Switched from iPhone to Andriod Bionic

June 4th, 2012

After 3.5 years with the iPhone, last September I decided to give the Android a go. Apple was good to me in the beginning, offering a major life improvement when i switched from a standard cell phone. I loved having maps, my personal calendar, email, and music with me all the time. Huge improvement. But ever since my wife got the HTC Incredible (an android phone) in the summer of 2010 I was jealous. Her phone was faster in most ways compared to mine, which had poor reception at home and work, where i spent most of my time. The wife would consistantly leave me in the dust on roadtrips as well.  She also had Verizon, and I had AT&T, so I was eager to switch carriers. Last fall after losing my iPhone i looked into the android options and decided it was time.

At first the main reason I wanted Android was control. I love Apple, they design better than anyone, but at the end of the day I was tired of always doing things the apple way – I wanted more control on how to manage things that are as personal as your mobile device. In other words, I don’t care how awesome your hammer is, everything is not a nail. I prefer a swiss army knife.

After about 9 months, I have mixed feelings on the switch, so I’d thought I’d list my pro’s and cons

Droid Bionic Pros:

  • Bionic
    • 4.3 inch screen is bigger than 3.5 of iPhone.  I prefer bigger screen when using the touchscreen or watching videos/pics.  It still slides easily into my pocket, too.
    • Supposedly faster with Dual Core.  Having a dual core means if some app messes up, even if its in the background, it won’t bring your phone to a grinding halt. In practice it doesn’t seem faster, and several times a week it is dramatically slower (unlocking can take several seconds, oh the horror).
  • Android Hardware
    • I love having a back button.  I hate that Apple doesn’t have that – only has the “home” button.
    • I also love the menu button.  Apps take advantage of that better providing a better and faster way to get what i need.
  • Android Software
    • Notifications bar.  New email, text, voicemail, app msg, whatever.  You’re always 2 secs away from getting what you need.
    • I have not rooted my phone yet, but plan to.  That opens up even more possibilities.  Not so much on Apple.
  • Pro – Google.
    • I am more like google than apple.  That is, I rather have more data and more features available to me then have that one button positioned just right.
    • Google Account integration.  If you’re a google user, with gmail, google docs, maps, etc, then this is for you.  Integration is so natural it blows me away.  Especially contacts – facebook and gmail merged is so sweet.
  • Syncing
    • I love that i can sync my mac with my bionic without using wires.  However, i’m still not excited about the delay it takes to go from my computer to google then to my phone.
  • Camera
    • Although both iPhone and Bionic suck when your photo needs a flash, The droid has 8 MP and a nice video camera – a step up from iPhone.
  • Storage
    • More storage. Bionic has internal card and removable SD card.

Droid Bionic Cons:

  • Bionic has Bugs
    • Sometimes I must reboot to get data connection to work over phone network (when not on wifi).  This is better than it used to be, but still buggy.
    • Google calendar interface is jumpy – When looking at agenda view, it will jump backwards a week or more.  Just annoying.
    • Freezes for a few secs sometimes, while i’m typing (which screws up your flow) or during a transition or animation (like unlocking phone).  This happened alot on iPhone, too.
  • No screen capture by default
    • On iPhone, you can take a photo of any screen by pushing power and home button.  Nothing like that for Android, making it hard to share cool stuff with friends or debug.
    • Note: The maxthon browser lets you capture the screen of a webpage with this addon.
  • Video Player not good
  • I miss Apple’s Music/iTunes sync
    • I got used to iTunes, and once i setup sync with my iPhone, I loved just plugging in my iPhone and having things just sync. I could easily organize music and podcasts (i get news and stuff daily) on my computer, then in a few mins my updated playlists are sync’d.
  • I miss Apple’s intuitive interface.
    • Basic things apple does really well, like size of buttons, how much info to display on a page,

2011 Recap

June 4th, 2012

2011 was another great year. It was great because it was calm and stable, relative to the past 5 years. I still kept busy (more on that below), but when looking at the last 5 years there was nothing significant in 2011 except that i worked at just one job the entire year, Critical Mass – first time since yahoo in 2005.

