Category Archives: Off Topic


Like Watching Grass Grow

I’m sure to most, standing along a creek and watching it flow is a lot like watching grass grow.

For me, sight, sound and smell become engaged and the end result is intoxicating.

I have no clue what’s going through my head at that point. Hopes, dreams, possibilities and memories all become one long flow of thoughts and mental images.

Not much different than how the water is flowing.

The other day I stood along a creek and took about a dozen shots of the creek as it flowed over rock. I wanted to see if I could capture the flow and glare and play of the water.

I have no clue if I succeeded, but I like the end results.

These shots and this post is for me. They’re only sized to fit here and I did no other post processing to them. I wanted to see how they looked when I took the shots.

I get to take breaks at work and now I can come here, click on this gallery of images and slowly go through the them.

Possibly relive in my head what I enjoy doing more than anything else.

I’ll have to watch so I don’t become mesmerized and slack jawed with a bit of drool forming at the corner of my mouth that has to be noisily sucked back in.

I could only imagine the level of ridicule from my coworkers that I would have to endure.


Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring
Are you listening
In the lane
Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland


Gone away, is the bluebird
Here to stay, is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland


In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say are you married
We’ll say No Man
But you can do the job
When you’re in town


Later on
We’ll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we’ve made
Walking in a winter wonderland


Sleigh bells ring

Are you listening

In the lane

Snow is glistening

A beautiful sight,

We’re happy tonight

Walking in a winter wonderland


Gone away, is the bluebird

Here to stay, is a new bird

He’s singing a song

As we go along

Walking in a winter wonderland


In the meadow we can build a snowman

And pretend that he’s a circus clown

We’ll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman

Until the other kiddies knock him down


When it snows

Ain’t it thrilling

Though your nose, is a chilling

We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way

Walking in a winter wonderland




End of an Era

End of an era, for me any way.

Once upon a time, typesetting the financial sections of company annual reports was a very lucrative business. I had the opportunity to work on a few of the AR’s from some of the top companies here in Illinois. Little companies you may have heard of like Sears, Allstate, Walgreen, Grainger, Morton International, Harris Bank, Motorola and Peoples Energy. Amongst many others. Over the past 25 or so years I typeset the financials on well over 200 AR’s.

As I said, it was once lucrative.

Years ago here in the Chicago area there was an informal group called The Chicago 35. They were the top 35 design firms around here. Over the years I got to work for and with over half of them.

If you ever read any comments I make about how things look… websites, magazines, photos… it stems from the association I had with those designers. I do my best to keep my mouth shut, but now and then I just can’t help myself.

I was very well trained.

Mediocrity is unacceptable.

Question everything.

This also caused big problems for me. I’m never very happy with the things I produce for myself. I have to force myself to accept and put out there things that I feel fall short.

I’ve almost learned to live with it.

Then about 10 years ago, things started changing. Financials were simplified to the point of being the ugliest things in an AR. The typesetting of them was sent out to places like India, China and other countries where English is barely a second language. In order to compete with them, I would have to do the AR’s for free.

For the past few years I’ve only had one AR to do, a little drug company called Abbott Laboratories. Beautiful AR year to year if I can boast a bit, done by a design firm called Hartford Design. The owner Tim says he fly fishes, but I’ve never seen it. If any one reading this has a need for high quality design for damn near anything, give Tim a call.

And if you get him out fly fishing, take a picture of the event and send it to me. I want proof of what he’s told me in the past.

I just sent off an email to Hartford… due to time constraints caused by the first full time job I’ve had in over two decades, I will no longer have the time to work on the Abbott Annual Report.

And with that, another door on the past slams shut.

Now, what’s next.


End of Day One

The end of day one of the new year had the potential for a beautiful sunset.

Plenty of blue sky. Enough clouds around to add color to the setting sun.

Headed out to an area I like for sunsets and decided to try a different section. There are narrow bands of pine trees divided by prairie and corn fields. I hiked the quarter mile out to the end of one of the tree lines.

With air temps at 29 and winds blowing at 15-20 mph (feels like 18 according to the Weather Channel), I thought the trees would give me a break from the wind.

They didn’t.

I had a good hour and a half to kill and took my time on the hike. Even taking my time I guess I cover a quarter mile relatively quickly.

I stood around watching the sky and the changes from the setting sun. On the horizon where the sun was heading was a low bank of thick clouds while just 50 miles to the north there was plenty of blue sky. The wind was blowing directly out of the west, into my face and the wind had no warmth.

The sun disappeared behind the low clouds. In the distance a bank of trees kept the horizon covered. I couldn’t tell if there was a break in the clouds on the horizon. The sunset was nice, but not what I expected.

After standing around for nearly an hour I was freezing my ass off. No matter how much you layer up for this kind of weather, it really only helps if you’re moving around, even a little. Since I couldn’t feel my fingertips any more and my toes were numb from standing still, I left.

You’d think I’d learn by now.

Fifteen minutes later I look in the rear view mirror while heading east and the horizon is lit up like it’s on fire. Taunted me all the way home. There was no where to stop on the roads and no good vistas anyway.

I had been standing in the perfect spot not 15 minutes earlier.

Did this same thing three times last year.

I must be a slow learner.

Note to self, stay till dark.