temple complex in Japan (Detailed chart of Mt. Koya in Saikoku)--clouds are drifting across this map, I can only assume that they don't obscure anything important.  Japanese script runs from top to bottom.

c. 1360 - Gough map (name of later owner); Great Britain 
First road map of Great Britain--long thought to be a map for merchants, now perhaps seen as imperial--expansion into Scotland and Wales; East is at the top, 600 settlements and 200 rivers are shown.

c. 1644 - View of Amsterdam by Jan Christaenszoon Micker 
Canals, idividual buildings, fields, and anchored ships are all beautifully depicted.  He even painted the shadows of high clouds!  Three masted ships.

19th Century print of 1136 carving - China Yu Ji Tu (Places visited by Emperor Yu)  All land area (including Hainan island) is gridded--each side of square equals 100 li ~ 30 miles.  This is the oldest surviving map with uniform scale over such a large area.

c. 1450 The islands of Nisyros and Kos in Liber Insularum Archipelagi (Atlas of the Aegean Islands). 
With more than 70 maps and descriptions this was the first isolario (island book); Kos--birthplace of Hippocrates.  Volcano on Nixaros (Nisyros).  The drawings are nicely drawn to the edge of pages and in between blocks of text.

1562 - America, The Fourth Part of the World Newly and Exactly Described--Diego Gutiérrez
African coastline shows lion, rhino, and elephant just inland, many ships at sail--detailed waves

Also "one of the earliest references to California"--not enough is visible to see if it is an island or not.

1508 - World map showing the Americas (Columbus died 1506)
First modern map of entire globe, North America appears to be extension of Asia while South America is separate

1424 - Nautical chart of Atlantic, Zuane Pizzigano, Venetian
Are islands Antilia and Satanzes based on pre-Columbian journeys or just figments of imagination/legend?
Off the coast of England? [below]

1524 - Tenochtitlan by Hernán Cortés
This map was sent to the king as part of Cortés' justification for attacking/conquering the Aztecs.  Some details may never have been seen by Cortés and thus a native informer may have given him certain details.

1581 - Silver medal by Michael Mercator--commemorates Drake's circumnavigation of the globe, one half on each side

1755 - A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America by John Mitchell
This map challenged French land claims, expanding British colonial boundaries in the south (Virginia to Georgia) out to the Mississippi. 
This copy was annotated by peace delegates at Paris in 1782-83 to show the boundaries of the new United States--this is George III's copy
Coastal colonies are the same as modern states; Pennsylvania is squarish into modern New York and across Lake Erie to complete shape.  New Hampshire includes much of Vermont.  Province of Sagadahock between Province of Maine and Nova Scotia/Acadia
1849 - California Gold Rush Route from Emigrant's Guide to California by Joseph E. Wave
Distances, roads, islands, rivers, are all shown.  Profile map at the top tracks changes in elevation along the entire route.

Laying out America 
Four main ways to divide land
>English metes and bounds
Area: British control, 13 colonies plus Vermont, Main, Kentucky, and Tennessee
Based on: natural features and settler's desires
Looks like: highly irregular parcels 
>French long lots
Area: French control, Louisiana rivers, Illinois along Mississippi and Illinois and Indiana above the Ohio river, Wisconsin south-west and right at Lake Michigan
Based on: river's course, maximizing number of owners with frontage
Looks like: linear, parallel parcels 
>Spanish and Mexican land grants
Area: Spanish control; California--San Joaquin, Bay Area, LA to San Diego, Southern Texas, New Mexico/Arizona, Florida, remnants of Spanish Louisiana along the Mississippi River
Based on: requests from individuals and communities
Looks like: often large and rectangular parcels 
>American Township Grid
Area: Settled after 1785, Federal land survey--lower 48 minus Texas and English areas above
Based on: 36 square mile township divided into one mile square sections
Looks like: uniform, rectangular grid