Reviewing my Best of 2011 pictures, one thing stands out – backpacking in Glacier National Park.  I covered that in my Honeymooniversary blog, so i won’t go into it here.  Other highlights starting early on include Chicago Blizzard Snowmageddon, BYOB Crew’s trip to Galena, where i went snowshoeing, My birthday metra train trip to Flossmore station brewery, and Rachel Mason’s birthday karaoke where we ate meals before and after singing (drunk diner meals rule).

Summer started early with Spring Break trip to Florida to visit Pants and BDub, plus Dusty and Laura. More fun and interesting included Urban Assault bike race with Katie Maser, Trip to Shayna’s family’s Beach House in Maryland, Camping and Shenanigans at Lakes Of Fire, Hiking, Swimming and Craftacular-ness in Wisconsin, More camping at Devil’s Lake, Shayna’s birthday Ethiopian food, a day of Six Flags and rollercoasters, and a crazy power-packed trip of fun to SF for friends and Brasstax Halloween Renegade. We also attended our friends Curt and Maggie’s wedding in DC, which occurred on a beautiful old house overlooking the Potomac.

The year winded down with Thanksgiving in Chicago, where we hosted both sets of parents at our place – first time ever I cooked the turkey. We also did the annual Santa Kong (I was hip-hop Santa), and had a staycation in Chicago for Christmas. This was another first, the first time since i left home when i was 18 that i spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the place i was currently living (did you get that? as in, i did not go out of town) I was greatful for this since i was working a bit too much at CM and with the halloween and wedding trips I needed to slow down. We did go see my family for New Years in Georgia (Tybee Island next to Savannah), where I finally saw my newest family member, Ty, making me an uncle for the fifth time. We also had fun with tu-tu bunnies when we swam in the ocean on New Years Day. Brrr!!

I hope 2012 continues to be another great year.

Honeymooniversary

August 15th, 2011

Shayna and I just got back from one of the best trips I’ve ever had – spending 10 days in the beautiful mountains of Glacier National Park, Montana, where we celebrated the one year anniversary of our wedding honeymoon.  The trip was awesome on so many levels, including the camping, hiking, and majestic views, but mostly it was great to spend quality time with the wife in the great outdoors. I highly recommend everyone to go, whether you stay in hotels or in tents, glaciers or not. I cover more on the trip below, but first here’s why it’s awesome:

Why I love Backpacking

  • Being surrounded by nature
  • Tons of exercise
  • Tons of sleep
  • Campfires (and s’mores)
  • Spending quality time with fellow backpackers
  • Getting away from it all (people, technology, normal life)
  • Everything you need is on your back or found in nature
  • Food tastes awesome when you’re burning 2-3 times the usual amount of calories
  • Re-appreciating how great showers, beds, and other comforts are when finished

Why I love Glacier National Park

  • The view – mountains, glaciers, lakes
  • The smells – fresh pine, cedar, sweet flowers, smokey campfires
  • The hikes – Favs are Highline Trail and hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel
  • The temperature – Hot enough to go swimming, but cool at night

When we first arrived at the airport, we got our rental car and drove to the town of Kalispel, the largest of many small towns in Flathead valley, just west of the park.  We stopped by a famous house, the Conrad Mansion, barely catching the last tour of the day.  It  was an impressive house and an interesting tour – built over a hundred years ago and restored to its original condition (we took many pics of this).  From there we drove to the hills to our first Bed and Breakfast, The Garrison Inn.  Our hosts Gene and Anne Marie were very nice.  Gene is also a professional chef and made us a delicious dinner and an amazing breakfast – probably the best omelete I’ve ever had (insanely fluffy, almost a quiche).

