Last Fall, I was moving around a few pieces of flagstone in our yard when I - for some reason - looked closer at one of the stones and I realized I was staring at a fossil. Weird. Or at least it seemed weird to me. I examined the piece of flagstone and realized there were a few fossils imprinted in the stone, so I went looking on the Web to figure out what we had. Turns out, we're the owner of some Trilobites that are hundreds of millions of years old (yes...read that again... hundreds of millions of years old ). Kinda neat, right? Finding it and researching the fossil was a fun little exercise to do with the kids. Imagine my delight when I was out in the yard this past week and noticed that a few of our pieces of flagstone and split open due to the winter and freezing. I picked the pieces up to see if any of the freshly-revealed surfaces showed off any new (to us) fossils. And, sure enough....along the edge of one of them looks like this: Below is another, more zoom'
Showing posts with the label university of illinois
This week, ESPN posted a pre-tour-na-ment piece that detailed the fight song, colors, mascot and 'notable alumni' of all 64 teams that made it into March Madness this year. My Fighting Illini were included in the piece and what ESPN listed there kicked off a text conversation that I had with Equation Boy/Man about the University of Illinois Mount Rushmore and who would be on it. Here's what ESPN included: Four members of the author's "Notable Alumni" list. Now, before we talk about the folks here - and not here, let me briefly show you what the list looks like for Yale University . This is what I'd call the 'royal treatment'. Long list, right? And, even a link to an even LONGER list on Wikipedia. Wonder why Yale was given this treatment? I'm sure...part of it is - of course - the fact that they HAVE a good list. But, there's more, of course. Where is ESPN located? That's right. The World Wide Leader is, indeed based on Conn
Earlier this year, I posted some thoughts about how I could create a Block I - University of Illinois - topiary in our backyard and how I was inspired by an Etsy listing. In that post, I did some of the layout and decided on a 4' wide and 6' tall Block I that would be about 18" thick when mature. I've been thinking about something like this topiary for a number of years after seeing a bunch of them at a nursery on Route 12 that were (mostly) created from Arborvitae . But, knowing we have mostly shade out back, I went through the mental gymnastics to convince myself that if I bought an 'upright' Yew, I could make the Block I topiary a go. So, imagine my delight when I came across some $5 Fall sale Hicks upright Yews at Home Depot over the weekend. I stuck a couple in my cart and brought them home. I put them out in a few spots and thought about placement. I kept moving them, walking away and viewing the pots. I want to see it from near the patio, but al
As I often do during the deep part of Winter, my brain starts to think about the garden and the projects that I'd like to take on this season. I've done a couple of years of to-do lists and those have been good ways of forcing me to focus. In each of those years ( 2019 and 2020 ), I included trying a metal-frame topiary to the list. And in both of those years, I never check the idea off my list . But, that hasn't stopped me from thinking about how to pull one off. And, as I was tool'ing around the Web recently, I came across this Etsy store that sells all sorts of topiary frame s. They're all really great. Go have a look at this Pikachu one . Or this Mickey Mouse head . They also sell a full-body Mickey Mouse which looks really great . It is $300, so maybe a little rich for a first-timer like me. But, there also was one that caught my attention. It is the one featuring Auburn University's A/U logo. Here's a screenshot of the listing below. (Ag
On all of our trips to campus to see a Fighting Illini football game down at Memorial Stadium, we do a few things: park at Frat Chi, walk the quad and buy some stuff at the bookstore or Gameday Sports. Or both. On one of those trips in the past few years, I guess I made an impulse buy that I recently came across. Doing what most of us do at the new year, I decided to clean out my desk drawers. In one of them, I found a package that contained this Fighting Illini football player minifigure you see below. He's wearing W-O-W or White - Orange - White...which isn't my favorite look (I'm much more of a traditionalist in O-B-O), but seems like something the team wears a lot these days. A few notes: 1. He's wearing #00 - which I think has to do with players not being paid to play. 2. If you look closely at the yoke, you'll see "Team Shield" showing up. Nice little detail. 3. He came with a football, but TKOTBS seems to have misplaced it. 4. The h