1723 - Long lots in New Orleans

1784 - Proposed boundaries of 14 new states--names by Thomas Jefferson
2. Michigania (Ojibwe for "big-sea-water")--Wisconsin
3. Cherronesus (Greek for "peninsula")--lower peninsula of Michigan
6. Illinoia (Miami-Illinois for "Illinois river")--Indiana area?
8. Washington (from George) Ohio area

1836 - Survey plat of Huron, Illinois by Abraham Lincoln
Three presidential surveyors (Washington, Lincoln, and ?[Jefferson])--"town" popular ferry crossing on Sangamon River but only few houses--"paper city"

1941 - February 21, LA Times Pacific war zone

1701? - Edmund Halley, compass variations in West and Southern Oceans demonstrated difference between True and Magnetic north on map

1919 - Ethnographic map of the Balkan Peninsula made for diplomats at Paris Peace Conference post World War I

1865 - Tableaus de la nature (Scenes from Nature) Vegetation zones from the Andes by Alexander von Humboldt, German 
Profile view of mountains showing how vegetation changes along the slope.  Chimborazo (Ecuador) is "one of the world's tallest volcanic mountains" and goes from "lush tropical rainforests" to "at its peak, glaciers."

1861-1865 - The Civil War in Four Minutes--one week equals one second
From Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois

1851 - Whale chart--global distribution of sperm and right whales
Matthew Maury plotted sightings and discovered that whales migrate

1860 - Aerial photograph of Boston--James Wallace Black
Second ever aerial photograph--first (1858) from France has been lost--he used a glass negative

1726 - Lilliput, plotted by cartographer Herman Moll (at Swift's request) south of Sumatra

Tolkien Maps 
c. 1930 - Thror's Map, manuscript, ink, and graphite on paper from the Hobbit.  I can only read a very few words such as "Bilgo.  He loved maps..."  But here are sketches of a couple parts of the map.

[the word Laketown is cut off in the bottom left of the above picture]

c. 1943-44 - Notes on Times and Distances, manuscript, ink and graphite on paper
Helm's Dike to Road ford at mouth of Deeping Coomb: 5 miles

Road ford to Fords of Isen: 15 miles
Fords of Isen to Gates of Isengard: 30 miles
Very precise calculation of sunset at approach to Isengard
Also times of trips e.g. "kin leaves in late afternoon at about 3:30 pm"
(A student exam on Beowulf is on the back [or this is on the back of that ;-)]) 
c. 1944 - Topographical view of Minas Tirith--from Return of the King--manuscript, printed map [right]
The topographical portion of the map is fascinating, I just cannot read any of the labeling!

1588 - Theater of the World--atlas 
Abraham Ortelius gathered the best maps and drew this to a uniform size in 1570--very popular.  By 1512 at least 7,300 copies in 31 editions and seven languages.

1959 - Risk board--square blocks--1 army? prism--10 armies?

Left gift ship (I purchased a Field hat and Maps T-shirt)     14:25

Adler Planetarium
15:00 CST 
I'm at the Adler Planetarium now.  I didn't expect Maps to take so long, but I guess I shouldn't really be surprised.  I wrote about twelve pages of notes.  The book was too expensive ($55) and no photographs were allowed. 
I do not have time for much at the Planetarium, but basic admission was free, so I bought tickets to two shows.  Tomorrow morning I'll be back to see whatever other shows sound good and to take in the "Mapping the Universe" exhibit. 
I liked the fact that the Field audio tour used headphones (so I substituted my own) but the one here reminds me of the Titanic tours, only slightly less bulky. I  may get both (general Field tour) tomorrow--it depends on how much time I have.  I'd like to go to Science and Industry, but do not want to walk that far.  It would be cheaper, and more interesting than the Aquarium. 
I just heard someone asking how many tickets sold for a show over the museum radios.  Also when I purchased my tickets the agent told me I didn't want to see two shows that might overlap--no late admission is allowed and I heard to arrive 10 minutes early. 
Again I forgot to eat my lunch--but I'm not too worried.  I can munch on my way to Borders.  I'd have to fix something at my aunt's (they're gone for dinner) anyway.  Last night we had Chicago style deep dish pizza.  It was very good, but filling!     15:16