After the B&B we drove about an hour before entering the park.  We debated white water rafting and horse back riding, but decided water was too cold and horses were not my favorite.  We got lucky and found a spot in the Apgar campground, had lunch, then went for our first real hike to the Apgar Lookout.  The next day we moved a bit further east, getting a spot at Sprague Creek campground.  That day we did one of our longest and most beautiful hikes – Highline trail from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet, then on down to our car at The Loop, about 12 miles total.   We saw our first big animals – mountain goats.  Did you know they have bacteria in their stomach that generates heat?  That helps them survive the mountain tops during 40 below winters.  That night we slept super solid – 7 hours of hiking will do that to ya.  The next day I gorged on the breakfeast buffet at the lodge (totally worth it), then we drove over the to east side on Going to the Sun road, which was supposed to be awesome but all the road construction made the experience a bit annoying.  That night we stayed at St. Mary campground and were lucky enough to catch a performance by the Blackfeet tribe, the native americans who live east of the park.  They explained their music, competition dances, and costumes in great detail.  Big props to traditional Native Americans.  Afterwards we had our first campfire.  I love fires.

The next day we got up super early (6:30am) to get to Many Glacier campground to ensure we get a spot.  It’s the most popular campground in the park, and, like all but 2 campgrounds, takes no reservations – first come, first serve.  All spots are snatched up by around 8am-8:30am every day.  After securing our spot, we took the day off from hiking and explored the Many Glacier Lodge and surrounding areas (the great lodges are amazing).  I also explored my book and the back of my eyelids in the afternoon (gotta have naps on vacation, right?).  We had a camping stove issue that was resolved the night before (oh, thats how you clean it) and this was the first day we had hot meals from the stove.  Previously we snacked on bars, PB, fruit, nuts, broccoli and hummus, bread, cheese, crackers, and pickles, which were all good. Now we had hot oatmeal and other warm dishes like rice and beans and indian food. We saved the freeze-dried for backpacking. Our second day at Many Glacier we hiked to Iceberg lake. We wanted to hit up  Grinnell glacier, but that was closed due to bears.  So guess what we saw about 150 yards off the trail to Iceberg lake?  A grizzly bear and her 3 cubs.  Awesome.  We also saw a mama moose and her baby – from only a few feet away as they were on the trail.  The last day at many glacier was more chilling out, shayna did a short hike and I did some picture/laptop stuff.  That evening we had our first rain storm and were lucky enough to be able to watch it from the lodge.  Later after that we had another campfire along with s’mores.  Mmm-mm.

Saturday morning we left Many Glacier to start our backpacking adventure.  We drove to the Chief Mountain Trailhead, which is right next to the Canadian border, to enter the Belly river area of the park.  It was about 10am when we began backpacking, a mostly level hike 13 miles to our first camp at Glenn’s Lake Head.  Let me reiterate how unbelievably beautiful this park is.  Gorgeous natural diversity, from moutains, glaciers, snow, streams and lakes, to fields of grass and flowers, to rocky and dusty mountain tops, to pine and aspen forests, and more .. sometimes all at once.  The highline trail gave us a taste but being surrounded by nothing but pure nature takes it to the next level.  The next 2 nights we spent at Elizabeth Lake head campground (i say head since the bigger lakes have 2 campgrounds, one at the head where water comes in, and one at the foot where water exits).  Each night we had to store all our food, toiletries, even water in bear bags and hang them high up in the trees.  We also had to prep food and eat in common areas. It was a nice way to meet people – we met boy scouts, families, and several couples .. but not the most romantic.  Except the first night, where we had a campfire and more s’mores, we crashed pretty early – often before dark.  Once shayna was down for almost 12 hours, after hiking probably the most scenic hike on the trip, up to Ptarmigan tunnel.  It was 12 miles roundtrip, over half a mile vertical, with the most diversity and impressive views of any of our hikes.  It was tough, but thats how we like it.  Gotta earn it.  Other adventures included discovering amazing waterfalls, fording rivers, and dealing with hail storm on the last day hiking out.  The last 2 nights of our trip were just us appreciating showers, beds, nice meals, and relaxing.  It went by much too quick.

