Friday, April 30, 2010

Day Eleven - Purple Porcine Palace

Vegetarians beware. This post reeks of meat. Pork to be specific, for tonight Lo and I dined at Jimmy Bannos Jr.'s The Purple Pig, Chicago's latest culinary darling. As long as you are ok with eating any pig part or portion imaginable, this is the place for you. Upon entry, one is enveloped in an aroma cloud that smacks of porcine pheromones. And not the pig on a farm pheromone, obviously, the aroma of a pig that has just been seared, braised, and fried six ways 'til Sunday. Pictured you have the fried prosciutto bread balls and the crispy pig ears with kale and a fried egg. Both dishes were standouts in a stunning swine supper. But the true hero of the night was the dish with no pork at all, the Sicilian Iris, a puffed brioche beignet filled with silky ricotta and chocolate chips. I'm not typically a dessert person, but this may have been the finest final course I've ever had. I'll go back again and again and again. I think The Beatles had it right: "Everywhere there's lots of piggies / living piggy lives / you can see them out to dinner / with their piggy wives." That was me, tonight, George. And I had a lovely evening...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day Ten - Tag. You're It.

Under the old elevated rail line that slices through Bucktown along Bloomingdale Avenue, there is fertile ground for street art and graffiti. Tagging appears and is painted over with regularity, especially at the intersection with Hermitage Avenue near my home. I've tried to locate the meaning or significance of this particular tag, but have not found any definitive answer... Perhaps this is a stylized version of "H2O" meaning the "Headed 2 Oblivion Crew" is runnin' these Bucktown streets. Word.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day Nine - If The Admission Is Free, The Talent Must Not Be That Great

The beautiful Chicago Theatre, home to many outstanding concerts and performances, is being defaced tonight by tryouts for NBC's America's Got Talent. Mere minutes watching this program will lead any reasonable human to conclude that America's Definitely Got Dance Troops, Hack Magicians, and Delusional Singers. I guess that's part of the appeal... America's Got Talent is a freak parade firing on all cylinders, and it rolls through Chicago tonight... Maybe Leonid will be there to make another magnificent TV moment...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day Eight - The Commuter

Pictured above you'll find one of the signs on the platform for the Damen Avenue Blue Line stop. The photo faces southeast towards the Loop where the elevated rail system tacks along the diagonally positioned Milwaukee Avenue. I wait for the L right next to this sign nearly every weekday with Lauren. Some people, when referring to Chicago's elevated train system, will write "El" instead of "L." While that seemingly makes sense, "El" being a shortened version of "elevated," those people are wrong. It's "L." Even the CTA refers to the train as the "L." If we're going to abbrev. let's tk. it all th. wa. Yrs trly, DPG.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day Seven - Take the Attack, Yeah, and We'll Back You Blackhawks

Tonight the Blackhawks take on the Predators in Game Six of the first round of the NHL Western Conference Playoffs. The game is in Nashville and the Hawks have the chance to win a tough series 4 games to 2. Back in Chicago, the City has added a little detail to the Chicago Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza (in the background, you see the Daley Center, where I spend several hours a week litigating in the Circuit Court of Cook County). Installed in 1967, the sculpture was a gift to the City of Chicago (after being commissioned by by the Daley Center architects). I've learned that the steel for the Picasso was fabricated by the American Bridge Company, the very same company that gave the name to my mother's home town, Ambridge, Pennsylvania, in 1905.

I digress. The puck drops on Game 6 in about 10 minutes. I have to go put on my Indian Head Sweater and park it in front of the TV. Here's to hoping the Blackhawks ride the momentum of a crazy Game 5 and close out the Preds tonight. Go Hawks.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day Six - The Best Man

Pictured: Best Man Thomas Reutter. A sharp dressed man at an amazingly beautiful wedding. The details were given great care during this nuptial weekend. No expense was spared. This one will be remembered by all who made the trip...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day Five - Das Boot, Das BBQ Campfire

A rehearsal dinner was held last night. It lasted until the early morning hours. Many a cowboy boot traversed the rehearsal dinner grounds and rested by the campfire. In the fire pit, locally grown Mesquite was being burned. It smelled of barbecue. Campfires always smell great, naturally. This one, however, evoked the sensory responses I normally experience only when face to face with a plate of pork. It was a pretty solid campfire.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day Four - More Cacti For Your Eye

More Arizona. More golf. This time at a course more mountainous and more lush than the last. The flora here supplies endless opportunities for quality photographs. In the Sonoran sun, these native plants thrive and show off for all passersby. This one boasts an impressive array of spines and flowers. A beautiful display today by Mom Nature.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Three - Oh, That's Arizona

