A few days ago, daddy was reading to us a little bit about how salmon flip and squirm and wriggle their way upstream over rocks and waterfalls to get to their hatching grounds. We didn't know what that meant, so daddy gave us a demonstration -- looks like we learned our lesson well!
Totally unrelated -- here's a funny random picture for you -- James's idea of, "Smile big for the camera!"
U2 North America Tour, Chicago IL -- Opening Night!!
I missed the Atlanta show of U2's Vertigo tour a few years back by a hair, much to my (and Andy Ewing's) chagrin -- that's a whole other story on it's own, actually, so I won't get into details here...
Anyhow, to make up for it, Annie and I made the trek from Ann Arbor to Chicago for a night out (without the kids, even!) at U2's 360 Tour, which kicked off in Chicago last night (the North American leg of it, anyways). Here's our photojournal of the evening:
We parked in a nearby downtown lot, grabbed a bite to eat at the first restaurant we came across (a yummy and affordable Japanese restaurant, as luck would have it) and walked over to the stadium -- in good company, as you can tell!
I can't really do it justice, but this panoramic hopefully gives you a sense of the stadium and just how gi-normous U2's 360 set was -- this huge 4-legged tarantula-spaceship thingy arching over a good half of the field. Biggest set for a rock show I've ever seen.
Check out where the cameramen get to sit -- 12 of them (3 on each arm) were hoisted up snugly against the legs of the spaceship before the show got started, and there they stayed throughout the whole gig.
Annie and I waiting fo the show to start. (Don't ask about the scar on left brow, that is, again, a story for another day...)
The grand entrance -- the band kicked off things with "Breathe" from their new album.
The set is billed as a 360 stage, and it really is a good design, but there's definitely still a front and back to the performance -- we were sitting in back, which sometimes kinda sucked, but on the other hand, we 20% of the audience who were behind the stage felt really special when anyone from the band came around back to play -- just for us. Larry Mullen Jr.'s drums were even set up on this rotating lazy-susan-type thingy that every once in a while would spin around so he could face us for a song!
Bono loves us!
The video monitors on the set were honeycombed together -- during the concert they started up high, then expanded until they seemed nearly to touch the stage itself, and then collapsed back together again down low before lifting back into their starting position. This configuration is during their rendition of The Unforgettable Fire.
And, if I remember correctly, this is during Where the Streets Have No Name.
Nearing the end, Annie offered to take a shot of me with Bono singing on the monitors in the background, but I botched it and blinked when the red-eye reduction flashed me!
Alas, all good things come to an end... what a fun night though! Definitely worth the trip -- looking forward to next time!
So, looking at this picture, you may wonder why we've accumulated such a extensive pile of dirt at the side of the house over the past two months (and this is only a small portion of it). The simple answer, as I explained to Lilly when she asked me that exact question, is, "Mom told me to."
Here's the hole all that dirt came out of -- dug by hand, shovelful by laborious shovelful, 99% by yours truly (Isaac contributed maybe 2/3% and Ethan maybe another 1/3%). My neighbor, Dave, who has watched me with amusement as I've labored over the weeks, keeps asking me if I've found China yet. Hardy har har.
And the reason why the big hole? I'm finishing the basement, and to make it a bona fide living space, one has to install an egress window. Annie figured, as long as you're going to dig a window well for that egress window, why don't we make a really big window well that'll let in lots of light? And, while you're at it, if you're going to install one egress window, why not two? (More on that in a second.) The red lines below outline the approximate size of the enlarged window (4x4 ft.):
To meet the requirements of an egress window, it has to be a certain size. We picked 4x4 horizontal sliding windows. To install a 4 ft window, one has to dig a hole that's at least a foot deeper for drainage and whatnot, so the hole is 5 ft deep. Because of there'll eventually be two windows installed more or less side by side, I ended up digging one long trench for both of them - 20 ft long. Building codes dictate that the finished window well be at least 3 ft wide at its base, with a ladder or terraced steps built in for easy escape. Annie wants terraces, which I'll get to after the windows are installed. As it is, the walls slope upwards and outwards from 3 ft at the bottom to 6 feet on top, so, an average of 4.5 ft wide. So that makes it a 4.5 x 20 x 5 ft hole, or 450 cubic feet (16 2/3 cubic yards) of packed clay -- of roughly 250 wheelbarrows full of clay. Ouch.
Here are the boys standing in the hole for reference:
The boys wanted pictures of themselves sitting on the edge of the hole -- what fine-looking children! (Isaac was bitten by some kind of insect two days before this photo -- hence the swollen right eyelid.)
Here they are again!
I'll get more photos up when the windows are being installed!