Scottish Elections – No Thanks

I was super lucky to have been in Scotland during their recent independence elections.  While many people commented that it had become quite a vicious argument, I (as an American) was surprised at how pleasant everyone was.  You would never see a display of posters arguing both perspectives hanging out together as I did in Kirkudbright.

A display of Yes and No independence signs in Kirkudbright Scotland

The iconography was also fascinating.  We were mainly in the north so most of the signs and stickers we saw were for Yes, but there was a fair amount of No in Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Since I’m still sorting through my 100+ Yes pictures, here are some of my favorite No options.  (There were several versions of the UK flag/Uncle Sam/Queen sticker below including a Harry Potter one).

Scotland Independence no signs

Lawn Art from Avondale Chicago

Lawn Art from Avondale Chicago

Inside the Preston Bradley Center

I spent over two hours in the Preston Bradley center with Reverend Jean Darling, David Karcher , and Virginia Polk, which provided more material than I could possibly cover in one readable blog entry. Below are some of the things that I ran out of space to cover.

Preston Bradley Center - Preston Bradley's door

Reverend Preston Bradley was quite a character.  My favorite story was that he was suspended from Moody Bible college for being seen leaving a movie theater and smoking a cigar. He, in fact, left quite a few organizations because he was “too” liberal, he started as a Presbyterian minister but was accused of heresy because he wouldn’t accept that unbaptized infants were going to hell. After leaving the Presbyterians and the Moody Bible College, he started his own church which merged with the existing People’s Church in 1912.

Preston Bradley Center - small green door that leads to crawl space above autotorium ceiling 

This is the small green door (David Karcher kindly providing size comparison).  It leads to the roof over the auditorium, probably for repair purposes.  This also quite nicely demonstrates the cause of the half-floors.  The auditorium is a full three stories high (out of six mind you) and the bottom bit takes up over a story itself.  Therefore, the balcony ends up aligned halfway through the second floor and the very top of the dome halfway through the third.

As for the Mason’s Hall.  Below is one of the blackened murals lightened up as much as my scanty Photoshop skills would allow.Preston Bradley Center Mason's Hall - Photoshop lightened mural

You can see the oasis on the left side along with maybe a building?  Here’s what it looks like unedited;  the oasis is still slightly visible if you really squint.  This is on the East side (to your left when you walk in).Preston Bradley Center Mason's Hall - Un-photoshopped mural

A few more Mason’s Hall pictures.  I really wish I had thought to take a (real) panorama shot.  This is of the back (North) wall and you’d walk into the hall from that left corner.  Preston Bradley Center Mason's Hall - Back wall

A detail of the left corner:Preston Bradley Center Mason's Hall - back wall mural

It’s hard to get a full feeling for the south-oriented front, but here’s a Frankenstein image to give an idea.Preston Bradley Center Mason's Hall - south facing front murals now with frankensteining

Finally the last set of murals on the West wall (to your right as you walk in).Preston Bradley Center Mason's Hall - west side murals

Preston Bradley Center - heating cooling unit

Moving on, here’s a shot of the heating/cooling system.  It was high-tech for it’s time because it heated outside air which was then ventilated throughout the building via fan.  Starbucks cup not original as far as I understand.

Preston Bradley Center hat racks

The church shared a few old pictures with me; my favorite showed how large the congregation once was (it’s now down to 20-30 people).Church service circa 1930

I have a few more things to show but I can’t bear to deal with any more photo editing tonight.

 

changing graffiti

More #48WardLoveLocal

Yep, that’s me making chain mail because who *doesn’t* have a chain mail craft store in their neighborhood?

#48WardLoveLocalPreviously….

 

A Love Letter to My Neighborhood

In my ten years in Chicago, I’ve lived in five apartments in three neighborhoods, but it’s my most recent neighborhood, Edgewater, where I’ve found my Chicago.

cookies and carnitas

Edgewater is brilliant for so many reasons.  

I live two blocks from the lake/beach – one of Chicago’s best features.  There’s a plethora of places to go and things to see.  Within a mile of my house is two Ethiopian restaurants, seven or so coffee shops, uncountable amount of pho places, a beautiful brand-new library, two soda-fountainy type places, and tons of random art.  We might currently not really have any real food stores at the moment, but if you need Kinder hippos, aloe leaves, nuoc cham, or veladoras, we’ve got you covered.  There’s a wide variety of people and they’re friendly, smiling and talking to their neighbors.  Despite the people and places, it’s still quiet(ish), neighborhoody, with trees and green space, and not the hustle-and-bustle that other places might have.

In short, I love it.  So when I learned about 48 Ward* Love Local, a month of  discounts at local places, I was super excited.  I was even MORE excited when I learned that if you participated in at least five deals and either shared on social media or sent your receipts in, you could win lunch with the alderman.**  I have become obsessed with winning that lunch; I’m not exactly sure why.  Possibly since it looks like I have a fairly good chance of winning looking at social media.  Possibly because the whole concept of aldermen is weird.  I’ve already been to my five places, including Cookies and Carnitas (above), but there’s a few more on our household list, and a lot of pictures to share.

I also just realized that this sounds like some sort of crappy sponsored post or something.  It’s not, I just get excited about really weird things.

*technically wards and neighborhoods don’t match up, but whatever.  I love my ward too and my local neighborhoods!

**aldermen are both like the mayor and the senator of your neighborhood.  Chicago is weird.  And awesome.  I’ve met my alderman, Harry Osterman, several times and could go and talk to him at his office whenever, so it’s even weirder that I’ve become obsessed.

Hashtags as Parenthetical Commentary

I have been sick in bed for the last week and took the opportunity to read way way too many odd vampire/supernatural YA books.  As I was composing a Facebook update on the situation I found an almost unnatural urge to hashtag the hell out of it.  Specifically:

I have spent the last week sick in bed reading trashy YA fiction.  

#noshame #wellsomeshame #no #noshame!

It’s unnatural because I hate hashtags.  They look ugly, tend to pile up at the ends of things, and seem like yet another way to sell yourself, SEO your social media up the wazoo.  However, I do love parenthetical commentary (the act of adding a somewhat random or underemphasized comment to text).  #seewhatIdidthere #alsowhatIdidthere

There’s a certain allure with saying something without “owning up” to saying it. Hashtagging how I feel about reading trashy YA fiction allows me to indicate my mixed feelings without actually having to own up to either the reading or the mixed feelings.

I wonder if, as we live increasingly in a text-based atmosphere where vocal and body language nuance are stripped out, if this sort of sub-conversational comments will increase.  Even as we’ve moved to platforms where there is less text-based information such as Instagram, hashtags have become even more popular.

Note:  While this occurred to me unprompted, I am not the first person to note this behavior.  Language Log; NYT; Gizmodo; New Yorker.