I was in the KotBT's room recently and saw that Nat had a stack of vintage felt pennants on his dresser that she was dealing with/sorting in an attempt to put some up on the walls of his room. They ALL were pretty neat, but there are a couple from the collection that I think are worth documenting on this here blog. The first one is this one you see above - Fighting Illini Football Rose Bowl 1984. This pennant is one of MINE - from when I was a kid. I remember it well. It came - along with a whole host of boxes from my childhood - from my parents when they moved out of my childhood home. It was one of a few pennants that they (somehow??) saved. This one is of particular interest to me - and I love that it is going in our boy's room. I had a sister that was a number of years older than me. And one of my earliest memories is of visiting her down at the Six Pack in Champaign during her freshman year. I would have been four or five years old when she was there. And thi
What do you do when most of the men on campus are tied up with military programs in 1943 and there's nobody with the free time who can participate in the role of Chief Illiniwek at the University of Illinois? You introduce "Princess Illiniwek". Her name was Idelle Brooks and that's her up there in the photo at the top of this post. I came across this story in a book that I dug out from our bookshelves. You can see that book below - it is from the News-Gazette and I *think* it came out during the 'Last Dance' time when they retired the Chief. More on that war-time period in Champaign-Urbana (including photos and other what-have-yous) can be found here .
A few weeks back, we piled into the Swagger Wagon and went to see my Illini take on Purdue for Homecoming. We now have two nieces that are Freshman down in Champaign, so this was a family affair. My sisters threw a great tailgate in Grange Grove and then we went into the Loyalty Lounge inside of Memorial Stadium to watch the game. Well, I went in well before the game because I wanted to see warmups and all the pre-game what-have-yous. We were lucky that the specialists for the Illini warmed up (for the most part) on the north end of the field, so our spots in the patio in the northwest corner tower of the stadium was a good view. Just about every game that we go to as a family, Nat and I disagree about the 'time to enter' the game. I enjoy the pre-game festivities almost as much as the game. I like to see the operation unfold, watch the support staff take action and watch the stadium come to life. A little weird, yeah. But, that's why I want to get into li
Earlier this month, I posted about I was taking down a few Buckthorn trees on our property as part of early Fall/late Summer yard maintenance. After peeping at the leaves on those Buckthorns and following the recommendation of our landscaper who marked them as such, I was pretty confident in removing them, despite their somewhat mature size. The benefits of removing them far outweigh their continued survival . There were, however, a bunch of other trees on the property that I couldn't at first identify and wasn't sure if I should keep or remove. So, after some initial searching on the internet, I thought what I had were Mulberry trees. You'll notice in the photo above something unique: The leaves on one branch had very different leaves. On.the.same.branch! The leaves at the top of the photo have a few lobes on them, while the leaves near the tip - at the bottom of the photo are more egg-shaped. Strange, right? All signs pointed to Hackberries, but these wer
Along the north fence line, about mid-way back in our yard, we have a couple of youngish trees that are 2" to 3" caliper trees about 15 to 20 feet tall. After looking at their leaves, I went around to the rest of the yard to try to identify if I had more than these two. As you can see above, the leaves are quite jagged along the edges and they are alternate, not compound. Meaning, the leaves are not exact opposites of each other, but go one on one side, then the other side, then back to the first side, etc. I tried a few leaf identifying apps and even Google Lense and they gave what I though was questionable results: they identified it as an Ash Tree. The issue? Ash Trees have compound branching . Also, my parents lost dozens of Ash trees to the Borer over the past decade, so I was surprised to think that I had two Ash trees that had survived. I wanted to figure out what I was dealing with, so after the web gave me mixed results, I remembered what I did whe