Adler Planetarium
16:04 CST 
Just finished Night Sky Live!  It was an interesting presentation--it had Fall stars featured prominently.  Apparently the show varies with each season.  I did not get to see Orion at the end in the pre-dawn Fall or post midnight winter sky.  The show was a live narration and at times she was obviously reading (a red light illuminated her script).  Someone walking out said it was the worst show they'd heard--I didn't think it was too bad. 
I am quite interested to see if the next show is similar or quite different.  It is (with some visuals updated) apparently very old, dating back to the opening of the Planetarium.  The title is "Star of Wonder."  Once I see the Christmas Planetarium this Friday (or early on Saturday) I'll have seen three Christmas star shows.  Comparing should be fun at that point.   16:10
PS Staff are setting up for a dinner event.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Trip to Chicago, pt III [Dec 2007]

I stayed with my aunt and uncle in the suburbs of Chicago when I visited in late 2007.  You can read the first post (from 2007) here, and recently I posted the second one concluding the first day of the trip.  My nephew Christopher was supposed to fly to Chicago to meet me and then he was planning to take the bus back (I'd bought him an extra $1 ticket).

December 08, 2007
Line 4 to Elburn, 17:44 
Apparently Chris had a bad night last night.  he wasn't able to make the flight this morning, and thanks to his Tuesday final can't take another one for a worthwhile trip :(.  I got a late start this morning because I was uncertain what Chris would do.  However, I found I could also obtain basic admission to the [Adler] Planetarium for free!  I planned to hit both the Field & Adler to scope them out.  I only made it to the Field. 
I took some pictures, but because of time uncertainties I was reluctant to stop for many.  I'll admit that I went through many exhibits fast, the same thing I bemoan when I see it in others.  I, however, plan to return over the next couple days and see things in detail.  Monday or Tuesday I may even go north to another museum two where I should have free admission.  Never have I enjoyed this perk of having a Museum center membership before--it is nice!  I need to remember change for tomorrow so I can use the penny smashing machines. 
Since the weather isn't clear and Chris isn't with me I'm not sure I'll go to the Sears Tower or Hancock building after all.  I at one time thought I may have made the trip too long, but I'm no longer sure of that.  With the train commute and several free museums I [do] not have enough time for even that.  I don't regret walking through downtown, except that I'll probably wear long underwear tomorrow.  I never would have found Panda Express otherwise!  My aunt and uncle are busy Monday night, so I think I'll eat there on my way back to the train station.  I also found a comic shop on Madison that I want to visit--probably on Monday.  It has been too long since I've been to my shop in Kentucky.  I'm sure they have a bag of issues saved for me.  I could write more, but I'm going to my book now.  'The Devil in the White City" is about the 1893 World's Fair and a serial murderer of that time.  It is fascinating and I'm reading it instead of my Jim Butcher book to make sure it is done before I go home (it belongs to my aunt.). P 151    18:02

That was all for that day, but the next day has quite a bit more when I get to the real reason for my visit to Chicago, an exhibit on geography at the Field Museum.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Trip to Chicago, pt II [Dec 2007]

This is a continuation of a very old post from December 2007.  I took a bus to Chicago to see an exhibit at the Field Museum.  I wrote several entries describing my days, but I never got around to typing them all up.  A while ago I found the papers again and have had a hankering to finally get them typed up and posted.  I hope they're enjoyable even if a bit old.

Sadly I do not have any pictures of the trip that I can post right now.  They're all on a hard-drive that I can't access.  I need to send it off to a repair place to see if any files can be recovered or if they're all irreparably lost.  These days I back up my pictures on two different drives.

