Archive for February, 2007

Windy City, Pt. 2

Feb 16 2007 Published by Brad under Everyday Life


Perhaps it’s a blogging faux pas to regurgitate old posts, but this wind farm idea keeps coming back to me, especially on a day like this when it’s howling outside, rattling the old windows in our building.

Evanston is now buying “wind power credits”. I haven’t looked into what that means, so I don’t get it. Aren’t we still using the same kind of electricity, coming from the same fossil fuel-run power plants? Isn’t it kind of a way to shift the books and feel better? I’d rather see Evanston exploit the recent bump in environmental interest – and actually build the real thing. Imagine it – the warm western winds rocketing over the beach and across Lake Michigan, spinning a dozen massive propellers which sit atop slender, white legs in the water. Back on shore 31,000 Evanston households quietly glow in the night, powered by the whirring giants. Awesome.

Here’s part of what I said in June 2005:

…Offshore wind farms are a wonderful solution for locations that have it as an option – you don’t have to give up real estate or beautiful views.

Imagine if Chicago were to step up and demonstrate to the rest of this country, (and our government, who can’t see past the end of their oil-stained noses,) that renewable energy can be made practical, and have a huge impact if done on a big enough scale. We could theoretically provide the electrical needs of entire cities with wind, particularly by harvesting the gusty conditions on Lake Michigan.

To see what it looks like in my imagination, click the photo and view at the largest size.

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Keeping in Touch

Feb 14 2007 Published by Brad under Friends & Family

Talked to pal Andrew Spires yesterday. He moved to St. Louis recently, and has a lovely girlfriend that Melis and I think quite highly of. We talked about his new art studio (situated in the 2nd bedroom of his apartment). He promises to get a digital camera to document more of his work, and I plan to hold him to it.

Friend since junior high Ari, an actor, is taking to the stage after more than a year off doing behind-the-scenes work in production, writing and marketing. Two roles in a single production here in Chicago – an daunting way to get back in the acting game, but he can handle it. He’s also working on several writing projects, which hopefully will come to fruition soon. I’m insisting on having a say in the book design, and possibly adding some charming line illustrations.

Mindy and Jimmy’s boy Tyler is taking his first steps, and I received a wonderful 2 second video clip to prove it. At the end, he goes down like a sack of nickels. Eyes up, kid.

College buddy Ryan says all is well in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Not being a gambler, he finds it a bit difficult to find things to do on a Friday night but assured me that with his cousin just a short ride away in bustling New York City, there’s plenty to do. And as a Coast Guard pilot with newly mounted missiles on his undercarriage, plenty to shoot at, too! Yeehaw!

Fellow college pal Carl is still on the scene. We don’t talk quite as often as I’d like, but with three children and a job selling the world’s best computers to snobby North Shore shoppers… I’d say he has his hands full already.

Chris and Bex of Bozits (see sidebar) are doing well, and currently looking at new living accomodations. We spent several minutes yesterday bemoaning 1970’s split-level architecture, and the difficulty in dragging such homes into the 21st Century. Chris is one of my few friends with an iSight, which is unfortunate for us – there are far more attractive friends we could be looking at besides each other. Oh well.

Finally, we’ll have dinner with our friends Rett and Heather tomorrow – they’re the most local of our compadres, living 10 minutes away. Perhaps we’ll try out another local restaurant where I’ll scour the menu for something plain enough that I can enjoy it as well.

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History Comes Alive

Feb 12 2007 Published by Brad under Everyday Life, Friends & Family, Hobbies

Had a great time on our little weekend getaway, experiencing historic printmaking and historic places.

All day Saturday was spent at the letterpress workshop, held in the basement of a warm little townhouse in Virginia. We learned the basic steps in creating custom printed pieces. Between picking the type, to setting it by hand, to rolling the ink with a brayer – the process has the feel of something very tangible and precise.

The day went by much too fast, and Melissa left the workshop as enamoured with the old, green press as I was. We can’t wait to do more.

RailwayPress Letterpress Workshop
Sketching the design

I’d hurriedly chosen a short poem to use for our first project, but my genius wife suggested personalized bookplates instead. I slapped my forehead – totally should have thought of that one. I did a quick sketch, we refined the details, and in an hour we’d assembled our bookplate in tiny letters and blocks made of lead, locked in a cast iron frame called a chase.

RailwayPress Letterpress Workshop
Melissa at work

We still need to trim the edges down but this uncut bookplate shows what can be accomplished, even in a first attempt. At this point, plain sheets are now simply dropped into the press and the handle is pulled. You can make hundreds a day with ease. For a real professional result, these sheets can be run through multiple times using different designs and colors.

RailwayPress Letterpress Workshop

Saturday night and Sunday we enjoyed a several mile long hike around D.C., seeing all the sights we’d read about in history books or seen in the movies. From hovering inches away from the original Declaration of Independence to seeing the Capitol bathed in the setting sun, we really enjoyed the little time we spent there.

Click to see the set

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