This trip was definitely a backpacking and camping trip first, and honeymoon anniversary second. I say honeymoon anniversary since this trip, being a backpacking trip, was more similar to our honeymoon backpacking adventure on Isle Royale (more deets) than our wedding  That said, wife and I had an amazing time together.  I feel so lucky to have a girl who is into backpacking almost as much as I am, even though she’s only been on 3 real backpacking trips! We both hope to do at least one major trip a year from now on.  So stay tuned for more adventures.

Summer Festivals on a Map

April 10th, 2011

Leaving Wedding Ceremony

Summer is finally here in Chicago. I woke up this morning and it was already 71 degrees out, giving me (and everyone else) a thirst for summer.  And one of the best things about summer in Chicago is all the street festivals.  In the past I added my favorite ones to my calendar.  This year I decided to go a bit further and I created a Google calendar called “Chad’s Chicago: Summer Festivals and More”.

The calendar includes every major summer festival in the Chicago area.  And as I say on the calendar subtitle, this is “Events Chad would do if he had the time: Summer Festivals, Burningman art and music, beer, outdoors, gardening, etc.”  Currently there are about 100 events listed for this summer – and I’m adding more every day. Great for people who want to explore different neighborhoods on different weekends, or people who want to hit more than one event in the same neighborhood on the same day, etc.

If you just want to look at the events, use the Chad’s Chicago – web browsing link. If you use google calendar already, you can subscribe to the calendar using this Chad’s Chicago – iCalendar link .  If you’ve never done that or forgot how, read the google help on subscribing to calendars.

The main reason I made this calendar was to see all the Festivals on a map.  We all know Chicagoland is a big place, and sometimes you just want to know about events in your neighborhood.  Well, now you can.  My GCM project (Google Calendar Map) puts all events from a google calendar on a google map. Whoa.  Tricky, eh?  Check it out for yourself – GCM: Chad’s Chicago on a map.

GCM on github

March 30th, 2011

Just a quick announcement for the geeks and developers out there regarding my GCM project:

I cleaned up some of the GCM code and put it on github as the mapfilter project, my first project on github. Hurray. I also updated the working GCM prototype with this updated. Most of the changes are under the hood, the biggest of which is that the core javascript functionality is now in its own file, cnMapFilter.js.

UI has not changed at all (I know, sad but true). However, one thing to note is that if you have firebug open and are poking around, you can now add a “debuglevel” parameter to the URL to dump tons of info to the console. Examples

That’s all for now!

GCM prototype 2

September 12th, 2010

Just a quick update to announce that I updated GCM, my Google Calendar Map project.  New things

  1. New GCM Homepage
  2. Old GCM prototype moved to gcm2009
  3. New features of GCM prototype (yes, still prototype)
    • New Date sliders
    • New “Warning” link to quickly fix problematic addresses
    • Reskinned to keep content a bit more tight (still needs work)

Please post any comments about GCM on the GCM Homepage.  Thanks!!

Married

September 8th, 2010

Leaving Wedding Ceremony

Well, I did it.  I got married July 31.  Officially and legally and in front of lots of family and friends.  It feels great.  The wedding was a whirlwind – so many people we care about all together in one place.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  It’s been about a month since it happened and I am still a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience.  For the most part it went perfectly – We didn’t stress too much, things went as planned, we had gorgeous weather, everybody had a good time, what more could we want? Our really close friend, Juan, was our officiant (yay), his first. Wedding Ceremony Crowd Shayna and I wrote and read our own vows to each other then immediately after the ceremony ran off to the woods for a few mins to absorb what just happened.  It was very special.  I was really happy that so many of family and friends could make the trip.  Most of them are not from the midwest and were like .. where is Galena? But Oak Hill was a perfect choice for a wedding venue.  Shayna’s family and my family really hit it off – altho the parents did meet back in March of this year, so it was not there first encounter. In fact, everybody hit it off.  Our picnic theme really brought everyone together – we had BBQ and games like badmitton, croquet, bocce ball, and bags.  Plus our guests are all cool and awesome and there’s no way they wouldn’t all become best friends.

