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Showing posts from February, 2016

La Chula Mexican Market In Watervliet Michigan

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I've mentioned a bunch of our 'repeat' activities when we go up to Michigan and a lot of them have to do with food.  From Silver Beach Pizza to Uncommon Coffee Roasters in Saugatuck to Crane's Pie Pantry in Fennville to Sherman's Dairy Bar in South Haven to Grampa's Cider Mill in Coloma, we identified over the years a number of places and experiences that we like and continue to go back to each time we visit southwest Michigan.

But, I think we've found a new place that we're going to be adding to the rotation:  La Chula Mexican Market in Downtown Watervliet.  The first time we came across La Chula was last summer when we went to the Arclight Brewery in Downtown Watervliet.  Arclight is a BYOF (Bring your own food) place that focuses just on the beer.  They had a bbq guy going out in the parking lot and a few menus scattered on the tables.  One of the menus was for La Chula and was your typical tacos, burritos, chips + guac stuff.  Because the kids wer…

Costco Pink Princess Castle Super Palace

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Tears and tantrums were in full effect as we walked by, stopped and then moved on from this Princess fairytale castle at Costco.  Both of the girls were doing their best to make me bring this monstrosity come home with us.  It is meant to be used outside, but in our old house, we had a plastic version of a building like this in our basement, so I suppose you could easily bring this inside and use it your basement.

At $429.99, it seems pricey to me, but your kids will love the styling and details.  It has a bunch (9!) of turrets and even a musical door knocker.  At 78" long and 95.5" tall, you need a pretty good size spot to keep this thing in or else you'll be squeezing past it whenever you go by it in your basement.  
It comes in a pretty bib cube of a cardboard box that doesn't appear to be able to fit into most cars but would probably fit into most SUV trunks with the 3rd row down or our minivan with the 3rd row down.  
Alas...this didn't work for us right now…

Twin Mountain Lodge 2 Slide Playset From Costco

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As I've done in years past, I try to check out the annual cedar playset that Costco is rolling out in the Spring.  In fact, they're always some of the most popular posts here on the blog for folks coming via search.  Here's a post from 2012 showing that year's version with some plastic parts.  Then...right after that, they came out with a different version in 2012 that had less plastic parts.  And here's the one in Costco back in 2011 that we ended up buying.  I spent a bunch of weekends (along with my father-in-law) putting it together - which was a lot of fun.

Since we sold the house, we left that playset behind.  It was a one-of-a-kind due to the location we placed it, we had to make a pretty major modification in terms of orienting the swings.

This year's version has a nice little upgrade:  two slides.  One being a tube slide that winds around and the other being a open slide that has a few undulations in it.  Otherwise, it has much of the same items that…

First Try At Chicago-Style Thin Crust

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Earlier this week, I posted the photos of my new cutter pans for Chicago thin crust pizza making and here as you likely guessed, it didn't take long for me to try to put it them through their paces.  I grabbed a Aurelio's clone dough formulation from the PizzaMaking.com forums and dressed it with my usual set of ingredients: Chellino Scamorza cheese, pepperoni, hot Italian sausage and some red peppers.  Finished with some parm and basil after it baked.

Consider this step one in a long journey towards my next pizza quest:  tavern cut, Chicago thin crust.

We're living at Equation Boy/Man's house and thus, using their ovens.  I haven't quite gotten enough practice to know how they'd perform.  I put the pan on a lower rack and placed my baking steel on a rack just on top of the pie.  Thinking...that there would be some thermal mass baking the top.  That, indeed, worked great.  The top of the pie came out perfectly well done.  But the bottom?  A little too well do…

Mele Kalikimaka Chip and Dale 2015 Disney Pin From the Polynesian

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In sorting out some of the girls Disney pins from our last trip recently, I came across this Christmas-time one from last year.  I wore this one through most of the holiday season, but now it'll go into one of the girl's pin books/boards and will serve as a reminder of the holiday trip we took.  We didn't stay at the Polynesian on the trip where we picked this pin up, but we stopped there to have a few drinks at Trader Sam's and the bar upstairs with the pineapple drink while the kids were at the playhouse setup there at the Poly.

