Friday, August 28, 2015

August 14 -- going back to the Field Museum


At big bridge tournaments, the evening play is often not finished until after 10:00 pm.  Afterward, there is usually talking about what happened and what might have happened or should have happened.  There may be snacks.  Bridge players may not get back to their hotel rooms until 11 or 11:30.  Sleep may be evasive.

In Chicago I often woke up by 6:00 am, but didn't want to make noise or make the room lighter, so I sat quietly, checking email and doing some volunteer work, rather than flinging the curtains open and taking pics of the sunrise sky.

Our team played long and valiantly, but did not proceed to the final four in their event.  Bridge takes a lot of stamina, and playing two sessions every day for four days in a row takes it right out of you, especially when you don't play that intensely very often.

Plus, if you are not playing bridge, you get to do all the excellent touristy things............... 

On the 14th, we were both awake earlier than other days.  This is the closest to a sunrise sky that I managed to capture.

7:20 am.

The next camera (and all the others that follow) will definitely be matte black!  There are enough annoying reflections in this world without the camera itself being a cause of same!  Argh!

When I first saw the wet pavement in the park, above, I wondered if it had been raining.

No.  It was someone watering the plants.....  Many large planters, just in this one little section of park.  Chicago is serious about its flowers and other plants!

7:30 am.

8:35 am.  Plant-waterer still at work.  Michigan Ave full of vehicles.  Good morning, Chicago!

8:10 am.   Silvery lake.

10:50 am.  After a leisurely breakfast, and showers, we are on our way to the Field Museum.  I don't approve of writing on public surfaces (other than concrete sidewalks), but can agree with this sentiment.....  *Some* things, anyway............

Walking east through the park, crossing the commuter-railroad tracks.  This train was inbound.  It seemed that the commuter trains on these tracks ran much less frequently than the el in the Loop.  Less train noise in front of the hotel than in back.

Part of the construction of the bridge over the tracks.  The big screws caught my eye.  I bet they were nearly 3" in diameter.  Then I paid attention to the texture of the metal plate thing, and the concrete and the small gravel/sand caught between the two lengths of metal....

Our familiar blue cluster of buildings (south of the hotel), and there's the Field Museum along the horizon.  This section of the park looks like ball fields.  They were getting some extra care, fenced off from the public.  Our guess is that they hosted some large event, and are recovering from use and abuse.  This is a big flat open space!

The lake.  The 14th was warm enough that we were glad for clouds to moderate the sunshine.

Inside the Field Museum.  Sue, face on, with her portrait on the second floor wall.

There was a lot of info around the skeleton, including this pic of the person who found the bones. Her name is Sue, and the skeleton was named after her.  Other info detailed injuries this T. rex suffered in life.  Broken ribs, holes through the jaw bone that are now thought to be the result of infection rather than bites.  I can't remember more, but there were more.  A tough life, even for a large major predator..........

On the 14th there were volunteers in the big hall, with things from the collections that we were invited to get close to.  Very close.  Like -- touch and hold!

One group of volunteers had horns and antlers from various deer and antelope.  Moose, caribou, and many kinds of antelope.  Ridged horns, twisted horns, curled horns.....  How cool to get to hold them!  One of the volunteers asked me if I knew the difference between horns and antlers, and I think he was surprised when I did.  Antlers are bone, and are regrown each year.  Horns are (essentially) hair, and stay on for the life of the animal.

I did not know, until he told me, that the ridges on horns form at a consistent rate, so if you know how many ridges a given kind of antelope grows each year, you can estimate the age of the critter from the horns.  He didn't say the same thing is true for sheep, so now I am wondering about that.......  (And about cattle and goats -- I think their horns are smooth and might not have noticeable growth marks?)

I also did not know that Pronghorns are an anomaly -- they have horns, but shed them each year.

In this closeup you can see the length-wise texture of the hair-like stuff this horn made of.  Cool, yes?


Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 13 -- the rest of the day


Back near the Planetarium, on the way back to the hotel.  From here we can see the original Planetarium, as well as the new part that has the cafe and the Solar System exhibit.

Remember I said the skies were excellent all day on the 13th?   Looking north.  That's Navy Pier at right.

Still north, slightly west of the above (same street light).

We can see so many things from here that we've seen over and over.  The bridge hotel.  The tower formerly known as "Sears."  Our hotel.  The thing in Millennium Park that is too fancy to be called a "band shell,"  sparkling in the sun....

I always wondered what that building with the diagonal diamond on top is.  I kid you not -- one of its names has been Smurfit.


Looking back at the Planetarium.  Do you remember, on our way over here earlier, I said there were giant steps, apparently for crowds to sit on, along this part of the shore?  You can see them better in this image than in the one I showed you before.

Here's a closer crop.  The walkway is marked "no swimming" and "no diving" and "submerged rocks" all along in front of those giant steps, but there are also yellow ladders for getting in and out all along there.  In this image you can get an idea how big the giant steps are, by looking at the smaller steps which facilitate access.  You can also see four of the yellow ladders in/out of the water.

At the end of this section of walkway closest to the Aquarium, I saw a very wet kid drying off near a bicycle parked near one of the ladders.  I concluded he had been swimming.......  Swimming alone -- not the best idea, anywhere.  Let alone in a place with "no swimming" signs all over it.  I wonder if his mother knew where he was.............

We are beside the Aquarium now.

Looking at Navy Pier.  And the sky.

The (very big!  almost the width of this whole image!) Field Museum.  And the sky.

That cluster of blue buildings.  And the sky!

A quick snap grabbed as I crossed Lake Shore Drive.  Field Museum, blue buildings, and the sky!  (Wish I had tilted the camera up, for more sky and less street!  On the other hand, this image certainly gives a correct impression that there is a LOT of street....)

Approaching Buckingham Fountain.  Interesting lighting for the water.  And don't miss the sky!

The wind was mostly from the south.  The mist from that high-spouting part of the fountain obscured the buildings.......

Bright water, nice and clear against the darkness.....

Sky over the bridge hotel.

Looking south..........  Bright umbrellas in the park; blue buildings; the sky!

What a gorgeous day!

My better half reached the hotel before I did.  He called me, but the fountain made so much noise I didn't hear the call.  I called him as I walked toward the hotel.  He could see me from our window, but there was so much glare on the glass that I could not see him.

After supper.  Looking east out our window.  6:30 pm.

Looking south.  !!!

7:20 pm.  !!!

Looking north.


What a gorgeous, interesting day!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 13 -- the beach!


I had my shoes off and my pants rolled up the minute I got to the sand.  Ahhhhh.  Feet in the water, on the edge of an infinite view....................................

There are waves.  Tiny ones, but there are waves.

Looking at little tiny rocks through ripples on the surface of the water.  Cool.

Speaking of little tiny rocks -- I am always amazed at the variety.  So many different kinds of rocks, all in less than one random square foot of beach!

Closer crop of the above -- little rock, containing very tiny rocks.........

You know I picked up some to take home.........  (Scary that there is a lot of beach glass.  I looked out for sharp bits, and didn't see any -- or step on any!)

I can stand on the beach, at the edge of the waves, for a loooooong time.

Looking south.  We can see more big buildings on the horizon, just left of the trees.

It was nearing time for the bridge players to be done with the afternoon session.  They have a limited time in which to eat supper.

I headed back toward the Planetarium, and then on back to the hotel.  Looking mostly north (and a little east?).