Chad and Shayna in Isle Royale National Park The honeymoon was fantastic, too.  I’ll spare you some of the personal details and just tell you how awesome the midwest is.  Basically we took 2 weeks off after the wedding to go camping on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, hitting bed and breakfast joints before and after.  It’s about an 8 hour drive from Chicago to Copper Harbor, Michigan, where we had to take a 3-4 hour ferry to the island.  Our room at copper harbor was one of our favorites of the trip – the crow’s nest at Harbor Haus restaurant was a giant round room with gorgeous views of the water.  And the food at Harbor Haus was some of the best I’ve had in the midwest – I loved their rack of lamb. Chad Norwood RULES We spent 6 days on the island, 4 nights camping and the last night at the rock harbor lodge.  Shayna was a real trooper, pushing hard and not slowing me down, even though this was only her second backpacking adventure.  Yes, thats right, we backpacked. We carried all our food and gear that we needed for 5 days on our backs.  Well, we did eat sweet wild raspberries that we just picked off of bushes along the trail. But the rest we brought with.  The island has an amazing yet serene beauty.  As a national park there is verly little development on the island. Except at the 2 harbors (where this a lodge, restaurant, gift shop and general store) there is nothing – no cars, roads, bikes – nothing but boats, canoes, and backpackers.. and wildlife.  We hoped to see moose and wolves, but saw birds, rabbits, squirrels, a fox, a giant owl, a bald eagle .. pretty good, actually.   We mostly hiked but also swam (I loved dunking my head in the clear, cool, refreshing lake) and canoed (Shayna loves canoing) in Lake Superior. After the island we hit door county, wisconsin.  It’s a small peninsula in lake michigan with a bunch of cute harbor towns that’s been compared to old towns in new england.  Our other favorite room was at the Black Walnut B&B in sturgeon bay, the big town in door county. Our favorite meal (except harbor haus) was at the cookery, in fish creek, one of the many cute small towns.  Also, on the last day, we decided to take a detour and hit the New Glarus Brewerey (mmm.. Fat Squirrel) in the cute little swiss-german town of New Glarus, Wisconsin.  We enjoyed tastee beers then decided to spend one more night away from home. Lots of fresh beer had nothing to do with that decision.  Yay.

But not all our friends could make it to the midwest, so we are celebrating with them in California on September 18, cali style. We reserved a resort in the mountains with cabins, camping, swimming pool, music, and lots of shenanigans. Looking forward to that !!

New Job

July 11th, 2010

Well, new-ish job.  Back in March I decided to enter the world of full-time employment again.  This is my first full-time job since I left yahoo in 2006.  Immediately after yahoo, I enjoyed time with friends and family for several months. In 2007 I traveled around the world.  Then in 2008 I decided to follow my girlf.. ahem, fiancee, the lovely miss shayna, to chicago where she began grad school.  Since I’ve been in Chicago I’ve pursued various opportunities in technology and business.  I spent most of 2009 doing entrepreneurial ventures with midventures, some successful, some not.  I met a lot of interesting people and learned that Chicago startup tech scene is quite different than San Francisco (aka silicon valley) in many ways.  Then, looking for something a little different (as I often do), I did some contract work in the agency world, working with BBDO and Whittman Hart, then landing at my current position with Critical Mass.

critical_mass_red

Critical Mass is great. No, I am not talking about the bike ride, although that is great, too.  My Critical Mass (aka CM) is a digital advertising agency. That means they primarily build websites and mobile apps, but operate more like an advertising agency than a technology shop. That means lots of client handholding, helping with strategy, extra creative power, and generally going above and beyond the call of duty. CM likes to say they create extraordinary experiences.  Their clients include big names such as Budweiser, Nissan/Infinity, USAA, Autotrader and United Airlines.  The last one, United, was and is where I spend most of my time. United Mileage Plus (UMP), which is actually a separate business unit from United Airlines, just launched a new version of MileagePlus.com designed by CM.   That made for a very busy month of June for me, Mr. Chad.

