Archive for the 'Winter' Category

Prepare to be Underwhelmed

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Everyone was talking about this epic blizzard that was going to hit Chicago.  Man, was I excited.  With some rare foresight, I set up a camera to take timelapse photos during the whole thing.

Well, that didn’t work.

I purposefully picked a spot with street lights so it would be visible at night, but maybe I left the flash on or the lights in the room were left on… I don’t know.  In any case, you can’t see squat during the night.  Poop.

Here’s someone who knew what they were doing:

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A Muslim and A Jew on Christmas Eve

Friday, December 31st, 2010


There’s a tradition where Jews go out to Chinese food and a movie on Christmas.  I don’t remember my family doing the Chinese food much, but we did go to movies sometimes.  The last time we tried it, though, the theater was so packed we barely got in.  I’m pretty sure there aren’t that many Jews in Evanston.

Shama told me how she liked to drive around downtown late at night on Christmas because it was totally deserted, so this Christmas Eve, around midnight, Shama and I drove down to Northerly Island and the Planetarium.  It was snowing, silent, completely empty, and beautiful.  Plus, we could just drive up and park wherever we wanted, which was kind of wild.

I hope this becomes our new Christmas tradition.

Poop Day 2009

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Photo courtesy John Berube… although I didn’t ask him.  Maybe I should. Okay, I did. It’s okay.

My neighbor John took some great photos of the park near our house on what he calls “Snow Melt Day” and what I call “Poop Day.”  

Poop Day is an unexpected holiday that usually occurs at least once every winter in Chicago.  It’s an unseasonably warm day in the middle of the winter that was preceded by several weeks or months of snow and cold.  

It is, in short, the day all the dog poop people just kicked some snow over instead of picking up is revealed to the world.

Making Sure Kids Don’t Go Out And Play

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Leave it to Evanston to take a pile of trash, make it into something useful, and then take every step possible to ensure no one uses it.


We used it anyway.


Hmm.  Don’t you think Mount Trashmore deserves a Wikipedia entry?  I do too.  There.  Now it has one.  

Wishful Thinking

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009


Man Tian Dou Shi Xiao Xing Xing

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008


Shama’s wanted to go to First Fridays at The Planetarium for months now, and we finally got around to going last week in 10 degree weather.  The walk from the train station to The Planetarium was ridiculously cold, but it’s worth it for the view of the skyline from Solidarity Drive.

With admission you can attend unlimited sky shows, which is great unless you get stuck in One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure for a half-hour.  Can Big Bird sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in Chinese any slower?

Looking Good, Bank. Feeling Good, Evan.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

I was downtown for some shenanigans when I happened to walk by my bank. I did a double take because I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen my bank before. But there it was. They have a fancy engraved sign and everything. Looks nice. Sturdy. I’m glad it’s my bank. I deposited some checks while I was there.

It was so nice to see my bank that I took a picture of it. It was then that I realized that everything looks pleasant when you use a flash in the snow, whether it’s my bank…

…or the puppet bike

…or even a marquee for a Michael McDonald concert.

Pretty Lights

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

One of Columbia University’s best traditions (aside from Orgo Night) was the lighting of the trees along College Walk for the holidays. Michigan Avenue does it up okay, but the trees at Columbia were amazing. There were so many lights wrapped around every branch!

I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I sure like it a lot. I loved those lights and I love Christmas carols and I love It’s A Wonderful Life.

If I did celebrate Christmas, I’d definitely invest in some new LED Christmas lights. If you’re a Chicagoan, you can buy them at a discount from ComEd’s online store. Christmas lights are an ideal candidate for LEDs. Here are five reasons that have nothing to do with “saving the earth.”

  1. LEDs are naturally colorful. It’s only recently that a good white LED was created.
  2. Christmas lights are left on all the time. LEDs consume about 1/8th as much electricity as incandescents.
  3. Christmas lights don’t actually need to illuminate a room. LEDs aren’t actually that bright.
  4. They run a lot cooler than normal lights in case you’re putting them next to something flammable like, say, a tree.
  5. These days, they’re basically the same price as standard incandescent Christmas lights.

So there you go.

‘Cause Baby It’s Cold Outside

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Everything that can be invented has been invented, right? I’m sure someone’s come up with this idea, but it occurred to me again this week when it was freezing outside after several beautiful days.

Unless you have air conditioning, the most power-hungry appliance in your home is probably your refrigerator. Mostly because the refrigerator needs to be running constantly. Otherwise it would kind of beat the point, right?

But in Chicago, it’s freezing outside for half of the year. What if there were a vent to the outside (like a dryer) that could be opened and closed with a thermostat and a little fan. If it was cold enough outside, that cold air would be used to cool your food. If not, the compressor would run as normal.

If it’s cold enough to use the outside air 4 months of the year (and in Chicago it’s probably more) and your fridge is using 75 watts an hour on average… That’s 216kWH/year… which comes out to about $18 a year. Hmm. That’s not that much. And then there’s the matter of the freezer… and that you might not want outside stink-air in your fridge.

Okay, then. Forget it. It probably makes a lot more sense to just get an efficient fridge.

He Didn’t Fall?! Inconceivable!

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Third in a series of “reasons it’s really hard to be a parent.”

I’m realizing now that I have quite a few stories where I make an ass out of myself in front of unsuspecting parents trying to raise their kids right. I’m also realizing I have a lot of stories about really dumb games my friends and I made up. This one has both!

I went to college in New York and for a couple years some friends and I would go up to Vermont right before the spring semester started and do some falling skiing. I’m a mediocre skier. I’ll go down any crazy hill, but I’ll do so in a fashion that makes everyone around me a bit nervous. Still, I manage to stay on my feet more or less. (Now that I’ve taken up snowboarding, little of what I just said still applies… except for the making people nervous part.)

After a full day of skiing (pronounced shee-ing) we grew tired of simply “going down the hill” and decided to play a little game. Seeing how there were four of us, we split into two teams of two and had a race: first to the bottom wins… anything goes.

Now, I’m not an overly physical fella, but I am resilient. I grew up with two brothers and spent countless hours in human piles, often at the bottom. I guess I thought I’d be pretty good at this game. But then, I also thought the abbreviation for pounds was pronounced “labs.” So when I saw my roommate, Dan, stopped, poised at the top of a descent, I picked up some speed and took aim. Things that didn’t occur to me:

  1. Dan’s a hockey player
  2. Dan’s quite a bit bigger than I am
  3. Dan knows I’m about to plow into him.

Nonetheless, I took a deep breath, crouched down, and delivered a mighty blow. It took me a while to assess the situation through the flurry of powder, but when the dust had cleared I was lying on my back… and Dan? Dan was right where I left him, standing over me laughing. All I could do was shout, “YOU DIDN’T FALL DOWN?!”

At this point, I realized that the inevitable father and son were also standing at the top of this particular hill. From their perspective, some out-of-control hack who has no business being on the mountain (NO BUSINESS!) rammed into some stranger and then got upset when said stranger didn’t fall down.

But it’s worse. As Dan laughed and turned to continue down the mountain, I reached over in frustration and pounded on his binding release with my fist. At least that worked!

Dan made it a couple feet on one ski before tumbling for a good 50 feet or so. I laughed and laughed. I think I even pointed and laughed. As I rolled over onto my back to hoist myself up, I made eye contact with the most disapproving father in the history of disapproving fathers. The look he gave me was the dirtiest look I ever received in my life. Dirtier, even, than the lady with the bike helmet.