In Arizona for the remainder of this week for the nuptials of a close friend. Many of our friends from college are already here in AZ, stretching out the weekend into a mini-vacation of sorts. Played golf today. Played well, and enjoyed it immensely... not only for the game, but for the unreal scenery in the Sonoran Foothills north of Phoenix. This place is like a different world, and could not contrast more with environment at home in Chicago. Snapped photos of a multitude of cacti... all different shapes, sizes, and colors... some with flowers, some without... and even some with prickly pears. This particular cactus caught my eye. It is starting a new arm, as I was told. Apparently some cacti grow only an inch or two each year. I wish this cactus good luck with his new project...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day Two - On Office Views and Memories of My Father

Pictured you have my two favorite aspects of my office. Initially, there is the view. My office is small, by most standards, but the view is grand. My office faces east, and looking to the southeast one can see Millennium Park (including Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture (AKA The Bean) and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by the brilliant Frank Gehry), The Modern Wing of the Art Institute, Grant Park (the site of the single best concert I've ever seen and will ever see, Radiohead, in the summer of 2001 after the fall release of Kid A (I'm listening to my favorite Kid A track "How to Disappear Completely" now as I write)), The Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and Lake Michigan (including Monroe Harbor (no boats moored yet)). I always take a few minutes of my day, sometimes more, to take in a spectacular view of the city that I call home. All Chicagoans are truly lucky to have such an amazing city at their disposal.

Secondly, one can make out the reflected visage of a framed piece of art that sits on the south wall of my office. This is a photograph, entitled "Russolo Noise Intoner.." and it was taken by my late father, John R. Grady. He made a living taking photographs and teaching others to do the same. His professional life was more than that, however, as I have learned and experienced. Through photography, he taught critical and unique thinking, compositional skills, and how to appreciate the value and beauty of the things one sees around them. I remember being in Florida as a young boy with the entire family, at a certain popular theme park, and having to wait for him to take photographs of a particularly colorful bench (one in a series of many benches that lined a walkway near a kingdom of magical proportion and legend). As he crouched with his camera to an angle and level equivalent to a toddler's height, he slowed his shutter speed and shook his camera side to side with a steady hand, and with purpose, as he took innumerable photographs of his seemingly mundane subject. Families passing by stopped, looked on, and surely wondered who let this lunatic in the park. That was my father, creating art out of something that no one else really ever noticed or considered as valuable (outside of a place to sit, naturally).

Two of his other photographs also hang on the south wall of my office. They are "Lloyd's Tower %ILE" and "The FUTURE that WAS %8". Each of these works showcase his penchant for graphic elements, color, composition, and movement. The photographs are not only a daily reminder of my father himself, but of the tradition of art and photography that is in my blood (including my mother who is a talented artist, actress, and champion of the arts in her own right). That tradition continues with this project as I attempt to capture the value and beauty of all things around me over the course of the next year...

(You may have also noticed that I have an intense affinity of parentheses and parentheticals... I also enjoy the ellipsis... If you dislike pervasive use of parentheses and ellipses, then this project is probably going to drive you nuts...)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day One -To My Eye, Reminding Which Lies I Have Been Hiding

For Day One of this endeavor, I thought it fitting to display a self-portrait. This is the only self-portrait I hope to show in the next 365 days. Ostensibly, this is a blog about me, but will focus more directly on the things most dear to me in an effort to stimulate creative thought and revive the role of photography in my life.

That's me. But you knew that, because this is a self-portrait. I'm a lawyer, which explains my shirt, tie, and the sharks on said tie. That is my camera. It is a Canon Rebel XSi Digital SLR. It is one of the finest gifts I've ever received. My lovely fiancee gave it to me for my 28th birthday just four days before she became my lovely wife. I love this camera.

That is my beard. For now I'll say officially that I'm growing it because the Blackhawks are in the playoffs. I will not shave it off until one of two things happen: 1) The Hawks win Lord Stanley's Cup, or 2) The Hawks are eliminated from the playoffs. I care not what my boss or my wife say. This one stays until one of those two aforementioned events occurs. In reality, I simply like growing a beard, shaving it off, then starting all over with the growth of another beard. It is one of my favorite pastimes, along with photography, and learning how to play ice hockey. I have to go to my third to last Adult Instructional Ice Hockey (101 level) class right now, so I must leave you.

I want to thank my wife for encouraging me to take more photos, and my friend Amber for inspiring me to take on this 365 day long project. 364 days to go...