My role within the company is somewhat unique.  My title is Senior Developer, but I do more client management than i do technical work.  I also manage other CM developers working on United, and engage with the technical people on the client side.  As somebody who’s had experience in various roles and technologies, I am a good fit for this position. I enjoy the diversity it offers – I interact with a really talented and great team of people at CM, I get some freedom to manage my time and career, and the chicago office in general is a fun and creative group.  I hope the challenges keep coming !!

If you know anyone looking for a job, Critical mass is hiring.  Email me and I’ll put in a good word.

Engagement

December 30th, 2009

Chad and Shayna in Engagementland

It’s official, Shayna and I are engaged!  Yee-haw.  Aww Yeah.  Hurray.  We decided over thanksgiving in Athens, Georgia, to get married.  At that time I was not ready to be publicly engaged, but now I am.  Last week we told parents and friends, and now I’m here to share some more info on this major life decision.

We’ve been dating since the fall of 2004 in San Francisco.  We met each other a few times at parties, but the first time I spent some time with shayna was when Tim Lang and I helped her move some art. She was in school at the time,  was looking for help to move some big pieces, so I offered my help and Tim’s van.  After that day I knew I liked her and soon we went on our first dinner date at Axum Cafe, an ethiopian restaurant.    When she graduated from school the following June, our relationship changed from dating to sorta-dating for the next year or so, since she moved away from SF and I stayed in SF.   I did visit her in New York, where she worked in a woman’s art program, as well as in New Orleans, where she was helping after Katrina.  I convinced her to return to SF for Burningman in August 2006 and we were officially dating again.  In Feb 2007, I started a 6 month trip around the world, 3 months of which was with shayna.  When I returned we moved in together.  During my trip around the world, shayna was accepted into grad school in Chicago, but delayed enrollment for a year primarily for me.  So in the spring of 2008 the time came for me to decide if i wanted to give up my home of 10+ years in SF to move to Chicago with Shayna.  I did.  Chicago was a very big transition.  Luckily we found some good friends fairly quickly which made some of the very rough patches in fall 2008 easier to swallow.  The summer and fall of 2009 were really good to us as a couple.  But it wasn’t till she left for Athens a couple weeks before Thanksgiving did i realize she’s the most important thing in my life and that I wanted to be with her forever and ever.

There was no tradtional proposal.  Neither one of us are too fond of traditions purely for the sake of traditions.  We believe in this day and age its more important to enter marriage with eyes wide open with both people knowing exactly what they are getting into. However, I did get down on one knee in our photo shoot in Athens, which I’ve called Engagementland.  A few of these pics were emailed to friends last week.  We also met with an artist from athens who is making us custom wedding rings – you can see pictures  similar to what we’ll have  in the Engagementland set as well.

As soon as we tell people we’re engaged, one of the next questions out of their mouth is “when’s the wedding?”  Well, it looks like this summer – July or August 2010.  Stay tuned for more on this.

End of Summer

What an awesome summer.  My first one in Chicago, and it went by so fast and kept me so busy I didn’t have time to write any blog posts.  ’twas full of chicago biking, sunshine, friends, and music – my favorite things.  I also worked on some good projects, and met many cool people.  Besides Chicago, I took a few roadtrips around the midwest, ventured to NYC by train, Atlanta by plane, and spent almost a month in California and Nevada.

Chicago Corner Farm

One of the biggest things I did this year was help start a community garden.  Shayna wanted to grow plants for making fiber, and she found a couple other locals, Noah and Margaret, who were looking to start a garden.  With some grant money from Shayna’s school and a lot of hard work, we cleared land, built some beds, and planted many edibles, a few ornamentals (flowers and such), and fibers for making paper.  We busted our ass on the weekends in the beginning, but was definitely worth it.  I enjoyed being outside, working with my hands, meeting neighbors, and of course eating tomatoes, basil, and other herbs and vegetables.  We also made a smaller garden in our backyard, too, with our upstairs neighbor, Andy.  You can read more on the website Shayna and I put together – chadnorwood.comC/a>.