One year ago today, I posted this on the blog : What a year it has been for the Illini and Athletic Director Josh Whitman. Has Lovie lived up to the billing? As an Alum and former member of the football team I can say this without question: He has! Did we win a ton of games last year? Nope. Will we win a bunch this year? Probably not. But that's ok. #WeWillWin. Why? Because he's upgrading the talent on the field ( #40 recruiting class this year ) and in the coaching box . And in that year, things have changed in the football program, but also at the Athletic Department. They announced the inaugural class for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini Hall of Fame with 28 members . The golf program continues to hum along in amazing fashion. He hired a new Volleyball coach . And...They also announced the Memorial Stadium renovation (South Endzone and maybe a new facility by the indoor training complex like what they're showing below. And now come
Well, at least the University of Illinois one was turned to December. The Pixar one was already in December by accident! Check out last months post where the photo shows December already showing . Whoops. I don't seem to have posted in December of 2015, so there's no ranking to compare against, so we'll just have to close out this year with a push. If I don't get any wall calendars for Christmas, this monthly diary will come to a close. And that's just fine with me. For those keeping track like I am (Which, we all know is nobody!): January took 8 days to put up the calendar . I don't think I was tracking January last year. So let's call it a wash. (+0 Days) February took 16 days to put up the calendar. In 2015, I turned it over on the 17th . (-1 Days better) March took 8 days this year. In 2015, I turned them on the 10th . Posted on the 11th. So...that makes it -2 days better. April took just 7 days. I didn't post last April. So..no ne
We were down in Champaign recently for an Illini game and as part of the pre-game festivities we spent some time in what they call the "Legacy Lounge" in the Northwest corner of Memorial Stadium. Along with a nice bar and some good tailgate chow (bbq sandwiches this week), they have photos of a bunch of the past Fighting Illini football teams. There, on a few of the team photos, was a picture of *this guy* that I was able to show my nieces and nephews and kids. That was kinda fun. There's a page here on the blog that chronicles a bit more about my time as a punter on the Fighting Illini football team in the 90's. Jake Parrillo - punter on Illinois football team . If you look closely at the photo, you'll see me in #44. They also gave me this sweet "football alumni" lanyard that granted access to the field. Really nice way to embrace former players - even guys like me - beyond the annual "Varsity I" weekend game.
On the left in the Pixar calendar is Wall-E and on the right is 'passing the time' as a student waits for a bus on the UIUC campus. Today is the 6th and in looking at last year, I flipped them on the 8th , so that's a -2 addition to the tally. For those keeping track like I am (Which, we all know is nobody!): January took 8 days to put up the calendar . I don't think I was tracking January last year. So let's call it a wash. (+0 Days) February took 16 days to put up the calendar. In 2015, I turned it over on the 17th . (-1 Days better) March took 8 days this year. In 2015, I turned them on the 10th . Posted on the 11th. So...that makes it -2 days better. April took just 7 days. I didn't post last April. So..no new net days. May took 12 days. Net + 5 days over last year. Wowsa. June took 6 days. Net +5 days over last year. Another Wowsa. July took 8 days. Net -14 days over last year. Huge swing. Leaving a -7 day advantage over last year. August
This month's wall calendars feature Toy Story 3 on the left in the Pixar calendar and the one and only Memorial Stadium on the right in the University of Illinois wall calendar. October is - maybe - the best time on campus, so I love seeing the football team featured in the month. Last year, I turned the calendars over on the 8th of October , so that means I've gained another four days in the annual contest. At the end of September, I was up -21 days . So, this thing might just be over before December even starts. For those keeping track like I am (Which, we all know is nobody!): January took 8 days to put up the calendar . I don't think I was tracking January last year. So let's call it a wash. (+0 Days) February took 16 days to put up the calendar. In 2015, I turned it over on the 17th . (-1 Days better) March took 8 days this year. In 2015, I turned them on the 10th . Posted on the 11th. So...that makes it -2 days better. April took just 7 days. I did