Friday, December 7, 2007
Megabus, 09:40 
I just looked up and noticed that we were passing the Higher Ground conference center.  This was where AiG had a Family Camp this past summer.  I've not seen any mention of another one next summer, :(.  That will be too bad since I enjoyed going to hear the the speakers.  There is a conference at Branson with some other speakers, but nothing else I know of.
Now back to Evanescence and the Codex Alera.  There is more snow on the ground and it is beautiful.     09:45

Megabus, 10:58 
We just reached the stop in Indy.  This must be part of the way they keep fares so cheap, no bus stations.  Their pickup spots (save in Chicago?) are just at municipal bus stops.  A guy just rode past on a bike wearing shorts--I'm not that crazy.  I think I'd have been fine with just one shirt (I have a long and a short sleeve T-shirt on) but my feet have been cold most of the trip.  At least I haven't had to share the seat next to me yet.  I don't mind if I have to, but as I know nobody here I prefer to enjoy the empty space to store my coat and my book when I'm not reading. 
I can be dense at times.  I didn't bring water because I left my water bottle at work again--that isn't a problem.  But while I brought lunch I forgot a napkin.  I also discovered that I can take pictures in different color modes such as black & white and sepia.  I really need to poke around the menus more.  I love the camera, but there is much I still do not know. I could upgrade to an SLR sometime in the far future, but I think that I must keep a camera with the panorama feature*!     11:18

*This is the feature I miss the most from my old Kodak camera--it could stitch together a panoramic image inside the camera.

Megabus, 12:57 
We stopped at a truck stop a few miles back.  I should have stopped by a 5/3 ATM before I left Cincinnati, but I didn't take the time.  Therefore I had to pay a fee, but I used the $20 to buy a Dew & oreos, not so much for their nutritional value, but so I'd also have change I still need to buy a train ticket once I reach Chicago.  I wonder how busy the museum is today.   13:00

Megabus, 13:40 CST 
We just passed a toll booth, another reason (besides gas) that I'm glad I didn't drive this trip.  It has certainly been enjoyable to spend the trip reading and listening to music.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy driving but my trips to Nashville have all been solitary and somewhat tiring*.  Even if I didn't talk to those around me (though one woman asked me what I was writing several hours ago--in Indy I think it was) they are there and thereby a comfort.  I can even easily deal with cold feet as they do not need to stay constantly near a gas and brake pedal.
Mom called me around 13:00 CST and I thought we were late as my watch read 14:00.  We may not yet arrive just by two, but the first train I can take leaves at 14:30 or :40 so I won't really complain. 
Right now I can see a control tower on the other side of a river.  A song from Muppet Treasure Island is playing on my eclectic playlist on my PDA and I'm a bit over halfway through "Captain's Fury."  I can hardly wait for the next Dresden Files book to be published next April.     13:48

*Little did I know I'd end up making plenty of long drives to Virginia several years later.

3:40 West Line to Elburn; Train #39, 15:32 CST 
I'll be getting off at the West Chicago station, and I hope I know what I'm doing.  When I tried to catch the 2:40 train I entered the wrong station and walked back to Union Station underground.  When I got back on the street a guy came up to me and handed me a paper copy of the Onion, a satirical news outlet.  Then he asked me where I was going.  I answered questions truthfully but vaguely, trying to be polite.  Had I known then what I do now I would have simply politely recused myself.  He showed me to the proper station, explaining something about a large mission with several hundred people.  I felt guilty (as if that would have surprised him) and gave him a few bucks--he didn't want anything less than a twenty.  I declined and he wasn't happy--but I didn't ask for help and didn't want to give that much money for an unsolicited "service." 
Well the train is pulling out now and I'm somewhat regretting sitting on the upper level.  It isn't as spacious as the Metrolink in Southern California, rather narrow up here actually.  I was alone up here at first, but now nearly all the seats are taken.  I hope most are empty when I need to leave (at the third from last stop) because my duffel is large and there isn't really enough room for me to pass right now.  This also means it is too late to change my seat, I can only hope it will work out.'' 
In the meantime I've had to staff a new event at the Museum Center tomorrow night.  Why does this happen when I leave town?  Thankfully I already have staff at an event in the History Museum so I can cope if the two others I've called can't work.   15:48

I got into my aunt's place okay that evening.  They let me borrow a car to drive to the train station each morning where I would catch a train into Chicago itself.  More about the next day later...