Chicago Critical Mass, May 2009

Summer had a cold start this year.  In fact, I think we only turned on the AC once this whole summer.   But that didn’t stop us from having lots of fun.  I already blogged about Indiana Dunes camping, but we also started out in may doing the Chicago critical mass bike ride.  I spent way more time on my bike than in a car, bus, or train .. the way life should be.  Chicago makes it easy – it’s flat and its never too cold at night. We rode to brunch, to the beach, downtown, to bars .. I even rode over 10 miles home at 4am from the south side of Chicago. I also rode crazy bikes at the Tour De Fat festival sponsored by Fat Tire beer.

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Speaking of festivals .. Chicago wins.  Every weekend, all summer long, there are several street festivals in various neighborhoods throughout Chicago.  Blues festivals, House music festivals, Irish/Scottish/German/Polish Festivals, Beer Festivals, Ribs Fest, Wings, Taste of Chicago (biggest one ever), and the list goes on.  Chicago city law requires them all to be free, but they usually ask for $5 or $10 donation.  They always have street vendors – food, shirts, art, etc.  They usually have 2-5 stages where bands, djs, or somebody performs.  And the people go nuts if the weather is beautiful – unlike California, rainy days will keep you inside, but that makes the sunny days even more precious.

We also enjoyed many visitors – especially our SF friends !! Juan, Jason, Damian, Ramon, and Monica came out for a weekend making me feel at home.  We showed them the beautiful Millenium Park, the view from the top of the Hancock tower (2nd tallest bldg in chicago), the beach, summer street festivals, and chicago deep dish pizza.  A month or so later Checkoway visited and we had a similar experience – drinks, tall buildings, beach, and enjoying friends.

Shayna and I also loved the scenic and surprisingly comfortable 20 hour train to NYC for a wedding of an old friend, Sarah Bates, to Leo De Alvia .  I’m very happy for them and enjoyed seeing all our friends in NY.  In addition to NY,  I also made it to Atlanta for Fathers Day.  Got to give it up for good ol’ Dad !! And it was nice seeing my sisters families and nieces and nephew.  They grow up so fast. heh.

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We had lots of fun with our new Chicago friends – monthly dinner parties, rooftop BBQ on 4th of July, lots of biking around to bars, cubs game, and other summer activities.  Best event with Chicago friends was the camping trip to Oregon IL.  Oh man was that fun. We camped and made s’mores over the fire, told stories and went on hikes.  But the main event was on sunday – the Demolition Derby.  Oregon is the home town of Miss Amanda, and she showed us how they have fun in the midwest – crashing cars.  Booya !!

One of my favorite trips this summer was Lakes of Fire – a regional Burningman in Michigan, about 3 hours from Chicago.  It was about 500 people (instead of the 40,000 at burningman in nevada), and it felt more like home than i could have imagined. I met amazing people, saw some cool art, and had tons of fun.  I especially enjoyed meeting the freakeasy and illmeasures peeps – they throw good parties in chicago for the bman crowd.

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Last but not least was our trip to Burningman.  We joined Brasstax (our SF crew) in the Boombox camp.  It was my 10th year at bman, and altho i love it, i love my friends more, so i spent most of my time in the camp.   We flew to SFO on thursday, drove up early (friday before it started) and left 8 days later (sat night as they burned the man).  We assembled the boombox in 4 days and tore it down in 1.  We “burned” it … altho most of it was good wood so it got recycled.  I could go on and on about bman but pics are worth a thousand words.  Anyway, it was great to spend some quality time with my crazy friends.   After that I spent some time in California hanging out, Eumi’s and Lori’s bdays, a day hike at mt. tam, and did another trip to Tahoe for Fritz’s Bachelor Party.  I love tahoe – could be my favorite natural place on the earth.

The summer ended with one final trip to St. Louis for Shayna’s 30th birthday.  The main event was the city museum, which is my favorite man-made place on earth.  If you haven’t been, and you are still part kid, you MUST go.  It was also nice to do a road trip and see friends in another city.

Fall is supposed to be nice in chicago but pretty short .. in less than 2 months it will be cold for a while.  Then spring and summer again !!!  If you want to visit, plan now, cuz it’ll give you something awesome to look fwd to.

Cheers,
Chad