I can't ever remember the difference between Chip and Dale.    But a quick Google search turns up this:
Chip has a small black nose that looks similar to a chocolate chip while Dale has a larger red nose. Chip has two close together front teeth while Dale has two spread apart teeth. Finally the last visual difference is their fur.
So that's Chip on the right and Dale on the left.  And it isn't just the nose color. The teeth also …

Trumbo - Art @ York March Showing

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The upcoming showing in the Art @ York series is going to be Trumbo featuring Bryan Cranson, Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning and Diane Lane.  With the Academy Awards coming up shortly, this could be a huge coup for the York.  If Cranston wins, I'm guessing this will be a packed showing?

And if you do go, make sure you get there 30 minutes early for the organ music!

I don't think I posted about February's Art @ York feature, but here's a link to the one from January of this year.    And here's a rundown of the rest of the Art @ York series.

New Cutter Pizza Pans From Lloyd Pans

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Well, well, well.  Look at what showed up over the weekend at our house.  That's three brand new, pre-seasoned, permanent-coated 14" cutter pans for Chicago-style thin crust pizzas.  If you are looking for your own set, you can find them here.  I will caution you that they actually manufacture your pans and don't have them in stock.  Really.   Like it took a month to get them.  I first heard about Lloyd Pans and their cutter pans on the PizzaMaking.com forums.   Same place that I sourced my Detroit-style blue steel pans that I've put through their paces over the past four-ish years.

This is part of the email I had with the Lloyd Pans customer representative - who couldn't have been nicer.
We are the manufacturer of the pans you see on our website. We build them here in Spokane, WA so these will be "hot off the press" for you! :)We are booked heavily in production right now, but are running extra shifts to get the work out sooner if possible so your orde…

Wall Calendars Turned Over To February 2016

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I turned these new calendars over from January to February early last week in the office on the 16th.  On the left is some art inspired by the 'Finding Nemo' movie.  And on the right, is the Electrical and Computer Engineering building that is pretty fancy.  And new!  Construction started in 2011 and the building was dedicated in October of 2014.

From the ECE site:
The ECE Building, located at 306 N. Wright St., Urbana, is nearly twice the size of the department‘s former home, Everitt Laboratory. At 230,000 square feet, the new building is full of more than 20 lab spaces intended for student instruction and learning. These labs continue ECE ILLINOIS‘ tradition of hands-on learning, especially on cutting-edge topics like nanofabrication, optics, control, and robotics. Sounds like a pretty neat place. Here's a neat YouTube video that takes you inside the building. One thing that jumped out to me: while there are amazing labs of different sorts, there's still chalkboard…

Ken Griffey Jr. Was On The White Sox?!?

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So...here's something that I'm a bit ashamed to admit:  earlier this year when Ken Griffey Jr. was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Tribune ran this piece you see above featuring Griffey and Tim Raines (who I don't think made the cut).

What I was startled by was the last line:  Chicago AL, 2008.  Meaning....he played on the South Side.  I had to go back into the Googles and flail about to try to jog my memory.  Then it clicked:  this was a prototypical Kenny Williams deal.  Griffey got hurt and didn't play a ton of games for the White Sox, but for me?  Once a White Sox.  Always a White Sox.  Just look at that sweet swing.

Coming Soon: Fuego Logo Sauce Merchant In Downtown Elmhurst

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Just two months after the closing of MWD Photography (blog post covering the closing) on the east side of York Road in the core of the Elmhurst City Centre and just about two months after the closing of a *kinda* similar business in the Elmhurst Olive Oil Co just north on York Road, it looks like we're on the verge of getting a new retailer in the City Centre.

And it is called Fuego Loco Sauce Merchant.  And looking at the windows, there's two telling signs:  one of them is that they're going to sell hot sauces of varying degrees (pun intended) and the other is that this place is an extension of the Salseria Grill and Cantina that is just a few doors south.
We'll see what happens here.  I think it is great to see more retail.  Not service and not just restaurants, so I have my fingers crossed that they'll succeed.  I'm guessing that they'll be trying to sell out of their store, but also in today's economy, I'd think that they'll be selling ou…

Big Set Of City of Elmhurst Developments Coming

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Elmhurst 3rd Ward Alderman Danne Polomsky posted this update above to her public Facebook page that links to this document that was delivered last week by the City Manager that shows a series of development updates around town.    I'm not sure if this was just delivered to the Board, but it is a good document for all residents.

