Category Archives: Living in the City

Winter Walkers

Stroll Along the Lake
Stroll Along the Lake

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that a core group of the summertime senior cyclers can’t find time to do some Thursday morning fun.  It often begins at the AMC Theater on Grand at Illinois Street.  Our walk this day took us out around Navy Pier to Milton Olive Park.  Then it was back to our starting location where we took up residence at the Lucky Strike for lunch, pool, bowling, ping-pong, and fun.

Clark Cub: The End or … ?

My very first professional baseball experience was in the 1940’s when the Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field.  I know they call it the “friendly confines,” but someone tried to drop a half-filled cup of beer on me by dropping it while I was exiting the stand.  It missed me by inches, but that’s another story.

Andy Pafko in 1948 -- The Cubs in the Series
Andy Pafko in 1948 — The Cubs in the Series

I’ve been a Cubs fan ever since.  Buried away in my boxes of childhood objects I have Andy Pafko’s autograph from the time when he visited Elm Place School in Highland Park.  It doesn’t bother me about win or lose, at least I don’t think so.  Beer bombs or not, being exposed to baseball from the stands in Wrigley Field is an experience, a right of passage for us North Siders.

The experience of going to a game, however, is becoming less and less attractive.  We live downtown and the Red Line is no problem if you don’t mind a bit of a crowd.  The price of the tickets has risen, my grandkids can easily down $50 of food each, and changes to the field abound.  Night games!  OK, a necessity, but the signs, etc. — you can hardly see the guys change the score on the old board.

Now it has finally happened.  The last straw.  What was wrong with the old “mascot?”  I guess that exposing your kids and grandkids to the Cubs is now all about having the Cubs, in the persona of Clark, expose himself to you.

Clark Cub
Clark Cub

Will the anatomically correct Clark last the season, or will he find a pair of pants?  Or perhaps more importantly, is this a way of ending the Cubs of yesterday with a “modern” version of the Cubs?

Honestly I would prefer that the Ricketts Family change the name to the  Kane Kounty Kodiaks, move the team to the end of the world, charge whatever they want for admission and food, and let the Chicago Historical Society run Wrigley Field as the museum it is for us old-time fans.

A Tad on the Cold Side

It’s been pretty cold in Chicago this winter, but the ice fishermen are a hardy bunch.  Take a look at the flag and guess the wind chill.

Canon G1x
Canon G1x

My reason for this post isn’t entirely the weather, but the first shot I took with my new Canon G1x camera.  I bought this camera to take on trips when lugging my Canon T1i DSLR and lenses would be overkill and hard on my back.  If it is to fit into my pocket, then I better wear cargo pants or my vest.

The Chicago River After the Ice Breaker

The featured photo is a straight RAW import into Lightroom without any correction, taken from my living room through the window.

The other is a JPEG using one of many Scene Modes.  I think I might like this camera.

Kitchenaid Not What It Used to Be

We recently remodeled our kitchen and upgraded all of our appliances with KitchenAid products.  For the most part we are satisfied with our purchases.

Our KSC24C8MSS 24 cubic foot, side-by-side, counter depth stainless refrigerator-freezer however, leaves much to be desired.  Some of the plastic drawers are lightweight and seem almost flimsy, making us wonder if they will break after a short period of normal usage.  Also, the shelves on the refrigerator door do not seat properly (they tilt forward) and are difficult to adjust.  These are just minor concerns, however. There are two major design flaws in this unit that have proven to be quite distressing.

The doors do not have an adjustable stop.  They open wide to the point where the door can often slam into the adjacent kitchen cabinet and someday will perhaps put a dent into the stainless steel door.  There is no adjustment to limit the range of opening.  For a counter depth unit, the capability of regulating the maximum open door angle is essential.

The second involves the door mounted water dispenser.  We mistakenly assumed that this would dispense cold water, similar to the GE Monogram model we replaced.  Instead we have a warm water dispenser.  The first ounce or two comes out tepid; the next three ounces come out positively warm.  Only after 5 or 6 ounces does the water eventually become cold.  Routing the water tube next to the display panel was not a good idea.  Even after doing just one glass, the panel lights remain on long enough to make even the second glass tepid.  It would appear that the cold water line is not insulated where it runs inside the door next to the panel.

We have many KitchenAid appliances in our home.  In fact we still use a mixer purchased over 46 years ago when we were first married.  The brand was owned by Hobart, a commercial food machinery company.  Throughout the years we have always associated the KitchenAid brand with high quality.  It was quality that we were seeking when we spent several thousand dollars for our new kitchen appliances.

We know that it is essential for a company to be conscious of costs, even when their strategic focus is ostensibly on quality and innovation.  Their decision to cut costs on the design of this product was not a good strategic move in our opinion.  Quality has really been sacrificed when it comes to our new refrigerator-freezer.  We feel like we have an expensive run-of-the-mill product instead of the top-of-the-line product we had expected,

Hey, Kitchenaid:  If you wish to retain your historic high quality position in the market, it would seem to be prudent to develop an adjustable doorstop and to insulate the cold water line from the heat generating lighted door panel.  Read the riot act to your engineering and marketing staff.

My contractor has informed me that the door on our beverage center was installed off center and is not adjustable.  This causes the door to not shut completely.  That the interior light would come on randomly was our first indication of the problem.  Again, KitchenAid design and engineering are lacking.

And guess what just happened today?  Our range just went out.  Last night the broiler would not heat, so we called the appliance dealer.  They said that the electronics inside the unit needed to be reset, just like a computer running that popular operating system.  (I use a Mac.)  Well, I followed their instructions and turned off the power for 30 minutes.  I then turned it back on.  A few lights flashed and then everything went dead.

My advice to anyone reading this is if someone offers you a good deal on KitchenAid appliances, don’t walk away — RUN!