Friday, September 20, 2013

Montgomery County Fair

I'm a bit late typing this up, but better late than never, right?

[August 28, 2013] At the end of August, which was about a month ago (it doesn't feel that long), Amy and I headed up to Montgomery County Fair in Dayton, Ohio with a couple friends. It happened to be opening night for the fair and admission was free (who can argue with a great deal like that?)
Amy drove me into work that morning since I was working at the Museum Center so that she and Abigail could pick me up after work.  It didn't seem to make sense to me to drive south to get home, pick them up, and then drive back north towards the fair (which was about an hour away).
Amy did a great job picking out Abigail's outfit--they were great clothes for her to wear to her first fair.
Perhaps in a year or two we'll be able to take her through a petting zoo, but at this time she isn't quite big enough to appreciate the animals.
She did like staring at this bunny.
I like this sign--and I make sure to keep Abigail from getting too close.
This is the "rabbit" that our friend Brion describes as a dog.  I have to agree with him that it look far more like a dog than a rabbit.
Because we stayed out so late we missed giving Abigail a bath this night, but we got to see plenty of kids washing their small animals.
LaMancha goats look so strange.  I think if you look just at their heads they almost look reptilian with their tiny ears.
These goats were hungry.
We did see any cows being milked, but we did spy this goat.
I enjoy seeing cows.  One of my uncles owned a dairy farm when I was younger.
Of course I had to get photographic proof that Abigail was at the fair.
Amy was glad to just have one baby when she looked at this mother, ;-).
The parking area was in the center of the racetrack.
Abigail loves her fingers--but she bites on them rather than sucking.
The sunset was pretty.
I thought this pumpkin was clever.
Here are our friends Brion and Edana right before we headed for home.
On the way home my car hit 120,021 miles--just as we pulled into a rest area to feed Abigail.

We definitely plan to take Abigail to plenty of fairs in the future.  Someday I want to take her to the LA County Fair, the largest county fair in the world!


Sunday, September 01, 2013

God is good, God is great

How amazing is God? I cannot state the answer better than the verses below.

Isaiah 40:12-26, 28
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand?
Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure
or weighed the mountains in a balance
and the hills in the scales?
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
or who gave Him His counsel?
Who did He consult with?
Who gave Him understanding
and taught Him the paths of justice?
Who taught Him knowledge
and showed Him the way of understanding?
Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are considered as a speck of dust in the scales;
He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
Lebanon is not enough for fuel,
or its animals enough for a burnt offering.
All the nations are as nothing before Him;
they are considered by Him
as nothingness and emptiness.
Who will you compare God with?
What likeness will you compare Him to?
To an idol? — something that a smelter casts,
and a metalworker plates with gold
and makes silver welds for it?
To one who shapes a pedestal,
choosing wood that does not rot?
He looks for a skilled craftsman
to set up an idol that will not fall over.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you
from the beginning?
Have you not considered
the foundations of the earth?
God is enthroned above the circle of the earth;
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He reduces princes to nothing
and makes judges of the earth irrational.
They are barely planted, barely sown,
their stem hardly takes root in the ground
when He blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.
“Who will you compare Me to,
or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One.
Look up and see:
who created these?
He brings out the starry host by number;
He calls all of them by name.
Because of His great power and strength,
not one of them is missing.

I am nothing before an omnipotent God, yet inexplicably He loves me and has given me so, so, so many blessings. Yet all too often I forget to thank Him for these blessings and forget to sing His praises.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding.



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