But, in addition to the info here, it is notable to discuss the nature of how this was shared.  This is a great example of a public servant sharing info and being transparent with her constituents.  I'm sure that this document could have been 'found' by someone searching the archives on the City's site somewhere, but Alderman Polomsky has made open communication with residents a top priority.  It was part of her pledge as a candidate that she's worked to deliver on during her term.  And this (and just the fact that she's active on social media!) is further proof that she's living up to that promise.

Importantly, this is a forwa…

The Blog Through The Years (2004-2016)

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In marking the 12th anniversary of the blog earlier this week, I thought it would be interesting to (at least interesting to me!) document the 'look/feel' of the blog over the years.  Here's some screenshots that I've collected starting with today and going backwards.  
February of 2016.  Orange and blue.  Responsive blog with two columns.  Right rail for widgets/gadgets and a family photo of the five of us in the top right:  
May of 2013.  Orange and blue with a cursive domain name.  Argyle in the background in orange.  Two columns with a different mobile version.  Right rail with gadgets/widgets.  And a family photo of just the four of us.  "Why I oughta" dumped from header:


March of 2011.  This is what the blog looked like on a Moto Xoom Tablet.  Remember those?!?  It was a maroon and grey layout with a right rail.  Still called "Why I Oughta..."  Photo on the right was just me and The Babe.:

February of 2010.  A lot of white with some red/maroon. …

Mine Will You Be? Yoda Disney Pin From Disneyland

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I was going through the girls' pin lanyards from our most recent trip to the parks and noticed that The Babe picked up a cute Yoda Valentine's Day one.  According to this post on the Disney Pins Blog, it is a new one that came out in November of 2015.  I know it is a few days past Valentine's Day, but I figured it was still worth sharing.  At some point when we get our place settled, we'll take these off the various lanyards (necklaces as the girls call them) and put them on a real pin board of sorts.  Oh...a guy can dream, right?!?  

12 Years And Counting On The Blog...

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All the way back on February 16, 2004, I posted the very first blog post here on the blog.  Well...it wasn't *here* then, but it was on what would become this blog.

12 years is a long time.  A lot of writing.  A lot of nonsense.  When I started, I was working for the House Republicans and living in Frankfort with my parents.  Today?  I'm living in my sister's house with my wife and three kids and a dog and working at Edelman.  Still writing nonsense, though.

Over the past 12 years, I've now written published 1932 posts.  Including this one.  Hundreds more on other blogs like the political satire one or our family blog.  But 1932 here.  Some started as "Chris Rhodes", but most as just me.  (Those of you who were around in 2004 will get that "Chris Rhodes" reference!)

Here's a look at a screenshot of the archives totaling up the blog posts across time.
I didn't mark the anniversary every year, but in looking back at the archives, it seems t…

View From My Office: Mid-February 2016

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It is a winter wonderland out there in Grant Park and Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park these days.

Here's a photo of the same view about a month back in early January.  The sunshine sure makes a difference.

I also took this photo showing more of the lake.  Check out the jagged-ness of the ice on the water.  Pretty neat to see.

Sweet Deal from @HomeRunInn Via Costco

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What doesn't say "I love you" more than a sweet discount on some tasty pizza?!?  I mean...what more could your Valentine want than $100 of Home Run Inn deliciousness for just $69.99.

Head to your Costco (or...at least our Costco on North Avenue in Melrose Park) and amongst the other gift card deals for places like PF Changs and RedStone will be this deal of four $25 gift cards at just $69.99.

I love taking my kids and my nephew to HRI (now that the one in Addison is closed, we usually go to the one in Hillside) and devour some tasty pizza and we can't leave without a Cookie Monster.   With $100 in your pocket, you can either hit the place up twice (if you're like us!) or really splurge for a big spread of loaded fries, multiple pies, and a couple of Cookie Monsters for your group.

If you're a Costco shopper, you know that these things are hit-or-miss.  One day they're there.  Next they're gone.  So...Get these before they disappear.  

Downers Grove Downtown Ice Sculpture Fest

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We found ourselves in Downtown Downers Grove today and scattered across Main Street were a bunch of ice sculptures.  Over on Chicago Parent Magazine, they have a listing for the event that spans both Saturday and Sunday.  It was cold this weekend and that was GREAT for this things.

This 'snowflake' one was outside of Ballydoyle's on the south side of the tracks.

Frankfort does this and I think it is a nice way to add some flair to the shopping district during the cold, dreary post-Christmas months.  We missed the demo, but I bet the kids would have loved seeing that in all of it's chainsaw-shaving-glory.