Despite never getting a trophy showing off a punter during my time in Jr. High or High School or even college down at the University of Illinois, I have NOW rectified that and am the proud owner of this sweet vintage punter trophy! I picked it up at the Kane County Flea Market during the same trip when we got these Fraggle McDonalds cars and the Chipettes glass . I had never seen a punter trophy before, so you know the old rule: when you see something you've never come across before, you need to buy it. So, I knew I had to have it. Fortunately, Nat was looking at a vintage book in the same booth and after decided she wanted it, I packaged up the book and this guy. I think the vendor figured that if she didn't sell this thing to me, she wasn't going to sell it to anyone as the buyers for a 60's era vintage punter trophy are rare, I'm guessing. So, she gave us a great price for the book and basically threw the trophy in for nuttin'. Pretty sweet deal
Although this post is going up on September 12th, I turned these calendars over on the 7th. I took the photo above then. And here's proof - if you go to this Google Photos link all the data is there with the photo. Not that anyone but me really cares, right? On the left is Ratatouille from 2009 on the Pixar calendar and on the right is the Grainger Engineering Library on the UIUC calendar. And a kinda fall-ish day. Not quite fall. Not quite summer, either. I think the photo works for September. Last year, I turned the calendars on September 18th. This year, I posted on the 12th, but turned them on the 7th. Hmmm...let's be fair here and call it on the day I posted. I don't want this lead to be too insurmountable. So that's a net of -6 days. Add it to the pile below. As for the movie Ratatouille, I really liked it, but have only watched it one or two times. I think we own it? We should break it out again. It made more than $600M at the box office
This month's wall calendar update comes on the 2nd of the month, which is a very fast turn around time if history serves as any indication. On the left in the Pixar calendar, we have Toy Story 2 - yep! - #2. And on the right is the University of Illinois Hallene Gateway. This thing was put up in 1998 during my time on campus and has a nice little archive page that the University has put up here . Someone, had the foresight to preserve this when they were taking down one of the original buildings and after sixty years, someone 'discovered' it and brought it back to life as a bit of a gateway to the campus on the Urbana side. From the UIUC archive page : Dedicated October 8, 1998, on the 63rd annual meeting of University of Illinois Foundation, the Hallene Gateway Plaza was funded through the generosity of Alan M. and Phyllis Welsh Hallene, graduates of the class of 1951. As its centerpiece, the Plaza features the original sandstone portal of the New Main Universi
Another month, another turn of the wall calendars at my office. On the right, the University of Illinois calendar features the ACES Library (which, I think was built after my time) and on the right, one of the best animated movies of all time yet this list has at #11 ?!?!). Looking at my Google Photos auto-upload library, I see that I took this photo above on the 8th of July, so even though today is the 20th of July, let's call this one turned on the 8th. And a big swing here! Last year, it was July 22nd that I turned the calendars a net of -14 days. For those keeping track like I am: January took 8 days to put up the calendar . I don't think I was tracking January last year. So let's call it a wash. (+0 Days) February took 16 days to put up the calendar. In 2015, I turned it over on the 17th . (-1 Days better) March took 8 days this year. In 2015, I turned them on the 10th . Posted on the 11th. So...that makes it -2 days better. April took just 7 days. I did
June in my wall calendar world means The Incredibles on the Pixar calendar on the left and the Stock Pavillon at the University of Illinois on the right. Unfortunately, last year, I posted about the June calendars on the first day of the month. Gasp! That's bad for the tally. I flipped the calendars and took this photo above at my office earlier this week on the 6th, so that's a +5 day increase. For those keeping track like I am: January took 8 days to put up the calendar . I don't think I was tracking January last year. So let's call it a wash. (+0 Days) February took 16 days to put up the calendar. In 2015, I turned it over on the 17th . (-1 Days better) March took 8 days this year. In 2015, I turned them on the 10th . Posted on the 11th. So...that makes it -2 days better. April took just 7 days. I didn't post last April. So..no new net days. May took 12 days. Net + 5 days over last year. Wowsa. June took 6 days. Net +5 days over last year. Anot