Disneyland Hotel Headboard

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Sure...the phone and internet guide featuring Walt is cool, but you know what is REALLY cool about the Disneyland Hotel?  The headboards.  Yeah...the headboards.

That photo above is what they look like when you've turned off all the lights in the room but keep the headboard light up.  When you push a button, there's a music box sound of the song 'When you wish upon a star' and the fireworks flicker a bit.

Here's a video on YouTube of it happening on someone's visit.

This was a total delight for not just my kids but also for Nat and I.  I can't tell you now many times I hit the button to make the song go on and have the board light up.  This is just another one of those little touches that make strong memories for me at Disney.

But...it also speaks to the details they've put into the Disneyland Hotel rooms.

We listen to Pete Werner and the gang on the Dis Unplugged and Pete just raved about the rooms at the Disneyland Hotel.  After that episode, we we…

Disneyland Hotel Telephone Guide Featuring Walt Disney

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If you get a chance, stay at the Disneyland Hotel at the Disneyland Resort.  They really drape themselves in Walt and the place is themed to Disney itself.  Not far-away polynesia or 1920's New Jersey Shore.  But Disney.  Walt and Mickey.  Mickey and Walt.

I posted a photo from the Tangaroa Terrace restaurant featuring Walt and the Tiki Room Birds before, but here above is the telephone and internet information guide that they leave on the nightstands.  When you open it all the way up, you get this cool photo of the man himself sitting as his desk with a Donald Duck standing there while he yammers away on the phone.  Pretty clever way to bring some history from the archives back to everyday use.  The touches - including the headboard (which I'll get to!) are just spectacular.  Can you get a cheaper room at one of the "Good Neighbor" hotels right across the street from Disneyland?  Sure you can.  But you can't match the magic of being in the Disneyland Hotel itse…

"The York Building" In The Elmhurst City Centre

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I posted a few days ago about the a 5 unit retail plaza being marketed on North York Road, but during that same session in Roberto's where I was thumbing through the local rag, I also found this ad for "The York Building".

Back last August, I posted about the new building that was being advertised in the windows of the old Plass Appliance building here on the blog.  And then just last month, I took a photo of the Plass building being torn down/apart.  Right now, it is just a big hole in the ground with rubble on the site.

But, this ad sheds a lot of light on what is to come.  Namely...residential, office and retail.

First, the residential:  They're only going to be building 4 units.  All of them are basically penthouses and will be 3000 square feet.  They'll all have 'large outdoor space', which from the look of the rendering will be terraces of some sort.  Those are some big condos, right?  3000 square feet? Luxury living!

They're also putting up…

Good Guy Facebook? (Errr...Today is Safer Internet Day 2016)

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I got to login to The Facebook this morning and I'm greeted with this prompt in the middle of my newsfeed.  It is a dinosaur from Facebook welcoming me to do a 'Privacy Checkup'.  How nice of them.

I have the majority of my settings in there set to "Just me".  Like...."Who can see your posts?"  "Just me."

So, pardon my skepticism here.  But...are the fine folks at Facebook asking me to check my settings to see if I'll loosen them up?  Or...are they *really* being good guys here?  And providing all users an opportunity to review what they have set up.  If that's the case?  Then...good on you, Facebook.  Appreciate the nag to check the settings!

*UPDATE at Noon* Turns out today is "Safer Internet Day 2016"?!?  And *that's* why The Facebook ran that security check.  Nice work.

But...they were outdone by the smarties over at Google.  If you ran through a security check with Google, they not only gave you a little pat on the b…

For Sale: 5 Unit Retail Plaza Directly Across From The New Elmhurst 255 Apartments On York

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I spotted this commercial real estate ad in the local newspaper when I was sitting at Roberto's takeout waiting for our pie to finish up.  Seems interesting that they're listing this '5 unit retail/office building' that is right on York Street between 3rd and North Ave as being 'across the street from $55M York/Hahn TIF project now being built featuring 192 luxury apts and 12000 sf of new retail.'

They go on to say that the new development will provide 'customer base for existing tenants moving forward' and that 'new tenants will gravitate here as well'.  

20 car on-site parking.  Can be yours for just $625,000.00.

For the right person, betting on the upside of the new apartment complex being built, there might be a great opportunity!